How long does COVID-19 last? Resource Centers on Coronavirus


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Lancet offers free public access on coronavirus. The Lancet resource center on coronavirus is here

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There is also The comprehensive Ars Technica guide to the coronavirus 

 

How long does COVID-19 last?

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“On average, it takes five to six days from the day you are infected with SARS-CoV-2 until you develop symptoms of COVID-19. This pre-symptomatic period—also known as “incubation”—can range from one to 14 days.”

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“From there, those with mild disease tend to recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe cases can take three to six weeks to recover, according to WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who goes by Dr. Tedros.”

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From Wuhan, they followed CT of lungs. Two weeks after recovery patient discharged negative, if CT lesions appear to get worse, pneumonia symptoms recur. It’s not over til it’s over. 

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I do not have the reference and cannot verify the source. I have read that recurrence two weeks later is the overactive immune system creating a cytokine storm with excessive mucous secretions that create mucous bolts. Bolts plug airways and kill. One hospital had 50% reduction in deaths from aggressive suction of mucous.

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Dont forget to isolate and quarantine yourself even if mild. It’s wildly contagious.

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only.
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It is not legal for me to provide medical advice without an examination

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It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.

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For My Home Page, click here:  Welcome to my Weblog on Pain Management!

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No Respirator Masks, No Respirators, Healthcare Workers Not Protected


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National Shortage of Everything Needed to protect

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Healthcare Workers

 

A massive kick in the gut REALITY

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We will have to accept a deadly crisis as stark dead cold reality in vast numbers with things we’ve never imagined could happen here. Don’t be getting bored or lulled to sleep now by the quiet that comes before the tsunami.

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“As coronavirus cases in Washington state mounted and the country’s first death was announced Saturday, health authorities scrambled to get more specialized masks for front-line clinicians who need to protect themselves from the highly contagious disease.

Washington state authorities sent an urgent request for 233,000 respirators and 200,000 surgical masks to be released from the federal government’s Strategic National Stockpile. The stockpile is a repository of drugs and supplies for deployment in major public health emergencies, such as an infectious disease outbreak.

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Within 24 hours, Washington state’s liaison to the federal government, Casey Katims, was told his state would get assistance. But it would be less than half the amount they requested — 93,600 N95 respirators and 100,200 surgical masks..Washington’s experience highlights one of the country’s biggest gaps in preparedness for battling the respiratory virus that causes the disease known as covid-19. The United States has about 1 percent of the 3.5 billion respirators that experts estimate the health-care system needs a year to fight a severe influenza pandemic. That translates to 12 million N95 respirators and 30 million surgical masks, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has said. An additional 5 million N95 respirators may be expired, he has said.

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only.
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It is not legal for me to provide medical advice without an examination

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It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.

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For My Home Page, click here:  Welcome to my Weblog on Pain Management!

Please ignore the ads below. They are not from me.

The advertising below is not mine.

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Coronavirus symptoms by order of frequency


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Comments following a Washington Post article on why the US Health System is not ready.

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The writer references the NYT – I do not have the NYT link:

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“We caught up with Donald G. McNeil Jr., our infectious-diseases reporter, to ask him what it’s actually like to contract the coronavirus, based on what we’ve learned so far from China, which has the vast majority of cases. What does this illness look like? I’ve heard some people compare it to the flu. No, it’s different from flu. It’s a lung disease, not a stuffy nose disease. Ninety 90 percent of people get a fever, 80 percent get a dry cough, and then it drops down to 30 percent get shortness of breath and malaise — you know, being tired. A runny nose shows up in only 4 percent, and that may be people who also happen to have acold or flu, too. What are we learning about asymptomatic cases? The good news is that a large study from China suggests that less than 1 percent of cases are asymptomatic. Almost all people get sick.”

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OK, back to @Flowman here:  I was appalled to see WAPO post an article yesterday that stated a common COVID-19 symptom was a runny nose.  Read the NYT quote above regarding COVID-19 symptoms again:  

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90% Fever
80% Dry Cough
30% Shortness of Breath / Malaise (fatigue/tiredness)
4% Runny Nose – but suspected of being due to concomitant cold or flu

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And for the record, I am a retired Epidemiologist.

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Reiterating what he said: “Almost all people get sick.”

The coronavirus is different from the Trumpvirus.

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We need leadership grounded in science. And we need it now. Those are not the only symptoms but they give some perspective. They are symptoms of lower respiratory disease, i.e. lung predominantly.

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Some have severe intense muscle pain, sweating, chills, some even have diarrhea and of course chest pain with shortness of breath means you should rule out a heart attack. Damage to lungs can be intense and certainly strain the heart.

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only.

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It is not legal for me to provide medical advice without an examination..

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It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.

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For My Home Page, click here:  

Welcome to my Weblog on Pain Management!

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Please ignore the ads below. They are not from me..

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Coronavirus: Expect people you know to die. Take it seriously. Stay calm


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“Coronavirus: an email to my family”

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by an infectious disease epidemiologist.

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“I wrote this originally to share with my family.”

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…”I graduated from the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service and have over 17 years of experience in the field, most of that with CDC.”

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Who should you listen to?

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The CDC and your state health department are your best place for information about COVID-19. (Listen to them before you listen to me.) Be cautious about other sources of information – many of them will not be reliable or accurate.

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How bad is this going to be?

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It’s possible that COVID-19 will be similar to a bad flu year but there are a number of indications that it will be very much like the 1918 Flu Pandemic. To put that in perspective, the 1918 flu did not end civilization as we know it but it was the second-deadliest event of the last 200 years. Expect people you know to die.

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However, there is one critical difference between COVID-19 and the 1918 flu – the 1918 flu virus hit children and young adults particularly hard. COVID-19 seems to be most severe in older adults. Children and young adults generally have mild infections. We are grateful for this.

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What can we expect?

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This is not the zombie apocalypse. Core infrastructure (e.g., power, water, supermarkets, internet, government, etc.) will continue to work, perhaps with some minor disruptions. 

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There will be significant economic disruption: a global recession is very possible and there will probably be significant shortages of some products. The healthcare system will be hit the hardest. The number of people who are likely to get sick is higher than our healthcare systems can probably handle.  

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Daily life will be impacted in important ways. Travel is likely to be limited and public gatherings will probably be canceled. Schools will probably be closed. Expect health departments to start issuing these orders in the near future, especially on the West Coast.

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The acute pandemic will probably last at least for several months and quite possibly for a year or two.

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What can we do?

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We can’t keep COVID-19 from being a global pandemic but the more we can do to slow the spread of the disease, the less severe the impact will be. With that in mind, here are the things you can do:

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Stay calm but take it seriously. This will likely be bad but it’s not the apocalypse.

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Stay home if you’re sick or someone in your house is sick. 

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Leave medical supplies for healthcare workers. You shouldn’t be stockpiling masks or other medical supplies. They are needed in hospitals to keep our healthcare workers healthy.

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Wash your hands. Get in the habit of frequently washing your hands thoroughly and covering your cough.

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Minimize your exposure. Now that we’re starting to see community transmission in the U.S., it’s probably time to start cutting back on your exposure to other people. Depending on your circumstances, consider:

  • Canceling non-essential travel

  • Avoiding large-scale gatherings

  • Working from home if possible

  • Minimizing direct contact with others including hand shakes and hugs

  • Reducing your trips out of the house. If possible, shop for two weeks of groceries at once or consider having your groceries delivered. Stay home and cook instead of going to a restaurant.
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Remember, keep calm and prepare. This is likely to be bad but if we respond calmly and thoughtfully we can handle it.

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Others have added: no more fist bumps or hand shakes. Elbow bumps or, as they are doing in China, toe bumps.

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only.
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It is not legal for me to provide medical advice without an examination.

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It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.

~~~~~

For My Home Page, click here:  

Welcome to my Weblog on Pain Management!

Please ignore the ads below. They are not from me.

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The advertising below is not mine.

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COVID-19: 20-year-old Wuhan woman infected 5 relatives, showed no signs of illness – tested negative


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COVID-19: Case study of 20-year-old Wuhan woman traveled 400 miles, infected 5 relatives despite not showing any signs of illness – and tested negative.

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Published February 21, 2020 in JAMA

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There are reports that a person may be able to infect as long as 38 days, not two weeks. This case is an important example.

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Hand washing is more important than ever. Soap and water are more effective than hand sanitizers, alcohol disinfectants.

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Areas most frequently missed

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especially the thumb, tips of fingers, areas between fingers and back of hand.

 

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only.
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It is not legal for me to provide medical advice without an examination.

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It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.

~~~~~

For My Home Page, click here:  

Welcome to my Weblog on Pain Management!

 

Please ignore the ads below. They are not from me.

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The advertising below is not mine.

In exchange, this blog is less expensive.

 

 

Simply Calming


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First, an introduction or just skip below to web link, below, of the sweet Suzuki Roshi breathing practice of exhalation. It is so simple people with Alzheimer’s can do it. So instantly calming.

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It is best to practice while we are young and build a solid practice, make it part of being with your Self. The Divine Self. It is so simple and so sweet. It is who we are.

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A wonderful practice and highest teaching. We are all the divine essence, the serene soul. Enjoy how simple and calming…..relax and be in the moment of which the highest teachings speak, as far back as the Vedas and Upanishads, Buddha and all spiritual traditions have taught. 

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There is no god but God. There are no other gods. Not dreamy woo woo stuff. It just Is. Omnipresent. 

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“This is no world. It is God Himself. In delusion we call it world.” Vivekananda (6:371) “Complete self-surrender is the only way to spiritual illumination. Vivekananda (5:258)

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Acceptance. Enjoy who you already are. 

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Just be. You are That. We forget our true self. This is real. No kids play. 

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We all experience these moments. Being. Just being. Simple as breathing. 

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“ There is no question that breathing is taking place. Can you see that there is no breather to be found anywhere? The body is empty, the breath is empty and you are empty.” 

 

The Upanishads describe that stage as turiya pure consciousness. Turiya is the background that underlies and transcends the three common states of consciousness.

Buddhists call this emptiness. Advaita calls it fullness. The Divine Essence. God. The self that merges into the Absolute beyond, time space and causation Beyond name and form there is nothing else but the Self, Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. And this pure simple breathing out brings it into this very moment.

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from the dharma message of Zen priest and teacher White Lotus Judith Ragir.

click above name to go directly to the website for this  dharma teaching – it will be easier to read. 

 

Exhaling and dissolving.

Here are some quotes from Suzuki Roshi in “Not Always So” (chapter: Calmness of Mind) that emphasize working with the exhale while meditating:

Calmness of mind is beyond the end of your exhalation. If you exhale smoothly, without even trying to exhale, you are entering into the complete perfect calmness of your mind. You do not exist anymore. 

Inhaling without effort you naturally come back to yourself with some color or form. Exhaling, you gradually fade into emptiness – empty, white paper. That is shikantaza. The important point is your exhalation. Instead of trying to feel yourself as you inhale, fade into emptiness as you exhale. 

To take care of the exhalation is very important. To die is more important than trying to be alive. When we always try to be alive, we have trouble. Rather than trying to be alive or active, if we can be calm and die or fade away into emptiness, then naturally we will be all right. Buddha will take care of us. Because we have lost our mother’s bosom, we do not feel like her child anymore. Yet fading away into emptiness can feel like being at our mother’s bosom, and we will feel as though she will take care of us. Moment after moment, do not lose this practice of shikantaza.” 

This is very impressive quote to me. It is in alignment with the fourth Tetrad of the Anapanasati Sutra. The Anapanasati Sutra is composed of sixteen contemplations, which divide rather neatly into four sets of four: The body group, the feelings group, the mind group, and the wisdom group. They are in a “somewhat” developmental order in that mindfulness of the physical movements of the breath is the first emphasis in any concentration practice. The feelings group is ***becoming sensitive to rapture and joy in meditation***and then calming or letting go of rapture. The third group is the mind group – becoming aware of the mind, gladdening the mind, steadying the mind, and liberating the mind. (See “Breath by Breath” by Larry Rosenberg. This is a book Clouds in Water studied several years ago).

The fourth group the wisdom group is very similar to Suzuki Roshi’s quote above.

From a Thich Nhat Hanh translation:

13. I am breathing in and observing the impermanent nature of all dharmas. I am breathing out and observing the impermanent nature of all dharmas. He practices like this.

14. I am breathing in and observing the fading of all dharmas. I am breathing out and observing the fading of all dharmas. She practices like this.

15. I am breathing in and observing liberation (cessation). I am breathing out and observing liberation (cessation). He practices like this.

16. I am breathing in and observing letting go (relinquishment). I am breathing out and observing letting go (relinquishment). She practices like this.

This sutra demonstrates how the breath can take you all the way to the deepest realizations. The breath often is used as the first object of concentration. But it also can practiced as a complete teaching which leads to insight.

In Larry Rosenberg’s book, he writes about Buddhadasa’s approach to breath practice and its use for going all the way to realization. He writes:

“ When we got to the thirteenth contemplation – which concerns impermanence, this is where real vipassana begins – he said that Anapanasati was one of the simplest and most effective means for realizing emptiness.” 

Buddhadasa said: “There is no question that breathing is taking place. Can you see that there is no breather to be found anywhere? The body is empty, the breath is empty and you are empty.” 

Perhaps this is where Zen and Vipassana meet. Where the Mahayana and the Theravada come to the same conclusion.

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.http://www.judithragir.org/2014/01/exhaling-and-dissolving/

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Give to Those in Need – RSDSA


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Donate to RSDSA for Pain Research

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REFLEX SYMPATHETIC DYSTROPHY SYNDROME ASSOCIATION

for decades has funded research into all causes of pain.

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RSD Syndrome Association is a vibrant, nonprofit organization that has been raising awareness of pain and of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome since 1984 and helping those who suffer from this worst of all neuropathic burning pain.

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They are an amazing organization that has been bringing together leading scientists, funding research and reaching out to people with pain in order to develop new ideas, new connections, new therapies.

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Please give to them. They do a lot.

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They help so many children and adults. 

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only.

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It is not legal for me to provide medical advice without an examination.

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It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.

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Comments are welcome.

This site is not for email, not for medical questions, and not for appointments.

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For My Home Page, click here:  Welcome to my Weblog on Pain Management!

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Please IGNORE THE ADS BELOW. They are not from me.

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Memantine for Neuropathic Pain & Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, CRPS


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Neuropathic pain syndromes show an over-expression of NMDA receptors in the brain in animal models. Ketamine blocks the NMDA receptor. Another medication with the same mechanism, but in pill form is memantine. This report on six patients of the use of memantine for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) from 2007 in the Clinical Journal of Pain, six months after treatment with memantine, showed significant decrease in pain, improved motor symptoms and autonomic changes, and fMRI changes on the affected side improving, comparable to the unaffected side of the brain.

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It was approved for Alzheimer’s dementia gradually titrating to a dose of 28 mg/day, but for decades has been very useful off label for neuropathic pain including but not limited to CRPS, at a dose of 55 mg/day, and in recent years often prescribed for migraine.

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Ketamine is highly successful also for treatment resistant depression, and one patient, a psychiatrist disabled from the unfortunate triad of intractable neuropathic pain, migraine and treatment resistant depression, while slowly titrating to a dose of 55 mg/day, a process that takes almost 3 months, found depression relieved for the first time in decades at the dose of 35 mg. It was highly effective as one component of the multi-pronged approach for all three conditions.

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This life is a hard fact. We all need all the help, encouragement and positive attitudes we can get. Complex intractable pain and/or depression requires rational polypharmacy, selectively chosen based upon well known mechanisms, neurotransmitters, receptors, hormones, stress reduction, cognitive behavioral therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, nerve blocks, and spiritual understanding, etc. Several choices were summarized almost two years ago here.

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In my experience, memantine is very well tolerated with few if any side effects but covered by insurance only for mild to moderate dementia. Thus, not only is it highly challenging to treat neuropathic pain, but important to creatively meet the challenges of our backwards medical system that barely recognizes the needs of those with chronic pain.

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only.

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It is not legal for me to provide medical advice without an examination.

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It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.

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Comments are welcome.

This site is not for email, not for medical questions, and not for appointments.

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For My Home Page, click here:  Welcome to my Weblog on Pain Management!

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Please IGNORE THE ADS BELOW. They are not from me.

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Opioids increase risk of chronic pain – potentiate pain – faster, stronger, longer. Activate TLR4 receptor on microglia, blocked by low dose naltrexone (LDN)


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Professor Linda Watkins was the distinguished keynote speaker at the May 2015 American Pain Society annual meeting and gave the NIH 2015 Kreshover Lecture:

“Targeting Glia to Treat Chronic Pain: Moving from Concept to Clinical Trials.”

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The University of Colorado at Boulder describes her work

She has authored or co-authored over 190 book chapters, review articles and journal articles.

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Dr. Watkins’ research focuses on 3 inter-related areas. Her primary research interest is understanding how to control clinically relevant pathological pain states. Her group’s research points to a novel reason that clinical pain has been impossible to successfully control. That is, pathological pain is being created and maintained by a surprising cell type, namely glia. These cells, upon activation, dysregulate normal pain processing by the spinal cord neurons.

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Medical News Today published news of her recent study April 19, 2018

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“Opioids may increase risk of chronic pain.” They potentiate pain “faster, stronger, longer” and activate the TLR4 receptor on microglia. That receptor is blocked by low dose naltrexone (LDN).

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Opioids trigger inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. This is an elegant study by renowned Prof. Linda Watkins at the University of Colorado Boulder, with Peter Grace. His early work on LDN brought him from Australia to postdoc at her lab and now research at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

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“Having been used in one form or another for millennia, opioids beat pain into submission, quickly making the patient more comfortable. The latest study, which was carried out at the University of Colorado Boulder, turns this firmly held notion on its head.

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Senior author Prof. Linda Watkins, from the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, says, ominously, “[…] there is another dark side of opiates that many people don’t suspect.”

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In this case, it is not addiciton issues that Prof. Watkins is referring to. Paradoxically, opioids may actually prolong pain following surgery. The results were published recently in the journal Anesthesia and Analgesia.

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Postsurgical pain and opioids examined

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For the study, Prof. Watkins and colleague Peter Grace, of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, carried out laparotomies on male mice. This procedure involves making an incision through the abdominal wall to access the interior of the abdomen, and it is done on tens of thousands of U.S. individuals each year.

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“Opiates are really effective for acute pain relief. There is no drug that works better. But very little research has been done to look at what it is doing in the weeks to months after it’s withdrawn.”

Peter Grace

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Following surgery, one group of rats received the equivalent of a moderate dose of morphine for the next 7 days, while another group received morphine for 8 days, and the dosage was tapered off by day 10.

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Another group was given morphine for 10 days, after which point treatment stopped abruptly. A final group was given saline injections rather than morphine as a control.

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And, in another experiment, a group of rats received a 7-day course of morphine that ended 1 week before surgery was carried out.

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Before the morphine regimes commenced, and after they had been completed, the rats’ sensitivity to touch was measured, as was the activity of genes related to inflammation in the spinal cord.

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Compared with rats given saline, those that received morphine endured postoperative pain for over 3 additional weeks. Also, the longer the morphine was provided, the longer the rats’ pain lasted.

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The study also revealed that tapering of morphine dosage makes no difference. As Grace explains, “This tells us that this is not a phenomenon related to opioid withdrawal, which we know can cause pain. Something else is going on here.”

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How can morphine raise postoperative pain?

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The next question to ask, of course, is what drives this counterintuitive effect. Prof. Watkins calls it the result of a “one-two hit” on glial cells.

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In the brain, glial cells are more numerous than neurons. They protect and support nerve cells and, as part of their role as protector, they direct the brain’s immune response, including inflammation.

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The first “hit” occurs when surgery activates glial cells’ toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). Prof. Watkins calls these “not me, not right, not O.K.” receptors; they help to orchestrate the inflammatory response. This first hit primes them for action when the second hit occurs.

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The second hit is morphine, which also stimulates TLR4. As Prof. Watkins explains:

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“With that second hit, the primed glial cells respond faster, stronger, and longer than before, creating a much more enduring state of inflammation and sometimes local tissue damage.”

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Although the study is in an animal model and will need replicating in humans, it does line up with previous findings.

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For instance, in 2016, the same scientists published another animal study, which found that a few days of opiate treatment for peripheral nerve pain exacerbated and prolonged pain. In that study, the activation of inflammatory pathways was also implicated.

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“An unusually high number of people end up with postoperative chronic pain,” explains Prof. Watkins. In fact, millions of U.S. individualssuffer with chronic pain. “This new study lends insight into one explanation for that.”

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Interestingly, the rats that received a course of morphine that ended a week before surgery did not experience prolonged postsurgical pain, leading the study authors to conclude that there is “a critical window for morphine potentiation of pain.”

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Because opioids are currently considered the best course of action to deal with postoperative pain, if these results are replicated in humans, it leaves medical science in a difficult situation.

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This is why Prof. Watkins is focusing much of her energy on designing drugs that could be given alongside opioids to dampen down the inflammatory response. She is also exploring alternative painkillers, such as cannabinoids.”

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only.

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It is not legal for me to provide medical advice without an examination.

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It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.

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Comments are welcome.

This site is not for email, not for medical questions, and not for appointments.

~~~~~

For My Home Page, click here:  Welcome to my Weblog on Pain Management!

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Please IGNORE THE ADS BELOW. They are not from me.

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Food Aversion – not anorexia but it’s a big problem


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I hope to post on this issue that plagues so many who have been on chemotherapy or have conditions and GI systems that profoundly limit what can be eaten.

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If you have comments that may help others, please add them. It can be the death of some people including one young boy who is 11 years old, 5 feet tall and barely 50 pounds. He has failed 5 prescription medications including marinol that I have never see effective for cancer patients and those with HIV/AIDS, including those who use marijuana.

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It’s a journey that has led to exploration of flavor and disguising foods in ways that make them less averse.

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Medical marijuana can help adults – but it (THC) is illegal to give to children, and munchies are very difficult to avoid. Weight gain is not welcome, especially if it is from pastas and sweets rather than protein, grains, veggies, fruit.

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Good choices but too limited:

Beans such as pinto beans, dal, eggs, milk, cheese, nuts, seeds, peanut butter, pork, at times shrimp, steel cut oatmeal, rice, toast.

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Skype Security Bug – Why I won’t Use Skype


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(click link, above, for article)
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Skype’s Nasty Security bug “can allow an attacker to gain system-level privileges to a vulnerable computer.” “Microsoft, which owns Skype, won’t fix the flaw”
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“ZDNet reports of a security flaw in Skype’s updater process that “can allow an attacker to gain system-level privileges to a vulnerable computer.” If the bug is exploited, it “can escalate a local unprivileged user to the full ‘system’ level rights — granting them access to every corner of the operating system. What’s worse is that Microsoft, which owns Skype, won’t fix the flaw because it would require the updater to go through “a large code revision.””
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…”From the report: Security researcher Stefan Kanthak found that the Skype update installer could be exploited with a DLL hijacking technique, which allows an attacker to trick an application into drawing malicious code instead of the correct library. An attacker can download a malicious DLL into a user-accessible temporary folder and rename it to an existing DLL that can be modified by an unprivileged user, like UXTheme.dll. The bug works because the malicious DLL is found first when the app searches for the DLL it needs. Once installed, Skype uses its own built-in updater to keep the software up to date. When that updater runs, it uses another executable file to run the update, which is vulnerable to the hijacking. The attack reads on the clunky side, but Kanthak told ZDNet in an email that the attack could be easily weaponized. He explained, providing two command line examples, how a script or malware could remotely transfer a malicious DLL into that temporary folder.””

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John Muir’s Ecstatic Experience: The Sierra. Mountains holy as Sinai.


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“Muir‘s view of the natural world is strikingly contemporary–a holistic vision of an intricately interconnected “Earth-Planet Universe.“ It is also deeply spiritual and essentially pantheistic. Muir introduces us to “plant people,“ “animal people,“ and in a passage from 1872 he muses:

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The Sierra. Mountains holy as Sinai. No mountains I know of are so alluring. None so hospitable, kindly, tenderly inspiring. It seems strange that everyone does not come at their call. They are given, like the Gospel, without money and without price. “‘Tis heaven alone that is given away.“
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Here is a calm so deep, grasses cease waving… Wonderful how completely everything in the wild nature fits into us, as if truly part and parent of us. The sunshine is not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us, thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing. The trees wave and the flowers bloom in our bodies as well as our souls, and every bird song, windsong, and tremendous storm song of the rocks in the heart of the mountains is our song, our very own, and sings our love.”

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Muir, John of the Mountains, Ed. Linnie Marsh Wolfe, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1938) page 92.

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From Gary Snyder and Tom Killian: The High Sierra of California, page 16  
every page fills you with such beauty.
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To my patients & readers, thank you. Your words have been uplifting.


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If there be pain let it be


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If there be pain let it be.

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It is also part of the Self.

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The Self is poorna (perfect).

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Sri Ramana Maharshi, the great enlightened spiritual giant who at age 16 experienced the highest thereafter until almost 100 years of age. May we be blessed to awaken with these high teachings.

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Pain? Really?

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Imagine you are sitting on the banks of the Holy Ganges.

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Is pain and suffering the most amazing way to kick one into instant and serious spiritual study? Buddha must be right. We must use it, no matter what we do, as it leads to freedom of suffering. Ancient teachings give the method. So again, relax, deep breath.

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Imagine you are sitting on the banks of the Holy Ganges.

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The most holy, most revered, most powerful Mother of the Universe revered by sages for more than 6,000 years, the Mother of the Universe is flowing in front of you. Imagine. Breathe. In the Holy Presence, the body mind is not you. There is no time, space, and causation to clearly perceive you, the one Self, pure consciousness. You always were, as you are right now. Consciousness itself, clouded by misperceptions, obstructions that prevent us seeing the awakened being we are.

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Ramana Maharshi taught the simplest, most direct method. No need for religion, or you may choose the path of religion, but all paths lead to the Absolute. All rivers lead to the ocean.

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If there be pain let it be.

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It is also part of the Self.

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The Self is poorna (perfect).

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We are not the body, not the mind.

We are the Self. The Infinite.

Always have been.

 

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only.

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It is not legal for me to provide medical advice without an examination.

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It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.

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Comments are welcome.

This site is not for email, not for medical questions, and not for appointments.

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For My Home Page, click here:  Welcome to my Weblog on Pain Management!

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Please IGNORE THE ADS BELOW. They are not from me.

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Posted in Pain, Uncategorized. Tags: . 2 Comments »

Closing Practice Due to Illness- Information For Doctors & Patients


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I’ve been awesomely tired at the way medicine is practiced. And with two new autoimmune illnesses, I’ve been feeling near death too much of the time the last 6 months. I am closing my practice this month due to illness. Too much fatigue and not enough enthusiasm to re-enter the monster world that practice in pain management has been increasingly limited to.

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It has been a privilege to work with so many great souls who carry such dignity with so much pain. Bright, motivated, willing to do anything to test a treatment that may work, working hard to be free from pain. Exploring a new paradigm together.  Privileged to be invited to meet the foremost glial scientists in the world and leaders in medicine, to feel at one on pharma boards with medical leaders legendary in pain management. Fun to offer the clinical experience I’ve seen. You have all been my inspiration. Medicine has been  a powerful experience, life death, taking every ounce of physical energy and interest for decades. My only interest. So much to be done discovering the way to help, awesome, unimaginably neat science. Best wishes to all! There is nothing more exciting than medicine.  Pain is the number one reason people seek medical help.

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To my current patients, you know how to contact me if you need records – just ask.  If I have not gotten you established in next months care with copy of records sent, let me know ASAP.

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To patients I have seen in recent past but not monthly, if you need records, let me catch up with you in January, I’m overwhelmed this month.Please do this:

  1. Notify me by email in subject line, SEND ME MY RECORDS IN JANUARY or by text, preferably email
  2. email this to me today and email again mid January – hopefully I’ve recovered from this busy month by then.
  3. Helps if you email both today and the, as in early January.
    I will try to notify a few others I’ve seen in last couple years. Inshallah.
    Illness, old age, death lurk. Dangerous flu season.
  4. Sadly, be aware that doctors do not know or take kindly to the simplest of these medications and may be unwilling or unable to help. Let me know by mid January if you would.

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These few instructions below are to give a start to doctors. Please accept my apologies for illness, lack of time, I’m exhausted.

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To doctors who have asked instructions on a few medications I prescribe, see below with apologies for length and lack of organization. Time consuming! 

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Never forget that tramadol (Ultram), Nucynta and buprenorphine (Suboxone) are opioids. Do not give naltrexone until off all opioids at least two full weeks.

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I never use one drug alone, not LDN, not ketamine (if indicated),  never alone because intractable pain means  they’ve failed all. After 3 months, any new pain is now centralized pain. Stop pain at all costs, safely.  I tell pts taper off all opioid before I see you. Opioids cause inflammation that increases pain.

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NEW PARADIGM

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The innate immune system in the CNS has a balance of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Opioids cause release of those inflammatory cytokines creating inflammation that increases pain. Opioids = the old paradigm. It doesn’t work for chronic pain. A few months ago, an Insurer denied a low dose opioid on exactly that ground: no publication exists that shows opioids work for chronic pain. Old paradigm. Now current government stressed teachings have returned American pain medicine back to the 1970’s, pre-opioid era.

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A better paradigm IMO is reduce the pro-inflammatory cytokines that are being overproduced and causing pain.

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Read all active links page one, that leads to innate immune system, microglia

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Read 3 posts on METFORMIN done on or about March or April 2017,

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Read long list of meds and things I check on 10/6/16.

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Use the small rectangular search function top left above small picture.

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Donate to relieve nerve pain – see link at banner to RSDSA.org. Contact James Broatch, Executive Director. This one organization has done more than any in the world, for nerve pain. Support the finest research and care and education.

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I’ve been blessed by seeing and following patients in depth, seeing the experience of frankly unbelievable results in many, some with CRPS 20 years, now pain free for 5 years after sciatic N nicked age 27, after 3 suicide attempts before seeing me. Such was daughter of 2 amazing loving brilliant MDs East coast who looked into every treatment, failed everything.

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This paradigm. It’s not just ketamine. Not one drug. All pain must be taken seriously. Always remove the opioid causing pain. Treatment will not work otherwise, so don’t waste your time, not physical therapy, nothing, stop the opioid first to see how productive the cleaner system can be.

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I must close office this month —- two autoimmune conditions got me. I feel great, but body and brain are duking it out. Hoping to die. Glee at the thought and joy and love but I surrender that also. Surrender it all. Nothing to hold back, finding no need to be nagged by the dazzling world every second of the day. Done with it all. The world holds no interest. It failed.

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I’ve done the work assigned to me trying to find a better way. I’ve left this blog until annual payment expires or I do, whichever is sooner. Heh

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Medicine will change. It’s becoming priced for the 1%, I am aghast. Sickened by costs. My body can do without that delusion. Why surrender to worship of the dying body at my age. I have no attachments. I’m feeling the air of freedom coming.

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Medicine needs a to grow citizen change and powerful interests to fund important research and clinical work using the addition of this paradigm with other new treatments and strong investment in glial research. Who knows? Surrender. It’s all in the right timing. The right moment, the right spark igniting an embalmed long-dead interest in pain relief using more than the old 1960’s methods now being taught—–well my dears, don’t take too much Xanax with your Tylenol you guys, you workers, disabled, seniors, millions of chronic pain pts, infants, surfer dudes, triathletes with joint arthritis decades too young for total knees. We don’t have solutions for many with intractable nerve pain. Not everything works for everyone or every condition.

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But one thing for sure:

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Opioids cause pain. I know people with severe chronic pain live in fear of pain of taper most of all, and I too would be terrified of coming off of opioids that I feel I have demonstrated to myself relieves pain.

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But I can’t quite explain the science to patients with such fear. I’d love Professor Linda Watkins slide- it’s so clear if you could see the graph, while morphine is temporarily giving you a few points of little relief, maybe bringing your pain down from 9 to7 for a few hours, yet at the same time the opioid is triggering far more pro inflammatory cytokines in the brain and those opioids are causing pain.

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Taper advice recently given, going very well, easy, no flares:

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In recent weeks I’m tapering a man who has been forced by nerve pain into disability for years in his 50s, with a young family. For years, he can barely sleep at night, work, travel, or let alone play with his new darling infant grandson as baby ages because there is this fearful, horrific nerve pain, day and night. It’s been impossible to treat.

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How to Taper

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No one knows what is best for everyone. One way:

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Slowly stop one pill every one to two weeks.

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My fellow is having no side effects other than a little looser stool, as he slowly tapers a vast numbers of opioid pills and sublingual films he’s used daily, strictly on prescriptions every month for seven long years.

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He plans to continue taper and I encourage go at a rate that is comfortable. Listen to the body. It’s his choice.

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His pain is the same as it was for months prior to these weeks of taper. He notices possibly a little more loose stools. No discomfort no flare of pain. Numbers of pills are down, nice slow, painless process, pain is the same. We are seeing the science demonstrated in him, taper does not always mean suffering or more pain.  He’s on the move. We’ll see how far he wishes to go on taper. We each have a choice. He’s a very special person and many in his shoes may wish to prove to themselves their pain is no worse, and maybe even better when they’re off this monster opioid demon that put so many people into living hell.

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Just go slow. He’s doing great.

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First slowly taper off the opioids, and remain off at least two weeks, and then I will begin to treat with this paradigm.

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Yes, fear of change but it’s been years of no change. Who would not be afraid to stop opioids with so much pain. Not all will trust the science. But realize that the tiny relief from dose of opioid maybe only because opioids are also relieveing anxiety not due to its analgesic effect. Feelings drive severity of pain and suffering. That’s not the analgesic effect. Opioids help anxiety, that relives pain.

This wonderful man in his 50s, I feel so bad, but years ago the practice was to test whether higher and higher doses helped. Now we know, no help. We must taper, and if patients are willing — it is their choice but stress their best interest – stop the opioid and try something else. A different paradigm.

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This blog represents 7 1/2 years of a small number of things documented, that I’ve seen and loved. Thankfully was able to squeeze an intense focus 3 to 7 days each post, teaching myself and distilling it to a reader, intense focus, loved the patient come back to life. Socks blown off. Documented a few case reports. There were so many more, demonstrating this approach works for many. Sadly it does not work for all. Nothing does. I have been the last of the line of almost every therapy for CRPS. You need large numbers to know how much the investment is worth for a disabled person with so little money, children, young, desperate to get back to life. I mostly have seen the failures, and gave me so many lessons they brought from the best centers in the world, that failed. We need a lot more research. This paradigm can give lives back. Not always. But at times 100% relief, unheard of, stable. holding despite repeat ankle sprain running on treadmill with the permanent foot drop after sciatic injury.

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IC is tough! Treat constipation and muscle relaxants for pelvic awfulness.

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Cannabis

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See grand rounds on cannabis SMHLJ yesterday—- pdf. Cannabis helps muscle spasm, nausea, depression, energy, OA pain, migraine, sleep, anorexia/munchies beware munchies and cardiovascular heart attack, arrhythmia, stroke. I dunno if it helps nerve pain – it fails to help my Polymyalgia Rheumatica but it alters brain interests so the sedentary body that can sit for 12 hours and read without moving, now spontaneously gets up, now for the first time in weeks may listen to music, may feel like taking effort to cook and do things, finds the mood is lifted, energy is almost livable.

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Most beautifully, it has awakened or deepened the focus and Increased the interest in my well studied but inadequate spiritual work.

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Jnana yoga, the Absolute.

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Of course when you are deathly ill unable even to set up for weeks at a time the last six months, the issue of consciousness, bliss and being in the moment is absolutely wonderful. Unfortunately it often takes a killer illness to slow us down. Thank the Lord!

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Closing practice this month

I need to close my practice this month and give away all of my office furniture, instruments but a few, and 43+4-year-old Medical books. All will be picked up by Habitat for Humanity. Makes me sad I will never again see my gorgeous Birch desk with a return, and inlaid wood around edges. But chairs, cabinets, useful **underline useful exam table with great storage cabinets and drawers below and comfortable 4 inch pad**

If you know any local doc who needs an old fashioned wooden exam table doubly useful for cavernous storage, please let me know because I’m not sure habitat will take the exam table. There is no space in modern, tiny but expensive exam rooms, with all those shiny toys.

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Sorry, rambling, so many details important to me through fog of exhaustion.

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Verbal transcription can make serous word changes. Scary. If so, It’s not me. I am truly ill, no energy to reread to perfection — so WARNING words may be misleading or weird or does not make sense, a word change.

So much illness, so blessed that all I could do for so many months was surrender to the spiritual journey and let go of the crazy of the world. Ramakrsna taught, “You cannot uncurl the curly tail of the pig.” Spiritual life is all I want.

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BUT! The fucking mess up in the medical world. The details the burn down energy all day because you must take care of them, all.

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It drains energy more than I can spare what with autoimmune body/brain duking it out. My goal: spiritual life. I’ve done my job. It’s all on you, readers.

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Reread my front page about training your doctor. Take action. Make change happen.

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I am retired. Sorry but do not call me. I am retired with the exception of training doctors interested in learning from my experience for 3 intensive telephonic hours. Not sure any exist. That would be a miracle, a start. Costly. Next I’d love to see teaching videoconferencing with satellite conferencing of clinical chronic pain research clinics set up to work on CRPS pain treatment with addition of this paradigm, comparing to other treatment choices that patients prefer, long term, longitudinal, CRPS study. But make it clear, data to be sorted selecting those choosing opioids vs no opioid groups. We does well on opioids? surely some types of pain?

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Why CRPS? Netherlands can answer why they invested 25 billions Euros to study CRPS. Cost of treating nerve pain is devastating to our economy, to the lives of family and patient. Nerve pain treatment breakthroughs are the toughest nut to crack in research. Read the work of Dinstinguished Prof. Linda Watkins and IL-10 injected spinally, can relieve nerve pain for 3 months in animals, and relive severely disabling OA joint pain in elderly dogs whose arthritis renders them unable to even move, now painlessly running, jumping, chasing a ball and walking stairs after joint injection.

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C’mon. Where is the $10 million to finish the human studies needed on that?

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Go forward with energy, change the way, and enjoy the work while doing it! Gosh the attacks have been brutal. Fear of doing something no one else has done. Is it legal? Training too long, no income or bare survival 20 years, trying the untried.

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Let’s get this dead field moving! It’s gotta need the likes of Bill and Linda Gates foundation. Time, money. Specialists. So much fun to give, test and learn from patients who have so many rare intractable pain syndromes during this time — they had failed everything, in London, Germany, Scandinavia, Taiwan, failed at the foremost pain centers for CRPS and other pain syndromes, and I got to see life return in the eyes and limbs after so much desperate disability and suffering. It’s been such satisfaction and joy. So sweet.

Thank you all.

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It has been such a blessing. And an endurance test, to learn as much as I could, and test the science that was published. Follow the best science. 20 to 22 hours per day for 43 years, reading all night til 5 or 7 AM, getting up after two hours sleep. Seemed so hard at the time, the body feels pain with sleep deprivation, unpaid for almost 20 years, what stupid doctor turns down other work, and with no income and support continues to get 29 years of formal education?

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Dukha. We learn from suffering, finally, to let go. Surrender. Enjoy the freedom.

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Enough. Body exhaustion. Illness determines if and when energy exists. It is out of my hands. Thank goodness. I surrender to the process. We do our very best, then surrender because there is nothing more we can do.

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Enjoy the journey.

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Love the Self.

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Fill the hearts with gratitude and love the Self. You the infinite Self, witnessing the people in their family Biblical plays and Greek dramas. Surrender and witness. You have done your job and now let go. Be.

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You are the Witness. There is always pain on the planet, always someone who has it worse. Suffering seems to be part of our body’s destiny, according to so many ancient sages I have read. They say our destiny is already mapped out before we are born. One avatar said you can modify its severity by purity, spiritual work. The only way to find freedom, bliss, is to ask, “Who am I?” Realize who that is. The Infinite Self.

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Lord Buddha called this life dukha. Google the meaning.

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Suffering is part of the lengthy meaning for which there is no simple translation. Of course we all spiritually suffer. Sages teach: we are not the mind, not the body. We are infinite. We always have been. You are conscious right now, always have been, always will be. No big deal. Ordinary. Nothing different. Just focus on “I am.” Ask yourself who is this “I AM.” Find the silence without words where everything vanishes but that consciousness, bliss. Just enjoy being. We have all had those moments, nothing else.

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The body and mind will have its own devolutions with age and disease, but you are always conscious sages say. There is no God, there is no other. You the Self are the infinite and always will be.

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Surrender, illness, energy, ego, every like and dislike

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Sadly I need to stress, I must retire due to illness, exhaustion. Surrender office work in medicine. Hopefully I can teach if there is any interest learning what took me intense reading, trialing for years.

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My patients can always obtain their records.

They ask, but I know no one who does what I do and your doctors may have fear of some weird doctor (me) doing something different!  or patient of weird doctor who was presribed nasal ketamine for pain or depression and it works on stable dose for years. FEAR. Doctor will not accept patient taking stable dose for intractable pain for years and opioids are not adequate for these extreme pains. That is sad. Not sure if refusal is politics or personal issues or fear.

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There are real consequences practicing in pain management; who knows them as policies are whispered not publicly in political corridors instead of research and treatment? Fear has been a growing undercurrent in our field.

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Two pain specialists in San Diego recently reported losing license due to opioid prescribing, not seeing patient was abusing or diverting. Arresting doctors. Why the extreme of taking away the license from someone who is crazy enough to work in this entombed system. Arresting doctors, studiously not treating addicts — unless you can afford $60,000 a month and many repeat visits, for years.

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Opioid coverage will be cut off by insurers. Feds don’t need to step in. This has been happening. Simply surrender, do what you can, surrender.

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Bring peace while they kill it, do something to change it. Costs are unimaginably exploding with insurance fees forced to massive premiums and deductibles, outpricing working patients I see as far back as 8 years ago. Medicare payment of highly technical expertise is only 10% of what PPO insurer is stuck marked up paying.

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There is destruction by sex and greed in every field. Surrender. Always has been.

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Our healthcare system is stuck treating chronic pain with 1960’s pain management. God bless the medical establishment and the profit motive that drives so much of my field. The proceduralists, who do high volume 30 epidurals in 30 minutes high volume, high income, and wowie cost of those spinal cord implants. How many hundreds of thousands, please give us research with 5 year results.

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The cost of American medicine is killing the middle class, what to speak of the disabled and poor. Surrender. It will bring joy and focus to your work taking the field to the next level. Do best, surrender results knowing you’ve done all the work. Surrender, care nothing about outcome one way or another. Don’t get dazzled by results. Perfect peace. Every moment is a test of peace.

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All other readers, please do not contact me unless you are a physician interested in me teaching for 3 hours. Scheduling would be a few months from now, if any survive the serious flu season coming up.

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For myself, for all of us, I am trying to learn: to do all due diligence, then surrender, find the joy in the moment and just “BE” even in the most tedius moments of the day. This will be hard work this month, more energy and time than I have.

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I may not have the energy to post on these pages for awhile. I’ve got a stash of publications I’m dying to talk about.

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This may be a rant. My tongue may loosen, and become more disinhibited in comments — blame it on age. On truth telling. Rage. I finally hope to have time to myself however difficult it is to struggle.

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Sages say to you are not feelings, so convert fear/anger/body/ego into surrender, wanting no outcome either way, realizing there is nothing I can do more than I already have.Breathe.  It is out of my hands. Surrender all. Surrender the ego, means having no like and no dislike for any outcome. Total complete surrender. Imagine it. Practice it. Just “BE” it. Pure consciousness. No words. Surrender. Infinite. There is no other, no ideas. Pure Consciousness, bliss.

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I look forward to my remaining hours, no doubt being irritated about “ALWAYS SOMETHING” to fix that takes hours on the phone each day. All of us have this torture. Surrender. That’s the teaching. Just “BE.” Enjoy the moment.  Kibbitz talking and making wisecracks while tech support is working with you on hold for 2 hours. Enjoy the grievance. The world will go on —- be with the love in the heart and the silence. No words.

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That’s the practice. And my practice would love more time to enjoy the silence.

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Otherwise, would gladly teach only if physicians call discussing an interest allowing time and cost 3 hours, otherwise solitude is my sweetest goal and my focus and my work.

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Joy to you all! You are that infinite. There is no other.

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only.

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It is not legal for me to provide medical advice without an examination.

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It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.

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Comments are welcome.

This site is not for email, not for medical questions, and not for appointments.

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For My Home Page, click here:  Welcome to my Weblog on Pain Management!

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Please IGNORE THE ADS BELOW. They are not from me.

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Insurers Deny Opioids, CVS Refuses to Fill Unless Authorized


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Always something new in this amazing field of pain management where treatment is decided by politicians and insurers.

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Patients and physicians alike have suffered denial of medications without prior authorization for the last 10 years or more. Prior authorization takes enormous time, at times more than one hour for each medication.  Try to picture a full day of seeing patients and an unexpected full day just for prior authorizations that must be fitted into the hours the insurer is open – remember, examiners often leave early, central time, hours ahead of PST. 

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Insurers deny the usual opioid because there is no proof that opioids have ever been proven to help chronic pain and side effects may include constipation, cognitive impairment, overdose and/or death.  

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Insurers routinely deny opioid at lower dosages when I try to taper: giving less is not allowed without prior authorization. Remember, we don’t find out until the patient goes to the pharmacy to fill, and they may wait to fill, then may need the medication that very night to continue their medication. Who is open after hours? 

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One independent 94 year old senior for years has been on fentanyl 12 mcg/hr patch and Oxycontin 10 mg in AM (not PM) for frozen shoulders and arthritis in knees. These are small doses. Denied for 3 or 4 years, so she paid out of pocket, in her 90’s. 

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She walks with a rollator, and wins at bridge games that she plays several times a week. Under my care since 2003, physical therapy has been unsuccessful. With her orthopedist, she receives injections every three months that help arthritis in knees. We had tried appeals including sending entire chart to insurer that included physical therapy note, but insurer insisted on physical therapy again. I asked them to show me one, simply ONE publication that showed physical therapy helpful for severe frozen shoulders present for decades. 

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Now pharmacy refuses to fill her 10 mg Oxycontin and her patch unless insurer authorizes. Her oxygen saturation is 98% which is excellent. Cognitive function is unchanged since 2003. I cannot imagine how she gets dressed as even a few degrees of motion of either shoulder elicits screams of pain. Her daytime caregiver must be dressing her. 

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That’s how we treat our injured, our disabled and our elderly.

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Insurers have authorized $50,000 spinal cord stimulators for years without a single study showing long term proof of efficacy. The potential for permanent damage to spinal cord and potential for accelerated pain syndromes is frightening. See the many comments on this site from patients who have suffered serious medical injury. 

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NIH has failed to adequately fund pain research for decades. But congress has accepted millions from opioid manufacturers and for years FDA approved one new opioid after another, as often as 4 new ones each year. FDA previously approved a nonopioid medication such as Lyrica for neuropathic pain, but in the last few years, a nonopioid Horizant has been approved only for postherpetic neuralgia pain — nerve pain, but only ONE type of nerve pain. Remember, insurers mandate first trying gabapentin for nerve pain, though it was never FDA approved for pain at all. Try to get an off-label non-opioid medication approved for pain. hah!

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Now I have an RN in her 40’s who has severe nerve pain from CRPS in both upper limbs after carpal tunnel surgery. Gabapentin caused severe cognitive dysfunction, improved on Horizant but insurers refused to approve Horizant. The cost for one daily is at least $750, but pain is better using twice daily.

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This week comes a letter from insurer that Revia, naltrexone 50 mg tablet FDA approved for addiction to opioids and alcohol, is no longer covered.

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Psychiatry colleagues tell me the same story. Antidepressants that also help anxiety are not covered but better than taking Xanax that causes memory loss and can be used to overdose.

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Vote for better politicians, not for lies. Insist on NIH research funding for chronic pain management to represent the vast population with chronic pain, not the pittance they allow. 

 

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only.

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It is not legal for me to provide medical advice without an examination.

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It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.

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Comments are welcome.

This site is not for email, not for medical questions, and not for appointments.

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For My Home Page, click here:  Welcome to my Weblog on Pain Management!

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A New Class of Pain Medicine from Cancer Cells – PD-L1 inhibits acute & chronic pain


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For the nonscientist, this report may explain better:

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Cancer actually yields a painkiller

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Scientists have discovered a potent painkiller in an unlikely place — cancer cells.

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This painkiller strongly inhibits acute and chronic pain in mouse models of melanoma, according to a study published Monday in Nature Neuroscience.

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Called PD-L1, the molecule is known to inhibit immune function, which helps cancers evade immune surveillance. It’s also produced in neurons. If it can be used to make an analgesic drug, it would represent a new class of painkillers, something badly needed.

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The molecule acts by targeting a cellular receptor called PD-1 and has been a longstanding target of cancer therapies called checkpoint inhibitors seeking to activate the immune system. But its painkilling effect is news.

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Ru Rong Ji of Duke University was senior author. Gang Chen and Yoang Ho Kim, also of Duke University, were first authors. The study can be found online at j.mp/cancerspain.

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…..Dr. Patel, oncologist from UCSD says: “This could result in a therapy that helps patients in a year or two years, just because so much has been done in the field.”

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The relationship between cancer and pain is complex, Patel said. PD-L1 suppresses inflammation, which activates the immune system, and also causes pain, Patel said. But there are other ways of activating the immune system, such as with the new cancer immunotherapy treatments, which don’t increase pain, he said.

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….The increased pain response is also caused by the cancer drug nivolumab. The drug, sold under the name Opdivo, targets PD-1 and shows success in treating melanomalymphoma and lung cancer. It produced strong allodynia for five hours in the mice, according to the study.

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Nivolumab is one of the new checkpoint inhibitor cancer drugs that targets PD-L1 receptors with immunomodulatory antibodies that are used to enhance the immune system. They can produce a wide spectrum of side effects termed immune-related adverse events (irAEs) with inflammation due to immune enhancement involving several organ systems.

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This is not my field and perhaps I am wrong. But if treating those cancers with immunotherapy causes the worst known neuropathic pain by blocking checkpoint inhibitors, is it possible that a new pain drug having the opposite mechanism could relieve pain but cause cancer?

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This Nature publication references the growing body of work from the lab of Linda Watkins, PhD, et al, published in 2014:

.Pathological pain and the neuroimmune interface

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Reciprocal signalling between immunocompetent cells in the central nervous system (CNS) has emerged as a key phenomenon underpinning pathological and chronic pain mechanisms. Neuronal excitability can be powerfully enhanced both by classical neurotransmitters derived from neurons, and by immune mediators released from CNS-resident microglia and astrocytes, and from infiltrating cells such as T cells.

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only.

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It is not legal for me to provide medical advice without an examination.

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It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.

~~

This site is not for email and not for appointments.

If you wish an appointment, please telephone the office to schedule.

~~~~~

For My Home Page, click here:  Welcome to my Weblog on Pain Management!

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Please IGNORE THE ADS BELOW. They are not from me.

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After Ketamine for pain, complaints of depression dropped in half & pain reports were lower


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KPBS Radio highlighted a new study today by UCSD School of Pharmacy

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San Diego Scientists Find Further Evidence A Club Drug Could Treat Depression

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In a new analysis published Wednesday in the journal Scientific Reports, UC San Diego researchers said millions of FDA side effect records reveal that people who took ketamine for pain relief reported lower rates of depression.

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“The occurrence of complaints about depression dropped in half after ketamine administration,” said UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy professor Ruben Abagyan, who led the study.

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The researchers focussed on the FDA’s Adverse Effect Reporting System, a database that tracks negative side effects among people who take various drugs. But the researchers were not primarily interested in bad outcomes.

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Instead, they looked for a positive outcome: declining rates of depression among people taking drugs not typically thought of as antidepressants.

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They found signs that other common drugs — including Botox, a pain reliever called diclofenac and the antibiotic minocycline — also reduced depression among patients in the FDA database.

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[minocycline is a glial modulator and it can prevent CRPS from spreading.]

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University of Miami psychiatry professor Charles Nemeroff wrote that the study was, “very interesting.”

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“The findings are of considerable interest. However the interpretation of the findings are key,” he wrote, saying it will be important to understand whether ketamine is directly treating depression or simply relieving pain, which can indirectly help people experience less depression.

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The UC San Diego researchers said they controlled for this variable by comparing people who took ketamine with those who took other pain medications. They said they still found a larger drop in depression among those who took ketamine.

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This is the open source (free) article in Nature with brief excerpts below:

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Population scale data reveals the antidepressant effects of ketamine and other therapeutics approved for non-psychiatric indications

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.Isaac V. Cohen, Tigran Makints, Rabia Atayee, Ruben Abagyan

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We found that patients listed in the FAERS database who received ketamine in addition to other therapeutics had significantly lower frequency of reports of depression than patients who took any other combination of drugs for pain (LogOR −0.67 ± 0.034) (Fig. 1c). This reduction in depression is specific to ketamine and is known to be much more rapid than current antidepressants, making this observed effect very promising for treatment of patients with acute depressive or suicidal episodes. These patients cannot afford to wait up to six weeks for reductions in their depressive symptoms. Pain reports were also significantly lower for ketamine patients (LogOR −0.41 ± 0.019) (Fig. 1c).

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The analysis of the whole FAERS database revealed several other unintentional depression reducing drugs among antibiotics, cosmeceuticals and NSAIDS (Fig. 2). Our data supported previous studies that observed the psychiatric polypharmacology of minocycline [my emphasis], a tetracycline antibiotic14 (Fig. 2). The NSAID, diclofenac [that has highest incidence of heart attack and cardiac arrhythmia of any NSAID], was also observed to have some antidepressant properties (Fig. 2). It is theorized that both of these drugs may accomplish antidepressant effects through an anti-inflammatory mechanism. Because of the antidepressant activity of several NSAIDs, we further separated the non-ketamine pain cohort. Ketamine patients were then compared to patients who received any other combination of drugs for pain excluding NSAIDs. It was observed that depression event rates remained low (LogOR −0.56 ± 0.035) (Fig. 2)..The reduction of depression rates in ketamine patient records makes a case for study of ketamine as a psychiatric drug. These results imply that ketamine may be further explored as a monotherapy or adjunct therapy for depression. It should also be noted that FAERS data revealed that ketamine use [may] lead to renal side effects and awareness and caution in patients with renal or hepatic impairment may be warranted (Fig. 1a and b). [my emphasis].

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As an important side note, we also evaluated efficacy and side effects with the use of ketamine for pain management. We found that patients who were on ketamine had reduced opioid induced side effects including constipation (LogOR −0.17 ± 0.023), vomiting (LogOR −0.16 ± 0.025), and nausea (LogOR −0.45 ± 0.034) than patients who received any other combination of drugs for pain indications (Fig. 1d). Our data supports ketamine’s opioid-sparing properties and alludes to the fact that patients may receive benefits of improved pain, reduced requirement of opioids, and ultimately less opioid reduced side effects.

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The results of this study support previous small scale studies’ conclusions that ketamine is a good monotherapy or adjunct therapy for depression. In clinical practice ketamine would be especially useful for depression because of the quick onset of its action compared to existing first line therapies. Regardless of the causative mechanism ketamine appears to have therapeutic potential for TRD. Further, the potential to reduce many of the most complained side effects of opioid treatment makes ketamine adjunct therapy for pain seem desirable.

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Overall, this study demonstrates that the therapeutic potential of ketamine can be derived from appropriate statistical analysis of existing population scale data. This study also outlines a methodology for discovering off label pharmacology of existing approved drugs. This method can be applied to other indications and may reveal new important uses of already approved drugs, providing reliable justification for new indications without large investments in additional clinical trials.

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FDA Adverse Event Reporting System. The FAERS database was created to support FDA’s post marketing surveillance on drugs and biologic therapeutics. It contains adverse reaction and medication error reports sent to the FDA through MedWatch, the FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program. Reporting is voluntary and is done by patients, family members, legal representatives, doctors, pharmacists and other health- care providers. If any party reports an adverse effect to the manufacturer, the manufacturer is legally obligated to forward the report to the FDA. Data is available online in quarterly format for AERS from the first quarter of 2004 to the third quarter of 2012 and for FAERS from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of 2016.

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The study used over 8 million adverse event reports from first quarter of 2004 to the first quarter of 2016. All the quarterly files from 2004 to 2016 were combined into a master file which was used as the primary source for analysis. . . .

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Out of 8 million reports, 279,853 reports were used for analysis of ketamine in Fig. 1. Two cohorts for ketamine (K) patients and pain (P) patients with 41,337 and 238,516 patients respectively....

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only.

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It is not legal for me to provide medical advice without an examination.

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It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.

~~

This site is not for email and not for appointments.

If you wish an appointment, please telephone the office to schedule.

~~~~~

For My Home Page, click here:  Welcome to my Weblog on Pain Management!

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Metformin – Nerve Pain & Microvascular Pain (angina)


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Metformin & Pain

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A diabetes drug used for many who have no diabetes. Recent discussion on metformin here and here.

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Metformin “can lead to a long-lasting reversal of pain hypersensitivity even long after treatment cessation, indicative of disease modification.” [ref below]

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References:

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A successful case of pain management using metformin in a patient with adiposis dolorosa.

International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics

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In this case report, we describe a patient with Dercum’s disease who was successfully managed with metformin. The administration of metformin reduced pain intensity from 9/10 to 3/10 and favorably affected the profile of inflammatory cytokines (i.e., TNF a, IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-10), adipokines (i.e., adiponectin, leptin, and resistin), and β-endorphin. Because each variable was affected moderately by the drug, in the range of 20 – 30%, it follows that these effects are additive, i.e., they act independently of each other. However, taking into account advances in the pharmacology of metformin, it seems that other phenomena, such as modulation of synaptic plasticity, activation of microglia, and autophagy of the afferents supplying painful lipomas should be taken into consideration. Nonetheless, metformin deserves further exploration in the biology of pain.

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The use of metformin is associated with decreased lumbar radiculopathy pain

Journal of pain [2013], from University of Arizona Tucson, Ted Price’s lab, and USC

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Abstract:

Lumbar radiculopathy pain represents a major public health problem, with few effective long-term treatments. Preclinical neuropathic and postsurgical pain studies implicate the kinase adenosine monophosphate activated kinase (AMPK) as a potential pharmacological target for the treatment of chronic pain conditions. Metformin, which acts via AMPK, is a safe and clinically available drug used in the treatment of diabetes. Despite the strong preclinical rationale, the utility of metformin as a potential pain therapeutic has not yet been studied in humans. Our objective was to assess whether metformin is associated with decreased lumbar radiculopathy pain, in a retrospective chart review. We completed a retrospective chart review of patients who sought care from a university pain specialist for lumbar radiculopathy between 2008 and 2011. Patients on metformin at the time of visit to a university pain specialist were compared with patients who were not on metformin. We compared the pain outcomes in 46 patients on metformin and 94 patients not taking metformin therapy. The major finding was that metformin use was associated with a decrease in the mean of “pain now,” by −1.85 (confidence interval: −3.6 to −0.08) on a 0–10 visual analog scale, using a matched propensity scoring analysis and confirmed using a Bayesian analysis, with a significant mean decrease of −1.36 (credible interval: −2.6 to −0.03). Additionally, patients on metformin showed a non-statistically significant trend toward decreased pain on a variety of other pain descriptors. Our proof-of-concept findings suggest that metformin use is associated with a decrease in lumbar radiculopathy pain, providing a rational for larger retrospective trials in different pain populations and for prospective trials, to test the effectiveness of metformin in reducing neuropathic pain.

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The anti-diabetic drug metformin protects against chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy in a mouse model.

PLoS One [2014] from MD Anderson Cancer Center

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Abstract

Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) characterized by loss of sensory sensitivity and pain in hands and feet is the major dose-limiting toxicity of many chemotherapeutics. At present, there are no FDA-approved treatments for CIPN. The anti-diabetic drug metformin is the most widely used prescription drug in the world and improves glycemic control in diabetes patients. There is some evidence that metformin enhances the efficacy of cancer treatment. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that metformin protects against chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain and sensory deficits. Mice were treated with cisplatin together with metformin or saline. Cisplatin induced increased sensitivity to mechanical stimulation (mechanical allodynia) as measured using the von Frey test. Co-administration of metformin almost completely prevented the cisplatin-induced mechanical allodynia. Co-administration of metformin also prevented paclitaxel-induced mechanical allodynia. The capacity of the mice to detect an adhesive patch on their hind paw was used as a novel indicator of chemotherapy-induced sensory deficits. Co-administration of metformin prevented the cisplatin-induced increase in latency to detect the adhesive patch indicating that metformin prevents sensory deficits as well. Moreover, metformin prevented the reduction in density of intra-epidermal nerve fibers (IENFs) in the paw that develops as a result of cisplatin treatment. We conclude that metformin protects against pain and loss of tactile function in a mouse model of CIPN. The finding that metformin reduces loss of peripheral nerve endings indicates that mechanism underlying the beneficial effects of metformin includes a neuroprotective activity. Because metformin is widely used for treatment of type II diabetes, has a broad safety profile, and is currently being tested as an adjuvant drug in cancer treatment, clinical translation of these findings could be rapidly achieved.

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Proteomic and functional annotation analysis of injured peripheral nerves reveals ApoE as a protein upregulated by injury that is modulated by metformin treatment

from Mol Pain [2013], from University of Arizona

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Peripheral nerve injury (PNI) results in a fundamental reorganization of the translational machinery in the injured peripheral nerve such that protein synthesis is increased in a manner linked to enhanced mTOR and ERK activity. We have shown that metformin treatment, which activates adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK), reverses tactile allodynia and enhanced translation following PNI. To gain a better understanding of how PNI changes the proteome of the sciatic nerve and ascertain how metformin treatment may cause further change, we conducted a range of unbiased proteomic studies followed by biochemical experiments to confirm key results.

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CONCLUSIONS:

These proteomic findings support the hypothesis that PNI leads to a fundamental reorganization of gene expression within the injured nerve. Our data identify a key association of ApoE with PNI that is regulated by metformin treatment. We conclude from the known functions of ApoE in the nervous system that ApoE may be an intrinsic factor linked to nerve regeneration after PNI, an effect that is further enhanced by metformin treatment.

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Volume 107 of the series Experientia Supplementum [2016] from University of Texas Dallas

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Abstract:

Chronic pain is a major clinical problem that is poorly treated with available therapeutics. Adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) has recently emerged as a novel target for the treatment of pain with the exciting potential for disease modification. AMPK activators inhibit signaling pathways that are known to promote changes in the function and phenotype of peripheral nociceptive neurons and promote chronic pain. AMPK activators also reduce the excitability of these cells suggesting that AMPK activators may be efficacious for the treatment of chronic pain disorders, like neuropathic pain, where changes in the excitability of nociceptors is thought to be an underlying cause. In agreement with this, AMPK activators have now been shown to alleviate pain in a broad variety of preclinical pain models indicating that this mechanism might be engaged for the treatment of many types of pain in the clinic. A key feature of the effect of AMPK activators in these models is that they can lead to a long-lasting reversal of pain hypersensitivity even long after treatment cessation, indicative of disease modification. Here, we review the evidence supporting AMPK as a novel pain target pointing out opportunities for further discovery that are likely to have an impact on drug discovery efforts centered around potent and specific allosteric activators of AMPK for chronic pain treatment.

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Targeting adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in preclinical models reveals a potential mechanism for the treatment of neuropathic pain.

Mol Pain [2011] from University of Arizona

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Abstract

Neuropathic pain is a debilitating clinical condition with few efficacious treatments, warranting development of novel therapeutics. We hypothesized that dysregulated translation regulation pathways may underlie neuropathic pain. Peripheral nerve injury induced reorganization of translation machinery in the peripheral nervous system of rats and mice, including enhanced mTOR and ERK activity, increased phosphorylation of mTOR and ERK downstream targets, augmented eIF4F complex formation and enhanced nascent protein synthesis. The AMP activated protein kinase (AMPK) activators, metformin and A769662, inhibited translation regulation signaling pathways, eIF4F complex formation, nascent protein synthesis in injured nerves and sodium channel-dependent excitability of sensory neurons resulting in a resolution of neuropathic allodynia. Therefore, injury-induced dysregulation of translation control underlies pathology leading to neuropathic pain and reveals AMPK as a novel therapeutic target for the potential treatment of neuropathic pain.

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Contrasting effects of chronic, systemic treatment with mTOR inhibitors rapamycin and metformin on adult neural progenitors in mice.

Age [20124, from University of Arizona

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Abstract:

The chronic and systemic administration of rapamycin extends life span in mammals. Rapamycin is a pharmacological inhibitor of mTOR. Metformin also inhibits mTOR signaling but by activating the upstream kinase AMPK. Here we report the effects of chronic and systemic administration of the two mTOR inhibitors, rapamycin and metformin, on adult neural stem cells of the subventricular region and the dendate gyrus of the mouse hippocampus. While rapamycin decreased the number of neural progenitors, metformin-mediated inhibition of mTOR had no such effect. Adult-born neurons are considered important for cognitive and behavioral health, and may contribute to improved health span. Our results demonstrate that distinct approaches of inhibiting mTOR signaling can have significantly different effects on organ function. These results underscore the importance of screening individual mTOR inhibitors on different organs and physiological processes for potential adverse effects that may compromise health span.

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Two Weeks of Metformin Treatment Enhances Mitochondrial Respiration in Skeletal Muscle of AMPK Kinase Dead but Not Wild Type Mice

.PLoS One from University of Copenhagen [2013].

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Abstract:

Metformin is used as an anti-diabetic drug. Metformin ameliorates insulin resistance by improving insulin sensitivity in liver and skeletal muscle. Reduced mitochondrial content has been reported in type 2 diabetic muscles and it may contribute to decreased insulin sensitivity characteristic for diabetic muscles. The molecular mechanism behind the effect of metformin is not fully clarified but inhibition of complex I in the mitochondria and also activation of the 5′AMP activated protein kinase (AMPK) has been reported in muscle. Furthermore, both AMPK activation and metformin treatment have been associated with stimulation of mitochondrial function and biogenesis. However, a causal relationship in skeletal muscle has not been investigated. We hypothesized that potential effects of in vivo metformin treatment on mitochondrial function and protein expressions in skeletal muscle are dependent upon AMPK signaling. We investigated this by two weeks of oral metformin treatment of muscle specific kinase dead α2 (KD) AMPK mice and wild type (WT) littermates. We measured mitochondrial respiration and protein activity and expressions of key enzymes involved in mitochondrial carbohydrate and fat metabolism and oxidative phosphorylation. Mitochondrial respiration, HAD and CS activity, PDH and complex I-V and cytochrome c protein expression were all reduced in AMPK KD compared to WT tibialis anterior muscles. Surprisingly, metformin treatment only enhanced respiration in AMPK KD mice and thereby rescued the respiration defect compared to the WT mice. Metformin did not influence protein activities or expressions in either WT or AMPK KD mice.

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We conclude that two weeks of in vivo metformin treatment enhances mitochondrial respiration in the mitochondrial deficient AMPK KD but not WT mice. The improvement seems to be unrelated to AMPK, and does not involve changes in key mitochondrial proteins.

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Effects of metformin on microvascular function and exercise tolerance in women with angina and normal coronary arteries

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Journal of the American College of Cardiology [2006], from University of Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre
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Abstract:

We conducted an 8-week double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study of metformin 500 mg twice a day in 33 women with a prior history of normal coronary angiography but 2 consecutive positive (ST-segment depression ≥1 mm) exercise tolerance tests. Women randomized to metformin (n = 16) showed significant improvements in endothelium-dependent microvascular function (p < 0.0001) and maximal ST-segment depression (p = 0.013), and a trend (p = 0.056) toward reductions in chest pain incidence relative to placebo recipients. Hence, metformin may improve vascular function and decrease myocardial ischemia in nondiabetic women with chest pain and angiographically normal coronary arteries. Larger controlled trials of longer duration are warranted.

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only.

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It is not legal for me to provide medical advice without an examination.

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It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.

~~

This site is not for email and not for appointments.

If you wish an appointment, please telephone the office to schedule.

~~~~~

For My Home Page, click here:  Welcome to my Weblog on Pain Management!

..

Please IGNORE THE ADS BELOW. They are not from me.

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Cannabis risk, death from fungal infection, demanding peer reviewed science. Not even billions can buy CBD if it is classed as Schedule I


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“IMPROVING MICROBIAL DETECTION STANDARDS FOR CANNABIS”

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The full article in O’Shaunessy’s is recommended. I’ve extracted a few parts.

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“If the government is going to tax us, in return they’ve got to provide us with needed services. And that means well-equipped analytic test labs run by disinterested technicians.” [emphasis mine]

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“Let’s make measured changes before another patient is harmed while demanding peer reviewed science is used to guide the regulatory process. In an era of fake news, science by press release with “beliefs” derived from companies that have a vested interest in seeing more cannabis safety testing should be hyper scrutinized.”

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“I think the cannabis-testing labs should be operated by the Department of Public Health, overseen by Commissioner Raber (and equally proficient chemists in every city and state) and staffed by well trained and well paid technicians whose pensions are secure.”

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The importance is that many patients who are immunosuppressed use medical marijuana, and need to use it safely because nothing else helps as well, including those who are immunosuppressed and don’t know it. For example, many do not know that diabetics are immunosuppressed. Those with autoimmune diseases, chronic renal disease, may be using medical cannabis and should demand testing be done with their taxed dollars as should we all. This has been one of the most useful herbs in history, for thousands of years, and can give balm and relief even to shattered nerves, especially now that healthcare insurers are denying to pay for pharma’s gobsmacking overnight billious costs.

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gobsmacking billious costs

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getting up to speed on legal cannabis &

 research on endocannabinoid systems

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This is a timely issue. Discuss with your doctor, get your representatives to help to legalize it nationwide. It may be the only thing that can help, or the only one that doesn’t constipate or cause erectile dysfunction or interact with other drugs. We don’t want our medication infected, even if we want to use cannabis for relaxation and pleasure. The Xanax’s and Ativan’s could be improved upon if only the right science is funded.

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“On February 7, the Daily Mail reported a cancer patient in northern California died from a fungal infection that authorities suspect was caused by the inhalation of contaminated medical cannabis.”

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snip

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“Furthermore, molecular techniques can be used to assess whether this cancer patient’s infection was actually cannabis derived. This is possible by using PCR and sequencing as performed by Remington et al. on the cannabis material and on the patient to confirm such an event.”

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“Rather than jumping to conclusions from a news story about cannabis contamination (which may in fact be the case), officials should confirm, via molecular methods, that a fatal infection occurred from the consumption of contaminated Cannabis or from another source, such as a hospital acquired infection. Once confirmed, the scientific data can help drive the appropriate regulations forward to ensure patient safety.  Unfortunately, most regulations passed to date for microbial detection do not appropriately address patient safety and often suggest the use of antiquated, inaccurate technologies.  For instance, we have peer-reviewed evidence that the currently accepted 48-hour Petrifilm-based method currently in use fails to detect some of the most harmful microbes found on cannabis. The State of Colorado has recently come to similar conclusions and has moved their Petrifilm detection times from 48 hours to 60-72 hours while referencing a paper suggesting 120 hours may be required.  And even with these adjustments to the regulations, Petrifilms will never give as accurate results as PCR.” [emphasis mine]

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“All technologies used to ensure product quality and patient safety should be peer reviewed. DNA-based methods are imperative to patient safety, as they are accepted, peer reviewed, and have been used for decades in other industries for similar purposes.”

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Kits to perform qPCR-based microbial testing on cannabis are commercially available at medicinalgenomics.com. We hold the largest sequence database of microbes found on cannabis and have kits that perform these tests in hours as opposed to days.”
[emphasis mine]

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“The technology exists to ensure safer cannabis for patients. Let’s make measured changes before another patient is harmed while demanding peer reviewed science is used to guide the regulatory process. In an era of fake news, science by press release with “beliefs” derived from companies that have a vested interest in seeing more cannabis safety testing should be hyper scrutinized. This extends to our own work at Medicinal Genomics and underscores our publication history in this space.”

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snip

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O’Shaughnessy’s retro message:

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Medicinal Genomics’s qPCR technology is undoubtedly superior and would have picked up the aspergillus that may have been fatal to the California  patient. But how widespread is the danger, really? In San Francisco in the ’90s, many thousands of AIDS patients whose immune systems were beyond “compromised” smoked untested crude herb, and I only heard of one rumored instance in which aspergillus may have been involved in a death. Donald Abrams, MD, might be able to confirm or correct my reassuring recollection.”

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“That said, of course the labs testing cannabis should employ the best available technology. The question, is who should pick up the tab?” [emphasis mine]

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“When I was working for the San Francisco District Attorney in ’01 or ’02 I called on Josh Bamberger at the city health department on Grove Street and asked if their lab would take on the testing of cannabis being sold at dispensaries. He said he didn’t have the budget or the personnel.  In the years ahead I was surprised that nobody from the movement/industry ever made the demand —not even the request— that a government agency take responsibility for testing medical cannabis. No patient advocate declared, “If the government is going to tax us, in return they’ve got to provide us with needed services. And that means well-equipped analytic test labs run by disinterested technicians.” [emphasis mine]

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“All around the world, PRIVATIZATION is the overwhelming socioeconomic trend of our time.  The Power Elite have done such a thorough job of selling off the commons and undermining the public sector that everybody now simply assumes that for-profit labs can and should take on the responsibility of protecting public health. “

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“I think the cannabis-testing labs should be operated by the Department of Public Health, overseen by Commissioner Raber (and equally proficient chemists in every city and state) and staffed by well trained and well paid technicians whose pensions are secure. And while we’re at it, how about free public education and single-payer medical care?”

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I keep getting the suspicion billions are being funneled rapidly down new rabbit holes using fear to prevent science. We must be able to do more than just prescribe  opioids for severe pain. Opioids cause inflammation which causes more pain. Cannabis is anti-inflammatory, analgesic, etc etc etc, and not allowed in hospitals, SNFs, or in facilities that seniors can only dream of retiring to when they can no longer manage at home. We need medical better choices.

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Medicinal cannabis is a healing plant with cannabinoids like ones that your body makes that helps you feel healthy and somehow influences the immune system more than any other system, while also lifting mood. Wouldn’t it be nice to know? It has 400 chemicals, not just two synthetic ones pharma makes. An exciting new cosmos in the body’s realm of more than just neuroscience. We have more cannabinoid receptors than any other kind in our body. We need to learn.
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Stop this Schedule I nonsense. Legalize cannabis. Privatize and regulate it like big alcohol, but keep it apart from big pharma, and endow strong university ties. For pete’s sake, fund the research immediately. We need it. The immune system needs it. The pain matrix needs it. Why should we allow euthanasia when we can treat pain and symptoms. Grandmothers used to know how. We are living in the dark ages with cannabinoid systems science. It is in starving infancy, Israel’s Mechoulam lab pioneering this blossoming for decades.
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Don’t forget to tell your representatives that you hear you may benefit from medical marijuana. Cannabis, marijuana, just may help, as it helped so many little children having hundreds of seizures each day, helped by just one of the cannabinoids in the plant: CBD.  It has been reported to almost completely stop the hundreds of daily seizures in possibly 50% —wouldn’t it be important to do research on it?

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CBD  has no psychoactive power. There is no high, no hallucinations. It actually blocks the psychoactive power of THC. It should be legal. The plant should be legal. It helps many medical conditions. I have posted an astonishing case months ago 100% relief with CBD. Instead it, just the other day, CBD got clearly classified as Schedule I. This must go to the courts. This insanity about a healing plant can be sanely managed, just like alcohol is managed. Without privatized prison systems that waste taxpayer dollars.

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We see new funnels of big money going down the rabbit hole. The urgency to privatize. We have a lot of people who cannot afford the American medical system, cannot afford doctors, who may get some relief even as a muscle relaxant or for sleep or anxiety.

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How can anyone respect a legal system that does not even allow research on a healing plant so important to the immune system?

 

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No amount of billions can buy CBD if it is classed as Schedule I.

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only.
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It is not legal for me to provide medical advice without an examination.
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It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.
~~
This site is not for email and not for appointments.
If you wish an appointment, please telephone the office to schedule.
~~~~~
For My Home Page, click here:  Welcome to my Weblog on Pain Management!

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Please IGNORE THE ADS BELOW. They are not from me.
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Avoid opioid use in surgery to reduce postop pain


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Science for years has confirmed that opioids trigger inflammation and that creates pain. Trauma and surgery also create inflammation that leads to pain. How logical is it then to continue use of sufentanil for anesthesia when it is the most highly potent opioid 500 to 1,000 times stronger than morphine. Where is the logic in creating pain by using sufentanil as the anesthetic? A new one on the market will be 10,000 times stronger than morphine. Inflammation is not always easy to reset after you strafe the innate immune system with an opioid.

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Why is ketamine not used more often for surgical anesthesia when we know ketamine profoundly lowers the inflammatory response thus reducing pain more than ever. Studies for years have shown that even a small dose of ketamine reduces postop pain. This is not new.

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A study needs to be done comparing patients who receive no opioids. At least this study showed that when fewer opioids are used, pain scores are 37% lower than if more had been given. Patients given higher doses of opioid, had higher analgesic requirements postop. That increases the risk of persistent chronic pain and the tragic risk of addiction.

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Opioids inflict known lasting harm, pain and suffering, perhaps disability and addiction.

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Reduced opioid use in surgery linked to improved pain scores
Written by Brian Zimmerman

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After anesthesiologists at the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville began administering fewer opioids to patients during surgeries, patients’ self-reported pain levels dropped, according to a study led by three UVA anesthesiologists.
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For the study, the team examined 101,484 surgeries that took place in the UVA Health System from March 2011 to November 2015. During this time period, the amount of opioids administered via general anesthesia at the system was reduced by 37 percent.
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For the same time period, self-assessed patient pain scores recorded in post-op recovery units dropped from an average of 5.5 on a 10-point scale to an average of 3.8, marking a 31 percent improvement.

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One of the study’s leaders, UVA anesthesiologist Marcel Durieux, MD, PhD, said the impetus behind the pain score improvements is likely attributable to several factors. One, previous research has indicated opioids can ultimately make people more sensitive to pain. And two, the increased use of non-opioid painkillers like lidocaine and acetaminophen during surgeries at UVA was likely effective.

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….”There is very clear evidence that people can become opioid-dependent because of the drugs they get during and after surgery,” said Dr. Durieux. “I think that by substantially limiting opioids during surgery, we’ve made an important step in addressing that problem.”

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only.
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It is not legal for me to provide medical advice without an examination.

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It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.

~~
This site is not for email and not for appointments.

If you wish an appointment, please telephone the office to schedule.

~~~~~

For My Home Page, click here:  Welcome to my Weblog on Pain Management!

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Medical Marijuana – Cannabis for Pain


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These references include links to peer reviewed journal articles on cannabinoids. They are taken from the Reference Library of the outstanding RSD Association in Connecticut, whose mission is to help relieve pain. They have grouped the articles in helpful folders by subject, and this is one of many folders on the immense subject of pain. Please donate to them as their research helps everyone with pain, not just nerve pain or CRPS. May the references help enrich your lives and help support congress and regulators in legalizing cannabis across the country — the attorney general just now voted in by congress opposes medical marijuana.

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Be aware that states should monitor the plant for bacteria, fungus, pesticides, and heavy metals as discussed in this Smithsonian article:

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“Washington, the second state to legalize recreational marijuana, does require such testing for microbial agents like E. coli, salmonella and yeast mold, and officials there rejected about 13 percent of the marijuana products offered for sale in 2014.”

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Concentrates may be made with toxic butane or heptane. If you have cancer or are immunosuppressed – cancer and autoimmune diseases fall into that category – it is safer not to inhale. Cannabis can be used on the skin or swallowed but be aware when swallowed, it takes 60 to 90 minutes before you feel the effect. It is easy to overdose when swallowed. Check your blood pressure and pulse before use and again while you feel its effect.

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The article also points out that on testing, many of the plants have high THC but no longer have CBD, one of the 86 known cannabinoids, the one that blocks the psychoactive side effects of THC. On its own, CBD has many medical benefits.

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For those who have allodynia, the most intense form of nerve pain, pain that is triggered by a light touch or breath of air:

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Keep in mind that chronic pain is much harder to treat than cancer pain and acute pain. Chronic nerve pain is the hardest of all to treat. We need to be able to prescribe anything that helps. Pain can lead to suicide in these extreme pain conditions.

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Watch out for the munchies – do not get fat.

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O’Shaunessy’s today published articles that may be useful for your Senators, healthcare insurers and states:

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“some additional articles published by cannabis clinicians in O’Shaughnessy’s showing the strength of aggregated case reports. We hope the MBC Marijuana Task Force will give them serious consideration.”

 

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Cannabinoids

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Medications denied for pain today – Celebrex, Skelaxin, Morphine, Oxycodone, Methadone, Suboxone


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Happy New Year. Medications are denied for pain one month after you sign onto new insurance based on medications they cover:

 

Celebrex, a generic NSAID, less risk of GI bleed which is an increased in seniors day by day as we age.

 

Skelaxone, generic muscle relaxant

 

Lorzone, muscle relaxant

 

Morphine 30 mg ER, generic, denied 3 per day, well within CDC guidelines

 

Methadone 10 mg 3/day, well within CDC guidelines

 

Oxycodone 5 mg 3/day, well within CDC guidelines

 

Suboxone generic,  FDA approved for addiction in US but not for pain; approved for pain and for addiction in EU.

 

Does insurance cover cost of medication?

 

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Pain’s mill wheel – Rabindranath Tagore


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SICKBED 5, by RABINDRANATH TAGORE  

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November 4, 1940
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Under this vast universe
pain’s mill wheel rotates,
grinds planets and stars to powder.
Sparks flash, scatter
suffering on every side,
ash-webs from annihilated worlds
permeating in an instant.
In the mills of oppression,
in cells of luminous consciousness,
pikes and knives clank,
wound-blood spurts.
The tiny human body—
infinite, its power to face pain.
In the assembly of creation and annihilation,
this small vessel of blood
offered to the Tantric circle
reels, drunken, rapturous.
The clay cup of the body fills
with incoherent blood, floods with tears.
Every moment unfolds unending
worth to consciousness, invincible.
The body’s pain-hallowed fire,
the offering sacrificed to ascetic acts of stars,
is incomparable.
Such enduring vigor,
compassion without fear,
indifference to death,
such triumphant processions:
assemblies trampling beds of flame
to find pain’s limits—
on a fevered, unnamed pilgrimage,
together, from path to path,
penetrating caves of fire, to find care’s origins,
provisions of unending love.

First Published in The Kenyon Review, Volume 23 #2

(Spring 2001)
http://www.kenyonreview.org/roth

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Opioids: a think tank to expose the deep-rooted failures and injustices in our health care system


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STAT is “a new national publication focused on finding and telling compelling stories about health, medicine, and scientific discovery” in partnership with the Lown Institute.

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“The Lown Institute is a think tank dedicated to research and public communication to expose the deep-rooted failures and injustices in our health care system, and to helping clinicians, patients, and communities develop a shared vision for a better health system.”

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.“Since 2012, the Lown Institute has been a leading voice in the movement to recognize the harms of overuse of medical care, and in pointing out the clear connection between wasteful medical treatment and our system’s failure to deliver needed care.”

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This article from STAT, excerpted below, beautifully and painfully describes the opposing sides of the deep divide in our country about treatment with opioid analgesics for chronic pain. It is a divide deeper than the growing upheaval of politics in America, and it is unique to us. The United States, with 5% of the world’s population, consumes 80% of the global opioid supply, and an estimated 99% of hydrocodone. “Pain drugs are the second-largest pharmaceutical class globally, after cancer medicines.”

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I have seen both sides, those who cannot live or function without opioids and those whose pain improves radically once they taper off. The war on patients plays out many times daily, while patients and doctors alike are deeply concerned at the lack of research in this volatile unpredictable field, where patients are subjected to whack-a-dose prescriptions since the March 2016 CDC fiat that dictated slashed opioid dosages, a dictate that now entitles insurers to deny all medication overnight —saving them tremendous costs. All denied, no matter how small the dose, nor how intense the diagnoses and pain.

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This irrational, inhumane, and unpredictable disease of change has become a constant, destroying lives of patients and caregivers while addicts continue to overdose evermore and prisons are filled with low level street corner dealers —never the rich who buy their way out of prison. Cheating is a way of life for corporations, condoned by congress.

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A ‘civil war’ over painkillers rips apart the medical community — and leaves patients in fear

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PALO ALTO, Calif. — For Thomas P. Yacoe, the word is “terrifying.”

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Leah Hemberry describes it as “constant fear.”

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For Michael Tausig Jr., the terror is “beyond description.”

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All three are patients struggling with chronic pain, but what they are describing is not physical agony but a war inside the medical community that is threatening their access to painkillers — and, by extension, their work, their relationships, and their sanity.

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Two years after the United States saw a record 27,000 deaths involving prescription opioid medications and heroin, doctors and regulators are sharply restricting access to drugs like Oxycontin and Vicodin. But as the pendulum swings in the other direction, many patients who genuinely need drugs to manage their pain say they are being left behind.

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Doctors can’t agree on how to help them.

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There’s a civil war in the pain community [my emphasis],” said Dr. Daniel B. Carr, president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine. “One group believes the primary goal of pain treatment is curtailing opioid prescribing. The other group looks at the disability, the human suffering, the expense of chronic pain.”

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Pain specialists say there is little civil about this war.

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“There’s almost a McCarthyism on this, that’s silencing so many people who are simply scared,” said Dr. Sean Mackey, who oversees Stanford University’s pain management program.

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“The thing is, we all want black and white. We don’t do well with nuance. And this is an incredibly nuanced issue.”

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Stanford’s Mackey said those risks are important to recognize. But, he said, nearly 15,000 people die a year from anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen. “People aren’t talking about that,” he said….

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…Dr. Anna Lembke, who practices alongside Mackey at Stanford’s pain clinic and is chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic, published a book about the opioid crisis last year. It was titled: “Drug Dealer, MD: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It’s So Hard to Stop.

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Lembke believes that long-term opioid use can cause patients to perceive pain even after the original cause of pain has cleared. Some patients, she said, find themselves free of pain only once they have endured the often agonizing effects of opioid withdrawal.

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“That’s what we’re seeing again and again,” she said.

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…. a single father of two teens, said that every month he needs to fill a prescription, he’s fearful it will be denied.

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Mackey says doctors being trained at Stanford’s pain center have grown increasingly fearful about prescribing opioids...

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[Dr. Mackey describes a practicing 81 year old physician who cycled to work until recent back surgery. His life is now complicated by severe back pain and he requires opioids to continue to function.]

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“If you’re 81 and you stop getting out of bed, it’s a slippery slope,” he said.

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only.
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It is not legal for me to provide medical advice without an examination.

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It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.

~~
This site is not for email and not for appointments.

If you wish an appointment, please telephone the office to schedule.

~~~~~

For My Home Page, click here:  Welcome to my Weblog on Pain Management!

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Please IGNORE THE ADS BELOW. They are not from me.

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Microbiome, Metabolome & Disease


 

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Many of us have followed the research in this field for health, happiness and well-being. Today’s questions and answers from an expert on microbiota in Reddit Science is of great interest and something I wanted on these pages for future reference. I sifted through the pages to condense the questions, leaving answers intact. AMA is short for Ask Me Anything. Where Professor Barrett’s  responses to questions are clear, I have omitted the questions; where not clear, questions are abbreviated and/or added. I am sure we would all like much more information on inflammation and the inflammasome, the gut and brain and health. Support science. Be careful of low quality journals and quackery. She says even some yogurts have no bacteria.

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Science AMA Series: I’m Kim Barrett, Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego and Editor of The Journal of Physiology. This week, we published an issue on the microbiota [editorial free], so I thought it would be a great opportunity to discuss how our microbes influence our well being. AMA!

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This is her main message, again and again:

[–]Kim_Barrett

Eat a well-balanced diet, including cultured/fermented foods, and avoid excessive fat and processed carbohydrates..

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[–]Kim_Barrett

Thanks to both. There is a lot of epidemiological evidence for the health benefits of all of these fermented foods, which may deliver bacteria similar to probiotics as well as beneficial metabolites that have greater bioavailabilty. These foods have been consumed by humans for millennia but were less prevalent in the diet as society discovered refrigeration etc. But studies to actually prove efficacy and mechanisms of action remain in their infancy. This is an area where the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is placing a lot of emphasis for research funding.

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Q Nose/sinuses:

[–]Kim_Barrett

Yes, this is a less appreciated area but rapidly growing area of study. I definitely would encourage you to look at our special issue of the Journal of Physiology, which has short reviews on the oral, skin and vaginal microbiota. Our external cavities all have their own distinctive microbiotas, but in aggregate they may encode many of the same sorts of metabolic capacities as seen in the gut. The specific populations may also depend on the type of environment – for example, the bugs on your forearm are different from those on your forehead. Lots more work to be done.

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there is not a simple way currently of knowing about our microbiota’s composition, but general indices of gut health may give some clues. Likewise, finding effective probiotics may be a bit of a case of trial-and-error, but there is good epidemiological evidence for a beneficial effect of fermented foods like Kombucha.

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Q on IBS:

[–]Kim_Barrett 

Serotonin is a major controller of gut motility and sensation, and alterations in serotonin signaling have been documented in irritable bowel syndrome. The cells that make serotonin in the gut have been shown to express receptors for short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are major products of bacterial metabolism of undigested carbohydrates. Finally, some gut bacteria metabolize the serotonin precursoe, tryptophan, which in turn has implications for the production of appropriate gut levels of serotonin.

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Q:  Sometimes, when I am constipated, I can perceive a certain taste and smell that arrives internally. Have direct nerve connections between the bowel and the brain been identified? What role to microbiota play in perception of satiety? What is the importance of the neurological phenomenon vs the blood chemistry in controlling weight gain or loss?

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[–]Kim_Barrett 

Lots of nerve connections between the brain and gut, and gut nerve endings have been shown to sense bacterial metabolites. To the extent that the microbiota and their metabolites control the secretion of GI hormones, they clearly participate in satiety perception, but this still needs further study. And weight gain/loss is such a complex phenomenon, also encompassing societal and behavioral aspects, that the relative contributions of the factors you mention have not been worked out by any means.

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Good and bad may be too simplistic. A “good” bacteria may be bad for you if in the wrong place. As for substrates and products, this is probably too big of a topic to tackle right now, but I would direct you to the work of Eugene Chang at the University of Chicago who has done a lot of work in this area. Gut permeability is also clearly important. We have done work to show that certain commensal and probiotic species can tighten the gut barrier so that pathogens and toxic metabolites are less able to penetrate and initiate inappropriate inflammatory reactions and a vicious cycle of further weakening of the gut barrier.

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Q   Strong evidence correlates aberrations in gut diversity with certain diseases. Phylogentitcally speaking, it seems to matter more that the microbiome is diverse and less important which species are specifically there. The hypothesis being that the gut microbial metabolome is relatively stable, regardless of specific species present. http://go.nature.com/2iQLOu1

Q1 – Have clinicians started to take the next step, looking at disease correlations with perturbation of the microbial metabolome?

Q2 – If so, what have they found? Do probiotics replace those missing metabolic pathways?

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[–]Kim_Barrett 

Absolutely agree with your comments about the metabolome. However, most of this work at present is still in preclinical models, although there has been a lot of attention to the way in which metabolic pathways change after bariatric surgery, for example.

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Q:

When I was very young, I had a few instances of food poisoning visiting family in Mexico, I even contacted tuberculosis. I, of course, was given many antibiotics. I’ve had a lot of digestive issues since then, it was always a problem. I’m 36 now, and adopted a very low carb diet 3 years ago. During the initial transition, I had, to put it succinctly, severe dhiarrea. Like stuff was probably dieing off. And then, 4 months in, I had more energy, metal alertness, and general feeling of being present. And I no longer had crippling depression. From a completely anecdotal standpoint, I think that changing my diet also drastically changed my gut biome, and that, in turn, actually effected my brain function. It seems like what you’re research has shown is that this isn’t some woo-woo thinking, but an actual thing?

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Q does Kefir boost gut bacteria?

[–]Kim_Barrett

Yes, along with other related foods.

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Q are we discovering new categories of bacteria in the body?

[–]Kim_Barrett 

This was a big sticking point in the field initially since many of the bacteria cannot be cultured. Now they are identified by sequencing. The estimate is that healthy individuals harbor at least 1000 different species. Not to mention viruses, fungi, protea….we’re just getting started, and as you imply, the bioinformatics challenges are huge.

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[–]Kim_Barrett 

There’s quite a bit of evidence that mixtures of different bacteria are more effective than single bacteria. Perhaps they have complementary metabolic functions, or mutually help each other to colonize the gut.

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Q  research of healthy bacteria for auto immune disease?  Crohn’s disease?

[–]Kim_Barrett

Others are exploring a role in asthma.

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Q: studies in which obese mice had received gut flora from lean mice and subsequently lost weight, and vice versa. Does this imply that a microbial treatment for obesity in humans could be developed, and if so, is there any interest in this?

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[–]Kim_Barrett 

A lot of people are looking for just such a treatment!

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only.
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It is not legal for me to provide medical advice without an examination.

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It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.

~~
This site is not for email and not for appointments.

If you wish an appointment, please telephone the office to schedule.

~~~~~

For My Home Page, click here:  Welcome to my Weblog on Pain Management!

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Please IGNORE THE ADS BELOW. They are not from me.

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Ambien helps recovery after stroke in mice, Stanford


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On December 18, Stanford reported:

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Stroke recovery in mice improved by Ambien

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Zolpidem, better known by the trade name Ambien, increased the rate at which mice that had strokes recovered their pre-stroke sensory acuity and motor coordination.

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This must now be verified in humans. Rodent studies cannot be translated to humans, and all too often fail to help.

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There are three publications on the use of zolpidem for persistent vegetative state.

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Drug induced arousal from the permanent vegetative state

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Of interest, I have recently seen two unusual responses to Ambien.

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One man who underwent a repeat knee replacement in the same knee within a short time after the first. He feels severe pain and spasm around the knee and has developed severe depression. The only medication he has found to relieve the spasm is 5 mg Ambien twice daily.

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Another patient developed severe personality changes with agitation, rocking the body in bed. In less than 20 minutes, after Ambien, she was perfectly normal, quiet, relaxed, calm.

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only.
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It is not legal for me to provide medical advice without an examination.

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It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.

~~
This site is not for email and not for appointments.

If you wish an appointment, please telephone the office to schedule.

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For My Home Page, click here:  Welcome to my Weblog on Pain Management!

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Caffeine May Reduce Age-Related Inflammation, Stanford Aging Study


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Caffeine may be able to reduce inflammation.

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Inflammatory immune molecules increase as we age and are associated with mortality from all causes, Alzheimer’s disease, stiffening of arteries, hypertension and cardiac disease. Inflammation kills. Yesterday Stanford and colleagues from University of Bordeaux published results of a long term aging study of 114 patients in Nature Medicine (paywall):

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Expression of specific inflammasome gene modules stratifies older individuals into two extreme clinical and immunological states

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For nonscientists, see below. Caffeine may block inflammation. Adenosine and adenine are known to stimulate the inflammasome. Caffeine blocks the effect of adenosine.

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“They found that older people between the ages of 60 and 89 tend to ramp up production of immune molecules in a complex called the inflammasome. That’s a clump of immune proteins inside cells that activate one of the immune system’s big guns, called interleukin 1 beta or IL-1B. It’s an important molecule for fighting off infection, but too much of it for too long has been linked with chronic diseases like heart diseasecancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.

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Among the older people in the study, 12 of them made much more of these inflammatory molecules, and 11 people made much less. The less-inflamed group was also healthier, with lower blood pressure, more flexible arteries, and more relatives who lived past age 90.

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They also had lower levels of the breakdown products of DNA and RNA circulating in their blood, including one molecule called adenine, and another called adenosine — which is adenine attached to a sugar molecule. These molecules are known to stimulate the inflammasome, and lower levels of them could explain why this group was less inflamed. In fact, treating cells with these breakdown products made them churn out more inflammatory molecules, and made mice more inflamed, with higher blood pressure.

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HIGHER BLOOD LEVELS OF CAFFEINE CORRELATED WITH LESS INFLAMMATION

That’s where the caffeine comes in. Caffeine is known to block the effects of adenosine in the brain — that’s how scientists think it keeps us awake. So, the researchers suspected that it’s possible that it could block the effects of adenine and adenosine on immune cells, too, and reduce their ability to cause inflammation. According to a questionnaire, people in the less inflamed group consumed more caffeinated beverages like coffee, soda, and tea. In fact, higher blood levels of caffeine and other caffeine breakdown products correlated with lower production of inflammatory molecules like IL-1B.

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When the scientists treated cells with adenine and another molecule known to trigger the inflammasome, the cells that were soaking in caffeine produced far lower levels of inflammatory molecules. The researchers still haven’t fully explained how caffeine is interfering with inflammation. And the results aren’t enough to base any behavioral recommendations off of; but it’s comforting news for those of us who were already reaching for that second hit of caffeine, anyways.”

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Many articles on pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α are found in the setting of chronic pain and in depression:

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IL-1β is an essential mediator of the antineurogenic and anhedonic effects of stress.

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Depressed rodents shown to have inflammation, published by Yale and NIMH a few years ago.

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only.
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It is not legal for me to provide medical advice without an examination.

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It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.

~~
This site is not for email and not for appointments.

If you wish an appointment, please telephone the office to schedule.

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For My Home Page, click here:  Welcome to my Weblog on Pain Management!

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Heroin Addiction absent or rare in UK prescribing


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Diamorphine (heroin) is prescribed for pain in the UK . Yesterday’s LA Times Op-Ed

What’s really causing the prescription drug crisis?

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Studies show addiction to opioids of any kind, even heroin, is rare in the UK. Not what we see in the US. They have more socialized care for housing, medical care, medications including for the jobless. They do not have the hopelessness that leads to desperation and addiction. Desperation is why all patients with chronic pain must work with a psychologist. Pain is not in your head, but desperation is, and a psychologist can help you learn tools to deal with desperation. If you don’t, pain will go up, up, up and that’s what’s in your head. Unless you use those tools, I promise you will suffer because it will get worse and worse and worse.

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“Doctors in many parts of the world — including Canada and some European countries — prescribe more powerful opiates than their peers in the United States. In England, if, say, you get hit by a car, you may be given diamorphine (the medical name for heroin) to manage your pain. Some people take it for long periods. If what we’ve been told is right, they should become addicted in huge numbers.

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But this doesn’t occur. The Canadian physician Gabor Maté argues in his book “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” that studies examining the medicinal use of narcotics for pain relief find no significant risk of addiction. I’ve talked with doctors in Canada and Europe about this very issue. They say it’s vanishingly rare for a patient given diamorphine or a comparably strong painkiller in a hospital setting to develop an addiction.

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Given that really powerful opiates do not appear to systematically cause addiction when administered by doctors, we should doubt that milder ones do. In fact only 1 in 130 prescriptions for an opiate such as Oxycontin or Percocet in the United States results in addiction, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Heath.

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So what’s really happening? The second, clashing story goes, again, crudely, like this: Opiate use is climbing because people feel more distressed and disconnected, and are turning to anesthetics to cope with their psychological pain.

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Addiction rates are not spread evenly across the United States, as you would expect if chemical hooks were the primary cause. On the contrary, addiction is soaring in areas such as the Rust Belt, the South Bronx and the forgotten towns of New England, where people there say they are lonelier and more insecure than they have been in living memory.”

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Healthcare costs in the US are a very serious problem. Opioids require monthly visits. Patients on opioids are forced to see a pain specialist, many for decades when pain is chronic. That’s bad enough, but the cost of opioid medications are outrageous. I know some whose opioids cost $17,000 per month or more. And some doctors in my area have mandated urine drug tests every single month, $750 per test, to prove you are not taking street drugs. High risk patients and nonaddicts alike, every month, just to pee in a cup and get your prescription opioid. 

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Now congress is getting rid of the ACA, to make it better. I can only imagine how helpful they have been. Privatize social security, privatize medicare, privatize everything. Of course that will be better for them. Will it help anyone else? 

 

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only.
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It is not legal for me to provide medical advice without an examination.

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It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.

~~
This site is not for email and not for appointments.

If you wish an appointment, please telephone the office to schedule.

~~~~~

For My Home Page, click here:  Welcome to my Weblog on Pain Management!

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Please IGNORE THE ADS BELOW. They are not from me.

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Pain Much Better off Opioids


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Patient disabled with CRPS/RSD markedly better after off opioids. The intense nerve pain began in his left ring finger eight years ago, not the dominant hand. Now he has pain everywhere below the neck. He has been bed-ridden for years.  Now his “bones feel like ice, freezing from the inside out and shaking.”

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Had been on Fentanyl patch 100 mcg/hr for years. Dose was lowered to 75 mcg/hr, then his pain specialist did an involuntary taper off in two short weeks. Both of those doses are far higher than the new CDC guidelines from 2016. Fentanyl is 100 times stronger than morphine.
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He says his pain is feeling much better off the opiates. He is quite surprised. On Fentanyl 100 mcg/hr patch, he rates his pain then as 6 to 8 on scale of 10.
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Pain is now  2 to 4 off opioids the last 3 to 4 weeks. Even the hands are not hurting as much..

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Initially after the abrupt taper, he spent 7 days in bed, then says he “started getting out a little bit, now hands are not hurting as much. Neuropathy even isn’t hurting as much.”

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I have seen several patients who said opioids caused pain, all over the body in places they never had pain before or since.

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Yes, clearly many are helped by opioids. But many are simply afraid to taper off. I understand this. The question then is, what will we do to treat pain? Most doctors have nothing else. Patients rightfully fear stopping opioids.

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We need to understand there is outstanding science that demonstrated years ago that opioids cause inflammation in the CNS (brain and spinal cord). Inflammation causes pain.

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Treat pain with glial modulators that relieve inflammation in the brain, neuroinflammation. These are off label and most of them must be compounded. Compounded medications are not covered by your insurance — thanks to pharmaceutical donations to congress.

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Cannabis (medical marijuana) can help some with spasm, pain, insomnia. Also not covered by your insurance — thanks to pharmaceutical donations to congress. But patients in New Mexico were able to get insurers to reimburse them for the cost of their medical cannabis.  Congress should allow dispensaries free access to banking systems and allow insurers to directly pay the cost for medical use. We all know the emperor has no clothes. Lets be real. Pain leads to desperate measures.

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Let me say right now, to all those who will send in comments attacking science, attacking me, attacking my clinical experience (my patient reports) on opioids, I will not post your attacks on these pages. I do prescribe opioids to select patients. I strongly believe all pain should be treated initially by glial modulators that relieve neuroinflammation before we begin causing pain and inflammation by ultimately having nothing else to turn to and then prescribe opioids. There is no better solution because pharma wants you on a drug for life. That’s money in the bank, forever, every single month for decades. It’s awful.

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only.
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It is not legal for me to provide medical advice without an examination.

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It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.

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This site is not for email and not for appointments.

If you wish an appointment, please telephone the office to schedule.

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For My Home Page, click here:  Welcome to my Weblog on Pain Management!

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Please IGNORE THE ADS BELOW. They are not from me.

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