Daily Archives: July 30, 2015

Starting to Freak About the Catamaran Writing Conference

  Yes, I’m beginning to feel nervous about leaving my cozy comfort bubble to attend the 2015 Catamaran Writers Conference. I certainly won’t let my freakiness stop me from going to such an incredible-sounding event. But I’m definitely intimidated about hobnobbing with … Continue reading

Hurts So Good

Here is something that has come up in conversations with three different people in the last two weeks. It also continues to be part of the puzzle in therapy. I believe I have touched on this before, if not written a complete blog about it. But it is important so here we go: Sometimes, it […]

Hurts So Good

Here is something that has come up in conversations with three different people in the last two weeks. It also...

The post Hurts So Good appeared first on Pretending to be What We Are.

The More You Know

I recently fielded a question about depression that I thought I could turn into a very helpful blog post. The...

The post The More You Know appeared first on Pretending to be What We Are.

One Of My Favorite “Break Up” Songs

I am still having a bit of difficulty getting my subconscious to get over my last relationship which pretty much fucked my whole self-image, and what I expect from a relationship. Now it is seeping into my conscious. Not good. I am not used to being or feeling loved. That was not what mt marriage […]

And another one: Gut microbiota are related to Parkinson’s disease and clinical phenotype (!!!!)

The human digestive tract contains up to a thousand different types of bacteria, which help you digest  food, make vitamins and maintain your immune system. The amount of bacteria is influenced by diet, age and other variables, and is thus unique to each individual.

Filip Scheperjans, MD, PhD, and colleagues from the University of Helsinki, Finland examined the intestinal contents of 72 people with Parkinson’s and 72 without PD. Their research, funded by MJFF and published recently in Movement Disorders, revealed that people with Parkinson’s had lower levels of a certain bacterium and that concentrations of another bacterium varied among subgroups of those with PD with differing motor symptoms.

Intestines as a Window to the Brain
There is a clear effect of Parkinson’s disease on the gastrointestinal system. Nearly 80 percent of people with PD have constipation, and this condition often predates the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s by several years.

Additionally, alpha-synuclein — a protein that clumps in the brains of all people with Parkinson’s — has been found in several locations outside the brain, including the nerves controlling the intestines. Investigators question whether the abnormal protein could show up here first, causing non-motor symptoms, and later spread to the brain to cause motor symptoms.

Lastly, researchers believe the normal bacteria of the gut might affect the functioning of the gut nerves which could in turn affect the nerves of the brain.

Specific Bacterial Levels Are Affected in Parkinson’s Disease
In Dr. Scheperjans’ study, the bacteria Prevotella was present at lower levels in the guts of people with Parkinson’s disease. This bacterium aids in the creation of the vitamins thiamine and folate and the maintenance of an intestinal barrier protecting against environmental toxins. This finding may therefore have implications not only for diagnosis but also for dietary adjustments or vitamin supplementation for management of PD in the future.

In people with Parkinson’s with more severe postural instability and gait difficulty, as opposed to tremor, the bacterium Enterobacteria was present at higher levels. The reasons for this association were not clear.

Studying Intestinal Bacteria Will Advance Understanding of Parkinson’s
Deciphering information from the gut could lead to earlier and more definitive diagnosis, a better understanding of how Parkinson’s progresses, and ways to separate the populations of people with differing symptoms of PD.

If researchers determine that there are specific and consistent differences in the gut, bacteria may serve as biomarkers — objective measurements to diagnose or track PD. As the gut is much more accessible than the brain and can be analyzed through stool samples, a bacterial biomarker is an attractive prospect.

Additionally, we don’t know why people with Parkinson’s disease show such varied motor symptoms (gait problems versus tremor, for example) or who will get which. Bacterial differences may allow us to separate the subtypes of Parkinson’s and, as a result, give individuals a better idea of the symptoms and disease progression they might expect.

More Research Is Needed
Further studies are called for to learn more about the relationship between these and other gut bacteria and Parkinson’s. In the meantime, researchers are intensely studying alpha-synuclein to determine how and why this protein contributes to Parkinson’s, and its connection between the gut and the brain.

Until a disease-modifying therapy is found, symptomatic treatments, including a drug for constipation, remain under development.

1) https://www.michaeljfox.org/foundation/news-detail.php?gut-check-on-parkinson-new-findings-on-bacteria-levels&utm_source=social&utm_medium=facebook&utm_content=researchnews&utm_campaign=gut-check&s_src=gut-check&s_subsrc=facebook&utm_source=social&utm_medium=facebook&utm_content=foundationnews&utm_campaign=archives-gut-bacteria&s_src=MJFFfb&s_subsrc=archives-gut-bacteria#prclt-aCp1CEDa

In the course of Parkinson’s disease (PD), the enteric nervous system (ENS) and parasympathetic nerves are amongst the structures earliest and most frequently affected by alpha-synuclein pathology. Accordingly, gastrointestinal dysfunction, in particular constipation, is an important non-motor symptom in PD and often precedes the onset of motor symptoms by years. Recent research has shown that intestinal microbiota interact with the autonomic and central nervous system via diverse pathways including the ENS and vagal nerve. The gut microbiome in PD has not been previously investigated. We compared the fecal microbiomes of 72 PD patients and 72 control subjects by pyrosequencing the V1–V3 regions of the bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA gene. Associations between clinical parameters and microbiota were analyzed using generalized linear models, taking into account potential confounders. On average, the abundance of Prevotellaceae in feces of PD patients was reduced by 77.6% as compared with controls. Relative abundance of Prevotellaceae of 6.5% or less had 86.1% sensitivity and 38.9% specificity for PD. A logistic regression classifier based on the abundance of four bacterial families and the severity of constipation identified PD patients with 66.7% sensitivity and 90.3% specificity. The relative abundance of Enterobacteriaceae was positively associated with the severity of postural instability and gait difficulty. These findings suggest that the intestinal microbiome is altered in PD and is related to motor phenotype. Further studies are warranted to elucidate the temporal and causal relationships between gut microbiota and PD and the suitability of the microbiome as a biomarker. © 2014 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society

2) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mds.26069/abstract

Guest Blog by Kristy Bear

Hello Lilypup fans! My name is Kristy Bear and I am honoured to be a guest blogger here today, I’m visiting from Canada-land and my personal blog rememberhowtofly//wordpress.com/ My blog is about recovery. It is a blog about remembering how to spread your wings and fly because I believe deep at the heart of it we all know how to succeed and be true to ourselves… some of us just forget how sometimes. We forget because we are overwhelmed in our day-to-day interactions, we are overwhelmed in our minds with negative affect, mood swings, and symptoms that we just don’t want.

Everyone relates so well to Lilypup because even though as a reader we may not have bi-polar disorder we do suffer from life’s ups and downs. We relate to having life stressors, days where we can’t cope well, and days where we celebrate remembering how to fly.

My personal life challenge has been healing complex trauma. I move in cycles from high functioning to low functioning. I move from being okay to having sleepless nights of insomnia and repeated nightmares, irritability and anger, hypervigilance where I’m constantly afraid and looking over my shoulders, being unable to concentrate, feeling depressed, wanting to avoid people, and at the worst of it I suffer flashbacks and tearful memories. These symptoms are called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

My PTSD is considered complex because I’ve had multiple traumatic experiences that overlap one another, please note that the rest of this paragraph comes with a trigger warning for violence: avoid the rest of it if you feel you should.I grew up in an abusive household as a child. My father was a binge drinker and my mother had violent behavior and unpredictable emotional swings. After their divorce I moved in with my father, who continued to drink heavily forcing me to look after myself. Once I got into high school I began running away and living on the streets. I also began using drugs as a way to escape. I was raped at 13 by a 30 year old man, and again at 16 by a 26 year old that was dealing me drugs. At the age of 18, still not having processed all the experiences I had faced, I was held hostage by an ex-lover for 6 hours and beaten, threatened with weapons, and psychologically tortured. One year later he plead guilty to numerous charges, and I was left picking up the pieces.

It took many years of intense therapy and work to not be in crisis, to stay sober, to not avoid the traumatic memories and feelings, and to have days where I cope. I am far from normal, I am far from undamaged, I am far from high functioning, but I every day I try my best. Trying your best is the heart at what I want to express to you today.

I accept that sometimes my best doesn’t look like other people’s best, but it is my best and I honour and respect it.

This Acceptance, Honour, and Respect, I believe, is at the heart of looking at the way you understand the world, your place in it, and the ways you relate to the world and others. And I believe that this process of Spiritual Recovery is vitally important for everyone, not just people with PTSD.

Life is not about fixing something that’s broken, and it isn’t about becoming normal. Normal is a strange standard that doesn’t exist anywhere except in your own head 😉

Life is about acknowledging where you come from. It is about strength of spirit.

This strength can come from many different places in your life. In my journey a big part of this strength has come from paying attention to myself.

Give yourself time to let your mind wanderfor a few minutes each day, and when something difficult comes forward don’t shy away from it. Your spirit wants to wander there because there’s something to work on and learn from. Just because you feel or think something doesn’tmean you need to react to it, just bear witness to your inner world.

If a friend came to you and told you they were very sad and hated themselves, or were having a hard time with something, you wouldn’t tell them, “Shut up! Stop feeling that way.” You wouldn’t say, “I will help you this time, but next time you better not come to me for help.”

If you wouldn’t do that to a friend, don’t do that to yourself either.

Instead, let your feelings and thoughts come, and say to them what you would say to a friend: “I’m sorry you feel this way,” or “I’m here for you, it’s okay.”

Sometimes your friend just wants a shoulder to lean on for support, and it is easy to forget to give that to yourself.

This spiritual process of learning how to separate action from thought is not an easy one. You are not your experience of sight or smell, they are things that happen to you. Thoughts and feelings are not you, they are things that happen to you.

You don’t need to stop them from coming up or figure out how to control them, you simply need to take the time to acknowledge them and give yourself a mental hug.

This is the first step on the spiritual path of Acceptance, Honour, and Respect. It’s not an easy path, but it is a path that we have all been blessed to have the option of exploring.

I wish you all the best on your journey. Love and Light, Kristy Bear <3

Scientists show a link between intestinal bacteria and depression and anxiety (!!!)

gut bac

Scientists from McMaster University have discovered that intestinal bacteria play an important role in inducing anxiety and depression. The new study, published in Nature Communications, is the first to explore the role of intestinal microbiota in the altered behavior that is a consequence of early life stress. “We have shown for the first time in an established mouse model of anxiety and depression that bacteria play a crucial role in inducing this abnormal behavior,” said Premysl Bercik, senior author of the paper.

“Exploring the role of intestinal microbiota in the altered behavior that is a consequence of early life stress

Scientists from the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute at McMaster University have discovered that intestinal bacteria play an important role in inducing anxiety and depression.

The new study, published in Nature Communications, is the first to explore the role of intestinal microbiota in the altered behavior that is a consequence of early life stress.

“We have shown for the first time in an established mouse model of anxiety and depression that bacteria play a crucial role in inducing this abnormal behavior,” said Premysl Bercik, senior author of the paper and an associate professor of medicine with McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. “But it’s not only bacteria, it’s the altered bi-directional communication between the stressed host — mice subjected to early life stress — and its microbiota, that leads to anxiety and depression.”

It has been known for some time that intestinal bacteria can affect behavior, but much of the previous research has used healthy, normal mice, said Bercik.

In this study, researchers subjected mice to early life stress with a procedure of maternal separation, meaning that from day three to 21, newborn mice were separated for three hours each day from their mothers and then put back with them.

First, Bercik and his team confirmed that conventional mice with complex microbiota, which had been maternally separated, displayed anxiety and depression-like behavior, with abnormal levels of the stress hormone corticosterone. These mice also showed gut dysfunction based on the release of a major neurotransmitter, acetylcholine.

Then, they repeated the same experiment in germ-free conditions and found that in the absence of bacteria mice which were maternally separated still have altered stress hormone levels and gut dysfunction, but they behaved similar to the control mice, not showing any signs of anxiety or depression.

Next, they found that when the maternally separated germ-free mice are colonized with bacteria from control mice, the bacterial composition and metabolic activity changed within several weeks, and the mice started exhibiting anxiety and depression.

“However, if we transfer the bacteria from stressed mice into non stressed germ-free mice, no abnormalities are observed. This suggests that in this model, both host and microbial factors are required for the development of anxiety and depression-like behavior. Neonatal stress leads to increased stress reactivity and gut dysfunction that changes the gut microbiota which, in turn, alters brain function,” said Bercik.

He said that with this new research, “We are starting to explain the complex mechanisms of interaction and dynamics between the gut microbiota and its host. Our data show that relatively minor changes in microbiota profiles or its metabolic activity induced by neonatal stress can have profound effects on host behavior in adulthood.”

Bercik said this is another step in understanding how microbiota can shape host behaviour, and that it may extend the original observations into the field of psychiatric disorders.

“It would be important to determine whether this also applies to humans. For instance, whether we can detect abnormal microbiota profiles or different microbial metabolic activity in patients with primary psychiatric disorders, like anxiety and depression,” said Bercik.”


Any Tech People Out There?

My son installed Windows 10 on my computer last night. Now there’s a prompt on my comments section asking people to leave their e-mail and website before they can comment.

I went into the settings “discussion” area. Somehow a box had been checked “Commenters must leave e-mail and website.” So I unchecked that and clicked “update”. It didn’t change anything.

I hate this dumb thing. I do NOT want you poor people to have to fill anything out to leave a comment.

Any ideas out there?


Slowly Getting Back Up To Speed

I doing laundry now and cooking, so I am slowly returning to normal activity. Went to church last night and enjoyed that–my first trip back since my surgery.  I picked up the little one from camp yesterday and she slept so hard last night she didn’t wake up at 6 like she normally does.  BUt she said she had a good time, so that was good to hear.

School for her and the middle one starts one week from today.   SO we still have a lot to do to get ready. But it wil be fine.  It’s the little one’s last year of elementary school–next year she’ll be a middle schooler and the middle one will be a senior.  So a lot of transition coming up in the coming years.

My mood has stayed pretty stable through this month.  I’m still excited to start school myself on the 20th.  I start teaching my homeschoolers on August 7, so I have that to look forward to as well.  I drew up their assignment lists yesterday so I will have that ready.  I have my readings and my books ready to discuss from so I feel prepared. It’s just a fun class giving them a taste of creative writing in four genres–nothing too serious.  I don’t do a grammar lesson, etc because They’re supposed to be juniors and seniors in their curriculum before I get them, so they should be fluent in that already.  So we just have fun.