Category Archives: the brain

On Aniracetam

I’ve been experimenting with Aniracetam. Aniracetam is a nootropic supplement that is supposed to relieve anxiety, increase memory and focus, and enhance creativity and holistic (or big picture) thinking. I have been taking it on and off, which is not exactly the best way to tell efficacy, but even still, I notice my mind is a lot clearer when I take it, and I am definitely not as anxious. I did some light reading on it and found out why this is.

Apparently aniracetam increases dopamine in the prefrontal cortex, where so much stuff happens it’s ridiculous – learning, judgment, impulse control, focus… AND it employs the nicotinic receptors to do its bidding. I think I probably have a lot of nicotinic receptors so that can’t hurt, right? I have no idea. Anyway, an increase of dopamine is just good for everybody. You feel better, you focus better, you even sleep better.

When I take Adderall, for instance, which is amphetamine, I can literally go right to sleep afterwards. I thought it was a paradoxical effect and asked my doctor about it. He said that a person can have sleep disturbances or problems when the dopamine in their brain is out of whack (out of whack being a highly medical term that you need special schooling to be able to use). When the dopamine is regulated, sleep improves. I thought I just had a high tolerance or something.

This morning I took three 325 mg capsules of aniracetam and chased it with one spoon of ice cream. (It’s fat soluble, meaning it won’t even work unless it’s combined with a food containing fat, and I don’t usually eat breakfast.) Already the cobwebs feel like they are clearing from my head. And I am finishing this blog post, which has been sitting In Drafts for over a week. So I’m thinking it has an effect. I seem to have a really good day when I take it, I get a lot more done and I think it does spur creativity a bit. But there is no speediness or anxiety – in fact, aniracetam is indicated to reduce anxiety, and I notice that on the days I take it, I’m not leaning on the Klonopin as I may normally have to do. So that’s my vote for it’s anti-anxiety properties.

Your mileage may vary but I am able to take aniracetam on top of all my regular medications, which include Adderall and Strattera. There are no contraindications that I am aware of here, and overall, I am pleased with the results.

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Domestic Violence and TBI

So there is a new study that shows a correlation between domestic violence and Traumatic Brain Injury.  This in itself: Why does it take a study to discover that women who get hit in the head could have a brain injury? I kind of feel like this is something we should already know. That, for example, getting your head smashed against, I don’t know, say, a stucco wall might not be good for your brain. Or having a chair pulled out from underneath you so that you go flying, head first, into a hardwood floor, could possibly shake things up enough to make a difference in functioning.

They’ve known for ages that football players are suffering TBI’s. Would it not have stood to reason that anyone else experiencing a physical trauma similar to being tackled might also have injury to the brain?

This study and the apparent need for it elucidate for me why, after the accident where I was thrown from the car, no one ever thought that perhaps my brain had suffered as a result. If it took this long to figure out that getting punched in the head might hurt your brain, then it’s likely the jury is still out on accident trauma, too. Lucky me, I have had all of these experiences. Though now I would have to say I’m definitely stirred and not at all shaken, there was a time where some thoughtful medical attention to my brain may have been of some benefit. I mean, if I have tinnitus from getting punched in the ear, then surely having my head smashed against a wall did not make me any smarter.

Basically the upshot of this post is that it just seems we should have known this already. But, now that the information is out, at least the trajectory of this sort of information can progress.

If you found this page because you were searching “domestic violence” and you are in trouble: there is a number you can call. You can go to thehotline.org on your computer or smartphone, or if you are able to make a call, you can call (800) 799-7233 . If you are reading this and are in a bad situation, please tell someone. You do not deserve the abuse, and none of it is your fault, regardless of what anyone says.

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Mice and Camp Hippo

Mice exposed to two hours of silence per day experienced significant growth in their hippocampus aka CAMP HIPPO – according to some scientific study that I can’t quote because I read it and then I fell asleep. But this is something. If you are looking to increase your hippocampal volume, then this is something that you want to know.

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PTSD Shrinks Camp Hippo, too!

PTSD
In PTSD News…

So I just flipped an article about what PTSD does physiologically to the brain, and found its findings very significant so I am linking it here.

Been Traumatized? Here’s How PTSD Rewires The Brain Click Here to read the article.

Of the 75 percent of people who experience at least ONE traumatic event in their lifetime, 20 percent of those will develop PTSD. (Who the fuck are these 25 percenters that are leading perfect lives? Not a single trauma? That’s amazing. I cannot even imagine.) One in nine people with PTSD is female. And I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that PTSD isn’t just about war trauma, but also sexual assault, physical abuse, rape, witnessing violence, witnessing a disaster, and lots of stuff I’m leaving out but basically anything traumatic that causes the person to develop post-traumatic stress.

Here’s something: Try not to startle people with PTSD as the startle response is HUGE. And terrible. We’re easily startled people. Yelling “Boo!” is not cool. I can’t take that, man. Haunted houses? No more for me! And if you try to pretend like you’re going to push me off a ledge when we are standing together on something high, I probably will not find that funny.

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Astaxanthin and Camp Hippo

There are so many reverse perks in mental illness – “reverse perks” being something that you get for free that actually sucks – and now there is one more to add to the list: a shrunken hippocampus. Before you picture a shrunken hippopotamus head, let me explain that the hippocampus, it has been widely reported, decreases in mass in people having depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and the like. The hippocampus affects, among other things, cognition, learning, and memory. These things are super-important for more reasons than could be listed here, and so as those of us with mental illness get older, our hippocampi get smaller – and we experience cognitive deficits, brain fog, short term memory loss, and learning disabilities in addition to our already full plate of crazy. It’s disheartening – particularly because the longer you live with these illnesses, the more (it is hoped) you have learned about how to manage them or at least minimize fallout for yourself, but if you start losing the ability to think, well, it just kind of fucks up everything you might be trying to do. Like survive.

Enter Astaxanthin. It’s an anti-oxidant which is 6,000 (yes, six thousand) times more potent than Vitamin C, which is going to be good for your brain right off the bat because as someone with mental illness you will have more oxidative stress and more free radicals gamboling around in there like they own the joint. So Point One. Point Two is even more heartening: It was recently discovered, as reported by ScienceDaily.com, that mice given astaxanthin for four weeks showed increased neuroplasticity and increased neurogenesis in the hippocampus. Which means that the stuff in their hippocampi (Hippo Camp! Where Hippos go for summer) started to work better, and then NEW stuff started to grow, meaning new brain cells, increasing the hippocampal volume and thus being a great pre-emptive strike, in my opinion, to combat the accelerated entropy that is going on in there, at Camp Hippo, which is what I’m going to be calling my hippocampus from now on. You are welcome to call your own hippocampus Camp Hippo as well, if that is something you would find soothing.

Anyway. I have no idea what dosage is appropriate. Capsules are available in 2, 4, and 12 mg sizes. Due to certain aspects of my personality having to do with impulse control and moderation, I want to go 12 mg. I’ve been taking 4 mg for the past month. Do I notice a difference? I am taking a break from my studies so I can’t speak to the effect it has on my learning, but I do seem to have an improvement in short term memory, which is helping my ADHD because ripples. (Shoot me because I just used “because ____” as an explanation for something. I have become the thing I hate. And don’t you hate when that happens?)

ASTAXANTHIN. Check it out. I recommend it. No one paid me to do so. (Someone, please pay me to do so.) For now, this is a Public Service Announcement.

I’m off to think up a song for Camp Hippo.

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