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Monthly Archives: October 2016

Dr. Frankenstein Lives. Sort of.

Dr. Sergio Canavero wants to be the modern-day Victor Frankenstein. Create a human from parts. Two parts anyway. A head and a body. Yes, he wants to do a head transplant. His proof that it works? Stimulating the nerves of the spinal cord to test his efforts.

Remember high school biology? That poor frog with his head cut off? Yet applying a current to its spinal cord made the legs jump. It’s what nerves and muscles do when stimulated. It’s not life; it’s a parlor trick—-for lack of a better word.

So, could Dr. Canavero’s experiment work? This head transplant? Maybe, anything is possible. But smart money is on not a chance.

What of the original Frankenstein? Art and life often intertwine and had it not been for a volcanic eruption on the other side of the world Marry Shelly’s classic might never have been written.

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I’ve blogged about this before:

https://writersforensicsblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/frankenstein-and-creativity/

https://writersforensicsblog.wordpress.com/2009/09/14/more-decapitation-and-reanimating-the-dead/

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One Big Kid: World’s Tallest Teenager

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There are “giants” in this world. The NBA is living proof. But most non-NBA members have Pituitary Gigantism, which occurs when the pituitary gland secretes too much Growth Hormone (somatotropin or HGH). This makes the person’s growth increase exponentially. If this occurs before the growth plates close in the late teens to early twenties, gigantism occurs; if later in life the person suffers from acromegaly.

The wrestler Andre’ the Giant is famous example. He eventually reached 7’4” and 550 pounds.

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But a less common form of giantism is Sotos-Dodge Syndrome. This is not related to a pituitary problem or any other glandular dysfunction. It is a genetic disorder where the victim grows, and grows, and grows. It’s also often associated the a form of autism, muscle weakness, poor coordination, cognitive dysfunction, and the many orthopedic problems that all giants suffer.

Such is the case with 19-year-old Broc Brown, the world’s tallest teenager. He currently stands 7’8” and is still growing. But he lost his Guinness crown when he turned 19 as the tallest teen category is for those 18 and below. He seems to be a pleasant young man dealing with an uncomfortable situation with grace and style. Watch the video and I think you’ll agree.

Good luck, Broc.

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The Telegraph News: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/21/worlds-tallest-teenager-with-genetic-disorder-cant-stop-growing/

Wikipedia: Gigantism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gigantism

Wikipedia: Sotos Syndrome: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sotos_syndrome

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2016 in Medical Issues

 

Guest Blogger: Forensic Psychologist Stefanie Stolinsky, PhD: Problem Gambling

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Problem gambling is actually an obsessive-compulsive mental disorder. And although many people gamble without its becoming a problem, addicted gamblers find an excitement in gambling that they find nowhere else in their lives.  It is often referred to as a “high” or a “rush,” akin to taking a drug.  The partial reinforcement inherent in obsessive gambling is the fault of sometimes winning big, sometimes losing big and never knowing what’s going to happen next.  An animal will continue to press a lever if food comes down the pipe sometimes.

Getting help for someone who has a destructive gambling habit can be difficult.  Gamblers rarely want therapy on their own, though they may agree to it under family pressure.  Sometimes when a chronic gambler is sentenced for illegalities stemming from gambling debts, a judge makes therapy a condition of probation.  In a structured environment such as a rehab center, there is the advantage of starting therapy in a setting that removes the gambler from temptation.

But the best approach to therapy is a combination of behavioral techniques, focused on stopping gambling, and supportive therapy to help the gambler deal with the chaos gambling has brought to their life.  Therapy may be long-term and there are usually some relapses, but that does not mean that therapy is a failure if the gambler uses the slip as an opportunity to learn how to resist temptation.

S. A. Stolinsky
Author HOT SHOT
http://stefaniestolinskyphd.com
FierySeas Publishers

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Stefanie Stolinsky is a licensed clinical and forensic psychologist.  She is the author of the acclaimed non-fiction book, ACT IT OUT: 25 Expressive Ways to Heal from Childhood Abuse, published by New Harbinger Publications, Inc. in 2002 and currently in its second edition with Praeclarus Press.  Dr. Stolinsky has written for over twenty years, having finished five mystery novels, numerous short stories (published in Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine) and two well-received plays.  She has worked extensively with abuse and trauma survivors privately and from the military.  She also works with those suffering from gambling addiction.  She has a private psychology practice in Beverly Hills and lives with her husband in Los Angeles.

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Posted by on October 13, 2016 in Guest Blogger, Medical Issues

 

Lewy Bodies and Robin Williams

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Older folks suffer from dementia. That’s a fact of life. Just like the heart, lungs, and joints get old and rickety, so does the brain. Often this dementia is classified as senile dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. But not rarely the loss of brain function is due to something you’ve probably never heard of – –Lewy Body Disease, or LBD. This form of dementia results from the accumulation of abnormal structures within the brain that are called Lewy Bodies. This accumulation interferes with brain function and lead to a host of symptoms including: problems with movement and balance, confusion, loss of memory, abnormal alertness, an alteration of attention span, and even hallucinations that at times are paranoid in nature. The disease is usually not diagnosed until after death when the brain can be examined but it is often suspected by the symptoms the person displays. It is often confused with the Alzheimer’s disease, senile dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.

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Lewy Bodies in the Brain

It turns out that Robin Williams suffered from LBD. In a wonderfully written article “The Terrorist Inside My Husband’s Brain” on neurology.org, Susan Schneider Williams tells of her husband’s ordeal. It is a look inside this terrible disease and what happened to one of the greatest comedians that ever lived.

The Terrorist Inside My Husband’s Head: http://www.neurology.org/content/87/13/1308.full

Medline Plus: https://medlineplus.gov/lewybodydisease.html#cat92

Lewy Body Disease Association: https://www.lbda.org/content/symptoms

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2016 in Medical Issues

 
 
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