Doug, Author at Unhinged - Page 10 of 10

Doug Ends Indiegogo (Generosity) Fundraising Campaign

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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.


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!


-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



“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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An Unconditional Thank you to Mr. Unconditional

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I IMG_20160623_180359want to send a special thank you to my best friend Ed Caggiani for helping me get through the last couple of days which have been quite difficult, to say the least.

He was, as usual, unconditionally supportive and helped me through a difficult time financially as well.

He was also an ideal “enabler” (Not in the traditional sense!)

Sorry, but you’ll have to tune in to Episode #14 of Unhinged Podcast, to be released on June 28th, for more gory details, as well as other open, honest and unedited confessions…true talk amongst true friends.

For us and for you, don’t miss it! -Talking Mental

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Yawning and the Brain

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Yawning is a stereotyped behavior with very ancient origins, for it is found in fish, reptiles, and birds, as well as in humans. Described in ancient times by Hippocrates (who thought it served to evacuate fever), yawning did not become a subject of serious interest until the advances achieved in neuroscience in the 1980’s.

Generally speaking, yawning consists of three phases: first, a long intake of air, then a climax, and finally a rapid exhalation, which may or may not be accompanied by stretching. After yawning, you generally experience a sense of well being and relaxation and feel much more present in and aware of your body than you did before you yawned.

Contrary to what was believed for centuries, yawning does not serve to improve oxygenation in the brain. This myth was first laid to rest when it was discovered that the human fetus can yawn as early as the age of 12 weeks, even though it is surrounded by amniotic fluid in its mother’s belly and so is scarcely likely to get any more oxygen to its brain from this effort.

Second, if yawning really helped to raise the oxygen concentration in the blood, then inhaling pure oxygen would cause yawns to become less frequent, while raising the concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood would make them more frequent. But several studies have shown that neither of these things occurs. Also, yawning is no more common in people with acute or chronic respiratory problems than it is in the general population.

The role of yawning has yet to be fully determined. But because we yawn more often when we first awaken, when we are bored, and when we are trying not to fall asleep, its primary function would appear to be to help make us more alert. Yawning also seems to play a role in non-verbal communication, especially among primates.

Which leads us to something truly singular about yawning: its contagiousness. That is, when we see someone yawn, it makes us yawn. Sometimes simply thinking about a yawn can be enough to trigger one! Obviously, the term “contagiousness” should not be taken literally here, because no germs are being transmitted. More precisely, yawning is a form of involuntary imitation. Some scientists believe that this characteristic of yawning may have developed as a mechanism for promoting social cohesion, for example, by enabling all the people present in a group to have the same level of alertness at the same time.

In the rest of the animal kingdom, yawning is observed among predator and prey species alike. Among predators, its purpose might be to encourage the group to take a restorative nap so that all of its members can be well rested for an attack on their prey later on. Among prey, by encouraging all members of the group to fall asleep at the same time, yawning might reduce the risk that any one individual might be sleeping alone and hence highly vulnerable to attack by a predator.

There is no nerve centre strictly associated with the yawn reflex, but certain brain structures, such as the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the brainstem are essential for its expression. Some scientists have even hypothesized that the strong contractions of the jaw muscles during yawning may stimulate the reticular formation and thereby encourage wakefulness.

Lastly, one interesting linguistic note: the French verb bâiller (to yawn) has a circumflex accent on the “a” and not on the “i” because in Old French, when people pronounced this word, they stretched out the “a” to imitate the sound of someone yawning.

*Courtesy of McGill University -“The Brain, Start to Finish”                                                                                 copyleft

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Doug’s 2nd Consultation with Dr. Roger S. McIntyre

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Dr. Roger S. McIntyre

Monday June 6th, 2016 -Met with Dr. McIntyre today for my 2nd consult with him. Now that the DBS is working to some degree, will Dr. McIntyre have some insight into whether or not supplementation on the biochemical side will possibly help the DBS in it’s work? And what does his latest research suggest, given my mood, fluctuation patters, and from a full-scale picture, in the way of medications that are NOT typically used for TRD.

 *More in tomorrow’s post; and you won’t believe what he said…

Dr. Roger S. McIntyre MD, FRCPC
Head, Mood Disorders Psychopharmacology Unit (UHN)

Dr. Roger McIntyre is currently a Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology at the University of Toronto and the Head of the Mood Disorders Psychopharmacology Unit at the University Health Network, Toronto, Canada.

He was named by Thomson Reuters in 2014 as one of “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds”. This distinction is bestowed upon researchers who publish the most highly cited articles in a variety of scientific fields during the previous decade.

He is also extensively involved in medical education.  He is a highly sought-after speaker at both national and international meetings. He has received several teaching awards from the University of Toronto’s Department of Psychiatry and has been selected for the joint Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA)/Council of Psychiatric Continuing Education Award for the Most Outstanding Continuing Education Activity in Psychiatry in Canada.

Dr. McIntyre is the co-chair of the Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT) Task Force on the Treatment of Comorbidity in Adults with Major Depressive Disorder or Bipolar Disorder and as well a contributor to the CANMAT guidelines for the treatment of Depressive Disorders and Bipolar Disorders. He has published hundreds of peer-reviewed articles and has edited and/or co-edited several textbooks on mood disorders.

He completed his medical degree at Dalhousie University and completed his Psychiatry residency training and Fellowship in Psychiatric Pharmacology at the University of Toronto.

Research Interests

Dr. McIntyre is involved in multiple research endeavours which aim to characterize the association between mood disorders, especially cognitive function and medical comorbidity.  Broadly, his work aims to characterize the underlying causes of cognitive impairment in individuals with mood disorders and their impact on workplace functioning. This body of work has provided a platform for identifying novel molecular targets to treat and prevent mood disorders and accompanying cognitive impairment.


Dr.McIntyre’s UHN Profile

Dr.McIntyre’s Research Publications

Dr. Roger McIntyre: Mood Disorders and Metabolic-Inflammatory Comorbidity -YouTube Video


Toronto Western Hospital (UHN)

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Renowned neurosurgeon, and my DBS doc, Andres Lozano on TED (Jan 2013)

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Parkinson’s, depression and the switch that might turn them off

Deep brain stimulation is becoming very precise. This technique allows surgeons to place electrodes in almost any area of the brain, and turn them up or down — like a radio dial or thermostat — to correct dysfunction. Andres Lozano offers a dramatic look at emerging techniques, in which a woman with Parkinson’s instantly stops shaking and brain areas eroded by Alzheimer’s are brought back to life. (Filmed at TEDxCaltech.)

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Welcome to the Unhinged Podcast

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The Unhinged Podcast is an in-depth look at a 30 year friendship, one that started in an instant, and so incredibly meaningful and magnetic. More importantly though, is that one has spent a lifetime afflicted with Treatment-Resistant Depression all along, while the other has had to watch, helplessly, year after year, as his best friend battled this dreadful disease.

Doug (left) and Ed, Syracuse, NY, 1989

Doug (left) and Ed, Syracuse, NY, 1989

More often than not, this disease kills friendships, as well as causes major family conflict, mainly because this is a disease people most often cannot see, and simply are not capable of dealing with it’s many challenging issues.

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