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Rebecca James

Recent Posts

Ketamine and Depression

Posted by Rebecca James on May 16, 2018 11:35:07 AM

Depression is one of the most life-threatening mental illnesses in the United States today. Treatment resistant depression, which does not respond readily to talk therapy or medication — the most frequently prescribed treatments for major depression — can lead to self loathing, isolation and thoughts of suicide. Suicide is currently among the leading causes of death in America.  Even medication can have drawbacks, with first line therapies often taking as long as 6 to 8 weeks before being effective. 

Faced with the long timeline of drug therapy and unwanted side effects, patients with severe depression sometimes turn to nontraditional treatments such as electroconvulsive therapy and perhaps surprisingly, ketamine therapy — a drug known as ‘Special K’ by recreational drug users. A staggering 70% of patients responded to ketamine therapy for treatment of depression in one study performed.  The study examined the use of intravenous ketamine  for depressed patients at imminent risk of suicide, and with the rapid response shown by patients, makes ketamine a potentially attractive "rescue medication" for depressed patients in need of immediate relief.

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Ebola Virus: Finally a Vaccine?

Posted by Rebecca James on Apr 26, 2018 2:41:15 PM

picture of ebola virus

The Ebola virus, discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River that can cause a severe and often fatal disease called Ebola virus disease (EVD).  Since the first discovery in 1976, there have been sporadic outbreaks of EVD, with the most recent one in 2013-2016 affecting West African countries, mainly Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.  Fruit bats are the most likely reservoir of the Ebola virus.  Ebola is deadly in about 70% of those infected with Ebola; the 2013-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa claimed more than 11,000 lives.

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Topics: medicine, vaccination

DASH Diet: A Potential Treatment for Depression?

Posted by Rebecca James on Mar 2, 2018 1:00:00 PM

Physical health and mental health are definitively linked, and have been for some time. However, the extent that diet and exercise has on mental health remains unknown. There are anecdotes of certain diets lowering blood pressure by seemingly impossible amounts, diabetics claiming to be cured by their lifestyle and even claims of going into cancer remission as a result of a person’s diet.  None of these claims have been seriously substantiated, but recently a diet known as the DASH diet has been linked to lower blood pressure and decreased risk of depression.  Is it possible that something as simple and straightforward as your diet can affect your mental health?

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Topics: mental health, health

Flu Outbreak Worse This Year

Posted by Rebecca James on Feb 20, 2018 1:17:00 PM

This year's flu season has been unprecedentedly aggressive in comparison to recent years, causing levels of panic in the United States on the level of the H1N1 outbreak that occurred in 2009. Also known as swine flu, H1N1 caused rising levels of fear on a global level, with magazine covers publishing headlines about the epidemic and leading the World Health Organization to address the matter publicly, declaring it a pandemic.

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Topics: healthcare, flu, vaccination

Sanofi Pasteur Wrongdoing in Childrens Deaths?

Posted by Rebecca James on Feb 15, 2018 11:03:00 AM

In the Philippines, the government is currently dealing with a public health crisis surrounding the Dengue virus. After being inoculated with the Dengue vaccine known as Dengvaxia, children have fallen ill and succumbed to illness, some even falling sick to the Dengue virus within thirty days of their initial inoculation. 

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Topics: healthcare, ethics, vaccination

Left Behind: Native American Healthcare

Posted by Rebecca James on Jan 12, 2018 10:30:00 AM

For many Native Americans, receiving healthcare can be a difficult ordeal. Poverty runs rampant on reservations throughout the United States, with one charity named One Spirit putting the number of Lakota families living under the poverty line in South Dakota at a staggering 90%. Even acquiring heating and basic living necessities is difficult for many of these families, reducing healthcare to a secondary concern. Native American people are at high risk for unnecessary death due to an intersection of unique situations such as isolation and poverty levels. 

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Topics: healthcare

Autoimmune Disorder Treatment on the Horizon

Posted by Rebecca James on Nov 28, 2017 9:00:00 AM


Over 23.5 million Americans are afflicted with autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA)an autoimmune disease affecting approximately 1.3 million Americans.  In a case of mistaken identity, the body’s immune system mistakes its own tissues for foreign invaders, such as bacteria or viruses and develops antibodies to destroy the “invaders” in the synovium.  Currently, there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis and the treatments are often saddled with a variety of side effects, some as severe as the disease.

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Topics: autoimmune disorders, development

Online Drug Shopping Made Easy?

Posted by Rebecca James on Oct 23, 2017 11:00:00 AM

The names of the top pharmacies in the world will come as no surprise to most:  CVS, Walgreens, Amazon.

Wait, what?  Amazon?

CNBC recently reported that Amazon may be considering the sale of prescription drugs online, a lucrative market of approximately $560 billion annually. Breaking into the U.S. prescription drug market could be the start of huge financial gains for Amazon, but many people are wondering how they would manage the transition from sales of primarily unregulated items, into selling products from one of the most highly regulated industries.

Analysts at Leerink Partners, an investment bank specializing in healthcare, predict Amazon will be involved in prescription drug sales by the year 2019. This idea is not new for Amazon, with a previous attempt at an online site named drugstore.com, which is no longer open.

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Topics: ethics

States in Crisis Sue Opioid Manufacturers

Posted by Rebecca James on Oct 13, 2017 1:30:00 PM

Mississippi and Ohio are two states that have been hit hard by the recent opioid crisis affecting the nation, with over 200,000 Ohioans addicted to opioids.  Mike DeWine, the Attorney General, filed a lawsuit in May of 2017 against 5 separate pharmaceutical companies alleging that the companies “helped unleash a health crisis that has had far-reaching financial, social, and deadly consequences in the state of Ohio”.  This makes Ohio the second state to file suit against pharma companies, with Mississippi the first state.  They allege that the manufacturers knowingly marketed opioids while minimizing the risks of addiction, while simultaneously overstating the benefits.

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Topics: lawsuit, opioid crisis, legal, opioids

Do Benzos Cause More Harm Than Good?

Posted by Rebecca James on Oct 3, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Benzodiazepines are a commonly prescribed medication for anxiety, seizures, and a myriad of other medical conditions. However, this medication doesn’t come without its faults, of which there are many serious ones. Benzodiazepines such as Ativan and Xanax are potentially addictive after only a short period of time, and are highly sought after by drug addicts and even patients who aren’t psychologically addicted but are physically dependent on the medication. 

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Topics: benzodiazepines, addiction, benzos, harm