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mental health

How Mind-Controlling Parasites Can Get Inside Your Head

April 2, 2016 | by Alex Ford

photo credit: Shutterstock

Imagine that pesky tabby cat has been pooing in your backyard again. Unbeknown to you, it has transferred some of the parasite spores it was carrying onto your herb garden. Unintentionally, while preparing a tasty salad, you forget to wash your hands and infect yourself with the Toxoplasma gondii spores. For months you display no symptoms, then after six months you are driving your car more aggressively, taking chances in road junctions and generally filled with more road rage as you angrily gesticulate with fellow drivers. Could all this be linked to that tasty salad?

T. gondii is a fascinating protozoan parasite which, like many similar organisms, needs to move between several different host species in order to fully develop and reproduce. As such, it appears to have evolved clever methods to make transmission between hosts more likely. For example, studies have found that once rats – intermediate hosts – are infected they display less caution towards cats – the final stage hosts – and so the parasite is more likely to be passed on.

An increasing number of studies suggest humans known to be infected with these parasites could be more susceptible to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, aggression and evenincreased suicide. Studies have even suggested you are two to three times more likely tohave a car crash if your blood tests positive for the parasite. This is particularly striking when it has been predicted that 30%-50% of the worldwide population may carry the parasite.

Not so cute when you know what they’re carrying. Shutterstock

Chicken or egg?

Very often criticisms of these studies come down to a chicken and egg question. Correlation doesn’t necessary mean causality. Are those aggressive, fast-driving people or those with behavioural conditions more likely to catch the parasites, or does the parasite cause these behavioural traits? Many of the studies were done retrospectively rather than looking at someone’s behaviour before and after they became infected with the parasites. So for now, we can’t say for sure whether your road rage really was linked to your salad.

What we do know is that there are plenty of examples in wildlife where parasites can manipulate the sex, growth, maturation, habitat and behaviour of their hosts. Hair worms, for instance, complete their lifecycle in a river or stream and appear to make their hosts – crickets – attracted to water.

full story at IFLScience





Ten Days in a Madhouse: The Woman Who Got Herself Committed

n 1887, intrepid reporter Nellie Bly pretended she was crazy and got herself committed, all to help improve conditions in a New York City mental institution.

“The insane asylum on Blackwell’s Island is a human rat-trap. It is easy to get in, but once there it is impossible to get out.”

Those words, describing New York City’s most notorious mental institution, were written by journalist Nellie Bly in 1887. It was no mere armchair observation, because Bly got herself committed to Blackwell’s and wrote a shocking exposé called Ten Days In A Madhouse. The series of articles became a best-selling book, launching Bly’s career as a world-famous investigative reporter and also helping bring reform to the asylum.

In the late 1880s, New York newspapers were full of chilling tales about brutality and patient abuse at the city’s various mental institutions. Into the fray came the plucky 23-year Nellie Bly (born Elizabeth Cochrane, she renamed herself after a popular Stephen Foster song). At a time when most female writers were confined to newspapers’ society pages, she was determined to play with the big boys. The editor at The World liked Bly’s moxie, and challenged her to come up with an outlandish stunt to attract readers and prove her mettle as a “detective reporter.”

The stylish and petite Bly, who had a perpetual smile, set about her crazy-eye makeover. She dressed in tattered second-hand clothes. She stopped bathing and brushing her teeth. And for hours, she practiced looking like a lunatic in front of the mirror. “Faraway expressions look crazy,” she wrote. Soon she was wandering the streets in a daze. Posing as Nellie Moreno, a Cuban immigrant, she checked herself into a temporary boarding house for women. Within twenty-four hours, her irrational, hostile rants had all of the other residents fearing for their lives. “It was the greatest night of my life,” Bly later wrote.

The police hauled Bly off, and within a matter of days, she bounced from court to Bellevue Hospital’s psychiatric ward. When she professed to not remembering how she ended up in New York, the chief doctor diagnosed her as “delusional and undoubtedly insane.” Meanwhile, several of the city’s other newspapers took an interest in what one called the “mysterious waif with the wild, hunted look in her eyes.” Bly had everyone hoodwinked, and soon enough, she was aboard the “filthy ferry” to Blackwell’s Island.

The Lonely Island

Opened as America’s first municipal mental hospital in 1839, Blackwell’s Island (known today as Roosevelt Island) was meant to be a state-of-the-art institution committed to moral, humane rehabilitation of its patients. But when funding got cut, the progressive plans went out the window. It ended up as a scary asylum, staffed in part by inmates of a nearby penitentiary.

Although other writers had reported on conditions at the asylum (notably Charles Dickens, in 1842, who described its “listless, madhouse air” as “very painful”), Bly was the first reporter to go undercover. What she found exceeded her worst expectations. There were “oblivious doctors” and “coarse, massive” orderlies who “choked, beat and harassed” patients, and “expectorated tobacco juice about on the floor in a manner more skillful than charming.” There were foreign women, completely sane, who were committed simply because they couldn’t make themselves understood. Add to that rancid food, dirty linens, no warm clothing and ice-cold baths that were like a precursor to water boarding. Bly described the latter:

“My teeth chattered and my limbs were goose-fleshed and blue with cold. Suddenly I got, one after the other, three buckets of water over my head – ice-cold water, too – into my eyes, my ears, my nose and my mouth. I think I experienced the sensation of a drowning person as they dragged me, gasping, shivering and quaking, from the tub. For once I did look insane.”

And worst of all, there was the endless, enforced isolation:

“What, excepting torture, would produce insanity quicker than this treatment? . . . Take a perfectly sane and healthy woman, shut her up and make her sit from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on straight-back benches, do not allow her to talk or move during these hours, give her no reading and let her know nothing of the world or its doings, give her bad food and harsh treatment, and see how long it will take to make her insane. Two months would make her a mental and physical wreck.”

As soon as Bly arrived at Blackwell’s Island, she dropped her crazy act. But to her horror, she found that only confirmed her diagnosis. “Strange to say, the more sanely I talked and acted, the crazier I was thought to be,” she wrote.

Near the end of her stay, her cover was almost blown. A fellow reporter she’d known for years was sent by another newspaper to write about the mysterious patient. He himself posed as a man in search of a lost loved one. Bly begged her friend not give her away. He didn’t. Finally, after ten days, The World sent an attorney to arrange for Nellie Moreno’s release.

Going Public

Two days later, the paper ran the first installment of Bly’s story, entitled “Behind Asylum Bars.” The psychiatric doctors who’d been fooled offered apologies, excuses and defenses. The story traveled across the country, with papers lauding Bly’s courageous achievement. Almost overnight, she became a star journalist.

But for Bly, it wasn’t about the fame. “I have one consolation for my work,” she wrote. “On the strength of my story, the committee of appropriation provides $1,000,000 more than was ever before given, for the benefit of the insane.”

Actually, the city had already been considering increasing the budget for asylums, but Bly’s article certainly pushed things along.

A month after her series ran, Bly returned to Blackwell’s with a grand jury panel. In her book, she says that when they made their tour, many of the abuses she reported had been corrected: the food services and sanitary conditions were improved, the foreign patients had been transferred, and the tyrannical nurses had disappeared. Her mission was accomplished.

Bly would go on to more sensational exploits, most notably, in 1889, circling the globe in a record-setting seventy-two days (she meant to beat out Jules Verne’s fictional trip in Around The World in Eighty Days). In later years, she retired from journalism and founded her own company, designing and marketing steel barrels used for milk cans and boilers. She died in 1922. Bly’s amazing life has since been the subject of a Broadway musical, a movie and a children’s book.

source the amazing MENTAL FLOSS and here is the link to the movie about her unblocked for UK viewers Ten Days In a Madhouse











“Stop naming us” say MPs who voted for disability benefit cuts

disability benefits

Conservative MPs who voted for £30 a week cuts in benefits for disabled people have asked today for people to stop naming them on social media so they can continue to claim huge expenses and lie about giving a shit.

London Mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith angrily hit back that there were any conflicts of interest in his patronage of a disability charity. “What’s £30 anyway? I claim that for my pre-dinner drinks on a week-night. But putting it on twitter makes it look like a lot. It’s completely unfair and unrepresentative. People need to stop noticing these things.”

Indeed the sentiment has been echoed throughout the country amongst MPs made to feel mean by people noticing that they voted to effectively withdraw support from some of the most vulnerable people in society.

Nick Boles MP who claimed over £140,000 in expenses last year said that he was shocked, outraged and appalled that his name had been plastered over Facebook.

“Facebook should be ashamed of themselves. What about that tax deal we did for them? I’m off to voice my indignation to other like minded people over an evening of publicly funded champagne and canapés.”

Portsmouth South MP, Flick Drummond, said “I care deeply. When I was out having dinner in a Michelin starred restaurant recently, on parliamentary business and subsequently claiming the whole thing on expenses, I considered the plight of disabled people and one solitary tear rolled down my cheek, at least metaphorically. I had to ask the waiter to wipe it from my cheek with a gold embossed napkin. Then I came up with a snide comment about them probably causing the 2007 credit crunch through their laziness, threw my head back and laughed like a horse. But that’s no reason to put my picture on Facebook along with facts about my voting habits.

source:News Toad









Antidepressants Labeled Unsafe After Recent Study Reveals The Shocking Truth About The Medical Industry

Antidepressants Labeled Unsafe After Recent Study Reveals The Shocking Truth About The Medical Industry

As study recently published in the British Medical Journal by researchers at the Nordic Cochrane Center in Copenhagen, has strongly reaffirmed the disturbing corruption that plagues the medical industry.

In the past, we have brought you a number of reports that have highlighted the level of corruption in the medical industry—Monsanto being one of the largest corporations known to influence research, medical studies and university professors.

In this most recent example, the study showed that the pharmaceutical companies had not disclosed all the information regarding the results of their trial. According to reports, “pharmaceutical companies were not presenting the full extent of serious harm in clinical study reports, which are detailed documents sent to regulatory authorities such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) when applying for approval of a new drug.”

After examining the documents of 70 double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI), researchers discovered that the full extent of serious harm in clinical study reports went unreported.

“We found that a lot of the appendices were often only available upon request to the authorities, and the authorities had never requested them,” said Tamang Sharma, a PhD student at Cochrane and lead author of the study. “I’m actually kind of scared about how bad the actual situation would be if we had the complete data.”

“[This study] confirms that the full degree of harm of antidepressants is not reported,” said Joanna Moncrieff, a psychiatrist and researcher at University College London. “They are not reported in the published literature, we know that – and it appears that they are not properly reported in clinical study reports that go to the regulators and from the basis of decisions about licensing.”

The harsh reality is these large multinational corporations have their finger in almost every pie in the medical industry. The reason for this: no one in the medical industry has any money. The governments do not have any money, universities don’t have any money and the health organisations don’t have any money. These large multinational corporations are the only ones who have money. As a result, these corporations use their money to influence the medical establishment. But at what cost?

Image: Flickr, Sander van der Wel

Image: Flickr, Sander van der Wel

More than 1 out of 10 Americans over the age of 12—roughly 11 percent—take antidepressants, according to a 2011 report by the National Center for Health Statistics. Once you parallel this statistic to the findings that were not disclosed to regulatory authorities—the occurrence of suicidal thoughts and aggressive behaviour doubled in children and adolescents who used the medications previously mentioned—you can grasp the seriousness of this undoubtable game of corruption.

We really don’t have good enough evidence that antidepressants are effective and we have increasing evidence that they can be harmful. So we need to go into reverse and stop this increasing trend of prescribing [them],” said Moncrieff.

In 2001, a trial of the antidepressant drug Paxil (paroxetine), funded by GlaxoSmithKline, concluded that the drugs were safe to consume. The results of this trial were then used to market Paxil as safe for teenagers; however, just a few months ago, an independent review of the drugs found that they were not safe for teenagers.

To make matters worse, the corrupt practices that often infringe on a large percentage of the medical studies that take place, have been common knowledge to those in the industry for more than a decade.

In fact, in his article Why Most Published Research Findings Are False—the most widely accessed article in the history of the Public Library of Science—John Loannisis, an epidemiologist at Stanford University School of Medicine and co-author of the study, states that “most current published research findings are false.” Since its publication, which was more than 10 years ago, the level of corruption has only increased.

The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness,said Dr. Richard Horton, the current Editor-In- Chief of one of the most reputable reviewed medical journals in the world.

Over the past few year, Dr. Peter Gotzsche, co-founder of the Cochrane Collaboration (the world’s most foremost body in assessing medical evidence), has been working to inform the world about the dangers associated with several pharmaceutical grade drugs—antidepressants being among them.

Since conducting his research, Professor Gotzsche has estimated that 100,000 people in the United States alone die from the side-effects of correctly used prescription drugs each year.

According to Professor Gotzsche, here’s a list of things you want to avoid:

  • Antidepressants
  • All brain-active drugs in children
  • Anti-psychotics and other brain-active drugs for the elderly.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs used for arthritis, muscle pain and headaches, including over-the-counter, low dose ibuprofen.
  • Mammography screening
  • Drugs for urinary incontinence

Feature Image: Wikimedia Commons, Takkk

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You Can Get PTSD From Staying In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship Jennifer Williams-Fields

PTSD From Emotionally Abusive Relationship

I wanted to leave, but I didn’t know how…

Stop. Just stop asking why a woman is so stupid and so weak when she stays in an abusive relationship. There’s no answer you can possibly understand.

Your judgment only further shames abused women. It shames women like me.

There was no punch on the very first date with my ex-husband. That’s not normally howabusive marriages start. In fact, my first date was probably pretty similar to yours: he was charming, he paid attention to me, and he flattered me.

Of course, the red flags were there in the beginning of my relationship. But I was young and naïve, probably much like you were in the beginning of your relationship.

Except my marriage took a different turn than yours.

An abusive marriage takes time to build. It’s slow and methodical and incessant, much like a dripping kitchen faucet.

It begins like a little drip you don’t even notice — an off-hand remark that is “just a joke.” I’m told I’m too sensitive and the remark was no big deal. It seems so small and insignificant at the time. I probably am a little too sensitive.


I occasionally notice the drip but it’s no big deal. A public joke made at my expense is just my partner being the usual life of the party. When he asks if I’m wearing this dress out or whom I’m going with, it only means he loves me and cares about me.

When he tells me he doesn’t like my new friend, I agree. Yes, I can see where she can be bossy. My husband is more important than a friend, so I pull away and don’t continue the friendship.


The drip is getting annoying, but you don’t sell your house over a leaky faucet.

When a playful push was a little more than playful, I tell myself he didn’t really mean it.

He forgets he’s stronger than me. When I confront him in yet another lie he’s told, he tells me I’m crazy for not believing him. Maybe I’m crazy … I’m beginning to feel a little crazy.

I begin to compensate for the drips in my marriage. I’ll be better. I’ll be a better wife. I’ll make sure the house is clean and dinner is always prepared. And when he doesn’t even come home for dinner, I’ll keep it wrapped and warmed in the oven for him.

On a night I’m feeling feisty, I feed his dinner to the dog before he comes home. I’m not feeling quite as smug well after midnight when he does show up. I quickly get out of bed and go to the kitchen as he yells at me to make him dinner.

Waking me from sleep becomes a regular occurrence. I no longer allow myself deep, restful sleep. I’m always listening and waiting.

In the morning, I’ll shush the kids to keep them quiet so they don’t wake up daddy. We all begin to walk on eggshells around him.


The drip is flowing pretty strong now. I’m afraid to put a bucket under it and see how much water I’m really losing. Denial is setting in.

If I hadn’t said what I did, he wouldn’t have gotten so mad. It’s my fault; I need to just keep quiet. I should know better than to confront him when he’s been drinking.

He’s right — I really am an ungrateful bitch. He goes to work every day so I can stay home with the kids. Of course he needs time to himself on the way home from work each day.

On the rare occasion I do meet with my friends, I rush to be home before him. I never ask him to babysit so I can do something in the evening. I mustn’t inconvenience him.

We attempt marriage counseling. Although neither of us is totally honest about why we are there, the counselors are open with us about their concerns.

We never spend more than one session with a counselor.


rest of article :YourTango









London man sets himself on fire outside Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace. © Olivia Harris

A man has died after setting himself on fire outside one of London’s Royal Palaces early on Tuesday morning, police have said.

The man, believed to have been in his 40s, was found alight next to the walls of Kensington Palace, situated in the center of the capital. It is home to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Paramedics and firefighters were called to the palace at around 03:00 GMT. They attempted to extinguish the flames and give the man first aid. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police have not identified the man, but revealed that hours before self-immolating he had left a hospital in London. He had been admitted over concerns about his mental health.

Tourists and walkers in the park were met with the scene on Tuesday morning, where a tent had been erected and a police cordon sealed off the area by the palace orangerie.

It’s such a perfect park and to think that this has happened outside the palace is horrible. I love the royals and I am so sorry this has happened on their doorstep,” Australian tourist Naomi Bridges, 30, said.

A police spokesperson said they intended to tell the man’s family on Tuesday.

Officers in Westminster were called by a central London hospital at 12:06am today after a man in their care had failed to return,” the spokesperson said.

“Police carried out inquiries to trace this missing man at his home address and two associated addresses but the man, aged in his forties, was not present.

“Subsequently, police in Kensington and Chelsea were called to an area near the locked parks of Kensington Palace, W8 at 3:06am following reports of a man behaving suspiciously. Officers attended and found a man ablaze.

“At this early stage, no other persons are believed to be involved. This incident is not being treated as suspicious,” the spokesperson added.

Police will also examine whether enough was done to trace the man after he left the hospital on Monday evening.

source RT









Scientists have found a way to measure the "mystical" effects of psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms

photo credit: Scientists have found a way to measure the “mystical” effects of psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms. Psilocybe Cubensis – Ecuador by afgooey74 via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Ever since LSD was first synthesized back in the 1930s, psychotherapists have been interested in using hallucinogenic drugs to treat a range of mental disorders. However, attempts to do so have struggled to gain widespread support from the medical community, partly because the visionary voyages these substances generate are so idiosyncratic, and therefore difficult to analyze. Yet a team of researchers believe they have now found a way to scientifically study the “mystical experiences” produced by psilocybin-containing mushrooms, potentially opening the door for their use in psychological therapy.

Publishing their findings in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, the team defines “mystical experience” using four central characteristics. These include a sense of “mysticism,” meaning a sensation of sacredness or unity with all things, “positive mood,” “transcendence of time and space,” and “ineffability” – or feeling that the experience is beyond words.

The team of psychiatrists and neuroscientists from the John Hopkins University School of Medicine have developed a 30-item Mystical Experience Questionnaire, called the MEQ30, which addresses all four of these elements and can be used to obtain an overall score to describe the intensity of the mystical experience. This was achieved by analyzing data collected from five laboratory-based experiments, in which a total of 184 participants were given moderate to high doses of psilocybin and asked to describe their experience.

For instance, in order to determine the level of “mysticism,” the MEQ30 asks participants to state how strongly they felt connected to “ultimate reality.” Data relating to “transcendence of space of time,” meanwhile, is extracted from the degree to which participants lost their “usual awareness of where [they] were.”

More crucially, the study authors claim that scores obtained from the MEQ30 can be accurately used to predict the long-term effects of psilocybin use, since the data revealed that those who achieved greater mystical experiences also reported continued improvements in their state of mind further down the line. This builds on previous studiesstudies which have revealed that patients who are deemed to have had a “complete” mystical experience on psilocybin are more likely to feel increased well being or life satisfaction 14 months later

full article at IFL








PSYCHOLOGY & PSYCHIATRY 0 Best and Worst in Psychology and Psychiatry – September 2015 by Carla Clark, PhD | October 24, 2015


Antidepressants worsen depression in patients with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder

Enhanced depression symptoms and suicidal ideation are counter-intuitively well-known side effects of most, if not all, antidepressant drugs. When it comes to bipolar disorder new research suggest caution should be taken in administering currently available antidepressants to clients whose condition is considered to be rapidly-cycling, i.e. they experience at least four episodes within a 12-month period.

The randomized clinical trial found that rapid-cycling patients who continued antidepressants following initial treatment for the episode experienced three times the number of depressive episodes the following year as those who discontinued use of antidepressants. With approximately 25% of bipolar patients considered to rapid-cycling in the US, authors suggest avoiding antidepressant use in these patients as they will probably increase mania, cycling and depression.

full article on the chaos that is psychiatry onver here :BrainBlogger











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