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Friday, 10 April 2015

HIV Breakthrough: New Antibody Therapy Suppresses AIDS Virus for 28 Days

A new research found that an experimental immunotherapy appears to reduce the levels of HIV virus in the blood for at least a month. An antibody called 3BNC117 was found in the blood of people who are infected with HIV but do not get sick. Their immune system naturally controls the virus.

 Dr. Florian Klein, assistant professor of clinical investigation, Rockefeller University, New York, said, "The antibody might be able to intensify current treatment strategies, especially since this new treatment appears to be more potent than previous attempts at HIV immunotherapy."

The researchers tested 3BNC117 in 17 HIV-infected and 12 uninfected individuals. The participants received a single intravenous dose of 3BNC117 of 1, 3, 10 or 30 milligrams. The antibody was well tolerated by all participants. Among HIV-infected participants, 3BNC117 had the greatest effect on eight participants who received the highest dose, resulting in significant and rapid decreases in viral load. 

The findings suggests that higher the dose, better the protection. HIV resistance to 3BNC117 was variable, but some individuals remained sensitive to the antibody for 28 days.

Robin Weiss, a virus expert at University College London who was not involved in the study, said, "This one is the first to be tested for safety in people and the results look promising with a reduction in the amount of virus in the bloodstream. However, we know that HIV is clever at evolving resistance to antibodies just as it does to antiretroviral drugs. Therefore, a combination of antibodies will probably become the best approach to immune control."

The researchers conclude that 3BNC117 is safe and can have a significant effect on controlling HIV levels and requires further research for use in HIV prevention and treatment. 
University College London 


Ayurveda Treatment for Developmental Disorders

Kerala Health Minister, V.S. Sivakumar, said, "Ayurveda expertise and care for the treatment of various developmental disorders in children, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, autism, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) will be made available at major Ayurveda hospitals in the State."
 Ayurveda Treatment for Developmental Disorders

Minister Sivakumar inaugurated a scheme that provides Ayurveda treatment for developmental disorders in children, launched in the pediatric division of the Poojappura Ayurveda Hospital for Women and Children, under the Government Ayurveda College, Trivandrum on March 26. "Step will be taken to strengthen the pediatric wing in Ayurveda hospitals," he said.

A screening programme for identifying development disorders in children was also inaugurated by the Minister. A total number of 103 children below ten years of age were screened. Sixty were detected with cerebral palsy, twenty six were diagnosed with autism, seven were found to be hyperactive, another five had Down's Syndrome and seven children were found to have mental retardation.


Nano-Sensor Detects Cancer Even Before Initial Symptoms Appear, Prevents Need for Biopsy

A 35-year-old Brazilian scientist, Priscila Kosaka, has developed a new method to detect cancer before initial symptoms appear and without the need for a biopsy.
Nano-Sensor Detects Cancer Even Before Initial Symptoms Appear, Prevents Need for Biopsy

Kosaka has been working at the Microelectronic Institute of Madrid (Spain) for the past six years, and has developed a less invasive method that uses a nano-sensor that is "10 million times more effective" than traditional tests on patient blood samples. 

The sensor has antibodies that can capture cancerous cells when they come into contact with an affected blood sample, and as a result weigh more, Kosaka told Brazil's leading G1 news website. In addition, the process causes the cancerous cells to change color, indicating the presence of a malignant tumor, she added. 

The sensor, not expected to be on the market for 10 more years, may miss only two out of 10,000 samples, and can also be used to detect the onset of hepatitis and Alzheimer's, according to G1. 

"Currently, there is no method that can detect very low concentrations of molecules," said Kosaka. 

Studies still need to be done to improve the nano-sensor so it can identify the type of cancerous cells present in a sample, such as gastrointestinal or pancreatic. 

According to the World Health Organization, 21.4 million cases of cancer are detected around the globe each year.  
Source:G1 news website

Use of Viagra and Other Related Drugs Not Universal 'Cure-All' for Impotency

A new research suggests that if you are suffering from impotence or erectile dysfunction, reaching out for Viagra and other related drugs may help you increase the levels of your sexual activity, but not satisfaction. Moreover, people suffering from erectile dysfunction have higher odds of suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes.
Use of Viagra and Other Related Drugs Not Universal 'Cure-All' for ImpotencyViagra and other related drugs, clinically known as oral phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5i), cannot address these associated concerns, the researchers pointed out, suggesting that restoring erectile dysfunction (ED) pharmacologically is not a 'cure-all'. 

"It is important that health professionals act on this and offer a more rounded approach to managing ED," said Dr. David Lee, lead author of the study from the University of Manchester in Britain. This should include a well-informed patient with realistic expectations, support from his partner, and an improved assessment of any psychological or relationship issues that may exacerbate sexual concerns and dissatisfaction, Lee pointed out. 

The researchers studied the responses of more than 2,600 English men aged 50-87 years. Older men who had recently used PDE5i drugs reported higher levels of sexual activity and function than men without ED, but were more likely to be concerned and/or dissatisfied with their sex lives. 

Source:The study was published in the International Journal of Impotence Research.


Phylogica Peptide Fusion Kills Aggressive Breast Cancer Cells

Phylogica is one of the leading peptide drug discovery companies, whose libraries contain billions of unique peptides known as Phylomer peptides; they represent a rich source of biologically active drug leads. These peptides are known to have exceptional structural stability, specificity and affinity, thereby giving them the potential to address disease targets.
Ductal Carcinoma in situIn a pilot study, it was proven that certain peptides which are associated with the Omomyc drug, kills drug-resistant and aggressive breast cancer cells. The principal scientist is Dr. Pilar Blancafort, one of Australia's leading breast cancer experts, associate professor at The University of Western Australia, and a member of the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research. She commented that the results of the study show that the company's Cell-Penetrating Peptide (CPP) fusion improves efficacy of existing anticancer drugs. 

Dr. Blancafort said that the study also revealed that Phylogica's CPP fusion improved the efficacy of existing anticancer drugs to a great extent, including the antibody, Cetuximab and the chemotherapy agent, Docetaxel. She further stated that a combination of Cetuximab and a Phylomer CPP-Omomyc fusion was more than three times more effective at killing drug-resistant breast cancer cells as compared to any of these agents alone. 

 "The ability to combine drugs to treat breast cancer is particularly exciting as it has the potential to lower the likelihood of resistance, improve drug activity and reduce chemotherapy side-effects," she explained. 

Dr. Blancafort also tested the activity of Phylogica's CPP fusion in an in-vivo breast cancer model and found that there was a substantial reduction in tumor size. However, she was of the opinion that this pilot study needs to be repeated using larger groups to confirm its significance.

Dr. Paul Watt, the Chief Scientific Officer of Phylogica, said, "We were not expecting such a striking result from the pilot study. We believe this is the first time anyone has shown a CPP-Omomyc fusion protein to be active in vivo, as to our knowledge Omomyc has only previously been successfully delivered to tumors using a complex 'gene therapy' approach, associated with significant regulatory hurdles to clinical application." 
Source:Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Indian Origin Researchers Develop Camera to Monitor Health by Analyzing Face

Medical professionals routinely monitor vital signs including body temperature, blood pressure, pulse rate (heart rate), and breathing rate (respiratory rate). Rice University researchers have made this assessment easier than before by developing a camera that can monitor health just by looking at a person's face. The highly accurate, touch-free system, DistancePPG, can measure a patient's pulse and breathing just by analyzing the changes in one's skin color over time.
 Indian Origin Researchers Develop Camera to Monitor Health by Analyzing Face

Researchers are making this not so new technique work under conditions that have so far stumped earlier systems. Other camera-based systems have been challenged by low-light conditions, dark skin tones and movement. But, DistancePPG relies on algorithms that correct for those variables. The research team comprising of Rice graduate student Mayank Kumar and professors Ashok Veeraraghavan and Ashutosh Sabharwal created the system that will let doctors diagnose patients from a distance with special attention paid to those in low-resource settings. 

Kumar, the project's lead graduate researcher, said, "DistancePPG would be particularly helpful to monitor premature infants for whom blood pressure cuffs or wired probes could pose a threat. Our key finding was that the strength of the skin-color change signal was different in different regions of the face, and so they developed a weighted-averaging algorithm, which improved the accuracy of derived vital signs, rapidly expanding the scope, viability, reach and utility of camera-based vital-sign monitoring. By incorporating tracking to compensate for movement, even a smile, DistancePPG perceived a pulse rate to within one beat per minute, even for diverse skin tones under varied lighting conditions. We expect the software to find its way to mobile phones, tablets and computers so people can reliably measure their own vital signs whenever and wherever they choose." 

Source:The research is published in Biomedical Optics Express.


CDSCO drug inspectors to soon get trained on GMP in line with global counterparts

Aimed at empowering the central drug regulators with the similar regulatory knowledge as offered to the US FDA officials, Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) is planning to equip its drug inspectors on relevant areas of current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) following the online training availed by 45 officers from the Gujarat Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA) recently.

The US-based global leader in safety science Underwriters Laboratories (UL) trained the 45 officers from the Gujarat FDCA on 22 online courses covering critical areas including Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), Good Clinical Practices (GCP), audit-readiness and remedial training. UL offers about 1,200 courses globally and has trained around 38,000 US FDA inspectors till date.

"There are about 17 officers in the CDSCO western region who require training on relevant areas of GMP and cGMP. However, the proposal on the same is in its final stage of approval and will materialize soon," informed an official associated with the development.

Out of the 700 courses offered through e-learning mode, 150 courses have been made available in Gujarat FDCA for the state regulators on relevant areas of GMP, GDP and validation protocols. There is no monetary interest associated with offering this online programme as the aim is to empower the regulators with the similar regulatory knowledge as that is offered to the US FDA.

Explains Scott Barnard, VP, life sciences, EduNeering, "As a part of MoU with the Gujarat government, UL would further provide e-learning courses with different regulatory topics such as GXP (which includes good manufacturing and laboratory practices, and clinical research) content to them. A system has also been provided where regulators can do those courses and track those completions."

Talking about the training module, Gujarat FDCA Commissioner Dr H G Koshia said, “This will offer educational opportunities to its investigators, scientists, analysts, state and local regulatory officials to meet the challenges of matching the complex regulatory environment. UL EduNeering’s rich modules of training programmes that are followed by US FDA would definitely help our inspectors understand the nuances of global regulatory requirements and ensure a high degree of quality control for pharmaceutical manufacturers in Gujarat.”

Last year, pharmaceutical exports from India to the United States rose 32 per cent to $4.2 billion. India accounts for about 40 per cent of generic and over the counter (OTC) products and 10 per cent of finished dosages used in the US. Explains Dr Kavita Mehrotra, global strategic head, UL EduNeering, “UL aims at bringing in good manufacturing practices (GMP) by empowering the regulatory authorities because ultimately not only does this contribute significantly to patient safety but also influences the quality of exports of pharmaceuticals and other related products, thereby accelerating business results as well.”

“UL offers innovative technologies that prepare companies to have standardised processes, as well as audit readiness, by adhering to GMP requirements, so that the best practices exist at every level in the organisation,” concludes Suresh Sugavanam, managing director, UL India and South Asia.

ICMR soon to begin research in the area of drug utilization

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will soon begin research in the area of drug utilization to address research questions on various areas related to drug utilization research. 

Drug utilization research studies are important for policy making at national level as well as individual patient management and for evaluating extent of adverse drug reactions to drugs. However information on drug utilization is lacking in our country. Systematic review of published literature showed that drug utilization research studies are mostly hospital based, rather than community based, do not use ATC/DDD system, have not analysed prescription patterns for deviations from standard treatment guidelines or safety warning, and evaluation of interventions to improve prescribing practices are lacking. 

Drug utilization research involves study of marketing, distribution, prescription and use of drugs in a society with special emphasis on the resulting medical, social and economic consequences. The WHO antatomical, therapeutic and chemical (ATC) classification system provides global standard for classifying drugs. A unit of measurement called defined daily dose (DDD) is the assumed average maintenance dose per year for a drug used for its main indication in adults.  

The ATC/DDD system serves as tool for drug utilization research and allows comparison of drug consumption statistics at international/national and various levels of healthcare setting, Govt of India has plans for universal access to essential medicines. Standardized, validated information on drug use is essential for assessing rational/irrational patterns of drug utilization, identification of problems of access, education and other interventions and monitoring the outcomes of interventions for the rational use of drugs. 

Scientists on regular employment in the medical colleges, post graduate institutions, universities, recognized research institutes and development laboratories and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are eligible to participate in this research programme. NGOs should have a minimum of 3 years experience of working after their registration, good track record of working and they need to be registered with the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), government of India.

Can light therapy help the brain?

Following up on promising results from pilot work, researchers at the VA Boston Healthcare System are testing the effects of light therapy on brain function in veterans with Gulf War Illness.
Veterans in the study wear a helmet lined with light-emitting diodes that apply red and near-infrared light to the scalp. They also have diodes placed in their nostrils, to deliver photons to the deeper parts of the brain.
The light is painless and generates no heat. A treatment takes about 30 minutes.
IMAGEThe therapy, though still considered "investigational" and not covered by most health insurance plans, is already used by some alternative medicine practitioners to treat wounds and pain. The light from the diodes has been shown to boost the output of nitric oxide near where the LEDs are placed, which improves blood flow in that location.
"We are applying a technology that's been around for a while," says lead investigator Dr. Margaret Naeser, "but it's always been used on the body, for wound healing and to treat muscle aches and pains, and joint problems. We're starting to use it on the brain."
Naeser is a research linguist and speech pathologist for the Boston VA, and a research professor of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM). She is also a licensed acupuncturist and has conducted past research on laser acupuncture to treat paralysis in stroke, and pain in carpal tunnel syndrome.
The LED therapy increases blood flow in the brain, as shown on MRI scans. It also appears to have an effect on damaged brain cells, specifically on their mitochondria. These are bean-shaped subunits within the cell that put out energy in the form of a chemical known as ATP. The red and near-infrared light photons penetrate through the skull and into brain cells and spur the mitochondria to produce more ATP. That can mean clearer, sharper thinking, says Naeser.
Naeser says brain damage caused by explosions, or exposure to pesticides or other neurotoxins--such as in the Gulf War--could impair the mitochondria in cells. She believes light therapy can be a valuable adjunct to standard cognitive rehabilitation, which typically involves "exercising" the brain in various ways to take advantage of brain plasticity and forge new neural networks.
"The light-emitting diodes add something beyond what's currently available with cognitive rehabilitation therapy," says Naeser. "That's a very important therapy, but patients can go only so far with it. And in fact, most of the traumatic brain injury and PTSD cases that we've helped so far with LEDs on the head have been through cognitive rehabilitation therapy. These people still showed additional progress after the LED treatments. It's likely a combination of both methods would produce the best results."
The LED approach has its skeptics, but Naeser's group has already published some encouraging results in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.
Last June in the Journal of Neurotrauma, they reported the outcomes of LED therapy in 11 patients with chronic TBI, ranging in age from 26 to 62. Most of the injuries occurred in car accidents or on the athletic field. One was a battlefield injury, from an improvised explosive device (IED).
Neuropsychological testing before the therapy and at several points thereafter showed gains in areas such as executive function, verbal learning, and memory. The study volunteers also reported better sleep and fewer PTSD symptoms.
The study authors concluded that the pilot results warranted a randomized, placebo-controlled trial--the gold standard in medical research.
That's happening now, thanks to VA support. One trial, already underway, aims to enroll 160 Gulf War veterans. Half the veterans will get the real LED therapy for 15 sessions, while the others will get a mock version, using sham lights.
Then the groups will switch, so all the volunteers will end up getting the real therapy, although they won't know at which point they received it. After each veteran's last real or sham treatment, he or she will undergo tests of brain function.
Naeser points out that "because this is a blinded, controlled study, neither the participant nor the assistant applying the LED helmet and the intranasal diodes is aware whether the LEDs are real or sham. So they both wear goggles that block out the red LED light." The near-infrared light is invisible to begin with.
Besides the Gulf War study, other trials of the LED therapy are getting underway:
  • Later this year, a trial will launch for veterans age 18 to 55 who have both traumatic brain injury (TBI) and posttraumatic stress disorder--a common combination in recent war veterans. The VA-funded study will be led by Naeser's colleague Dr. Jeffrey Knight, a psychologist with VA's National Center for PTSD and an assistant professor of psychiatry at BUSM.
  • Dr. Yelena Bogdanova, a clinical psychologist with VA and assistant professor of psychiatry at BUSM, will lead a VA-funded trial looking at the impact of LED therapy on sleep and cognition in veterans with blast TBI.
  • Naeser is collaborating on an Army study testing LED therapy, delivered via the helmets and the nose diodes, for active-duty soldiers with blast TBI. The study, funded by the Army's Advanced Medical Technology Initiative, will also test the feasibility and effectiveness of using only the nasal LED devices--and not the helmets--as an at-home, self-administered treatment. The study leader is Dr. Carole Palumbo, an investigator with VA and the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, and an associate professor of neurology at BUSM.
Naeser hopes the work will validate LED therapy as a viable treatment for veterans and others with brain difficulties. She foresees potential not only for war injuries but for conditions such as depression, stroke, dementia, and even autism.
"There are going to be many applications, I think. We're just in the beginning stages right now."

Worms and germs lead to better immune function

A growing body of evidence in the medical community holds that greater diversity of bacteria and even worms in the digestive tract offers protection against a variety of allergic and autoimmune problems.
Germs from healthy people can be used to heal people with digestive disorders and other conditions caused by the loss of their own germs, and worms that live in the gut, called helminths, have shown success in quelling inflammatory diseases.
With this in mind, researches at Duke Medicine hypothesized that enhancing biodiversity in laboratory rats, including treating the rats with worms, would suppress their immune systems. Because worms have been shown to subdue inflammatory diseases such as asthma and allergies, the thinking was, the treated immune system would not fight infections as effectively.
Actual findings were quite the opposite. Researchers found enhanced rather than suppressed immune function in animals with increased biodiversity.
Publishing online in the April 8, 2015, issue of PLOS ONE, the findings add to the growing understanding of the complex environment in the digestive tract and its role in maintaining health.
"We were surprised - we thought enhancing biodiversity would make the animals more immune-suppressed," said senior author William Parker, Ph.D., associate professor of surgery at Duke. "But it appears that at the same time we enhanced the biodiversity in a way that should suppress allergy and auto-immunity, we also enhanced the immune response to a variety of stimuli."
Parker and colleagues went to lengths to place the laboratory rats in a natural environment that would closely recreate natural levels of biodiversity.
"We intentionally loaded them with worms, and we housed them with wild rats that we caught around town," Parker said. "We also had to keep these 'natural rats' in a facility far away from any other population of study animals so that they didn't contaminate the rest of our laboratory rats."
These so-called natural rats ended up with the genetics and domestication of laboratory rats, yet with digestive biodiversity more similar to wild rats. The next step was to compare immune function between the natural rats and the cleaner, traditional laboratory rats.
Researchers found that enhanced biodiversity was associated with better immune responsiveness. Specifically, they found better responses to vaccination, better T-cell responses, and much higher levels of "natural" antibodies, which have been shown to be important in fighting cancer.
Parker said the study suggests that biome enrichment might serve as an "immune trainer" to improve immune function and overall health.
"In our clean environment, rats and by extension humans, are not doing well," Parker said. "We are potentially seeing a decreased ability to respond to dangerous antigens while, at the same time, we respond to things that we shouldn't, causing allergies and autoimmune problems. This work demonstrates we all may really need better biodiversity, and perhaps that biodiversity needs to be artificially introduced back in the system."

Study Shows Autism Can Be Diagnosed Using Saliva

It’s important to diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or autism early so that treatments and therapies can be started sooner, which can result in improved functional outcomes. To help with this process, researchers are searching for a biological marker to identify the disorder.
saliva testIn the absence of such a biological marker, medical professionals evaluate social skills and behavioural patterns, which can provide the initial clues for autism diagnosis.
However, the approach now seems to be changing. Researchers are testing salivary proteins for early clues of autism, prior to behavioral patterns becoming apparent to clinicians, educators, and parents.
New proteins have been discovered which are contained in saliva that can act as biomarkers of ASD, thereby helping in early identification of ASD in patients. This discovery has been made by scientists at the Clarkson University, Potsdam in New York.
According to the researchers at State University of New York, Plattsburgh, and at the Clarkson University, autism may one day be diagnosed with the help of a spit test.
The first study published by the scientists at these universities shows that there are differences in the protein levels in the saliva of kids with ASD compared to those in typically developing children. This study was published in the journal “Autism Research” in its Jan 27 issue.
Armand Gatien Ngounou Wetie, a doctoral candidate at Clarkson University, led the team of researchers who conducted the study. The researchers examined the saliva of 6 children with autism, aged within 6 to 16 years, and that of 6 typically developing kids falling in the same age group. They measured the protein differences in the saliva obtained from these two groups using a technique called mass spectrometry.


In this study, researchers discovered that 9 different proteins were remarkably heightened in the saliva of kids with ASD, and 3 proteins were either absent or present in low levels. The researchers stated that this information can help in creating a certain profile or makeup for indicating the risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders and its presence.
Alisa G. Woods, a researcher working at both SUNY Plattsburgh Center for Neurobehavioral Health and Clarkson University, said, “We found nine proteins that were significantly elevated in the saliva of the people with autism and three that were lower or even absent.” She is one of the researchers who led the study. She further added, “This is the first study to identify these changes in saliva, which is a relatively easy biofluid to obtain for clinical use or research.”
The identified proteins primarily play a role in the immune system responses. These proteins are present in elevated concentrations in individuals suffering from gastrointestinal problems. This finding agrees with previous research, which suggests that an overactive immune system and inflammation might be heightened in ASD. The scientists also stated that many among the proteins identified interact with each other.
Costel C. Darie, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biomolecular Science at the Clarkson University and a proteomics expert and co-lead author, said, “We are the first in the world who proposed a protein complex as a potential biomarker signature, which gives us information not only about the proteins, their relative quantities and their modifications, but also about their interactions with other proteins.”
Lactotransferrin, one of the identified proteins, may actually act as a marker to indicate gastrointestinal issues in autism. It may also have the ability to identify individuals who have the risk of gastrointestinal issues with autism. Such individuals may face difficulties in expressing potential symptoms. This protein in the saliva can potentially act as a marker in such cases.
The study proved to be quite promising when it comes to developing a diagnostic test for autism. The use of saliva makes the approach much simpler, as it can be obtained from patients easily and noninvasively. However, a greater number of subjects should be studied in order to confirm that the markers have a consistent difference in individuals with autism.
Ngounou said, “We have found some interesting proteins that are different from children with autism compared with controls, and I think the next stage would be to increase the pool of samples to confirm those findings.”
The researchers want to study the protein differences further, in bigger groups of kids with autism, and in certain autism subtypes.

“We Are Trained To Misinform” – Ex-Big Pharma Sales Rep Speaks Out About The Deception In The Pharmaceutical Industry

There is no such thing as a safe drug.” This comes from ex-pharmaceutical sales rep and author of the book, Confessions of an Rx Drug Pusher, Gwen Olsen.
For 15 years, Gwen was living an unintentional lie, working as a pharmaceutical sales rep for some of today’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Abbott Laboratories. But through a gradual course of tragic events, Gwen’s eyes were eventually opened to the unethical and tyrannical truth about pharmaceutical drugs.
It was an awakening process, a spiritual and consciousness process where I started observing what was happening, what some of the drugs were doing, the misinformation, the disinformation. I was being encouraged to minimize side effects when I talked to doctors. I started to realize that these patients were literally being tortured by the drugs.”
In her tell all book, Gwen writes about her years as a pharmaceutical sales rep, exposing the dirty secrets of the industry that often go untalked about.
As she explains, by the time a drug is approved and hits the general population, we don’t know even 50% of side effects that are involved with that drug, “We were being trained to misinform people,” she said.
But in 2oo4, a family tragedy that tied into the corruption of the pharma industry would change everything for Gwen.
My niece was 20 years old, she was attending Indiana university and she was a pre-med student, an extremely intelligent, beautiful woman, and just a beautiful spirit inside and out. She was in a car accident, and was prescribed vicodin hydrocodone for the pain, and became addicted.
Gwen says that the drug’s sedative properties were affecting her niece’s concentration, so she ended up taking the stimulant drug, ephedrine, to help her with studying.
She had a drug interaction and ended up in the hospital, and they tagged her with a bipolar disorder, not a drug toxicity or a reaction to the drugs she was on. They started giving her more antipsychotics and mood stabilizers, and that set her on the road to becoming a mental patient.”
Sadly, Gwen’s niece eventually dropped out of school, after which she tried to wean herself off of the medications she was taking. Inevitably, a severe depression followed.
Her mom was on her way home to take her back to the psychiatrist and get her back on drugs. [That is when] my niece walked into her younger sister’s room and took an angel lamp that was filled with oil, and poured it over herself and ignited it, burning herself alive.
Gwen says that her niece’s suicide was the spark for her passion to spread the truth about what is happening to so many others out there suffering from side effects associated with pharmaceutical drugs.
It was a promise made to her that I would not let her memory be sullied, and tell people what had happened to her. She would not be remembered as a mentally or genetically defective person, I would not allow that to happen. And I realize that there are thousands and thousands of people out there that need a voice, and I’m serving as that voice.
Today, one of Gwen’s biggest concerns is for the millions of children taking antipsychotics, which has grownexponentially in the past 10 years. These drugs are especially being given to kids in foster care, putting them in a virtual chemical straight jacket.
A large number of psychiatrists are dishonest, because I see them giving people drugs that they know are brain damaging therapeutics, that they know do not have positive, long-term outcomes, that they know will not cure anything. They just take a list of symptoms and call it a mental illness or disorder.
The subjectivity of psychiatric diagnoses has created a lucrative alliance between psychiatrists, pharma reps and the pharma industry. There is no scientific data that is required to diagnose a mental illness. There are no blood tests, there are no urine tests, no PET scan, there is no medical evidence required, and so therefore, that broadens the potential patient population considerably.
I was so disillusioned, as well as angry, when I found out how much deception, how much misinformation was taking place and how I’d been used in that game. I literally was the one on the frontlines, I was harming people unintentionally, but I was responsible. I carry a burden for that now.
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