Friday, January 19, 2018


The title under grim picture in Time of a hand holding the injection needle says:
      "The Fiercer-than-usual Flu Season Will Meet a Less-effective-Than-usual Vaccine."

Time Magazine's highly respected senior reporter, Alice Park, explains: "This year's virus is in rare form. Experts report that the vaccine may not be as effective as they'd hoped. Normally, vaccines are grown in about four months in chicken eggs but minor changes that are being made to the growing process may be contributing to lower effectiveness."

According to the CDC (center for disease control), this year’s shot includes H1N1, H3N2, but the changes could be making the H3N2 strain less potent which would limit the immune response it triggers in the body. This could lead to people remaining susceptible even if they got their flu shot. Scientists, while trying to shift away from egg-based vaccine production, have not yet found a reliable alternative.

Should you survive the season without getting vaccinated?

No, says leading experts. Even if it isn't effective against one strain, it will protect you against the others. When it comes to viruses, the science is clear: some protection is better than none.


Monday, January 15, 2018


WOW!! "Time Magazine," said there's a new pill that will cure depression that affects 300 million Americans. I have been, more or less, one of  them.

The six page center-fold article, loaded with history, detailed the effectiveness of pills, such as Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft, and Luvox, that depressed friends of mine have taken.

Ketamine  -- that's the new drug!  Ketamine is what Anesthesiologists use to put people under before they are anesthetized for surgery.

"In the past 20 years I have not seen anything like this," says Dr. Cristina Cusin, a clinician, researcher who runs the Ketamine Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital. "Studies have shown 60% to 70% of people with treatment resistant depression respond to Ketamine."

Dr. Cusin revealed that approximately 400 patients have been involved with the studies. The Ketamine injection treatment lasts 7 to 14 days; to maintain the cure you need to keep getting injections; it costs $400 to $800 per treatment; it's not covered by insurance insurance.

Time explained that there are many private Ketamine clinics throughout the United States. Since it is FDA approved as an anesthetic, physicians can prescribe it for any condition they believe it may help, including depression. It's injected into a muscle. There are, so far, no rules governing clinics, but patients trying it, were saying it makes them feel "great... not depressed... hopeful... energetic... capable of activity..."

Major drug companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Allergan are working on Ketamine, and other similar drugs. They've announced that they may have a pill like it or better, by 2018, and 2019.  Doctor Gerard Sanacora, head of Yale's Depression Research Program says: "I think it's the most exciting treatment of the last 50 years. There's a lot we don't know about it, but any new drug that almost makes it to the finish line is a huge win."

...."huge rules" makes me uneasy.... 

Even so, for decades, since its first issue in 1923, Time Magazine been a major reliable, highly respected source for news. Like most of our newspapers and magazines, Time is in a survival mode with its readership declining and costs rising, so Time's been reformatting, firing and hiring new top executives. A new pill grabs readers (like the magazine's 2016 centerfold article that highly touted a- "possible cure for Altzheimer's" which may or may not cure Altzheimer's.) Anyhow, in a year or two maybe Ketamine will help a lot of depressed folks who don't respond to treatment.

Like me. Having been been psychoanalyzed and also had short term therapy with a few other excellent therapists, I've learned a lot about what causes my depression. But aside from Freudian stuff, who isn't depressed nowadays, with so many terrifying, serious,  unsolvable issues hanging over our country as well as the world?

Hey, I perk myself up -- cure myself with work -- a project, something I'm doing like writing this blog. Work gets me learning, expanding, striving, and with it comes some tingling moments of excitement, daydreams. Sure, dreams fizzle, but momentarily thinking that what I'm writing might reach a lot of people, might get published -- those big and little thoughts keep firing up big and little hopes... and and Emily Dickinson...

Sure, a pill might help, but you can change the subject in your brain. Hey, try it now. Focus on anything you could do right this minute -- quickly shove away the idea -- then, focus on it again. Even if it's a tiny, itty-bitty bit of nothing, grab it. Cure yourself for ten minutes, an hour, even a week.