Dr Tom Smith: How much does the weather affect us?

How much does the weather affect us? For example, can an approaching storm give us joint pains? If so, how does it happen?

People with arthritis often say their symptoms are worse when a storm's nearing. An orthopaedic surgeon suggests an explanation: as the atmospheric pressure drops, the corresponding pressure drop inside our joints lags behind, so for a while it is higher than the external pressure. This causes the joint to swell slightly, stimulating pain by stretching the 'capsule' of tissue around the joint. In arthritis, the capsule is already inflamed, so stretching it more, even by the tiny amount produced by a change in weather, may initiate pain. I don't know if he is right, but it's the best explanation I've heard.

Is it true that women using the contraceptive pill are less likely to develop multiple sclerosis than non-users?

Apparently it is - they are claimed to be 40% less likely to develop MS than non-pill users. The downside is that if you've been on the pill for years, and stop it to become pregnant, your risk of developing MS in the six months after your baby is born rises to about three times the norm. Although these differences sound high, they still leave you at a very low risk. Your risk of developing MS out of the blue in any six-month period is tiny, and the chance of a three-fold increase is not significant. Such statistics sound so much more frightening than they really are.

Thanks to guardian.co.uk who have provided this article. View the original here.