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The findings, to be published online in Nature on July 27, lend credence to a hypothesis that has been long floated but hard to test, until now. They mark the first demonstration, the researchers said, that elevating the brain's susceptibility to stimulation can produce social deficits resembling those of autism and schizophrenia, and that then restoring the balance eases those symptoms.
Has America become a nation of psychotics? You would certainly think so, based on the explosion in the use of antipsychotic medications. In 2008, with over $14 billion in sales, antipsychotics became the single top-selling therapeutic class of prescription drugs in the United States, surpassing drugs used to treat high cholesterol and acid reflux. Once upon a time, antipsychotics were reserved for a relatively small number of patients with hard-core psychiatric diagnoses - primarily schizophrenia and bipolar disorder - to treat such symptoms as delusions, hallucinations, or formal thought disorder. Today, it seems, everyone is taking antipsychotics. Parents are told that their unruly kids are in fact bipolar, and in need of anti-psychotics, while old people with dementia are dosed, in large numbers, with drugs once reserved largely for schizophrenics. Americans with symptoms ranging from chronic depression to anxiety to insomnia are now being prescribed anti-psychotics at rates that seem to indicate a national mass psychosis.
Has America become a nation of psychotics? You would certainly think so, based on the explosion in the use of antipsychotic medications. In 2008, with over $14 billion in sales, antipsychotics became the single top-selling therapeutic class of prescription drugs in the United States, surpassing drugs used to treat high cholesterol and acid reflux.
Once upon a time, antipsychotics were reserved for a relatively small number of patients with hard-core psychiatric diagnoses - primarily schizophrenia and bipolar disorder - to treat such symptoms as delusions, hallucinations, or formal thought disorder. Today, it seems, everyone is taking antipsychotics. Parents are told that their unruly kids are in fact bipolar, and in need of anti-psychotics, while old people with dementia are dosed, in large numbers, with drugs once reserved largely for schizophrenics. Americans with symptoms ranging from chronic depression to anxiety to insomnia are now being prescribed anti-psychotics at rates that seem to indicate a national mass psychosis.
By now, just about everyone knows how the drug industry works to influence the minds of American doctors, plying them with gifts, junkets, ego-tripping awards, and research funding in exchange for endorsing or prescribing the latest and most lucrative drugs. "Psychiatrists are particularly targeted by Big Pharma because psychiatric diagnoses are very subjective," says Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman, whose PharmedOut project tracks the industry's influence on American medicine, and who last month hosted a conference on the subject at Georgetown. A shrink can't give you a blood test or an MRI to figure out precisely what's wrong with you. So it's often a case of diagnosis by prescription. (If you feel better after you take an anti-depressant, it's assumed that you were depressed.) As the researchers in one study of the drug industry's influence put it, "the lack of biological tests for mental disorders renders psychiatry especially vulnerable to industry influence." For this reason, they argue, it's particularly important that the guidelines for diagnosing and treating mental illness be compiled "on the basis of an objective review of the scientific evidence" - and not on whether the doctors writing them got a big grant from Merck or own stock in AstraZeneca.
The New York Review of Books, Angell deconstructs what she calls an apparent "raging epidemic of mental illness" among Americans. The use of psychoactive drugs—including both antidepressants and antipsychotics—has exploded, and if the new drugs are so effective, Angell points out, we should "expect the prevalence of mental illness to be declining, not rising." Instead, "the tally of those who are so disabled by mental disorders that they qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) increased nearly two and a half times between 1987 and 2007 - from one in 184 Americans to one in seventy-six. For children, the rise is even more startling - a thirty-five-fold increase in the same two decades. Mental illness is now the leading cause of disability in children." Under the tutelage of Big Pharma, we are "simply expanding the criteria for mental illness so that nearly everyone has one." Fugh-Berman agrees: In the age of aggressive drug marketing, she says, "Psychiatric diagnoses have expanded to include many perfectly normal people."
TOKYO (CNN) -- A Japanese television network called in doctors, psychologists and animation experts to find out why a popular cartoon triggered seizures in hundreds of children nationwide. More than 700 people, mainly school children, were rushed to hospitals Tuesday after suffering convulsions, vomiting, irritated eyes and other symptoms after watching "Pokemon," a popular cartoon based on Nintendo's "Pocket Monsters" video game. Two-hundred people, from age 3 to a 58-year-old man, were still in the hospital Wednesday with epilepsy-type symptoms more than 24 hours after the showing, the Home Affairs Ministry said.
The show is Japan's most highly-rated program in its 6:30 p.m. time slot. Tuesday's episode, "Computer Warrior Porigon," featured characters fighting each other inside a computer. Most of the children developed the symptoms about 20 minutes into the program after a scene depicting an exploding "vaccine bomb" set off to destroy a computer virus. It was followed by five seconds of flashing red light in the eyes of "Pikachu," a rat-like creature that is the show's most popular character.
TOKYO (CNN) -- The bright flashing lights of a popular TV cartoon became a serious matter Tuesday evening, when they triggered seizures in hundreds of Japanese children.
Dennō Senshi Porygon" aired in Japan on December 16, 1997 at 6:30 PM Japan Standard Time. The episode, which was broadcast over thirty-seven TV stations that Tuesday night, held the highest ratings for its time slot, and was watched by approximately 26.9 million households. Twenty minutes into the episode, there is a scene in which Pikachu stops vaccine missiles with its Thunderbolt attack, resulting in a huge explosion that flashes red and blue lights. Although there were similar parts in the episode with red and blue flashes, an anime technique called "paka paka" made this scene extremely intense, for these flashes were extremely bright strobe lights, with blinks at a rate of about 12 Hz for approximately four seconds in almost fullscreen, and then for two seconds outright fullscreen. At this point, viewers started to complain of blurred vision, headaches, dizziness and nausea. Some experienced seizures, blindness, convulsions and loss of consciousness. Japan's Fire Defense Agency reported that a total of 685 viewers, 310 boys and 375 girls, were taken to hospitals by ambulances. Although many victims recovered during the ambulance trip, more than 150 of them were admitted to hospitals. Two people remained hospitalized for over two weeks. Some other people had seizures when parts of the scene were rebroadcast during news reports on the seizures. Only a small fraction of the 685 children treated were diagnosed with photosensitive epilepsy. Later studies showed that 5-10% of the viewers had mild symptoms that did not need hospital treatment. 12,000 children who did not get sent to hospital by ambulance reported mild symptoms of illness; however, their symptoms more closely resembled mass hysteria than a grand mal seizure. A study following 103 patients over three years after the event found that most of them had no further seizures. Scientists believe that the flashing lights triggered photosensitive seizures in which visual stimuli such as flashing lights can cause altered consciousness. Although approximately 1 in 4,000 people is susceptible to these types of seizures, the number of people affected by this Pokémon episode was unprecedented.
Flashing images, especially those with red, should not flicker faster than three times per second. If the image does not have red, it still should not flicker faster than five times per second. Flashing images should not be displayed for a total duration of more than two seconds. Stripes, whirls and concentric circles should not take up a large part of the television screen.
The following was originally posted on CDC Public Health Matters Blog on May 16th, 2011 by Ali S. Khan. Image of zombie There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for. Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That’s right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.
In movies, shows, and literature, zombies are often depicted as being created by an infectious virus, which is passed on via bites and contact with bodily fluids. Harvard psychiatrist Steven Scholzman wrote a (fictional) medical paper on the zombies presented in Night of the Living Dead and refers to the condition as Ataxic Neurodegenerative Satiety Deficiency Syndrome caused by an infectious agent. The Zombie Survival Guide identifies the cause of zombies as a virus called solanum. Other zombie origins shown in films include radiation from a destroyed NASA Venus probe (as in Night of the Living Dead), as well as mutations of existing conditions such as prions, mad-cow disease, measles and rabies. The rise of zombies in pop culture has given credence to the idea that a zombie apocalypse could happen. In such a scenario zombies would take over entire countries, roaming city streets eating anything living that got in their way. The proliferation of this idea has led many people to wonder “How do I prepare for a zombie apocalypse?”
Better Safe than Sorry Photo: Some of the supplies for your emergency kit. Some of the supplies for your emergency kit. So what do you need to do before zombies…or hurricanes or pandemics for example, actually happen? First of all, you should have an emergency kit in your house. This includes things like water, food, and other supplies to get you through the first couple of days before you can locate a zombie-free refugee camp (or in the event of a natural disaster, it will buy you some time until you are able to make your way to an evacuation shelter or utility lines are restored). Below are a few items you should include in your kit, for a full list visit the CDC Emergency page.
Once you’ve made your emergency kit, you should sit down with your family and come up with an emergency plan. This includes where you would go and who you would call if zombies started appearing outside your door step. You can also implement this plan if there is a flood, earthquake, or other emergency. Photo: Family members meeting by their mailbox. You should pick two meeting places, one close to your home and one farther away. Family members meeting by their mailbox. You should pick two meeting places, one close to your home and one farther away. Identify the types of emergencies that are possible in your area. Besides a zombie apocalypse, this may include floods, tornadoes, or earthquakes. If you are unsure contact your local Red Cross chapter for more information. Pick a meeting place for your family to regroup in case zombies invade your home…or your town evacuates because of a hurricane. Pick one place right outside your home for sudden emergencies and one place outside of your neighborhood in case you are unable to return home right away. Identify your emergency contacts. Make a list of local contacts like the police, fire department, and your local zombie response team. Also identify an out-of-state contact that you can call during an emergency to let the rest of your family know you are ok. Plan your evacuation route. When zombies are hungry they won’t stop until they get food (i.e., brains), which means you need to get out of town fast! Plan where you would go and multiple routes you would take ahead of time so that the flesh eaters don’t have a chance! This is also helpful when natural disasters strike and you have to take shelter fast.
If zombies did start roaming the streets, CDC would conduct an investigation much like any other disease outbreak. CDC would provide technical assistance to cities, states, or international partners dealing with a zombie infestation. This assistance might include consultation, lab testing and analysis, patient management and care, tracking of contacts, and infection control (including isolation and quarantine). It’s likely that an investigation of this scenario would seek to accomplish several goals: determine the cause of the illness, the source of the infection/virus/toxin, learn how it is transmitted and how readily it is spread, how to break the cycle of transmission and thus prevent further cases, and how patients can best be treated. Not only would scientists be working to identify the cause and cure of the zombie outbreak, but CDC and other federal agencies would send medical teams and first responders to help those in affected areas (I will be volunteering the young nameless disease detectives for the field work).
(U) China: Medical Research on Bio-Effects of Electromagnetic Pulse and High-Power Microwave Radiation
...medical research on the bio-effects of intense high-power microwave (HPM) and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) radiation.
…Dose related effects on eyes, brain, heart, bone marrow, reproductive, and other vital organs were reported.
(U) Species Specificity and Mortality Study
…The high mortality rates of animals (especially for primates) exposed to EMP radiation in the recent Chinese experiments are in graphic contrast to the lack of reported bio-effects associated with EMP exposures during the period of atmospheric nuclear testing (1950s/1960s) by the United States and other nations. This is probably a consequence of the extremely high field strengths used in the Chinese experiments. [sic. More likely related to the lack of reporting.]
…www.who.int/peh-emf/meetings/archive/en/bangkok04_proceedings.pdf [no longer working - go to Electromagnetic fields (EMF): World Health Organization & US Air Force Asia Pacific EMF Conference ]
Electromagnetic fields of all frequencies represent one of the most common and fastest growing environmental influences, about which anxiety and speculation are spreading. All populations are now exposed to varying degrees of EMF, and the levels will continue to increase as technology advances.
As part of its Charter to protect public health and in response to public concern, the World Health Organization (WHO) established the International EMF Project in 1996 to assess the scientific evidence of possible health effects of EMF in the frequency range from 0 to 300 GHz.
Videodrome is a 1983 Canadian science fiction body horror film written and directed by David Cronenberg, starring James Woods, Sonja Smits, and singer Deborah Harry. Set in Toronto during the early 80s, it follows the CEO of a small cable station who stumbles upon a broadcast signal featuring extreme violence and torture. The layers of deception and mind-control conspiracy unfold as he uncovers the signal's source and loses touch with reality in a series of increasingly bizarre and violent organic hallucinations. The film has been described as "techno-surrealist".