Six (6) *brief* news alerts for independent mental health: MindFreedom International News – 12 December 2009

These “inconvenient truth” brain damage medical studies — confirmed
by repeated animal studies, brain scans and autopsies — are now well
known throughout the medical field, but are almost never explained to
the general public, who are often the ones to pay for these expensive
prescriptions.

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Op Ed: Choice in Mental Health is a Human Right (Mind Freedom International)

Many of the
medications currently provided are typically associated with
significant medical risk, are often experienced as subjectively
harmful, and their long-term effectiveness remains controversial.
Furthermore, there are widely researched psychosocial alternative
treatments likely to be at least as effective for many, with fewer
harmful effects.” …

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Concern at Governing Magazine Over Its Sale to Scientologists

Staff members of Governing were reluctant to speak on the record because they did not want to antagonize their new employers. One person who spoke on the condition of anonymity said, “There have been
some eyebrows raised based on the fact that the St. Pete Times has been doing these stories, while simultaneously they have been selling this to a company run by Scientologists.” …

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Psychopharmacology: Atypical Antipsychotic Dosing: The Effect of Smoking and Caffeine

The width of the therapeutic window determines the clinical
significance of the plasma level changes associated with smoking
and caffeine intake. Compared with olanzapine, clozapine has a
much narrower therapeutic window. Several of clozapine’s side effects
are dose related: plasma levels higher than 1,000 ng per milliliter
have been associated with toxicity, including seizure risk and severe
sedation. …

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New technique illuminates molecules with previously undetectable fluorescence (BioTechniques)

According to the NSF, this research is important because current imaging
technology, like an MRI or CT scan, do not have the spatial resolution needed to
view tiny structures and require additional external contrast agents to create a
viewable image. Xie’s technique is also a critical breakthrough because typical
fluorescent labels, like green fluorescent protein, which are used to observe
the activity of molecules, can disturb delicate biological pathways, especially
when the protein is bigger than the molecule it is illuminating. …

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Judge dismisses lawsuit against Sebelius and Collins (BioTechniques)

On March 9, President Obama lifted a federal ban on funding for embryonic stem
cell research. The lawsuit challenged the Obama administration’s decision,
seeking to reinstate the laws in place under former President George W. Bush.
The federal ban on embryonic stem cell funding was placed in 2001 and limited
federal agencies, like HHS or the NIH, from funding any new embryonic stem cell
lines. …

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‘Massive’ weight gain in kids on atypicals (FiercePharma)

The study has several implications. One, it’s more evidence that the atypicals,
once considered vastly superior to first-generation antipsychotics because of a
“favorable” side-effect profile, may not be that much better, just different.
Rather than risking tardive dyskinesia and akathisia as patients using first-gen
antipsychotics are, patients on atypicals risk major weight gain and metabolic
changes. …

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