Thursday, June 30, 2011

The latest in medicinal tonics

Do you suffer from chronic pain? panic attacks? crippling anxiety? Anneli Rufus reports that a cure may be on the way: Prescription LSD!
Leading this wave is the Boston-based Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)... MAPS researchers have spent 15 years conducting international clinical trials whose results indicate that LSD and psilocybin counteract depression and anxiety and are effective pain-management tools while MDMA (ecstasy) conquers fear. Just this month, the Israeli Ministry of Health approved a new MAPS study using MDMA to treat PTSD.
Note that scientists are not saying that you can "recover by hitting a few raves." The drugs should instead be administered by professionals in "a safe, supportive, controlled setting."
To read the full story, see Why Prescription Ecstasy or LSD Could Happen Much Sooner Than You Think

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Art and Brain Trauma?

Reporting for the New York Times, Dr. Abigail Zuger tells the story of Jon Sarkin, a chiropractor in Massachusetts who was plagued by a "high-pitched screech" that doctors shrugged off as "a vague abonormality near a nerve at the base of the brain that controls hearing and balance."

Maddened by the ceaseless racket, Dr. Sarkin underwent surgery to correct the problem, only to wind up in a coma. The man who emerged from the coma bore little resemblance to the man who fell into it several months before.
He was physically delicate and walked with a cane, but that was the least of it. His personality had morphed into a difficult teenager's: self-centered, unreliable, obsessive.
He also began to draw. Now, twenty years later, he has become "a full-fledged artist of some renown" and has sold work to The New York Times Magazine as well a private collectors. What started as a shriek heard only by himself, became unexpectedly transformative.

Read more here.