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Why We Need to Stop Nora Volkow From Taking Over the World

Why We Need to Stop Nora Volkow From Taking Over the World | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it

The disease theory of addiction, which has always been with us in one form or another, now boasts Nora Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), as its principal representative. Volkow holds worldwide sway with her approach, which focuses exclusively on neuroscience and the brain and which is increasingly seen as the key to eliminating addiction. “Groundbreaking discoveries about the brain have revolutionized our understanding of drug addiction, enabling us to respond effectively to the problem,” trumpets the White House website, beneath a video of Volkow proselytizing her theory. Yet there are no diagnoses or treatments based on neuroscientific research pegged to the brain scans so avidly pursued and enthusiastically presented by Volkow and her school. We are told to be patient because the new scientific paradigm must mature before it produces real-life applications. Until then, we have a glut of super-high-tech pictures of the living brain to distract us. They distract us above all from the major truth revealed by addiction epidemiology: Most people overcome alcoholism and drug addiction on their own. Finally, belief in the disease theory—to the extent that it persuades you of your powerlessness to control your substance use—has been shown to increase relapse and diminish the prospects for recovery.

 


Via Julian Buchanan
Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Addiction is not a disease. Addiction is a progression of drug or activity-pursuing behaviors that can develop into a mental disorder. Brain scans cannot reveal anything about the addiction itself, but only the consequences of the disorder. The neuro-science of addiction should continue to progress. However, the greatest determinant of addiction is, and always will be, social factors and the social environment.

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Julian Buchanan's curator insight, April 6, 2014 5:15 PM

When the War on Drugs ends and is exposed as a sham that has essentially been used to control the poor and people of colour, will the sham of the disease model be the gateway to alternative forms of social control through brain scans to label the 'diseased addict' and then subject them to new medical/criminal justice controls?

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Instagram's Most Notorious Dissector of Death

Nicole Angemi aka @mrs_angemi (https://instagram.com/mrs_angemi) is a pathologist’s assistant in real life, but online she owns one of Instagram's most controversial accounts, posting photos from autopsies in order to educate people about the human body. In this episode of My Life Online, Motherboard goes to New Jersey to visit Ms. Angemi to talk about her mission as Instagram's most famous coroner and about those who would like her account deleted.
Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Does death belong to medicine or to everyone?

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Is Our Psychology More Nature or Nurture? 29 Million Twins Reveal All

Is Our Psychology More Nature or Nurture? 29 Million Twins Reveal All | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it

Scientists have reviewed almost every twin study conducted in the last 50 years. The research included data from 14,558,903 pairs of twins, measuring 17,804 individual traits across 2,748 separate publications.

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

The effect of genetics versus the environment is around 50/50!

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Palm 'holds secrets of future health'

Palm 'holds secrets of future health' | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it

The chances of having a heart attack, stroke or dying young may be hidden in the palm of the hand, a study suggests. A trial on nearly 140,000 people in 14 countries, published in the Lancet, suggests grip strength is better than blood pressure at predicting risk. The international research team said it would be a "simple, inexpensive" tool for doctors. Experts argued the link between grip and the heart was unclear and needed more study. The maximum crushing force you can exert in your grip naturally declines with age. But those whose grip strength declines fastest may be at greater risk of health problems, the study suggests.

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

"Grip strength could be an easy and inexpensive test to assess an individual's risk of death and cardiovascular disease."

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Study Highlights Complexity of 'Hearing Voices'

Study Highlights Complexity of 'Hearing Voices' | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it

Rachel Waddingham hears voices. "I hear about 13 or so voices," she said in a news release from Durham University, in England. "Each of them is different -- some have names, they are different ages and sound like different people. Some of them are very angry and violent, others are scared, and others are mischievous." In fact, "for me, the word 'voices' isn't sufficient," said Waddingham, a trustee of the National Hearing Voices Network in the United Kingdom, and the International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis. She said that while she uses the word voices to convey her experience, the word also "hides the embodied parts of my experience for which I have few words to describe." Now, a new study from Durham University highlights the complexity and variety of the "voices" some psychiatric patients and others experience.

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:
Voices in the head can be much more than just auditory, and can have very different implications for the person experiencing them.
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Staffing problems linked to ward suicides, mental health report finds

Staffing problems linked to ward suicides, mental health report finds | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it
Suicidal patients who are under observation may be put at risk by relying on inexperienced staff and agency nurses, according to a new report issued today. The researchers found that half of deaths examined occurred when checks were carried out by less experienced staff or agency staff who were unfamiliar with the patient. Deaths occurred when staff were distracted by ward disruptions, during busy periods, or when the ward was poorly designed.
Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

18 in-patients a year die by suicide while under observation!

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Workplace suicides new disturbing trend

Workplace suicides new disturbing trend | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it

Nearly 80 percent of employers offer programs to promote the physical wellbeing of their employees. They may want to expand wellness programs to address depression and other mental health issues, based on a disturbing trend documented in a recent study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. “Every 20 minutes, someone commits suicide in the United States," said Bert Alicea, licensed psychologist and vice president of EAP and Work/Life Services for Health Advocate Inc. in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. “Given that rate, there is a possibility of a suicide at your workplace.”

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

In the US between 2003 and 2010, more than 1,700 employees committed suicide in the workplace!

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The VICE Guide to Mental Health

The VICE Guide to Mental Health | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it

Vice Media is launching a week-long editorial project examining mental health issues in partnership with charity Mind. Launched today, “The Vice Guide to Mental Health” is aimed at raising the profile of mental health issues in the runup to the UK general election. The project was initially intended to focus only on the UK, but has since been expanded globally to reach 15 territories, with all output translated into six languages and local content commissioned. More than 50 people have been involved in the project across editorial, production and translations.

 

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

VICE always delivers!

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'Guitar Hero'-Style Videogame Helps Stroke Victims Recover

'Guitar Hero'-Style Videogame Helps Stroke Victims Recover | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it
Of the 700,000 people who suffer from strokes every year in the United States, only 10 percent fully recover. The rehabilitation process can be long and challenging, especially for older victims in more fragile states of health. Researchers have developed exercises to strengthen patients’ hand and arm muscles to improve their dexterity, but patients often get bored with the repetitive exercises and stop doing them after a while. Video games, however, have been shown to have more success, because they keep patients coming back for more practice. The MusicGlove is the first FDA-approved rehabilitation device that uses video games to help patients regain the use of their hands.
Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Pinching your fingers together is much more fun when you're playing a video game.

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Thought-Controlled Genes Could Someday Help Us Heal

Thought-Controlled Genes Could Someday Help Us Heal | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it

People can control prosthetic limbs, computer programs and even remote-controlled helicopters with their mind, all by using brain-computer interfaces. What if we could harness this technology to control things happening inside our own body? A team of bioengineers in Switzerland has taken the first step toward this cyborglike setup by combining a brain-computer interface with a synthetic biological implant, allowing a genetic switch to be operated by brain activity. It is the world's first brain-gene interface.


Via Wildcat2030
Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Technology may one day give patients conscious control over what happens inside of them.

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Does Birth Control Change Your Brain?

What does the birth control pill really do to a woman’s body? What are the side effects?
Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Depression is generally more prevalent among women than men. Could this be related to the pill?

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Mental Illness TED talks

Mental Illness TED talks | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it
These powerful stories shatter preconceived notions about mental illness, and pose the provocative question: What can the world learn from different kinds of minds?
Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Top TED talks about mental illness!

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Parent finds Xanax pill in child's plastic Easter egg from school

Parent finds Xanax pill in child's plastic Easter egg from school | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it

An investigation is underway in Roseville, Mich., after a parent reported that her pre-school child brought home a plastic Easter egg that contained a pill, identified as Alprazolam, the generic brand for Xanax. “I’m really shocked, especially since it was a really little kid,” said Janice Terry, a parent at the school. Roseville police tell us when a child and a parent were opening eggs after the school activity at Huron Park Elementary, they found the pill inside one of the eggs. Xanax is a drug commonly used to treat anxiety and panic disorders.

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

The Easter bunny has now also taken on the role as community psychiatrist..

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NHS: £2 Billion a Week & Counting

NHS: £2 Billion a Week & Counting | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it
A combination of factors is making it harder than ever for the NHS to decide how to allocate funds. This interactive series challenges viewers to take the difficult decisions our health service faces.
Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Learn about the dilemmas in health economics and the difficulties in distributing scarce resources across a population with diverse needs!

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Let’s Design The Hospital Of The Future!

A BBC documentary aired in the 1950s featured huge lamps in the operating room. They said that the medical record could get to the doctor sooner than the actual patient. Quite futuristic things, right? Well, we need to be more brave about that. If the hospital of the future will not be our home, it should include a few new technologies. Let's see which ones!
Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Going to the hospital should be like boarding a space ship!

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The Common Painkiller That Also Kills Pleasure

The Common Painkiller That Also Kills Pleasure | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it

Painkilling drugs taken every week by almost a quarter of Americans also kill positive emotions. Acetaminophen — also known as Tylenol (or paracetamol outside the US) — kills positive emotions, a new study finds. Studies have already shown that the painkiller blunts both physical and psychological pain. But this is the first time anyone has thought to test the popular painkiller’s effect on both negative and positive emotions. Acetaminophen is such a popular drug that it is found in over 600 different medicines.

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Not just a pain reliever, but an all-purpose emotion reliever!

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5 Must-Ask Questions When Your Doctor Prescribes Painkillers

5 Must-Ask Questions When Your Doctor Prescribes Painkillers | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it

During the last couple of decades, complaining about pain to your doctor was essentially a guarantee you would walk away with a prescription for an opioid painkiller (link is external), including heavy-hitters such as Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet. This rampant overprescribing is at last beginning to ebb as we’ve awakened to its dangers—namely, addiction, record overdoses (link is external) and diversion to recreational use. Still, even in the midst of our acknowledged prescription drug epidemic (link is external), it remains all too common for, say, a teen to come home from wisdom teeth extraction not with a few extra-strength aspirin but a bottle of hydrocodone. So what’s a patient to do when they’re on the receiving end of an opioid painkiller prescription (link is external)? Talk. It may not feel natural to question your caregiver—they are the one with the medical degree after all—but healthy skepticism is in order when opioids are recommended. Here are five vital questions and the reasons for asking them.

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Patients should be extremely cautions when a doctor offers to prescribe psychiatric drugs!

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Neuroelectrics wants to be Fitbit for the brain

Neuroelectrics wants to be Fitbit for the brain | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it

CEO Maiques says that Neuroelectrics's vision is to help patients recovering from the neurological symptoms of chronic pain, or those undergoing rehabilitation for strokes. She explains: "We are unique because the headgear can be connected to the cloud and used in the home -- say, for three sessions of brain stimulation a week, under the supervision of a doctor." Maiques compares Neuroelectrics to the "DIY" ethos of health-tracking technology, such as Fitbit and other wearables. "We have an ageing population dealing with chronic illnesses, but people are also becoming more self-aware when it comes to monitoring their health. We believe these self-monitoring technologies are going to become popular in the home over the next few years."

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

The future of mental health involves constant monitoring of the brain's power distribution and direct intervention via electrical impulses.

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Children suffering from mental health conditions put in prison cells for want of suitable hospital beds

Children suffering from mental health conditions put in prison cells for want of suitable hospital beds | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it

More than 200 children, some as young as 12, were held in police cells while suffering mental health crises last year, because of a lack of suitable hospital beds, figures obtained by The Independent on Sunday reveal. Police in England and Wales detained 202 vulnerable under-18s under the Mental Health Act, some for more than two days, despite widespread condemnation of the practice. Hampshire police held a 17-year-old girl for 63 hours and 40 minutes, while Nottinghamshire police held a 16-year-old girl for 52 hours. Responding to the figures, Marjorie Wallace, the chief executive of the mental health charity SANE, said: “It is quite unacceptable that anyone suffering from a mental health condition, especially a young person, should treated as a criminal.

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

You know something has gone COMPLETELY wrong when law enforcement and the criminal justice system are taking on the role as child psychiatric health care providers...

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Blocking the Paths to Suicide

Blocking the Paths to Suicide | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it

Every year, nearly 40,000 Americans kill themselves. The majority are men, and most of them use guns. In fact, more than half of all gun deaths in the United States are suicides. Experts and laymen have long assumed that people who died by suicide will ultimately do it even if temporarily deterred. “People think if you’re really intent on dying, you’ll find a way,” said Cathy Barber, the director of the Means Matters campaign at Harvard Injury Control Research Center. Prevention, it follows, depends largely on identifying those likely to harm themselves and getting them into treatment. But a growing body of evidence challenges this view.

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

You can reduce the rate of suicide in the United States substantially, without attending to underlying mental health problems, if fewer people had guns in their homes and fewer people who are at risk for suicide had access to guns in their home.

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Mental health misdiagnosis twice more likely for socially disadvantaged groups

Mental health misdiagnosis twice more likely for socially disadvantaged groups | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it
The shooting of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson ignited a global discussion about implicit racial bias. You might think that clinical therapists -- people trained to understand the mind -- would be immune from this bias. But a new study finds that the social identities of patients and therapists affect the accuracy of the diagnosis: Therapists were twice as likely to misdiagnose mental illness when patients were from a disadvantaged, compared to an advantaged, group.
Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

When bias meets bias...

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WHO calls for all clinical trial results to be published

WHO calls for all clinical trial results to be published | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it

The World Health Organisation (WHO) made it unambiguously clear today that researchers have an ethical imperative to make results from all clinical trials – including past trials – publicly available. Its Statement on Public Disclosure of Clinical Trials Results:

 

- says results from clinical trials should be publicly reported within 12 months of the trial’s end,

- calls for results from previously unpublished trials to be made publicly available, and

- calls on organisations and governments to implement measures to achieve this.

 

See also:

What doctors don't know about the drugs they prescribe | http://sco.lt/5TqZuL

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

"Around half of all the clinical trials that have ever been carried out have never reported results. This means that doctors, patients and medical regulators cannot make informed decisions about which treatments are best. It means that hundreds of thousands of patients have volunteered to take part in clinical trials where results have been kept hidden. It means that information about the medicines we use every day is at risk of being lost forever."

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Brain Plasticity - How Learning Changes Your Brain

Brain Plasticity - How Learning Changes Your Brain | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it

You may have heard that the brain is plas­tic. As you know the brain is not made of plas­tic! Neu­ro­plas­tic­ity or brain plas­tic­ity refers to the brain’s abil­ity to CHANGE through­out life. The brain has the amaz­ing abil­ity to reor­ga­nize itself by form­ing new con­nec­tions between brain cells (neurons). In addi­tion to genetic fac­tors, the envi­ron­ment in which a per­son lives, as well as the actions of that per­son, play a role in plasticity.

 


Via Anne Leong
Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

"For a long time, it was believed that as we aged, the con­nec­tions in the brain became fixed. Research has shown that in fact the brain never stops chang­ing through learn­ing. Plas­tic­ity IS the capac­ity of the brain to change with learn­ing. Changes asso­ci­ated with learn­ing occur mostly at the level of the con­nec­tions between neu­rons. New con­nec­tions can form and the inter­nal struc­ture of the exist­ing synapses can change."

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When treatment is punishment

When treatment is punishment | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it

This report shows that too many people found not competent to stand trial are unnecessarily locked in a secure setting for treatment and, on average, confined for longer periods than research demonstrates is clinically reasonable. In addition, the majority of people who are eventually found competent are not convicted and sentenced to incarceration, raising serious concerns about the state’s interest in imposing lengthy periods of competency restoration treatment.

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

People with a mental illness generally spend more time in the criminal justice system under some form of incarceration both pretrial and post-conviction than the general public due to their unique cases.

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Most Antidepressant Users Have Never Had Depression

Most Antidepressant Users Have Never Had Depression | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it

Depression’s increase in the U.S. has been persisting for years, and it’s going on decades. And while the increase in antidepressant use has followed a predictably similar path, not all cases can be explained by the parallel rise in disease. Many people, in fact, take antidepressants regardless of a diagnosis. A new study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reports some 69 percent of people taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the primary type of antidepressants, have never suffered from major depressive disorder (MDD). Perhaps worse, 38 percent have never in their lifetime met the criteria for MDD, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social phobia, or generalized anxiety disorder, yet still take the pills that accompany them.

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

"In a society that is increasingly self-medicating itself, capsules, tablets, and pills are turning from last resorts to easily obtained quick fixes. Between 1988 and 2008, antidepressant use increased nearly 400 percent. Today, 11 percent of the American population takes a regular antidepressant, which, by the latest study’s measure, may be a severe inflation of what’s actually necessary."

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Should We Make Designer Babies?

If scientists can edit the human genome, should we do it? What are the pros and cons?
Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Incredibly fascinating and incredibly scary at the very same time...

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