Brain care news

Posted on: Mon, 02/20/2006 - 18:25 By: Tom Swiss

A few interesting bits about the brain that I've seen the past few weeks...

First, contrary to long-held popular belief, adult brain cells do keep growing. So you can teach an old brain new tricks. Furthermore, it seems that a marijuana-like drug can accelerate neurogenesis, and may have anti-anxiety and anti-depressive effects. (Despite what the SSRI-pushers claim, the anti-depressant effects of drugs like Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil apparently have more to do with neurogenesis than with correcting some "chemical imbalance".)

Secondly, new brain cells follow the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). This should be very interesting to people who practice craniosacral therapy. It also puts me in mind of a suggestion I heard several years ago that mild depressive symptoms and irritability can result from chronic mild dehydration; if depression is linked to neurogenesis, and new neurons need a good flow of CSF to get around to where they need to be in your brain, maybe a little more water can help keep your brain wet and healthy. So drink up. ("I ain't sayin' that you oughta, it's water, you gotta".)

Thirdly - the really weird one. The Straight Dope covers the link between protozoan Toxoplasma gondii - a parasite found in cat shit - and schizophrenia:

Forty-five percent of schizophrenics tested positive in one study for both T. gondii and D-lysergic acid diethylamide, better known as LSD. To quote a recent paper: "These results support the hypothesis that T. gondii may cause schizophrenia and may do so by producing or triggering the production of an hallucinogenic chemical...Production of such a compound may have been favored by natural selection because an infected, hallucinating rodent would be more easily captured by a cat." In other words, schizophrenia in humans may be a side effect of T. gondii's attempt to set cats up with a steady supply of tripping mice, the better to ensure its own reproductive success. Told you this was bizarre.

Uncle Cecil notes that roughly a third of all humans are infected, with the rate in some tropical countries approaching 100 percent; since we're not all hearing the voices, obviously there's more than just the presence of the protozoan involved. Still, wacky stuff. Stay away from the cat poop. (Especially if you're a pregnant woman - T. gondii can cause lethal brain damage in the fetus.)

All these facts are pretty interesting, actually they are different from what I knew before. I would really like to believe it's true. About marijuana, last time I checked I was pretty convinced it's bad for the brain, it's use can lead to schizophrenia... so I am skeptical about its' positive effect for the brain and for our health in general. A drug rehab clinic could give you more relevant informations about this.

In reply to by graham28

Not so much. The supposed schizophrenia link is a big pile of B.S..

And never look for facts about drugs from a rehab clinic. The addiction industry has a great incentive to spin the facts - or outright lie - about drug abuse and addiction.

Tom Swiss - proprietor,

In reply to by Drug Rehab Program (not verified)

That's right, they teach doctors (of *Western medicine) to ignore common sense and logic, nowadays.

The goal of western medicine is, and always has been, TREATMENT NOT CURES.

A treatment allows a disease to remain, so that more treatments can be purchased.

A Cure causes a disease to cease to exist, which results in a healthy patient who no longer needs medical care.

If patients no longer need medical care, what happens to the doctor's paychecks?

Yeah, that's right.

I am confused now. I read tons of articles about marijuana and it's impact on peoples brain, about schizophrenia and addiction and now I read this. What am I supposed to believe in the end? I think the most relevant place to find out the truth is a rehab center, real life stories matter the most and I think Cliffside would help me with the information I need.