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Antidepressants: Talking about experience with side-effects – What it feels like

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As I was diagnosed with severe depression about 2 years ago, I have passed through different types of treatments with different types of antidepressants. The first thing you’ll learn from having a mental disorder is that the first step of treatment is to actually accept you have a problem and go see a psychiatrist. Even I have waited until my symptoms became worse and worse before going to a doctor and that just made it even harder to find a suitable medication for myself.

That being said I’ve actually only tried two lines of treatments because as you will learn treating depression is a long journey. Even if you cannot entirely cure depression, medication can make things better but not without side-effects. The first line of treatment my doctor prescribed included a combination of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors(SSRi), which are a class of antidepressants with benzodiazepines, which are sedatives that were prescribed specifically to me because of anxiety issues.

ssri-n-snri-11-728As you can easily learn their side-effects from Google, I’d like to talk about how they can make you feel. Keep in mind that people don’t react the same to these meds, but I’m hoping you can learn from my experience what to expect from SSRi’s if your doctor prescribed them to you too and you were scared about what you’ve found on the internet.

First things first, once you start the treatment with SSRi’s don’t forget to take them or don’t decide to stop taking them all at once because this type of medication affects neurotransmitters in your brain which always need to be properly regulated. That means the correct way of finishing a treatment with SSRi’s is by slowly reducing their dose.

My first reaction to SSRi’s was that my head started to feel warm for no particular reason, I did not have a fever. I have also started to simply stop caring and felt numb, but these reactions probably came from Benzodiazepines. The following weeks what bothered me the most was that my hands started shaking a lot and I really did not have control in my movements. Also, I was sweating a lot, mostly in my sleep and my sweat had an unpleasant vinegar smell which overtime stopped happening.

Besides the weird state that SSRi’s make me feel and constant tinglings in my hands and legs they did manage to help me. Unfortunately, after my doctor told me to start reducing the doses of SSRi’s I have simply stopped taking them which resulted in a near-death experience meaning that for the next 2 days I was feeling like I could die any seconds which made me anxious and also had some weird effects on my body. Basically, I was feeling very sick with no actual reason.

As I was saying, in the beginning, depression is not something you can cure but you can keep its symptoms under control with medication. Although I can’t say I am feeling as bad as I did back then, some problems are still blocking my short term memory and concentration which can be frustrating and often leads to headaches. Because of that, the doctor has prescribed me a combination of tricyclic antidepressants with painkillers.

Meds-that-cause-EDThe doctor chose this class of antidepressants because my new treatment won’t be a long-term one, the main cause being the desire of treating my migraines. As I’ve been told SSRi’s have a weaker effect on depression symptoms which make them better suited for long term treatments that are preferred when treating mental disorders. Tricyclic antidepressants are stronger, but their effect lasts a shorter period of time.

As for what I actually feel after taking the tricyclic antidepressant is a tricky question because it doesn’t give me any reaction I had with SSRi’s it actually does the opposite and the effects pass by morning. After I take these new drugs I stop ‘feeling’ my head and I start feeling like my hands are not under my control. I became very intrigued about how my hands felt because while they don’t feel like my own I can say I have more control in my movements. Because ‘fortunately’ I have hypertension the drugs seem to mess with my blood pressure because I started to have nosebleeds in my sleep.

Tricyclic antidepressants have to be taken at night because they produce mydriasis which is an enlargement of the eye pupil that makes my eyes more sensible to light and also makes me incredibly sleepy.

All in all, antidepressants do help reduce depressive symptoms, but sometimes they feel like they make them worse. Unfortunately, the medication developed for mental disorders usually comes with a large list of side-effects which you can’t avoid feeling. Even if you just think you are depressed you should not consider taking any drugs without talking to a psychiatrist first. If you are diagnosed with depression don’t get scared of the side effects because on the long term you might just feel a little bit better.

Who doesn’t enjoy listening to a good story. Personally I love reading about the people who inspire me and what it took for them to achieve their success. As I am a bit of a self confessed tech geek I think there is no better way to discover these stories than by reading every day some articles or the newspaper . My bookcases are filled with good tech biographies, they remind me that anyone can be a success. So even if you come from an underprivileged part of society or you aren’t the smartest person in the room we all have a chance to reach the top. The same message shines in my beliefs. All it takes to succeed is a good idea, a little risk and a lot of hard work and any geek can become a success. VENI VIDI VICI .

Medicine and Health

Vaccine Breakthrough Could Mean Future-Proof Shots Without Boosters

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A novel vaccine platform could eliminate boosters for some diseases since one dose could cover all future viral strains. It’s only been tried in mice, but researchers are optimistic.

“This could be the universal vaccine that we have been looking for,” said UC Riverside virologist Rong Hai.

The vaccination contains live, attenuated virus. Many vaccines, including MMR and chickenpox, use a similar mechanism. Unlike them, the new vaccines won’t require the immune system to respond to the infection. RNA interference (RNAi) will be activated instead.

Though it sounds like COVID-19’s mRNA vaccines, it operates differently.

As an immunological response to viral infection, hosts—people, mice, and others—produce short interfering RNAs. “These RNAi knock down the virus,” said lead author Shouwei Ding, renowned microbiology professor.

By generating proteins that prevent RNAi, viruses can avoid this response, but weakening them first solves the problem. It can replicate, but the host RNAi response wins. This weakened virus can be utilized as a vaccination to improve our RNAi immune system, Ding said.

Mutating won’t help either. “Viruses may mutate in vaccine-untargeted areas. We target their entire genome with thousands of tiny RNAs, Hai said. “They cannot escape this.”

The idea that RNAi can help people fight viral infections has been controversial, but over the last decade, several researchers have begun studying RNAi-based treatments.

The novel vaccine platform has another major benefit. Since it doesn’t require B and T cells, it could be utilized in very young babies or persons with immunological problems who can’t receive live vaccines.

The researchers designed a Nodamura mouse virus vaccination to test this. Mice genetically engineered to eliminate B and T immune cells received one shot. That one shot protected them from the Nodamura virus for at least three months, a considerable period considering mice typically live two to three years.

Since newborn mice can manufacture short RNAs, the vaccine worked in them, making it suitable for babies too young to receive immunizations.

A previous study suggests that flu infection triggers the RNAi system; therefore, that’s their next target. To reduce needle anxiety, they want to create a nasal spray vaccine.

We’ll apply this idea to create a flu vaccination for infants next. If we succeed, they won’t need their moms’ antibodies, added Ding.

It’s still early, but if it works, applying the method to other infections should be easy.

Ding said, “Dengue, SARS, and COVID are well-known human pathogens. They share viral functions. For easy knowledge transfer, this should apply to these viruses.”

The paper appears in PNAS.

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Medicine and Health

UK Vote: People born after 2009 will never be able to buy tobacco again

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In a vote on Tuesday, April 16, most politicians in the UK agreed with a law that would make it illegal for anyone born after 2009 to ever legally buy tobacco in the country. “The first smoke-free generation” is what the UK government wants to make happen. What will happen next? How will the ban work?

How does the new law in the UK work?
According to the BBC, the new law will raise the age limit for buying tobacco products in the UK by one year every year. The government wants to make the law effective by 2027. It comes after similar efforts in places like New Zealand, which just recently got rid of its own groundbreaking ban.

In real life, this means that people born after 2009 will never be old enough to buy cigarettes because they will never reach the legal age limit. There will be no changes for people who are already over the age limit (18), and smoking will still be legal.

The Cigarettes and Vapes Bill also wants to stop young people who have never smoked from starting to vape instead. The UK as a whole will follow through on a plan to ban disposable vapes. There will be a new tax, and companies that make vapes will have to change the flavors and packaging of their products to make them less appealing to kids.

These nicotine pouches have been getting a lot of attention in politics lately. Young people will not be able to use them either.

What do people think about the bill?
Everyone in the UK agrees with the bill, and it was expected to easily pass on Tuesday, when it did by 383 votes to 67. A statement from Victoria Atkins, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said that the bill “will save thousands of lives, ease the strain on our NHS and improve the UK’s productivity.”

But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t caused some trouble. A number of Conservative MPs either didn’t vote or voted against the bill.

Former Prime Minister Liz Truss referred to those who supported the bill as “finger-wagging nannying control freaks.” Others have questioned whether the ban can be enforced or even whether it will work to stop people from smoking.

There is, however, broad agreement among health experts that the law will be a good step forward.

“The prime minister’s promise to raise the age at which people can buy cigarettes would really change the health of the next generation,” said Professor Stephen Holgate, an expert in immunopharmacology at the University of Southampton. “What a great legacy it would be to put the health of the nation’s future ahead of all other concerns.”

Prof. John Iredale of the University of Bristol agreed, saying, “We owe it to our kids and teens to stop letting them be around tobacco.” As a junior doctor, I saw over and over how smoking-related illnesses and deaths hurt people, especially breadwinners, people who worked, and their families.

“A chance that will never come up again.”
More than 8 million people die every year from smoking, according to the World Health Organization. In addition to the well-known link to cancer, cigarettes have been linked to a number of other diseases, both in people who smoke them and in people who are exposed to secondhand smoke.

Nicotine in tobacco products is very addicting, which makes it hard to stop. That’s why health officials work so hard to get people not to smoke in the first place.

It took a few years to get the UK to ban it. People who support it will likely feel good about their latest political win, even though there are still more problems to solve before it is fully put into place.

Some commentators have talked about the fact that the country is likely to have a new government later this year. However, the path ahead looks pretty clear since this bill has support from both sides of the aisle.

Expert scientists like Professor Ann McNeill of King’s College London are very happy about this: “We have known for decades how uniquely deadly smoking is, but we have not done anything about it.” The Tobacco and Vapes Bill is a one-time chance to make things right and stop people from smoking in a generation.

“We should all work together to support it.”

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Medicine and Health

The number of global hepatitis deaths is increasing, posing a threat to the goal of eliminating the disease

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According to a recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO), the incidence of viral hepatitis-related mortality is rising globally. Approximately 3,500 individuals perish from the disease on a daily basis, positioning it as the second most prevalent infectious cause of death in 2022, with a mortality rate equivalent to that of tuberculosis.

The 2024 Global Hepatitis Report, unveiled during the recent World Hepatitis Summit, presents novel data from 187 countries, marking the highest number of countries ever encompassed in the report. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of fatalities caused by viral hepatitis has risen from 1.1 million in 2019 to 1.3 million in 2022. On a daily basis, around 6,000 individuals get new infections.

What is viral hepatitis?

A viral infection leads to liver inflammation, which is known as viral hepatitis.
Hepatitis is a comprehensive term used to describe an illness that results in inflammation and harm to the liver. Viral hepatitis is classified into five primary groups, namely hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. If physicians are uncertain about the etiology of an individual’s infection, they may label it as hepatitis X or non-A-E hepatitis.

The primary focus of the WHO report is on hepatitis B, which is responsible for 83 percent of newly acquired infections, and hepatitis C, which accounts for the remaining 17 percent. Usually, each of these viruses results in persistent infections that eventually cause cancer, cirrhosis, and liver failure.

The illness is also common in younger populations: people between the ages of 30 and 54 account for 50% of chronic hepatitis B and C infections, while children under the age of 18 account for 12% of cases.

What is causing the increase in mortality rates due to hepatitis?
Untreated hepatitis can lead to serious consequences, but our capacity to fight these diseases has significantly improved with early detection.

Hepatitis B is most commonly transmitted during childbirth, but there are safe and effective immunizations available to prevent it. Hepatitis C is transmitted through contact with contaminated blood, typically as a result of unsafe injection practices or, less commonly, unprotected sexual activity. Although a vaccine has not been developed yet, the World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that over 95 percent of individuals can achieve complete recovery if they are able to obtain antiviral medicine.

However, it is where the trouble resides. The recent research emphasizes that a limited proportion of individuals affected by hepatitis B and C are being promptly recognized and provided with treatment, aligning with the objectives set by the World Health Organization.

For instance, in the WHO African area, where 63 percent of new hepatitis B infections originate, the vaccination rate for infants is barely 18 percent. On a global scale, the percentage of individuals with hepatitis C who have undergone curative therapy is only 20 percent, which falls significantly short of the targeted 80 percent.

The paper suggests that the reason for this is the differences in pricing, which prevent many lower-income countries from being able to afford antiviral treatments, including generic pharmaceuticals that are no longer protected by patents. Similarly, individuals residing in numerous nations may be compelled to bear the cost of testing and treatment services, which may be unaffordable for certain individuals.

What measures can be taken to mitigate the issue?
The report includes several recommendations that, if promptly executed, will help us regain momentum in attaining the World Health Organization’s objective of eradicating the hepatitis epidemic by 2030.

The WHO emphasizes the need to expand access to diagnostic tests, enhance preventative strategies, and accelerate research in order to discover a potential cure for hepatitis B. However, the organization warns that the current level of worldwide financing for these initiatives is inadequate.

“The report reveals a concerning situation: although there has been global advancement in preventing hepatitis infections, the number of deaths is increasing due to a lack of diagnosis and treatment for a significant number of individuals with hepatitis,” stated Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO).

“The World Health Organization (WHO) is dedicated to assisting countries in utilizing all available resources, at affordable prices, to prevent loss of life and reverse this pattern.”

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