Friday, September 25, 2009

Vacation

Hi Everyone,
I will be on vacation from tomorrow until next Saturday, then I will
be back blogging.
Take Care,
Janet :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

MINDS ON THE EDGE



Hello Everyone,
I hope you are doing well. I am doing good. I came across this last night. I am planning on joining in on the conversation. I hope you will too. Take Care, Thanks for visiting my blog. Janet :)

"If we can talk about mental illness, so can you."
On PBS, online and in the community, MINDS ON THE EDGE is expanding the conversation about mental illness. Join us in encouraging this urgently needed dialogue everywhere from kitchen tables to coffee shops, from town halls to state houses, in libraries and at professional meetings. Answers we need to meet this challenge can only emerge from a robust public conversation.
You are a critical part of this civic dialogue.
Start the conversation with friends, neighbors and colleagues.
There are so many ways to take part.

* Share your experience and your views and be a part of the online community.
1. Email web links to people who would want to consider these issues.
2. Join the Facebook fan page and use yours to spread the word.
3. Follow us on Twitter and retweet to your followers.
4. Contribute your perspective on YouTube




http://www.mindsontheedge.org/

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

NIMH First Direct Evidence Instability is the Normal State of the Brain’s Cortex

Shattered Pictures, Images and Photos

Hi Everyone,
I hope you are doing well. I am doing good. I just recieved this update from NIMH.
This discovery is very promising. Thanks for visiting my blog and have a great day. Take Care, Janet :)


First Direct Evidence: Instability is the Normal State of the Brain’s Cortex
Might Aberrant Neuronal “Avalanches” Signal Mental Illness?
Neuronal avalanches in monkey cortex

Even when we're not doing much of anything, our brain's cortex, or outer mantle, is bustling with activity. In fact, scientists for the first time have detected "avalanches" of cortex activity in awake monkeys at rest.

They've also discovered that these bursts of synchronous neuronal activity aren't just random, but rather precisely ordered. Large avalanches are followed by smaller and smaller avalanches, much like the aftershocks of an earthquake. This type of ordering reveals that the normal state of cortex circuitry is at a tipping point: at the edge of instability — like rocks along an earthquake fault.

"Mental illness may involve disturbances in this delicate balance, and abnormal avalanche patterns are potentially detectable," explained NIMH's Dietmar Plenz, Ph.D. "Being in such a state of instability allows neurons to telegraph information optimally across varying distances and to quickly adapt to new challenges. This makes it possible for the cortex to grow through development and expand through evolution without changes in its architecture."

Plenz and colleagues report on their study of neuronal avalanches online during the week of August 24, 2009 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Background

Understanding the cortex's complex functional architecture has posed challenges for researchers. Plenz's earlier studies in cell cultures and brain slices suggested that cortex tissue is organized like grains of sand in a sand pile - with the potential for even a few grains to trigger large avalanches. Periods of relative calm are punctuated by the spontaneous, synchronous avalanches. To confirm these findings in intact, awake animals, Plenz and colleagues recorded electrical signals in different parts of the cortex of two monkeys that were resting in a chair.
Results of This Study

The researchers observed avalanches, synchronous bursts of neural activity across varying expanses of cortex, in a pattern that implies a specific structure. The neuronal avalanches seem to obey laws similar to those that characterize their geological counterparts. Again like earthquakes, smaller avalanches are more common than bigger ones. Their size can range from involving clusters of cells to widespread networks.

"Avalanches function at any scale, bridging a 1 mm distance in the same way as they bridge a 10 mm distance as the brain develops or evolves," explained Plenz.
Significance

The state of instability appears to be a general property of cortex tissue. There are hints that disorders of thinking, such as schizophrenia, could involve a breakdown in this critical state, leading to aberrant neuronal avalanche activity, say the researchers.
What's Next?

Plenz and NIMH colleagues are studying this possibility using a non-invasive technique called magnetoencephalography (MEG), which images electrical activity deep in the brain. They are comparing cortex activity in schizophrenia patients and healthy controls, looking for quantifiable neural signatures of abnormal avalanche activity.

"If a brain doesn't show the normal, synchronous avalanche pattern, this could signal a brain disorder," said Plenz.

Even though the monkey was just resting in a chair, neuronal avalanches were spontanously sparking in its brain's outer mantle, or cortex. Electrodes (black dots) detected these synchronous bursts (colored circles) of neural activity. The diameter and color of the circles reflects the varying size of the avalanches, which occurred as disparate clusters of synchronous activity. Despite their irregular appearances, the avalanche patterns are highly organized in space and time obeying precise rules similar to those found for earthquakes. This suggests that the cortex is normally organized in a state with the potential for such critical activity.
Reference

Spontaneous cortical activity in awake monkeys composed of neuronal avalanches. Petermann T, Thiagarajan TC, Lebedev MA, Nicolelis MA, Chialvo DR, Plenz D. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Aug 26.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Gratitude

Hi Everyone,
I hope you are doing well, I am doing great it is Friday!! I came across these videos on my friend Mystical's blog. http://mysticle.blogspot.com/. I love them and wanted to share this one with you because that is how I am feeling more and more now. The link to more of their videos is http://www.youtube.com/user/Humanityhealing
Have a great weekend,
Take Care,
Janet :)


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stand Up For Mental Health


Hi Everyone,
I just discovered this man today and his cause to help end the stigma on Mental Illness. I am loving this concept. Laughter will help break down the fear of facing Mental Illness. His son even speaks from a child's perspective. I wish I would have had this opportunity when I was younger. Kudos to David Granirer for starting this and to his son Jonathan for being so brave and speaking out in front of an audience. I contacted David about doing a show possibly in Plymouth Ma, at the Memorial Hall. He got back to me within two hours!! I am so excited now, Thanks David. I Look forward to talking with you more about it when you have the time. I have been looking for so long for a way to shout out about this issue. Growing up I will never forget the way people looked at and treated my mother. I always starred right back at them like WTF are you looking at you ignorant person F#%k Off, well that felt good to get off my chest LOL! Please donate what you can for this great cause. I sure am I have wasted my money on less important things. Thanks for visiting my blog.Take Care, Janet :)
http://www.standupformentalhealth.com/

Bipolar Porch

Hi Everyone, I hope you are doing well, I am doing good. Meeting people like Andrew is why I am so glad I became a blogger. I encourage all of you to visit his site. http://www.bipolarporch.com/Bipolar_Porch/Home.html. He has a wealth of information there to share with everyone and links together many blogs and sites devoted to Mental Illness. He also shares with us his personal journey as he sits and reflects on his porch. I sit on my porch every night and refect on many things, mostly my mother and continue to look to her for inspiration and guidance. Thanks again Andrew and thank you for visiting my blog. I wanted to let my followers know I just added my blog list to this site. It is still new to me so bare with me as I get it up and running.Take Care, Janet



Monday, September 14, 2009

Combination Treatment for Psychotic Depression Holds Promise



Combination Treatment for Psychotic Depression Holds Promise

A combination of an atypical antipsychotic medication and an antidepressant known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) may be more effective in treating psychotic depression than an atypical antipsychotic alone, according to results from an NIMH-funded clinical study.
Background

Psychotic depression is characterized by major depression accompanied by symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and breaks with reality. A person with psychotic depression may be unwilling or unable to care for him or herself and often is admitted to the hospital. Typically, psychotic depression is treated with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), known to be effective but not always acceptable to patients and their families. It is less commonly treated with an antipsychotic or an antipsychotic plus an antidepressant.
Results of the Study

In a 12-week trial, all 259 participants were required to have psychotic depression with at least one delusion or irrational belief, although not all had hallucinations. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two treatments—the atypical antipsychotic olanzapine (Zyprexa) plus the SSRI sertraline (Zoloft) (combination therapy), or to olanzapine plus a placebo, or inactive, pill (monotherapy). Barnett S. Meyers, M.D., of Cornell University, and colleagues compared rates of remission and side effects among the participants. They also compared the responses of the 117 patients younger than 60 with the responses of the 142 patients older than 60 to determine if the two age groups responded differently.

The researchers conducted assessments at the beginning of the trial, weekly for the first six weeks, and then every other week until week 12. They found that 42 percent of those on combination therapy remitted compared to 24 percent of those on the monotherapy, with no significant differences in remission rates between age groups. Combination therapy's superiority became most evident between weeks eight and 12 of the trial.

Overall, the two age groups experienced comparable side effects. Both groups experienced significant increases in cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and both gained weight. However, the younger age group gained twice as much on average—about 14 pounds—compared to the older group, which gained an average of 7 pounds. This finding is consistent with other reports that have found older adults tend to gain less weight with atypical antipsychotics, specifically olanzapine, the researchers said. However, older participants also tended to be on lower doses of the antipsychotic than the younger adults, which may partially explain the disparity in weight gain, according to the researchers.

Unexpectedly, older participants had no more difficulty tolerating the medications than younger participants, nor were they any more likely to experience falls, sedation or have greater movement disorder symptoms than younger participants.

Overall, about 45 percent of participants dropped out of the study, although the drop-out rate was lower in the combination treatment group (37 percent) compared to the monotherapy group (53 percent).
Significance

Because the drop-out rate was relatively high and no follow-up data on those who discontinued were collected, the authors caution against applying the study's results to clinical practice prematurely. Still, the authors suggest that combination therapy holds promise as an alternative therapy to ECT. "Psychotic depression is difficult to treat," said NIMH Director Thomas R. Insel, M.D. "This study provides insight into one approach to treatment that may be a valid alternative for many patients who cannot or will not undergo ECT."

Friday, September 11, 2009

In Memory of 9/11

Today you are all in my heart!
May we finaly get Oshama Bid Laden.
Thanks for visiting my blog,
Janet :)



Monday, September 7, 2009

Ginni Pigs

Hi Everyone,
I hope you are all doing well, I am doing good. I get a newsletter everyday from NAMI. This is a really important one. I had to share it with you here. As some of you know my mother's story, for the first time today I am going to share my personal story with you. I don't think I have even talked about it with anyone but Pete and his family. It is hard for me, but this is what my blog is about. I am free of the shame, so here I go, taking a deep breath, When I moved out of my parents house to live with Pete and have Christa things were all well with me until about the time Christa was 2 years old. I started having anxiety attacks to the point that I could not leave the house. My biggest fear had come to life. I am going to suffer the rest of my life like my mother. This was 4 or 5 yrs before her new treatment proved to me that she was bipolar with hallucinations, because if she was truly a Paranoid Schizophrenic as first diagnosed I don't think lithium worked have worked on her the way it did. I was a full time Mom with Christa and one day I saw a commercial for a Anxiety Clinic at Mass General and it was for free. I had no health insurance at time. So I called, had a huge attack as I entered the Doctor's Office. They gave me many big pills in a big bottle, I went home took one, and immediately felt better, I could function without panic. To make a long story short, I became addicted. There I was with no one to turn to for help, I wanted to go to detox, I was a mess. So I decided to withdraw myself at home. Bad idea, don't ever do it. After a few ambulance rides to the hospital. I eventually had a seizure in front of Christa and I could have died from a heart attack. I then turned to Alcohol to help ease the withdrawals. Even a stupider Idea, but being young and scared with no support system, you do what you have to do to survive. God finally intervened and I went to Highpoint in Plymouth Ma. It was the worst thing I have ever experienced. I will never take a narcotic again in my life unless I truly have to.A social worker and a counselor reassured me that I did not have any signs of Schizophrenia and I was put on Prozac. I started my life over and it has been good since then. Today I realized when posting this information that both my mother and I were Ginni pigs in a way as treatment for mental illness progressed. I have always physically been her clone, now I know why I felt that bond and love for her. We were one in the same. Just a generation apart. Thanks for reading my story and visiting my blog. Take Care, Janet :)

Photobucket

Schizophrenia Linked to Over-expression of Gene in Fetal Brain Excess of Shortened Forms Could Lead to Abnormal Brain Development Gene over-expressed in fetal brain

A gene called DISC1, (for "disrupted in schizophrenia") has been a leading contender among possible genetic causes since it was implicated in a large Scottish clan two decades ago. The DISC1 gene codes for a protein important for brain development, as well as for mood and memory - functions that are disturbed in schizophrenia. However, until now there have been few clues as to how DISC1 might increase risk for the chronic mental disorder.

A new study suggests how impaired expression of DISC1 might wreak havoc during early critical periods as the developing brain gets wired up. NIMH researchers have discovered that previously unknown shortened forms of the gene were expressed 2.5 times more in the fetal brain than after birth. By contrast, other forms were expressed more evenly across development. The shortened forms were also over-expressed in brains of adults who had schizophrenia.

"These shortened forms may result in a functionally aberrant and truncated protein that is more highly expressed in the brains of people with schizophrenia" explained NIMH's Dr. Joel Kleinman, who led the research.

Drs. Kleinman, Barbara Lipska, Kenji Nakata, Daniel Weinberger and colleagues, report on their discoveries in postmortem brain tissue online, during the week of August 24, 2009 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS).
Background

The new findings may help explain the molecular roots of the illness in the Scottish clan, in which more than half of the members developed schizophrenia or other serious mental disorders. Previous studies had traced their disease, in part, to a different aberration, a mismatch called a translocation, in which a chunk of genetic material from one chromosome gets attached to another chromosome. But this has never been seen in other families. A translocation, like the shorter messenger RNA forms, would result in shortened forms of DISC1 protein. So other affected families and the Scottish clan could in fact share a similar illness process, say the researchers.
Results of This Study

The researchers linked several illness-implicated variations in the DISC1 gene to the shorter forms of DISC1 products, called messenger RNAs, that transform the gene into protein. The results suggest that variations in the DISC1 gene boost risk for schizophrenia by producing shortened messenger RNAs that are predominantly expressed during the formative period when the fetal brain is taking shape.
Significance

"Our results cast a new light on apparent failures to replicate findings that have long plagued psychiatric genetics" said Kleinman. "We discovered that different genetic variations can result in the same or similar messenger RNAs and protein. That means that different studies could turn up different variations and still be pointing to the same underlying disease process. So some findings thought to be non-replications may ultimately prove to be replications."

Since at least a half-dozen genes implicated in schizophrenia by the NIMH group interact with DISC1, the downstream adverse effects of impaired DISC1 on brain systems are likely considerable, said Kleinman.
What's Next

One of the suspect gene variants associated with a shortened messenger RNAs is detectable in white blood cells, raising the possibility that it could someday be used as a genetic marker for the illness.

NIMH's Dr. Joel Kleinman explained how the DISC1 gene may increase risk for schizophrenia at a recent NIMH seminar.
Reference

Nakata K, Lipska BL, Hyde TM, Ye T, Fink E, Morita Y, Vakkalanka R, Bareboim M, Sei Y, Weinberger DR, Kleinman JE. DISC1 splice variants are upregulated in schizophrenia and associated with risk polymorphisms. Aug 24, 2009 PNAS.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I Look To You Mom

Hi Everyone,
I hope you are doing well, I am doing good. This morning I was inspired by watching Whitney Houston make her comeback on on Good Morning America. I wish her all the best and I was so touched by this song she sang to her mother which was hard for her. I can relate to it, I hit that point many times when my mother was dying, and a few other loved ones were at the same time. Many times at night when I could not take the pain anymore I just wanted to check myself in Pembroke Hospital and Lay in a bed and be drugged up for a couple of weeks so I did not have to feel the pain anymore. It brings tears to my eyes to think of that time again. But it feels good to open up about it. I never went because I could not leave my mother and mother in law. Whitney words speak to me as if she knew how I was feeling at the time, my levee's have broken, my walls have come coming down on me crumbling down on me,all the rain is falling the rain is falling, defeat is calling, set me free. I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me, I just felt today that I wanted to share with you a time and place in my life. I have carried on and the day's are much brighter and at night I sleep with peace. I still look to you Mom, when I talk to you I know you hear me and I will never forget the time you came to me in my dream, and hugged me it felt so real and said to me it is goodbye for now, not forever. Sometimes when I am really missing her I picture her smiling face next to me in Angel form. It may sound silly to some, but to others they will understand what I mean. I hope you all have that someone you can look to. I like this album some people are saying it is a disappointment. People set expectations to high, how could Whitney ever sound bad??? Thanks for visiting my blog, Take Care, Janet:)