Cannabis, Culture, Neuroscience

Teenage girl suffered strokes, brain damage after smoking synthetic marijuana

Real marijuana has never killed anyone.

Spice is a synthetic cannaboid that is legal in some U.S. states. It is commonly used as a replacement drug for marijuana.

A teenage girl from Texas suffered from multiple strokes after smoking synthetic marijuana – leaving her brain damaged, blind and paralyzed, the Independent reported. Continue reading


Molly on the Hyperthymic Temperament

The Hyperthymic Temperament

Posted on 18 December, 2011, Read more at…

The Thymus Gland is located by the breastbone in the nook between our throat and shoulders. A small gland, at risk as our sensitive neck and spine adjust to the ever-shifting weight of our skulls.

The Thymus, throughout history, has been a bit mysterious. It is believed to be a part of human/primate immunity and behavioral posturing.

Imagine male Gorillas pounding their chests. It’s thought that gorillas don’t only posture, but stimulate a specific biological response – to excite or to calm – by pounding upon their prominent Thymus glands.

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Angela Glass SxSW 2009 (Photo Credit @JayZombie)
Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget, Neuroscience

Hyperthymia != Bipolar

It was the use and consequential paradoxical effects of Clonazepam—suffering from drug induced episodes of hypomania—which lead to the discovery that I am what they call “a hyperthymic temperament”.

While it is true that patients who experience hypomania as a side effect of Clonazepam may prove to have a form of bipolar disorder that has previously gone unrecognized, drug-induced hypomania is not invariably indicative of bipolar affective disorders.

It’s frustrating because suddenly I’m facing the woes I wrote about in college regarding labeling mental illness, and the impact of the use of labels, such as “creative” or “over-achiever”.

Label it or Leave it?

Happy Hyperthymia and Hyper Hypomania

Hyper Hypomania vs. Happy Hyperthymia

Some people would include in the Bipolar Disorder category a consistently elevated mood called hyperthymia. Being constantly upbeat and always enthusiastic is not unheard of, but it is not the norm in the general population. It is more common to experience a fairly steady, neither-too-high-nor-too-low mood characterized by some contentment, some discontentment, some happiness, and some sadness — usually associated with external events such as receiving good news, problems with personal relationships, etc.

Does a long-lasting, exuberant mood that causes no problem need to be placed on the spectrum of mood disorders? In a clinical sense, no. If it poses no threat to anyone’s health, it is not a concern for psychiatrists. Cataloging and understanding a mental state like this, however, may help us better understand the full spectrum of emotional states related to mood disorders and provide clues about what can go wrong when moods become extreme.

Happy Hyperthymia

Some people always seem to be upbeat and energetic, trying new things and initiating new projects. This trait, which is sometimes called hyperthymia, is not unlike being on a “permanent high.” Some people argue that hyperthymia is a type of mood disorder that results in high activity and inflated sense of self-esteem — something like living with constant hypomania but with the crucial difference that it is not as clearly episodic. Instead, it seems to last and is without any associated depression.

While observations of many people indicate some of them have this mood trait, hyperthymic disorder is not recognized as a mood disorder by either of the two mainstream authorities, the American Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organization. It appears in neither of their diagnostic manuals, the DSM IV and the ICD-10.

On the surface, people with hyperthymia seem optimistic and full of energy. They radiate self-confidence and self-reliance; they seem to believe they can do whatever needs to be done. They thrive on new experiences that promise variety, intrigue, and novelty. Usually, they have a great many personal interests, as well as plans for the future. They also can be articulate and witty.

It might be most accurate to think of hyperthymia as a temperament or personality trait rather than as a marker of a mental disorder. Of course, if this trait causes problems, then it becomes a legitimate subject for psychological or psychiatric care.

In fact, criticism of mainstream psychiatry is often directed at its alleged predisposition to label people with problems that don’t exist. The inclusion of homosexuality in earlier editions of the DSM IV — an error since corrected — is a frequently cited example. The reality is if someone is not unhappy, suffering, or a threat to themselves or others, psychiatrists have no reason to intervene. They are busy enough treating people with serious mental problems. It is only when complaints or serious problems appear that the labels of the DSM IV are applied as part of the process for providing effective treatment. A hyperthymic personality can be satisfying, productive, and creative. But if for some individuals it is a manifestation of a part of a spectrum of mood disorders, it could be problematic. For example, some people later diagnosed with bipolar disorder first seek help with depression after they have experienced a set-back in their lives. A close look back over their lives may reveal that they have been hyperthymic. Rather than having easily recognizable mood swings, these people may have been experiencing years of constant emotional elevation and enthusiasm along with a long history of uncompleted endeavors.

Also, the lack of a healthy response to the full range of life experience might cause problems for some people who always seem to have elevated spirits. A full, healthy life for most people includes periods of elation and introspection, action and reflection. If only one pole of our emotional lives is present, we may miss the benefits of the counterbalancing half of our responses to events. Consequently, we may lack understanding and empathy in the way we interact with people and respond to events in our lives.

Ancestry, Neuroscience

Born to Be Happy, Through a Twist of Human Hard Wire

“I know, you’re bi-polar.”

“Old man, look at my life, I’m a lot like you were.”

Born to Be Happy, Through a Twist of Human Hard Wire


In the course of the last year, the woman lost her husband to cancer and then her job. But she did not come to my office as a patient; she sought advice about her teenage son who was having trouble dealing with his father’s death.

Despite crushing loss and stress, she was not at all depressed – sad, yes, but still upbeat. I found myself stunned by her resilience. What accounted for her ability to weather such sorrow with buoyant optimism? So I asked her directly.

“All my life,” she recalled recently, “I’ve been happy for no good reason. It’s just my nature, I guess.”

But it was more than that. She was a happy extrovert, full of energy and enthusiasm who was indefatigably sociable. And she could get by with five or six hours of sleep each night.

Like this woman, a journalist I know realized when she was a teenager that she was different from others. “It’s actually kind of embarrassing to be so cheerful and happy all the time,” she said. “When I was in high school I read the Robert Browning poem `My Last Duchess.’ In it, the narrator said he killed his wife, the duchess, because, `she had a heart – how shall I say, too soon made glad?’ And I thought, uh-oh, that’s me.”

These two women were lucky to be born with a joyous temperament, which in its most extreme forms is called hyperthymia. Cheerful despite life’s misfortunes, energetic and productive, they are often the envy of all who know them because they don’t even have to work at it.

In a sense, they are the psychiatric mirror image of people who suffer from a chronic, often lifelong, mild depression called dysthymia, which affects about 3 percent of American adults. Always down, dysthymics experience little pleasure and battle through life with a dreary pessimism. Despite whatever fortune comes their way, they remain glum.

But hyperthymia certainly doesn’t look like an illness; there appears to be no disadvantage to being a euphoric extrovert, except, perhaps, for inspiring an occasional homicidal impulse from jealous friends or peers. But little is actually known about people with hyperthymia for the simple reason that they don’t see psychiatrists complaining that they are happy.

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My Momma: Arlene Jean Schaadt Baxley

I was talking with my momma this morning about orthomolecular medicine, and all the work she’s done to help people achieve better health over the years. Most often when I’m thinking about my momma in this regard, I think of how it is that she’s responsible for bringing life to families struggling to have children. What more beautiful work can there be as a humanitarian than to care for the quality of human life, and it’s propagation through it’s generations of families? Continue reading

Neuroscience, Psychology

A First Rate Madness

Everyone Needs Therapy

Sometimes in this business you are called upon to treat a madman, or a madwoman, someone seemingly psychotic, talking way over your head, out there, but still oriented times three (person, place, time).   You sense genius. You feel that this person is smarter than you are, or at least as smart.

You recognize, right away, undeniable talent and intellect. He is a song-writer, a one-hit wonder. She is an artist. He is a poet; she directs a television show. He is a computer programmer; she is a doctor. And you’re humble. You go home and think, why in the world see me?

But you know why.  The patient needs your particular genius, because his madness is getting in the way. Others are complaining, complaining so loudly, you can hear them and they’re not in the room, not even in the building.  You suspect mental illness.

And it usually is.  Nassir Ghaemi, author of A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness, is of the opinion that it isn’t always so bad.  Indeed, some creative people have a hyperthymic temperament.  They rarely need therapy, not unless no one else will listen to them.  It is not a disorder.

— therapydoc is at gmaildotcom
My Mad Man '62 Cadillac Coupe de Ville
Ancestry, Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget, Religion

American Blue Blood Heart Lies Bleeding is @ang @baxley,
better known as @spunkygidget,
and the @divinebeeloved of @baxleyglass.

angela married darryl, @pdglass the @glasmuppet.

My grandmother is Laura Catherine Hilton, and with the Hilton name comes a little bit of American Royalty.

the mockingjay already whooping it up — she's got you with one keyword: hilton. and therein lies your problem. hello de coy said le roi brown. :)

So it turns out that my hyperthymic personality is a family trait passed through the Kennedy’s bloodline, and yes, I do mean John-John and Jackie O. They’d be cousin’s of mine. Yes, I’m steeped in ironic political blood as it were, the irony being that I was raised politically neutral as the child of two hippies turned Jehovah’s Witnesses.

here's another sideliner for the l33t: @ang is here making reference to Eisenhower, who like her, did not follow the family and stay inside the Watchtower as President. Angela intends to be president of the Watchtower, The United States of the United Americas, as well as Her Helios Majestic Righteous Highness and Judas Priestess of the Ekklesia (thereby by passing her roles taking over the EU and handling things in LON).

Meanwhile, cousin and First Lady Rosalynn Smith Carter was named “The Steel Magnolia” by the White House press corp for her Southern sweetness and tenacity, and cousin “Lemonade” Lucy Ware Webb Hayes convinced her husband, President Rutherford B. Hayes, to fight in the Union army and to oppose slavery. He later became an influential part of the abolitionist cause. Martha Jefferson was never officially named first lady, but Helen Herron Taft was known for her White House silver anniversary party. Yes, we do love to party! There was also First Lady Hoover, and Mary Scott Harrison McKee who served as first lady for her father after her momma passed away.

Family Tree

I’m also related to a few good Presidents: William Henry Harrison (1773-1841), 9th President of the United States of America, is famous for having the longest inauguration speech (maybe that’s where I got my bad habit of leaving long voicemails?) and shortest term of any president. He was the first president to die in office; he died of pneumonia only 30 days into his term. Andrew Johnson (1808-1875), the 17th President of the United States of America, after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Vice-President Andrew Johnson assumed the Presidency. Johnson was the first president to be impeached, but was acquitted of the charges. Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901), 23rd President of the United States of America and Grandson of President William Henry Harrison, was the 23 President of the United States. During his term 6 states joined the United States and the Sherman Antitrust Act, an act which prohibited monopolies, was passed.

Then there are a slew of outlaws… John Wesley Hardin was an outlaw and gunfighter in Texas. He was reported to be the meanest man alive, once killing a man just for snoring. Most of his gunplay was a result of his short temper. Bob Dylan wrote an entire album about him. Sam Bass robbed the Union pacific gold train and took $60,000, the largest robbery of the Union Pacific to date. John Peters “Johnny” Ringo became a legend of the Old West because of his alleged involvement in the gunfight at the OK Corral and his association with the Clanton Gang. Finally, American bank robber and alleged murderer, Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd robbed so many banks in the 1930s that there was a $56,000 reward on his head.

On the geek side, Linus Pauling was an American chemist, famous for his work in applying quantum mechanics to chemistry and his campaign against above-ground nuclear testing. For his work in both of these fields he was awarded two Nobel Peace Prizes. John Browning was a firearms designer who developed a variety of weapons, cartridges, and gun mechanics. Not many people took Frank Whittle seriously when he introduced his plans to create a jet engine. As an officer in the Royal Air Force, he helped to change the face of military tactics. English inventor and engineer George Stephenson invented the steam operated locomotive. He is also called “The Father of Railways”, and the railway gauge called “The Stephenson Gauge” is named for him. William Osler has been called one of the greatest icons of modern medicine—the Father of Modern Medicine.

Personally, I’m more fond of the artists and designers in my family. Cary Grant was named the second Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute (on the 50 Greatest American Screen Legends list Cary is #2, Lillian is #17). Lillian Diana de Guiche, or Lillian Gish, is known as the “first lady of the silent screen” and starred in many silent films including The Birth of a Nation and The Scarlet Letter. Her career spanned over 75 years and countless television and film appearances. George Eastman founded the Eastman Kodak Co. and invented roll film. His invention was also a precursor for motion picture film. Edward Hopper was an American painter best remembered for his eerily realistic depictions of solitude in contemporary American life. A true clown like my grandfather, General Tom Thumb (born Charles Stratton) was taught to sing, dance, and act by circus pioneer P.T. Barnum. His small frame and many talents made him famous around the world. And last but not least in my book, I’m still struggling to find my own with good ol’ William Cuthbert Faulkner and his long, winding sentences in the Sound and the Fury, and As I Lay Dying.

Me? I just fancy myself a cognitive scientist in the style of Leonardo DaVinci, and find my peace at the seaside, like most of my infamous relatives. I happen to be a corporation in Delaware, a proud homage to my great great (really really great) grandfather George Read, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence from Delaware, and was highly involved in the politics of the early United States. He served as a delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention, was a Continental Congressman, and later was Delaware’s representative in the U.S. Senate.

The last year of my life has been an interesting one. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, spurred on by a deep hatred for the American culture from business to politics and mass media. I was raised, as it were, in corporate America—the banker’s daughter in the shadow of Hugh McColl, and the geek’s niece (warning! hilarious video with Napoleon Dynamite) on Uncle Bill’s campus. I made a stop over in Texas working for Travelocity, and finished up my corporate stint reporting up to the C-level’s at Yahoo! (Hi, Sturino!) I’ve made men a lot of money, though I haven’t got much in the bank for myself.

I’ve been thinking about what I want to do going forward. All this education, albiet slightly left of norm, and experience…

One of my many lover’s recently told me that a quote by Bobby Kennedy (paraphrasing George Bernard Shaw) will always remind him of me.

“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’

Thank you, Johnny, I’m honored.