Connect with us

Health

‘An incredible window into the brain’: New treatments target severe depression

Editor

Published

on

[ad_1]

At 35, Sharon Jakab knew something was wrong when she started hallucinating.

“I saw my grandmother on the wall in the room. She was talking to me. I wasn’t sleeping, and I was a mess,” she says from her home in Burlington, Ont.

About a year and a half later, Jakab was suffering from postpartum depression following the birth of her second child. It became so bad, she was suicidal. “There was a gun in the house and there were cartridges. I was all set to kill myself.”  

She had to suicide-proof her home by taking away all dangerous objects, even skates, which have sharp blades.

Sharon Jakab, right, received magnetic seizure therapy this year to deal with her severe depression. She and her partner Karen Inkster suicide-proofed their home in Burlington. Ont. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

Now 61, Jakab has been in and out of hospitals, dealing with what she calls “waves of depression” that have lasted most of her adult life. She’s tried about a dozen medications, including the antipsychotic drug clozapine.  “Clozapine really helped me a lot, but I still suffered from depression, psychosis and mania.”

Because standard treatment like medication and therapy weren’t effective, Jakab was diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression, a severe form of depression that close to a million Canadians experience.

‘A huge public health problem’

Electroconvulsive therapy or ECT, better known as shock treatment, is still considered the go-to treatment but comes with the common side effect of memory loss. So doctors are now exploring less invasive experimental approaches like brain stimulation that rewires the brain’s circuits. 

“Hard-to-treat depression is a huge public health problem” says Dr. Jeff Daskalakis of Toronto, at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s Temerty Centre for therapeutic brain intervention. “The idea that treatments that could potentially rectify or improve their illness can be very reassuring to patients.”

Dr. Jeff Daskalakis is working on new ways to deal with treatment-resistant depression. One method uses magnets instead of electricity to induce a seizure in a patient. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

One of those treatments being tested at CAMH is magnetic seizure therapy or MST. A magnetic coil to the front part of the patient’s head delivers a high-frequency pulse that induces a seizure. A big advantage is there are few or no adverse effects like memory loss.

“If we can limit those effects by delivering the stimulus at a much lower intensity with an alternative type of approach, in this case magnets as opposed to electricity, we can spare cognition and produce a seizure that gets people better,” says Daskalakis.

Over 150 patients have received MST during clinical trials at CAMH.

Jakab  jumped at the chance of getting the treatment. “I didn’t want to have ECT”, she says. “I had One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest image in my mind,” she adds, referring to the movie where Jack Nicholson gets a jolt of electricity through his head.

Over eight months last year, Jakab received 30 sessions of MST. “I felt what I call lighter, because I feel less sad, less depressed, and the suicidal thoughts diminished.”

Dr. Daniel Blumberger is part of a research team at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto looking at non-invasive therapies for treatment-resistant depression. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

“I think what’s challenging about treating depression is that everybody is different, and people come to it in a different way”, says Dr. Daniel Blumberger, medical head of the Temerty Centre. “There are probably multiple different types of depression, and finding the right treatment for the right individual is probably the next phase of delivering treatment for the illness.”

Blumberger has been working on a less invasive technique than MST, called repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, or rTMS. It delivers a repetitive burst of magnetic pulses to the part of the brain affected by depression.

Over 1,000 patients have used the treatment which lasts three minutes. A study published in The Lancet this year showed how effective the treatment is, compared to the standard length of about 37 minutes.

“The outcome can be dramatic”, says Blumberger. “We will see a clinically significant response in about 50 per cent of patients, and 30 per cent of people have remission of their depressive symptoms.”

‘Ninety per cent of what we’ve learned about the brain, we’ve learned in the last 10 to 15 years,’ says Toronto psychiatrist Dr. Anthony Levitt. (Craig Chivers/CBC News)

At Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, researchers have been using a technique called MRI-guided focused ultrasound to help patients overcome hard-to-treat depression. With pinpoint accuracy, ultrasound beams heat and disrupt specific areas of the brain associated with depression.  

“The ultrasound goes directly to that circuit, makes a cut, and stops it from firing when it shouldn’t be firing,” says Dr. Anthony Levitt, chief of the Hurvitz Brain Sciences Program at the hospital. “This is an incredible window into the brain. We no longer have to open the skull to cause damage to the brain.”

He adds, “Ninety per cent of what we’ve learned about the brain, we’ve learned in the last 10 to 15 years.”

Sky Zazlov of Toronto was one of the first patients to try the ultrasound treatment in May. She was diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression in 2011.

“It seems unrelenting,” she says. “I don’t even know how to explain it because it’s not angering, it’s frustrating.”

Sky Zazlov, right, with her son Isaak, was diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression in 2011. Close to one million Canadians suffer from this condition. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

Before she was placed inside the MRI scanner, technicians shaved her head and fitted her with a round metallic helmet that transmits the ultrasound waves. The procedure lasts several hours, and as the patient is wheeled out, it’s too soon to know if the treatment worked.

A few months later, Zazlov is disappointed. There have been no changes in her mood. But she says she’s not giving up. Neither are her doctors, who’ve told her it could be up to a year before the treatment provides some relief.

“I’m not looking for a magic bullet,” says the 40-year-old mother. “I’m willing to put the work in, but I hope this will take away some of the despair.”

[ad_2]

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Health

Bill Gates: Third Shot May Be Needed to Combat Coronavirus Variants

Editor

Published

on

By

With more than 40 million Americans having received at least the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, a third dose may be needed to prevent the spread of new variants of the disease, Bill Gates told CBS News Tuesday.

Gates’ comments come amid growing concern that the current vaccines are not effective against the more contagious Brazilian and South African variants.

Pfizer and Moderna have stated that their vaccines are 95% and 99% effective, respectively, against the initial strain of COVID. However, some scientists have questioned those statements. Additionally, the World Health Organization and vaccine companies have conceded that the vaccines do not prevent people from being infected with COVID or from transmitting it, but are only effective at reducing symptoms.

Gates told CBS Evening News:

“The discussion now is do we just need to get a super high coverage of the current vaccine, or do we need a third dose that’s just the same, or do we need a modified vaccine?”

U.S. vaccine companies are looking at making modifications, which Gates refers to as “tuning.”

People who have had two shots may need to get a third shot and people who have not yet been vaccinated would need the modified vaccine, explained Gates. When asked whether the coronavirus vaccine would be similar to the flu vaccine, which requires yearly boosters, Gates couldn’t rule that out. Until the virus is eradicated from all humans, Gates said, additional shots may be needed in the future.

AstraZeneca in particular has a challenge with the variant,” Gates explained. “And the other two, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax, are slightly less effective, but still effective enough that we absolutely should get them out as fast as we can while we study this idea of tuning the vaccine.”

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding the studies being conducted in Brazil and South Africa, CBS News said. The foundation has also invested in the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and the Novavax vaccines, which are being tested against new variants. Once the AstraZeneca vaccine is approved, the Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative or GAVI, founded by Gates, will distribute it globally.

“Gates continues to move the goalposts,” said Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., chairman and chief legal counsel of Children’s Health Defense. “Meanwhile the strategies he and others have promoted are obliterating the global economy, demolishing the middle class, making the rich richer and censoring vaccine safety advocates, like me.”

Kennedy said that the exclusive focus on vaccines has prevented the kind of progress required to actually address and recover from the pandemic:

“From the pandemic’s outset, clear-headed people familiar with the challenges inherent in the vaccine model have understood that the path out of crisis would require multiple steps. Those steps would need to include the development and/or identification of therapeutic drugs, the sharing of information among doctors to hone improved treatment models that reduce infection mortality rates below those for flu, and the kind of broad-spectrum long-term herd immunity that protects against mutant strains and that only derives from natural infection.”

Instead, Gates and vaccine makers are proposing a lifetime of boosters, supporting insufficient testing to determine safety and failing to address the inadequate monitoring of vaccine injuries, Kennedy said.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Children’s Health Defense.

Continue Reading

Health

Young nurse suffers from hemorrhage and brain swelling after second dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

Editor

Published

on

By

(Natural News) A 28-year-old healthcare worker from the Swedish American Hospital, in Beloit, Wisconsin was recently admitted to the ICU just five days after receiving a second dose of Pfizer’s experimental mRNA vaccine. The previously healthy young woman was pronounced brain dead after cerebral angiography confirmed a severe hemorrhage stroke in her brain stem.

Her family members confirmed that she was “breaking out in rashes” after the vaccine. She also suffered from sudden migraine headaches, and got “sick” after taking the second dose of the vaccine. At the very end, she lost the ability to speak and went unconscious. The migraines, nausea, and loss of speech were all symptoms of a brain bleed and brain swelling, something her family did not understand at the time, and something nobody would expect after vaccination.

While on life support, neurologists used angiography to image the damage inside the brain. They found a subarachnoid hemorrhage, whereas a bulging blood vessel burst in the brain, bleeding out in the space between the brain and the tissue covering the brain. The ensuing swelling cut off oxygen to the brain and caused brain death. On February 10, 2021, Sarah reportedly had “no brain activity.” Some of the woman’s organs are now being procured, so they can be donated to other people around the world.

Doctors warn FDA about COVID vaccines causing autoimmune attacks in the heart and brain

Experimental COVID-19 vaccines may cause inflammation along the cardiovascular system, leading to heart attack and/or stroke. This serious issue was brought forth to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by Dr. J. Patrick Whelan, M.D., Ph.D. and further confirmed by cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Hooman Noorchashm, M.D., Ph.D. The two doctors warned that a recently-infected patient who is subject to COVID-19 vaccination is likely to suffer from autoimmune attacks along the ACE-2 receptors present in the heart, and in the microvasculature of the brain, liver and kidney. If viral antigens are present in the tissues of recipients at the time of vaccination, the vaccine-augmented immune response will turn the immune system against those tissues, causing inflammation that can lead to blood clot formation.

This severe adverse event is likely cause of death for the elderly who are vaccinated despite recently being infected. There is no adequate screening process to ensure that this autoimmune attack doesn’t occur. The elderly are not the only people vulnerable to vaccine injury and death. Pfizer’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine could be the main cause behind the sudden death of Sarah Sickles, a 28-year-old nurse from Wisconsin. The Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System has captured five permanent disabilities in Wisconsin, 58 ER visits, and eleven deaths in just one month. This is the first case in Wisconsin of someone under 44 years of age suffering from severe COVID-19 vaccine side effects and death. There are now more than 1,170 deaths recorded in the U.S. related to the experimental mRNA vaccines, a reality that the FDA and CDC continue to ignore.

Continue Reading

Health

Powering hypersonic weapons: US armed forces eyeing dangerous 5G tech

Editor

Published

on

By

(Natural News) Much of the conversation surrounding the benefits of 5G is geared toward the consumer side of the technology. People will be able to download videos at lightning speed and will be more connected than ever, proponents claim, although there are serious questions regarding its safety. However, some of the most important 5G applications are not civil at all – the technology will be used extensively in the military domain.

Some of its military uses are outlined in the Defense Applications of 5G Network Technology report, which was published by the Defense Science Board. This federal committee gives scientific advice to the Pentagon. Their report states: “The emergence of 5G technology, now commercially available, offers the Department of Defense the opportunity to take advantage, at minimal cost, of the benefits of this system for its own operational requirements.”

The 5G commercial network that is being built by private companies right now can be used by the American military for a much lower cost than if the network had been set up exclusively for military purposes.

Military experts expect the 5G system to play a pivotal role in using hypersonic weapons. For example, it can be used for new missiles that bear nuclear warheads and travel at speeds superior to Mach 5. These hypersonic weapons, which travel at five times the speed of sound and move a mile per second, will be flying at high altitudes on unpredictable flight paths, making them as hard to guide as they will be to intercept.

Huge quantities of data need to be gathered and transmitted in a very short period in order to maneuver these warheads on variable trajectories and allow them to change direction in milliseconds to avoid interceptor missiles.

5G for defense

This type of technology is also needed to activate defenses should we be attacked by a weapon of this type; 5G automatic systems could theoretically handle decisions that humans won’t have enough time to make on their own. Military bases and even cities will have less than a minute to react to incoming hypersonic missiles, and 5G will make it easier to process real time data on trajectories for decision-making.

There are also important uses of this technology in combat. 5G’s ability to simultaneously link millions of transceivers will undoubtedly facilitate communication among military personnel and allow them to transmit photos, maps and other vital information about operations in progress at dizzying speeds to improve situational awareness.

The military can also take advantage of the high-frequency and short-wavelength millimeter wave spectrum used by 5G. Its short range means that it is well suited for smart military bases and command posts because the signal will not propagate too far, making it less likely that enemies will be able to detect it.

When it comes to special forces and secret services, the benefits of 5G are numerous. Its speed and connectivity will allow espionage systems to reach unprecedented levels of efficiency. It will also make drones more dangerous by allowing them to identify and target people using facial recognition and other methods.

Like all technology, 5G will also make us highly vulnerable. The network itself could become an attractive target for cyber-attacks and other acts of war being carried out with cutting-edge weaponry. In fact, the 5G network is already viewed as critical infrastructure and is being carefully protected before it is even fully built.

While the focus on 5G’s dangers to human health and the environment is absolutely warranted, it is also important not to lose sight of the military implications of 5G. After all, it is not just the United States that is developing this technology for military purposes; our enemies, like China and other countries, are also making great strides in this realm.

Continue Reading

Chat

Trending