Archive for July, 2005

Coalition Group Outlines 28-Point Road Map For Better Mental Health In The U.S.

Mental health in the United States has consistently experienced budget cuts, and rising costs. As a consequence, many people have been adversely affected by the inability to afford treatment, and the unavailability of treatment options. A 16 group organization, called the Campaign for Mental Health Reform, has put together a 28-point road map for improving mental health in the U.S.

Families should be allowed to buy into Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance plan for the poor, to get access to treatment for their children.

“Medicare unfortunately discriminates against people with mental illness by requiring higher co-payments for mental health outpatient care. That could be fixed,” Konigsberg added.

The groups, including several national mental health advocacy organizations, said they were acting on President Bush’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health Report, released in 2003.

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More Moms Are Resisting The Influence To Become Supermoms

Inside Bay Area has a refreshing story about moms who aren’t buying into the stressful life of supermoms.

Flaherty-Evans sought out a mothers group that had a diverse membership. Dobbs turned the other cheek on the mothers who pressured her to push her son to do more activities. And Wilson-Broadhurst recruited women for a moms group in hopes of finding soulmates. Though her first attempt fizzled because of personality mismatches, she tried again, and her persistence paid off.

“The women I socialize with now, we’re concerned about our kids, yes, but at the same time, we’re not forgetting about ourselves,” says Wilson-Broadhurst. “I wouldn’t say I was ever post-partum, but there was a time when I was highly emotional. I was saying ‘Who am I? Where am I going?’ I needed to reassess who I was now, as a mom.

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Alzheimer’s Disease - New Approach, New Possibilities?

Antwerp, Belgium - Scientists from the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) associated with the University of Antwerp have achieved a new breakthrough in their research on the origins of Alzheimer’s disease. Their alternative approach opens up new prospects for developing a treatment which can slow the disease’s progress. The researchers have shown that ‘the plaques’ which form in the brain of patients are linked to damage to nearby blood vessels. Leakage appears to occur between the blood vessels and the brain, as a result of which the plaques develop and the disease manifests itself. This research is published today in the ‘American Journal of Pathology’. Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative disease that gradually and progressively destroys brain cells, affects between 50% and 70% of all dementia patients and is therefore the major form of dementia. About 100,000 people suffer from this disease in Belgium. The damage caused to memory and mental functioning makes it one of today’s most frightening syndromes. In particular, the first realization of the loss of any sense of reality is extremely difficult to accept. So, science continues to search feverishly for ways to treat the disease.

The formation of plaques plays a key role

Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by an increasing deposit of the amyloid-β protein in the brain. The accumulation of this protein results in ‘plaques’; deposits which settle in the brain cells responsible for memory and observation. How the plaques develop is the key in the search for a treatment. Samir Kumar-Singh and his colleagues on a team headed by Christine Van Broeckhoven have unraveled how certain plaques are formed. In various mouse models, they demonstrate that the plaques attach primarily onto the blood vessels. The vessels show clear structural damage, so that the strictly-controlled separation between blood vessels and brain is compromised and leakage occurs.

A new model as a first step towards a treatment?

Under normal circumstances, the blood vessels transport the excess amyloid-β protein away from the brain. However, the protein has a harmful effect on blood vessel walls. This effect is perhaps strengthened as a result of ageing, which causes the protein to be removed less efficiently. The blood vessel loses strength and in its immediate vicinity the accumulation of the amyloid-β protein increases and plaques develop. Finally, the damage to the blood vessel is so great that it is no longer functional and other blood vessels take over its tasks.

The results of the research of Samir Kumar-Singh opens up alternatives for developing new treatments. For example, a treatment which promotes the removal of the amyloid-β protein from the brain can significantly impede the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. A new approach which might have far-reaching consequences. Additional research should make it possible to verify this in greater detail.

Contact: Ann Van Gysel
VIB, Flanders Interuniversity Institute of Biotechnology

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Scientist Debunks Traditional View Of Taste Receptors

M. Scott Herness (Associate Professor of Oral Biology at the College of Dentistry at Ohio State University) debunks what we’ve all been taught about the taste receptors on the tongue. He says that taste buds don’t work the way we’ve been taught all of our lives. In fact, he claims that there’s no such thing as bitter, sweet and sour areas of the tongue.

Full Story at NPR

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Brisk Acceleration And Gentle Braking Required For Best Mileage From Hybrids

The Cascadia Scorecard Weblog has a nice post on how to optimize the gas mileage from hybrid cars.

…hybrid owners need to learn a new style of driving to take advantage of their cars’ technology. Lovins calls it “pulse driving,” and it has two main components:

  • Brisk acceleration, then letting up once you reach cruising speed. “The engine is most efficient at high speed and torque,” he writes.
  • Gentle braking, anticipating the need to stop. This allows the car to recover as much energy as possible and feed it into the battery. If you try to stop more suddenly, the mechanical brakes kick in, and they dissipate that precious energy as mere heat.

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Public Health Danger In The Shower?

Wake Forest University School of Medicine is reporting that Manganese (Mn) may be giving 8.7 million people brain damage from showers. If there’s enough Mn in the water, they say a 10 minute shower can do damage after it’s inhaled through aerosolized water (aka steam).

Manganese (Mn) is an essential trace element but is neurotoxic at high doses. Showering with Mn-laden water has never been evaluated as a central nervous system (CNS) delivery vector for Mn, even though intranasally administered Mn in laboratory animals circumvents the blood–brain barrier and passes directly into the brain via olfactory pathways.

…Long-term shower exposure to Mn-laden water may pose a significant risk for CNS neurotoxicity via olfactory uptake in up to 8.7 million Americans. If our results are confirmed, regulatory agencies must rethink existing Mn drinking water standards.


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Heating Pads Can Help Menstrual Pain

Lynn Harris reports in about her switch from painkillers to heating pads to help alleviate pain related to menstruation.

At the risk of sounding like a PSA (”Hey, kids! Try getting high on life!”), they are so much better than drugs. Not only do they not dissolve your stomach lining, like the handfuls of Advil I used to take for relief, but they also actually work. They heat up almost instantly, and soothe the pain almost as fast. I go to bed with one on, I sleep through the night, I wake up, it’s still warm. I walk around with one hidden under my clothes, thinking, “Too bad all you poor slobs don’t have a secret toasty little friend like mine!”

ThermaCare Menstrual Air-Activated HeatPatches

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72 Hour Hold

The Baltimore Sun reports on a new novel about a mother’s struggles with her daughter’s mental illness - and a mental health system that fails them. Victoria A. Brownworth writes:

The detail in 72 Hour Hold will resonate for anyone who has dealt with mental illness and the mental health system, and illumine that world for anyone fortunate enough to have escaped it. Several years ago, when a close relative was suffering from mental illness, Campbell formed her own chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) in her Los Angeles neighborhood. Of particular concern for her is the closeted nature of mental illness in the African-American community, an aspect she addresses through Keri’s ex-husband and Trina’s father, Clyde, a black Republican with an attitude about mental illness that is similar to Cruise’s. Clyde disbelieves anything is wrong with his daughter until something cataclysmic happens.

Full Story.

Buy 72 Hour Hold, By Bebe Moore Campbell.

Posted in Cold and Flu Remedies | No Comments »

FDA Warns About Antidepressants, Suicide

CNN reports:

The Food and Drug Administration issued a second public warning Friday that adults who use antidepressants should be closely monitored for warning signs of suicide, especially when they first start the pills or change a dose.

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