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Author Topic: MLC Monster Biochemistry, Neurotransmitters, and Brain Research V

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« Last Edit: April 18, 2018, 03:10:52 PM by OldPilot »

b
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Excellent research, Velika:

So, their thoughts are in a continuous loop or can't be suppressed in order to function normally. These researchers mention schizophrenia and PTSD, but the discovery sounds helpful also for people who have OCD, which can also be debilitating.

I think it's great they are studying the brain's NETWORKS and connecting related frontal lobe dysfunctions/diseases.

Just watched a documentary about a 13-year-old sociopath who killed his little sister. The mother had mentioned to his pediatrician when her son was just a toddler that he bit all the fur off his stuffed teddy bear at night. She also said that he constantly picked at the pills on sweaters.

My husband, who has now has lost all morals, empathy and emotions due to his ftd, and can be considered as having acquired sociopathy, isn't a "picker," but he taps his toes, slaps his thigh, snaps his fingers and rocks furiously back and forth if he has to sit in a chair. These movements are called motor stereotypies. Verbal stereotypies may include whistling or singing.

Can't wait for all these researchers to out their brains together.

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Just wanted to mention another late-stage verbal stereotypy: Some people with ftd may actually start barking like a dog. Where do you think the expression, "barking mad" came from?
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Re: The young sociopath in the documentary. His grandmother was accused of killing her husband when she was 29 but was found not guilty.

genengnews.com

"Parasite Linked with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases, Epilepsy and Cancers"

"About 1/3 of the world's population is chronically infected with the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma Gondi.
. . . Most people with a healthy immune system will develop no symptoms from infection. Individuals with compromised immune systems, however, are at risk for more serious complications . . . "

"We wanted to understand how this parasite, which lives in the brain, might contribute to and shed light on pathogens is of brain diseases . . . We suspect it involves multiple factors. At the core is alignment of characteristics of the parasite itself, the genes it expresses on the infected brain, susceptibility genes . . . Other factors may include pregnancy, stress, additional infections, and a deficient micro biome. We hypothesized that when there is a confluence of these factors, disease may occur."
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ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

"Evidence for Fungal Infection in Cerebrospinal Fluid and Brain Tissue from Patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

. . .  fungal antigens, as well as DNA from several fungi, were detected in CSF from ALS patients.

. . .  The vast majority of ALS cases are sporadic (95%), whereas only a few are familial. In familial ALS, a number of mutations in several genes have been described. Relationships between ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases have been noted, particularly with frontotemporal dementia (FTD)."

Discussion

"Similar to neurodegenerative disease, fungal infections are usually chronic and progressive if untreated. Neuroinflammation is also repeatedly observed in the majority of neurodegenerative diseases, including ALS.

. . . Our previous reports have provided evidence for fungal I factions in MS and AD patients.

. . .  ALS is a heterogenous disease in which the evolution and clinical symptoms vary widely between patients; consequently, the disease can progress rapidly in some patients who die within one year from diagnosis, while other patients can survive several years after onset of clinical symptoms. The presence of different fungal species in each patient may account for the behavior.

. . .  It is well established that individual genetic background can determine the likelihood of fingal infection
. . .  An additional symptom shared by AD and ALS is the occurrence of Neuroinflammation and infiltration of T-lymphocytes in some areas of the CNS or spinal cord . . . Neuroinflammation and T cell infiltration may be consistent with microbial infection.

. . .  Another possibility should be that immune tolerance to fungal infection is lost in these patients and inflammation provokes injury and clinical symptoms."
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V
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Study suggests bipolar disorder may cause progressive brain damage

“For the first time, our study supports the idea that there may be on-going damage to certain regions of the brain as the illness progresses,” said the study’s lead author Raymond Deicken, MD. Deicken is the medical director of the Psychiatric Partial Hospital Program at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and UCSF associate professor of psychiatry.

The study appears in the May issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

More than 2 million Americans suffer from bipolar disorder, commonly known as manic depression. To date, there are no physiological markers used to diagnose the disease. Instead, it is identified by behavioral symptoms, including frequent mood swings between high-energy mania and severe depression.

Deicken and his colleagues compared brain scans of 15 non-symptomatic male patients with familial bipolar I disorder to those of 20 healthy male comparison subjects. Male subjects were chosen to control for the effects of gender.  In addition, test subjects were chosen based on several previous studies showing -that patients who have inherited the disorder have more prominent changes in brain structure and function.

Researchers determined chemical signatures of different brain structures in these two groups using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy. One finding focused on the level of an amino acid called N-acetylaspartate, or NAA, in the hippocampus, which is made up of a right and left half and is part of a complex of neural circuits in the brain that regulate emotion and memory.

The study found significantly lower concentrations of NAA in the right hippocampus of males with bipolar disorder when compared to the control group. They also found that for the right hippocampus, bipolar patients who had the disease the longest had the lowest levels of the amino acid.  This association between length of illness and NAA appears to be confined to certain brain regions since it was not found in previous studies that involved the frontal lobe and thalamus.

NAA is the second most abundant amino acid-next to glutamate-present in brain tissue. It is a biochemical indicator of the presence of neurons and axons, plays an important role in the synthesis of neuronal proteins, and is a precursor of myelin, which acts as insulation around neurons in the brain.

“Low NAA is an indication that the integrity of neurons and/or axons has been compromised in some way, either by damage, loss or dysfunction,” Deicken said. The decrease of hippocampal NAA over time in the test subjects indicates a progressive nature of this disease. Decreasing levels of NAA are also seen in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

According to Deicken, the findings also confirm the important role of the hippocampus in bipolar disorder. Brain imaging studies of patients suffering from major depression have demonstrated smaller hippocampi. Given that bipolar disorder also affects mood and emotion, it is not surprising that this study provides evidence for hippocampal damage or dysfunction in the disorder. 
The hippocampus is also important from a therapeutic standpoint since it is one of two brain regions where new neuronal growth, or neurogenesis, can occur, offering hope for reversal of damage.


NAA measurements may also help us to understand how medications work in bipolar disorder. “Lithium has been around for a long time and nobody really knows how it works,” Deicken said.  However, he points out that long-term lithium treatment has been recently shown to exert powerful protective effects in the rat brain, including damage from stroke.  It has also been shown in humans to increase both the amount of NAA and gray matter in the brain.

Finally, Deicken predicts that the monitoring of NAA levels will become invaluable in the evaluation of treatments for bipolar disorder and other psychiatric diseases-such as schizophrenia and major depression-which involve neuronal loss or dysfunction. “We’ll know we’re onto a potential treatment if a medication or other intervention manages to boost low levels of NAA toward more normal values, indicating neuronal repair or a recovery of function,” Deicken said.
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After reading more about bipolar disorder, I wish I had attempted to approach it from this angle when bomb drop first hit. I think I would have gained more traction when talking to therapists and might have focused efforts not on talking to marriage or family counselor but to a neuropsychiatrist.

If you are newly bomb dropped and are reaching out for help, I would urge you not to use the term "midlife crisis." If your spouse is showing the symptoms below — and especially if there is a family history or recent change in medications — please discuss possibility of bipolar with professionals. Knowing the right terminology to describe what you are seeing can help!

10 Subtle Signs of Bipolar Disorder
http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20436786,00.html

Great mood
Bipolar disorder is characterized by up-and-down episodes of mania and depression. During a manic phase, some patients can have a total break from reality.

But hypomania, which is also a symptom of the disorder, is a high-energy state in which a person feels exuberant but hasn’t lost his or her grip on reality.

"Hypomania can be a pretty enjoyable state, really," Dr. Bearden says. A person’s mood can be elevated, they may have a lot of energy and creativity, and they may experience euphoria. This is the "up" side of bipolar disorder that some people with the condition actually enjoy—while it lasts.

Inability to complete tasks
Having a house full of half-completed projects is a hallmark of bipolar disorder. People who can harness their energy when they are in a hypomanic phase can be really productive.

Those who can’t often go from task to task, planning grand, unrealistic projects that are never finished before moving on to something else.

"They can be quite distractible and may start a million things and never finish them," says Don Malone, MD, the director of the Center for Behavioral Health and chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Cleveland Clinic, in Ohio.

Depression
A person who is in a bipolar depressive state is going to look just like someone who has regular depression. "They have the same problems with energy, appetite, sleep, and focus as others who have 'plain old depression,'" Dr. Malone says.

Unfortunately, typical antidepressants alone don't work well in patients who are bipolar. They can even make people cycle more frequently, worsening their condition, or send someone into a break-with-reality episode.

"Antidepressants can be downright dangerous in people with bipolar because they can send them into mania," he says.

Irritability

Some people with this condition suffer from "mixed mania," where they experience symptoms of mania and depression at the same time. During this state, they are often extremely irritable.

Everyone has bad days, which is one reason this kind of bipolarity is much harder to recognize.

"We are all irritable or moody sometimes," Dr. Bearden says. "But in people with bipolar disorder it often becomes so severe that it interferes with their relationships—especially if the person is saying, 'I don’t know why I’m so irritable…I can’t control it.'"

Rapid speech

Some people are naturally talkative; we all know a motormouth or Chatty Cathy. But "pressured speech" is one of the most common symptoms of bipolar disorder.

This kind of speech occurs when someone is really not in a two-way conversation, Dr. Bearden says. The person will talk rapidly and if you try to speak, they will likely just talk over you.

They will also sometimes jump around to different topics. "What’s kind of a red flag is when it is atypical for the person to talk like this," doing it only when they are in a manic cycle but not at other times, she says.

Trouble at work

People with this disorder often have difficulty in the workplace because so many of their symptoms can interfere with their ability to show up for work, do their job, and interact productively with others.

In addition to having problems completing tasks, they may have difficulty sleeping, irritability, and an inflated ego during a manic phase, and depression at other times, which causes excessive sleeping and additional mood problems.

A lot of the workplace problems can be interpersonal ones, Dr. Malone says.

Alcohol or drug abuse

About 50% of people with bipolar disorder also have a substance abuse problem, particularly alcohol use, Dr. Bearden says.

Many people will drink when they are in a manic phase to slow themselves down, and use alcohol to improve their mood when they are depressed.

Erratic behavior

When they are in a manic phase, people with bipolar disorder can have an inflated self-esteem.

"They feel grandiose and don't consider consequences; everything sounds good to them," Dr. Malone says.

Two of the most common types of behavior that can result from this are spending sprees and unusual sexual behavior. "I have had a number of patients who have had affairs who never would have done that if they weren't in a manic episode…during this episode they exhibited behavior that is not consistent with what they would do normally," he says.

Sleep problems

People with this condition often have sleep problems. During a depression phase, they may sleep too much, and feel tired all the time.

During a manic phase, they may not sleep enough—but still never feel tired.

Even with just a few hours of sleep each night, they may feel great and have lots of energy.

Dr. Bearden says staying on a regular sleep schedule is one of the first things she recommends for bipolar patients.

Flight of ideas

This symptom may be something that is hard to recognize, but it occurs frequently when someone is in a manic phase. People feel like their mind is racing and that they can't control or slow down their thoughts.

This flight of ideas sometimes occurs with pressured speech.

People with bipolar may not recognize or admit that their mind is racing out of control, says Dr. Bearden.
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Cyclothymic Disorder
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/cyclothymic-disorder

Cyclothymic disorder is a milder form of bipolar disorder, characterized by episodes of hypomanic symptoms (elevated mood and euphoria) and depressive symptoms that last for at least two years.

Definition

Cyclothymic disorder, a mild form of bipolar disorder, is characterized by chronic, fluctuating mood swings—from symptoms of depression to symptoms of hypomania. These symptoms are not sufficient in number, severity, or duration to meet the full criteria for a hypomanic or depressive episode.

Hypomania involves periods of elevated mood, euphoria, and excitement but does not disconnect a person from reality. A person with cyclothymia experiences symptoms of hypomania but no full-blown manic episodes. Hypomania may feel good to the person who experiences it and may lead to enhanced functioning and productivity. Thus, even when family and friends learn to recognize the mood swings as possible bipolar disorder, the person may deny that a problem exists. Without proper treatment, however, hypomania can become severe mania or can turn into depression.

For cyclothymic symptoms to be diagnosed, hypomanic symptoms and depressive symptoms must be present at separate times for at least two years. Approximately 0.4 percent to one percent of people will experience cyclothymia in their lifetime. The disorder usually begins in adolescence or early adulthood, and there is a 15 percent to 50 percent risk that a person with cyclothymic disorder will go on to develop bipolar I disorder or bipolar II disorder. This rate of risk is still too low to justify viewing cyclothymia as merely an early manifestation of bipolar type I disorder, as many people do recover and do not experience future symptoms of hypomania or depression. Cyclothymic disorder is equally common in males and females.

Symptoms

For at least two years (one year for children and adolescents), the individual displays periods of hypomanic symptoms and periods of depressive symptoms that do not meet criteria for a hypomanic or major depressive episode.

Hypomanic symptoms are similar to manic symptoms but are shorter in duration and not as severe.

Signs and symptoms of hypomania include:

Increased energy, restlessness, and activity
Excessively "high," overly good, euphoric mood
Irritability
Racing thoughts and speech, jumping from one idea to another
Distractibility, inability to concentrate
Being more talkative than usual or feeling pressure to keep talking
Needing little sleep
Unrealistic beliefs in one's abilities and powers
Poor judgment
Spending sprees

A lasting period of behavior that is different from usual
Increased sex drive

Abuse of drugs, particularly cocaine, sleeping medications, and alcohol
Provocative, intrusive, or aggressive behavior
Denial that anything is wrong

A hypomanic episode is diagnosed if elevated mood occurs alongside three or more other symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for four days or longer. If the mood is irritable, four additional symptoms must be present. A manic episode is diagnosed if symptoms continue for one week or longer.

Depressive symptoms include:

Persistent sadness
Fatigue or listlessness
Excessive sleepiness OR inability to sleep
Loss of appetite and weight loss OR overeating and weight gain
Loss of self-esteem
Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness and, or, guilt
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
Withdrawal from friends
Withdrawal from activities that were once enjoyed

Persistent thoughts of death

An individual may be diagnosed with cyclothymic disorder if:

During the two-year period (one year for younger patients), symptoms are not absent for more than two consecutive months.
The patient has never had a major depressive episode or any manic or mixed manic episodes.
The disorder does not exist only in the context of a psychotic disorder.
Symptoms are not directly a result of a medical condition or substance usage.
Symptoms result in significant distress or impaired functioning in social, work, or personal areas.

It is not uncommon for people with cyclothymic disorder to also have diagnoses of substance-related disorders and sleep disorders. Children with cyclothymic disorder are also more likely to have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder than other pediatric patients.

Causes

The cause of cyclothymic disorder is unknown. Although mood swings are irregular and abrupt, the severity of the mood swings is far less extreme than in people with bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness). Unlike with bipolar disorder, periods of hypomania do not turn into mania, in which the person may lose control over his or her behavior and go on spending binges, engage in risky sexual behavior or drug use, and lose touch with reality.

Hypomanic periods are energizing and can result in productivity for some people, while for others these periods can cause impulsive and callous behavior, which can damage relationships. Because hypomania feels good, people with cyclothymia may not seek treatment.

To understand the causes of cyclothymia, it may be useful to explore the causes of bipolar disorder.

Most scientists now agree that there is no single cause of bipolar disorders—rather, many factors act together to produce these conditions. It is known, however, that major depressive disorder, bipolar I disorder, and bipolar II disorder are more common among close biological relatives of individuals with cyclothymic disorder.

Because bipolar disorders tend to run in families, researchers search for specific genes that may increase an individual's chance of developing the illness. But genes are not the whole story. Studies of identical twins, who share all the same genes, indicate that both genes and other factors play a role in bipolar disorder. If bipolar disorder were caused entirely by genes, then the identical twin of someone with the illness would always develop it, and this is not the case. But if one twin has bipolar disorder, the other twin is more likely to develop it than is another nontwin sibling.

Bipolar disorder, like other mental illnesses, does not occur because of a single gene. It appears likely that many different genes act together, and in combination with other factors of the individual or in the individual's environment. Finding these genes, each of which contributes only a small amount toward the likelihood of bipolar disorder, has been extremely difficult. But scientists expect that advanced research tools currently in use will lead to more effective treatments.
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Velika, that article describing Bipolar was good.

My niece is bipolar, showed up in her very early 20's, but everything I just read fit her like a glove.
When she stays on her meds. she's pretty good, but then she goes off them for the high feeling she misses...and gets a little crazy again.  It's true there are stages of her illness she likes.
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A quote from a recovered MLCer: 
"From my experience if my H had let me go a long time ago, and stop pressuring me, begging, and pleading and just let go I possibly would have experienced my awakening sooner than I did."

V
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Velika, that article describing Bipolar was good.

My niece is bipolar, showed up in her very early 20's, but everything I just read fit her like a glove.
When she stays on her meds. she's pretty good, but then she goes off them for the high feeling she misses...and gets a little crazy again.  It's true there are stages of her illness she likes.

Yes. I’m posting it here because I think it is important for people to rule out bipolar and cyclothemia before they start to assume their spouse is having a crisis. Knowing the symptoms may make it easier to seek help and communicate with doctors and therapists.
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