DSM-5 – Doesn’t Seem to Make sense?

Now here’s something you don’t see every day!

For anyone that has ever thought that DSM was just a manual for prescription pharmaceuticals;

The British Psychological Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology have been busy formulating a less than politically correct opinion about DSM-5!

‘Dr Lucy Johnstone, a consultant clinical psychologist who helped draw up the DCP’s statement, said it was unhelpful to see mental health issues as illnesses with biological causes.

“On the contrary, there is now overwhelming evidence that people break down as a result of a complex mix of social and psychological circumstances – bereavement and loss, poverty and discrimination, trauma and abuse,” Johnstone said. The provocative statement by the DCP has been timed to come out shortly before the release of DSM-5, the fifth edition of the American Psychiatry Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.’

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/may/12/psychiatrists-under-fire-mental-health

Who knows?

NEXT they may suggest that ‘a complex mix of social and psychological circumstances – bereavement and loss, poverty and discrimination, trauma and abuse’ can’t be fixed by pills! But that would be REALLY far out.

DSM – 5, Does it Make Sense to you?

addendum

also see posts:

http://wellcallmecrazy.wordpress.com/2013/05/05/breaking-news-this-just-in/ VERY PROMISING

http://ahmritanaturalmentalhealth.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/natural-therapies-holistic-vs-conformist/ very good points about holistic treatment

I would also add that the human body made up of its billions of cells, and billions of neurons is not something that can be put into the latest version of ‘windows’. Trying to put the body and mind into boxes or categories is only useful if you look at the relationships between the categories (ie anatomy and physiology, psychology and physiology etc in a similar way to Chinese Medicine).

Until we look at the whole picture healthcare will continue to perform like a broken record, which is tragic because so many lives would not be needlessly wasted, all because of our failure as human beings to look outside of the box of an outdated, mechanistic model of the mind, body and spirit.

Looks like lots of people are beginning to step out of the box and ask questions about our health care and beliefs.

really interesting advanced cognitive neuroscience and application of gaming, mobile technology etc. Really cutting edge brain training!

Psyche's Circuitry

I just attended the second annual Entertainment Software and Cognitive Neurotherapeutics Society (ESCoNS) conference. Say that five times fast.  This conference brought together people in the gaming world with cognitive neuroscientists. I went because I’m developing (and testing) an app that I believe can help people reduce stress, worry, and anxiety in their lives. In addition to more deeply exploring how to make mental health truly fun, I felt that I was seeing the future of mental health unfolding before my eyes.

Gamifying mental health

Here are four ideas I think will change how the field of mental health will look in a decade (or less):

1. Mental health care WILL BE gamified. The mobile revolution and app zeitgeist have changed how we get things done. We want an app for everything because we want our life mobile and streamlined, and the minute we think we want to do something, we want…

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The Power of Vulnerability – Brene Brown

I watched this talk this evening and have to admit that I laughed, probably a bit too loudly, through this very touching Ted talk re-blogged by Dr Frank Lipman.  I have seen it before from Be Well and Happy.

For all my fellow onions out there, I think this is a really important and not often enough discussed topic which has cropped up a lot recently (see links).

For everyone  this weekend please share Brene’s Talk  on vulnerability as an idea worth spreading.

 

http://bewellandhappy.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/brene-brown-ted-talk-on-vulnerability/

http://www.drfranklipman.com/brene-brown-the-power-of-vulnerability/

http://fredphillips.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/the-beauty-and-benefits-of-vulnerability/

very interesting and relavent findings on gene expression and mental health.

deemagclinic

The biggest study yet into genetics and mental health has come up with a stunning result: The five most common mental illnesses — autism, attention deficit disorder, bipolar disease, schizophrenia and major depression — all have a common genetic root.

The finding, published in the journal Lancet on Wednesday, may eventually lead to a complete rewrite of the medical understanding of the causes of mental illness.

“We have been able to discover specific genetic variants that seem to overlap among disorders that we think of as very clinically different,” Dr. Jordan Smoller of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, who led the study, said in a telephone interview.

The study does not explain every case of psychiatric disease, the researchers stress.

“We think this is one tiny fraction of the genetic component of these disorders. They involve hundreds and possibly thousands of genes,” Smoller said.

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Neurological Rock Stars – Robert Sarpolsky

Some time ago YouTube started spitting lectures about human behaviour at me by this bloke called ‘Robert Sarpolsky’. (1)

Robert Sarplosky is a lecturer at Stanford University in the US.

In the interests of science I decided to investigate and watch.

Initially, I was really stuck by the ‘Slash’ hairdo (of Gun’s N’ Roses fame) with a beard for intellectual credibility. What really struck me was this curly chimp lover’s quirky teaching style.

Neurology and behaviour shouldn’t be so interesting, but he manages to make what could be a series of lectures that make as much sense as ‘Lost’ and go way over Kiefer Sutherland’s ‘24’ hours of viewing REALLY interesting and valuable time spent.

The lectures that are available to watch are Stanford’s Human Behavioural Biology Module from 2010.(2)

Personally, I find them gripping and if you are also interested in this kind of thing then all 25 lectures are available to watch online.

One of the benefits of this course is that if like me you do not have the kind of background and finances that can get you a place at Stanford, the online lectures are the closest you or I will ever get to this world class course.

Sarpolsky cover’s human behavioural biology in a way that is really broad. The first lecture mentions some of the reading list recommendations such as ‘Chaos: Making A New Science’ the best-selling book by James Gleick that first introduced the principles and early development of chaos theory to the public.(4) Apparently reading this could be so life transforming ‘you may never need to meditate again’ I quote.

What I like about the way the subject is presented is that as the introduction of chaos theory suggests, the course content is diverse. The subjects may be viewed separately, but once they are woven together this is the first time I have seen a full western science course try to piece together human behavior and neurology in a way that acknowledges everything is interconnected.

I have to warn you that although the course is a GREAT deal more interesting and makes more sense than ‘Lost’ I still haven’t finished watching all of the lectures and need to go away and do a PHD on every single one, but for those fortunate to have PHD in genetics, or biology, neuroscience or even if you like me went to the university of ‘life’ this is a really challenging and rewarding series. Don’t be put off by the titles just get stuck in.

It covers topics like, evolutionary behavior, molecular genetics, area’s of the brain, schizophrenia and neuroscience. Perhaps just grazing through them will give you an idea of their flavour.

Anyone who wants to have a look at Sarpolsky’s work in a more accessible way, check out ‘Stress, Portrait of a killer’ documentary 2008. (4)

Human behaviour can be baffling, but you may never need to get lost in ‘Lost’ again.

 

1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Sapolsky#Books

2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNnIGh9g6fA

3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=fvwp&v=_KVWidu_sWo&NR=1

4) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYG0ZuTv5rs&feature=endscreen&NR=1

One Moment At A Time – What Is MBSR And Who Is Jon Kabat-Zinn?

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Jon Kabat-Zinn(1) (2)

In search of mindfulness I have been following the progress of mindfulness teaching locally and have been pleasantly surprised recently with the numbers of classes advertised.

A couple of weeks ago I saw one that was titled ‘Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction’ and was intrigued.

Another article in January/February Scientific American Mind 2013 related to mindfulness; it is titled ‘Focus on Your-self to Alleviate Social Pain’. The article discusses the benefits of mindfulness for pain, stress, anxiety and depression, but also how a new study recently that has shown it reduces feelings of loneliness or social isolation. Mindfulness was also shown to reduce inflammation and the risk of heart attacks.

So where did all this research start and why is there so much interest in mindfulness for health?

Taking to you-tube (as you do) I came across this one titled ‘The Healing Power of Mindfulness’.(1)

It has sparked my interest in Jon Kabat-Zinn who talks about his life and how at college he was one of 5 students who went to see a monk lecture on this topic. During the lecture he describes how he had one of those ‘Ah-ha!’ moments as he realised that what he had just been taught to do should be something that everyone gets to learn in kindergarten.

‘Being in the moment’ sounds like something we all could benefit from, but how many of us are actually present without our mobile phone, computer, television or radio?

I am sitting here with the computer and a phone so I am clearly not a shining example of being present within myself just right now.

When do we ever switch off?

Something else I am interested in is the research into ‘neuroplasticity’.  Jon Kabat-Zinn studied molecular biology in 1971 at MIT.

In the film he talks about how studies have now gone on to show that not only is the mind plastic but so are genes, and he describes how the corrosive acid of stress wears down our DNA causing problems within the body. Mindfulness meditation research is showing that this can be stopped and reversed.

He has been teaching and studying the effects of mindfulness since 1979 and is Professor of Medicine Emeritus and founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Although watching you-tube isn’t always a mindfulness practice, I was really relaxed and centered when I had finished watching, and participating at one point(audience participation!), spending time with this innovative out of the box thinker talking about his life’s work with mindfulness.

I hope you feel that you can take the time to watch him as well, and perhaps take away some of his mindful thoughts and experiences on the benefits of being present in the mind and body.

You come from nothing, you go back to nothing, it’s what you do in between that matters. Don’t you want to always be present?

(For people in the area there are some good classes advertised at the Treehouse if you are looking for a teacher http://www.treehousewales.co.uk/ )

1)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_If4a-gHg_I

2)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Kabat-Zinn

The Mystery of the Missed Connection – Review

Agenesis and the Corpus Callosum

Scientific American Mind (1) (2) January/ February 2013 published an interesting article on the ‘Corpus Callosum’ the connective bridge between the two hemispheres of the brain.

This particular article is very interesting as it discusses some of the common links of the area and research into Autism, Epilepsy and schizophrenia to name a few.

Critically, it discusses how neuroplasticity can affect ‘re-wiring’ of the brain if this structure is missing.

Because the corpus callosum is central it has many roles such as motor skills, attention and memory. It joins up the two hemispheres and helps them work together.

Although the article doesn’t discuss how hormones impact on the tissue in the Corpus Callosum it is a very interesting article about neuroplasticity and its implications.

In particular the article features a condition known as Agenesis – see this blog link for one of the contributors (http://agenesiscorpuscallosum.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/acc-mystery-of-missed-connection.html). Of particular interest is the self- advocacy website attached to the blog for families and people with this rare condition see here: http://scenicbeauty.tripod.com/AngelsAroundTheWorld.html

This explains that Agenesis is a rare condition where children are born with out or only a partial corpus callosum.

I have read about the corpus callosum before in relation to Einstein who was dyslexic and had epilepsy. (3)

When the brain of Albert Einstein was cut up, it was discovered that he had a much thicker corpus callosum but other areas of his brain were deficient. (4)

In terms of neurodiversity and neuroplasticity I am very interested in the findings of the article.

As a follow up I had a look for information about hormones and the corpus callosum which was very interesting, as this e-book link (5) discusses findings in relation to difference in connectivity between the sexes and the studies relating to thickness of the corpus callosum caused by sex hormones which appear to have a great impact on the development of this area.

The author light heartedly puts forward the difficulties of studying sex difference and cognitive ability, and some of the problems (I mean arguments) this can cause between scientists.

I thought it was interesting that one piece of research seemed to suggest that the greater thickness of connectivity in the corpus callosum could account for better verbal skill/ connectivity in women! 🙂

1) http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-mystery-of-the-missed-connectio

2)http://www.nature.com/scientificamericanmind/journal/v23/n6/full/scientificamericanmind0113-54.html

3) http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewArticle.asp?id=19984

4)http://recievemore.com/?tag=corpus-callosum

5)http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=2zNNhXqlJP4C&pg=PA199&lpg=PA199&dq=corpus+callosum+hormones&source=bl&ots=7I8iYq-ZMW&sig=r-QeVzRsFhFjs2YpqUI9vAX2x2Q&hl=en&sa=X&ei=VP_4UNnSFISW0QXB3oDwDA&sqi=2&ved=0CGIQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=corpus%20callosum%20hormones&f=false

‘Disability is a crushed spirit’ as defined by Aimee Mullins –‘Ability’ or ’Disability’ what is it all about?

For me disability is about education and empowerment. Of myself and others.

Not talking about disability, in my case epilepsy, leads to fear and ignorance, it creates taboo and prejudice.

Not embracing epilepsy or disability as a part of me would be to deny my whole self. Until it sits alongside me as my reflected other half I am not whole.

Treating disability with a ‘Fight Club’ mentality (The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club) (1) will not lead to health (you only have to watch the film to see how destructive this type of thinking can be! (2)).

Disability for me is about acceptance of myself, but in the wider social context to be accepted by society would be the ideal.

Not accepting our differences leads to disharmony within the self and society.

There is a fine line between ‘accepting’ and ‘labelling’ disability. It is about how we see ourselves as much as how others see us.

http://www.drfranklipman.com/aimee-mullins-redefines-the-word-disabled/

Frank Lipman’s blog about Aimee Mullins is one of my favourite posts from 2012. In it she talks about all the disempowering negative language that is associated with the word ‘disability’, and gives her new definition.

One of the most frustrating things about having epilepsy is people who tell me I’m sick. Actually, they often never get as far as the word disability, I am ‘sick’.

Disability its self is a big label to be handing out, but sickness!

Normally, I might add, my personal experience of the word ‘sickness’ is that it is banded about in the context of work!

I am NOT sick, I am not DEAF, I am epileptic, but I am capable, I am intelligent and I can use my voice and prove everyone who ever said I can’t do something that they are wrong about me! I don’t define myself by my disability but it really did help to make me who I am today.

‘Disable’, (verb)

To crush a spirit, to withdraw hope, to deflate curiosity, to promote an inability to see beauty, to deprive of imagination, to make abject.

Ant.  To make poss-able

Aimee Mullins 2009 new (and better!) Thesaurus  2009 Edition

Here she is in her TED talk, which is titled ‘The Opportunity of Adversity’.

She’s my heroine.

1)      http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0137523/quotes

2)      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fight_Club

What do Epilepsy, Autism, Hormones, Sleep, Music, Meditation, Exercise have in common? The Hippocampus and Neurogenesis.

This was my first full year of blogging and it has been an enormous learning curve.

Blogging has been an amazing way to connect with other people, read about life experiences, thoughts, emotions and ideas. Thank you to all the bloggers whose work I have read this year. It has been very enriching.

For me, I have been able to express myself in writing, and to say what I am thinking about – which is quite liberating.

Most of all blogging has helped me to make sense of epilepsy.

So, when I was looking back at all the subjects that came up in the last year, I was struck by how although very different subject areas were covered, a number of these topics  could all be knitted together in a ‘holistic’ kind of way via one area of the brain.

The hippocampus.(1)

Architecturally the hippocampus sits within the limbic system (2) fairly centrally inside the brain (towards the brainstem).

This area of the brain is implicated in; mood, memory, learning and spatial awareness. Because of these factors the study of the hippocampus has been important in diseases such as Alzheimer’s and depression.

Relatively recently scientists identified the hippocampus as one of a number of areas in the brain that is capable of neurogenesis into adulthood. (3) Neurogenesis is the ability of the brain to create new neurons.

For this reason the hippocampus crops up in lots of neurological studies.

Within epilepsy for example, some of the factors that aggravate seizure symptoms generally are sleep deprivation and stress. Sleep deprivation and stress negatively affect neurogenesis and there are a number of studies around the relationship with epilepsy and the hippocampus. One study in particular shows; abnormal neurogenesis in the hippocampus of people with epilepsy, increased neurogenesis in people with epilepsy and inhibited neurogenesis in the hippocampus, in particular a study relating to temporal lobe epilepsy (4). All of these problems can impact on mood, depression, memory and learning in epilepsy.

Having found information that epilepsy and autism can be linked I started exploring this area more and even found people advocating for both such as Epilepsy Action’s Advocate blog (5).

Within autism, the hippocampus is mentioned in studies relating to the importance of autism and working memory. (6) The reason I was looking at this relationship is because one of my friends who is on the autistic spectrum benefits highly from martial arts training. I read an article ages ago in ‘Martial Arts Illustrated’ magazine  about ‘Sandra Jane Beale Ellis’(7) who has autism and has spent her life helping people with autism to train in Karate (8). Recently someone posted a blog about how kung fu and tai chi training help people with autism. (9) These studies reminded me how much tai chi training helped me with seizures and how much my memory, concentration, co-ordination and overall health was improved by tai chi and karate training. Some studies of autism indicate that an enriched learning environment from a young age in autism can be beneficial to promote neurogeneisis (10).

Hormones such as cortisol negatively effects neurogenesis within the hippocampus (11) cortisol is elevated by stress. Studies relating to oestrogen show there may be some impact of this hormone within the hippocampus and co-ordination (12) I found this research interesting because of problems I have around oestrogen and progesterone and seizure control. Melatonin (13) studies within the hippocampus indicate that melatonin may have neuroprotective qualities and indeed other bloggers with epilepsy have said that they find melatonin supplementation to be beneficial (14).

This leads onto Sleep deprivation negatively influences or reduces neurogenesis within the hippocampus (15). I am quite interested in the importance of sleep in relation to this area of the brain, because it crops up a lot in my personal experience of managing seizures. Reading about Jill Taylor Bolt stroke insight caused me to think about how sleep influences the brain and why. The asdresearchinitiative also shows a study of how sleep pattern problems impact on autism. (16) During sleep the brain goes through a process of ‘pruning’ neurons, this process also happens at different times in life. (17) (18)

Music came up more recently in relation to the ‘Mozart effect ’ in classical music (19). Studies of the hippocampus in music show how the hippocampus is implicated in long term memory and stringing together music in the brain. The music of Mozart in particular has been used to train mice to carry out spatial tasks in mazes, and one theory is that music may activate the same pathways as spatial awareness in the brain. (20) Music can cause emotional responses and I was interested how the hippocampus is located in the emotional brain or limbic system.

Within meditation, Studies into meditation have shown that meditation influences neuroplasticity and neurogenesis positively within the hippocampus. (21)

Exercise studies show that exercise promotes neurogenesis within the hippocampus. (22) In relation to exercise and mental health exercise has been shown to have a positive influence on mental health and some studies show that this positively influences the hippocampus. (23) This could explain why life systems such as yoga or tai chi which incorporate meditation as well as exercise are very good for the mind and body, because they support growth in the hippocampus.

In the context of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Kidney energy (24), is an area that I felt conceptually could be linked to neurogenesis by ‘pre natal chi’ (25) or Jing. This is because of the involvement of the Central Nervous System and stem cells in neurogenesis (26). I also thought that this could be carried across into ‘sexual energy’ or ‘kundalini’ in yoga.

Of course the hippocampus is only one small area of the brain and only one small part of the ‘whole body’, but I am interested that there are so many links with so many corresponding or similar impacting factors such as stress and sleep. The hippocampus is a bit like the ‘spaghetti junction’ of the brain! It is quite important how it fits into the whole body and mind because when it goes wrong or without it (such as was the case for poor Henry Molaison who had his hippocampus removed!)(26) things could get really messy!

The hippocampus is not the be all and end all of epilepsy and autism, or brain function; but I thought it was a good area to take a ‘big picture’ ‘small area’ snapshot into holistic mind body connections.

Normally I talk about one thing at a time, but it occurred to me that it can all fit together if you cross reference all these areas to help understand mind body health!

Happy Christmas and New Year! Wishing you all the best for 2013!

 

1)      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocampus

2)      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limbic_system limbic system

3)      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurogenesis

4)      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2654382/ epilepsy

5)      http://rosewinelover.com/      Epilepsy Action Advocate Blog

6)      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism_and_working_memory

7)      http://challengeautism.wordpress.com/ Sandra Beale Ellis blog

8)      http://www.challengeautism.co.uk/#/autism-me/4543515032 autism and karate

9)      http://doctordilday.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/just-another-form-of-exercise/ tai chi and autism

10)   http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/124/7/1317.full#ref-29  enriched learning and autism

11)   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurogenesis  cortisol

12)   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16965297 oestrogen and cognition

13)   http://www.angelfire.com/yt/yas709neuroscience/hippocampus1.htm melatonin

14)   http://epilepsytalk.com/2012/11/19/epilepsy-and-melatonin-yes-no-or-maybe-so/

Epilepsy Talk

15)   http://asdresearchinitiative.wordpress.com/2012/12/24/top-40-research-articles-of-2012-autism/#comment-1391 autism research

16)   http://asdresearchinitiative.wordpress.com/2012/12/24/sleep-disturbance-in-autism/ sleep autism

17)   http://jonlieffmd.com/blog/new-brain-cells-many-triggers-for-neurogenesis pruning neurons in sleep

18)   http://ahmritanaturalmentalhealth.wordpress.com/2012/11/26/autism-spectrum-as-a-developmental-disorder/ see webinar

19)   http://dragonandrose.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/epilepsy-classical-music/ Mozart effect

20)   http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro99/web1/Sancar.html

21)   http://www.brainsync.com/blog/neurogenesis-your-brain-renewed/ meditation and neurogenesis

22) http://www.enotes.com/exercise-78701-reference/exercise-108360

23)   http://jonlieffmd.com/blog/new-brain-cells-many-triggers-for-neurogenesis exercise

24)   http://wellmother.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/reflections-on-winter-part-2-how-to-support-our-water-energy-and-the-energy-of-kidney-and-bladder-and-their-relevance-to-211212/ kidney energy

25)   https://www.acufinder.com/Acupuncture+Information/Detail/The+Definition+of+Jing+-+Essence prenatal Jing

26)   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurogenesis

27)   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Molaison Henry Molaison

Epilepsy & Classical Music

epilepsy and classical music experiences

dragonandrose

I wanted to do some online research to see if there was some connection between epilepsy and classical music.  Every time that I listen to it I instantly forget all of my worries and feel completely at ease.

According to http://www.epilepsyhealth.com/music-healing.html:

  • Raymond Barr, head of the Coronary Care unit at Baltimore’s St. Agnes Hospital says, “For adult patients, half an hour of music produces the same effect as ten milligrams of Valium.”
  • For best results, do not listen to music for more than three hours at one time. If you find that you’ve had music playing for more than three hours, turn it off and take a break. The brain responds to variety and too much of any one stimulus produces a kind of fatigue and even irritation.
  • You are unique. Experiment with different types of music, and be aware of the effects each style of music…

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