Category Archives: Health Care

The Likely Cause of Drug Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think (Long Read)

Drugs composite by Johann Hari  Posted: 01/20/2015 3:20 pm EST Updated: 01/23/2015 3:59 pm EST

It is now one hundred years since drugs were first banned — and all through this long century of waging war on drugs, we have been told a story about addiction by our teachers and by our governments. This story is so deeply ingrained in our minds that we take it for granted. It seems obvious. It seems manifestly true. Until I set off three and a half years ago on a 30,000-mile journey for my new book, Chasing The Scream: The First And Last Days of the War on Drugs, to figure out what is really driving the drug war, I believed it too. But what I learned on the road is that almost everything we have been told about addiction is wrong — and there is a very different story waiting for us, if only we are ready to hear it.

If we truly absorb this new story, we will have to change a lot more than the drug war. We will have to change ourselves.

I learned it from an extraordinary mixture of people I met on my travels. From the surviving friends of Billie Holiday, who helped me to learn how the founder of the war on drugs stalked and helped to kill her. From a Jewish doctor who was smuggled out of the Budapest ghetto as a baby, only to unlock the secrets of addiction as a grown man. From a transsexual crack dealer in Brooklyn who was conceived when his mother, a crack-addict, was raped by his father, an NYPD officer. From a man who was kept at the bottom of a well for two years by a torturing dictatorship, only to emerge to be elected President of Uruguay and to begin the last days of the war on drugs.

I had a quite personal reason to set out for these answers. One of my earliest memories as a kid is trying to wake up one of my relatives, and not being able to. Ever since then, I have been turning over the essential mystery of addiction in my mind — what causes some people to become fixated on a drug or a behavior until they can’t stop? How do we help those people to come back to us? As I got older, another of my close relatives developed a cocaine addiction, and I fell into a relationship with a heroin addict. I guess addiction felt like home to me.

If you had asked me what causes drug addiction at the start, I would have looked at you as if you were an idiot, and said: “Drugs. Duh.” It’s not difficult to grasp. I thought I had seen it in my own life. We can all explain it. Imagine if you and I and the next twenty people to pass us on the street take a really potent drug for twenty days. There are strong chemical hooks in these drugs, so if we stopped on day twenty-one, our bodies would need the chemical. We would have a ferocious craving. We would be addicted. That’s what addiction means.

One of the ways this theory was first established is through rat experiments — ones that were injected into the American psyche in the 1980s, in a famous advert by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. You may remember it. The experiment is simple. Put a rat in a cage, alone, with two water bottles. One is just water. The other is water laced with heroin or cocaine. Almost every time you run this experiment, the rat will become obsessed with the drugged water, and keep coming back for more and more, until it kills itself.

The advert explains: “Only one drug is so addictive, nine out of ten laboratory rats will use it. And use it. And use it. Until dead. It’s called cocaine. And it can do the same thing to you.”

But in the 1970s, a professor of Psychology in Vancouver called Bruce Alexander noticed something odd about this experiment. The rat is put in the cage all alone. It has nothing to do but take the drugs. What would happen, he wondered, if we tried this differently? So Professor Alexander built Rat Park. It is a lush cage where the rats would have colored balls and the best rat-food and tunnels to scamper down and plenty of friends: everything a rat about town could want. What, Alexander wanted to know, will happen then?

In Rat Park, all the rats obviously tried both water bottles, because they didn’t know what was in them. But what happened next was startling.

The rats with good lives didn’t like the drugged water. They mostly shunned it, consuming less than a quarter of the drugs the isolated rats used. None of them died. While all the rats who were alone and unhappy became heavy users, none of the rats who had a happy environment did.

27008-28348-e1342221379821

At first, I thought this was merely a quirk of rats, until I discovered that there was — at the same time as the Rat Park experiment — a helpful human equivalent taking place. It was called the Vietnam War. Time magazine reported using heroin was “as common as chewing gum” among U.S. soldiers, and there is solid evidence to back this up: some 20 percent of U.S. soldiers had become addicted to heroin there, according to a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Many people were understandably terrified; they believed a huge number of addicts were about to head home when the war ended.

Continue reading The Likely Cause of Drug Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think (Long Read)

Study Suggests Psychedelic Drug Could Be Used To Treat Asthma

February 19, 2015 | by Justine Alford

It’s probably the last thing you’d consider administering to children, but a new study has found that a psychedelic drug, called (R)-DOI, potently prevents the development of allergic asthma in mouse models of the disease, suggesting that the chemical could represent a novel treatment avenue for asthma in humans. But don’t worry, we won’t have asthmatics tripping left, right and center every time they puff their inhalers because even if this does eventually lead to an approved therapy, it’s effective at doses up to 100 times less than those that would influence behavior.

While people may raise one eyebrow at the idea, there is a lot of interesting research into the use of psychedelic drugs like LSD in the treatment of various medical conditions, mainly those related to the brain such as depression, anxiety and addiction. That’s primarily because these drugs increase the levels of a neurotransmitter called serotonin in the brain, our body’s natural mood balancer that is also implicated in the development of these disorders.

But serotonin isn’t just found in the brain; it also acts on other neurons throughout the body, such as those in the gastrointestinal tract to regulate appetite and digestion. Furthermore, it’s also been known for some time that it is involved in inflammation. Although asthma is an inflammatory disease, no one knew whether serotonin played a precise role in the disease.

Continue reading Study Suggests Psychedelic Drug Could Be Used To Treat Asthma

US Supreme Court Continues its winning streak of Lunatic Rulings: Since Men Can Lactate, It’s Cool for US Companies To Fire Women for Breastfeeding

Supreme_Court_US_2010by Collier Meyerson

Well if it isn’t father patriarchy ruling his ugly head. Angela Ames is fresh out of options after the US Supreme Court declined to hear her petition to get a lower court’s ruling overturned (the Iowa mom was trying to sue her employer for gender discrimination after she was fired for breastfeeding).

breastfeeding-image

SF Gate reports:

Ames was nursing her new baby and wanted to continue by pumping and storing breast milk at work. Before her first day back, she asked a Nationwide disability case manager where she could express milk and was told a lactation room was available. But when she showed up at work on her first day she found out she couldn’t use the lactation room because she hadn’t filled out required paperwork for access, according to court documents. Ames was never told about the paperwork before her day back at work.

A company nurse directed Ames to a wellness room for sick employees, but the space was occupied. She returned to her desk where her direct supervisor approached her and informed her that none of her work had been completed while she was away. He warned her that she needed to work overtime to complete everything in two weeks or else she’d face disciplinary action.

Ames was then handed a piece of paper to craft a resignation letter so she could “go home and be with” her children, even though all homegirl was trying to do was pump a little of that white for her new baby.

I’m not a legal expert or anything but it sounds like a slam dunk suit, right? Apparently not. Ames’ case was thrown out by a trial court which, according to Raw Story cited “that breastfeeding-related firings aren’t sexist because men can lactate, too.”

Continue reading US Supreme Court Continues its winning streak of Lunatic Rulings: Since Men Can Lactate, It’s Cool for US Companies To Fire Women for Breastfeeding

Gwyneth does it so it must be OK………

Actually its a well respected treatment that has been widely used in Central and South America for many years……….

0a47a235-e61c-4d1f-93db-b02700039899-1020x612

Vaginal Steaming: What You Need To Know BY SIERRA BRASHEAR JANUARY 31, 2015 5:30 AM EST

If you’re like many of the women I know, when “that time of the month” rolls around, menstrual cramps are likely to send you seeking the warm refuge of your pillow-top rather than showing up as your best self. Indeed, according to one Italian study, menstrual cramping, also known as dysmenorrhea, affects approximately 84% of women of childbearing age. With all due respect for my beautiful, sacred cycle, I began to grow frustrated, wondering why we must suffer such monthly woes.

Finally, after so many years of hiding in my room when my moon came around, I started to seek out something I could do to support my body to function at its best, making menstruation more pleasant.

In my search for the cure, I discovered an ancient herbal treatment for the uterus that yielded exactly the answer I was looking for. The treatment, known as vaginal steaming, is as old as the hills and is well-respected by traditional healers across the globe, remedying almost any aspect of uterine pathology. Also known as yoni steaming, the treatment is used to cleanse and revitalize the uterus, effectively reducing discomfort associated with menstruation.

I learned about this amazing herbal therapy from Dr. Rosita Arvigo, a naprapathic physician, herbalist, international lecturer, author and teacher of Maya medicine. Having lived and studied with traditional Mayan healers in Belize for nearly 25 years, Rosita became quite familiar with this miraculous remedy for the womb.

Vaginal steaming, Dr. Arvigo says, is as popular in Mayan culture as drinking peppermint tea is in American culture. In Central America, the remedy is called a bajo, and it is very common among women because it works.

Continue reading Gwyneth does it so it must be OK………

6 Penis Problems That Happen With Age

shcuk892686000_ed-82633990

One day you realize: Mr. Happy gets older, too By Beth Levine Grandparents.com January 18, 2015

You’d like to think that at least some areas of our bodies will be spared the indignities of aging, but one day you realize: Mr. Happy gets older, too. “You don’t wake up one morning and realize it is different. It’s a gradual process, but starting around age 40, the changes become more noticeable,” says Madeleine Castellanos, author of”Penis Problems: A Man’s Guide.” So what does it mean when a penis looks and acts different?

Color

Atherosclerosis, a common problem of aging, restricts blood flow, affecting heart, brain, and penis. With less blood in the area, the penis appears lighter in color, says Dr. Castellanos, who is also a sex therapist with a private practice in New York. This is nothing to worry about as long as you have regular checkups that show that everything else is in working order. Also, just as skin everywhere shows effects of aging, so does the penis skin. It may appear more mottled.

Grey-Pubic-Hair-500x367

Continue reading 6 Penis Problems That Happen With Age

Why Psychiatry Holds Enormous Power in Society Despite Losing Scientific Credibility

Definition: Psychiatry is a medical field concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental health conditions

drawing-brain

It helps to be funded by Big Pharma By Bruce Levine AlterNet January 6, 2015

“What’s a guy gotta do around here to lose a little credibility?” asked ProPublica reporter Jesse Eisinger in a 2012 piece about top Wall Street executives who created the financial meltdown but remain top executives, continue to sit on corporate and nonprofit boards, serve as regulators, and whose opinions are sought out by prominent op-ed pages and talk shows.

Wall Street is not the only arena where one can be completely wrong and still retain powerful influence. Influential “thought leader” psychiatrists and major psychiatry institutions, by their own recent admissions, have been repeatedly wrong about illness/disorder validity, biochemical causes and drug treatments. In several cases, they have been discovered to be on the take from drug companies, yet continue to be taken seriously by the mainstream media.

While Big Pharma financial backing is one reason psychiatry is able to retain its clout, this is not the only reason. More insidiously, psychiatry retains influence because of the needs of the larger power structure that rules us. And perhaps most troubling, psychiatry retains influence because of us—and our increasing fears that have resulted in our expanding needs for coercion.

But before discussing these three reasons, some documentation of psychiatry’s lost scientific credibility in several critical areas.

psychiatrist1

Psychiatry’s Lost Scientific Credibility

DSM Invalidity. In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic bible, the DSM, was slammed by the pillars of the psychiatry establishment. Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the highest U.S. governmental mental health official, offered a harsh rebuke of theDSM, announcing that the DSM’s diagnostic categories lack validity, and he stated that “NIMH will be re-orienting its research away from DSM categories.” Also in 2013, Allen Frances, the former chair of the DSM-4 taskforce, published his book, Saving Normal: An Insider’s Revolt against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life.

Continue reading Why Psychiatry Holds Enormous Power in Society Despite Losing Scientific Credibility