Serotonin Robbers

By Nicolette Francey Asselin, M.D

1. Sparkless Days

Happiness determines how long we live and how strong our families are.

After returning from an overseas trip, I was fighting time changes and a cold that robbed me of hours of sleep. The day ahead appeared blurred, faint, colorless, and gray. The natural sparkle that generated my sense of enthusiasm and fired my first steps out of bed, had vanished. Later, I sat down to my favorite routine, writing, but chapters I had written appeared dull, unexciting, and soporific. The sunless day weighed heavily on me, or even spicy food seemed bland, vapid, and savorless. Why such a low mood? My husband and I had just had a pleasant visit with my family in Europe, and no dark clouds were lurking on the horizon of our peaceful lives. Full story

This story is the first of a 4 part article series:

  • 1. Sparkless Days
  • 2. Portrait of the Robbers
  • 3. Tryptophan Deprivation
  • 4. Manufacturing the “Magic Powder”

This article can be followed in ReFlex-ions.

Is It A Nasty Cold Or The Flu?

By Patti Neighmond

It’s that time of year again. You wake up with a scratchy throat, stuffy nose, a little achy — maybe a fever. Is it a classic head cold, or do you need to be more concerned? Could it be the flu?

“There’s lots of confusion out there, because both are viral respiratory illnesses,” says Dr. Yul Ejnes, an internal medicine specialist in private practice in Rhode Island and spokesperson for the American College of Physicians. “No one likes to get a cold, but people are more fearful of the flu.”

And rightly so.

Last year’s influenza season was particularly severe, resulting in an unusually high number of hospitalizations and deaths from flu complications. Read on

Mapping the Brain’s Genetic Landscape

Scientists have taken a step toward building a computer model of the brain’s genome, one that may help clarify the genetic roots of schizophrenia, autism and other disorders.

For the past two decades, scientists have been exploring the genetics of schizophrenia, autism and other brain disorders, looking for a path toward causation. If the biological roots of such ailments could be identified, treatments might follow, or at least tests that could reveal a person’s risk level.

Read More…

Every Note Played

From neuroscientist and New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice comes a powerful exploration of regret, forgiveness, freedom, and what it means to be alive.

Summary:

An accomplished concert pianist, Richard received standing ovations from audiences all over the world in awe of his rare combination of emotional resonance and flawless technique. Every finger of his hands was a finely calibrated instrument, dancing across the keys and striking each note with exacting precision. That was eight months ago.

Richard now has ALS, and his entire right arm is paralyzed. His fingers are impotent, still, devoid of possibility. The loss of his hand feels like a death, a loss of true love, a divorce—his divorce.

He knows his left arm will go next.

“A book that awakens gratitudes.”

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Do Cockroaches Carry Diseases?

By C. Claiborne Ray

Q. It is well known that mosquitoes, fleas, lice and ticks transmit human diseases, but what about cockroaches?

A. Read More…

My Wife Said You May Want to Marry Me

A little over a year ago, my wife, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, published a Modern Love essay called “You May Want to Marry My Husband.” At 51, Amy was dying from ovarian cancer. She wrote her essay in the form of a personal ad. It was more like a love letter to me.

Those words would be the final ones Amy published. She died 10 days later.

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If Fever Helps Fight Infection, Should I Avoid Fever-Reducing Drugs?

By Richard Klasco, M.D.

May 11, 2018

Q. If fever is the body’s way of fighting infection, should I avoid anti-fever medicines such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen?

A. The best evidence suggests that there is neither harm nor benefit to treating a fever with fever-reducing medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

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