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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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'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?
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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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Why Superbugs Thrive In Hospitals

A deadly superbug outbreak in LA is terrifying locals. Why do people get so sick in hospitals?
Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Doctors should prescribe antibiotics only when absolutely necessary. Patients should take antibiotics only when absolutely necessary.

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Anti-depressants likely to do more harm than good

Anti-depressants likely to do more harm than good | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it

The efficacy of anti-depressant medications is increasingly being questioned by new research. The science behind many anti-depressant medications appears to be backwards, say the authors of a paper that challenges the prevailing ideas about the nature of depression and some of the world's most commonly prescribed medications. The authors of the paper, posted by the journal Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, combed existing research for evidence to support the theory that has dominated nearly 50 years of depression research: that depression is related to low levels of serotonin in the gaps between cells in the brain.

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

A large number of people report on psychological problems due to their medication. Thoughts of suicide, sexual difficulties and emotional numbness as a result of anti-depressants may be much more widespread than previously thought.


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How can art help mental health?

How can art help mental health? | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it

The Bethlem Royal Hospital in south London is the world's oldest psychiatric institution, treating patients for nearly eight centuries. Previously known as Bedlam, over the years the hospital has acquired a huge and significant collection of art and artefacts, much of it by patients. For years it has been stored in unsuitable temporary accommodation. On Thursday a new £4m gallery and museum to show off the collection opens to the public. BBC News was given access to the new space to see how art can play a role in mental health and met one former patient whose work is included in the exhibition.

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Art is underutilized in the psychiatry!

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What doctors don't know about the drugs they prescribe

When a new drug gets tested, the results of the trials should be published for the rest of the medical world -- except much of the time, negative or inconclusive findings go unreported, leaving doctors and researchers in the dark. In this impassioned talk, Ben Goldacre explains why these unreported instances of negative data are especially misleading and dangerous.
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The major challenge in science today!

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Last Week Tonight: Marketing to Doctors

Pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars marketing drugs to doctors. We have a few issues with that.

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Pharmaceutical companies spend $4 billion a year marketing to consumers, but $24 billion a year marketing directly to health care providers. 9 out of 10 big pharma companies spend more money on marketing than they do on research and development!

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More evidence that musical training protects the brain

More evidence that musical training protects the brain | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it
Scientists have found some of the strongest evidence yet that musical training in younger years can prevent the decay in speech listening skills in later life. "Musical activities are an engaging form of cognitive brain training and we are now seeing robust evidence of brain plasticity from musical training not just in younger brains, but in older brains too," said the study's leader.
Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

"Musical activities are an engaging form of cognitive brain training and we are now seeing robust evidence of brain plasticity from musical training not just in younger brains, but in older brains too."

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Artificially intelligent robot scientist 'Eve' could boost search for new drugs

Artificially intelligent robot scientist 'Eve' could boost search for new drugs | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it
Eve, an artificially intelligent 'robot scientist' could make drug discovery faster and much cheaper, say researchers writing in the Royal Society journal Interface. The team has demonstrated the success of the approach as Eve discovered that a compound shown to have anti-cancer properties might also be used in the fight against malaria.
Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Exiting advances in the field of AI..

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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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The Woman Who Changed Her Brain

Barbara Arrowsmith-Young is the Creator and Director of Arrowsmith School and Arrowsmith Program, and the author of the international best-selling book The Woman Who Changed Her Brain (www.barbaraarrowsmithyoung.com/book). She holds a B.A.Sc. in Child Studies from the University of Guelph, and a Master's degree in School Psychology from the University of Toronto (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education). Arrowsmith-Young is recognized as the creator of one of the first practical applications of the principles of neuroplasticity to the treatment of learning disorders. Her program is implemented in 54 schools internationally.
Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

The age of the unchanging brain is over. Brain neuroplasticity is the way of the future!

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This is What Childhood Trauma Does To Human Longevity

This is What Childhood Trauma Does To Human Longevity | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it

The effects of a stressful early childhood on critical biological processes. The study, published online in the journal Biological Psychiatry, found connections between both childhood adversity and psychiatric disorders and critical changes at the cellular level.

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

A stressful or traumatic childhood is linked to genetic changes that may cause accelerated aging.

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Nadine Burke Harris: How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime

Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. An impassioned plea for pediatric medicine to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on.
Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Adverse childhood experiences are the single greatest unaddressed public health threat facing the globe today!

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The Future of Mental Health - en*theos Symposiums

The Future of Mental Health - en*theos Symposiums | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it

There isn’t just one way to think about mental health. Today adults and children in distress are presented with a single picture: that they have some “mental disorder” requiring “medical treatment.” In this groundbreaking symposium, top experts from around the world challenge this paradigm, present alternatives, and provide you with the tools you need to live a healthier life. Learn about this mental health revolution from its front-line leaders! 

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

The conference will stream February 23-27, 2015 for free. Get your ticket here!

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People with Mental Disorders Risk an Early Death

People with Mental Disorders Risk an Early Death | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it

People with mental disorders are two times more likely to die early than their peers in the general population — and not just because of factors like suicide, a new study suggests. More than half of the early deaths analyzed in the study were blamed on natural causes, such as acute and chronic illnesses like heart disease.

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

While suicide prevention is still crucial for high-risk populations with mental disorders, efforts to reduce the "excess burden of mortality" among people with mental health issues also need to look at ways to prevent deaths that result from health problems, such as cardiovascular disease.

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Exoskeletons let paralyzed people walk again!

With the advances of exoskeletons we can expect that very soon every paralyzed people in the world will be able to walk again due to the cheap, comfortable and even fashionable design made by these companies.
Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Advances in medical technology and innovation means that more and more people with disabilities will be less and less disabled!

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Our Amazingly Plastic Brains

Our Amazingly Plastic Brains | Psychiatry, Health Systems and Healthcare Management | Scoop.it

Can the brain heal and preserve itself—or even improve its functioning—as we get older? For some time, many scientists have tended to think of our brains as machines, most commonly as computers, destined to break down over time under the strain of age and use. In recent years, however, research in neuroscience has begun to show the inadequacy of this metaphor for describing the physiology of the brain. As people reach middle age, exercising the brain and the body to which it is attached—keeping both active—becomes more important. It is one of the few reliable ways to offset the natural wasting process and the damaging influence of our unnaturally sedentary modern lives. It also points to new possibilities for the brain to heal itself in the face of disease and trauma.

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

"Use it or lose it! Our brains, like our bodies in general, are far more likely to waste away from underuse than to wear down from overuse."

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