Morning Faces Therapy For Bipolar Disorder: A Story (Part 1: Background)

In the mid-1990s I discovered that seeing faces in the morning raised my mood the next day. If I saw faces Monday morning, I felt better on Tuesday — not Monday. This discovery and many other facts suggest that we have an internal oscillator that controls our mood — in particular, how happy we are, how eager we are to do things, and how irritable we are. For this oscillator to work properly, we must see faces in the morning and avoid faces and fluorescent light at night.

In rich countries, almost everyone gets nothing resembling the optimum input. One of the problems this may create is bipolar disorder. A week ago I posted how a friend of mine used my faces/mood discovery to control his bipolar disorder. After that post, a man I’ll call Rex wrote to me thanking me — that post had inspired him to try to control his own bipolar disorder that way. Before knowing anything about whether he would be successful, I decided it would be good to follow and record what happens. Either way — successful or not — it should be revealing.

I am going to post his story in several parts. The first few parts are background.

My first full-blown bipolar episode was at 29 years of age.  (I am now 37.) Continue reading “Morning Faces Therapy For Bipolar Disorder: A Story (Part 1: Background)”

Comment on “Morning Faces Therapy For Bipolar Disorder”

In yesterday’s post, a friend of mine with bipolar disorder told how he used my faces/mood discovery. It allowed him “to enjoy life and relate to others in ways that I never could my entire life,” he wrote. Partly because it allows him to stop taking the usual meds prescribed for bipolar disorder, which have awful side effects.

What do I think about this?

Continue reading “Comment on “Morning Faces Therapy For Bipolar Disorder””

Morning Faces Therapy for Bipolar Disorder

In 1995, I discovered that seeing faces in the morning improved my mood the next day. If I saw faces Monday morning I felt better on Tuesday — but not Monday. The delay was astonishing; so was the size of the effect. The faces not only made me cheerful, they also made me eager to do things (the opposite of procrastination) and serene. This is the opposite of depression. Depressed people feel unhappy, don’t want to do anything, and are irritable. Eventually I found that the mood improvement was part of a larger effect: morning faces produced an oscillation in mood (below neutral then above neutral) that began about 6 pm on the day I saw the faces and lasted about a day. As strange as this may sound, there was plenty of supporting data — the connection between depression and insomnia, for example.

After I had observed the effect on myself hundreds of time, I urged a friend with bipolar disorder to try it. Recently he wrote me about how it has helped him.

Here is the very short story of my experience with this treatment.

I have used your treatment since 1997. As an indication of its effectiveness, from 1999 to 2003 I was completely off of medications, and now I’ve been off again since August of last year. Continue reading “Morning Faces Therapy for Bipolar Disorder”

Cold Showers Raise Mood

Todd Becker pointed me to this post which is negative about the notion that cold showers raise mood (“empty science”) but you can ignore the negativity and go to the comment that gives a long list of studies that support the idea. Todd has blogged about his use of cold showers.

Todd calls this hormesis. About the mood-raising aspect of cold showers, I’m not so sure. There is a broad correlation between being sleepy and being in a bad mood.  So anything that wakes us up is likely to improve our mood. But if cold showers improve one’s response to stress of all sorts — which is less clear — it does seem like hormesis in other contexts. When I think of hormesis I think of two sorts: intra-cellular (e.g., x-ray-like radiation breaks stuff, activating repair systems — radiation hormesis) and extra-cellular (microbes in fermented food activate the immune system). But there are other examples of similar stuff: exercise breaks muscle fibers (which is why you shouldn’t exercise the same muscles two days in a row) and longer-term increases them; bones when broken grow back stronger. If we need a certain amount of thermal or other stress to properly respond to stress that would be another example.

Do Fermented Foods Improve Brain Function?

I’m sure we need to ingest plenty of bacteria for our digestion and immune systems to work properly. What about the brain? When I started eating lots of fermented foods, I didn’t notice any brain-related changes, such as changes in mood or sleep. Suggesting that fermented foods have little effect on the brain. But a new study in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggests I reexamine the question. The researchers followed 160,000 high-school students in Taiwan for eleven years.

The incidence rate of suicide mortality in participants with current asthma at [the start of the study] was more than twice that of those without asthma (11.0 compared with 4.3 per 100,000 person-years), but there was no significant difference in the incidence of natural deaths.

Linking immune-system dysfunction (asthma) with brain dysfunction (suicide). I believe fermented foods will substantially reduce asthma. This finding makes it more plausible they’d also improve brain function.

Two Faces Better Than One?

Here I describe my discovery that seeing faces on TV in the morning improved my mood the next day. The details of the effect suggested that the ideal stimulus is what you’d see during a conversation. For a long time I used the C-Span show Booknotes as the main source of the faces. I watched it on a 25-inch TV. More recently I used my own face in a mirror. It was readily available and perfectly life-size. I listened to a podcast or book at the same time.

A few months ago, Caleb Cooper commented saying that he’d found that looking at two faces every morning seemed to work better than looking at one face. He found that Bloggingheads.tv expanded to full screen on a 24-inch monitor (measured diagonally) produced close-to-life-size faces, which is what he wanted.

This interested me for several reasons: 1. It might make the effect stronger. 2. Bloggingheads.tv has a big selection, offering control over size.  3. I disliked looking at my face for long times. 4. It seems more naturalistic than looking at my own face.

I’ve been trying this with a 22-inch monitor (which I already had). Perhaps 24-inch would be better. The effect does seem stronger, as Caleb said.

I asked Caleb several questions about his experience.

How did you get started doing this?

I think it started when I read your posts about standing and sleeping.  This led me to read your paper on self experimentation and sleep.  Like you, I often suffered from early awakenings where I would wake up around 2-3 hours early, still feeling tired but having a hard time going back to sleep.

Based on what I learned from you and other sources, I tried out the following; got a pair of blue blocker clip-ons for my glasses which I put on about two hours before bed; ordered an Apollo goLite blue light emitter that I use for about an hour in the morning, I would sometimes take 1/3 mg of melatonin nine hours after waking up, and 3mg half hour before bed, and I started standing on a high difficulty Thera-Band balance pad on one leg while looking into a mirror for 30 minutes in the morning.

What made you think it was worth a try?

Well, why not:)  Most self experimentation can be easily done for practically no cost, while the potential upside is significant.  There’s also satisfying curiosity, expanding self knowledge, gaining mastery over your mind and body…  You had a plausible theory, had collected suggestive data, and I’d already found the appetite suppression effect of the Shagnri-La was very real, so you had a track record of introducing ideas worth paying attention to.

What happened at first?

It felt to me like my sleep modestly improved, sleeping through the night longer and having the energy to get up and go much sooner after waking.  This was awhile ago though, I didn’t keep any data, and I was adding and dropping different things, so my experience doesn’t have a high enough confidence interval for drawing any general inferences.

When did you make those changes?

I’d guess around sixteen months ago.

After you made those changes (“got a pair of BlueBlocker glasses…”) did your mood change?

It improved in as much as waking up feeling rested makes you feel a lot better than trying to get up while still tired.

Tell me something about yourself (job, age, etc.).

I got into medicine through Clinical Massage Therapy.  Being a high school dropout I wanted something I could get into quickly, then sink or swim on my own.  Massage is one of the few fields the university-accreditation complex hasn’t sunk its tentacles deeply into (a mixed blessing; for an autodidact it lets you quickly start a great career, but the field really needs a bifurcated certification track to separate medical massage from relaxational spa massage). I live in the Pacific Northwest, near the site where they developed the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki.  Despite all the lingering nuclear waste, it’s a nice, mid sized metro area. I’m in my mid twenties.

Assorted Links

  • “ant tribes” near Beijing
  • What exactly is umami?
  • Is omega-3 an antidepressant?  “Initial analyses failed to clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of Omega-3 for all patients taking part in the study. Other analyses, however, revealed that Omega-3 improved depression symptoms in patients diagnosed with depression unaccompanied by an anxiety disorder.” Are they fooling themselves? Maybe not. My research suggests that morning faces can reduce only depression but also anxiety disorders. So if you have depression without an anxiety disorder it may indeed have a different cause.

Thanks to Anne Weiss.

What Antidepressants Do

After I complained about lack of outrage in Daniel Carlat’s Unhinged, Bruce Charlton pointed me to this essay (registration required) by Simon Sobo, a psychiatrist. Sobo says something I may end up repeating every time the subject of antidepressants comes up:

Rat pups that are isolated from their mother and littermates produce ultrasonic sounds that are indicative of stress. SSRIs [the most popular type of antidepressants] reduce these sounds (Oliver, 1994). Is a chemical imbalance being corrected? I doubt it.

That’s a nice summing-up. Prozac (an SSRI) really does something, but the notion that it returns to normal something broken is absurd. Sobo also gives an example of how the anti-anxiety effect of such drugs works in practice:

Mrs. L. had originally required 40 mg of Paxil (paroxetine) per day to recover from a postpartum depression. After 12 months on the medication, an incident happened that disturbed her. During her lunchtime, she was visiting her 1-year-old son at his day care center when one of the workers began screaming at another infant instead of picking her up. The next day Mrs. L. went shopping during her lunch break. Later that week a co-worker became tearful during the course of a conversation with Mrs. L. regarding her own child’s day care center. Only then did Mrs. L. wonder about her decision to go shopping the day after she had witnessed the day care worker’s inappropriate reaction. She wondered if her Paxil had made her indifferent when ordinarily she would have reacted and worried about such a thing.

My research about mood suggests that depression is due to defective entrainment of a mood oscillator. It’s caused by something missing from the environment. “Chemical imbalance” has nothing to do with it.


Assorted Links

Morning Light Self-Experimentation

A 25-year-old Toronto accountant blogs:

A few weeks ago my parents came downtown to take me out for dinner. Apart from leftovers, my dinosaur garbage can and a few pieces of mail, they also brought my Ikea lamp.  Now my apartment is very small.  It’s a bachelor with about 600 square feet.  It faces south and gets a fair amount of light during the day, which is fine during the weekends.  But during the week when I’m at home – in the morning and at night – it can get pretty dark.

Now enter my Ikea lamp.  The first morning after receiving it I turned it on along with all my other lights, while getting ready for work.  I noticed a few things that day.  One, I wasn’t angry during my commute via the subway.  If you’re not from Toronto you won’t get this.  But if you are and you ride the rocket each morning, then you’ll understand the general expression of, “angry defeatism” on most commuters’ faces.  My lack of hate was personally noticeable.  I also noticed that I didn’t need my usual green tea when I got into work.  Even crazier I was alert when I got in, the type of mental alertness that often doesn’t show up until roughly 11 am.

I really thought about this for a while.  I couldn’t figure it out until I remembered this post by Seth Roberts.  It’s very short.  I thought about it for a few days and made a little experiment.  I went from turning on all my lights every morning to a few, to none.  My “awakeness” varied positively with the quantity and duration of morning light.  Along with morning light, I’ve also found that having the TV on and taking Vitamin D amplifies this effect.

It’s not a small impact.  It’s had a huge effect on my day-to-day.

I left a comment asking what the Ikea lamp was. One interesting thing about this was the exposure time. Judging from a comment (see below), it was about an hour. That’s the minimum I try to get early every morning (from sitting outside).
After I bought the absolute necessities for my Beijing apartment (bed, water heater, washing machine, etc.), my first optional purchase was a chair for the balcony. So I can sit on the enclosed balcony in the morning.

Even More Room For Improvement at the NY Times

In a widely-emailed article about depression, Judith Warner, a former columnist at the New York Times, writes:

This is the big picture of mental health care in America: not perfectly healthy people popping pills for no reason, but people with real illnesses lacking access to care; facing barriers like ignorance, stigma and high prices; or finding care that is ineffective.

When Atul Gawande fails to mention prevention in a discussion of how to improve American health care . . . well, he’s a surgeon. Of course he has gatekeeper syndrome. What’s Judith Warner’s excuse? Judging from this article, the notion that depression might be prevented has not occurred to her.

Depression and Insomnia Linked at CureTogether

Fourteen years ago I woke up one morning and felt really really good: cheerful, eager, and yet somehow serene. I was stunned: There was no obvious cause. I hadn’t slept particularly well. Nothing wonderful had happened the day before. But there was one thing . . . the previous day I’d watched a tape of Jay Leno right after waking up. I’d thought it might improve my sleep. Now — a day later — my mood was better. Could there be a connection? Two very rare events: A (TV early in the morning) and B (very good mood upon awakening). Did A cause B? Such causality would be far different than anything we’re familiar with. Yet it made some sense: From teaching introductory psychology, I knew that depression and insomnia are related. If you have one you are more likely to have the other. I had done something to improve my sleep; had it improved my mood? The already-known depression-insomnia linkage made the new  idea, the cause-effect relation, far more plausible. Subsequent experiments led me to a whole new theory of mood and depression.

CureTogether has found another example of the familiar depression-insomnia correlation.  Persons with depression are twice as likely to have insomnia as persons without depression. CureTogether gathered this data much more cheaply than previous studies. Unlike previous researchers, they were under no pressure to publish. (Professional researchers must publish regularly to keep their grants and their job.) Unlike previous researchers, they were under no pressure to follow a party line.

On the face of it depression makes you less active. Yet insomnia is a case of being too active. So the depression-insomnia link is far from obvious. Lots of other facts connect depression and circadian rhythms; they all suggest that the intellectual basis of anti-depressants, all that stuff about serotonin and neuro-transmitters and re-uptake, is wrong. If depression is due to messed-up circadian rhythms, taking a drug at random times of day is unlikely to fix the underlying problem.

More About Faces and Mood

A friend with bipolar disorder writes:

When I wrote in your blog that I use your discovery daily, it means that every day I look in a mirror for an hour, starting at approximately 6:30 a.m. I have the mirror about 20 inches from my face because I have read that a mirror image is half the size of the object reflected. [Life-size faces appear to work best. Using a mirror means the face you see is perfectly life-size, allowing for distance. TV faces can be larger or smaller than life-size.] To keep from being bored while looking at my face in the mirror, I mostly listen to tapes of C-SPAN programs. Sometimes I listen to music. Once or twice a week I may just think, or plan my day. That does get boring after about 30 minutes.

Sorry, I definitely was exaggerating when I wrote “doctors are amazed”. “My doctors” refers only to my psychiatrist and psychotherapist; at best, they seem “impressed” by my condition. My therapist regularly says that I’m doing “great”(variously referring to social relations, self-awareness, and general functioning) — “especially considering my situation“ and my psychiatrist once exclaimed that my bipolar disorder was in “complete remission”, albeit when we were composing an online personal ad. I do think both of them are at least mildly surprised that I seem to be doing alright on half the standard therapeutic dose of Depakote, and a low dose of Prozac.

There was an actual experience that weakly supports my claim about practitioners having no interest in utilizing your idea. I once asked my therapist to suspend his disbelief, and just imagine that your treatment does work as a strong antidepressant. Then would he mention the treatment to his other patients, or give a talk at a conference, or write up a report, or tell his colleagues? In all cases, he said “no”. Although he agreed that ideas for clinical trials have to come from somewhere, evidently that somewhere was not part of his concern.

I stress that my therapist is compassionate and reasonably intelligent, and he has helped me deal with many important practical problems. And of course in your blog even you have admitted that your idea, on the face of it, sounds way too crazy. It’s to my therapist’s credit that he claims to believe your treatment works to some degree — adding positively, “whatever works for you”. Unfortunately, that addition implies that your treatment is somehow working “psychologically” for me (e.g., as a kind of meditation) rather than working “biologically” in a way that, presumably, would work for most people.

If my doctors were following my particular case as closely as they pretend to, then they ought to be amazed. Instead, my sense is that they see me through the lens of their diagnosis. Without actually dismissing the sheer statistical improbability of my having been off of drugs and without a hospitalization for four years, they do seem to forget that fact when we discuss drug therapy. When I mention those four years, they sometimes play the skeptic, offering up alternative possibilities: it was a fluke, or I was in remission anyway, or something else. I don’t try anymore to persuade anyone, not even family, about the treatment — it’s not worth the effort.

I suppose the bigger picture is that there is little credibility to the testimony of a bipolar person who has experienced psychosis. (Perhaps my case is not helped by dramatic pronouncements of mine such as, “History will judge you. People will wonder, “why didn’t they listen to him?”) Too, I’m not paying my doctors enough to get lengthy consultations. If I were paying enough, and if I made the case with details to my psychiatrist, she might be persuaded that there is a big effect. She has a high opinion of you; in fact, she’s the person who told me of the report in The SF Chronicle (5/30/06) about the SLD diet. And, she gives some credence to Dr. Stoll’s results with omega-3 for treating bipolar. Nevertheless, for what it’s worth, I would stand by my original opinion about her not changing her practice.

Hidden Bonus of the L Prize: Better Sleep, Better Mood

The Department of Energy has a prize, called the L Prize, for a new light bulb that gives off same light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb but uses much less energy. Philips has submitted what it believes will be the winning entry. For the last decade, I’ve tried to avoid fluorescent lights at night. Ordinary fluorescent lamps emit light with far more blue than incandescent lamps and mess up my circadian-timing system. That systems appears insensitive to incandescent light. Squirrels are like me, a study suggests.

Fluorescent lights are close enough to sunlight to affect our circadian system; incandescent lights, being much cooler than the sun, are invisible to it. The timing of exposure matters if it varies from day to day; exposure to fluorescent lights at varying times is like travelling back and forth across time zones. Everybody grasps that travelling across time zones makes it hard to sleep at the right time; what is less understood is that time-zone-crossing travel affects the depth of sleep because it reduces the amplitude of the circadian oscillation. If you are exposed to fluorescent lights at night now and then, you will sleep less deeply. So I try hard to avoid fluorescent lights at night. I avoid supermarkets and subways, for example.

I discovered all this when I discovered the effects of morning faces on my mood. After I travelled back and forth across time zones, the effect took three weeks to fully return. Nothing else had changed. I conclude that it took three weeks in the same place for my circadian oscillator to return to maximum amplitude. And one evening in which I was exposed to an hour of fluorescent light was enough to get rid of the faces effect for a few weeks. The ubiquity of fluorescent lighting has made it hard to study this effect in other people.

Charles Nemeroff Under Scrutiny

For most of its existence, there was no letters section in The New Yorker. A big mistake, which Spy pointed out and made fun of by running Letters to the Editor of The New Yorker. The current version of The New Yorker has letters, of course, but no comments on the web. Another big mistake.

Because those comments can be incredibly good. In its Health Blog, the Wall Street Journal website recently posted news about Charles Nemeroff, the Emory University psychiatry professor who failed to disclose about a million dollars from drug companies. The news itself wasn’t anything special but the comments told me important stuff I hadn’t known:

  • What his defenders say. (Not easily summarized.)
  • The nature and quality of his research. “Regarding Dr. Nemeroff’s contributions to science, although he has published many papers, a large proportion have dealt with the hypothesis that the adrenal hormone cortisol plays a major role in the etiology of depression. This hypothesis has its proponents, but has not gained widespread support from experimental or clinical data. Drugs designed to inhibit cortisol have been disappointing as treatments for depression. Hence, regardless of any ethical issues surrounding his career, his publications have been numerous, but with low impact on advancing science and on actual clinical outcomes. Actually, it’s a sad commentary on how really difficult it is to understand the biology of mental illness that individuals such as Dr. Nemeroff who conduct rather mediocre scientific work are considered major contributors to the field.” You can read a thousand outraged editorials and blog posts about Nemeroff and not find something this revealing. Without anonymity, it is very hard to say something like this.
  • Complete refutation of one of Emory University’s comments. “Emory said its review supports Nemeroff’s contention his lectures weren’t product specific.” WHAT….I worked in pharma sales years ago specifically selling SSRI’s. Nemeroff was WELL known for SPECIFICALLY selling Paxil in his presentations. He was GSK’s Paxil hit man.” So much for Emory’s credibility.
  • A surprising suggestion. “Disclosure alone is not going to do that. These are amounts of money that even if Nemeroff had properly disclosed would be unethical -it can’t be right that a Prof is paid 300 K a year for a full time job and get 500 K in addition from drug companies – even IF it was disclosed. Patients will do well in asking their physician to post or tell them about such additional moneys – and should vote with their feet since there are many honest people, though less powerful, in the field as well.”
  • A comment on the real cost of people like Nemeroff. “Anon asks, “Who among the bloggers is familiar with his work, conversant with his research, actually read his papers?” I have, and I don’t trust much about what he says in any of his pharma-related articles. Indeed, I have challenged his findings in letters to the editor. The saddest part of this entire scenario (Nemeroff and others) is the wreckage they have strewn throughout our scientific literature in the past 10-15 years.”

Supporting what I said about letters to the editor. The truth about Nemeroff’s research (and by extension a vast swath of psychiatric research) was in the letters to the editor. But a letter to the editor is just one person — and usually these letters can’t be anonymous. This discussion is many people, it’s a discussion, it’s anonymous, and it’s easily available. The emotion expressed — because people can comment quickly and informally — makes the whole thing easy to read.

This is a wonderful age we are living in, that so much nuanced and well-informed comment is available. Never before, not even close. Merry Christmas!

Professor Charles Nemeroff Predicts the Future

The case of Charles “Disgraced” Nemeroff, the Emory University professor of psychiatry, is a touchstone in the sense that it reveals something about the morals (or lack thereof) of those who brush against it. That GlaxoSmithKline (which called Nemeroff “a recognized world leader in the field of psychiatry”) is amoral we already knew — a kind of positive control. The responses of Emory dean Claudia Adkison (“grateful” that a reporter didn’t know enough to fully expose Nemeroff) and the Emory administration (which called him “a leader in psychiatric research, education, and practice”) are more interesting.

But Nemeroff is also a touchstone in reverse. Not only can we learn about X and Y by seeing how they react to Nemeroff, we can also learn about X and Y by seeing how Nemeroff reacts to them. In a 2006 New Scientist series called Brilliant Minds Forecast the Next 50 Years, Nemeroff wrote this:

In the next 50 years, we can expect several breakthroughs. Identifying gene variants that confer vulnerability [to major psychiatric disorders] will result in the emergence of a new field, preventative psychiatry. Elucidating the causes of mental illness will lead to novel treatments. We will also see breakthroughs in understanding the biology of resilience, now poorly understood. And in contrast with our largely trial-and-error-based system, treatments will be individualised, based on genomics and brain imaging.

That Nemeroff likes these ideas suggests they are wrong. Supporting what I’ve said earlier.

What Does It Say About Psychiatry?

It isn’t just GlaxoSmithKline (who called Emory professor Charles “Disgraced” Nemeroff “a recognized world leader in the field of psychiatry”). It’s also the Emory University administration. According to a presumably well-thought-out statement:

Dr. Nemeroff is recognized internationally as a leader in psychiatric research, education and practice. He has made fundamental contributions to the field over many years.

What this says about the moral compass of the Emory administration is clear — that they are unable to grasp the awfulness of what Nemeroff did. (As Emory dean Claudia Adkinson revealed in spades.) If they did, they wouldn’t spend a millisecond defending him. The harder question is: What does this say about psychiatry?

GrownChildCam: New Treatment For Depression?

Jacob Nelik, the friend of a friend, is a businessman/engineer in Los Angeles whose business, ISS Corporation, makes  high-tech solutions from off-the-shelf components. Their projects include video camera systems for luxury yachts and retail stores, and technical and marketing support to Israel Aerospace Industries for their wiring design software. His mom, who is 85, lives in Israel in an old-age home. She has short-term memory problems. Jacob wrote me:

I try to visit her 3-4 times a year but at this age the feeling of loneliness and emptiness, compounded with the feeling (and fact) that because of distance, I can’t come and visit her whenever she (or I) would like to, brought her to a stage where she felt she didn’t have a reason to live (“living for what?” as she said). I felt that with my knowledge, experience and the internet, I can make it easier for her. So I utilized a TV set she already owned to create a live picture of me in my office. Whenever I am in the office, she can see me (live). It is on 24 hours a day just like a picture but with live image. I felt that this would bring her closer to me and she would feel (on a daily basis) that I am there with her.
I utilized video parts that my company uses. I took an old home camcorder and connected it to one of the parts we use for our video projects, called a video server or video encoder. It takes the Analog video/picture that the camcorder provides, digitizes it, compresses it, and converts it to IP (Internet Protocol). There are many like this in the market; the one I used allows me to control many parameters including picture compression algorithm, so I can maintain a large physical picture (to fill up the TV screen on my mom’s end without being grainy or fuzzy) with high quality, high frame rate, very short delay (under 2 seconds) and very low bandwidth so I can use the cheapest internet service available. On my mom’s end, I used the same type of circuit to perform the reverse function (Taking the IP video stream, decompress it and convert it back to an Analog video to be fed into the TV set to the same connector where a VCR is connected). I am skipping some technical details but the net result is high quality video from end to end (when each end can be located at different place in the world).

What happened?

From the moment the system started operating (about a year ago) I could see tremendous positive effects on my mom. She no longer says “why do I need to live, what for?” I can detect a smile in her face just by listening to her. Just yesterday she told me that she saw me eating ice cream at my desk. She mentioned a new shirt I was wearing. It gives her many new conversational topics. She tells me that she enters the room and starts talking to me as if I am there with her.  She became much more relaxed and as a result, even her blood pressure is better controlled. It fills a void in her life. It affected me positively as well, because I see how much better she is.

Harvard Psychiatrists Don’t Disclose Millions of $$ From Drug Companies

From the latest BMJ:

Findings that a leading Harvard professor of psychiatry failed to report substantial payments that he received from drug companies has caused Harvard Medical School, one of its affiliated hospitals, and the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) to come under fire.

An investigation by the US senator Charles Grassley showed that the psychiatrist, Joseph Biederman, and two of his colleagues, Thomas Spencer and Timothy Wilens, had altogether received more than $4.2m (£2.1m; {euro}2.7m) from drug companies since 2000.

The financial disclosure forms filed by the three doctors, according to Mr Grassley, “were a mess” and made it seem that they had received only “a couple of hundred thousand dollars” in the past seven years. . .Professor Biederman, at the centre of the scandal, has been widely recognised as one of the most influential psychiatrists in the world. He is a leading proponent of the diagnosis of paediatric bipolar disorder and he is currently conducting a study of the antipsychotic, quetiapine (Seroquel) in children aged 4 to 6 years with bipolar disorder.

Details.