Daily Archives: December 15, 2015

Astrologically Speaking

I’m working on a custom card order for an old friend—a card for each of the zodiac signs with pithy captions.  I’ve done zodiac cards before.  One batch happened when I ran across a list of traits in an ancient Good Housekeeping and wanted to match them with my funky, Teesha Moore rubber stamps.

handmade card, collage art

Another batch happened when this first series started to sell out.  I was deep into technique at the time and wanted to try a bunch of things.

Leo 2

But, for this new set I need to do some research.  I’m not an astrologer (even though it fascinates me), so I can’t be pithy about a particular sun sign’s foibles unless I know what they are.

I took an introductory class back in October from another friend who is an astrologer and learned enough to get a headache.  The variables seemed endless, convoluted—the pull and influence of all those heavenly bodies swirling around each other in time and space.  It’s a lifetime commitment to study that stuff, and I admire my friend’s scientific mastery of it.

Instead, I’m surfing websites and Pinterest, taking notes and printing out other people’s hard work.  It simmers in my hindbrain.  As I drift between wakefulness and sleep, a perfect image sometimes percolates to the surface.  It will all rise eventually.  It always does.

In the meantime, I’m enjoying little sparks of possibility and delight as I surf.  It could just be that I’m seeing lots of light at the end of my pneumonia/thrush/pajama pants tunnel.  Taking out the trash seems weighty with potential at the moment.

This particular meme made me laugh out loud as I’ve been sort of ruthlessly teasing a fellow blogger about his Scorpio-ness without really knowing what I was talking about.

Confirmation is a dish best served with sarcasm.

This one’s for you, David.

scorpio


Post concussive syndrome

Except for the sleep disturbance, so far so good! And hoping that continues, sleepy right now though…

IMG_0221 IMG_0220

A Good Day

Today has been good.  I went to see my therapist and had a good session with her talking about the holidays and how to handle them.  I’ve gotten more presents wrapped so I am feeling good in that department.  Still have more to do for the extended family but I’ve got most of the immediate family in the house wrapped away from prying eyes.  I hope the girls enjoy their gifts this year.  We got some fun stuff, so I’m looking forward to Christmas morning.

I did finally go get my medicine this morning, so that has been taken care of. Hopefully I A ‘t’ run out of anything right around the days of Christmas. Did several errands while I was out and I go get my hair cut and done tomorrow.  Then a slow day Thursday then the middle one goes to get her wisdom teeth out Friday at 12:30 p.m. Hopefully she will be fully recovered by Christmas.  That’s what we’re praying for.

A long day but a good and productive one.  May I see more like this in the future.  Hope everyone has a good rest of the week.

 


Christmas Cactus

This Christmas Cactus begged me to photograph it.  All I can say is, it’s so delicious, I want to take a bite!!  Can you relate?

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Filed under: Bipolar, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, Christmas Cactus, Hope, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader

Christmas Cactus

This Christmas Cactus begged me to photograph it.  All I can say is, it’s so delicious, I want to take a bite!!  Can you relate?

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Filed under: Bipolar, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, Christmas Cactus, Hope, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader

Snow Day!

Well that three inches we were supposed to get today has turned into a foot of snow, so far. It is still snowing.  I was having an awesome dream this morning that I had a robot (in my dream it was just called a bot) and it could drive me around and everything so I could just take a snooze in the passenger seat.  I was rudely awakened from this awesome dream by the pitter-patter of little feet upstairs.  What is this?  I thought.  Did someone miss their carpool ride?  I ran upstairs and my niece and nephew yelled “Snow Day” with glee.  I’m so glad it’s such a source of happiness for the little ones.  They have walked over to their Aunt’s house, my sister, who is a teacher, because she always makes cookies on snow days.  Meanwhile I am here at home, wondering what the FUCK I am going to do all day at home.  The good shit?  No, I’m all out.  Shit!  I’m even out of milk and yogurt, two staples of my diet.  And protein powder!  I am a smoothie fanatic.  I could walk to the grocery store, but that shit is DEEP!!  It might even go over the top of my boots.  Driving in this seems ill-advised, even in a four-wheel drive.  I may have to break down and walk to the store, just to break up the day.  I can hit the marijuana store too, if those losers managed to get in and open it.  They are not known for their stellar service.  What can you expect from a bunch of stoners?

The back of my brain just keeps chanting, four more days, four more days!!! Four more days until I am in Florida, where I can walk on the soft, powdery sand, in the warm water, looking for shells, swimming in the water, scaring myself that a shark is next to me, adrenaline pumping all the while, fuck that just increases the workout value!  If you never hear from me again after Saturday, it’ll be a pretty safe bet that a shark ate me.  But sharks almost NEVER eat people in Florida.  I should be good.

Today seems like a good day for some adult coloring. Adult coloring is different from kids’ coloring because they’re generally just awesome designs or shapes to color, and it’s not done with babyish crayons, but with awesome frosty colored pens.  I love the colors and I love the precision and trying to do it perfectly.  It’s  very mentally soothing.  I highly recommend it for those of you who haven’t tried it.  Don’t be embarrassed!  It’s a thing now!  There’s books, even at fucking Walmart for God’s sake!  So know that it’s “ok” to do.  Plus, I said so.

Well, maybe I’ll go get dressed. So much to do, so little time.  Haha, big lie.  But getting dressed seems like the thing to do at almost-noon.  I’m such an achiever!  Hope your day is fantastical, whatever life (and the weather) throws at you!  Peaches to yer Papa!!


Filed under: Bipolar, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, Hope, Humor, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader, Snow Day

Snow Day!

Well that three inches we were supposed to get today has turned into a foot of snow, so far. It is still snowing.  I was having an awesome dream this morning that I had a robot (in my dream it was just called a bot) and it could drive me around and everything so I could just take a snooze in the passenger seat.  I was rudely awakened from this awesome dream by the pitter-patter of little feet upstairs.  What is this?  I thought.  Did someone miss their carpool ride?  I ran upstairs and my niece and nephew yelled “Snow Day” with glee.  I’m so glad it’s such a source of happiness for the little ones.  They have walked over to their Aunt’s house, my sister, who is a teacher, because she always makes cookies on snow days.  Meanwhile I am here at home, wondering what the FUCK I am going to do all day at home.  The good shit?  No, I’m all out.  Shit!  I’m even out of milk and yogurt, two staples of my diet.  And protein powder!  I am a smoothie fanatic.  I could walk to the grocery store, but that shit is DEEP!!  It might even go over the top of my boots.  Driving in this seems ill-advised, even in a four-wheel drive.  I may have to break down and walk to the store, just to break up the day.  I can hit the marijuana store too, if those losers managed to get in and open it.  They are not known for their stellar service.  What can you expect from a bunch of stoners?

The back of my brain just keeps chanting, four more days, four more days!!! Four more days until I am in Florida, where I can walk on the soft, powdery sand, in the warm water, looking for shells, swimming in the water, scaring myself that a shark is next to me, adrenaline pumping all the while, fuck that just increases the workout value!  If you never hear from me again after Saturday, it’ll be a pretty safe bet that a shark ate me.  But sharks almost NEVER eat people in Florida.  I should be good.

Today seems like a good day for some adult coloring. Adult coloring is different from kids’ coloring because they’re generally just awesome designs or shapes to color, and it’s not done with babyish crayons, but with awesome frosty colored pens.  I love the colors and I love the precision and trying to do it perfectly.  It’s  very mentally soothing.  I highly recommend it for those of you who haven’t tried it.  Don’t be embarrassed!  It’s a thing now!  There’s books, even at fucking Walmart for God’s sake!  So know that it’s “ok” to do.  Plus, I said so.

Well, maybe I’ll go get dressed. So much to do, so little time.  Haha, big lie.  But getting dressed seems like the thing to do at almost-noon.  I’m such an achiever!  Hope your day is fantastical, whatever life (and the weather) throws at you!  Peaches to yer Papa!!


Filed under: Bipolar, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, Hope, Humor, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader, Snow Day

A genome-wide association study of kynurenic acid in cerebrospinal fluid: implications for psychosis and cognitive impairment in bipolar disorder

 

A variant of the SNX7 gene and its reduced expression, is associated with levels of a protein called kynurenic acid aka KYNA (an end metabolite in tryptophan metabolism.) This is associated with the psychotic (out of touch with reality) symptoms and cognitive impairment seen in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Interestingly, this pathway involves signaling via the immune cells (glia) of the brain! Another immune cell connection to mental illness! And KYNA could be targeted for drug development, as reducing it should lead to a decrease in psychotic symptoms as well as cognitive impairment.

http://www.nature.com/mp/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/mp2015186a.html

Abstract

Elevated cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of the glia-derived N-methyl-d-aspartic acid receptor antagonist kynurenic acid (KYNA) have consistently been implicated in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Here, we conducted a genome-wide association study based on CSF KYNA in bipolar disorder and found support for an association with a common variant within 1p21.3. After replication in an independent cohort, we linked this genetic variant—associated with reduced SNX7 expression—to positive psychotic symptoms and executive function deficits in bipolar disorder. A series of post-mortem brain tissue and in vitro experiments suggested SNX7 downregulation to result in a caspase-8-driven activation of interleukin-1β and a subsequent induction of the brain kynurenine pathway. The current study demonstrates the potential of using biomarkers in genetic studies of psychiatric disorders, and may help to identify novel drug targets in bipolar disorder.

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Introduction

Elevation of brain kynurenic acid (KYNA) is a consistently found biochemical aberration in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (BD).1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 Brain KYNA is mainly produced in astrocytes as an end-metabolite of the kynurenine pathway of tryptophan metabolism. This pathway is highly inducible by inflammatory stimuli,8 and we have previously reported that cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-1β are markedly increased in patients with BD or schizophrenia, although the majority of other cytokines measured in this study were undetectable.9, 10

KYNA is a neuroactive metabolite that antagonizes the glycine co-agonist site of the N-methyl-d-aspartic acid receptor (NMDAR).8 Administration of synthetic NMDAR antagonists causes psychotic symptoms in healthy individuals,11 and exacerbates psychotic features in patients with schizophrenia.12 Psychotic symptoms are core features of schizophrenia, and more than half of patients with BD will experience psychosis in their lifetime.13 Supporting that KYNA might be specifically involved in the pathophysiology underlying psychotic symptoms, we have found higher levels of CSF KYNA in BD-I patients with a history of psychosis compared with those who had never experienced psychosis.14 KYNA also noncompetitively antagonizes the cholinergic α7 nicotinic receptor, and animal studies indicate that increased brain KYNA might cause cognitive deficits.8 In rats, increased brain KYNA causes behavioral responses analogous to impaired set-shifting in humans,15 an index of executive function. Set-shifting dysfunction as measured by the trail making test (TMT) is indeed a feature of schizophrenia and euthymic BD,16, 17 especially in BD patients with a history of psychosis.18

Family history is the strongest risk factor for BD, but an important obstacle for progress in psychiatric genetics is that psychiatric syndromes—based solely on symptom clustering—do not necessarily reflect specific underlying biological dysfunctions and may be insufficient to delineate heritable phenotypes.19 Indeed, epidemiological and molecular genetic studies have blurred the diagnostic boundary between schizophrenia and BD by demonstrating that these disorders have partly shared genetic causes.20, 21 Complementary approaches to unearth causal genetic mutations are therefore needed. One approach is to focus on biomarkers, that is, measurable key components in biological pathways between genotype and disease.22 For this purpose, the use of CSF KYNA may be particularly rewarding given its biological links to distinct subdomains of pathology present in both BD and schizophrenia.

In this study of euthymic BD patients, we found CSF IL-1β and KYNA to be associated with a history of psychosis and set-shifting impairment. CSF levels of KYNA were also strongly associated with the dopamine metabolite homovanillic acid (HVA). We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) against CSF levels of KYNA in BD that revealed a genome-wide significant association with the single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs10158645 within 1p21.3, a finding that was replicated in an independent cohort of BD patients. Furthermore, we analyzed this SNP in relation to CSF HVA, a history of psychosis (followed by a replication in a large data set of 565 BD patients) and set-shifting ability. As the minor allele in rs10158645 was associated with decreased expression of sorting nexin 7 (SNX7), we attempted to decipher the biochemical chain of events using a multipronged approach including causal inference analyses of clinical data, post-mortem data and cell culture studies. These experiments converged on the proposal that decreased SNX7 expression is linked to increased CSF KYNA concentration and ultimately psychosis and set-shifting difficulties in BD through caspase-8-driven activation of IL-1β.

 


A baby doe

As I sit in the doctor’s  office for my follow up appointment for my concussion, what do I do but look at FB?  I saw this precious story of an injured baby doe, rescued by anamazing  young man and then reunited with her family. Very heartwarming for me. Who can resist babies, of any kind, especially  this little one! How kind and gentle of this man, who looks to be a hunter, to save this little one from  quite certain ruin. Yes nature is cruel, nature would have let this adorable, little mite die. If the weakness was the result of illness, then the illness genes would have been eliminated from the gene pool. But so would this wondrous, beautiful creature. As humans, we choose kindness over a better gene pool. I am human and I am all for kindness.
http://www.hlntv.com/shows/the-daily-share/articles/2015/10/27/man-rescues-injured-cute-baby-deer-and-returns-it-to-its-mother​

http://youtu.be/eStXV_TYFFw


How I came to study Psychology

I began my BA through UNISA (University of South Africa) WAY back in 1994. The intention at that stage was to become a teacher, so my major subjects were English […]