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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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
Although most Americans have experienced elevated stress levels due to COVID-19 , an October 2020 American Psychological Association report found that adults ages 18 to 23 were experiencing the highest stress levels. Among my own clients, this age range specifically attributed the majority of their stress to education . Campus closures, online learning, unpredictability surrounding expectations, and insecurity about the future have weighed heavily on young adults. Source: Tim Gouw/Unsplash For example, one of my clients is a college freshman. Like a lot of freshmen, she found her initial transition into college challenging. Feelings of anxiety about being overwhelmed by remote learning expectations gave her panic attacks . When she learned she would need to move to off-campus housing after winter break, her anxiety escalated to the point where she felt paralyzed when she had to make any decisions at all. Another client is a college athlete I began working … [Read more...] about What Is the Stress Level of Our Emerging Adults?
Source: Pixel2013/Pixabay In a world’s first, a team of researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Weill Institute for Neurosciences released a study showing a brain-computer interface (BCI) with “plug and play” capabilities using machine learning . The solution enables a paralyzed patient's brain to control a computer using the device without extensive daily retraining. Karunesh Ganguly, an assistant professor at UCSF and associate professor of neurology at UCSF Medical Center, is the senior author of the paper, published on September 7 in Nature Biotechnology . “Plug and play” refers to the ability of a device to work as intended upon initial start, without any user intervention, such as reconfiguration or adjustments. For example, many computer peripherals, such as the mouse, keyboard, monitor, USB flash drive, and web camera typically work upon plug-in connection without any additional configurations. The ease-of-use of “plug and play” … [Read more...] about World’s First “Plug and Play” Brain-Computer Interface
Source: Nvdu/Unsplash In the course of play therapy , there are outcomes which are not only not goals but which are almost never achieved: complete insight, resolved problems. It is unlikely that any physiologic or temperamental tendencies are significantly changed. It is unlikely that the therapy has prevented the need for help again in the future. Yet the client has freely explored problems and their relationship with emotions. The client has developed a working insight of reaction patterns blocking constructive engagement with the surrounding world. The client has learned experientially new, more satisfying and beneficial methods of facing difficulties. Overall the child client has, with no little help from an interactive process involving emotional responsiveness and cathartic expression, become increasingly independent, confident, and mature in navigating existential suffering and behavioral responsibility or interpersonal communication, bonding , and … [Read more...] about What the Scientific Method and Play Therapy Have in Common