Mental Health

8:52am

Thu August 16, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Grappling With The Uncertainty Of Alzheimer's Testing

When does it make sense to test a person for the risk of an incurable illness?
Andrei Tchernov iStockphoto.com

Counselors have long cautioned about the downsides of genetic testing for Alzheimer's disease.

For one thing, the current genetic tests for late-onset Alzheimer's — the type that develops after age 60 and is responsible for more than 90 percent of cases — only indicate a probability of getting the disease. It's not definitive. And consumers' ability to buy life insurance or long-term care coverage could be jeopardized by the results.

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1:39am

Wed August 15, 2012
Law

The Law — And Reality — Of Gun Access

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 4:44 am

Federal law bars gun sales to the mentally ill only if they've ever been deemed by a judge to be mentally incompetent or involuntarily committed. States reporting of such things to the federal database is spotty, and very often, it doesn't show up when a gun seller does a background check.
Gabriel Bouys AFP/Getty Images

Timothy Courtois' family had been worried about him for weeks. They repeatedly told police in Biddeford, Maine, that the 49-year-old was off his meds for bipolar disorder. And police were also told he had guns. But still, because he wasn't doing anything that rose to the legal definition of imminent threat, police said their hands were tied.

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12:22pm

Tue August 14, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Family's Fight Against Bipolar Disorder Leads To Shock Therapy Success

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 12:56 pm

Linea Johnson, left, and her mother, Cinda, in May 2012 at the launch of their book on the family's struggle with Linea's bipolar disorder.
Tommy Voeten

The Mayo Clinic's confirmation Monday that Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. is receiving care there for bipolar depression is a reminder that the condition, which affects around 2.3 million Americans, can be treated.

But figuring out the right treatment for each patient can be a long and difficult road, as a new memoir called Perfect Chaos: A Daughter's Journey to Survive Bipolar, a Mother's Struggle to Save Her shows.

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2:36pm

Tue August 7, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Scientists See Progress In Alzheimer's Despite Growing List of Drug Failures

A PET scan of the brain of a person with Alzheimer's disease.
U.S. National Institute on Aging via Wikimedia Commons

Another once-promising Alzheimer's drug has just been tossed on the pharmaceutical scrap heap.

This time it's a drug called bapineuzumab. Like several previous experimental drugs, it was designed to attack the plaques that build up in the brains of people with Alzheimer's.

And like those earlier drugs, it failed.

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3:19pm

Thu June 14, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Canadian Health Official Says Pure Ecstasy Is Safe

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 3:55 pm

An ecstasy pill with a rocket shop imprint.
iStockphoto.com

As far as recreational drugs that could have health benefits go, ecstasy doesn't exactly have a lot of champions. Instead, the drug, so often associated with raves, has been fingered as responsible for fatal overdoses, depression and problems in fetal development.

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