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Monday, October 23, 2017

Interview with Dr. Patrick Mbaya, author of My Brain is Out of Control







Publication Date: September 2016
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Formats: Ebook
Pages: 76
Genre: Biography/Autobiography
Tour Dates: October 23-December 15

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Although Dr. Patrick Mbaya’s illness caused a lot distress and nearly took his life, the emotional symptoms of the depression he developed helped him understand and empathize with patients and how they feel when they become ill. In My Brain is Out of Control, Mbaya, fifty-five and at the peak of his career, shares a personal story of how he suffered from a brain infection in 2010 that caused loss of speech, right-sided weakness, and subsequent depression. He tells how he also dealt with the antibiotics complications of low white cell count and hepatitis. He narrates his experiences as a patient, the neurological and psychiatric complications he encountered, how he coped, and his journey to recovery. Presenting a personal perspective of Mbaya’s illness from the other side of the bed, My Brain is Out of Control, offers profound insight into battling a serious illness.


How did publishing your first book change your process of writing? 

The comments by readers, and reviewers, is likely to improve my writing, should I write the second book.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? 

I am unable to say how much money I would eventually spend, as the book is still being promoted.

What authors did you dislike at first but grew into? 

I have no particular authors I dislike.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power? 

When I first wrote an article in a school magazine.

How do you balance making demands on the reading with taking care of the reader?

There are both equally exciting. If you suddenly you have a good idea while reading, then you should immediately stop, and write down these ideas.



Dr. Patrick Mbaya is a medical doctor specializing in psychiatry. He is a consultant psychiatrist and honorary clinical lecturer in psychiatry at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. He has a special interest in mood and addiction disorders.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Book Feature: The Light Theater Opened to Universe (II) by Kazuo Ueno




Title: The Light Theater Opened to Universe (II)
Author: Kazuo Ueno
Publisher: Xlibris
Genre: Philosophy
Format: Ebook


How 17th Century Dutch Painter Johannes Vermeer's idea was ifluenced from Christian Huygens? Perhaps in the sense of subconsciousness and eventually how it was realized by the method so called "Mitate" (look alike) in his painting as Heaven & Earth correspondence. His painting represents "Universe" itself.


TOUR SCHEDULE

 September 25
September 26
September 27
September 28
September 29
October 2
October 3
October 4
October 5
October 6

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Book Feature: My Brain is Out of Control by Dr. Patrick Mbaya







Publication Date: September 2016
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Formats: Ebook
Pages: 76
Genre: Biography/Autobiography
Tour Dates: August 14-August 25

  Add to GR Button   

Although Dr. Patrick Mbaya’s illness caused a lot distress and nearly took his life, the emotional symptoms of the depression he developed helped him understand and empathize with patients and how they feel when they become ill. In My Brain is Out of Control, Mbaya, fifty-five and at the peak of his career, shares a personal story of how he suffered from a brain infection in 2010 that caused loss of speech, right-sided weakness, and subsequent depression. He tells how he also dealt with the antibiotics complications of low white cell count and hepatitis. He narrates his experiences as a patient, the neurological and psychiatric complications he encountered, how he coped, and his journey to recovery. Presenting a personal perspective of Mbaya’s illness from the other side of the bed, My Brain is Out of Control, offers profound insight into battling a serious illness.







Dr. Patrick Mbaya is a medical doctor specializing in psychiatry. He is a consultant psychiatrist and honorary clinical lecturer in psychiatry at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. He has a special interest in mood and addiction disorders.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Book Feature: Great Objectives by Robert Finch









In his book Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill refers to the great objects of human life. We may assume that that what Mill calls an object is the same as an objective in modern parlance. The examples of great objectives that Mill cites include power, fame, and money. One wonders how seriously Mill was actually endorsing such aims to be the overarching objectives of living or whether he was simply expressing his finding that many people actually do take such aims as these for life. The contention is that Mill was indeed recognizing that people do choose such goals in life. After all, happiness has been recognized as an objective of life at least since the time of Aristotle, and virtue has a similarly ancient pedigree. It is quite common for ordinary people to adopt such mottos as “Healthy, wealthy, and wise” as aims for life. But we know that having more than one such value can lead to conflicts. This had been a concern to Sidgwick as well as other nineteenth-century moralists. A resolution to the problem was found by the time of the twentieth century, when it was realized that we should not try to achieve definite objectives, but instead look to some other procedure, such as a variety of evolution, to shape our objectives. In that case, we make plans and evaluate them, as we proceed. We should use our values, as Dewey recommended, for guideposts. The book discusses the methods of arriving at such plans and weighs some of the ethical and moral problems an individual or a society might face at the present time.



Robert Finch is the author of five collections of essays and co-editor of The Norton Book of Nature Writing. He broadcasts a weekly commentary on NPR and serves on the faculty of the MFA in Writing Program at Spalding University in Louisville, KY. He lives in Wellfleet, MA.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Guest Post from Dr. Patrick Mbaya, author of My Brain is Out of Control







Although Dr. Patrick Mbaya’s illness caused a lot distress and nearly took his life, the emotional symptoms of the depression he developed helped him understand and empathize with patients and how they feel when they become ill. In My Brain is Out of Control, Mbaya, fifty-five and at the peak of his career, shares a personal story of how he suffered from a brain infection in 2010 that caused loss of speech, right-sided weakness, and subsequent depression. He tells how he also dealt with the antibiotics complications of low white cell count and hepatitis. He narrates his experiences as a patient, the neurological and psychiatric complications he encountered, how he coped, and his journey to recovery. Presenting a personal perspective of Mbaya’s illness from the other side of the bed, My Brain is Out of Control, offers profound insight into battling a serious illness.

GUEST POST

CLINICAL DEPRESSION
 Clinical Depression is a common illness, different from ordinary sadness, which is a normal reaction. It can affect anyone, including doctors like myself, and indeed I suffered from this, during my illness. It is not a weakness.
It may occur spontaneously in vulnerable individuals, like someone with a family history of depression. Severe stress or traumatic events in childhood, may also make an individual vulnerable to developing depressive illness, later on in life. Recent research has shown that this could be due to the effect of stress hormone cortisol, on the developing brain. Severe stress or loss events (like losing a family member) can cause (precipitate) it. In my case the brain infection I suffered, affected the limbic/emotional brain (see below).
Emotions, and certain behaviours are controlled by the limbic (emotional) brain. This is like a circuit comprising of connections from the brain stem (stem of the brain), to the front part of the brain (prefrontal cortex, the part in front of the motor cortex), then to the medial (inner side) of the temporal lobe structures like amygdala and hippocampus. In my case, it is the left prefrontal cortex, which is next to the motor cortex (which caused weakness on my right side) and the speech (Broca’s) area.
There are different theories about the biological causes of depression within the brain. However, there is a lot of clinical, and research evidence that depression is associated altered levels of chemicals (neurotransmitters) that control emotions, and behaviours. The two main chemicals (neurotransmitters) being serotonin and noradrenaline (also known as norepinephrine). These chemicals are made by the brain from the food we eat, like bananas (I asked my daughter to get me bananas during my recovery phase). Emotions and behaviours like mood, sleep, appetite, enjoyment, concentration, short-term memory, energy, and some forms of thinking are controlled by these chemicals.
There is both clinical, and research evidence that these chemicals become imbalanced, causing symptoms of clinical depression including persistent low mood, tearfulness, poor sleep, lack of enjoyment, poor concentration, short term memory, reduced interest in things, poor appetite, feeling negative (like focussing on past traumatic or unhappy events, or being emotionally affected by current sad events) up to including suicidal thoughts. (Recent research has shown that amygdala become very active in clinical depression, negative traumatic past events tend to re-surface and the individual becomes pre-occupied with these events, feels hopeless, worthless, and has suicidal thoughts, and these symptoms are reversed by effective treatment of depression). These symptoms tend to be worse in the morning (diurnal variation, possibly related to high levels of the stress hormone cortisol) and can improve later on during the day. Like in my case, my mood was worse in the morning. “I was emotional and found myself crying without a moment’s notice.”
As depressive illness can affect confidence, energy, motivation, concentration, short term memory, level of functioning is impaired (the ability to carry out activities of daily living, even to the point of being unable to work, socialise or to go to school). The World Health Organization (WHO) found out in a study (1990), comparing medical illnesses, that depression was four in the league table, as a cause of health-related disability. They estimated that by 2020, it will rank second to heart disease!
Current research has shown that severe stress increases the levels of stress hormone cortisol, which in turn reduces serotonin, noradrenaline, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF, also known as brain fertilizer, which protects against cell death by cortisol), in the brain, causing depression.
Antidepressants work by increasing these chemicals/neurotransmitters (improving symptoms, and level of functioning), and may protect against severe stress causing depression. Psychological treatment like cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), is also effective in depression, especially in combination with antidepressants. Current guidelines recommend psychological treatment for mild to moderate depression, and antidepressant medication, plus psychological treatment for moderate to severe depression.
Dr Patrick Mbaya MD FRCPsych.
www.drpatrickmbaya.com
References: Cancel reply
Duman Ronald. Depression: a cause of neuronal life and death. Biological Psychiatry, 1 August 2004, vol.56:140-145  Cancel reply
Global Burden of Disease, World Health Organization, 1990.
Mbaya Patrick. My Brain Is Out Of Control. Author House. September, 2016
Shimizu Fiji et al.  Cancel replyAlterations of serum levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in depressed patients with or without antidepressants; Biological Psychiatry, 1 July 2003,Vol 54(1): 70-75
Stahl Stephen M. Essential Psychopharmacology, Neuroscientific Basis and Practical Applications. Second Edition.  Cambridge University Press.
Stress and Plasticity in Limbic System, Robert M. Sapolsky; Neurochemical Research, Vol. 28, No. 11.


Dr. Patrick Mbaya is a medical doctor specializing in psychiatry. He is a consultant psychiatrist and honorary clinical lecturer in psychiatry at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. He has a special interest in mood and addiction disorders.



Monday, June 19, 2017

Open Letter - How We Got Into This Mess and Can We Recover by Burt Hall, author of The Right-Wing Threat to Democracy







For over thirty years, World War II veteran and author Burt Hall assessed accountability in government and national security. Now, this seasoned, professional analyst delivers a tough account of what went wrong in our politics and system of government over the past two decades and what we can do about it. 

The right wing (not to be confused with Conservatism) has hijacked the Republican Party and wrecked havoc on our nation. It exploited basic flaws in our system to gain power and a series of major setbacks and a weakened democracy have followed. 

The Right-Wing Threat to Democracy lays out clearly what the basic flaws in our system are and how they can be fixed. The danger is that an ongoing shift of political power to the very wealthy and suppression of voting rights is silencing the voice of the average citizen. 

If elected officials do not fix the basic flaws, the American people have alternatives in our democracy and must take matters into their own hands.

OPEN LETTER – HOW WE GOT INTO THIS MESS AND CAN WE RECOVER

         May 17, 2017
Dear Presidents Carter, Clinton and Obama,

As Woodward and Bernstein would say, “the best obtainable version of the truth” is in the enclosed article now on a virtual book tour.  It concerns me how we lost part of our democracy, public accountability and America’s exceptionalism. There is increasing concern about external Russian interference with our democracy but not with internal Republican interference that has compromised the integrity and results of our elections for nearly three decades with devastating results.
Historically, the Democratic Party has not stood its ground against Republican assaults on our democracy to achieve a one-party system.  After owning the White House for 12 years, Republicans outraged at the loss of the presidency, began to delegitimize and obstruct performance of Democratic presidents and sought to remove one from office and force another to fail. They declared war on the Democratic Party and their win-at-any-cost strategies are detailed in the enclosure. Nevertheless, the two Democratic presidencies managed to survive the onslaught and are ranked by historians at near the top ten of U.S. presidents.
However, the damage was done – Republicans created a divided country and a dysfunctional government and by rigging our electoral system remained in control of an obstructionist House. If Republicans had accepted the people’s choice of president, the two Democratic presidents certainly would have achieved a lot more and today might be ranked near the top five of U.S. presidents.
A Republican president, sandwiched between the two Democrats, got involved in 9/11, two wars and a great depression. He and his vice-president mistakenly reversed the previous president’s priorities on balanced budgets with surpluses and on combating international terrorism. Unfortunately, both 9/11 and the two wars were avoidable based on information readily available and known to the White House at the time. In other words, a trained ape would have known what to do. Cover-ups followed the breach of national security and reckless war decisions. Neither the Democratic Party, the 9/11 Commission nor the media held Republicans accountable.
The failed Republican presidency was awarded a second term which also failed. The Republican strategy boomeranged. Instead of Republicans causing Democratic presidents to fail, their own president failed twice. As Tom Friedman of the New York Times recently said, the Republican Party “has lost its moral compass”
Republicans also employed a strategy to suppress participation of groups likely to vote Democratic and, for those who did vote, dilute their value or make them worthless. Diminishing the value of the vote was achieved by using a high-tech computer-aided method to draw distorted and partisan voting districts to elect only members of one party. Also, Republican-controlled legislatures are trying to rig future presidential electoral vote contests by using voting districts won rather than popular votes won, as we do today.
 It was these kinds of abuses of our voting rights plus low Democratic midterm turnouts that contributed to the large Republican majority in the House.  Republicans would have you believe that its majority resulted from the public’s desire to repeal Obamacare. Actually, it was derived from rigging our electoral system which the Supreme Court has yet to rule unconstitutional.
Democrats are no match for Republicans who do not play by the rules and use win-at-any- cost strategies. Republicans held Democrats accountable for things they essentially did not do and Democrats did not hold Republicans accountable for things they actually did do. The public was both misinformed and uninformed and vulnerable to choosing a president they did not deserve. By 2016, a grossly uninformed electorate frustrated with a Washington not working for them chose an outsider president. Now, the Republican Party that failed two terms is back in office and headed by someone without governmental experience.
The public must be informed on our deteriorating democracy and what can be done about it. How else can the public hold the people they elect accountable and make well-informed decisions at the ballot box? The bottom line is both parties must assume some responsibility for the current state of affairs and go above and beyond to work together and unify the nation. Should the current administration get out of control, the two parties together must take extraordinary measures to protect our nation and the American people from further devastating results.
If the two parties continue to refuse to work together in the public interest, dramatic action will be necessary. In that event, the enclosed article suggests two options to restore our democracy and deter further interference, whether by a political party or by a foreign power. One involves shutting down Senate business on Republican priorities until they agree to return powers stolen from Democrats over recent decades. This would include enacting major legislation that has been languishing for years in Congress to strengthen and protect our democracy.
The second option involves open public hearings conducted by distinguished statesmen and backed by previous presidents. You three, the media and the private sector would combine to support these public hearings. There are many moderates of both parties and independents who would be willing to participate. The public must be informed on how we got into this mess so it can assess accountability and take ownership of efforts to restore our democracy. History will have a way of repeating itself if the public is left out in the cold on how well the people they elect serve.
A third option is to combine the first two. It might be the most effective one should the current administration oppose democracy reforms. Please give it some thought. You may be our last hope.

Burt Hall
CC:  Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Tim Kaine, Mark Warner, Tom Perez, Keith Ellison