Hey Everybody! I recently made this new brain/neuron fabric and gift wrap! I made a giant brain pillow for my psychiatrist too, and he seemed to like it which was awesome! :) Here are some pics! Also, the fabric, gift wrap, and wall paper are available on spoonflower here: http://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/3713721
Some of you may remember that I have been getting Haldol Decanoate injections for the past 13 years or so in order to keep my schizophrenia in check. I wrote about it here: https://kristinbell.org/2012/06/14/the-haldol-injections-after-10-years/. Recently Abilify Maintena, the long-acting injectable form of Abilify came onto the market. After discussing it with my doctor, we decided to give it a try. I have been taking the oral form of Abilify along with the Haldol Dec injections for about two or three years with no adverse side effects, and it has really improved my functioning as well. The long term risks of side effects like tardive dyskinesia are much higher with the Haldol than with the Abilify which is one reason why we decided to switch. Abilify also has fewer metabolic side effects (things like less weight gain are associated with Abilify). We are taking a giant leap into the great unknown. I got my first injection of the Abilify tonight. It comes in an injection kit with sterile water that must be mixed with the powder Abilify and then injected. The Haldol is an oil-based mixture that is also injected. I am hoping to also have less sedation side effects from the Abilify. I’m just crossing my fingers that all will go well. I will keep you all updated as time passes. It is also interesting to note that Abilify Maintena has been approved for much longer in many other countries, but it just became available in the US. The US also lags behind many European countries in the administration of injectable forms of antipsychotics. Personally, I think that all people with chronic schizophrenia should give injectable antipsychotics a try. The injections don’t hurt and it is much easier to manage than oral medications. I’m including some pics of what my injection kit looks like too. It looks complicated, but it really only took about 4-5 minutes to administer including reading the directions! I’m saying Hello to Abilify Maintena and goodbye to my old friend Haldol Decanoate!
Hi! As you might know if you have scanned my blog, I make it a point to talk about mental health/illness, because I have schizophrenia and I believe in stomping out the stigma of mental illness. Well, I have this cute story to share! I was waiting outside of the classroom for my biology lab class to start this fall and started talking to a supernice girl who was in my class. We got to talking and to try to explain why I had been in school so long I decided to tell her that I have schizophrenia. Lo and behold she says “oh yah, my mom has bipolar and my brother has schizophrenia too!” What a small world!!! It turns out her whole family is active in the mental health field in advocating for the erasure of stigma related to mental illness and they have a website called http://bringchange2mind.org/ . I am always surprised when I talk to people about my own illness and then they also know someone or are someone with mental illness too! It is such a big thing in peoples’ lives and when we talk about it, it is surprising/amazing/wonderful that we aren’t alone in our struggles. So, I just wanted to share this little story and a link to the Bring Change 2 Mind website. It was a wonderful feeling to meet someone else at school who knows first hand about mental illness and to be able to talk openly about it! :) Three cheers for no more stigma!!! :)
I was just posting about this on Facebook, so I thought I’d drop a note about it here too. According to Scientific American Mind, May/June 2012, one of the changes that is coming to the DSM-5 (aside from dropping the roman numerals) is that they will be getting rid of the category of Asperger’s. Instead, people with this disorder will be labeled on a spectrum disorder with levels of severity noted. I’m including the short article here, so you can read more about it. It was kind of surprising to me to hear about this. I know that there are a lot of people with Asperger’s who have parts of their identity wrapped up in the diagnostic criteria. It would be like them getting rid of schizophrenia I guess. Suddenly some part of your identity is renamed. It is kinda strange. I don’t know if it is good or bad. That is part of the tricky thing about mental disorders and labels…most people with a mental disorder usually wind up having some part of their identity tied to a label. For good or bad or whatever…it just seems to happen.
I was just informed of this great project called Schizowhat? that is a website aimed at raising awareness about schizophrenia. For those of you who don’t know, I have schizophrenia. I was first diagnosed when I was about 15/16 years old. I hope others of you who are interested or in some way impacted by schizophrenia will check out the website and contribute! Let’s fight the stigma! Yay!
I didn’t have time to do a complete job on this one, but I got it done! lol To see a bigger image, just click on the picture.
This last week we were learning about the auditory system in neuroscience class. These are the drawings I came up with for the assignment we had to do. He said that they didn’t have to be anatomically correct and could be schematic, so the second picture is more of a schematic drawing.
A study performed by Hui-jie Li et. al. based in Beijing, China and published in Schizophrenia Research vol. 134 (2012) tested 12 patients with schizophrenia for facial emotion processing. In the study, 12 of the non-ill siblings of the patients were also tested along with a control group of 12 people who were matched for demographic variables like IQ, age, gender, and education levels.
The researchers were especially interested in evaluating whether or not the patients with schizophrenia had deficits in facial emotional processing like other studies from Western populations have indicated. In essence, this was a replication study paired with a cultural component to test if facial emotional processing deficits are universal or not.
The data obtained from 8-minute fMRI scanning sessions where participants were shown 20 happy faces, 20 fearful faces and 20 neutral faces (at different times with different time intervals) were analyzed and it was found that the patients with schizophrenia showed abnormal activation of the “social brain neural circuit.” In addition, the sibling participants showed slight abnormalities that fell between what the patients with schizophrenia displayed and what the control group displayed. This result led researchers to hypothesize that there might be a deficit even in the non-ill siblings that the patients’ brains are trying to compensate for.
During the study the control group showed greater activation in various brain regions that processed the happy faces, but the patients with schizophrenia showed greater activation than the controls in the left middle frontal gyrus when processing the fearful faces. The sibling participants also showed greater activation than the controls (but less than their siblings with schizophrenia) when processing fearful faces, but had similar activation responses to controls with the happy faces.
The results of the study are similar to previous studies done to test for facial emotional processing in people with schizophrenia indicating that there are universal deficits in facial emotional processing that patients with schizophrenia must compensate for.
I’m not quite sure if I got all of the parts in the right spots for this one. It is pretty hard to draw from multiple images and get everything in one pic. This is supposed to be the medial view of the human brain. :) Click the pic to enlarge.
This is the 4th pic for my neuro class. It is a drawing of the lateral human brain with only some of the parts. These are the parts we had to label. :) You can click the picture for a larger view. NOTE: The orbitofrontal cortex was mis-labeled in this picture. It should be on the anterior part of the frontal lobe! So, I deleted the old pic and now this new one has whiteout on it. Oh well! Live and learn! :)
This is my third drawing for neuroscience class and it is showing the voltage changes and what is going on during the time when a neuron fires. The resting potential is about -70 millivolts, it shoots up to about +30 millivolts and then comes back down below the resting potential before it returns to the resting potential of -70 mV. This all happens in about 1-5 milliseconds depending on the particular neuron. FAST! :) Oh, also keep in mind that we have about 100-500 BILLION neurons in our heads too and nine times as many glial cells!!!
I had to draw the neuron and its parts for my neuroscience class. Here is what I made! Click the pic for a larger view. :) NOTE: I had to change my picture a bit, because I didn’t have the astrocytes connecting to the synapses. I also added a few other things. It is a little more crowded now, but I guess more correct. Another NOTE: I deleted the first two pics because they had mistakes. Here is the final version which may also have mistakes, but I think it is the most correct version. :)