“Astounding” new evidence suggests ‘party drug’ Ketamine can cure/end depression in the elderly.
Australian researchers at the Black Dog Institute completed the world’s first randomized control trial (RCT), assessing the efficacy and safety of ketamine as a treatment for depression in elderly patients.
A total of 16 patients over the age of 60, many of whom had suffered from depression for years and found other treatments ineffective, were given low doses of the drug.
Increasing doses of ketamine were given over a period of five weeks, with doses tailored for each individual participant.
The results, published in the latest American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, provide preliminary evidence that ketamine is effective as an antidepressant – when delivered in repeated intravenous doses.
“What we noticed was that ketamine worked incredibly quickly and incredibly effectively,” Professor Colleen Loo, who led the pilot program told ABC News. “By incredibly effective, we mean going rapidly from severely depressed to being completely well in one day.”
“Some people think, ‘oh maybe it was just a drug induced temporary high’ — and it wasn’t,” she said. “You had the woozy effects in the first hour or so, but the antidepressant effects kicked in later.”
While the illicit narcotic has a reputation as a rave drug, it has long been used as an anaesthetic or sedative. None of the participants experienced problematic side effects, according to the research team who administered the drug through a small injection under the skin.
“Our results indicate a dose-titration method may be particularly useful for older patients, as the best dose was selected for each individual person to maximize ketamine’s benefits while minimizing its adverse side effects,” she said.
Further study is needed, however, to understand the risks of ketamine use and possible side effects, such as its impact on liver function.
The institute will continue its research with a much larger, three-year trial into the drug’s efficacy as a treatment for major depression.
The trial, which aims to be the world’s largest in this field, will be made up of 200 Australian and New Zealand participants who have not responded to existing medications for major depression.
Long walks on the beach, holding hands in a hottub overlooking the ocean, working on your golf game…in Hawaii, treating the kids and grandkids to treats and trips – we have all seen the commercials of how great ‘retirement’ can be (or could have been), if you just put a little more money into the stock market via your friendly local asset gatherer.
Well, sad to say, as Bloomberg reports, more and more Americans are spending their golden years on the job.
Almost 19 percent of people 65 or older were working at least part-time in the second quarter of 2017, according to the U.S. jobs report released on Friday. The age group’s employment/population ratio hasn’t been higher in 55 years, before American retirees won better health care and Social Security benefits starting in the late 1960s.
And the trend looks likely to continue. Millennials, prepare yourselves.
Older Americans are working more even as those under 65 are working less, a trend that the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects to continue. By 2024, 36 percent of 65- to 69-year-olds will be active participants in the labor market, the BLS says. That’s up from just 22 percent in 1994.
A number of factors are keeping older Americans in the workforce. Many are healthier and living longer than previous generations. Some decide not to fully retire because they enjoy their jobs or just want to stay active and alert.
Others need the money. One glance at the chart above may help indicate one big driver of pain – notice that as each major market crash occurs, the prime-working-age cohort and the senior-generation cohort inflects and diverges, as the wealthier, older generation comes face to face with reality as their long-term savings are decimated by reality stepping into stock markets.
The share of older people in the workforce is higher than at any point since before the creation of Medicare. Even more older Americans might be out there working, though, if they were healthier and had better job prospects.
And it’s not just Americans that are ‘not’ living-the-dream they were sold by various asset managers…
Around the globe, workers of all ages are moving their retirement goals later and later in life.
If Yellen will just keep the dream alive for another 30 years then the entire boomer generation can retire wealthy… right?
On May 8, the science journal Nature Medicine published an article with a surprising finding: regular low doses of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in mature and old mice (12 to 18 months old) restored their cognitive skills to those of a two-month-old mouse.
THC, of course, is the active component of marijuana, so this study seemed counterintuitive. Scientists are pretty confident that THC messes up the human adolescent brain. Why would it rejuvenate the aging brain?
I’ll admit I’m baffled by the authors’ explanation — something to do with THC’s effect on “CB1 receptor expression.” But let’s take their word for it, and also assume that chronic low doses of THC would have the same impact on old humans. What would the consequences be?
First of all, it would save us all a fortune. According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada (ASC), 25,000 new cases of dementia are diagnosed in this country every year. An estimated 16,000 Canadians under age 65 are living with dementia; in total, the current number is 564,000 — and by 2031, 937,000 of us will be living with it. The society estimates that we are spending $15 billion yearly to care for persons with dementia. By the 2040s, the cost will rise to $153 billion.
The numbers are proportionately larger in the U.S., according to alzheimers.net: $236 billion just in 2016, to care for 5.3 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s. By 2050, Americans will likely be spending $700 billion looking after 16 million cases — and that’s not counting the billions being spent to find and produce a cure.
The burden on the caregivers
Those numbers don’t include the free labour of family caregivers, who must contend with the stress of watching their loved ones fade away. According to alzheimers.net, caregivers themselves were reporting almost $10 billion in extra health care costs in 2014.
So a cure for dementia would free not only tax dollars but caregivers (who are mostly women). This prospect alone should support a flood of new research money from governments and pharmaceutical companies alike. Even if THC turns out to be only partially effective, it will still lighten a terrible burden. And if it doesn’t work at all with humans, researchers will keep looking for something that does.
But ending dementia would also mean starting a whole new kind of society.
First of all, imagine 25,000 aging Canadians not getting dementia every year. Imagine many of Canada’s half-million current dementia patients recovering from the condition. They might be physically frail, and some disease would eventually kill them. But in the meantime, they’d be quite capable of looking after themselves and their property.
(Natural News) Older individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease are often prescribed antipsychotic drugs. This controversial practice has been frowned upon for many years. New research has now found that the use of these drugs in Alzheimer’s patients substantially increases their risk of mortality — which begs the question: is this risky practice being conducted with malicious intentions?
The majority of people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease are 65 years of age or older. It affects over five million people in the United States alone, but it is estimated by the year 2050, that number will reach up to 16 million. And in 2016, it was estimated that Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia would cost the US roughly $216 billion. It is costly and time-consuming — by 2050, it is expected the costs of caring for people with some form of dementia will reach a devastating $1 trillion.
In other words: to promoters of the depopulation agenda, old people with Alzheimer’s disease are an easy target. They’re costly and they can’t function independently; a more cynical person might even say that they are a drain on the system. And in many nursing homes, patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are often given antipsychotic drugs simply to keep them quiet and placid in their new environment — even in spite of the tremendous risks they pose.
Study shows antipsychotics increase mortality risk
Between the years of 2005 and 2011, a team of researchers studied some 58,000 patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Just over 25 percent of the patients in the study were prescribed some type of antipsychotic medication. Those taking the drugs exhibited a stark increase in mortality risk; they were 60 percent more likely to die because of their medication.
The risk of death was at its peak when patients first began to take the new drugs, but the patients’ mortality risk remained elevated even when the drugs were taken long-term. Patients that were taking more than one antipsychotic exhibited an even higher risk than those taking just one of the risky medications; taking two nearly doubled the chances of dying early. [RELATED: Keep up with the latest research at Scientific.news]
While the study found a correlation between taking an antipsychotic and a higher risk of death in Alzheimer’s patients, a direct cause-and-effect link was not ascertained. The research team, led by Marjaana Koponen, a doctoral student from the School of Pharmacy at the University of Eastern Finland, does say that their findings support previous data, however.
Unapproved and Unsafe
Antipsychotic drugs have never been approved for use in dementia or Alzheimer’s patients by the FDA, but the practice remains frighteningly common. Approximately one-third of dementia patients who spend at least 100 days in a nursing facility will be given some type of antipsychotic — roughly 300,00 people each year. [RELATED: Keep up with the latest regulatory headlines at FDA.news]
Along with the increased risk of mortality, antipsychotics increase the risk of other health conditions in older people. They can cause low blood pressure, movement disorders, and also tend to increase the patients’ risks of falling and getting hurt.
Attorney Joni Moore says that she has sued numerous nursing homes in the state of California “for failing to get informed consent when they use antipsychotic drugs, as required by law.” Moore told NPR, “We learned that the families really weren’t told anything other than, ‘The doctor has ordered this medication for you; please come sign a form,’” says Moore.
One of her clients was a Ms. Kathi Levine, whose mother Patricia Thomas, had Alzheimer’s disease. Thomas had appeared to be doing well until she had a nasty fall and fractured her pelvis. After a brief hospital stay, Thomas went to a nursing home for rehabilitation. Within a week of her arrival at the facility, “[S]he was in a wheelchair, slumped over, sucking on her hand, mumbling to herself, completely out of it, not even aware that I was there.”
Thomas was so out of it, she was unable to participate in her rehabilitation exercises, so she was discharged. It was then that her daughter learned that the nursing home had loaded her mother up on heavy-duty antipsychotics. Ms. Thomas had been prescribed both Risperdal and Haldol — two very strong drugs. It is worth noting that this drug combination is known to be potentially life-threatening to begin with. She never spoke again and two months after being discharged, she passed away.
Levine and her attorney, Moore filed a class-action lawsuit against the nursing home and a settlement was eventually reached.
It’s not just the failure of nursing homes to get informed consent — it is the very concept of using drugs to “quiet” patients that should be intolerable. It seems rather unlikely that most doctors who prescribe these drugs to the elderly are totally unaware of the potential risks; it’s not even an FDA-approved practice, and these drugs come with black-box warning labels on them that explicitly state they are risky for patients with dementia. So you have to wonder: is it really on purpose? (RELATED: Follow more news on brain health at Brain.news.)
Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University of East London
Dec 2, 2016
Happiness has become a modern obsession. Searching for it, holding on to it, and wishing it on our loved ones have all become motivating forces for how we live our lives.
We also use happiness as a measuring stick for life decisions. If a job doesn’t make us happy, we quit it. If a relationship stops making us happy, we leave it.
Happiness has lodged itself at the centre of our lives and we make some drastic choices desperately trying to reach it. This is especially true for people in their 30s and 40s, who are at the highest risk of using antidepressants and developing mood disorders than any other age group.
They are also the biggest consumers of the self-help industry, spending their money on well-being retreats, travelling, online happiness-boosting activities or pop psychology books. Ironically, research shows that the pursuit of happiness might not only make us less happy, but also more lonely, as we often end up cutting ourselves off from people who represent the lives that we want to leave behind.
So, if we are feeling unhappy today, can we hope for a better tomorrow? Fortunately, research suggests that we can, because regardless of our individual differences, we go through some natural changes in life that influence our happiness. These changes allow us to experience relatively high levels of happiness in our 20s, which then begin to tumble, reaching their lowest point in the late 30s and early 40s – when they start to climb again.
In most Western societies, we tend to spend our 20s and 30s creating our future. By our late 30s and early 40s, when we realise that a) we have not achieved what we hoped to achieve, and b) our future is shrinking rapidly, we have two options. We can begin to panic, or we can adjust to all these changes by redirecting our thoughts to the positive past. This is what most of us do, which results in us feeling more secure and happier, as we move into the later stages of our lives.
2. Emotional life
When we are young, we let our emotions run wild. The higher they go, the lower they drop. It takes us years to control them. As we move into our 50s, they become more stable and we begin to achieve more serenity in life. Apart from that, we are more drawn to positivity and are able to hold on to it for longer, which is another reason why we feel happier as we age.
3. Social network
In our 20s, our social network is likely to be thriving. We have new people coming into our lives all the time, be it colleagues from a new job, or the extra circles of friends and family of a new romantic partner. Then, as we enter our 30s, it all begins to change. We no longer have the time nor the energy to nurture all our friendships, and people drop from our lives like flies.
Since we need social support to feel happier, this change can have a detrimental effect on our well-being. However, as we move into our 50s, older and wiser, we begin to put more effort into the people in our lives, strengthening our friendships. This can be another reason why we become happier later on in our lives.
4. Life events
Life events are like traffic. When the road is empty, it is easier to drive. As soon as it becomes busy, it is harder to cope. Research shows that both traumatic events and daily hassles are at their highest level when we reach midlife. Thereafter, they begin to slow down, as we learn how to cope with them more effectively. And we become happier as a result.
It feels good to be able to predict what is going to happen next. It gives us a sense of mastery over our environment and fills us with the confidence that we can tackle anything that life throws at us. As we move along the years, we become better at foreseeing the consequences of our, and other people’s, behaviours and become skilled at planning the best action to manoeuvre through life challenges. Each day teaches us new life skills – and they make it easier for us to feel happier.
So it seems our lives do become happier as we age. Ironically, regardless of our age, when people are asked about the happiest times of their lives, they usually point to their 20s, wrongly predicting that feelings of contentment will reduce as they get older.
In fact, it would be a good idea to relax and let nature take its course. Because with things actually improving with age, the uplifting truth is that we all have an ever-increasing chance of living happily ever after.
One of the greatest social influences on baby boomers is evident in their drinking behaviour, perhaps a product of their formative years during which advertising for alcohol and tobacco was widespread. Now aged between 51 and 70, this behaviour threatens to cause them great harm towards the end of their lives.
Between 1992 and 2006, the average weekly alcohol consumption for people aged 45–64 (capturing the majority of baby boomers) rose by 85%, compared with a 50% rise in those aged 65 and over, and a 45% rise in those aged 16–24. As baby boomers have aged, follow-up studies with this cohort reveal similar findings. Between 2005 and 2013, the percentage of men drinking eight or more units of alcohol (the equivalent of four pints of normal strength beer) on any one day in the past week changed by only 5% in the over 65s. In contrast, this rate of drinking fell by 30% among 16–24s, 19% among 22–44s, and 12% among those aged 45–64.
Using other data reveals the same drinking patterns among baby boomers. Between 2001 and 2014, alcohol-related deaths in England reduced significantly among men under 60, but was significantly higher in both older men and women. For example, in men aged 70–74 and 80–84, alcohol-related deaths rose by more than 150%.
Alcohol-related admissions to hospital have also risen fastest among this generation, with admissions for mental and behavioural disorders attributable to alcohol now outnumbering alcoholic liver disease in people aged 60 and over in England. And this is not down to demographics: this increase in alcohol-related admissions and deaths far outstrips the actual rise in numbers of older people over the same time frames.
Drug use is also evident among baby boomers. A series of national surveys from 1993 to 2007 found that among those aged 50 to 64, lifetime use of cannabis increased more than ten-fold, from 1% in 1993 to 11.4% in 2007. Recent use had multiplied by a similar amount, from 0.2% in 1993 to 2.0% in 2007. And there’s growing evidence to suggest that this extends to prescription drugs as well as illegal narcotics, with escalating misuse of pharmaceutical drugs such as painkillers or sleeping pills.
What makes baby boomers hit the bottle?
There are likely to be several possible explanations for the increase in alcohol consumption among older people, and the corresponding decrease among younger people in Britain. Although alcohol is more affordable than it was 30 years ago, economic and financial pressures such as a lack of affordable housing, university tuition fees, less time for socialising due to work pressures, and changes to laws governing drinking in public places may all have influenced drinking behaviour among people aged 16–24.
Trying to change baby boomers’ behaviour and attitudes towards drinking and drug use is a tough sell to a generation now steeped in lifelong attitudes shaped by a lack of awareness of the harms of alcohol and substance misuse. To address the spectrum of problems these attitudes have wrought will require a concerted effort from public health campaigners and doctors.
In January 2016, the government’s chief medical officer reduced the upper recommended weekly alcohol limit by a third, from 21 units a week to 14 for both men and women. There is also new guidance on how to assess and manage alcohol and drug misuse among older people, as well as efforts to improve the way older people are treated by various components of the health service for their alcohol and drug misuse. Whether these can help improve lives and reduce harm remains to be seen, but that the hedonistic baby boomers will continue their habits of a lifetime seems certain for now.