Source: Ravil Sayfullin/Shutterstock Scientists are tapping individuals’ genetic profiles to learn which patients will respond to antipsychotic medication for schizophrenia. The pursuit is part of a global shift toward precision medicine—diagnosing and treating illnesses based on a person’s unique genetic makeup. Tailoring psychiatric treatment to individual patients is a critical thread. In the case of schizophrenia, for example, around 30 percent of patients do not respond to antipsychotics . Identifying those patients proactively can prevent them from suffering harmful side effects of the medication and dangerous symptoms of the disorder. “Normally it’s a bit of a trial and error to determine what drugs patients will respond to,” says Edwin van den Oord , of the Center for Biomarker Research and Precision Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University. “Schizophrenia and other diseases have additional risks, including the risk of suicide , so the sooner you can … [Read more...] about How Genetic Testing Can Help Match Patients with Medications
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Overcome brain blindness and regain cognitive clarity. Source: Faisal Rahman/Pexels In Part 1, we explored the dynamics of the Dunning-Kruger effect and its harmful impact on mental health and relationships. In Part 2, we will explore the question: If brain blindness poses such a threat, what can we do to circumvent it? Researchers Rollwage, Dolan, and Fleming in their 2018  study found that people who hold more extreme/radical beliefs are usually are less aware of the weaknesses of their view, have a low level of insight, and dogmatically stick to their viewpoints even when presented with disconfirming evidence. Researchers believe this is due to low metacognition , meaning they aren’t able to reflect on their own thinking and performance. Those who possess more moderate views are able to be realistic about their own viewpoints. A good case in point is the ending scene from the documentary Behind the Curve on Netflix. Throughout the movie, filmmakers follow the … [Read more...] about Overcoming Brain Blindness
Key Points: Hearing that they have "degenerative disc disease" can frighten many people into pursuing spinal surgery. But rather than being pathological, degenerating discs and decreased spinal flexibility are normal parts of aging—and may not be responsible for any pain that the patient is experiencing. Surgery can be helpful for some patients with structural spinal problems. But it comes with risks and positive outcomes aren't guaranteed; thus, it should only be pursued when absolutely necessary. Surgeries being performed for axial neck, thoracic, and low back pain on normally aging spines was a major reason I quit my spinal surgery practice in 2019. Not only was the success rate low, patients were often much worse after the surgeries and few physicians were willing to take care of them. At the same time, I was witnessing hundreds of patients consistently break free from chronic pain using evidence-based treatments and they usually did not require surgery. … [Read more...] about Spine Surgery: Proceed at Your Own Risk
Alcohol is the most widely consumed drug worldwide. For many, drinking is as much a part of daily life as having dinner. Although we consume it regularly, we don't really know what it does to us, or why it causes some of us to suddenly find streaking naked through a college campus a brilliant idea. Alcohol, according to conventional wisdom , is a depressant. Yet, that doesn't fully explain alcohol's effects. People often drink to liven up a party, not mellow it out. A few drinks can spark energy, elation, and excitement; it gives you a buzz. Alcohol may be more than simply a depressant. Classification of drugs can be explained by their chemical targets within the brain. Stimulants may influence dopamine or norepinephrine. Depressants target a chemical called GABA, the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter within the brain. As early research failed to show that alcohol targeted a specific receptor, scientists speculated that alcohol non-specifically altered cell membranes. … [Read more...] about Your Brain on Alcohol
People give advice to each other all the time in all kinds of relationships. Whether it’s with your closest romantic partner, a family member, or a co-worker, it’s likely that advice-giving is a frequent aspect of your many interactions. “Should I wear this outfit today?”, your partner asks. You suggest something else you consider more attractive. Much to your surprise, your partner responds, “That’s okay, I’ll stick with my original choice.” Inwardly, you feel annoyed, but you decide to let it go as it’s not that important. But what if this is a regular pattern? What if your partner never listens to you, on matter small or large? Perhaps the person who ignores your advice isn’t as close to you as your romantic partner, but is an important individual in your life, nonetheless. You might have a relative who asks you for advice in planning a (socially distanced) family picnic. You spend several hours researching various potential sites, putting together a menu, and coming up with … [Read more...] about How do You Handle People Who Ignore Your Advice?