In A World Full Of Problems, Be The Solution

Free people and critical thinkers worldwide….this horrifying quote below is now or soon will be reality. We need to develop our own consciousness if we are to survive!

“The individual may think that the most important reality is his own existence, but this is only his personal point of view. This lacks historical perspective. Man does not have the right to develop his own mind. This kind of liberal orientation has great appeal. We must electronically control the brain. Someday armies and generals will be controlled by electric stimulation of the brain.”–Dr. Jose Delgado, Director of Neuropsychiatry Yale University Medical School Congressional Record, No. 26, Vol. 118 February 24, 1974

New Research Reveals Some Secrets Behind Ketamine’s Ability To Treat Depression

Ketamine, once used frequently as a battlefield anesthetic during wartime and more recently as a club drug, has found new acclaim in its use to treat depression. Scientists and medical professionals have documented Ketamine’s ability to alleviate depressive symptoms in just hours, but didn’t really understand how it worked. Now new research hints at revealing the secret mechanism of action. In the most recent study, mice were injected with a stress hormone and then recorded exhibiting depressive symptoms such as refusing to eat in addition to recording the loss of synaptic connections in their brain. The mice were then given a dose of ketamine as investigators recorded surprising brain changes. The synaptic connections previously recorded, started to repair themselves after only twelve hours. In addition to repaired neuronal connections, the depressive symptoms that the mice had shown disappeared almost instantly. Ketamine therapy holds great promise in being able to quickly treat suicidal thoughts and depression, and this research helps uncover its secrets.

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/04/11/712295937/ketamine-may-relieve-depression-by-repairing-damaged-brain-circuits

https://www.wired.com/story/lasers-highlight-ketamines-depression-fighting-secrets/amp

Breaking News! This Just In…..

To all of us who are concerned with the state of mental health recovery in this world, what follows is important and amazing news. I just found this as reported at http://www.mindhacks.com. I am shocked and saddened that this is not international news being reported by every media station worldwide.  I want more people to know about this, so I am reporting it and hope that others will follow.

National Institute of Mental Health abandoning the DSM

In a potentially seismic move, the National Institute of Mental Health – the world’s biggest mental health research funder, has announced only two weeks before the launch of the DSM-5diagnostic manual that it will be “re-orienting its research away from DSM categories”.

In the announcement, NIMH Director Thomas Insel says the DSM lacks validity and that “patients with mental disorders deserve better”.

This is something that will make very uncomfortable reading for the American Psychiatric Association as they trumpet what they claim is the ‘future of psychiatric diagnosis’ only two weeks before it hits the shelves.

As a result the NIMH will now be preferentially funding research that does not stick to DSM categories:

Going forward, we will be supporting research projects that look across current categories – or sub-divide current categories – to begin to develop a better system. What does this mean for applicants? Clinical trials might study all patients in a mood clinic rather than those meeting strict major depressive disorder criteria. Studies of biomarkers for “depression” might begin by looking across many disorders with anhedonia or emotional appraisal bias or psychomotor retardation to understand the circuitry underlying these symptoms. What does this mean for patients? We are committed to new and better treatments, but we feel this will only happen by developing a more precise diagnostic system.

As an alternative approach, Insel suggests the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) project, which aims to uncover what it sees as the ‘component parts’ of psychological dysregulation by understanding difficulties in terms of cognitive, neural and genetic differences.

For example, difficulties with regulating the arousal system might be equally as involved in generating anxiety in PTSD as generating manic states in bipolar disorder.

Of course, this ‘component part’ approach is already a large part of mental health research but the RDoC project aims to combine this into a system that allows these to be mapped out and integrated.

It’s worth saying that this won’t be changing how psychiatrists treat their patients any time soon. DSM-style disorders will still be the order of the day, not least because a great deal of the evidence for the effectiveness of medication is based on giving people standard diagnoses.

It is also true to say that RDoC is currently little more than a plan at the moment – a bit like the Mars mission: you can see how it would be feasible but actually getting there seems a long way off. In fact, until now, the RDoC project has largely been considered to be an experimental project in thinking up alternative approaches.

The project was partly thought to be radical because it has many similarities to the approach taken by scientific critics of mainstream psychiatry who have argued for a symptom-based approach to understanding mental health difficulties that has often been rejected by the ‘diagnoses represent distinct diseases’ camp.

The NIMH has often been one of the most staunch supporters of the latter view, so the fact that it has put the RDoC front and centre is not only a slap in the face for the American Psychiatric Association and the DSM, it also heralds a massive change in how we might think of mental disorders in decades to come.
Link to NIMH announcement ‘Transforming Diagnosis’.

What The Bleep Is Neurofeedback You Ask?

Brain, computer art

Brain, computer art (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I have been wanting…..okay attempting…..to write a post about the internship I was doing in neurotherapy. Specifically, a post that would explain what neurofeedback is and its use in treating brain disorders of any kind. The post would be easy to understand, comprehensive without being overwhelming, with a bit of humor thrown in for good measure. I was on draft number four of writing said post when a peer emailed me the article below and I thought, “Wow,this guy just took the words right out of my mouth…..and did it better than what I was imagining!” So, of course I have to share it with all of you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and that it spurs you on to learn more and share with others.

 

 

Neurofeedback: Alternative Health Care for Robots?

 

by John Anderson, M.A

 
Many people interested in alternative health react to the word “EEG biofeedback” with hesitation. It doesn’t sound very organic. It doesn’t even sound holistic. Talk about bodywork, herbal medicine, homeopathy, spiritual healing or any of the other approaches usually associated with alternative health care, and most people have some sort of feeling level response. That response is probably positive. These approaches seem nurturing and familiar, low tech, not part of the electronic age. They are from a calmer age, an age when life was slower and more natural.

Biofeedback and, more recently neurofeedback (brain wave biofeedback), seem to be high-tech, electronic. Sort of what a robot or an android might use for a health problem, not something that could help a person trying to simplify his or her life. Being attached by wires to an electronic gadget (a computer no less!), and learning to control brainwaves sounds like a science fiction story, not a method of natural healing.

Neurofeedback is actually one way that technology is truly holistic. Many people all over the world devote a great deal of time and energy learning to regulate their brainwaves. They just call it different things. Some call it trance work, some call it meditation, some call it psychic healing. Zen monks, yogis, Sufis, Qigong masters and others spend 20 years or more learning to reach certain states of consciousness. Some do it because these are thought to be healing states. Some are trying to reach a state of freedom, a release from pain or suffering. Some are just trying to find a better, more calm and centered way to live.

Neurotherapy practitioners throughout the world are using neurofeedback with adults and children who have learning problems, anxiety, headaches, depression, sleep problems, ADHD and more. Let’s use the common example of the ADHD child. The typical western medical treatment for these children is medication. Ritalin, antidepressants, and anti-seizure medications are routinely given to children as young as 3 or 4 years old with the prospect of continuing these medications into adulthood. Neurofeedback is an effective alternative that teaches these children to alter brain wave states in a way that usually results in a significant change in their conditions. Of course medication may be necessary for some individuals but many prefer to try this simple, non-invasive approach first and use medication as a last resort. Others have tried medication, have not found relief and are interested in trying something else.

So how does it work? The effects of Neurofeedback are similar to those of medications. Only it is not habit forming, has no “side effects”, does not cause long term problems, and doesn’t mask or cover up underlying causal factors. It provides a lasting learning experience that the children can take with them throughout their lives. Neurofeedback is a learning process just like meditation. The child learns to sit still and pay attention, first to an external indication of how his or her brain is functioning, and then to an internal awareness that becomes as easy as breathing.

Much of what is taught in meditative traditions are techniques for eliciting the kind of balanced awareness that the children learn to reach through neurofeedback. Sensors are attached to the head and ears, and brain wave information is given to the child through a simple “ pacman” or similar computer game. The only difference is, the child plays the computer game with his or her brainwaves. When brainwaves are in a balanced pattern and the child is relaxed, the pac-man turns bright yellow, moves along eating dots and beeping. When the child “drifts” away from this desirable state, the pac-man stops, turns dark and no beeps are generated. The child learns to reach this balanced state by getting immediate “feedback” or information about what works and what doesn’t. Self-regulation skills that take a meditator years of trial and error to develop, the child learns more easily because of accurate feedback.

The neurofeedback process is using something most kids and many adults are already attracted to, namely computers and computer games. In this case though, the technology helps them learn the ancient arts of self-regulation. The body/mind is an integrated whole that has lots of self-regulating mechanisms. These mechanisms get out of whack in our modern world as they did in the old days, only now more severely. That is what natural healing methods try to correct. Neurofeedback is one of those methods that try to enlist the person’s own self-regulatory mechanisms to create a state of optimal health. It works on a very subtle level and leads to remarkable changes.

The process is similar whether the individual is trying to become more alert and energetic or whether s/he is learning to reach a calm, centered, meditative state. The feedback is specific to the brainwave frequency patterns typical of the desired state. The feedback is instant and accurate and makes the learning process significantly more effective.

So why haven’t I heard of it, you say? Well, it doesn’t fit very well into the natural or alternative-healing arena, although it is often mentioned in this context by the mainstream media. It is not well accepted by the mainstream medical community either because it is hard to prove what is happening and how it is helping in a way that western medical personnel are willing to accept, (sort of like acupuncture and homeopathy!) It is also cutting edge technology, and that turns some people off who would normally be natural candidates for this approach.

Neurofeedback or neurotherapy is being used successfully for treating addictions, chronic pain, PMS, bulimia, anxiety disorders and a whole host of other conditions. This also doesn’t sit well with the regular medical community because it sounds like a “cure all,” and that is an instant red flag in medicine. “The more things you claim to help with one technique, the more likely it is to be quackery”, said one prominent psychologist about neurotherapy.

So what can you do to find out about neurotherapy? You can read the book A Symphony in the Brain by Jim Robbins. You can also log on to the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB) web site (www.aapb.org) and the Society for Neuronal Regulation web site (www.snr-jnt.org) to find information and a practitioner in your area. The field is growing fast and more people are requesting neurotherapy from their doctors, their schools and from their HMO’s. If enough people want neurotherapy for themselves and their children, it will become a part of mainstream medicine as a viable alternative to medication management of illness.