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News 05.22.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 05.22.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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Keanu Reeves: ‘Grief and Loss,
Those Things Don’t Ever Go Away’

Hey, I’m Keanu,” he introduces himself – unnecessarily, of course, and yet very Keanu-ishly. Despite being so famous his surname has long been superfluous, Keanu Reeves has always given the impression of being utterly unaffected by his own celebrity. He is regularly described by his co-stars as “kind” (Winona Ryder) and “humble” (Laurence Fishburne) and it is easier to imagine him walking on the moon than knocking back champagne with other celebrities on a yacht in St Barts. After all, the most famous paparazzi photo ever taken of Reeves was of him sitting alone on a bench, eating a sandwich out of a plastic bag. Hard to imagine Leonardo DiCaprio doing that.

“I’ll sit anywhere you want me to. This OK?” he says, taking a chair and offering me the sofa in the London hotel room where we meet. At just over 6ft, he is taller than I expected – also unusual for an actor – and dressed in a very Keanu outfit of dark shirt and trousers with sturdy boots. Despite being recently announced as the new face of the high fashion label Saint Laurent, Reeves has long been the patron saint of normcore, decades before it became a fashion statement. And I know this all too well because, from 1991–99, I had at least five posters of him on my bedroom walls modelling said look.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

News 05.22.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Troubled History of Psychiatry

News 05.22.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Modern medicine can be seen as a quest to understand pathogenesis, the biological cause of an illness. Once pathogenesis—the word comes from the Greek pathos (suffering) and genesis (origin)—has been established by scientific experiment, accurate diagnoses can be made, and targeted therapies developed. In the early years of the aids epidemic, there were all kinds of theories about what was causing it: toxicity from drug use during sex, allergic reactions to semen, and so on. Only after the discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus helped lay such conjectures to rest did it become possible to use specific blood tests for diagnosis and, eventually, to provide antiviral drugs to improve immune defenses.

Sometimes a disease’s pathogenesis is surprising. As a medical student, I was taught that peptic ulcers were often caused by stress; treatments included bed rest and a soothing diet rich in milk. Anyone who had suggested that ulcers were the result of bacterial infection would have been thought crazy. The prevailing view was that no bacterium could thrive in the acidic environment of the stomach. But in 1982 two Australian researchers (who later won a Nobel Prize for their work) proposed that a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori was crucial to the onset of many peptic ulcers. Although the hypothesis was met with widespread scorn, experimental evidence gradually became conclusive. Now ulcers are routinely healed with antibiotics.

But what can medicine do when pathogenesis remains elusive? That’s a question that has bedevilled the field of psychiatry for nearly a century and a half. In “Mind Fixers” (Norton), Anne Harrington, a history-of-science professor at Harvard, follows “psychiatry’s troubled search for the biology of mental illness,” deftly tracing a progression of paradigms adopted by neurologists, psychiatrists, and psychologists, as well as patients and their advocates.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

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Seth Rogen and the Science of Rogenomics

Seth Rogen is not the type of dude to distill his strategies for living into therapeutic sound bites, little chunks of wisdom-inspo to be digested in the morning alongside a matcha and some sun salutations. In fact, and thank God, he wouldn’t even formally consider them “strategies for living” at all, let alone dream of imposing them on anyone else. Still, spend a little time in his company, talking about his life, and certain patterns start to emerge, themes and lessons recurring with enough frequency that they can be isolated for general distribution: Work harder than everyone else. Find a mentor, or at least some encouragement. Cultivate enduring relationships. Grow gradually. Beware hubris. Never be their biggest problem. Be in control of your own work (where possible). Always have something else going on.

On a Tuesday afternoon in April, Seth Rogen was sitting in a corner booth in the back of Canter’s Deli on Fairfax, awaiting his matzo-ball soup. Over the years he’s celebrated birthdays here, in the Kibitz Room bar, and, in the era before he had offices, the restaurant functioned as a de facto conference room for business meetings. No surprise, then, that he was greeted like the mayor, along with obscure inside jokes with the waitstaff. Almost immediately, Rogen—bearded, bespectacled, becapped—was approached by some blokes apologetically asking for a picture. He obliged, grabbing their phones and mugging for two-second intervals. “Taking the picture myself was a big evolution,” he said after they’d gone. “That helps. Takes a lot of the guesswork out.”

Read the rest of this article at: GQ

News 05.22.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Embrace Ecstasy

News 05.22.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

n a chilly spring morning in 2017, Boris Heifets took the podium to talk about MDMA in an Oakland, California, hotel ballroom packed with scientists, therapists, patients, and activists. If he noticed the occasional whiffs of incense and patchouli oil coming from the halls of the Psychedelic Science meeting, he didn’t let on. After all, anyone studying the therapeutic benefits of the drug that sparked an underground dance revolution 30 years ago knows that ravers, Burners, and old hippies flock to this meeting. It’s the world’s largest gathering on psychoactive substances.

Ecstasy enthusiasts and university professors alike heard several research teams report that MDMA helped patients recover from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other disabling psychiatric conditions after conventional treatments had failed. Meeting rooms buzzed with excited chatter about the prospect of MDMA getting approved as a prescription therapy for PTSD. That could come as early as 2021 if it proves safe and effective in large clinical studies that are just getting underway. For many advocates of this work, regulatory approval can’t arrive too soon.

But Heifets, a Stanford neuroanesthesiologist, had come to lay out an even grander role for the drug federal officials banned in 1985 in a futile effort to quash the burgeoning rave scene. Psychiatric treatments lag decades behind the rest of medicine, even though serious mental disorders carry just as much risk of disability and death as cardiovascular disease, Heifets explained. Psychiatrists desperately need more targeted therapies to give their patients the same kind of rapid, enduring relief that stents and bypass surgery provide for heart patients. He thought they’d benefit from thinking like surgeons. “I don’t want to suggest that we can cure psychiatric disease in 30 minutes in the operating room,” Heifets said. But we can harness powerful drugs like MDMA that act like a surgeon’s knife to alter consciousness and exorcise psychological demons.

Read the rest of this article at: The Verge

The Man Who Is Aging Too Fast

News 05.22.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Nobuaki Nagashima was in his mid-20s when he began to feel like his body was breaking down. He was based in Hokkaido, the northernmost prefecture of Japan, where for 12 years he had been a member of the military, vigorously practicing training drills out in the snow. It happened bit by bit – cataracts at the age of 25, pains in his hips at 28, skin problems on his leg at 30.

At 33, he was diagnosed with Werner syndrome, a disease that causes the body to age too fast. Among other things, it shows as wrinkles, weight loss, greying hair and balding. It’s also known to cause hardening of the arteries, heart failure, diabetes and cancer.

I meet Nagashima under the white light of a Chiba University Hospital room, around 25 miles west of Tokyo. A grey newsboy cap covers his hairless head freckled with liver spots. His eyebrows are thinned to a few wisps. Black-rimmed glasses help with his failing eyesight, his hip joints – replaced with artificial ones after arthritis – ache as he stands to slowly walk across the room. These ailments you might expect to see in an 80-year-old. But Nagashima is just 43.

He tells me that he has been in and out of hospital ever since his diagnosis. That his deteriorating health forced him to leave the military. Nagashima has had five or six surgeries, from his toes to hips to eyes, to treat aging-related ailments. He’s lost 15 kilograms since he was first diagnosed. He needs a walking stick to do a distance over a few metres, and has a temporary job at the City Hall, going to the office when his body will allow but working from home when it doesn’t.

He remembers driving home after his diagnosis, crying to himself. When he told his parents, his mother apologized for not giving birth to a stronger person. But his father told him that if he could endure this disease, he was indeed strong, and maybe scientists would learn from him, gaining knowledge that could help others.

Read the rest of this article at: Digg

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.

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