Tag Archives: disease

New Study: CBD Prompts Antidepressant-Like Effects

 

cbd

A Spanish study reported on “Marijuana.com’s blog” and taken from “ScienceDirect,” validates the CBD cannabinoid as having rapid acting antidepressant-like effects.

For the study, surgically modified OBX mice were first compared with ordinary mice and then both given the CBD cannabinoid. 30 minutes later, stunned scientists observed a noteworthy decline in hyperactivity, typically associated with anxiety and depression in humans.

There are 14.8 Americans who suffer from major depression, and this research is both encouraging and suggestive of a CBD cannabinoid that could be readily available and at reasonable cost.

According to the report, CBD protects nerves and protects against brain injury; it fights MRSA infections, which are resistant to antibiotics; it takes a preventative role against inflammation; it induces cancer cells to “commit suicide; and has other important significance in administering to human maladies.

For more information, please watch this video:

[ CBD image from bingdotcom ]
[ Header image from http://www.freewebheaders.com ]

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The Physically Disabled in the US Are Overlooked by Colleges

dis clip art

Psychology students in U.S. colleges are educated about the minority group of the disabled, the least.  Oh yes, the mental illnesses are the main focus, but according to a study published by the “Society of the Teaching of Psychology,” and authored by Kathleen Bogart, an assistant professor of psychology at Oregon State University:

“We are not properly preparing students to interact with this group.”

“Overall, the study found that all of the colleges in the analysis offered classes on psychiatric disabilities, but just eight had courses focusing on physical disabilities though such issues are more common.”

“Courses tended to take a medical approach, focusing on diagnosis, treatment and cures rather than looking at social issues like coping, acceptance, prejudice and policy implications.”

When a disabled person seeks to join the mainstream of life, he/she does so with the expectation of being accepted for what he/she can do, not for what they cannot.  Unfortunately, whether the disability is obvious or not (hidden – “you don’t look sick”), the majority of the “normal” population is sidelined and doesn’t know how to react to people who are considered “different.”

Not all disabled persons are outwardly disabled – they don’t wear a sign saying, “I am disabled.”  There are many diseases that humans suffer that cannot be discerned just by looking at the patients.

When the disability is found out, a series of circumstances or occurrences can begin to happen.  People will stare; they will be afraid to have conversation; they will ignore; they will assume the disabled person cannot behave or converse in a “normal” way; they lose trust and confidence in the person’s ability to perform the tasks.  The worst part is that the disabled person can be made to feel like a pariah; a person who is unworthy; a person who is not a person at all.

Many disabled persons seek the assistance of psychologists, or “counselors” or “therapists” in order to discover ways to deal with their disappointment, and the prejudice, the discrimination, and yes, the open hostility.

If psychologists are not taught how to counsel people with physical and medical disabilities, in addition to mental problems, when confronted with the above reactions to their disabilities, how can help be forthcoming?

There are many areas lacking attention in the U.S. universities’ educational programs, and more attention and a proactive approach by the psychology and medical advocacy communities should be given to this problem.

[Header image from:  http://www.freewebheaders.com]

[Disability clip art from:  bingdotcom]

 

 

Cannabis and Cancer: More Patients Going Public with Pot Passions and Practices

 

Some Doctors Voice Concerns About Safety, Risks of Rx Weed

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle WA, publishes a newsletter that is quite informative.  It is called, “Hutch News.”  They publish news about their research on cancer and a host of other diseases, including:  Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) from which my late husband suffered; Multiple Sclerosis (MS); HIV/AIDS; and many others.

This latest article was interesting in that it was the first one that I’ve come across which details a good reason why perspective users of medical marijuana should beware.

Mold is a very real possibility.

The article contains stories and opinions of patients who use medical marijuana to help relieve their pain and discomfort from chemotherapy; however, I got the impression, from reading the article, that a possibility of mold infection was very low on the scale of possible side effects.

High on the scale of course, was the patients’ feelings of well-being and relief from the discomfort they experienced.  They were able to go on with their daily activities without the pain and other effects from cancer treatments.

Questions … and more questions

“Legalization has changed the conversation. When somebody asks me: ‘Did you vote for the [Washington] marijuana law?’ I say I did because I don’t think it’s something that needs to be super regulated,” Pergam added “But I think we need to use it judiciously. The question really is: How do you do that while protecting patients and then giving them access to the potential benefits that there may be?

“I want to understand the use patterns so I can give people constructive advice. If patients wanted to use it, what are the best ways to be protected? But I don’t think we know any of this data yet.”

That absence of evidence is due to the federal classification of marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance along with heroin and LSD. Drugs in Schedule 1 have “no currently accepted medical use,” U.S. authorities assert. Marijuana also remains federally illegal.

The designation essentially creates a federal monopoly on the marijuana that researchers need to study the plant’s medical potential. There is one U.S.-sanctioned pot garden — at the University of Mississippi. It’s managed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and produces the only cannabis that’s available for federally sanctioned marijuana studies.

So, what does that leave doctors who want to answer their patients’ pot questions? Mostly: More questions.

[ Header image from http://www.freewebheaders.com ]

ME/CFS – Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. “It Is Biological, Not Psychological” Per Dr. Mady Hornig

 

If you haven’t viewed the following video, showing Mady Hornig, MD, director of translational research at the Center for Infection and Immunity and associate professor of Epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School, speaking about their findings, now is a good time to do it.

According to Dr. Hornig, there is biological evidence, determined by the levels of 51 immune biomarkers in blood plasma samples taken from 300 ME/CFS patients and compared with 350 healthy people as controls, proving this is a disease.  These findings are the evidence which strongly support hers and her team’s beginning assumptions.

Dr. Hornig devotes some time in the short video to describing how patients have trouble getting a diagnosis; and many times, they go for from one year to up to 10 years before they find a doctor who will give them their diagnosis.  Uninformed doctors and clinicians cannot understand the disease; in fact, many have not heard of it.  Others deny that these patients are sick.

This is not news to patients suffering from ME/CFS.  They, more than anyone else, know their sufferings are not imagined.

Dr. Hornig’s conclusions are just the beginning.  There are many highly qualified scientists and researchers who have come forward, and more are coming forward, and have started their search.  Since this disease (IT REALLY IS A DISEASE!) has many symptoms and affects literally every system in the body, the job of finding biomarkers that can be established as definitive causes, is monumental, and not for the slight of heart.

If the NIH (National Institutes of Health) would have granted and will grant more funding for ME research, we would have been so much more ahead in this very important research.

Listen to Dr. Hornig’s short (2 minutes) report, in which she clearly states the problems of the disease as they affect patients, and the results found in her research.

 

[ Header image from http://www.freewebheaders.com ]

 

#ME Where Are We?

 

During the first half of this year, there was much going on in the Health and Human Service (HHS) Department and regarding ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis):  we had the IOM’s (Institute of Medicine) outstanding, positive report (in my opinion) and then there was the P2P (Pathways to Progress) report.  The former was indicative of forward movement in the cause of ME and the latter, was not.

We’ve been ignored.

There were stand-offs, delays, and hidden refusals when the FOIA was used to obtain documents vital to the ME cause.

And where are we?  After all the hullabaloo and interviews of patients including Laura Hillenbrand, author of “Seabiscuit,” Jen Brea, co-developer of a movie, “Canary in a Coal Mine,” I ask again:

Where are we?

It looked like we had some strong headway for a while, in getting ME recognized as a VERY SERIOUS disease (which it is of course), and as such, needed MUCH MORE grant money from the NIH (National Institutes of Health) for some serious and more timely research.

As far as I can see, we are not much further along in our battle – yes, I said, “battle” – to get concrete help for our ME patients – in order to get them out of the greatest “funk” – in the world.  My choice of word – being polite.  I am totally frustrated, angered, impatient, sad, screaming inside.

People running and doing walks, making videos, giving speeches, begging Congress, growing gofundmes on the Internet, writing articles in popular newspapers and magazines, yada, yada.

Still, I ask, “Where are we?

 

 

 

Chilli ME Challenge

 

Do you remember the “Ice Bucket ALS Challenge” of last year?  Well, now, we have the “Chilli ME Challenge.”

Awareness for ME/CFS/SEID/CFIDS needs to be addressed and put forth in all media.  The need for research is dire.  There are many brilliant and talented scientists who are ready to continue their intense and costly experiments and “all we need” is more money from our government’s NIH (National Institutes of Health).

Although the number of sufferers of ME/CFS/SEID outnumber the combined number of patients who have MS, Lupus and HIV/AIDS, the amount of grants for ME/CFS/SEID research is only $5 million as opposed to $250 million for the other diseases named above.

ME symptoms

Below is a short video of one woman’s (Simone) acceptance of the challenge.  Before she eats the hot chilli, she gives a quick summation of most of the symptoms that people worldwide suffer with this disease.

 

Important Brain-Immune System Link Discovery

“They’ll have to change the textbooks.”  This statement, by Kevin Lee, PhD, Chairman of the UVA Department of Neuroscience, is the result of a study at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.   The study, awarded to the UVA Health System and funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has shown there are heretofore undetected lymphatic vessels connecting the brain to the immune system.

Maps of the lymphatic system: old (left) and updated to reflect UVA's discovery.

Maps of the lymphatic system: old (left) and updated to reflect UVA’s discovery.

Researchers knew there was a connection between the brain and immune system, but the vessels were completely hidden.  Now, there are many new angles to exploring neurological disease.

This is a stunning discovery.  It is difficult to explain how these vessels in the brain were overlooked when the lymphatic system was explored.  New avenues of discovery are now possible and beneficiaries might be MS, Autism, Alzheimer’s and maybe even ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis)!

kipnis

Professor Jonathan Kipnis

Jonathan Kipnis, PhD, professor in the UVA Department of Neuroscience and director of UVA’s Center for Brain Immunology and Glia, stated, “We believe that for every neurological disease that has an immune component to it, these vessels may play a major role.  [It’s] hard to imagine that these vessels would not be involved in a [neurological] disease with an immune component.”

Click here to read the complete report.

[image credit:  University of Virginia Health System]

[image of Dr. Kipnis from bingdotcom]

“I Remember ME” – The Movie

me

This original movie, “I remember ME,” is a biographical documentary about ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), by Kim Snyder.  She shows just how devastating the illness is to persons afflicted.

If you watch only the first 20 minutes of the movie, you will see, towards the end of the 20 minutes, how disparagingly the 259 patients afflicted, and the disease, were treated by the representatives of the CDC at Incline Village in Lake Tahoe; in fact, it is stated that these representatives had fun skiing and taking advantage of all the social activities offered by the location instead of concentrating on the reason why they were sent there.  It was this delegation from the CDC that described these symptoms as “chronic fatigue syndrome” because they didn’t really know what the symptoms were, and they had to file the report of their “findings.”

Snyder’s travels are chronicled for four years as she tries to find answers about the mysterious illness with which she was finally diagnosed, after visiting several doctors.  The motivation for Snyder was her fluctuating partial improvements followed by relapses of debilitating symptoms she experienced.  Snyder was given many contradictory diagnoses for her symptoms, along with various drugs that were of no help to her.

The movie researches the history of the disease which takes Snyder to Florida, where a cluster outbreak occurred in 1956, and to Lake Tahoe, where many people became ill in the mid-1980s.  The Florida victims were women who were “described in a medical journal as having hysterical paralysis.”  She interviewed several of the women who became ill and later “recovered.”  A group still meets to discuss their experiences with the illness.  The Nevada group was a severe outbreak and Snyder interviewed treating doctor Daniel Peterson along with several of his patients.  Peterson describes how the Centers for Disease Control investigated, but he does not believe that they intended to take the illness seriously.  Peterson takes the illness very seriously, and seven of his patients have committed suicide.

Several other notable individuals with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (referred to in the movie as “CFS”) are interviewed, and they clearly express their lengthy “excruciating misery” in battling the illness.  The interviews included movie director Blake Edwards, United States Olympic soccer gold medalist Michelle Akers, and a high school senior in Connecticut, bedridden for two years who is transported by ambulance to his high school graduation.

Snyder thoroughly investigates the illness but by the end of the movie few of the answers she sought at the beginning of her quest were found.

Snyder was, at the time, a New York-based filmmaker who worked on not-for-profit projects in the film world.  Kim was struck down with M.E. in the mid-1990s while working as an assistant producer with Jodie Foster on Home For the Holidays.

fund research

 

MS vs ME/CFS: A “Fatigue” Disorder No More?

I subscribe to Cort Johnson’s “Health Rising” blog.  He has taken up the cause of those suffering with ME/CFS for a long time (he is one of the millions of patients).  As in one of my recent posts, the plight of sufferers of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) has been taking up space in headlines of top newspapers.

The current post on Cort’s blog, speaks to the similarities between MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome).  CFS is a misnomer for ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis); however, CFS seems to be a more recognizable name, since its coining by the CDC many years ago.

The issue that Cort addresses in this latest post is the “fatigue” suffered by patients who have the two diseases:  MS and ME/CFS.

He states:

Multiple sclerosis (MS) ranks amongst the most fatiguing disorders known.  Both ME/CFS and MS are fatiguing disorders – but is their fatigue similar?

 It is a major topic for research:  there have been 10 research studies in the last 5 months into illnesses with “fatigue” in their titles or because they are known to create abnormal, exhausting fatigue in the patients!

 

Cort goes on to describe the differences and similarities between MS and ME/CFS regarding:

  • Severity;
  • At what stage in development of disease does fatigue start to occur;
  • Types of fatigue;
  • What causes the fatigue to appear at different times of day;
  • Does weather cause changes in severity of fatigue;
  • How does exercise regimens affect patients’ fatigue;
  • How does exercise affect pain experienced by patients;
  • What other actions contribute to fatigue?

The word “fatigue” is a word that really doesn’t properly describe the bone- muscle- nerve-deep total exhaustion (and pain) experienced by ME/CFS patients; and yet, it is used offhandedly by the medical community, some scientists, the governmental agencies who are charged with caring for the health of their citizens, and others who are incapable of understanding the type of “fatigue” meant.

As part of his conclusion, Cort states:

Despite both disorders being associated with high rates of fatigue, people [with] ME/CFS and multiple sclerosis had very different responses to exercise – and display very different types of fatigue. The fatigue in MS is omnipresent, but is not greatly affected by exercise. The fatigue in ME/CFS is..

 

M.E. – Myalgic Encephalomyelitis “Canary in a Coal Mine” Report

Documentary Film Program Provides $1.5 MM In Grant Support to Filmmakers in FY2014

The Documentary Film Program’s (DFP) Spring 2014 grants totaled $975,000 awarded to 44 films, including four films from the Documentary Film Initiative in Asia. This total marks an increase from the Fall 2013 funding that totaled $711,500 in grants and awards across all stages of production.

 

The larger number of projects selected for support by Sundance Institute reflects a funding philosophy designed to embrace both existing and emerging mandates. Films selected include both passionate treatments of human rights issues and contemporary social relevance globally, as well as artful or cinematic documentary films that are compelling, creative, and meaningful for the culture at large. This expansive round has called for a greater number of film awards than ever before, in this case 44 films globally.

DEVELOPMENT
Canary in a Coal Mine  (Jennifer Brea, U.S.) and others.

A film about life with M.E., the most prevalent and devastating disease your doctor has never heard of.

Watch the trailer for “Canary in a Coal Mine” below:


What is M.E.?  And what is the difference between it and CFS?
It is an injury to the Central Nervous System. usually triggered by an infectious disease process, e.g. a virus, or by chemicals over stimulating the immune system.  (Some researchers believe that M.E. is only ever caused by a virus.  Others have commented that the same symptoms can be caused by chemicals.

 

M.E. is a multi-system disease, affecting not only the neurological system but also the immune, musculoskeletal, endocrine (hormonal) and cardiovascular systems.

Prognosis is variable depending on how much and which part of the brain has been damaged.  Complete pre-illness recovery is rare but possible (around 6% of cases.)   Some improvement, even marked improvement (different from full remission) is more likely than complete recovery, although relapses can occur several years after remission.  Most cases stabilize at varying degrees of disability.  Around 30% of cases are progressive and degenerative  and degeneration of end organs may result in death. (One quote of early death rate in M.E. is 10%.  This figure includes suicides.  Early death from cardiac pathology is put at 2%.  Pancreatic failure can also contribute to early death.  Symptoms can be multiple and vary from person to person but common symptoms include post-exertional malaise (PEM), cognitive problems (such as short-term memory loss and concentration difficulties), muscle and nerve pain, muscle weakness, noise and light sensitivity, sleep and temperature disturbance, orthostatic intolerance (inability to sustain upright activity e.g. standing, sitting or walking) and sensitivity to certain foods, smells, alcohol, chemicals, light, noise and medicines.

M.E. is not the same as CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome).  This is because there are currently 10 different interpretative criteria for CFS, some with a psychiatric and others with an immunological specification.  If the CFS criteria used involves damage to the Central Nervous System, then it could well be the same disease as M.E.  Other CFS criteria used focus on patients whose fatigue could be of psychiatric origin and this is not M.E.

The name M.E. has a long medical history of being a neurological disease, being classified in neurological textbooks since the 1960s.  It is a recognized disease by the WHO (World Health Organization) for at least 3 decades.

The name CFS was created in the 1980s with almost exclusive emphasis on the word ‘fatigue’, leaving out much pathology (structural evidence of disease) and previous physical M.E. research findings.  The vagueness of the term CFS is thus attractive to insurance companies, drug companies promoting anti-depressants for fatigue and government departments intent on saving money through benefits, support and research programs.  Any illness which has guidelines excluding pathology tends to not be taken seriously by medical and governmental authorities.

Therefore, the term CFS can be harmful as a label to M.E. sufferers because it can exclude pathology. Sometimes, however, researchers and medical staff use the term CFS to mean M.E.  So the situation is unacceptably confusing.  M.E. is a more specific name implying the pathology which has been found.