Sunday, April 23, 2017

French Presidential election is approaching

Today, the first round of French Presidential election will be held.

The perspective of French presidential election became more unclear. In a recent, poll, National Front's Marine Le Pen, Republican Francois Fillon, and Communist-backed Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Mr. Macron are closely competing.

Telegraph: French presidential election: Poll tracker and odds

On the other hand, Euro rose per dollar recently. It is perhaps because of Donald Trump's unstable comments of North Korean perspective with suggesting the need of weakened USD.

Independent: French election: Euro steady as caution dominates ahead of too-close-to-call vote

François Hollande, the current President of France, abandoned to continue taking his seat because he did not believe he would win the next election. His main intention was not to give the administration to a nationalists party. But whether his decision would be fruitful is quite uncertain.

I cannot prospect the result of the election. The important thing is French people's ideology is now splitting. As a foreigner, I had imagined that most Frenches are rather conservative. Therefore, the fact that Hollande succeeded the seat of Sarkozy was surprising. But now, considerable amount of people are more exclusive than ever before, as well not a few people are critically opposing to it.

As seen in the Brexit vote in the UK and Donald Trump's victory in the US, many nations are wandering for the better exit. Nobody knows the answer. Regardless of the winner of the election, the situation in France will be more chaotic, I am afraid.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Three seconds rule in online shopping

Online shopping is now a very common behavior for citizens in developed countries. Many shopping websites are competing to get customers.

One of the crucial points is the speed of downloading the site. A study suggests there is a threshold of three seconds. If forced to wait over three seconds, viewers are likely to leave this page.

Amazon has understood this rule at the very early stage of the internet era. Indeed, I have no memory of being annoyed by delayed loading of its homepage.

The Sydney Morning Herald: Amazon's 'secret weapon': understanding how website experience can influence shoppers

In general, the more pictures the web page includes, the more time required for the page to appear. But, it is not the only factor to determine the speed of downloading. Some providers, including Amazon, seem to have optimized the structure for quick loading.

Nowadays, the internet speed has been accelerated by hundreds of times. Nonetheless, we are still enslaved by the curse of the speed.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Doxycycline may cure PTSD

Doxycycline is a type of antibiotics belonging to tetracycline family. It inhibits bacteria's activity of combining proteins. Tetracyclines are relatively weak as antibiotics. But they are used to wide ranged diseases such as acne and bronchiolitis.

And, recently, a study group in Zurich University discovered a possibility to treat post-traumatic stress disorder with doxycycline.

The Conversation: How we discovered that a common antibiotic may be able to treat post-traumatic stress disorder

It is suggested that doxycycline interferes the brain cells from forming matrix enzyme around them. Matrix enzyme is essential to enhance our memory. On the other hand, symptoms of PTSD are caused by excessively stimulated brain nerves to consolidate painful memories.

Based on this hypothesis, the research team conducted an experiment. In this trial, participants were divided into two groups: taking doxycycline or placebo. Each group took a series of electric shock immediately after seeing a color panel. After completion of this learning session, participants were given the color panel again. The result showed that people having taken doxycycline had less physiological reactions.

This experiment shows limited evidence of the effect of doxycycline. Also, it is necessary for you to take doxycycline before experiencing a traumatic event for preventing the onset of PTSD. But the study team believes that doxycycline has an effect of erasing the negative connection between the bitter memory and painful reaction.

I remember that minocycline, which is also a member of tetracycline family, was expected to prevent neurological damage due to stimulants. The theory of neuroprotective effect of minocycline seems similar to that the researchers above said.

Tetracyclines are very inexpensive. If its effectiveness is proven, its clinical impact on PTSD treatment will be great. But, pharmaceutical companies would not welcome it. They would rather like to sell newly drugs.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Brain stimulation makes you a super soldier?

The brain is still a frontier of human research. There are many unknown activities in each region of the brain.

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is one of the therapeutic solutions for some brain diseases. Implanting a needle stimulated with electricity to a particular area of the brain can improve some physical and mental symptoms. DBS has been established as a treatment for Parkinson's disease, and also discussed for depression.

And recently, more aggressive usage of DBS seems to be considered in the US army.

Naval Special Warfare Command officials presented the latest result of an experiment. Its goal was to enhance the ability of concentration in soldiers.

International Business Times: Super Soldier: US Navy Seals having their brains zapped to improve shooting ability

The outcome was expecting, according to the report. Participants whose brain was stimulated made an improved performance in a long-term task.

This result is amazing, if true. But, an extreme cautiousness is required in the implementation. In my experience, DBS has several adverse effects, including severe depression leading to a suicide of the patient. As well, longitudinal effects should be examined. Even if electrical stimulation is not carried out, implanting a needle itself causes a change in the brain function. Some people who took the DBS operation experience a considerable change of mood several months after the surgery.

The man-machine interface was just a fantasy until recently. It is real today. We are encouraged to make further progress in this academic region.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Modern rules with electric devices

More than a decade has passed since the internet technology became familiar with our usual life. Our lifestyle was considerably changed due to the development of latest devices, such as the smartphone, tablet, and other gears.

As the use of gadgets is a newborn culture, there are some conflicts and arguments about the manner of using them. Here, five ways which are rather common in citizens but should be reconsidered are introduced.

International Business Times: Emails in bed? Tablet selfies at a concert? Five tech habits you need to kick

The first one, the use of electric devices before going bed, is absolutely harmful, I believe. Several studies suggest that exposure to strong light hinders you from the good sleep. You should avoid watching a display, at least one hour, or two hours, if possible before you wish to sleep. I always mention it when consulting a patient with sleep disturbance.

As well manipulating a smartphone in bed is also no good. The human brain will learn that the bed is not a place for sleep but watching a device. This mislearning brings you insomnia.

Checking emails at home is worth of discussion. In general, employees should not work during off-time, from the perspective of mental health. Through distinguishing the work from your daily activity, your sympathetic nerves can be relaxed at the end of work. The continuous tension of sympathetic nerves can be a cause of cardiac diseases.

However, some people with self-employment job are difficult to ignore business emails at home. As well, employers often have to address various problems suddenly occurred even during their off-time.

The other issues suggested in this article above are rational. Selfie with a tablet is sometimes dangerous for other commuters. Free Wi-Fi spots are possible to be peeped or compromised. And it is no doubt that loud music in a public space is no other than a criminal act.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Ketamine, an expecting antidepressant

There are many options to treat depression, as I mentioned repeatedly.

My past entry: Does aspirin destroy your depression?

My past entry: Treatment of depression: multi-angle approach

My past entry: Behavioral Activation is equally effective to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

My past entry: Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, a new way to protect you from depression

And one of expecting regimens is ketamine, an anesthetic agent.

The result of latest clinical trials suggests the effectiveness and tolerability of ketamine for reducing depressive symptoms in patients with treatment-resistant depression. The response rate was up to 40%. It is amazing considering the fact only one-third of patients, even who are treatment-naive, respond to initial treatment with an antidepressant.

Independent: Ketamine helps patients with severe depression 'when nothing else works', doctors say

On the other hand, ketamine has a dependency. Some people misuse ketamine as a recreational drug. The indication of ketamine prescription to depressive patients should cautiously be addressed. In Japan, abuse of methylphenidate was issued the other day, leading to the dismissal of it for depression.

As well, its continuity of the antidepressive effect needs to be examined in a longitudinal view. Depression is a disease easy to recur. Though I am not familiar with its clinical usage, ketamine taking for a long term can be harmful. So far, several resolutions have been developed to treat depression. Most of them, however, lack long-term effectiveness, unfortunately.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Canada legalizes marijuana

Canada will be named as a nation in which we can use recreational marijuana legally.

The federal government has decided to legalize the use and sale of marijuana for the recreational purpose by 2018. So far, legal use of marijuana is limited to only medical end. Under the new legislation, a detailed guideline for sale of marijuana will be published. Each provincial government will be able to set a regulation of the age for buying marijuana.

The Guardian: Canada introduces long-awaited legislation to fully legalise marijuana

This legislation seems to have been established for an urgent need of public health. Currently, as the trade of marijuana is prohibited, people rely on the criminal organization for getting marijuana. It is easily estimated that marijuana is one of the core financial sources for antisocial groups. Decriminalized marijuana will lead to the reduced income of such organizations. This structure is mirroring anti-alcohol law in the US.

However, the risk of marijuana to cause mental illnesses is underestimated, I am afraid. Indeed, marijuana is rather a harmless drug among psychotropic substances. Nonetheless, there are patients who are suffering from marijuana psychosis. In the UK, as cannabis use is spread over the country, medical practitioners are enthusiastic to treat the patients to guide them to the life without psychotropic drugs.

In Japan, even medical marijuana is not legalized. Recently, a person who had been suffering from chronic pain was arrested on cultivating marijuana personally. He claimed that he needed marijuana for life free from the pain, so taking marijuana is the human right. The court decision has not been fixed.

In my opinion, medical use of marijuana should be legalized. On the other hand, decriminalizing recreational marijuana is considered with great caution. Even if you do not become psychotic after taking marijuana, it will get rid of your productivity. In Canada, as well as other countries where marijuana has already become familiar, legalization and moderate governmental control of marijuana is a rational option. But generally speaking, I do not agree with the legalization of sucstance with dependency.