LSD Helps Terminal Patients Cope with Depression and Fear

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by Anna LeMind

The psychoactive drug seems to help in combating the fear of impending death associated with a terminal illness.

An incurable disease sooner or later makes the person face the fact of premature and inevitable (and possibly quite painful) death. This serious psychological problem should be solved, but it is clear that psychological means are not enough, and some medication that would increase the effect of psychotherapy is needed. In such cases the use of psychoactive narcotic medications is often recommended, despite the fact that it is not always justified by experimental scientific research.

If we take, for example, LSD, only now scientists have come to check its properties as an anti-depressant medication. Prior to that, the psychotherapeutic properties of the psychedelic drug were not studied at all, since the researchers tried to figure out only whether it harms health or not. For the last time LSD was tested for depression, caused by incurable diseases, already in 1960, until the United States outlawed the substance in 1966.

The current study, conducted by Rudolf Brenneisen of the University of Bern and his colleagues from Switzerland and the United States, involved 12 ill patients for whom the prospect of imminent death was more than real. None of them ever tried LSD.

Eight patients were given a dose of psychoactive drugs, and the other four were subjected to the so-called active placebo effect and were given a much smaller portion of LSD. The participants took the drug under the supervision of doctors, in a calm and pleasant environment.

As the researchers write in the Journal of Nervous and Medical Disease, a reduced dose of LSD, which should not cause any psychoactive effect, only increased depression and anxiety in patients. But the regular portion of LSD caused a characteristic experience, at the same time helping to cope with fear.

Moreover, the patients felt relief from dark thoughts not only during the hours when they were under the effect of the substance. According to the scientists, the fear relieving effect lasted for at least a year. On average, depressive symptoms in patients weakened by 20%.

Although this is a preliminary study and greater statistics are needed to confirm the results, we may hope that terminally ill patients will soon be able to live out the remaining months without constant depression.

http://www.learning-mind.com/lsd-helps-terminal-patients-cope-with-depression-and-fear/

 

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Queen Victoria on cannabis, and all the other things you never knew about drugs

Modern governments have long demonised drugs, but the world now may be inching its way back towards the more rational view held in the 19th century.

by Steven Poole

People who study drugs and human society can arrive at curious historical theories. Early in this book we learn of the idea that “the name Jesus actually meant something along the lines of ‘semen’ and that Christ meant something like ‘giant erect mushroom penis’”. It would be invidious, perhaps, to suggest that such symbolic interpretations occur only to researchers who are completely off their tits.

Happily, Richard J Miller, an eminent professor of pharmacology, soon leaves such psychedelic conspiracy theories behind for a fascinating and illuminating survey of all the major “psychotropic” drugs – defined as “chemical substances that enter the brain and change the way it operates” – from mushrooms and opiates, cocaine, LSD and MDMA, to Big Pharma’s arsenal of tranquillisers, antipsychotics and antidepressants, and thence to alcohol, nicotine, tea, and coffee. (“Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug in the world.”)

Miller deploys numerous chemical diagrams and occasional dense technical explanations of molecular activity, but also cites Thomas De Quincey and 20th-century literary psychonauts such as Ken Kesey. The reports of self-experimenting scientists constitute their own kind of wan poetry. “[Albert] Hofmann originally reported that ergine and isoergine” – which he had isolated from seeds of the morning glory plant – “were only weakly hallucinogenic at best, although they did give him a feeling of ‘unreality’ and made him feel ‘life was completely meaningless’”.

Modern governments have long demonised drugs, repeatedly commissioning expert reports and then denouncing their findings; or whipping up drug scares for frankly racist purposes, as with the American campaign in the Great Depression against the drug of choice for Mexican labourers, cannabis. (The head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics was the first to popularise the name “marijuana” in English, precisely because it sounded foreign.) The 19th century had been a more rational age, as well as a more innocent one. In that era, Miller explains, “The medicinal uses of cannabis were taken very seriously and endorsed by authorities such as the Lancet […] Even Queen Victoria was prescribed tincture of cannabis. It is believed she was amused (perhaps very amused).” The world now may be inching its way back to a more sensible view, given the legalisation of cannabis by Uruguay in December, and the growing movement for decriminalisation in many American states…

http://www.newstatesman.com/2014/02/high-hopes

 

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For Depression, Prescribing Exercise Before Medication

Aerobic activity has shown to be an effective treatment for many forms of depression. So why are so many people still on antidepressants?

by Olga Khazan

Joel Ginsberg was a sophomore at a college in Dallas when the social anxiety he had felt throughout his life morphed into an all-consuming hopelessness. He struggled to get out of bed, and even the simplest tasks felt herculean.

“The world lost its color,” he told me. “Nothing interested me; I didn’t have any motivation. There was a lot of self-doubt.”

He thought getting some exercise might help, but it was hard to motivate himself to go to the campus gym.

“So what I did is break it down into mini-steps,” he said. “I would think about just getting to the gym, rather than going for 30 minutes. Once I was at the gym, I would say, ‘I’m just going to get on the treadmill for five minutes.’”

Eventually, he found himself reading novels for long stretches at a time while pedaling away on a stationary bike. Soon, his gym visits became daily. If he skipped one day, his mood would plummet the next.

“It was kind of like a boost,” he said, recalling how exercise helped him break out of his inertia. “It was a shift in mindset that kind of got me over the hump.”

Depression is the most common mental illness—affecting a staggering 25 percent of Americans—but a growing body of research suggests that one of its best cures is cheap and ubiquitous. In 1999, a randomized controlled trial showed that depressed adults who took part in aerobic exercise improved as much as those treated with Zoloft. A 2006 meta-analysis of 11 studies bolstered those findings and recommended that physicians counsel their depressed patients to try it. A 2011 study took this conclusion even further: It looked at 127 depressed people who hadn’t experienced relief from SSRIs, a common type of antidepressant, and found that exercise led 30 percent of them into remission—a result that was as good as, or better than, drugs alone.

Percent of patients in each condition six months after treatment.
(Psychosomatic Medicine)

Though we don’t know exactly how any antidepressant works, we think exercise combats depression by enhancing endorphins: natural chemicals that act like morphine and other painkillers. There’s also a theory that aerobic activity boosts norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood. And like antidepressants, exercise helps the brain grow new neurons.

But this powerful, non-drug treatment hasn’t yet become a mainstream remedy. In a 2009 study, only 40 percent of depressed patients reported being counseled to try exercise at their last physician visit.

Instead, Americans are awash in pills. The use of antidepressants has increased 400 percent between 1988 and 2008. They’re now one of the three most-prescribed categories of drugs, coming in right after painkillers and cholesterol medications…

more…

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/03/for-depression-prescribing-exercise-before-medication/284587/

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This Is What a Facial-Detection Algorithm Looks Like in 3D

Mathematics made metallic onto a face of flesh

Abandoned Pit Bull Learns To Love Again, Reminds Us Of The Power Of Forgiveness

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Gideon smooches his foster mom

by Dominique Mosbergen

An abandoned dog who’s had the courage to love again is teaching us about the power of forgiveness.

In the video above, captured by Annie Hart, Gideon the pit bull undergoes a tremendous transformation after being rescued from starvation and sickness.

Hart, the executive director of animal rescue group Bill Foundation, told The Huffington Post in an email that Gideon, who was found with a registered microchip, had been in terrible shape when she went to rescue him in December. The pooch, who had deep lacerations around his neck, was starving and suffering from multiple bacterial and highly contagious fungal infections.

He was in “major pain,” Hart said, adding that Gideon was “by far one of the sickest dogs” she’d ever seen.

Hart added that the pup’s courage and capacity for love has astounded her.

“Dogs teach us the power of forgiveness,” she wrote in her email. “As rescuers, we see this time and time again: Dogs who have been abused, abandoned or forgotten and seem broken in every way — they trust the hand of the rescuer, thus rising up from the ashes, learning to love again.”…

mor…

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/22/rescued-pit-bull-bill-foundation_n_5009744.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green

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How a Coyote Suffered Behind the Scenes at Animal Planet

This coyote was trapped at the request of Animal Planet, and was replaced with another when it was “sick and unresponsive,” according to two people involved. (See the uncropped photo here.)

Mother Jones has uncovered photographic evidence of animal mistreatment behind the network’s top reality show.

By James West

Mother Jones has uncovered photographic evidence of mistreatment and neglect of animals behind the scenes of Animal Planet’s hit reality show Call of the Wildman, a pattern first exposed in our seven-month investigation published on January 21. Additional documents we obtained also raise questions about whether the show operated in violation of Kentucky wildlife regulations. The latest revelations include:

. A photo obtained by Mother Jones from a person who worked on the production shows a coyote that was captured at the request of producers and held in a cramped trap for an unknown period of time prior to filming on location in Kentucky, according to the person who provided the photo. By the time of the shoot, according to two people who worked on the production, the coyote was “sick and unresponsive” and had to be replaced.

. According to internal production documents and communications obtained by Mother Jones, the show quickly brought in a replacement coyote for the shoot from Ohio. Kentucky law, with rare exception, forbids the importation of coyotes.

. According to internal documents and data analysis of the photo, the sick coyote had been held captive for more than three days after it was trapped by a licensed nuisance wildlife control operator working for the show. Without a specific permit—which the NWCO working for the show did not have—Kentucky regulations forbid holding captured wildlife for more than 48 hours.

. Mother Jones has also obtained government documents showing that state wildlife regulators began warning the show’s star about violations in March 2012—more than a year before Sharp Entertainment, the producer of the show, says that it first became aware of complaints about animal mistreatment in connection with Call of the Wildman.

In a scripted segment for the episode “Lured into Danger,” which first aired in July 2013, the wildlife handler known as Turtleman lures and traps a coyote while the cameras are rolling in a barn purportedly owned by an “animal psychic.” The segment was filmed on May 10, 2013, in Waddy, Kentucky, three days after the photo of the trapped coyote was taken in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Call of the Wildman investigation

See Part 1 of our investigation uncovering animal mistreatment behind the show.

According to the person who provided the photo, the coyote was captured by a NWCO at the request of the show and “was transported for hours in cramped conditions.” Where the coyote was then held and under what conditions could not be confirmed, but as the May 10 film shoot approached the coyote was weak and limping, the source said. It would be brought to the filming location anyway. “That bit sickens me,” the source said. A second person who worked on the production confirmed that the coyote was sluggish and unresponsive as the film shoot approached. “The animal was just sitting there, so they had to get another coyote fairly quickly,” that second source said…

more…

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/03/animal-abuse-coyote-call-of-the-wildman-animal-planet

 

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Video: Are Social Networks Breeding a Truly Lonely Society?

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By Melissa Melton on March 22, 2014

Do you spend a lot of time on your Facebook page? Do you find yourself on there a lot?

Author Margie Warrell asks this question a little better:

Are you often checking in on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other one of the new social media networks? If so, then it’s very likely you’ve been unwittingly seduced by them. That is, that you’ve fallen into the trap of relying on them for affirmation, validation, and a sense of belonging that they can never fully provide. At least not for long. Which is why you keep returning for more. And more. And more. But it’s never enough.

So is it ever enough? How many real friends do you have, as in, real friends in real life?

In his post on the video below, “What Facebook Is Doing to Your Brain Is Kind of Shocking,” Cam Lincoln of Mobiledia.com writes, “In a world where we collect friends like stamps, there’s actually a connection between using social media and being lonely. I was shocked at 0:40. My jaw dropped at 2:20. And — yup — my mind was blown at 3:40.”

Check out this thought provoking video, then consider the questions again.

Is social media changing the fundamental basics of human friendship?

Your friendships?

http://truthstreammedia.com/video-are-social-networks-breeding-a-truly-lonely-society/

 

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