Scientists hope to reverse alcoholic mush brain, prevent recovery relapse

Photo illustration courtesy Pixabay

We know that alcohol turns the brain to mush, as they say.

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute want to know just what’s in that “mush.” They also hope to find ways to make the brain fresh again with newly developed Pharma treatments.

The esteemed research organization announced Tuesday it has received a $10 million grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Addiction to further its work.

“There hasn’t been a new pharmacological treatment for alcohol dependence in decades,” Barbara Mason of Scripps La Jolla explained in a news release. “We want to change that and help facilitate a return to homeostasis in the brains of people with alcohol use disorder.”

Just as important as restoring the brain of people who quit drinking, new drugs could even help hardcore alcoholics quit drinking.

“After someone with alcohol use disorder stops drinking and undergoes acute withdrawal, there’s then a protracted withdrawal phase that’s characterized by activation of stress systems in the brain and symptoms of negative affect such as anxiety, dysphoria, and irritability,” said Mason. “These symptoms ultimately drive craving and relapse, and we want to stop that cycle.”

The money will be used to bring together scientists from molecular pharmacology, neurochemistry, electrophysiology, neurocircuitry. It also will help fund clinical studies.

Sound heavy? Mason gets it. From the Scripps news release:

Mason’s research has already revealed that when someone with alcohol use disorder stops drinking, their brain releases stress neuropeptides—molecules that turn on stress pathways in the brain. They’ve also homed in on the extended amygdala—an area of the brain involved in mediating emotional behaviors—as helping mediate the interactions between stress and addiction.

I applaud any effort to create new ways of helping people quit drinking and drugging.

I recently wrote a blog criticizing the use of kratom for opioid withdrawal. While I stand by the premise — you can’t use it to detox from opioids cold turkey, and people are dying that way – I do know that many people insist it has been of great help.

Whatever works to get people on the road to freedom from drugs and alcohol. Safely.

I know the brain regenerates quite well on its own, without Pharma drugs, when a person gets sober. I’m proof of that. You can read about neuroplasticity and how the brain performs workarounds by clicking here. 

I always say my writing got me sober and keeps me sober. You can read about that by clicking here.

We certainly need options beyond “The Rooms.” That goes without saying.

Until next time.

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Going Bananas: Fitzpatrick pleads not guilty, web traffic explodes, Kush relieves

UPDATE: Frank Fitzpatrick is now serving four years in prison. You check out the court record here. 

Frank Fitzpatrick, son of the previous owner of my home, has pleaded not guilty to manufacturing ecstasy pills and delivering meth.

A pre-trial is set for March 2. He appeared in court Jan. 30, according to Rock Island County court records.

Since I broke the story one week ago today, it has had 739 page views. You can read the story for yourself by clicking here.

In fact, in the past three weeks my website has had more than 5,000 page views. That is quite a lot.

You can read this 2015 report I wrote about my assault in the basement of my home by clicking here.

I want to say to the Fitzpatrick family that my reporting of this story is not in malice. My family is quite aware, too, of the mess drugs make, even if every last one of them is in denial about it. I’m being blamed by them as well for not just “letting go” of what happened to me, as if I am not entitled to justice.

How insulting,

My parents are dead. And my family is more concerned about hushing the story than what happened to me. And that just makes me feel dirty.

We all know what happens to addicts of families who “let go” of the truth. Their addicted family members don’t get better, and many overdose and die. 

Read more: Who are the opioid addicts? Open your eyes and look around you

Hopefully the “volunteers” from Edgewood Baptist Church, which my family attends, won’t look away from their own opioid-addicted family members, co-workers and friends when rounding up “volunteers” for the Safe Passage program.

Words heard in jail echo in my head, over, and over, and over

News of Fitzpatrick’s capture (which I discovered myself, and first reported right here) caused some pretty severe triggers as it pertains to what I heard in the jail.

I was held in the Rock Island County Jail two days on no charges at all, tortured, in the suicide hole. You can read about that here.

What I heard inside the jail has been shared with authorities I can trust.

Well, some of it I still have not shared with anyone other than my cousin Cindy and my therapist. It would sound seriously nuts.

But since so many of the other things I heard inside the jail seemingly have been corroborated, now it’s just seriously scary.

My home was illegally searched as my human rights were being violated inside the jail.  You can read about that by clicking here.

Only recently have I begun to wonder what my poor 20-year-old cat must have thought was going on, God rest her soul.

All this went down as I was serving as an informant in a drug and political corruption case, and after I had been sober for a year. I also was sharing information related to what I believe to be a human trafficking “ring,” for lack of a better word. 

Check out this piece I wrote two years ago about the trafficking of boys and men

Add to the bizarre mix that my AA sponsor, who I fired, sits on the Rock Island County Board, and the fact that my former pastor and the woman who buried my father repeatedly declined to report key information she knew with police about my illegal arrest on no charges at all….

….And the fact that other powerful people I no longer have any reason to trust…all of them running in this same community heavy-hitter circle, a circle you would have thought would have welcomed my sobriety and caregiving efforts…

Oh, it stinks bad alright! Every player involved in the trauma is someone I have known for almost a lifetime, and if anything should be extremely proud of how I have conducted myself during the past several years.

The truth is out about the filthies.

Add to this everything on the news about the FBI, memos and dossiers….

I’ve been biting my tongue so bad it’s bleeding!

So, thank God for Banana Kush flower and shatter by Progressive Treatment Solutions.

Without it, I’d be going bananas.

Banana Kush by Progressive Treatment Solutions brings me contentment

I am extremely grateful I landed a new gig when I did, because I was able to pay my house insurance and also get myself some medication.

Banana Kush is known for being a good strain for the treatment of PTSD, but it seems hard to get. I found it in Denver while I was vacationing there, and I did enjoy it very much. You can read about how I found fierce Banana Kush at the corner of Fox and Warner by clicking here.

I have to say that the Banana Kush by Progressive Treatment Solutions that I have now is even better than what I found in Denver.

For only the second time, I purchased “shatter,” which is used for the stigmatized consumption method known as “dabbing.” This is where cannabis is consumed in highly concentrated forms.

You can read a stigmatizing (but completely true!) story I wrote about dabbing (pre cannabis card, of course) by clicking here.

And you can read how I became educated on the medicinal uses of dabbing by clicking here.

Why? Just like any medication, your tolerance does go up. You also may need a stronger dose if you medicate for breakthrough symptoms (such as what I experienced Friday morning, when the news featured a PTSD double-whammy).

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U.S. yuck mouth crisis: Which states are best, worst for oral health?

Nobody can deny the power of a great smile.

And for those who won’t flash a smile even when happy because of dental problems, it’s very stigmatizing.

What’s worse, it’s an extraordinarily un-level playing field when it comes to who is getting quality dental care in America.

Where I live – Illinois – lands at a respectable number four on a brand-new WalletHub ranking. Iowa, right across the Mississippi River from me, ranks 13th.

The top five oral health-friendly states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Illinois, North Dakota.

And the least oral health-friendly states? Montana, West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi.

You can view the full list for yourself by clicking here.

Medicaid programs (or lack thereof), lifestyle choices impact dental care

How did WalletHub arrive at its ranking? It measured access and affordability to dental care across 25 key metrics. Those metrics included:

  • Dentists Supply-Demand Ratio by 2025
  • Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption Among Adolescents
  • Share of Adult Smokers
  • Share of People Who Receive Fluoridated Water Through PWSs (Public Water Systems)
  • Presence of State Oral Health Plan
  • Medicaid Dental Benefits for Adults
  • Status of Older Adult Basic Screening Survey
    Note: This metric measures the status of a state’s Older Adult Basic Screening Survey (BSS) administration — more specifically, whether the state has completed (and how long ago) or is planning an Older Adult BSS. According to Oral Health America, a BSS “a surveillance of the oral health conditions of seniors in community and long-term-care settings of older adults.”
  • Oral Health
  • Share of Elderly Population with No Natural Teeth
  • Pain Due to Oral Condition
  • Sleeping Problems Due to Oral Condition
  • Reduced Life Satisfaction Due to Oral Condition
  • Reduced Social Participation Due to Oral Condition
  • Work Absence Due to Oral Condition

Elderly, low-income people often can’t access dental care

The state of dental care in America is something I have written about several times in the past few years. In a 2014 piece I wrote for Healthline headlined, “The sorry state of dental care in the U.S.,” I focused on why dental care isn’t more accessible, even with the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

From the piece:

Why does something as basic as dental care continue to take a back seat, even with the new emphasis on preventive medicine? 

“The failure to value oral health and understand that the mouth is the gateway to the body has for too long impeded people’s ability to achieve good overall health,” Maxine Feinberg, a Cranford, New Jersey dentist, told Healthline. “

This failure can negatively affect anyone, but it is particularly devastating to low-income people who lack dental coverage or who for other reasons don’t seek or receive regular care.” 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one-quarter of Americans 65 and older have lost their teeth. One-third have untreated tooth decay, even though poor dental health is linked to heart problems and other health concerns seniors already face, such as diabetes. Medicare, the federal program intended to keep seniors healthy, has never covered teeth cleanings, fillings, dental X-rays, or exams.

You can check out the complete Healthline article by clicking here.

Watching my dad suffer from dental pain was excruciating

On a personal level, I watched my father experience excruciating dental pain in the final years of his life.

This is a PTSD trigger for me.

From a piece I wrote for Caregiver Relief which is now hosted on my own site:

I can tell you right now that my dad is embarrassed that he has no teeth, especially as he is trying to make friends in the new nursing home. “Whether caring for natural teeth or dentures, daily oral hygiene can mean older adults will be free of oral pain, can maintain a well-balanced diet, and will enjoy interpersonal relationships and a positive self-image,” the AOA site states.

The poor guy has been sitting in the dining room by himself, which is why I’ve gone up there and had at least one meal with him every day. When I’m not there, an employee has been sitting with him. When old ladies wheel past, my dad lifts his hand and feebly says, “Hi.” Can you imagine what this is like for him? It’s got to be like the first day of high school freshman year in the lunchroom. Not having his teeth is a blow to this little Casanova.

I did end up getting my dad fitted for new dentures. He was dead less than two weeks later, before the dentures even were made.

From my Healthline story:

The Administration on Aging, part of the HHS, acknowledges the barriers to dental care that older Americans face and has several initiatives aimed at improving the situation. It operates a website intended to help seniors access dental services.

Earlier this year, the ADA Policy Institute produced a study that shows which states offer adult dental benefits and how extensive the benefits are.

Among ideas a panel of experts tied to the WalletHub study offered as a solution to America’s dental health crisis? Create the equivalent of an LPN in dentistry. These mid-level dentists could assist fully degreed dentists in common procedures and also perform some dentistry on their own, thereby increasing the availability of dental care at an affordable price.

It’s a model already being used among physician care.

Until next time.

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