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Ed Ergenzinger

Mental Health | Depression | Neuroscience

Individualized neuromodulation could help sufferers of major depression who don’t respond to traditional treatments.

Image by Layers from Pixabay

As the doctor gave her a physical exam, Mary* was unable to maintain eye contact. Although her depression had left her with a limited range of emotions, she still struggled to keep from crying.

“Restricted and tearful affect,” wrote the examining physician.

The results of her physical examination and routine laboratory tests were normal. And she had no psychotic symptoms or thoughts of hurting herself — this time.

Over two years before, Mary, a retired cafeteria worker, started having asthma-like symptoms treated with corticosteroids. She developed corticosteroid-induced psychosis with visual hallucinations and mania. …


Humor

If you don’t have carbs on you you’re no good to me

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Like many people in the time of COVID-19, I’d put on a few pounds. I’d gone beyond adding my normal layer of winter padding to having to rotate between the two outfits I had left that fit.

And when I say they didn’t fit, I mean they physically hurt to wear. My stomach and belt looked like a tree that had grown for a hundred years around a wire fence.

I knew I wasn’t up for a lifestyle change, so I went with a fad diet instead. And because I’m a middle-aged man, I didn’t know what the latest fad…


Humor

And shame on you for suggesting them.

Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

You’ve seen the articles. “15 Foods That Are Bad for You,” or “Stop Eating This You Fat Slob.”

They’re usually written by a registered dietitian or nutritionist and contain such groundbreaking revelations as “too much sugar is bad for you,” and “bacon is a bullet that you eat.”

They then try to suggest healthy substitutes for your favorite foods, and it rarely goes well.


Cannabis | Health | Science

Two new research studies report evidence of toxic chemicals in marijuana smokers and withdrawal symptoms in most people using cannabis for pain relief.

Image by John Miller from Pixabay

As President-elect Joe Biden prepares for his inauguration Wednesday, stakeholders in the US cannabis industry eagerly anticipate the increasingly likely prospect of federal legalization of cannabis.

House Democrats intend to re-introduce the MORE Act, which would federally legalize cannabis, and pass it relatively quickly. Newly appointed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has indicated the MORE Act will be a priority in the US Senate.

So things are looking up for US cannabis advocates and users. …


Mental Health | Health

Proximity to woodlands associated with better cognitive development and a lower risk of emotional and behavioral problems.

Image by bertvthul from Pixabay.

In Japan, the term shinrin-yoku or “forest bathingemerged in the 1980s as a physiological and psychological exercise to take in the forest atmosphere as an eco-antidote to tech-boom burnout. And although the Japanese have embraced this form of ecotherapy, many cultures have long recognized the influence of the natural world on human health.

Research has also indicated that time spent in and around nature is good for us. Time spent in or near green spaces has been associated with a beneficial impact on stress hormone levels, heart rate, brain waves, protein markers, and mortality. In 2015, an international team…


Cannabinoids | CBD | Health

Cannabidiol (CBD) found to be effective at alleviating pain with fewer side effects and potential for abuse than opioids

Image by Erin Stone from Pixabay.

Prior research has shown that a substantial number of patients who require pain medication have substituted medical cannabis for opioids, reporting that cannabis provides better pain relief and fewer side effects. However, much less research has been conducted on the treatment of chronic pain using cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is frequently marketed as a cure-all to treat anything from chronic pain to your pet’s anxiety.

In the May issue of The Journal of Pain, researchers from the University of Michigan Medical School and the National Fibromyalgia Association addressed this knowledge gap in a study of CBD use in…


Cannabis | Health | Science

These 4 tips can help to identify spurious claims and questionable study designs.

Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels.

I’ve written a number of articles about cannabis research. Every time I write one about new research finding some undesirable effect associated with marijuana use, someone in the comments accuses me of bias.

Sometimes I respond to defend myself. “I reported research results,” I’ll say. “I did not advocate for or against cannabis. Of course, additional research is needed to confirm or refute these studies.” Sometimes I even throw in, “For the record, I am pro-cannabis and cannabis products and used to be an executive with a company in the cannabis space.”

I think I might have been trying a…


Health | Science | Quirky

Researchers relieve hiccups over 90% of the time by forcing users to suck and swallow on a rigid tool.

Image by Robin Higgins from Pixabay

In the June 18 issue of the journal JAMA Network Open, researchers from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) and their colleagues describe a successful new science-based tool to treat hiccups.

“Hiccups are occasionally annoying for some people, but for others, they significantly impact the quality of life,” explained Ali Seifi, MD, associate professor of neurosurgery in UT Health San Antonio’s Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine. “This includes many patients with brain and stroke injury and cancer patients. We had a couple of cancer patients in this study…


Mental Health | Neuroscience

Olanzapine-induced weight gain is mitigated by co-administration with the novel opioid antagonist samidorphan.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.

A couple of years ago, I was prescribed olanzapine (Zyprexa). I had a severe manic episode that led to a diagnosis of bipolar I disorder. Luckily, I responded quickly to the drug. It helped me sleep when I had only been able to doze off for a few minutes a night. My grandiose plans and flights of fancy were tamped down, and my “super-senses” and hyper-religiosity subsided.

I also gained 20 pounds in a month. I had gone from burning calories faster than I could take them into feeling like Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate factory — the calories…

Ed Ergenzinger

Patent attorney with a PhD in neuroscience. Sometime adjunct professor. Writer. Carbohydrate enthusiast.

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