For Treatment-Resistant Depression, Magic Mushroom Drug Holds Promise

Mushrooms turn out to be power-ups in real life, too.

Psilocybin, the psychedelic compound in ‘magic’ mushrooms, may be an effective way to treat depression in patients that have seen no benefit from other, standard forms of treatment, early results suggest.

In a pilot study involving just 12 people with treatment-resistant depression, two doses of the mushroom compound cleared symptoms in eight participants—67 percent—after one week. After three months and no other doses, seven participants still reported reduced depressive symptoms, including five—42 percent—who reported complete remission of their depression.

Source: For treatment-resistant depression, magic mushroom drug holds promise

I wish the sample size was bigger, to lend more validity to the study.  But you have to start small.  Going big at the start could result to lots of lawsuits.

Body’s Defenses Against Common Viruses May Mess Up Neurons, Spark Depression

Getting sick is definitely a bummer. But besides feeling icky and being stuck in bed, viral infections may cause us to actually be depressed. While scientists have been clued into this connection for a while, there was little data on how everyday viral infections, like the flu, might mess with our moods.

Source: Body’s defenses against common viruses may mess up neurons, spark depression

Note that sickness behavior might be adaptive, helping sick animals clear their infections faster.  Lethargy and depression is a very effective way to redirect an animal’s energy away away from everyday expenditure and towards its immune system, where it’s most needed.

Might seem obvious, but the best way to fight off many illnesses is to take a day off and stay in bed. Feeling bad could be just Mother Nature’s way of prodding us to do that.

Mild Concussion? Simple Blood Test Might Detect Injury Up to a Week After

A barely bruised brain can send out molecular SOS signals in the blood for days after an injury, researchers report this week in JAMA Neurology.

The finding suggests that new blood tests, already in development to detect those signals, may be able to identify even the mildest concussions well after a knock to the head.

Source: Mild concussion? Simple blood test can detect injury up to a week after

Concussions are a clinical diagnosis, and not determined by imaging such as a CT scan of the brain.  Most people who have a concussion have a normal CT. From reading the abstract, it appears that the CT was performed to rule out an intracranial lesion (such as a subdural hematoma) which is a related but different issue from a concussion. The utility of the blood test would be to detect evidence of a recent concussive event without the need to perform neurologic testing.

This is an interesting assessment of the news:

Warfarin/Coumadin = Concussion?

Being on warfarin/coumadin does not make us at more risk for concussions – it increases the risk for intracranial bleeding, most often [when it happens] is a subdural hematoma (SDH). Patients with even mild head injuries who are on warfarin/coumadin who come to the emergency department almost always receive a CT scan to check for a SDH. Some recommendations even say that they should all received a second CT in 12-24 hours to check for any delayed bleeding. But this is entirely different than a concussion.

There is a chance that this would help reduce the number of CTs though. The article indicates that the blood tests are elevated in people with SDH as well as other intracranial bleeding types. Therefore it may be possible to derive a guideline that if a patient on warfarin/coumadin with a head injury has a negative blood test, then a scan wouldn’t be necessary. That would definitely be helpful.

New App Aims to Help Researchers Look for a Genetic Link to Postpartum Depression

With mothers and medical providers clamoring for answers about postpartum depression, scientists are beginning a major effort to understand the genetic underpinnings of mood disorders that afflict millions of women during and after pregnancy.

Source: Hunting the Genetic Signs of Postpartum Depression With an iPhone App

Women with high scores will be asked if they’d like to submit a DNA sample to researchers at UNC. If users agree, they will be mailed an oral kit. Researchers assured the Times that even though personal information like name and address are required, that data will be encrypted in order to preserve privacy.

This Video Explains How Stress Breaks Down Your Brain

If you think there’s a possibility of Alzheimer’s for you, please make sure you make plans with regard to health, etc. before things get bad and you can’t make those decisions anymore. Things easily become a big mess in those situations.

You Don’t Have a Procrastination Problem, You Have an Impulsivity Problem

Procrastination is like bad signal or crappy Wi-Fi. Everyone deals with it, but most of us don’t understand how it works. Here’s the key: It’s not that you have a problem saying yes to the thing you’re supposed to be doing right now. The problem is you can’t say no to everything else.

Source: You Don’t Have a Procrastination Problem, You Have an Impulsivity Problem

It’s not always the same for everyone! What you call procrastination may be what I’d call a lack of motivation. Brains are weird and we can’t really shoehorn everything into one or two words (or disorders) like we do. Even this article, for as much as I attempted to describe the nuance, can’t ever be fully accurate.

If your problem is that even when you have nothing else distracting you, you still can’t bring yourself to do it, then the problem may have less to do with your impulses and more to do with your motivation. Maybe ask yourself why that is. Do you dread the work no matter the circumstances? Maybe you need different work. Do you have trouble mustering the motivation to do anything? Maybe you’re suffering from some form of depression.

Frankly, “procrastination” is a pretty generic term. I’ve found in my life that the biggest problems I have aren’t that I hate the thing I’m doing. It’s that I like some other thing more, and its rewards are more immediate. Your mileage may vary, though! No matter how you break it down, though, the best way to beat your procrastination problem is to examine the way your brain thinks about it.

Use the Rule of Threes to Find Out If You Have a Sleep Problem

It is a common story. You haven’t slept well for three days now. The alarm is set for 7 a.m. You get into bed early, hoping that tonight you’ll fall asleep early and stay asleep. Instead, you wake up at 2 a.m., staring at the ceiling, wide awake, frustrated and worrying about how you’ll function at work the next day. It takes more than two hours to fall back asleep and, before you know it, the alarm is blasting and a new day begins.

Source: What To Do If You Suffer From Middle-of-the-Night Insomnia

Couldn’t chair less

Don’t Worry About the “Gender” of Your Nutrition Bars

You can’t escape nutrition bars.

The foodstuff—that doesn’t quite look like food—lines grocery store shelves, fills office kitchen drawers, and hides squished at the bottom of backpacks and purses, preemptive strikes against future hunger emergencies. Not all bars are created equal, of course. “Protein bars” place emphasis on muscle building. “Energy bars” hone in on the concept of food as fuel, the snack to tide you over between meals. And “nutrition bars” target “health and weight-conscious consumers”—veiled language for the belief that nutrition bars are supposed to be for women.

Source: The Stereotype-Driven Business of Selling Nutrition Bars to Women

So basically the same thing as every other “For X gender” product ever?  Gotcha.  Men’s chapstick is brilliant – it comes in a flat tube to fit in the pocket better.  Because they don’t carry purses…

It’s not about the gender of the marketing – try it for yourself to determine if it works for you.  There’s no absolute rule for nutrition in triathlon because everybody is different.  Even within gender.

There’s Cyanide in Artificial Vitamin B12, And That’s Okay

When you get a shot of vitamin B12, you’re also getting traces of cyanide in the mix–although it would be equally accurate to say that there’s artificial B12 in your antidote to cyanide.

Source: There’s Cyanide in Artificial Vitamin B12, And That’s Okay

The most effective form of vitamin B12 is methylcobalamin.  The body uses methylcobalamin directly, so it’s very easily absorbed.  The same goes for dibencozide, which the body uses for muscle development among other things. Canadians do not get dibencozide – they can only get it from the U.S.  Cyanocobalamin is crap – don’t use it.  Smokers should use methylcobalamin, as it will bond to the cyanide in the body and will be excreted though urine.

Maternal Testosterone Exposure Increases Offspring’s Anxiety

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have elevated levels of testosterone and its chemical relatives. They also have an increased risk of anxiety and depression. Both sons and daughters of women with PCOS have similar symptoms, so it might be transmitted through traditional genetic means. But the idea is gaining traction that it is the fetal environment—specifically, the fact that the fetuses of mothers with PCOS are gestating in high levels of testosterone—that’s associated with the problems.

Source: Maternal testosterone exposure increases offspring’s anxiety

Sadly, no news on how to alleviate the issue.  Just that we’ve confirmed a link.