Deep Brain Stimulation Archives - Page 2 of 3 - Unhinged

Unhinged Episode #035: Tabula Rasa

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Unhinged Episode #035: Tabula Rasa

In the first Unhinged episode of 2017, we discuss an interesting phenomenon called the Mandela Effect. Think your memory is accurate? Think again. The Mandela Effect is when large groups of people all share the same false memory, typically a memory that can be easily confused or distorted by similar or related memories. In psychology, this is called confabulation. They explain this concept in detail in the 80’s film Shazaam, where Sinbad plays a genie. Remember that movie?

Since it’s a new year, we all tend to make our yearly New Year’s Resolutions. Are these resolutions destined to fail? It depends on how you think of them. We talk about setting life goals and how the new year is a great blank slate, or “tabula rasa”, to begin a conscious change in behavior that can help one achieve his goals.

Finally, we get into Doug’s current and very positive mental state. His DBS continues to work its magic, coupled with weekly social interactions as a peer support worker at the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario. Not only is he getting out and interacting with people, but he’s actually helping other sufferers. His 47 years of life experience living with this disease has essentially created an expert in peer support. Go Doug!

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Unhinged Episode #033: Don’t be SAD

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Unhinged Episode #033: Don’t be SAD

After a three-week hiatus, we’re back just in time for the holiday season! These past three weeks have been very dark for Doug, but he’s finally emerging from the shadows. With another tweak to his DBS settings, he has seen a shift from severe to moderate, which is definitely the direction he needs to go.

We start this episode with an update on his mood, and also talking about the successful GoFundMe campaign I started for Doug that raised nearly $2,500 (THANK YOU!). The good news continues with Doug’s acceptance into the peer support program for the Mood Disorder Association of Ontario.

Next, we discuss Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is also known as winter depression, winter blues, or seasonal depression. As the holiday season arrives, SAD cases rise due to being exposed to less sunlight as the mornings start later and evening begins earlier during the winter season. And finally, we talk about some of the treatments available for SAD sufferers.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Symptoms, Causes & Treatment Procedures

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Symptoms, Causes & Treatment Procedures

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Unhinged Episode #027: Electric Avenue

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Unhinged Episode #027: Electric Avenue

In this episode, we catch up with Doug’s progress with his DBS. Still going strong, even after a stressful few days. The neurological corrections (based on MEG brain imaging) are still in place and seem to still be working their magic a full month after altering the DBS settings.

Deep Brain Stimulation has already helped patients with Parkinson’s disease as well as dystonia. We play a couple of excerpts from Dr. Andres Lozano’s TED talk where he shows in real time how switching the DBS on totally stops a Parkinson’s patient from shaking, and essentially cures a child from severe dystonia. Tapping into the brain and sending an electric charge into very specific regions can kickstart malfunctioning neurons and bring hope to those who suffer from all sorts of mental illnesses.

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DBS helps a Parkinson’s patient


DBS helps a patient with dystonia
 
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Unhinged Episode #025: Carpe Diem

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Unhinged Episode #025: Carpe Diem

In this episode we continue discussing Doug’s progress and how the MEG brain imaging has helped dial in his current DBS settings, which seem to be holding so far. Doug goes into a bit of detail about the differences between the types of brain imaging currently available and their specific uses.

We also talk about Dr. Harry Frederick Harlow’s emotional experiments with rhesus monkeys, the ethical concerns surrounding his methods, and what we learned from his results. Also, we bring up Robin Williams again and discuss a few more details about his mental illness, and the similarities to Doug’s intractable depression.

Lastly, we talk about how we need to seize the day and appreciate everything we have right now and not stress out about what we cannot control. As Doug is improving, he is seeing the world through new eyes, hungry for everything positive the world has to offer.

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Unhinged Episode #024: Happy Days

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Unhinged Episode #024: Happy Days

Doug’s new setting on his DBS seems to still be working its miracles. Since the MEG scan pointed to three settings that showed promising neural activity, Doug has been on the first setting, and so far so good! No more shooting blind… with brain imaging, we now have a more reliable method of determining effective treatment.

We’re cautiously optimistic about this, and really hope it lasts into full remission, unlike the roller coaster setting he had previously. The best part of it all is that he now not only has hope, but is looking forward to a more “normal” future.

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Unhinged Episode #023: Helplessly Hoping

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Unhinged Episode #023: Helplessly Hoping

We’re back! In this episode, Doug talks about the results of his MEG scan and how he’s feeling after weeks of unbearable anxiety. His scans show that there are three DBS settings that were showing activity, so at least now, when adjusting the DBS, it can be done with some intelligence behind it rather than trial and error guessing. This new setting holds some promise, and we’re hoping it sticks.

We also talk a bit about the pros and cons of socialized medicine, and how quality healthcare should be available for all, not just those who can afford it. Doug’s life was saved by Canadian healthcare, but at the same time, there are struggles when it comes to long waits for appointments, and finding doctors who will treat patients as humans and not lab rats.

Lastly, we mention that Doug and I are collaborating on some music that we plan to release in the future as an album available for purchase from our website. We provide a small taste of something we’re working on (hint: see the title of this episode).

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Unhinged Episode #014: Texting Truths and Brain Facts

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Unhinged Episode #014: Texting Truths and Brain Facts

Another month’s end, another situational downward turn. In our 14th episode, we discuss how living under the poverty line puts any mental illness recovery in danger. Doug’s situation is no exception as he struggles to survive for eight days with a zero balance. We re-enact a texting conversation we had in preparation for the show that outlines just how negative, sarcastic, and angry one can get when control over normal, mundane things is lost.

On the lighter side, we present another round of interesting facts about the brain.

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Unhinged Episode #007: Prince, Robin Williams, and Suicidal Contagion

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Unhinged Episode #007: Prince, Robin Williams, and Suicidal Contagion

In this episode, we discuss the difference in how the media covered the death of Prince vs. the death of Robin Williams. Responsible journalism calls for portraying celebrity suicide as not something romantic and sensationalized, but rather as a disease that has treatment options and support.

Is the media partially to blame for suicidal contagion on college campuses? We talk about a recent article in the Psychiatric Times that talks about the risk, prevention, and management of suicide clusters, and how preventing that first suicide is key to stopping the “Werther Effect” of copycat suicides.

Lastly, we get an update on Doug’s progress with his depression. Is his DBS finally starting to kick in again?

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Unhinged Episode #004: Area 25, DBS Detractors & Mindfulness

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Unhinged Episode #004: Area 25, DBS Detractors & Mindfulness

In this episode of Unhinged, we talk about the area of the brain called Area 25 and how it relates to mental health.We also find out why there are some psychologists who think that Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is dangerous and prefer non-surgical, and even non-medicinal forms of therapy, including meditation, empathy, love, and mindfulness. The idea that the companies that make the neurotransmitter devices used in DBS are pushing the treatment for financial gain is also discussed.

Doug also gets into more detail about his DBS procedure, how it works, and what effects he has felt to date.  He talks about how brain surgery, though considered a drastic measure by most people, did not even phase him due to his desperation in his search for a cure.

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