Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Haunting

Old Song of the Day

Truly Frightening

"There may be there is dysregulation of blood sugar control but we haven’t looked into it."     -Dr. Mignot

Either way, intentional or incompetent, this surely disqualifies him as being truly interested in our welfare- our blood sugar regulation problems are obvious to anyone.  This is a doctor who's been following his own obsession while ignoring our complaints, his own eyes and the scientific data for twenty years.

Please Don't Feed the Blood Sucking Vampires and Brain Eating Zombies.

Boycott Stanford Sleep Center and their Narcolepsy Brain and Blood Banks.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Yo Glenn

Lou Malnati's Voted Most Life-Changing Pizza
Can a pizza change your life?
Apparently it can, if you're talking about an institution like Lou Malnati's. According to an Esquire poll, Malnati's makes the most life-changing pizza in the country.
The Chicago restaurant barely eked out its victory in the reader-based survey, winning by a paltry 0.6 percent. Gino's East also has reason to brag, coming in fifth place.
The first Lou Malnati's restaurant opened in Lincolnwood in 1971 and has expanded to 34 locations in the Chicagoland area.
Former Chicago residents, including celebs, have been known to have the pizzas overnighted to their homes.
Heh.  That is the pizza I grew up on.   My sister and I have been sending these to eachother on holidays since they started doing it.
AND, they have a gluten free low carb version.   Can I get an Amen.

Lingering Thoughts

I don't know how to explain what it is like for me to be at that conference.

Ordinarily, my mind is like an old style slot machine. I have three gears running in there looking for matches. It's sequential and regular and it's kind of background noise to me now.
But when I get into a group of people I have new data streaming at me from every direction. Being in an ordinary crowd is unnerving- being surrounded by narcos is like having a pinball game in my head. 

I tried to stay focused and not freak out or cry.
There was an auction and one of the members donated a white satin pillow with nails glued all over it.
I now wish I had a picture of it, but it made me run out of the room.
I would literally shout out in my sleep or quiet moments. And I found it very difficult to stay on track. I stammered a lot, and can't remember anyone's names.

I don't know if you watch the TV show True Blood- I only watched the first few episodes. Sookie , the female lead, can hear other peoples thoughts. That's how I feel when I'm with y'all.
Walking the corridors and seeing your exhausted eyes is nerve shattering. And those of you that are the sickest, I hear you the loudest. I can see you walking with death and it paralyzes me. I cannot speak to you. And maybe it's better I can't because I would probably just frighten you. I don't know what to do. I am my own worst enemy. I'm so sorry. Please forgive me. I do what I can.

Conference Pics

I put some up here.  

Conference Debrief- General Notes

Campus-   Being on the Cleveland Clinic campus was kind of like going into the future. Very Big Science.   There were giant green glasss medical buildings interspersed with century old stone churches. They had an awesome acrylic fountain in front of one of the buildings that I'm still not sure how it works. There were glass bridges going over the streets between most of the buildings. Our hotel was connected to the surgery center so people could just come straight from outpatient procedures.
I kept thinking that if someone were creating the Matrix it would be in one of those buildings. Kept checking for people in matching jumpsuits coming to strap me to a gurney, whisk me off to a lab and plug me into a pod or something.

Venue-   The Intercontinental hotel and conference center were very nice. I stayed in the satellite suites and my room was spacious and very well appointed. The shuttle bus service was divine, and all the staff were very accomodating.   It was especially nice after having my brain scrambled by all the bells and sirens in Vegas.  I did not like that my hotel wifi access did not work in the conference center though.

Narcolepsy Network-   The NN people did a lot of work scheduling and coordinating everything. They did a hell of a lot of pile management and traffic control. I have major issues with the food and information that were supplied, but the logistics were better than one would expect from a bunch of cranky narcoleptics herding a bigger bunch of cranky narcoleptics. It was kind of amazing that it worked at all.

(*Major problems with food. Yeah- I really can't stop other people from eating free dessert all day every day, but that buffet lunch did not have one gluten free item. I kinda expected that. However there was not even any coffee. Complete fail.   Special kudos to the hotel restaurant staff who comped me a couple cups from their coffee bar.   I must have looked desperate.)

People-   Special thanks to Christina for keeping me social and engaged.

We got to meet some of the presenters and tried to talk to as many narcos as possible. There were a couple of other GFPWN there, but we didn't have a meetup. It seemed more important to find new people. I think I heard there were 320 attendees.
I find it hard to talk to people, so I just go with my gut and look for nerds. I found a few people in lecture sessions and some of them were interested when I mentioned using diet instead of drugs.
Christina makes friends with everyone and Saturday night we went out on one of the dinner busses with a whole group of people. It was great fun, and one of the guys even pulled up my video on his phone. He didn't believe I was crazy.  Ha.  No really, for once it was kind of fun to be a zombie.
Coventry street was really cool and there were lots of great shops. I found my childhood thermos in the vintage toy store.

I met a narco dental hygienist, and a GF girl from Seattle! Yay- I really hope she will help me start a local group. I can't seem to do it on my own. People actually took our advice and attended some of the sessions we recommended. The diet ones, of course. Thanks you guys, I hope it was useful.
Since it was a hospital, there was a bus to smoke in.   I went in there and gave a little talk on e-cigarrettes to a few ladies.   Someday maybe I can offer a "reality based nicotine therapy" lecture.
And the zombie guy, the one with the half closed eyelids, yeah he's totally on board already.

Despite the fact that I'm antisocial and found it exhausting, I really do wish I would have had more time so I could have talked to everyone. That's kind of incredible.

pics coming soon.

Just in case

You want to live vicariously through me-
Washington has vote by mail and I just sat here at my kitchen table and voted to legalize marijuana.

I always wanted to do that.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How and Why

Did you know-   the cost to produce a month's worth of Xyrem is about $30?    Including all that marketing and donations to "Patients' Associations".   It's a common industrial chemical, very much like alcohol.

Explains a lot, doesn't it?

Conference Debrief- Lecture Sessions

Here's my review of the meetings I attended.    More general highlights and some pics coming soon.


Friday night was the Cake Reception. I missed most of it. There was a few carbalicious crumbs left by the time I got there. I went around the room looking for familiar faces but only found a couple.

The Saturday sessions started with a breakfast and presentation by Dr. Mignot.

I wish I could have taken pictures of the things people were eating. It was both spectacular and heartbreaking, watching the vast amounts of sugar coated gluten being devoured. (I also wish I could have captured the sneers at my plate of bacon.)

The Very First Announcement:
"The first order of business is to thank Jazz Pharmaceuticals for their generous financial support. They make this conference possible."

The Introduction:
"Here is the guy we are counting on to help us.“

Hoots and hollers from the audience.

New Developments in Narcolepsy Research Genetics and Autoimmunity- Dr. Mignot

This was basically the same information he gave when I saw him four years ago. He skipped a couple slides and added on a few new things, but it wasn't strictly about new developments. He went over the history of finding orexin and showed the video of the dogs and how they now know that narcolepsy is not a specific orexin or orexin receptor mutation in humans.  That it is instead correlated with DQB1-0602 in the HLA portion of the genome which codes for immune proteins.

About this time the audience started falling asleep on the great man. They clearly dropped off in direct proportion to the amount of pastry on their plates.

The new information he offered fell into two categories.
First that maybe narcolepsy is a progressive disease. Not a specific one time cell loss.
- He noted there are about 10 different HLA genes associated with narcolepsy, not just DQB1-0602.
- Some people have partial orexin cell loss.
- Some people really do have narcolepsy without cataplexy.
- And of orexin deficient patients w/o C: 50% will develop cataplexy within 30 years.

He actually even suggested that Narcolepsy may be similar to Celiac Disease. Progressive cell damage with varying amounts of pathology and symptomology in each individual. My left eye started twitching and I thought my head was going to explode...

The new data on the Flu vaccine and Narcolepsy.
- He went over the increased incidence of narcolepsy after receiving the H1N1 vaccine. How is it associated with a specific co-factor used to increase the immune response. And that somehow this overactive immune response seems to have triggered the onset of cataplexy in children.
- He also gave the results of his own department's study that the same thing happened in China from H1N1 infection rather than the vaccine.
- He now believes that the flu virus is possibly the trigger for Narcolepsy. He is wrong, but I'll discuss that in another post. (here)

He then went on to the topic of Orexin related drugs. That there are two types- things that mimic orexin in the body (agonists) and things which block orexin receptors (antagonists).
- Drug companies have rushed to make an antagonist because insomnia is much bigger market than narcolepsy.
- His interest is in creating an orexin agonist. A drug to replace our missing orexin.

“I will make it happen."

Big applause and hoots. That woke people up.

I won't even get into the selective science right now, I just want to say that after all these years one would think he would put more effort into his slides. Copying technical diagrams straight from journal articles for cognitively impaired people is lazy and anti-informative.

Follow up QnA session. A separate meeting in another room.

This is where he tried very hard not to say the orexin drug is the ONLY thing he's interested in.
  • "There may be there is dysregulation of blood sugar control but we haven’t looked into it.
  • We haven’t done any systemic studies”
  • "Transplanting living orexin cells into the body might be like giving you cancer."
  • “There is only a remote possibility (5%) of inactivity vs. orexin cell loss."
  • "Nobody knows what to do with NwoC narcoleptics, including myself."
He got a standing ovation for this.

Dietary and Environmental Strategies for Managing Narcolepsy Symptoms     Dr. Iris Bell

This was my favorite lecture. Dr. Bell is an expert on chemical sensitivities and had a lot to say about food intolerance.
She noted the many metabolic symptoms of narcolepsy, and compared them to her patients with food allergies. One of the most fascinating and important things she had to say was that animals tend to crave the foods they are sensitive to. So if you are sensitive to nuts, the reaction causes a deficiency which makes you want more nuts. Sugar is especially effective in this regard. And she elaborated quite a bit on how sugar promotes addiction to amphetamines. 
Minus points for being a video conference and my disappointment at not being able to speak personally with this brilliant woman. I may go to Arizona just to do so.

Intro to Integrative Medicine      Rubin Naiman Phd

This guy put up an "Anti-inflammatory" food pyramid and I had to leave the room.   Glad I did.  Don't know whether I would have screamed or cried. Apparently the rest of the lecture was about yoga and chakras and inner healing or something. Something that makes a lot of sense to cognitively impaired people on powerful drugs.

Body Weight regulation in Narcolepsy, Clinical implications    Dr. Devandjan Sikder

This was a great lecture. Dr. Dev has shown that orexin deficient mice produce abberrent brown fat.
Brown fat is sort of the opposite of white fat, the stuff we hate. Brown fat actually burns energy and increases an animal's basal metabolism. A lot. He has shown that orexin deficient mice produce brown fat in which the mitochondria do not mature, so it atrophies and dies. This is correlated with a disproportionate weight gain when they are put on a high calorie diet. He had several permutations of the experiment also showing that when given Orexin, the animals gained brown fat and lost weight.

Although I disagree with him regarding the underlying mechanism of this pathology, I especially appreciate that he explained to the audience that their metabolism really is messed up and that there is a reason they seem to gain weight uncontrollably and can't lose it. He showed clear evidence that orexin deficient animals actually eat less and weigh more.
He did a good job navigating the fine line between technical information and a cognitively diverse audience.
Special bonus points for good graphics and a sense of humor.

Generation of Hypocretin Neurons from Human Skin Cells - Dr. Florian Merkle

This was another great presentation. Dr. Merkle is figuring out how to make orexin cells from human skin tissue. This is important because it's been hard to study them. As he said- live narcoleptics either don't have any or won't donate them for some reason.... Ha. Anyhow, he showed us his evidence that he has produced functional orexin neurons in a petri dish, and it looks good.
The obvious implications of this ability are huge.  Creation of both normal and narcoleptic orexin neurons to test and compare. Possible orexin production and harvesting. Possibly orexin tissue transplantation (He clearly countered Dr. Mignot's assertion that live cells would grow and create cancer. Neurons don't divide.) And of course the audience picked all that up right away. Unfortunately this was a preliminary presentation and it will all have to be validated and perfected and he cautioned everyone that it will probably be a decade before that stuff becomes possible.
Nonetheless, pretty effin cool, dude. Thanks.
Bonus points for clarity and infectious optimism.
You totally deserve the Researcher of the Year award. Congratulations.

Narcolepsy and Depression    Dr. Douglas Moul

I kind of feel bad for this presenter.  Although a "Sleep Psychiatrist"-  he's a specialist in insomnia, and  seemed rather out of his comfort zone in a room full of narcoleptics after lunch.   He basically recited the known data, and told us a couple anecdotes about a few patients. He then gave us his opinion that yes, depression in narcolepsy really is more than just feeling bad about the disability.
His audience already knew that.


As you can see- I only attended scientific sessions. There were a lot of other meetings I didn't go to. Mostly because they were advice for actively sick people. Presentations on the drugs and symptoms and "living well with narcolepsy"- everything they wouldn't need to know if they had the right information. There was a lot of spiritual stuff too- dreams and art and poetry and yoga. 'Coping strategies' that make me want to scream. But I must say, the science was better this year.

One of the last sessions was about how to talk to your doctor.
Someday I'd like to see the presentation about how not to need a doctor...


All in all, I am more convinced than ever that Dr. Mignot was right about one thing-
“We are at a moment when things are going to change.”
Damn straight we are.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Put your money where your mouth is

Gluten-free food market is estimated at $4.2 billion this year
The market for products without the gluten protein — found in wheat, barley, rye and some other grains — is valued at $4.2 billion this year, according to a report from Packaged Facts. Since 2008, it has grown at a compound annual rate of 28% and is expected to exceed $6.6 billion by 2017.
Gluten-free snacks and granola bars make up the largest chunk of the industry, accounting for 15% of sales, according to the report. The vast majority of beers also include gluten.
But this year, nearly 2 in 10 U.S. adults are avoiding such items. Some 18% of adults are going gluten-free, according to Packaged Facts, up from 15% in 2010.

A View of the Vortex

I need to buy some time.   Got home at 2 am and couldn't sleep.  Had to do some stuff for my neglected husband and dog today.   Will probably write tonight.

A song for the narcos in Cleveland.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Travel Day

My brain hurts.   Will tell you about the conference tomorrow.
In the meantime-  you really should prepare for the future.

Products for the Zombie Apocalypse

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Old Song of the Day


Pay no attention to the Man behind the Curtain

We're off to see the Wizard. 

Glorious details sure to follow.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Well how about that

Christina and I are at the conference.   Going  to the cake reception in a little while...

But look who's giving a talk on "Body weight regulation in narcolepsy"-
Devanjan Sikder PhD
Sikder began investigating how orexin—a hypothalamic neuropeptide—regulates metabolism, sleep patterns and feeding behavior, and the role that hunger plays in the regulation of fat metabolism and insulin secretion.
“Orexin agonists and antagonists have immense clinical implication for narcolepsy, insomnia, eating disorders—anorexia, bulimia and Prader-Willi syndrome—and even addiction,” said Sikder, DVM, PhD, an assistant professor at Burnham Institute for Medical Research at Lake Nona specializing in genetic engineering. “Orexin improves glucose sensitivity by stimulating glucose dependent insulin release from the pancreatic beta cells, and at the cellular level, augments the mitochondria’s ability to burn sugar and enhance basal energy expenditure. Using genetic, genomic and biochemical tools, we’re trying to understand biochemical attributes defining sleep, wakefulness and hunger.”

Looks like I won't have to tape my mouth closed after all.

Sleep and Memory

From the Twitching Whiskers of Babes: Naptime Behavior Shapes the Brain
The whiskers of newborn rats twitch as they sleep, and that could open the door to new understandings about the intimate connections between brain and body. The discovery reinforces the notion that such involuntary movements are a vital contributor to the development of sensorimotor systems,
As I was saying- database maintenance. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cha Ching

Over a hundred members in the Gluten Free PWN group!
Kick Ass!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But the Doctor said...

Study Questions the Value of Annual Physical Exams
When researchers compared the number of deaths between the group that got regular physical exams and the group that only saw a doctor as needed, there was essentially no difference.
On average, about 7% of people died in each group over the course of the studies. That was true even when researchers looked at deaths from cancer and cardiovascular disease, which are thought to benefit from early detection and treatment.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, people who saw a doctor on a regular basis were more likely to be diagnosed with conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Some studies found they were more likely to be treated for those conditions, too. Out of four studies in the review that looked at drug use, two found that people who got regular physicals were more likely to be prescribed drugs to treat high blood pressure, for example.
There was a trend among studies for people who got regular physicals to feel healthier than people who did not, but researchers say that finding is unreliable. There were no apparent differences between groups on hospital admissions, worry, referrals to specialists, or disability.
“In the absence of documented health benefits, we would say there’s a risk of overdiagnosis from this,” Krogsboll says.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The bright side of Zombies

Kids at risk for eating disorders have higher IQs
Children at high risk for eating disorders demonstrate significant cognitive differences from those at lower risk, according to a new study published in the journal Psychological Medicine. Researchers at the UCL Institute of Child Health (ICH) drew from a study of 6,200 children between ages 8 and 10 and they discovered that those with a close relative with anorexia on average have a higher IQ and better working memory (the ability to temporarily hold and process useful information).
But we all know that already, don't we?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Brain Eating Zombie of the Month

Here it is- his latest article.
He's doubling down.

A Practical Guide to the Therapy of Narcolepsy and Hypersomnia Syndromes.
Mignot EJ.   Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine,
Abstract-  Narcolepsy and other syndromes associated with excessive daytime sleepiness can be challenging to treat. New classifications now distinguish narcolepsy/hypocretin deficiency (also called type 1 narcolepsy), a lifelong disorder with well-established diagnostic procedures and etiology, from other syndromes with hypersomnolence of unknown causes. Klein-Levin Syndrome, a periodic hypersomnia associated with cognitive and behavioral abnormalities, is also considered a separate entity with separate therapeutic protocols. Non hypocretin-related hypersomnia syndromes are diagnoses of exclusion. These diagnoses are only made after eliminating sleep deprivation, sleep apnea, disturbed nocturnal sleep, and psychiatric comorbidities as the primary cause of daytime sleepiness. The treatment of narcolepsy/hypocretin deficiency is well-codified, and involves pharmacotherapies using sodium oxybate, stimulants, and/or antidepressants, plus behavioral modifications. These therapies are almost always needed, and the risk-to-benefit ratio is clear, notably in children. Detailed knowledge of the pharmacological profile of each compound is needed to optimize use. Treatment for other syndromes with hypersomnolence is more challenging and less codified. Preferably, therapy should be conservative (such as modafinil, atomoxetine, behavioral modifications), but it may have to be more aggressive (high-dose stimulants, sodium oxybate, etc.) on a case-by-case, empirical trial basis. As cause and evolution are unknown in these conditions, it is important to challenge diagnosis and therapy over time, keeping in mind the possibility of tolerance and the development of stimulant addiction. Kleine-Levin Syndrome is usually best left untreated, although lithium can be considered in severe cases with frequent episodes. Guidelines are provided based on the literature and personal experience of the author.
And exactly when have you had even one person recover?

I notice you're still covering your ass with the Type 1 Narcolepsy classification crap.
Funny how I know all kinds of narcoleptics and hypersomniacs getting better without drugs.

Do the Math

Cholesterol Levels Dropping in U.S. Adults, Mostly From Statin Use
A comprehensive look at how Americans are faring in the battle against coronary artery disease shows that over about 22 years, total cholesterol and LDL (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, often called "bad" cholesterol) have declined. But the percentage of adults taking anti-cholesterol medications has climbed as well.
Total cholesterol, on average, declined from 206 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) in the 1988-1994 survey to 196 mg/dL in the 2007-2010 survey, the investigators found.
The percentage of adults taking lipid-lowering medications climbed from 3.4 percent in the 1988-1994 survey to 15.5 percent in the 2007-2010 survey.
Yes, but heart disease has not subsided, and obesity has skyrocketed.
And that is because neither one has anything to do with serum cholesterol levels.

As I was saying

Creativity 'closely entwined with mental illness'
Writers had a higher risk of anxiety and bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, unipolar depression, and substance abuse, the Swedish researchers at the Karolinska Institute found. They were almost twice as likely as the general population to kill themselves. The dancers and photographers were also more likely to have bipolar disorder. As a group, those in the creative professions were no more likely to suffer from psychiatric disorders than other people. But they were more likely to have a close relative with a disorder, including anorexia and, to some extent, autism, the Journal of Psychiatric Research reports.

Jet Lagged

Lack of sleep can seriously affect metabolism
The changes were huge: After sleeping four hours a night for four nights, the subjects' whole-body insulin response decreased by an average of 16%, and the fat cells' insulin response decreased by 30%. The researchers say that those levels are akin to the levels seen in diabetics or the obese. And when the team looked at the biochemical markers of an insulin response in the fat cells they removed, they found it took three times as much insulin to cause a normal response after four nights of limited sleep.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Just Wondering

England World Cup Wins and Losses Linked to 30 Percent Rise in Domestic Violence
Domestic violence rates rose by an average of 30 percent each time England won or lost their games during the 2010 World Cup, but draws had little impact on the statistics.
Why is nobody calling for a ban or tax on Soccer???  It's not even close to being as fun as sugar.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Happy Zombie Day!

What fun-  Mental Health Week topped off by World Zombie Day!
It's like a brain damage sundae.

Zombie 'flesh mob' invades Wellington Station
The zombie ''flesh mob'', organised by recreation group Adventure Wellington, stunned passersby at about 11am, with 120 zombies stumbling and lurching around the train station.
But to take things to the next level, the zombies then broke out in an undead version of popular song Gangnam Style, dancing in unison as their eyes rolled back in their heads.
Zombies attempt to take Washington, are stopped by U.S. Park Police
Washington landmarks on Friday by Park Police who took the firm position that even blood-splattered undead can’t storm the White House without the proper permits. 
Zombie Pub Crawl
Saturday night, 8,000-10,000 zombies are expected to fill Midway stadium in St. Paul beginning at 2:00pm and ending with a concert by rapper DMX.
REI Zombie Survival Gear
Zombie outbreaks happen. Gear up with REI to avoid getting eaten by moaning masses of undead cannibals. This infographic provides an overview of the 13 essential pieces of equipment you'll need and provides step-by-step illustrations demonstrating critical zombie survival skills.  (must see)

Friday, October 12, 2012

How I Carried On

When it was really bad, and I could barely think at all-
I watched this video over and over and over.
My favorite human.
(Tissue alert)


I like these because they are protein and don't need to be refrigerated.  Handy candy.

Sugar-Free Omega-3 Gummy Cherries

Put some water in a glass measure cup and heat it up in the microwave. You will want the glass to be warm before you put the gelatine in it.

then mix all this together in small teflon pot.
½ cup cold water
¼ tsp sweetzfree drops  (1 cup sugar equivalent)
1 package unsweetened black cherry koolaid

Add 5 pkgs (Tbsp) gelatine.
mix together quickly with spatula until it becomes pasty like playdoh.
turn heat on as low as you can.
dough will melt but needs to be chopped and squished and stirred until almost boiling.

Then add one Tbsp olive oil.

Stir vigorously to make little "protocells" of oil surrounded by gelatine. Don't let it boil over though.

Pour warm water out of glass measure cup, pour gelatine in.
Then use that to fill up the trays. Fill each dip about halfway.
You do not need to lube it with anything.
Put in fridge for 15 minutes.

I got those rubber bottom ice trays at the grocery.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Correlation Games

Researcher links chocolate eating to Nobel prizes
Not surprisingly, Switzerland "was the top performer in terms of both the number of Nobel laureates and chocolate consumption," wrote Messerli, who said he obtained figures on chocolate consumption from manufacturers.
However he then notes this.
Sweden, which consumes 6.4 kilos of chocolate per capita per year, was an exception. Based on this rate of consumption "we would predict that Sweden should have produced a total of about 14 Nobel laureates, yet we observe 32."
Funny how that blows your whole theory but you don't care...

My turn-  chocolate activates herpes viruses which are psychoactive.  It's very possible this is a sign of brain infection.

World Class Obsession

Japanese abacus teacher wins Mental Calculation World Cup
Held every two years, the world cup unites the world's best arithmeticians who compete in addition, multiplication, square roots and other categories.
This year's overall winner was Naofumi Ogasawara, a 22-year-old abacus instructor from Japan.
... Ogasawara, who was competing for the first time, blew apart the field. He won the overall title even though he scored zero in one of the main categories – that of "calendar calculation", in which you are presented with a list of dates from 1600 to 2100 and given 60 seconds to name the day of the week for as many of them as possible.   This category was won by Myagmarsuren Tuuruul from Mongolia, who managed 57 correct answers.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Yeah so ?

Weight Watchers equivalent to seeing a doctor in study
A new study showed that people enrolled in Weight Watchers lost as much weight on average as people who were guided by a medical professional.  
That's not setting the bar very high.
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health but all of the Weight Watchers program costs were covered by the company.
Go figure.

These programs are basically the same and so are the long term results.   They produce clients for Overeaters Anonymous.

One Step Forward

Military studying if fish oil can cut suicide risk
In the controlled study being conducted for the Army, veterans already receiving mental health services will be given smoothies high in omega-3s for a six-month period. Others will be given a placebo.
I clicked on this right away to see if they were using pills or liquids.
This may actually work... depending on what else is in the smoothies.
Fruit juice and sugar will likely cancel the effect.
Milkshakes might be more effective.

They Got Nothin'

Wednesday is World Mental Health Day. The World Health Organization is using the occasion to call for an end to stigma against those who suffer from depression and other mental disorders.

Gluten Free Miracles

At last, I have discovered the secret of Emily's 14 lost years

Big Thanks to Marion!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Doing my part to raise Mental Health Awareness.


Bitter Taste Receptors Regulate Upper Respiratory Defense System
A new study from a team of researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the Monell Chemical Senses Center, and the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, reveals that a person's ability to taste certain bitter flavors is directly related to their ability to fight off upper respiratory tract infections, specifically chronic sinus infections.
... Through the cultures, the research team demonstrated that super-tasters detect very small concentrations of the offending molecules, while non-tasters and the middle-ground individuals require 100 times more of the molecule for detection. The research team also examined the patients that the original sinus tissue samples were collected from. They found that none of the super tasters were infected with the specific type of bacteria that are detected by the T2R38 receptor, known as a gram-negative bacteria.

Another cuppa coffee

Coffee Speeds Recovery After Colon Surgery
"This randomised trial showed that the time to first bowel movement after surgery was much shorter in the coffee drinkers than the water drinkers" says Dr Müller.
"Although 10 per cent of the patients did not want to drink strong coffee at this time, it was well accepted by the group and no coffee-related complications were noted.
"It is not clear how coffee stimulates the intestine and caffeine appears to have been ruled out by previous studies, which found that decaffeinated coffee, which was not used in this study, also has beneficial effects.
"Whatever the mechanism, it is clear that postoperative coffee consumption is a cheap and safe way to activate bowel motility after elective colonic surgery."
 The unpleasant study details are included at the link.

Caffeine May Block Inflammation Linked to Mild Cognitive Impairment
Recent studies have linked caffeine consumption to a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease, and a new University of Illinois study may be able to explain how this happens.
...Freund's team examined the effects of caffeine on memory formation in two groups of mice -- one group given caffeine, the other receiving none. The two groups were then exposed to hypoxia, simulating what happens in the brain during an interruption of breathing or blood flow, and then allowed to recover.
The caffeine-treated mice recovered their ability to form a new memory 33 percent faster than the non-caffeine-treated mice.
The scientists noted that the hypoxic episode triggered the release of adenosine by brain cells.
... Caffeine's ability to block adenosine receptors has been linked to cognitive improvement in certain neurodegenerative diseases and as a protectant against Alzheimer's disease, he said.
It's also antibacterial and lowers glucose levels, which surely also ameliorates AD symptoms.

Caffeinated Coffee Linked to Vision Loss
A meta-analysis of the two cohorts showed that, compared to abstainers, participants who drank three cups or more of caffeinated coffee daily were at an increased risk of developing exfoliation glaucoma or glaucoma suspect. The researchers did not find associations with consumption of other caffeinated products, such as soda, tea, chocolate or decaffeinated coffee. The results also showed that women with a family history of glaucoma were at an increased risk.
Since you have probably seen this study on the news-  just thought I'd point out that this is a retrospective population study relying on patient questionnaires unlike the two above which are controlled experiments.   

Monday, October 8, 2012

This must be the place

It's Mental Illness Awareness Week-  so let's think about why we're all crazy.

Have some Laurie Anderson.

Yodelay hee hoo.

Working in My Sleep

Sleeping Brain Behaves as If It's Remembering Something
In particular, Mehta and his team looked at three connected brain regions in mice -- the new brain or the neocortex, the old brain or the hippocampus, and the entorhinal cortex, an intermediate brain that connects the new and the old brains. While previous studies have suggested that the dialogue between the old and the new brain during sleep was critical for memory formation, researchers had not investigated the contribution of the entorhinal cortex to this conversation, which turned out to be a game changer, Mehta said. His team found that the entorhinal cortex showed what is called persistent activity, which is thought to mediate working memory during waking life, for example when people pay close attention to remember things temporarily, such as recalling a phone number or following directions.
"The big surprise here is that this kind of persistent activity is happening during sleep, pretty much all the time." Mehta said. "These results are entirely novel and surprising. In fact, this working memory-like persistent activity occurred in the entorhinal cortex even under anesthesia."

"This is a whole new way of thinking about memory consolidation theory. We found there is a new player involved in this process and it's having an enormous impact," Mehta said. "And what that third player is doing is being driven by the neocortex, not the hippocampus. This suggests that whatever is happening during sleep is not happening the way we thought it was. There are more players involved so the dialogue is far more complex, and the direction of the communication is the opposite of what was thought."
Sleep specialists who don't understand sleeping.  Say it ain't so.
Ask a narcoleptic.   One of you please, just once ask us.
The first half of the night is filing, sorting through the day, consolidating relevant memories and discarding the others.   The second half of the night is pinging those new items of information to see if they match or change any old items.   Basic database storage and synchronization.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Circle of Insanity

It's Mental Health Awareness Week.
Happy Holidays!
Have some Crazy Train.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Happy Haunting

Zombies invade Athens GA
Zombie Farms, a horror attraction that provides a safe place for the "living challenged," opened for the first time this Friday to kick off the forthcoming Halloween festivities. The farm that hosts the attraction usually sells produce, goats, geese, and other typical farm animals and crops. For the month of October, however, things will be looking a little different. “For this month they are harvesting zombies.” MacDonald said. 
The Living Challenged.  Ha.   Been there, done that!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Zombie PSA

CPR.  It makes you undead.  (3min video)


The things you find when you join Medline.   (free)

Mental Decline in Older Physicians: When Do You Stop?
"Do you feel that doctors over the age of 65 should be screened for cognitive decline?" began a general practitioner.
Many, particularly those who identified as older doctors, chafed at any suggestion of testing for aging physicians. "I am appalled at the notion of cognitive testing. I do not plan to retire until I sense I am losing my touch," said one 70-year-old internist.
Hmmmm.  Righteous Indignation.
One would think a doctor would realize one of the symptoms of mental illness is an illusion of competence...
I wonder how he would feel if pilots had that kind of discretion about their reflexes.

I like this response:
"Perhaps anyone who fears being retested may really need to be."
If these people showed they understood the link between aging and progressive infection and glucose control and cognitive ability-
Then maybe we might trust their judgement on their own judgement.

How Acupuncture Probably Works

1.  Direct puncture of peripheral nerves causes an immune response and less herpetic neuralgia.   Relief of pain.

2.  Epithelial damage triggers an immune response to strep and results in mania in susceptible individuals.   Improved motivation and energy.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Duh Science

Free birth control leads to fewer abortions

I love my progesterone implants.  Love my obgyn for recommending them.

For the Record

I have been shopping lately-  and I just want to say-
Narcoleptic women should avoid the peg leg pants.   Most of us have short legs and wide thighs.   It's not appropriate.   Trust me, I did it in the 80's-  even with anorexia and high heels, it's just not a good look for us.
Bell bottoms are concave instead of convex.   Much better.


Compliments of my friend Sue.

Zombie Dating

Article Roundup

Anchorwoman called 'too fat' by muscle-bound viewer gets last laugh
Yes, a self-righteous musclebound lawyer.   A real role model... for clinical mania.

Is internet addiction a mental illness? 
No.   Autoimmune OCD is an illness.   And when it flares up you get addicted to whatever you are doing.   The internet is just a  convenient, reliable, and constant source of reinforcement, so it's abuse is expected to be common.

Skinny Genes Control Body Image, Study Finds
No it doesn't.   If I had more time you'd be my BEZOTD.
You have a very tenuous correlation between vaguely defined entities here and that's all.  Shut up.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

After Approval

Is when they find out how it really works.

FDA: Teva antidepressant is ineffective
The Food and Drug Administration called on Teva to withdraw Budeprion XL 300 after chemical testing showed the drug releases its key ingredient faster than the original drug Wellbutrin, made by GlaxoSmithKline.

Tasmanian Face Eating Zombies

Mean Tasmanian devils get cancer; nice ones don’t 
The devils have been afflicted by a terrible plague — an infectious cancer, only one of two in the world, that guarantees that its victims will die a horrible death. The cancer causes tumors to grow all over the devils’ faces, which keeps the victims from eating, and they eventually starve to death.
But the cancer doesn’t attack all devils equally. It is the most vengeful devils, the most aggressive, the most likely to bite other devils’ be-tumored faces that are most likely to contract the disease.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

They're Ready

Medical marijuana is already legal in Washington.   We have a whole system set up for prescriptions and dispensaries have been around for a while now.
But what is happening in anticipation of a vote to totally legalize is remarkable-
In the properly zoned areas,  not near schools for example,  there are now dispensaries popping up like weeds.   The main road by my house now has one every block and a half-  there's at least twenty pot shops between me and Costco.

Go to Bed!

Poor Sleep in Teen Years Linked to Heart Risks in Adulthood
A higher sleep disturbance score was associated with a higher cholesterol level, higher blood pressure, higher body mass index (a measurement of body fat based on height and weight) and a larger waist size -- all potential risk factors for heart disease.
"In addition to these health risks, previous studies have shown that poor sleep also negatively impacts school performance. Parents should monitor caffeine intake, bedtimes and bedrooms overloaded with media," study senior author Dr. Brian McCrindle, a cardiologist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, said in a journal news release.

Efforts to improve sleep habits early in life could be an important way to prevent heart disease later in life, the researchers suggested.
Yes that would be the easy answer.  But there is no evidence suggesting that works.
And it won't.   Because this is not a matter of sleep deprivation, it's an infection.
An ubiquitous and thus completely ignored infection...

Honey Boo Boo Speaks Out

A big Thank You to the Onion for writing what I have been thinking.

You Do, Of Course, Realize That This Is Going To End Very, Very Badly
So, assuming you all understand this, then that means you are all totally okay with gleefully laughing at me and my family, even when there is a pretty darn good chance that an act of horrific violence may very well lurk in my not-too-distant future. An act of violence that, say, 10 or 15 years from now will make people who once watched my show say, “Oh my God, that’s awful. What a sad and fucked up little life she had.
They get the rest wrong though- it has nothing to do with fame or indulgence or exploitation of women-
That little girl is very sick.  In the worst way.

Brain Eating Zombie of the Day

Terry Davidson, Director of American University's Center for Behavioral Neuroscience

Obese Brain May Thwart Weight Loss: Diets High in Saturated Fat, Refined Sugar May Cause Brain Changes That Fuel Overconsumption

I do not even have to enumerate your erroneous assumptions about animal models or the effects of diet- You failed Experimental Design 101. Remember that class? It's the one where they teach you about confounding factors. And experimenter bias.  And how to check the existing literature.

If you change two things in your test - fat and sugar content- You cannot tell which one caused the results you observe.

Luckily for us there is already plenty of data that these behavioral effects are caused by a high carbohydrate diet and the resulting hyperinsulinemia. And that a high fat diet actually lowers body weight and improves cognitive function.  

You're the Director?  You approve other people's projects?  That explains a lot.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Dyslexia Font now Free

OpenDyslexic is a new open sourced font created to increase readability for readers with dyslexia. The typefaces includes regular, bold, italic and bold-italic styles. It is being updated continually and improved based on input from dyslexic users. There are no restrictions on using OpenDyslexic outside of attribution.

Speaking of Raising Awareness

It's that's time of year again.
Go read Gayle Sulik's blog.

Promises of Hope. Not Cure.
“I too used to secretly look forward to October, when I would drape myself in pride with all manner of garish pink, survivor-emblemed merchandise and take my place in the Survivors circle whilst bopping out to “We Are Family” or whatever the cheesy designated anthem was for that year, at one of the many breast cancer fundraising walks.
But I’m not doing it this year or ever again. It’s just a load of bollocks and a great excuse for companies to market their products to the well-meaning consumer in the guise of “Breast Cancer Awareness” when all it really boils down to is profiteering at the expense of real people really suffering and really dying from this insidious disease.”
-Rachel Cheetham Moro,  The Cancer Culture Chronicles, Sep. 19, 2009

How cool

Young lady dancing on a treadmill way better than me...

sorry about the bieber.

Sounds familiar

Big Pharma’s newest invention: Adult ADHD
Big Pharma has funded several patient front groups to sell the disease of ADHD without people knowing they are being sold. One astroturf group known as CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) received a total of $1,205,000, from Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil division, Novartis, Shire US and UCB during the 2007/2008 fiscal year–all ADHD drug manufacturers. (Eli Lilly makes Strattera; Johnson & Johnson makes Concerta; Novartis makes Ritalin and Focalin; Shire makes Adderall, Vyvanse, the Daytrana patch and Intuniv; and UCB makes Metadate CD.)
“60 Minutes” reported that in 2009 there were more than two million prescriptions written for Provigil, a stimulant first developed to treat the symptoms of the rare sleep disorder narcolepsy but now used by truck drivers on long hauls, doctors working around the clock and even fighter pilots on extended combat missions, approved by the Air Force.

Unfortunately, getting rid of the drugs does not seem to solve the problem, either.
The symptoms are not invented by Big Pharma.   They are real.   Thus this historically recurring problem.
It's the treatment that is spurious. 

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