Stay Positive

"In the midst of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer." - Alert Camus

Monday, May 25, 2015

William Zinsser: "On Writing Well"

Farewell, Mr. Zinsser

We were saddened to learn of the death of William Zinsser on Tuesday, May 12. Zinsser, the author of On Writing Well and a longtime friend of the Scholar, won a National Magazine Award for Digital Media in 2012, when he was 89 years old, for his columns on our website. He also wrote some of the most popular essays ever published in the magazine in recent years, including “How to Write a Memoir.” (He suggests, among other things, “Don’t try to be a ‘writer.’ ... Be yourself and your readers will follow you anywhere.”)
Read “The Writer Who Taught,” a tribute to Zinsser by a former student and faithful friend, John S. Rosenberg.

Be Present In Your Life.


Look at this day, for it is life, the very life of life.

In its brief course lie all the realities and verities of existence, the bliss of growth, the splendor of action, the glory of power.

For yesterday is but a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision, but today, well lived, makes every day a dream, a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Look well, therefore, to this day

Bringing back a Wandering Attention - William James

 William James was interested in mindfulness and attention:

 “The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of judgment, character, and will. No one is compos sui [master of himself] if he have it not. An education which should improve this faculty would be the education par excellence.”

William James, Psychology: Briefer Course, p. 424 (Harper Torchbooks, 1961)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Happy and Healthy

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Medical Cannabis

Medical Marijuana:Reducing Spasticity in Multiple Sclerosis Patients

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Medical Marijuana and Its Effects on Spasticity

There are a limited number of scientific studies specifically related to the effect that marijuana has on spasticity in patients with MS. The following four studies, listed in chronological order from the most recent, illustrate the positive correlation found between medical marijuana and reduced spasticity in patients with MS.

Meinch, Schonle, and Conrad found that cannabinoids might have beneficial effects on spasticity (Meinch et al, 1989). They performed a case study of a 34 year old male diagnosed with MS. The patient suffered from ataxia and spastic tetraparesis. The goal of their research was to determine a relationship between smoking marijuana and levels of spasticity and ataxia in multiple sclerosis victims. The patient was hospitalized from 17 October to 25 October. On 22 October the patient was given one experimental marijuana cigarette. There were a number of different research methods implemented in this study. The researchers used quantitative clinical and electrophysiological assessments to determine the effects of the smoked marijuana. They repeated each evaluation five to ten times before and after the patient smoked the marijuana cigarette (Meinck et al., 1989).
The results indicated that smoking marijuana might have beneficial effects on both ataxia and spasticity. Before smoking, the patient could not walk, showed reflex patterns indicating spastic paresis, and experienced hand and finger tremors. Within two minutes of inhaling the cigarette, the severity of these disabilities declined. The patient was able to walk several feet, had alleviation from muscle spasms, and no longer experienced tremors in his fingers and hands (Meinch et al, 1989). The researchers encouraged further examinations and studies regarding the effects of medical marijuana. They concluded that the results of their experiment justify the need for continued research.

The second study examines the effect of Delta-9-THC on spasticity associated with MS (Ungerleider et al, 1988). This study was a double blind, placebo controlled, crossover clinical experiment of delta-9-THC in patients with clinical MS and spasticity. The researchers used 13 subjects, consisting of 5 males and 8 females. The patients ranged in age from 26-64 years and were divided into two groups depending on when they experienced their most severe spasticity. They received medications according to these times (one group received medications in the evenings before they went to bed and the second group received medication during the day and at night). The groups were assigned in paired double blind crossover trials. "Patients were given the drug orally for five consecutive days, were drug free for two subsequent days and then received a five day trial with the crossover drug" (Ungerleider et al., 1988). Patients were given appropriate amounts THC, depending on their responses to the drug. If spasticity was not effected and they experienced no side effects, the researchers increased in the following trial. The experimenters used a variety of research methods. They clinically assessed motor functions before, during, and after exposure to TCH. Motor functions included limb weakness, limb spasticity, limb coordination impairment, gait impairment, and reflexes. Each patient was also examined by neurologists before, during, and after they were administered TCH. The researchers also gave the patients questionnaires every morning. The patients rated their levels of spasticity and the side effects experienced while on the medicine (Ungerleider et al., 1988).

The results of this study indicated that the levels of spasticity reported by the patients decreased as the dose of THC increased. Furthermore, clinically assessed spasticity declined significantly when the patients received THC verses when they received a placebo. Although patients reported side effects from higher doses of THC, the results were not significant. The researchers suggested that further research should analyze specific and precise dosages for oral THC to minimize side effects. They also concluded that determining the addiction potential of oral THC should be a goal of future studies. The experimenters asserted that their positive findings imply a future role of THC in the treatment of spasticity in patients with MS (Ungerleider et al., 1988).

The third study, performed by Clifford in 1983, assessed the effects of THC for tremors associated with MS. Clifford�s goal was to validate the claims of a man who asserted that smoking marijuana reduced his spasticity from MS. Clifford examined 8 people who also suffered spasticity from MS. The patients included four men and four women, ranging in age from 21 to 49 years. Clifford videotaped each patient showing "the movement disorder at rest, speech, finger-nose-finger test, heel-knee-shin test, gait when possible, and when picking up a coin with either hand, using a spoon, using a pencil, handwriting a sample of his or her name, and drawing a spiral" (Clifford, 1983). He also performed a brief mental status examination. Finally, he recorded the psychological and physical effects as determined by the patient. Clifford administered a test dose of THC and increased the doses until unbearable side-effects were experienced or there was a therapeutic response. He used a single-blinded placebo to distinguish objective and subjective responses.

Two of the patients in this study experienced improved motor abilities after administration of THC. He described the effect of marijuana on one of these patients: "Tremor was maximal in the head and neck and resulted in particular problems eating, because it increased as efforts were made to put food in the mouth�[after ingesting THC] the patient�s ability to write was considerably improved and his use of eating utensils was markedly improved" (Clifford, 1983). Clifford suggested that further research was necessary to better understand the biological causes of tremors and the physiological effects of THC. He also, however, asserted that it is reasonable to research and consider THC when developing therapeutic remedies for spasticity associated with MS.

The fourth study, performed by Petro and Ellenberger in 1981, examines the effects of delta-9-THC on the treatment of human spasticity. Petro and Ellenberger analyzed nine patients with spasticity related to MS in a double-blind study. Each patient received ether a 5 or 10mg dose of oral THC or a placebo once a day on three different occasions. A blind examiner rated reflexes, resistance to stretching, and abnormal reflexes. The examiner also recorded levels of walking ability and the patient�s subjective responses to the medication and side effects (if present). Examinations occurred before and at 1�-hour intervals after administration of the "medicine" (Petro and Ellenberger, 1981).

The results of this experiment indicated a positive correlation between THC and the reduction of spasticity. Four patients experienced significant improvements in spasticity after administration of THC. None of the patients reported severe side effects. Petro and Ellenberger revolutionized scientific and medical thinking on the possibilities of marijuana as medicine for MS patients. The researchers noted that they "were not able to find previous studies of the effects of marijuana on spasticity in the medical literature" (Petro and Ellenberger, 1981). Based on their results, they concluded that THC should continue to be studied as a possible therapeutic treatment for spasticity.


MME ‏@MME_DENVER 9m9 minutes ago

20 Medical Studies That Show Cannabis Can Be A Potential Cure Cancer


Denver Medical Marijuana Exchange News,Products,Services for the Medical Marijuana Community Mobile 1-800-704-1263

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Medical History Libraries

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Wellcome Library
The free library for the incurably curious, we are one of the world's leading libraries of medical history.


The MHL is a content centered digital community that enables the history of medicine to contribute to a deeper understanding of human health and society.



The Center for the History of Medicine ... enabling the history of medicine to inform contemporary medicine and society...

10 Shattuck St. Boston, MA


 Last chance to book for this afternoon's free Library Insight talk 'Between the sheets' -

Melissa Grafe @YaleMedHisLib · Jan 19
New exhibit on Prodigies and Marvels
opening Jan. 22nd at Yale Medical Library:


@NYAMNYC's Center for the History of Medicine and Public Health—promoting histories of medicine, public health, and the book.
New York, NY

US Pharmacopeia.

Ron Piervincenzi

CEO of US Pharmacopeia. Biomedical Engineer, former McKinsey partner
Rockville, MD

U.S. Pharmacopeia

Our mission is to improve global health through public standards and related programs that help ensure the quality, safety and benefit of medicines and foods
Rockville, MD USA

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Various Tweets

MS Society of Canada ‏@MSSocietyCanada 2h2 hours ago
New post from @Dr_KarenLee "research finds that stopping treatment may have consequences in people with MS" #endMS MS Society BC&Yukon retweeted
Alexander Rauscher @rauscher11 · May 3

Working on a new MRI tool for improved detection of MS lesions (right image). #MSWalk #MSWalk2015 @MSSocietyCanada

UBC Brain Scientists

Corree Laule


Brain and spinal cord scientist at the University of British Columbia. MRI and histology are my tools. Working to help people with multiple sclerosis.
 Vancouver, Canada

 Joined January 2013

Jacquie Quandt


mad scientist, supermom, living the dream *Multiple sclerosis researcher & educator at UBC
 views are my own

 Joined June 2009

MS Society BC&Yukon


MS Society of Canada: BC & Yukon Division - supporting research into multiple sclerosis and providing services and programs since 1975.

 Joined July 2011

MS Society of Canada


. We are a leader in finding a cure for multiple sclerosis & enabling people affected by MS to enhance their quality of life.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Neuroinflammation Symposium Notes of Dr Karen Lee

Karen Lee @Dr_KarenLee · May 7

Read the highlights from cutting-edge research presentations at the #endMS Neuroinflammation Symposium.

Brain Surgery Eliminates Tremors


VANCOUVER – Brenda Bennett was diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis five years ago at age 41.

“I had a balance issue,” she says.

Five years later and for the busy mom of two teenage boys, even standing up can be dangerous. Bennett falls down every couple of weeks, with the latest incident resulting in a bloody and bruised forehead. More than anything, she wants to stop the tremors that make her head and hand shake non-stop.

She wants to be able to hold a cup of coffee and eat by herself. “It kind of sucks right now,” she says.

On Tuesday, after a year on the wait list, Bennett underwent deep brain stimulation surgery. It has been performed for years by only one neurosurgeon in B.C.

“An electrode is implanted in the brain, connected to a pacemaker in the chest and the stimulation can block abnormal brain activity,” says Dr. Chris Honey. “So if there’s a part of the brain causing a tremor, we can block the tremor.”

Bennett was awake the entire time, but after a few hours of the surgery, Honey saw signs of success.

“I’m hoping we’ll be able to improve her quality of life,” he says. “We’ll be able to allow her to feed herself better.”

Less than 24 hours after surgery, Bennett says she feels great. Her head no longer shakes and she can drink coffee.

Honey says there were no complications but more work still needs to be done. Bennett will have to learn to use her hands again, now that the tremors are gone.

– With files from Randene Neill.

© Shaw Media, 2015

Canada has the highest rate of MS in the world?

MS Society of Canada @MSSocietyCanada · May 7

Did you know that Canada has the highest rate of MS in the world? 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Jeb Bush is on the Paleo Diet

A 10-Step Paleo Immersion Plan

SEPT. 19, 2014

CreditTony Cenicola/The New York TimesPhoto

Want to turn back the clock 20,000 years? 

Here are 10 steps to becoming a full-time Paleo-ite.

1. Food    Stick to grass-fed meats, seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs and nuts. Avoid grains, refined sugar, processed food, legumes and dairy.

2. Sleep    Turn your bedroom into a cave with blackout shades; eliminate alarm clocks and electronic devices.

3. Alcohol    It’s a stretch, but if you must indulge, steer clear of grain-based drinks like beer in favor wine, agave tequila and hard cider.

4. Exercise    CrossFit is huge among Paleo fanatics, but the best weights are lying there in the underbrush. Think logs and boulders.

5. Parenting    Tiger Mom, meet Saber-tooth Mom. Instead of cello lessons, let the kids run wild in the woods.

6. Beauty    You’ll look good enough to eat, all right, when you swap out your drugstore medicine cabinet with D.I.Y. products made with household items like sugar, baking soda and vinegar.

7. Clothing    Enough with the animal-hide jokes. Tap your primal style in a “Re-evolve” T-shirt from CafePress and PaleoBarefoot chain-mail shoes.

8. Sex    This one may be a stretch, but as converts point out, there are worse things for your sex life than feeling trim, fit and well rested.

9. Reading   There is no shortage of Paleo bibles, including “The Paleo Diet,” by Loren Cordain, Robb Wolf’s “The Paleo Solution” and John Durant’s “Paleo Manifesto.” Or read the latest Paleo Magazine or countless blogs like Nom Nom Paleo.

10. Music   Your guess is as good as ours. Perhaps something with lots of drums.A version of this article appears in print on September 21, 2014, on page ST23 of the New York edition with the headline: A 10-Step Immersion Plan.