Last spring, my half-sister Michele called me concerned about her 21-year-old daughter’s mental health, as she’d had several bouts of depression and it appeared another one was coming on. This time, Michele was eager to get in touch with her daughter’s therapist before their next meeting. She had some new—and potentially treatment-altering—information.
“Her tests came back,” Michele told me. “Turns out she’s got a MTHFR-gene mutation. We’re waiting to find out which kind.” This was not a conversation anyone would have had 10 years ago, and it’s not one that many are having now. But if personalized, gene-based medicine keeps expanding into the brain sciences, it might be.
Michele, who works as a medical researcher in Australia, may know more than the average parent about the potential of genetics in treating psychiatric conditions. She had read studies that a mutation in the MTHFR gene may increase the risk of psychiatric disorders. Depending on the variation of the mutation, it could also signify which medications are most useful—with some studies recommending folate supplements instead of, or in addition to, antidepressants.
Despite the constant whining by people like Glenn Greenwald & the Tea Party about the intolerably oppressive government we Americans supposedly live under, all it takes is one article like this to remind me of how extremely fortunate we are to have been born in a place where situations like the ones in this story are so far from anything we’ve ever experienced as to make them nearly incomprehensible.
Dr Hab’s advert runs up to three times a day on Mogadishu’s radio stations.
“He’s gone crazy! He’s running away!” screams the actor. “Chain him down!”
The scenario is familiar in Somalia. A man has become possessed by spirits and the only option for his family is to restrain him and call the sheikh. But as the young man protests, a voice that challenges Somali tradition booms out. […]
There were only three practising psychiatrists in the whole of Somalia at the last count, and Hab - despite his lack of advanced qualifications - is head of what has become the country’s leading provider of mental health services.Dr Hab is not actually a real psychiatrist. Rather it’s the persona of Abdirahman Ali Awale, a nurse who after three months of specialist training from the World Health Organization (WHO), has made it his mission to rescue Somalia’s mentally ill. He claims he is able to treat everything from post-natal depression to schizophrenia.
But the alternative to a trip to Hab could be a visit to one of Somalia’s popular herbalists or sheikhs who still advocate traditional - and sometimes barbaric - cures.
“There is a belief in my country that hyenas can see everything including the evil spirits people think cause mental illness,” says Hab. “So in Mogadishu, you will find hyenas that have been brought from the bush and families will pay £350 ($560) to have their loved one locked in the room overnight with the animal.” […]
There were only three practising psychiatrists in the whole of Somalia at the last count, and Hab - despite his lack of advanced qualifications - is head of what has become the country’s leading provider of mental health services. He even carries a letter from the minister of health that says so. […]
Just days after a YouTube video of an airplane passenger losing her shit ranting in fundiespeak went viral, it happened again. Only this time it was on the House floor, by a well-known (however unnamed at this time) stenographer.
“Do not be deceived. God shall not be mocked. A House divided cannot stand,” she said, according to a House GOP aide. After a few seconds, she was escorted out by the Sergeant-at-Arms, but an audio recording by Todd Zwillich of Public Radio International captured the rest of her rant.
“He will not be mocked, He will not be mocked, (don’t touch me) He will not be mocked. The greatest deception here, is that this is not one nation under God. It never was. Had it been… it would not have been… No. it would not have been… the Constitution would not have been written by Free Masons… and go against God. You cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve two masters. Praise be to God, Lord Jesus Christ.”
And for those that missed it, here’s the original YouTube video of the airplane passenger:
The “don’t touch me” seems to be a common theme with the stenographer and the passenger.
I’d bet money both the stenographer and the airplane passenger sound virtually identical. From now on, this is the voice I’ll hear when any woman speaks on behalf of the GOP, Values Voters, or I’m reading the next edition of Palin’s word salad.
It’s their language. It’s how they communicate.
These are becoming more and more regular, it’s only a matter of time before one of these extremists succeeds before they get caught.
Authorities in Ohio say they aren’t sure what motivated a 42-year-old man to jump out of his car during a traffic stop in March and suddenly fire 37 rounds at two police officers. What seems clear, however, is the case is yet another example of the danger posed to unsuspecting officers who confront individuals steeped in extremist antigovernment ideas.
James L. Gilkerson had a library of antigovernment, homemade munitions and firearms books in his vehicle — along with an AK-47 assault rifle, five loaded 40-round magazines for the weapon, knives, five pounds of gunpowder and a black mask and gloves, authorities say. He was unemployed, spent his time caring for his ill mother, and apparently had no history of mental illness.
One of his books, Resistance to Tyranny, espouses a lone-wolf “underground movement of secret freedom fighters, each acting individually and independently to ignore, evade, resist and thwart the increasingly heavy hand of government power.”
When his car was stopped after running a stop sign on March 10 — a quiet Sunday in Middlefield, Ohio — Gilkerson exited through his driver’s side door and began firing his assault rifle before officers could even get out of their police cruiser.
Gilkerson fired 37 shots at officers Erin Thomas and Brandon Savage, who both returned fire, shooting 54 rounds at Gilkerson as he shouted, “Kill me.” He died at the scene. The unnerving gunfight, captured on a dash cam in the officers’ bullet-riddled patrol car, is now a high-hit posting on YouTube.
“He was a scumbag, and a terrorist, and he’s dead,” Middlefield Police Chief Arnold Stanko said at a news conference last week, according to The [Cleveland] Plain Dealer.
“I don’t know what he had planned or where he was going,” the chief said. “I just know he got out of his car intending to kill my officers. The AK-47 rounds he was firing would go right through a policeman’s bulletproof vest.”
CNN) — After a lifelong battle with mental illness, the youngest son of Pastor Rick Warren has committed suicide, his family said.
Matthew Warren, 27, died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound on Friday, said Deputy Daniel Aikin, with the Orange County Coroner’s Office.
The family shared news of his death in an e-mail to church staff.
Rick Warren and his wife founded Saddleback Valley Community Church, a megachurch in Southern California.
Terry Stadler tears up as he talks about his daughter’s 12-year battle with mental illness. She fought it with everything she had, he says. With repeated hospitalizations, with medication and an electrical implant designed to help with her deep depression. With crisis counseling and years of work with psychiatrists.
On Feb. 6, 2009, she hiked onto South Mountain and called her psychiatrist, threatening to shoot herself. The psychiatrist notified police and met them at the site, handing an officer her cell phone so that he could talk Kristi down. When it was over, police confiscated the gun for safekeeping.
Kristi would spend the next week in a mental hospital and the next month undergoing treatment for alcoholism. She was released into a halfway house but was kicked out in late April because she had been unable to get a job and had returned to drinking.
So, of course, it was time for the police to return Kristi’s gun.
Knowing that she had a history of mental illness.
Knowing that she had threatened suicide two months earlier.
Knowing that she had a psychiatrist, whose contact information was listed on the police report of the February incident. Unfortunately, no one ever called her to ask whether it would be wise to give Kristi a gun.
Instead, police did the requisite ‘Brady check’, verifying that Kristi had never been ordered by a judge into treatment, and proceeded to track her down to let her know she could come get her gun.
Kristi picked up her gun and her bullets on May 7, 2009.
She died just after 4 a.m. on May 8.
‘Had the city not returned Kristi’s gun, she would have possessed a viable civil rights action against the city for violating her Second and Fourteenth Amendment rights,’ attorney Michele Iafrate wrote.
There’s another short video at the link.
In our concern for the rights of people with mental illness, we have come to neglect the rights of ordinary Americans to be safe from the fear of being shot — at home and at schools, in movie theaters, houses of worship and shopping malls.
On Saturday, his family in Elk Grove Village expressed relief that Weiler had been caught, certain that he would have followed through with what an Oklahoma court affidavit described as a deadly terrorist plot.
“It’s a blessing in disguise that they were able to get there,” said Weiler’s cousin Johnny Meyers in an interview. “He has to be held accountable. It’s a blessing, he can’t hurt anyone now.”
According to court documents, Weiler was arrested after police found the bomb-making equipment in a garbage can at a motel. He has been charged with violating Oklahoma’s anti-terrorism laws, a legacy of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people.
Entering Weiler’s motel room, police found dozens of empty beer bottles fashioned as Molotov cocktails, along with a torn-up page that had hand-written instructions for making the bombs. The document had a hand-drawn map of 48 local churches, and plans to make more bombs, according to the affidavit.
The churches were “grouped and circled with a key detailing how many nights and how many people,” would potentially be affected, according to the affidavit. Officials said Weiler had plans to videotape the explosions. A hand-written journal discovered in his motel room laid out plans to destroy churches across the U.S. “a tiny bit at a time — setting foundation for the years to follow,” the affidavit said.
Miami Police Chief George Haralson said Weiler checked into the motel on Sept. 20 using an Illinois driver’s license with an address in Washington, Ill., just east of Peoria.
Haralson said police have not found any indication of a partner in the plot.
“To be able to fire bomb 48 churches in a week, that’s an awful lot of effort,” Haralson said. “But we’re confident that he was acting alone.”
As for why Weiler might have targeted the rural community of 15,000 people, “I couldn’t even begin to guess,” Haralson said.
His aunt Joanne Meyers said she believes the latest incident is another example how mental illness has devastated their family. She and her husband Chris took in Weiler after his mother committed suicide in 2002 after years of depression and alcoholism, she said.
Weiler’s father suffered from alcohol and drug addiction before he killed himself in 2005.
And, a sister is hospitalized for mental illness after several suicide attempts, said Meyers.
“We just want people to understand how mental illness such as Greg’s affects our whole family,” Meyers said.
Weiler showed signs of mental illness early, she said. After graduating from Elk Grove High School, he went to Bradley University — where he skipped classes and stole money from friends and family through a pyramid scheme, said Meyers.
About three years ago, Weiler joined a church in Missouri that his family called “a cult.”
Researchers found women infected with the Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) parasite, which is spread through contact with cat faeces or eating undercooked meat or unwashed vegetables, are at increased risk of attempting suicide.
The study involved more than 45,000 women in Denmark. About a third of the world’s population is infected with the parasite, which hides in cells in the brain and muscles, often without producing symptoms.
The infection, which is called toxoplasmosis, has been linked to mental illness, such as schizophrenia, and changes in behaviour.
The study’s senior author Doctor Teodor Postolache, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in the United States, said: “We can’t say with certainty that T. gondii caused the women to try to kill themselves, but we did find a predictive association between the infection and suicide attempts later in life that warrants additional studies.
“We plan to continue our research into this possible connection.”
I began to think of suicide at sixteen. An anxious and driven child, I entered in my mid-teens a clinical depression that would last for 40 years. I participated in psychotropic drug therapy for almost 30 of those, and now, owing in part, but only in part, to the drug Cymbalta, I have respite from the grievous suffering that is mental illness.
As a health policy scholar, I understand the machinations of the pharmaceutical industry. My students learn about “me-too” drugs, which barely improve on existing medications, and about “pay-for-delay,” whereby pharmaceutical companies cut deals with manufacturers of generic drugs to keep less expensive products off the market. I study policymakers’ widespread use of effectiveness research and their belief that effectiveness will contain costs while improving quality. I appreciate that randomized controlled trials are the gold standard for determining what works. Specifically, I know that antidepressant medication is vigorously promoted, that the diagnostic criteria for depression are muddled and limited, and that recent research attributes medicated patients’ positive outcomes to the placebo effect. In my own research and advocacy work, I take a political, rather than a medical, approach to recovery from mental illness.
Cymbalta in particular epitomizes pharmaceutical imperialism. Approved by the FDA in August 2004 for the treatment of major depressive disorder, it has since gotten the go-ahead for treating generalized anxiety disorder, fibromyalgia, and chronic musculoskeletal pain, including osteoarthritis and lower back pain. It remains under patent to Eli Lilly.