January 26, 2012
What if it felt like there were tiny bugs crawling all over your body, causing oozing sores and mysterious fibers sprouting from your skin? That’s how many people described their symptoms to government doctors several years ago, with health officials sometimes receiving up to 20 calls a day from sufferers.
Many of these people lived in California, prompting one of that state’s U.S. senators, Dianne Feinstein, to ask for a scientific study. In 2008, federal health officials began to study people who said they were affected by this freakish condition called Morgellons disease – named from a 1674 medical paper that described similar symptoms.
What did the long-awaited study conclude? Morgellons exists only in the patients’ minds.
Sufferers of Morgellons describe symptoms including fatigue, erupting sores, crawling sensations on their skin, and mysterious red, blue or black fibers sprouting from their skin. Some say they’ve suffered for decades.
December 21, 2011
By Jonathan Benson
“How can a drug be considered effective when the very thing it’s trying to eliminate is actually one of the side effects?” –KTRN
A recent industry-funded study on antidepressant drugs has revealed that the medications can cause roughly 20 percent of patients to get worse depression symptoms than if they simply took nothing. Published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, the study, which was largely controlled by drug giant Eli Lilly, is an eye-opener for those who still put their faith in antidepressants like Cymbalta (duloxetine), which carry with them life-altering side effects.
Ralitza Gueorguieva, lead author of the study from the Yale University School of Health, and her colleagues conducted trials on 2,500 people, all of whom were given either Cymbalta, various other antidepressant drugs, or a drug-free placebo for two months. At the conclusion of the study, most of those who received the placebo saw a gradual improvement in their depression symptoms, while nearly 20 percent of those taking antidepressants saw a worsening of their symptoms.
Those taking antidepressants rather than a placebo were grouped into one of two groups — “responders” or “non-responders.” Responders allegedly saw some improvement from the drugs, while non-responders saw no improvement at all. Eighty-four percent of all patients in the drug groups reportedly saw some improvement, while 16 percent saw no improvement at all — and this 16 percent actually saw a worsening of symptoms, as well as various other harmful side effects.
October 19, 2011
The Huffington Post
By: Leslie Davenport
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: There’s no quick fix for chronic fatigue. It is typically a level of depletion that results from draining your energy reserves over a period of time. It requires a commitment to refuel and restore your vitality. But the good news is that there are many tried-and-true approaches you can begin using right now that can start building up your energy level significantly. Let’s look a little deeper at what’s involved.
Physical, Mental/Emotional and Spiritual Fatigue
Depletion can occur physically, emotionally/mentally and spiritually, so what kind of tired are you? Fatigue can result from overwork, poor sleep, an unhealthy diet, adrenal fatigue, thyroid and hormone imbalances, medication side effects, anxiety or depression, experiencing an overall lack of meaning to life and the list goes on!
While there are always exceptions, general guidelines are that if you wake with energy in the morning and find yourself dragging in the afternoon, the fatigue may have a physical origin. If you wake up tired in the morning but get going as the day progresses, it’s worth exploring your emotional concerns. And generalized fatigue could point to a spiritual foundation — an overall lack of meaning and fulfillment.
Whole Person Fatigue Fighters
Mom was right: Eat a good breakfast, pick up the apple instead of the candy bar, get to bed at a decent hour and when you’re stressed remember, “This too shall pass.” And research is showing we’re chronically dehydrated, which is an energy zapper. Eight glasses of water per day can do wonders. Because exercise builds vitality, try taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work, or a short walk as part of a lunch break (commit to a walking buddy if you tend to procrastinate.) And if you haven’t had a physical in a while, it’s worth checking for other common fatigue culprits of modern life, such as a vitamin D deficiency.
Zen Brain Drain Remedy
There’s a well-known Zen story that offers an important insight about how to free our minds (and therefore emotions, because they are inextricably connected) from internal habits that drain our energy. Two monks are on a day-long walk to a temple. This is a very strict tradition, and they are not to speak or interact with others, especially women, during this pilgrimage. Mid-morning, they notice a woman along the side of the road struggling to cross a river. One of the monks goes over, picks her up and carries her across, safely placing her down on the other bank before returning to continue the journey with his colleague. This action is very disturbing to the second monk, who is aware that his colleague just violated the vows of their order. After thinking about this for more than three hours, the second monk could contain himself no longer, and he blurts out, “How could you pick up that woman back there?!” The first monk calmly replies, “I held that woman for five minutes — you’ve been carrying her for three hours!”
So what burdens are you are carrying mentally that keep you from being present in the moment to your family, to your friends, to yourself? The shift is as simple as remembering that you have a choice where you place your attention. It’s always an option to take a deep breath and look at the trees instead of the worries inside your head.
Exorcism of Emotional Vampires
Emotions are contagious. Have you noticed how some people are chronic complainers or often emit anger and irritability? How do you feel around them? Scientists have discovered that we have mirror neurons that trigger us to directly experience the emotional atmosphere of others. Take an inventory of people in your life that drain you. Then take the initiative to end toxic relationships, surrounding yourself with positive ones.
There are also situational vampires. So you volunteer at your kid’s school, but only in time to get the other one to soccer practice, before taking all the kids along with you to the market and, oh yeah, the dry cleaners, before throwing together that dinner tonight so you can meet your friend that you’re hoping to open a side business with since you’re not all that happy with your part-time job, but not staying out too late because you haven’t finished that book and book club is tomorrow or wrapped your sister’s birthday present, but you can’t forget to leave a note for the babysitter first about helping the older one with the school project, being sure to find the links to the online research articles he needs and… on it goes. The superhuman lifestyle, and there are many varieties, are a core cause of fatigue. Set limits — learn to say no. Prioritize those people and things that you want to really come first.
It’s easy to make a list of healthy to dos. In fact, most of the recommendations are common sense. The challenge is to live the changes, and that requires tapping into deeper layers within ourselves. Consider the line from Mary Oliver’s poem, “What is it you want to do with your one wild and precious life?” How do you want to live your rare, brief, mysterious time on this planet? At the end of the day, what qualities and values do you want to abide in? The 13th century Persian poet Rumi declared, “The Soul is here for it’s own joy.” Take a joy inventory. If that account comes up empty, begin making choices that invest in a joy-filled life.
Back Pocket Practices
While certain kinds of fatigue need targeted remedies, such as a medication adjustment, all types of depletion can benefit from rest and relaxation. Redefine those unexpected waits in traffic or a grocery lines as an opportunity to take a few minutes to take care of yourself. Here are two additional rejuvenating tips that boost the vitality of our body, heart and soul. They’re free, require no special equipment and can be done just about anytime, anywhere.
Stand with your feet hip distance apart, knees relaxed, arms at your sides. As you inhale, slowly raise your arms to the sides, palms up, until they are overhead. Imagine that you are gathering the energy first of the earth, then the sky in your hands. Then exhale as you lower your hand, palms down in front of you. As you exhale, visualize all the natural energy flowing through you like gold light, cleaning, relaxing and vitalizing your body, mind and emotions. Continue for three minutes. If you are in a setting where you can’t do the movement, do the breath practice and imagine the movements.
Picture the face of someone you love. And if there isn’t a person, a pet will do! Research has suggested this kind of visualization releases a cascade of “feel good” chemicals, such as endorphins, into your system for an all-around energy boost.
As the old Zen saying goes, “If not now, when?” There is no better time to start or revive a practice to nourish your body, heart and spirit, actively shaping your vital life.
September 30, 2011
The Huffington Post
By: Michael Friedman
Aging brings a number of virtually inevitable psychological challenges. Meeting them is often not easy. Preparing ahead of time can help.
The ultimate goal of old age, developmental psychologists tell us, is to achieve “integrity” and to avoid “despair.” What they mean, roughly speaking, is that, as you near the end of your life, you should be able to look back and feel that the life you lived is truly yours, that it was not a life forced on you, not a life that left behind your greatest potentials, and not a life you now regret. If you look back with an overwhelming sense of betrayed potential, you will not have achieved “integrity,” and you are not likely to be happy.
Achieving integrity also means that you can look back with pride. It does not have to be pride in a great achievement at work or in your community; it can be pride in having earned a living, in having raised a family, in having good friends, in having cared for those you loved, or simply in having led the life you wanted to lead.
Of course, satisfaction with your life when you are old is not only about looking back with pride. It is also about living well now. The essence of this is remaining active and connected with other people.
For many people, having a sense of meaning is also critical. This can come from contributing to your community or to your family. It can come from being creative or from passing on your skills and wisdom. It can come from spiritual experience.
As important as a sense of meaning can be, it appears not to matter to some people who just want to enjoy life. If meaning is the antidote to despair for many, pleasure is the antidote for many others.
Ageist assumptions may make it hard to believe, but there are plenty of opportunities for old people to live well. There is meaningful work — volunteer and paid, opportunities to be creative or to enjoy the creativity of others, relationships to be continued and deepened with time, new relationships that can be developed, and spiritual experiences available either through an array of religions or privately. And of course there are lots of opportunities to have a good time whether on the golf course or in the senior center, at discounted movies or extended education classes, at parties or in social and sexual relationships.
Old age does not have to be a cold and barren time spent mostly waiting for death. It can be a time of pleasure, a time of giving back, or a time of ultimate fulfillment.
Can be, but not necessarily will be.
Physical, mental, and substance use disorders (especially alcohol abuse) can be major barriers to aging well.
And the developmental challenges of old age are difficult to meet. These include retirement, role changes in family and community life, coping with diminished (but not necessarily lost) physical and mental capabilities, learning to live with chronic health conditions and sometimes pain, surviving the loss of more and more family and friends over time, and coming to terms with your own mortality.
In addition, the risk of becoming physically or mentally disabled and dependent on others becomes greater and greater.
Those who are young — or old — and physically and mentally healthy, able, and independent generally look on the possibility of becoming disabled in old age with considerable dread.
That is understandable. From early on most of us have tried to achieve lives of independence. We take pride in taking care of ourselves and those who rely on us. The vision of our own decline into disability and dependency and especially into dementia is usually deeply troubling.
Whether that is the only way to view severe disability in old age is open to considerable debate. Some of us believe that there can be a decent quality of life for old — and young — people with severe disabilities. Others regard it with unmitigated horror.
By taking good care of yourself you can reduce the likelihood of disability in old age, but there is no guaranteed way to avoid it. So, just as you need to face the inevitability of death, you also need to consider the possibility of spending your final years in a physical or mental state that you now think will be intolerable but which may offer enough satisfactions to make life worth living when you get there.
It is not easy to prepare for all this. No doubt the feeling of old age when you experience it will be different in some important way from what you imagined. But much is known about aging, and it is possible to be more or less prepared. Have you begun?
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August 27th, 2010
By: Ethan A. Huff
The attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drug Adderall is known to cause serious physical side effects including heart attack, stroke, elevated blood pressure and heart rate, and even sudden death. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is aware of this and more, but insists that people continue taking the drug anyway.
Adderall is basically a cocktail of various amphetamine stimulants and is often referred to as “prescription speed”. And because it is similar in makeup to illegal methamphetamines, it is highly addictive.
So in addition to its many side effects, users will have a difficult time functioning without Adderall once they start taking it.
Adderall also comes with a full slate of mental side effects as well as physical ones. Ironically, the drug can actually cause behavior to become worse, leaving one to wonder how or why such a drug was ever approved as a legitimate medicine to treat a disorder that it may actually aggravate.
Taking Adderall can also thwart proper brain function, increase behavioral aggression, and even cause episodes of psychosis in which the patient becomes maniacal and starts hearing voices.
In other words, it is absolutely insane for this dangerous drug to be on the market, let alone be touted as a safe medicine for children. And the FDA is aware of the seriously dangerous nature of this drug because it warned the public back in 2009 about its many extreme side effects.
The FDA conducted its own study of Adderall’s effects on children and early data pointed to the fact that the drug increases the risk of sudden death in children. But neither the study nor any of the other facts about the drug’s dangerous effects prompted the FDA to actually pull the drug from the market. In fact, the FDA made a point of denying the results of its own study and insisting that patients continue to take the drug.
The best way to deal with ADHD is to focus on getting proper nutrition, which includes supplementing with powerful superfoods. Cleansing the body of built-up toxins and feeding it with rich nutrients is the number one priority when trying to maintain mental clarity and boost energy and focus.
Remember to avoid excessive caffeine, refined sugars and processed foods, because these things only help to intensify the undesirable symptoms.
May 21, 2010
By Kate Devlin
Practising the precise movements also reduced stress and anxiety, researchers found.
Millions of people around the world practise Tai Chi every morning, and many believe that it has physical and mental health benefits.
April 29, 2010
by Maggie Fox
Nor can any other supplements, drugs or social interaction, the independent panel meeting at the National Institutes of Health outside Washington concluded.
The group of experts looked at the dozens of studies that have suggested ways to prevent Alzheimer’s — a devastating and incurable breakdown of the brain — and found none were strong enough to constitute proof.
“We wish we could tell people that taking a pill or doing a puzzle every day would prevent this terrible disease, but current evidence doesn’t support this,” said Dr. Martha Daviglus of Northwestern University in Chicago, who chaired the panel.
Most of the studies that have been done show associations, but not cause and effect, Daviglus said.
“These associations are examples of the classic chicken or the egg quandary. Are people able to stay mentally sharp over time because they are physically active and socially engaged or are they simply more likely to stay physically active and socially engaged because they are mentally sharp?” she asked.
The 15 experts met under the NIH’s state-of-the-science conference program, which aims to direct future research in an important study area.
They included specialists in geriatrics, long-term care, nursing, psychiatry and other fields. Panelists may not be federal government employees, nor may they have financial stakes in any treatments considered.
DISEASE NOT FULLY UNDERSTOOD
The Alzheimer’s Association says as many as 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and projects that 16 million may have it by 2050.
“It is critical that we, as a nation, significantly increase investments in Alzheimer research,” the group said in a statement.
“The total payments for health and long-term care services for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias will amount to $172 billion from all sources in 2010.”
The panel found there were inconsistent definitions of what constitutes Alzheimer’s disease and the cognitive decline that leads up to it.
Doctors also do not fully understand how the disease develops — for instance, there is disagreement on whether the amyloid plaques found in the brains of victims cause the disease or are merely a symptom.
There are a few drugs to treat Alzheimer’s but their effects are temporary. Genetics are strongly involved, and blacks and other minorities have a higher risk than whites.
February 3, 2010
By Mike Adams
An important new study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry reveals that fish oil supplements beat mental illness. The study involved 81 people deemed to be at high risk for psychosis. The randomized, placebo-controlled study provided fish oil supplements to half the study subjects for just 12 weeks (the other half received placebo supplements). The results? While 11 people in the placebo group developed a psychotic disorder, only 2 in the fish oil group did.
Although the study was relatively small, it helps demonstrate the wide-ranging benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, which are thought to be the key nutritional factor in fish oils. We already know that omega-3 fatty acids / polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) help protect people against cardiovascular disease. We also know they can play a role in preventing diabetes and cancer. It’s little surprise that they also protect against mental illness, given the importance of healthy fatty acids for the functioning of the nervous system.
As the BBC reports, Alison Cobb, from the mental health charity Mind, said in response to this study: “If young people can be treated successfully with fish oils, this is hugely preferable to treating them with antipsychotics, which come with a range of problems from weight gain to sexual dysfunction, whereas omega-3s are actually beneficial to their general state of health.”
She’s exactly right: Antipsychotic drugs actually cause diabetes. They promote blood sugar disorders and weight gain, among other problems. Some psychiatric drugs have also been linked to school shootings and violent outbursts (suicides, murders, etc.). They’re also expensive and they pose an environmental hazard, since many of the chemicals used in those drugs pass right through the body and end up in waters downstream.
Fish oils have none of these negative side effects. In fact, they have positive effects throughout the body. That’s why fish oils are such a remarkable solution to replace antipsychotic drugs: They’re safer, cheaper and they work better!
You’re supposed to keep taking drugs, says Big Pharma
The drug companies, of course, are terrified that people might learn this truth. They want to keep patients on expensive, patented antipsychotic drugs while discrediting “natural remedies” like fish oils or nutritional supplements. The entire war being waged against nutrition and supplements is, of course, nothing more than the pharmaceutical industry trying to protect its own turf by destroying the competition.
Because, let’s face it: For (virtually) every popular pharmaceutical on the market, there’s a nutritional supplement that works better (and that’s also safer and more affordable). Antipsychotic drugs can be replaced with fish oils. Cholesterol drugs can be replaced with B vitamins. Anti-cancer drugs can be replaced with vitamin D and medicinal mushrooms. Diabetes drugs can be replaced with a healthy plant-based diet and targeted supplements. The list goes on and on…
Nutrition works so well that in this study, subjects experienced a protective effect from fish oils for an entire year even though they only took those fish oils for 12 weeks! Imagine how much better the outcome might have been if they continued on the fish oils for the entire year…
Get quality fish oils
Of course, when it comes to fish oils, don’t settle for just any cheap fish oil supplement. Many of the cheaper store-bought brands are largely made of olive oil filler combined with a tiny amount of fish oil extract. Search out quality supplements or oils from companies like Moxxor, Nordic Naturals or Carlson Labs.
Make sure your supplements are free from heavy metals, pesticides and other residues. Make sure they are harvested in a truly sustainable way, and make sure you can trust the source to provide consistent quality.
Fish oils can provide astonishing health benefits. If the medical industry were truly honest about researching what works for patients rather than what makes money for drug companies, they would have openly prescribed fish oils long ago (and abandoned many of the antipsychotic drugs they still push).
But as you already know, the pharmaceutical industry isn’t interested in what works for people unless it’s something they can sell at monopoly prices. They don’t want people to know about natural remedies, nutritional cures or healing foods. They would much rather see people stay ignorant about those things while pumping their minds full of advertisements and propaganda that ridiculously suggests the human brain is somehow deficient in Big Pharma’s patented chemicals and that the only way you’ll ever be truly healthy, happy or sane is to keep swallowing their pills for the rest of your life.
The real insanity in the world is not in the minds of mental patients; it’s in the evil plans of the FDA, the WHO and the pharmaceutical cartel — all of whom conspire to peddle dangerous medications when far safer, more natural and more effective alternatives are readily available.
Abstract of study from the Archives of General Psychiatry
Long-Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Indicated Prevention of Psychotic Disorders
A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial
G. Paul Amminger, MD; Miriam R. Sch�fer, MD; Konstantinos Papageorgiou, MD; Claudia M. Klier, MD; Sue M. Cotton, PhD; Susan M. Harrigan, MSc; Andrew Mackinnon, PhD; Patrick D. McGorry, MD, PhD; Gregor E. Berger, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010;67(2):146-154.
Context: The use of antipsychotic medication for the prevention of psychotic disorders is controversial. Long-chain omega-3 (omega-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) may be beneficial in a range of psychiatric conditions, including schizophrenia. Given that omega-3 PUFAs are generally beneficial to health and without clinically relevant adverse effects, their preventive use in psychosis merits investigation.
Objective: To determine whether omega-3 PUFAs reduce the rate of progression to first-episode psychotic disorder in adolescents and young adults aged 13 to 25 years with subthreshold psychosis.
Design: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted between 2004 and 2007.
Setting: Psychosis detection unit of a large public hospital in Vienna, Austria.
Participants: Eighty-one individuals at ultra-high risk of psychotic disorder.
Interventions: A 12-week intervention period of 1.2-g/d omega-3 PUFA or placebo was followed by a 40-week monitoring period; the total study period was 12 months.
Main Outcome Measures: The primary outcome measure was transition to psychotic disorder. Secondary outcomes included symptomatic and functional changes. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in erythrocytes was used to index pretreatment vs posttreatment fatty acid composition.
Results: Seventy-six of 81 participants (93.8%) completed the intervention. By study’s end (12 months), 2 of 41 individuals (4.9%) in the omega-3 group and 11 of 40 (27.5%) in the placebo group had transitioned to psychotic disorder (P = .007). The difference between the groups in the cumulative risk of progression to full-threshold psychosis was 22.6% (95% confidence interval, 4.8-40.4). Omega-3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids also significantly reduced positive symptoms (P = .01), negative symptoms (P = .02), and general symptoms (P = .01) and improved functioning (P = .002) compared with placebo. The incidence of adverse effects did not differ between the treatment groups.
Conclusions: Long-chain omega-3 PUFAs reduce the risk of progression to psychotic disorder and may offer a safe and efficacious strategy for indicated prevention in young people with subthreshold psychotic states.
December 30, 2009
By E. Huff
Research from The National Institute of Mental Health has revealed that popular Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) drugs like Ritalin are responsible for causing sudden death in many children. Study numbers indicate a 500 percent increased risk in childhood death from taking such mental health drugs.
For years, many experts, scientists, and health practitioners have speculated that ADD drugs are dangerous and can cause serious injury and death. Etta Brown, a licensed educational psychologist and author of Learning Disabilities: Understanding the Problem and Managing the Challenges explained in response to the study that drugs like Ritalin actually destroy the neural function in children’s brains. As a result, children who have undergone treatment with Ritalin will actually have a much more difficult time processing information and learning new things.
Brown also notes that Ritalin is responsible for causing a permanent tic in the face, neck, and head of many of the children who have taken or are taking it. Ironically, Ritalin is responsible for causing far more serious neurological damage than the problems it is alleged to treat. Comprehensive studies over the years have revealed that while drugs like Ritalin visibly calm children, these drugs destroy their delicate, developing nervous systems and can permanently cripple their ability to function as normal human beings.
Ritalin remains one of the primary drugs prescribed for children with supposed behavioral problems. Rather than be encouraged to modify diet and increase exercise, children are being given drugs by their doctors instead. Increases in behavioral and learning problems among children have been increasing right alongside escalating levels of environmental toxins. Children are also spending more time at home alone while their parents work, eating greater amounts of junk food, and not getting adequate sleep.
Etta Brown, and others, suggest better nutrition, adequate sleep, and increased exercise and physical activity as a proper treatment for children with behavioral and learning disabilities. Nutrition alone is of vital importance since inadequate nutrient intake is arguably the most significant factor in children’s inability to behave and learn. Proper brain function cannot be achieved if the brain is not being fed what it needs to process information and grow.
Parental guidance in regulating and maintaining a proper lifestyle for their children is also vital if true improvement is ever to be achieved. Medical professionals, child psychologists, and others will have to come to grips with the fact that drugs are not the answer to childhood developmental problem.