Doug, Author at Unhinged

Attention UH Listeners:

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Please note: There will be no podcast this week, as I am celebrating a birthday on Tuesday, Ed is still settling into his new Colorado spread, and most importantly, we need the week to work on some technical issues, to get back to the level of production quality that we’re used to and insist on. Thank you for your support & patience.

The next show, show #43, will be released on Tuesday, March 29th.

Cheers,

Doug Warren

Unhinged Podcast -Talking Mental

 

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Current State of the UHN Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Clinical Trial

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Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is currently the most powerful known treatment for major depression.  The technique itself was developed at the Toronto Western Hospital nearly 10 years ago.  It was based on research findings by neurologist Dr. Helen Mayberg, working with a multi-disciplinary team that included world-renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Andres Lozano, our own Clinic’s Co-Director, Dr. Peter Giacobbe, as well as UHN’s Psychiatrist-in-Chief, Dr. Sidney Kennedy.  Because DBS can often achieve remission where all other measures fail, the tecnhique is now being used to treat severe depression in advanced medical centres across Canada and around the world.

With DBS, a neurosurgeon implants a pair of electrodes into a small brain structure that is overactive in depression, called Area 25, or the subgenual cingulate.  The electrodes stimulate at a high frequency that effectively jams the signals passing through the neural connections in the region.  Once the electrodes are activated, many patients experience a rapid and dramatic improvement in symptoms — even patients who have not responded to any other treatment, including ECT.  However, DBS remains an experimental technique, available only to small numbers of patients, in medical centres with expert teams of neurosurgeons.  It also requires the electrodes to be permanently implanted in the brain and connected to a battery implanted under the collarbone — quite an invasive procedure compared to other treatments for depression.  For these reasons, DBS is usually reserved for cases where all other options have failed.

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Unhinged Podcast is Back!

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Show #42 will be available everywhere, including at UnhingedPodcast.com, August 15th!

We’ve been on hiatus since March, as Doug has gone through a nasty & long relapse. With the help of the UHN Neuroscience & Neuropsychiatry team, it looks like there has been some signs of improvement, and we’re hoping that Doug will get back to that very good quality remission he’d experienced several months ago. Until the neuromodulator battery died and surgery was performed…and once again leading to a complete relapse.

We’ll get more in detail on his current status with show 42, as well as a couple of hot topics due for discussion, and more. We’re very excited to get things going again full-throttle. We want to thank you, our loyal listeners, fellow advocates and dear friends for being so patient and understanding during the ups & downs. Please know that we’re dedicated & passionate about what we’re doing, and we want to be with you every Tuesday, as we’d done for so long.

So, mark your calendars and don’t miss Show #42, it will be a real occasion for us, and we can’t wait to get back to doing what we do. “See” You Then!

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Today’s Post-Surgery f/u with Dr. Peter Giacobbe

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Today I’ll be meeting with Dr. Peter Giacobbe, of the Neuroscience clinic at Toronto Western Hospital, for my post-surgery check-in and possible adjustments​ to the neuromodulator.

I’m hoping with everything I’ve got that the DBS, with the current settings, will resume working as it had done for over 3 months prior to the battery running low. It was by far the best quality remission (out of 3 total) that I’ve had to date.

#Hope is what I’m riding on…

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr 

~Doug

Unhinged Podcast -Talking Mental

Hope for Remission Continued…

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Coming of Age -Mental Health

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Coming of Age -Mental Health

Unhinged Facebook Page Post 
Published by Doug Warren · Yesterday at 7:19pm

Our discoveries and advances in understanding the brain – we are making real strides right now.

We need to treat & refer to serious Mental Illnesses, including Schizophrenia, Bipolar & Depression, not as behavioral or mental disorders, but as brain disorders; Neuropsychiatric disorders.

*Don’t miss Show #41 on March 7th as Ed Caggiani and I will be discussing at length about the magic of Music and its effects on the brain, but we will also elaborate some more on brain functioning as it relates to mental illnesses. I believe this is crucial in order to focus on issues like diagnosis, early detection and treatment, above perception and stigma. Stigma will die at the hands of Science & Progress!

~Doug Warren
Unhinged Podcast-Talking Mental

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Doug Finds Bravery Inside…

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Doug Finds Bravery Inside…
I hope I don't soil myself!
TLC: Toronto. Laughs. Comedy.

TLC: Toronto. Laughs. Comedy.

TGIF Comedy Open Mic Night!

Friday, Oct 7, 2016, 7:30 PM

Lola
40 Kensington Ave. Toronto, ON

2 Heckle Haters Attending

Hey guys! Thanks so much so joining the group! I run a weekly open mic comedy night at the dive bar LOLA (near Spadina/Dundas) in Kensington Market from 7:30-10pm every Friday. All of you are free to come out & watch, have some cheap drinks, and even try your hand at standup comedy if you’re up for it! -Acts range from amateurs & first-timers, to …

Check out this Meetup →

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Doug Ends Indiegogo (Generosity) Fundraising Campaign

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DBS for TRD

The very long and state-of-the-art brain surgery called DBS. There were more medical staff involved in the room, than I’ve ever seen before.

Friends,

As of this evening, I have decided to end the Indiegogo (Generosity) fundraising campaign. I am more than determined to do what it takes to work in an advocate capacity and push for necessary change in many areas of Mental Health. These of course include continuing to fund research in areas such as Genetics, Neuroscience, Peer Support and of course a much stronger commitment from governments to support those who are in dire need and who are fighting for their lives.

Awareness has definitely come a long way in the last several years, and this fundraising campaign was a testament to just that. In just 4 days, we received 7 donations that allowed us to reach 68% of our original goal…in my eyes and my heart that truly says something about the inherent goodness of people. I’ve met many special friends through social media and I’m extremely grateful for these selfless, wonderful people.

DBS Brain Surgery Saved My Life: Neurosurgery + Genetic Research + Digital Brain Imaging. I am deep in the heart of three clinical trials that are at the forefront and cutting edge in the areas of Neuroscience, Genetic Research, Neuropsychiatry and more. My case is a particularly rare one, and severely intractable, so at this moment I feel good & proud about the fact that these leading scientists & practitioners are learning and advancing in treatment due to my participation and the data that they’re collecting.

If you’ve been keeping up with the podcast, you know that right now, since the MEG Imaging, I am feeling better than I’ve felt in a lot of years. So now, it’s a matter of whether or not the remission continues and if and when I’ll be able to enjoy a meaningful quality of life. Thanks to these advancements in science, as well as the support of friends and family, I will remain hopeful, keep fighting, and will devote the rest of my life helping others get through their immense challenges dealing with this disease.

The Primary reason for ending the campaign early, or why I’d launched it in the first place, is because I’m finally in a place where life & living matters, and doing the podcast is not only therapeutic, it’s broadcasting, which I’d studied in the 90’s and even worked as a radio talk show host for spell. To me now, I feel that it’s my calling in a sense to couple my communication skills with exactly the type of subject matter we cover on Unhinged and I do not want to lose that opportunity to be a voice for those who feel alone, unimportant and ultimately feel they are not heard.

So the show MUST go on, it’s my turn to help & advocate for those in real need, but it was imperative that I found some, at least temporary was to somehow supplement my below-poverty level income, because for one it’s morally wrong, but when you face the prospect of not eating anything for days at the end of each month, it’s inevitable that fear & negative emotions will arise and I get psychologically down, even though I can tell the Neurology (DBS) is working…but I’m still faced with the realization every month not knowing where my next meal is coming from.

Once again, I send out a heartfelt thank you to our supporters and please be sure to tune into out Podcast every Tuesday, not only is it an important means of communicating our plans of advocacy, but it is subject matter that can help people on all walks of life deal with challenging & difficult times in their lives. Hope Lives!

Best,

-Doug Warren Rickel
Mental Health Advocate & Survivor

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.’

~Maya Angelou

 

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“The Brain Pacemaker” Explained…

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Doug’s Follow-up information on his own Genetics & Digital Imgaging

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I promised during the last couple of UH podcasts that I would clarify what I’ve been learning in regards to the latest gene testing and digital imaging that I’ve been involved with, specifically based on my individual disease…

The following excerpt is from one of the latest studies from the National Psychiatry Association. This will help explain the ‘S’ (or ‘Short’ Allele), my predisposition to it as well as how it affects specific parts of the/my brain. We will continue to follow-up and elaborate on the subject matter during upcoming shows:

Serotonin Transporter Gene

The serotonin transporter gene may affect neural circuits connecting the amygdala and the cingulate and cause depression.

People with anxiety disorders or depression complain not so much about the emotion itself as its unceasing nature, says Daniel Weinberger of the National Institute of Mental Health. Now he and his colleagues may have found why their experience is continuous, according to work published in the June issue of Nature Neuroscience. Scientists know that the serotonin transporter gene, which encodes a key protein for neurotransmission in the brain, comes in a long form and a short form. People who have the short form are susceptible to developing depression or anxiety, though the gene does not actually cause it.

To find out how the short form affects emotional health, Weinberger’s team looked at 94 healthy individuals, some who have each form. Using brain imaging techniques, they found that two regions involved in emotional responses, the amygdala and the cingulate, were smaller in people with the short gene. Also, the neural circuits connecting the amygdala and the cingulate were weaker in people with the short form than in those with the long one. That is important, says Weinberger, because the amygdala controls a person’s response to fearful situations, evaluating whether they should react or not, and then the cingulate vets the amygdala’s response. If a fear signal put out by the amygdala is not justified, the cingulate turns it off.

But in people with the short form of the gene, the cingulate is not able to perform this editing function as effectively, so it is as if the amygdala is going off all the time. “If you can’t shut off fear, it is much worse than just feeling it for the first time,” Weinberger says. The new evidence suggests that this phenomenon happens in people with the short gene, which would explain why they are more prone to depression and anxiety.

genetic testing 2000px-Chromosome_17.svg

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