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A bike that mimics multiple sclerosis presents the disease on a new level.

A clever campaign just might help someone you know.

A bike that mimics multiple sclerosis presents the disease on a new level.

What do you see in this image?

All images via Grey Australia/YouTube.


Looks pretty straightforward, right? A classic 10-speed bike, like you might find in your parent's garage. Nothing exceptional.

But things aren't always how they seem at first glance. In fact, a quick ride on this bike would throw a lot of people off, and that's exactly why a group of Australian designers, neurologists, and advocates created it.

This bicycle was designed to mimic the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

You may know someone who has it. (The disease, not the bike.)

Roughly 2.5 million people out there know what it's like to live with multiple sclerosis, a disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord, making it hard for the brain to properly talk to the body.

It's mysterious and often frustrating, especially considering that researchers are still unsure what causes it. That, mixed with its unpredictable nature as a disease, makes it hard for people to grasp what it's like to have ... until now.

Here are five clever ways they did it:

Bike = MS? You better believe it. Here we go.

1. This bike looks great on the outside, but the inside tells a different story.

One of the most frustrating parts of MS is that it's considered a hidden disease. You can look completely normal and healthy on the outside but actually be suffering on the inside.

It's one of the reasons many people can't understand what their loved ones are going through. Diagnosing MS is no cakewalk either; its symptoms can be so hard to see that it's hard to determine whether a person has it or not.

This bike looks sharp and ready to hit the road, just like someone diagnosed with MS. But just wait.

2. Be prepared to feel wobbly.


With MS, the instability is real, and this bike was designed with that in mind. The makers purposely built it with crooked wheels, a misaligned frame, and balky tires to create the effect. It's incredibly hard to find your balance when you're riding, and if you took it for a spin, there would be a good chance you'd end up on the asphalt.

People living with MS could relate since they often have problems with walking and feel dizziness.

3. You never know what's going to happen next.


Symptoms of MS vary widely from person to person, but not knowing what's going to happen or when it's going to happen is a common theme.

On the bike, the designers shifted gears, took out teeth on the rear cassette, and used heavy parts to create a jarring, unpredictable feeling when riding.

4. The brakes, seat, and handlebars recreate numbing.


Ever sit in a position too long and your legs go numb? That's sort of what it's like for someone living with MS. Only it's not just your leg. It's different parts of your body, all the time.

Losing sensation in your feet and hands makes you feel like you have to do everything harder to make it work. To replicate this feeling on the bike, after they used thin handlebar tape with ball bearings wrapped underneath, and made the seat super uncomfortable. Hang on or sit for a while and you'll go numb.

5. It takes so much more effort to go anywhere.


For some of us, it's hard enough to roll out of bed and face the day when we're feeling perfectly fine. Someone living with MS has to constantly fight through the day to make it through.

With all the alterations above, riding this bike is also a strain, to put it lightly.

Our bodies are machines, just like a bike.

When something is off, the body reacts and works to find a fix. With MS, there is no permanent fix, but there are ways to ease symptoms and slow disease progression with medicine and physical therapy.

Most people won't get to ride this bike, and, of course, it's nothing compared to the challenge of actually having the disease.

But this unique approach might make MS easier to understand — both mentally and physically.

By improving awareness and relating it to something most people do understand (bikes!), it hopefully can allow people to see MS on a different level.

Created by cycling Paralympian Carol Cooke, bike mechanics, neurologists, folks living with MS, and Grey Australia, the campaign hopes to raise awareness for the disease in advance of the MS Melbourne Cycle in March 2016.

Watch the full campaign ad here:

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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