Thursday, October 25, 2012


Last November, I wrote what I felt was a very witty post.  I love my medical news feeds.  I find some of the most interesting headlines on my personalized google page.  Today, I learned that Sex Addiction is a legit mental health issue. I'm wondering if there were any patient advocates collaborating with the gang who updates the DSM.  That's me being a total show off... the DSM thing.... it's the manual on mental health-just in case that needed clarification and to show I am multi-faceted.  I'm not a one trick pink pony.  And, now that I'm thinking about pink ponies, does anyone know if Ralph Lauren did his pink pony thing this year?  Just curious and apropos of absolutely zip.

Anyway.... back to that sex addiction thing.  Was there collaboration and did the potential advocates fight for a seat at the table?  Tiger immediately jumps to my mind, followed by Michael Douglas.... but Bill Murray?  I'm not really feelin' that. The other two?  I could spot that about a mile away.  While I'm at it, I'm guessing sooner or later, the piercing green eyes of A-Rod will pop up on one of "those lists."  What else is new on the medical feeds?  This meningitis mess has a ticker rolling with updated numbers each time I open up a browser window.  And then, anything mentioning any sort of memory issues or PTSD or for the most part anything related to the brain always jumps off the page.

I have my own theory about the brain issues.  As the most mysterious part of the human anatomy, I can't help but feel that unlocking one thing is going to tie into many things.  So, I watch it all.  Last November, it was all about oxygen.  Wanna refresher?  Here's what I had to say just about a year ago:

This information was based upon a study done on veterans of the war in Iraq.  Since we are constantly using military metaphors to describe the disease that is cancer, I'm okay with making a leap to see if there is anything in this study that might help ME.

The study was done in part to address the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder in veterans.  It's well established in the mental health community that some (many? most? all?) cancer patients and survivors are also afflicted with PTSD.

Apparently, I found another piece to add to the puzzle of things I'm going to do.  I don't have a Bucket List.  I am assembling an "I'll Be A Lab Rat" list.

First, let's clarify something.  A "Lab Rat" bears absolutely no relation to a "Hood Rat" who, by definition according to Urban Dictionary is "a girl that dresses slutty and hangs out with and follows around a bunch of older guys."  And even if they are related by virtue of the fact that both are well, ummm, RATS, first of all, my clothes are too expensive to be slutty and I don't follow around any older guys.  I prefer being the followee and I prefer it if the guys are younger. Oh, and I'm too OLD to be a girl.  I have to call it like I see it.  Statute of limitations on utilization of the word "girl" has long since expired when it comes to me.

OK.  We are all in agreement?  I'm volunteering my services as a Lab Rat and in NO WAY shall that be construed in any manner to an admission I might be A Hood Rat.  Can I get that in writing?

Chemobrain being so difficult to unravel seems to have established roots in every, any and all parts of The Breast Cancer Experience.  Recapping some of what I learned:  it's the cancer itself, it's at least two of the drugs one of which may have actually crossed the blood brain barrier and done physiological damage, it's my age, it's the estrogen suppressant, it's anxiety, it's lack of sleep, it's the grassy knoll in Dallas, it's Occupy Wall Street.  Have I forgotten anything?  As some may well understand, much is very easily forgotten.  Oh, yes!  Particularly pertinent to this nugget of info, it's PTSD, too.

Without another sidebar, or going off on yet one more tangent or taking the long road to make a short point, this is the skinny on the study:

They completed a history and physical exam as well as a clinical interview by a neuropsychologist, psychometric testing, symptom and quality of life questionnaires, and baseline SPECT (Single-photon emission computed tomography) brain blood flow imaging prior to treatment. The veterans then underwent 40 treatments of low-dose hyperbaric oxygen therapy during 60-minute sessions over a 30-day period. They were retested within a week after treatment. 
Post-treatment testing revealed significant improvements in symptoms, abnormal physical exam findings, cognitive testing, quality of life measurements, and SPECT scans. Results showed improvement in 92% of vets experiencing short-term memory problems, in 87% of those complaining of headache, in 93% of those with cognitive deficits, in 75% with sleep disruption, and in 93% with depression. They also saw improvements in irritability, mood swings, impulsivity, balance, motor function, IQ, and blood flow in the brain, as well as a reduction in PTSD symptoms.

Well hallefriggenlullia............I can add one more thing to that ever growing bag of tricks-things I simply MUST try!!

That was a year ago.  What prompts the recycling of this post?  Something that hit my medical news feed a few days ago. Apparently, scientists where quite surprised to find that carbon dioxide levels have significant effects on the human decision making process.  After looking at the mess on the floor that I displayed for the world to see in yesterday's post, I'm guessing the levels of carbon dioxide must be completely out of whack in my home.

Cheap jokes aside, and completely unable to elucidate the reasons why these studies are somehow tied to each other but grasping in the corners of my mind that they ARE, this information has an overarching reach.  You can read the article for yourselves but think about it.  Where are decisions made?  Behind closed doors.... oftentimes in smallish rooms with lots of people that seem to like to hear the sound of their own voices.  Is this screwing with their ability to make sound decisions?  Most certainly, there's lots of hot air in those rooms and that may be a bit scary.

Classrooms are another place where there are lots of people in a smallish space.  In the case of the classrooms, it may be more of a situation of ONE person talking and many others deep breathing as they are catching up on their sleep.  Green building initiatives have trickled into the conversation.  All I know?  The tests used provided some impressive results and those tests were targeting cognitive function.

The take away.  Oxygen is good.  Carbon dioxide is bad.  That's the whole story in its simplest form.  Or in other terminology, O2 is GREAT.  Once you add "The Big C" it's really really REALLY bad.  Hmmmmm....  We already knew that, didn't we?  Like I said, OverArching...... and'll have to excuse me.  I need to open a few windows and while I'm at it, I better check the batteries in my CO2 detector.  I have enough "C" or "C"'s in my life to last three lifetimes.


  1. Bill Murray... Really? I hope I can get that disturbing image out of my mind. Perhaps I need to take in more oxygen.

    1. Brenda..

      I tried to reply via my iPad.... No luck. Home now. Totally agree and I need some O2, too! I was a bit shocked with the Bill Murray photo in the slideshow, too... Goes to show ya... Ya just never know....



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