Deep Brain Stimulation Archives - Page 2 of 3 - Unhinged

Unhinged on Hiatus Until After Surgery

by Ed 1 Comment

Hello Unhinged listeners! As you may know, Doug has been on the longest remission of his life and things have been really good until the battery on his DBS started to get low. When this happens, the battery needs to be replaced surgically. Unfortunately, the doctor that does the surgery is out until March 20th, and Doug’s surgery is scheduled for March 27th.

That’s about two weeks away, and a lot can happen in two weeks. Doug’s mood has not been as high as it was when the battery was solid, and as the battery gets weaker, there’s a chance he could relapse (this happened years ago during his first real remission).

Due to this situation, we feel that the quality of any show we do right now would not be up to par, plus talking about all this could bring him down a bit, so we feel it is necessary to take a little break until after he gets the battery replacement surgery.

We have a lot of great things planned for future shows, but we first want to make sure that the surgery goes smoothly and that the remission continues so that we can get back on track in a very positive way.

In the meantime, take this time to catch up on some of our previous episodes if you have not listened to all of them yet. We’re also both still online and will answer emails and posts on our Facebook page. We’re not going away! We’re just making sure Doug stays healthy, and the podcast content quality remains high.

Thanks again for understanding!

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Unhinged Episode #041: Juicy Juice

by Ed 1 Comment
Unhinged Episode #041: Juicy Juice

Originally, this episode was going to be focused on music and how specific songs affect our moods and emotions. Unfortunately, the battery in Doug’s DBS is running down and this has affected his mood. Since we want to give this music topic the attention and justice it deserves, we decided to postpone that topic until after Doug’s battery is replaced and he’s back in a more positive mood.

In this short episode, we talk about the DBS battery, how Doug checks it, how it’s replaced, and ultimately how important that little piece of tech is for any DBS patient. As it stands, Doug is trying to get an appointment for the surgery as soon as he can, but the doctor that does it is out until the 20th of March, so he might have to wait up to of 3 weeks. We’re hoping the trickle charge lasts until then so he doesn’t fully relapse. Fingers crossed!

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Unhinged Episode #039: What, Me Worry?

by Ed 2 Comments
Unhinged Episode #039: What, Me Worry?

We start this episode with the announcement that Doug’s current remission has now surpassed his 3-month record. Not only has this remission lasted the longest so far, but it is also the highest quality remission he has had yet! Looks like the DBS is in the zone, working its magic.

It’s not all rainbows and butterflies, however, as he has to now learn how to process emotions in the context of a “normal-acting” brain, something he has very little experience doing. One thing that has stuck around is his anxiety. Besides a general anxiety that creeps in every now and then, there is the looming spectre of human interaction, which can trigger Doug’s social anxiety. We talk about how he’s handling his day-to-day anxiety, and what coping tools have helped him.

Continuing the topic of anxiety, we touch on the differences between worry and anxiety. Can worry turn into anxiety that needs treatment?

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Unhinged Episode #035: Tabula Rasa

by Ed 0 Comments
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

by Ed 0 Comments
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

by Ed 0 Comments
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

by Ed 0 Comments
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

by Ed 0 Comments
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

by Ed 0 Comments
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

by Ed 1 Comment
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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