Lance: Keep Coming Back!

Our lives, spirits, and souls must accept G-d’s will for us.  I want to emphasize my deep love for a higher power greater than myself.  I love life even though I have had many hardships and pain.  However, the happiness and spirituality kills all past pain.  Maybe G-d wants to test our faith in Him.  He must be loving and greater than you can even understand, because as our creator we seek pain in order to get to him.  Life is a challenge that we must always work to overcome.

Money comes and goes. In my life it came through drugs and alcohol.  It is difficult to believe that even when you are on the wrong path you are still seeking a power greater than yourself.  Just for today I am 3 years clean but medicated for my mental disorder. As I continue to recover, I hope to take less and less medication. Drugs and liquor don’t run my life anymore.  My spirit is calling on me to make a move.  I realized that my personal power is greater than the call of drugs. I will talk about it to help others. My greatest achievements are very personal to me.  Believe me it has nothing to do with drugs and alcohol.  I’m not going to sell you on one of my cool war stories but I will share this; my favorite part of life is watching friends and family blossom and thrive at whatever they are doing.  When I die I want to know I worked my hardest for G-d and myself and the people I love.  My heart goes out to all but you can’t help everybody alone.  You need to surround yourself with loyal men to achieve self-worth, and I need your support.  I have met many men who learned how to get through life with me.  A friend in recovery told me: “We need to do this to recover. Don’t ask what. Just put one foot in front of the other and figure out what you need to do.”

My mother helped to keep me clean for a while.  I guess its like saying “fake it till you make it.” I have been through the ringer – I think I got a tear in my eye – I’m feeling like a king, because my life treats me so well today. My goal is to share it with all.  I know deep down inside I don’t hate anyone today.

G-d grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Keep coming BACK!…


Visualizing Schizophrenia

Paul Thompson is professor of neurology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and leads the research group at the school’s Laboratory of Neuro Imaging. He uses imaging technology to map disease processes involving the human brain, carried out in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health and more than 40 laboratories around the world. A goal is to create disease-specific atlases of the brain that can aid in the diagnosis, treatment and possible prevention of illnesses like schizophrenia.

Q: Your team has found evidence of significant and progressive brain damage in people with schizophrenia. What areas of the brain are affected, and how does this account for symptoms?

A: The damage in schizophrenia appears specific to two basic areas: the parietal cortex and the frontal lobe.

The parietal cortex is located just above the temple area by the ears; it’s the part of the brain that makes sense of what we hear, see, taste or touch — essentially, our sensory experience. We know about differences in function between a normal parietal cortex and a damaged one from people who have suffered brain trauma. They can’t make sense of what something is. They may be given an apple or an orange, and they can see it and touch it, but they can’t name it or understand its purpose.

The frontal lobe helps us organize our lives, go to work, analyze information and make decisions. This area of the brain is where teenagers have the most developmental changes — a process of pruning excess cells and streamlining brain function until it reaches its adult form around age 25. This reshaping process seems to go profoundly awry in young people with schizophrenia. Instead of healthy pruning, you see massive loss of brain tissue. Because the frontal cortex is also the part of the brain that prevents you from doing things that are rash, a result of this damage is that people with schizophrenia may behave in a bizarre way; they may shout in public or react in an exaggerated way to minor upsets. Ten percent of schizophrenia patients die by suicide.

by Irene Wielawski, New York Times

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Your Food Influences Your Mood

Our stomachs can often be a mystery to us and many of us don’t realise just how much the foods we eat can impact on our mood and mental wellbeing.

According to charity Allergy UK, a shocking 45% of us suffers with food and drink intolerances, beverage – this is called food intolerance.

Food intolerance is a much more common problem than food allergy and one of the most harmful symptoms can be low mood. 1 in 4 people in the UK will suffer problems with their mood or mental health every year, with anti-depressant prescriptions increasing by over 40% in the last 5 years*.

Recent research from YorkTest Laboratories, leading experts in food intolerance testing, has found that 97% of their customers reported problems relating to mood as a significant symptom of their food intolerance, of which 73% felt that their mood had significantly improved after altering their diets to remove foods to which they reacted**.

In addition, in a recent paper published in the Journal of Nutrition and Food Science, over 81% of patients reported a significant improvement in mood and mental wellbeing as a direct consequence of applying the dietary changes recommended by YorkTest.

by Dr. Hilary Jones

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Autism-Linked Protein Differs in Male and Female Brains

The autism-linked protein MET is expressed at lower levels in the brains of men with autism than in control brains, but women with autism do not differ from healthy controls, according to unpublished research presented Thursday at the Salk Institute, Fondation IPSEN and Nature Symposium on Biological Complexity in La Jolla, California.

MET is involved in immune and gut regulation, and in the migration of neurons and formation of synapses, the junctions between neurons. The new study found evidence that MET is regulated by MeCP2, the gene that is mutated in individuals with Rett syndrome.

Researchers have begun to probe differences in gene expression in the brains of healthy men and women, but this is the first study to report differences between men and women with autism.

“I think people just haven’t looked,” says Jasmine Plummer, a postdoctoral researcher in Pat Levitt’s laboratory at the University of Southern California who presented the work. “In most cases we just pool our data.”

by Sarah DeWeerdt, Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative

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Smooth Jazz Cruising: “The Greatest Party at Sea!”

January 28, 2013

When we won our bid on the Smooth Jazz Cruise package at SARDAA’s live auction during the fundraising gala last October, we really didn’t have a clear idea of what was involved. We assumed that it would be like other cruises we’d been on, with shows by various artists in the evening and the remainder of the day left to normal cruise activities.

While we enjoy smooth jazz, and listen to it occasionally, we were by no means ardent fans. We hadn’t been to a live music show of any type for more than five years.

Russ and Linda Stalters are true smooth jazz aficionados and have been on the cruise several times in the past. Through them, we had learned a little about the genre, and had even met Tom Braxton and Peter White on previous occasions. Russ and Linda tried to tell us what to expect on the cruise, but it didn’t really register.

When we arrived in Fort Lauderdale and boarded the ship, our first stop was Russ’s and Linda’s stateroom, where they were having some friends gather to toast the beginning of the voyage. About fifteen of us were in their suite and on their veranda drinking champagne, when Tom Braxton joined us, wearing his SARDAA T‐shirt, and serenaded us as we left the dock. And that was just the start!

From then on, it was a non‐stop adventure, truly “The Greatest Party at Sea!” At the concert the first night, we were entertained by some of the smooth jazz greats, including Marcus Miller, David Sanborn, Tom Braxton, Brian Culbertson, Richard Elliott, Rick Braun, Brian Simpson and Candy Dulfer, among others. There was so much talent, we were truly inundated. So many memorable events … Jonathan Butler’s Gospel Show, the first live presentation of the album “Double Vision,” the fantastic all‐star opening and closing shows, Brian Culbertson’s high energy keyboarding, the incomparable George Benson! And the experiences continued for the entire week, with concerts every night focusing on these artists, as well as many others including Bob James, Raul Midon, Jeff Golub and jazz violinist Ken Ford. We routinely sat in the second row in order not to miss anything! These concerts were supplemented by smaller afternoon sessions that focused on really getting to know individual artists, giving the audience a chance to hear interviews and ask questions. And then there were the midnight concerts, featuring these same artists, plus raucous routines with comedian Alonzo Bodden.

(Check out to see all the great performers and events there wasn’t room to list here.)

The cruise aspects of this trip were also great, with impressive accommodations and an over‐abundance of good food. Part of the experience is setting up a table of ten or more friends for dinner every night and enjoying meeting people who have followed smooth jazz for a long time. We learned so much! The most remarkable thing noticed was the mood we all found ourselves in: everyone on the cruise, all of us from many different walks of life, found ourselves happy and mellow. It was an extremely friendly place to be.

In addition, the opportunities for onshore excursions in Cozumel, Belize, and Key West were numerous and varied, fun and interesting, although they couldn’t really compare to the fun we had on board.

Whether you are a smooth jazz fan, or a music lover who might like to be, we can highly recommend this cruise. What a unique opportunity to be surrounded by and immersed in smooth jazz music, its artists, and its fans, while sailing the sea. For us as well as our fellow cruisers, it was truly an unforgettable, and addicting, experience!

Christian and Pam Liipfert

Dental Conditions in Inpatients With Schizophrenia

Patients with schizophrenia have been reported to suffer a variety of physical co-morbidities, which is considered to be attributable to their sedentary life-style[1] and impairment in self-care[2] as well as the side effects from psychotropic medications.[3] In light of the chronic nature of this illness, identifying and managing these physical conditions is critically important in this population. Among these conditions, the clinical relevance of dental caries is often underestimated[4] while other somatic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus and osteoporosis have received wide attention.[3,5 7]

In fact, better dental conditions are known to be associated with not only an enhanced quality of life for patients,[8] but also better digestion.[9] Previous surveys have demonstrated that patients with schizophrenia visit dentists less frequently, compared to healthy people, because of their difficult financial conditions and a lack of motivation in the maintenance of dental hygiene due to the illness.[10–12] However, while several previous surveys have examined demographic and clinical characteristics that are related with worse dental hygiene in schizophrenia,[13–17] such data are still limited in the literature.

Moreover, dental hygiene is expected to be subject to direct and indirect influences of current and local standards of care, which indicates a necessity of further information from various clinical settings in order to provide a robust agreement on this issue.nTherefore, in the present study, we conducted a cross-sectional study to identify variables associated with dental caries in a larger sample of persons with schizophrenia in Japan.


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Medscape Interview: Repairing the Mental Health System

Medscape: It seems like every week we hear about another psychiatric hospital or unit closing its doors, or another state cutting mental health care funding. Can each of you comment on the worsening lack of psychiatric resources in the United States and the impact that this worrisome trend might have?

Dr. Weisler: If you do an online search, you’ll find article after article from small towns to big cities — and also at the state level — about the impact of all of the recent closures. Chicago’s Tinley Park Mental Health Center closed this past summer while Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles closed its psychiatry department. Also this past summer, in North Carolina, the final patients left the storied Dorothea Dix Hospital. This is happening around the country, leading to a shortage in psychiatric services. There is also a severe shortage of mental health providers in the United States, and it’s getting worse. This is in part because half of US psychiatrists are over age 55 years, and not as many new people are entering the field as are needed. There is also a shortage in researchers.

Dr. Nasrallah: In the ’60s and ’70s, the National Institute of Mental Health provided additional residency stipends prompting many medical students to enter the field of psychiatry. Now there is a bottleneck due to inadequately funded residency positions. There are also a lot of very good international medical graduates out there desperately trying to get into psychiatric residency programs. But for various reasons, many of them are being turned down. If there were more slots available, I think they would be filled. We can train 50% more psychiatrists a year than what we are currently producing, which is roughly 1200 psychiatrists a year, which barely keeps up with the attrition on the other end with retirement and mortality.

Dr. Parks: I don’t think we do well at the local level because we tend to separate ourselves — the “mental health group” — and don’t join and assist others, such as primary care providers or even the police, with their issues. All we do is ask for help with our needs and our problems — it’s not an effective approach to partner with somebody like that. If you want a partner, you go and find out what their needs and problems are, take care of them, and then you ask for something for yourself.

Dr. Weisler: That’s an excellent thought, Joe. It should be easy for us to find partners. For example, and I’ve done this recently, one contact to make is with your local emergency department (ED) providers and administrators. The EDs are frequently filled with psychiatric patients waiting for beds. It’s even worse than when we talked about it a couple of years ago here on Medscape. They’ll wait for days and sometimes for weeks. There’s usually a huge waiting list, and there are also what they call “no admit” lists. If a patient is aggressive, it often feels like nobody really wants and/or feels that they have the staff to care for them. If you have a demented patient with psychosis, it’s also much harder to find a bed, especially if they are agitated. Remember, we have no US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved treatments for psychosis or agitation in dementia, yet the numbers of patients who will require such treatment are rapidly increasing as our population ages.

by Bret Stetka, MD, Richard H. Weisler, MD, Joseph J. Parks, MD, Henry A. Nasrallah, MD

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Mental Illness is Treatable

The tragic shooting last month in Newtown…the Aurora shooting…the shooting in Tucson…the Virginia Tech massacre…all involved mental illness. Nuts, crazy, mad, wacko – words I frequently hear used to describe the mentally ill. These people have a brain disorder, they are mentally ill, and like people with any other illness, they need medical treatment. Therein lies the problem.

Years ago when we deinstitutionalized, states passed laws making it illegal to force mentally ill adults to be treated or take their medications. Once you turn 18, you have a civil right to refuse treatment and remain mentally ill until you become suicidal or homicidal as determined by judges at commitment hearings.

I’m the mother of a bipolar son who took his life at age 40. His name was Scott. At age 27, without warning, Scotty was transformed into a different person. His became weird, maniacal, out-of-control, psychotic. He no longer required sleep. He became extremely religious…claimed that God had anointed him a prophet and commissioned him to write another book for the Bible. He developed a fixation for the President and made many attempts to get into the White House for what he thought were scheduled meetings with President Clinton. At times, he was in the Witness Protection Program along with other CIA and FBI operatives…federal agents were trying to assassinate him. He was serious and believed everything he was saying.

Following six weeks of involuntary commitment with forced meds, Scotty recovered and was able to resume his life. Treatment works. Mental illness is a lifelong illness with recurring episodes. There is currently no cure…but the good news is… mental illness is treatable. Medication compliance is the key to living with mental illness.

by  Dottie V. Pacharis, Ground Report

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Medscape: The Best Foods for the Brain

Go With the Salmon

Oily, cold-water fish like salmon, trout, and mackerel are especially good sources of PUFAs, namely omega-3 fatty acids. According to a 2012 study, 2 servings a week are associated with a modest but clinically significant reduction in stroke risk. Of note, omega-3 supplementation was not associated with a risk reduction, a finding that study author Oscar H. Franco, MD, PhD, Professor of Preventive Medicine at Erasmus Medical Center in The Netherlands, attributes to “the interplay of a wide range of nutrients abundant in fish.” A 2010 study suggested that consuming a moderate amount of oily fish was protective against the risk for psychotic symptoms; however, greater intakes were associated with an increased risk. This J-shaped relationship between fish or PUFA intake and mental health problems has also been suggested by other studies and is consistent with the importance of a balanced diet. However, concurrent work from randomized controlled trials has suggested that fish oil may help prevent psychosis in high-risk individuals. A multicenter, randomized double-blind study is under way to determine whether omega-3 fatty acid supplementation can help prevent the onset of psychosis and improve symptoms and outcomes in those at high risk for schizophrenia.

Cut the Soda, Keep Up the Coffee

2012 saw more evidence that coffee might be the original wonder drug. A new observational study to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology meeting in March shows that people who drink 4 cups of coffee a day are 10% less likely to develop depression. Those who opted for 4 or more servings a day of diet soda or fruit punch were 30% and 38% more likely, respectively, to develop depression. Past work also suggests that the world’s most widely used stimulant cuts depression risk, possibly by altering serotonin and dopamine activity and through its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

What Not to Eat: Cut the Carbs

Various 2012 studies further clarified how overly sweet, unhealthy foods affect the brain. An animal study out of UCLA found that diets high in fructose can impair cognitive function, which is reversible with omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. Coauthor Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, PhD, told Medscape Medical News, “High fructose consumption can induce some signs of metabolic syndrome in the brain and can disrupt the signalling of the insulin receptors and reduce the action of insulin in the brain.” Other work published in JAMA suggests that fructose consumption modulates the neurophysiologic pathways involved in appetite regulation and encourages overeating. An October 2012 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease reported that a diet high in carbohydrates and sugar raises the risk for mild cognitive impairment in the elderly, while a diet high in fat and protein may reduce this riskLead author Rosebud O. Roberts, MD, an epidemiologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, commented to Medscape Medical News that an “optimal balance” of carbohydrates, fat, and protein may help “maintain neuronal integrity and optimal cognitive function in the elderly.”

by Bret S. Stetka, MD

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Failure to Quit Smoking Creates More Anxiety, Not Less

Individuals who successfully quit smoking may experience a marked reduction in anxiety, whereas failure to achieve abstinence may lead to a long-term increase in anxiety, new research suggests.

The study, which included almost 500 adult smokers who attended smoking cessation clinics in England, showed that those who relapsed 6 months after treatment had significantly higher anxiety scores than those who remained abstinent.

In addition, the smokers who had a comorbid psychiatric disorder and who relapsed had the highest increases in anxiety scores from baseline, whereas the comorbid group who continued to stay abstinent had more decreases in scores.

The investigators note that these findings contradict the common assumption that smoking itself is a stress reliever. However, it also suggests that “failure of a quit attempt may generate anxiety.”

“The main message to take away is that cigarette smoking almost certainly does not help people to cope with stress regardless of their reasons for smoking. In fact, the opposite may well be true,” lead author Máirtín S. McDermott, PhD, research health psychologist at King’s College London, United Kingdom, told Medscape Medical News.

by Deborah Brauser, Medscape

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