Friday, April 29, 2011

Mental Health Awareness

Some time ago I wrote an article advocating for more public awareness/fund raising for mental health issues.

Today I read an article that discusses the same issue and also advertises for an upcoming mental health awareness event called 'Ride Don't Hide' which is a spinning relay that takes place on May 7. (For details see the RideDontHide site or the CMHA site). From the Ride Don't Hide site: "On August 1, 2010, Michael Schratter left on a one year global journey, cycling 40,000 km, crossing 6 continents and 30 countries, in an effort to bring awareness to mental illness and help shatter the stigmas that surround it. This endeavor is more than cycling trip; it is an international movement for personal rights. Raising awareness, expectations, and funds, Michael Schratter will help shatter the stigma, one pedal at a time. "

The article can be found here. "Then there is local entrepreneurial legend Joe Seagull, who recently donated $12 million to VGH for a new psychiatric facility. He said, “It is not sexy to fund, but mental illness crosses all boundaries.” Well said, Joe!"

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Assisted Suicide

I'm not going to get into a lengthy opinion article on the subject, but it was in local news recently so I thought I would share that. You can read the story at the CTV site (among other places).

Monday, April 25, 2011

Swearing Lessens Pain

Here is an interesting artictle,*$%#@! Cursing Can Soothe Pain, Research Shows, that looks at two studies which show swearing eases pain. The exception is for people who swear frequently, for whom this pain alleviating response does not seem to work.

Also be sure to check out the link to the LA Times article which looks at alternatives to swearing and mentions the research where looking at an affected body part reduces pain (this last method is also discussed nicely on Garth Kroeker's blog).

Friday, April 22, 2011

Quote of the Day

Grace means more than gifts. In grace something is transcended, once and for all overcome. Grace happens in spite of something; it happens in spite of separateness and alienation. Grace means that life is once again united with life, self is reconciled with self. Grace means accepting the abandoned one. Grace transforms fate into a meaningful vocation. It transforms guilt to trust and courage. The word grace has something triumphant in it.

- Yrjo Kallinen

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Gene Therapy for Depression

This recent article looks at a novel way of treating depression through gene therapy. The study was done on mice and the investigators were able to both cause and treat depression like symptoms (motivation).

“Because retroviral vectors are thought to insert themselves at random positions in the host genome, insertional mutagenesis as a potential risk of retroviral gene therapy has been debated for some years…The manipulations needed to create genetic therapy add enormous complexity to considerations of safety and preclinical toxicity testing.”

According to this recent opinion article, there have been recent attempts to find safer viral vectors, but that has yet to be discovered.

Risks associated with gene therapy include negative immune response, viral spread, viral reversion to causing disease instead of treating it, and tumor induction.

Here is a very thorough article discussing the risks of and potentially safer ways of using gene therapy.
“The ability of retroviruses to integrate into the host cell chromosome also raises the possibility of insertional mutagenesis and oncogene activation… A considered review of retroviral induced pathogenesis suggests these events were qualitatively, if not quantitatively, predictable. In addition, it is clear that the probability of such events can be greatly reduced by relatively simple vector modifications, such as the use of self-inactivating vectors and vectors derived from non-oncogenic retroviruses. However, these approaches remain to be fully developed and validated.”

Friday, April 15, 2011

Quote of the Day

" have more than all of this requires."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Quote of the Day

Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn't enter into this.

- Raymond Carver

How We Decide - Review

How We Decide (Jonah Lehrer)

This was actually a quite decently written book. Like all popular psychology books, it can drone on at times and the citations aren't always thorough, but it certainly had it's fair share of life or death examples of decision making to keep things exciting (I sense a bit of irony here...). The author did seem to portray the stock market as a can't lose situation. I don't think this was his intention, but I don't recall any stories about people losing money. If nothing else, it has made me more conscious (or as conscious as the author alludes to a person being able to be) of my general purchasing habits.