Epilepsy and Marijuana Therapy.

What’s Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which the normal activity of brain cells are sometimes disturb. These abnormalities can cause convulsions, muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness. There are reportedly 50 million people worldwide that have epilepsy; it’s prevalent in childhood, adolescence, and old age. Epilepsy is reportedly the most common serious brain disorder worldwide. The disorder is classified into three types: idiopathic, symptomatic, and cryptogenic.
Reportedly 60% of people with epilepsy, have idiopathic epilepsy.
Idiopathic seizures, where there is no apparent cause, is possibly linked genetically. Symptomatic seizures are usually caused by widespread brain damage. Reportedly, those affected with these seizures, often have other neurological problems, such as mental retardation or cerebral palsy. Lastly, cryptogenic epilepsy are seizures with no obvious cause. Thus, the terms “idiopathic epilepsy” and “cryptogenic epilepsy” are sometimes used interchangeably.

Epilepsy and Marijuana Therapy.

Epidiolex, an investigative drug extracted from marijuana, that comes in a liquid form, has been tested on children with epilepsy. Reportedly, the drug does not obtain intoxicating properties, is a liquid made of a purified cannabidiol (CBD) extracted from marijuana plants, and is grown under license at an unknown location in Britain. “I was skeptical at first, but families are trying medical cannabis and it is working, including several girls with Aicardi Syndrome,” Polly VanderWoude said. Olivia VanderWoude, Polly’s daughter, has suffered uncontrollable seizures since she was diagnosed at 2-months-old. Olivia is now 3-years-old. Olivia has Aicardi Syndrome. Polly wants to give Olivia a marijuana strain rich in CBD, the major non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
“The Epilepsy Foundation is firmly committed to supporting physician directed care, and to exploring and advocating for all potential treatment options for epilepsy, including CBD oil and medical marijuana,” a statement from epilepsy.com. Reportedly, out of 151 patients in the safety testing for Epidiolex, 26 experienced serious adverse effect and two died, although GW pharmaceuticals said independent investigations found they were unrelated to the trail. In addition, the children in the study, were all receiving other treatment alongside the Epidiolex. Two of the patients were taken from the study because of “adverse effects” and another four due to a lack of clinical effect.
Marijuana and its components are classified as schedule 1 drugs by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Because of its label, it’s difficult to conduct research using marijuana agents but it’s not impossible. “I believe the Epidiolex has the potential to be an important advance in treatment for these treatment-resistant children and will likely have a significant role as a future therapy,” said Dr. Elizabeth Thiele, director of the Pediatric Epilepsy Program at Massachusetts General Hospital.
People with uncontrolled seizures live with continual risk of serious injuries and loss of life. In states where medical marijuana use is legal as a treatment for epilepsy, a number of people living with the disorder report beneficial effect, including a decrease in seizure activity.
Justin Gover, GW chief executive, said he expected Epidiolex would be ready for submission to US and European regulators in 2016. Reportedly, there are nearly 20 states with legal medical marijuana programs and approximately 13 pending legislation. Polly has become a robust advocate for the Compassionate Care Act, the legislation that would make medical marijuana legal in New York. “It’s incredibly frustrating when there is such wide support from the constituency base but the legislators are failing to act,” said Polly. She continues, “you can research cocaine but you can’t research marijuana?” -Eran “Trish”  McDonald *BRAZEN NEWS-FACEBOOK


Former LA city Councilman Sentenced to 120 days in Jail

By Trissean McDonald

Former Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon, convicted of fraudulent voting and perjury of living outside his district, is sentenced to 120 days in jail.

Richard, 60, was convicted of fraudulent voting in the November 2008 and in the March and May elections in 2009. He was convicted in July 23, 2014 of three counts of fraudulent voting and one count of perjury, yet acquitted of dozen other felony counts. He is ordered to complete 600 hours of community service, is placed on 5 years probation, and barred from holding public office.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli ordered Richard Alarcon to surrender to the courts Dec. 10, 2014 to begin serving his sentence, and stated Alarcon was “not inclined” to put the sentence on a hold while he appeals his conviction. The judge denied the defense’s motion for a new trail, considering that there was “substantial credible and reasonable evidence” to support the jury’s verdict.

Flora Alarcon, Richard Alarcon’s wife, who was also convicted of fraudulent voting and perjury, was sentenced to 400 hours of community service and placed on 5 years probation. Flora, 49, was convicted of two counts of perjury. She was acquitted of two other counts. She was convicted of fraudulent voting in the March and May 2009 elections.


NAMI walks October 11, 2014 Grand Park

By Trissean McDonald

This year’s NAMI walk was at Grand Park Performance Lawn at 200 N. Grand Ave. and 201 N. Hill St. With thousands of people coming together publicly to help break mental health stigma, today wasn’t only about walking. It was about hope, love, and valid information advocating support for those affected with a mental illness.

“NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nations largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected with mental illness,” a statement from NAMI. Several participants that were interviewed shared relatable stories of how NAMI impacted their lives.

Hedi Vasquez, expressed that NAMI has educated her in a lot of ways concerning mental health, and emphasized the free of charge services. Rosanne Spencer, after having a mental breakdown, volunteers at events such as NAMI walks to “pay it forward.” NAMI gave Rosanne hope, support, and love, and she pays it forward in return by volunteering.

NAMI offers family support groups, peer groups, mental health referrals, and updated facts about mental health news. Within the groups/courses topics varies from types of illnesses, to medications, to communicating about symptoms, to dealing with individual/family crises and recovery. According to a staff at the NAMI walk, Linda Kirkwood, those who want to attend the groups/courses will have to be consistent.

It’s a 12 week group/course that is mandatory. When asked why it was mandatory, Linda says, “the teachers are volunteers. They take their time out to inform those that are willing to be educated.” Linda additionally gave a testimony about her own son. She said that it was “devestating” when she found out he was affected with mental illness. However, through the Family-to-Family groups/courses she attended, light was shed on her perception about mental illness and she sees mental health differently.

By doing the walk(s), those that are mentally ill gain support by the public, they help break stigma, and give hope and aspiration to others affected with mental illness. The NAMI walk is essentially a fundraiser to support family or family members with a mental illness and raise public awareness. NAMI is committed to equipping and training grassroot volunteer facilitators who provide individual and family support groups in thousand communities across America and never grows weary.

Los Angeles, due to it’s big county, has 12 sectors.NAMI has many sponsors and political supporters that work diligently to help fund for events, inform NAMI of statistics, and help also to break stigma. Jackie Lacey, Los Angeles District Attorney, in a statement addressed at the NAMI walk said, $3million will go towards training police to better handle those that are affected with mental illness.

This issue may have risen concerns after an officer in Ferguson, Missouri, shot and killed a young black man (Michael Brown) known to be mentally ill. As the event came to a close, raffles were done, green ribbons were given out for Mental Health awareness week, and a celebratory drumming congratulating those that completed the walk.

NAMI do annual walks and each location is different yearly. If you’re interested to know future walks or events visit: NAMI.org. You can too help make a difference in breaking mental health stigma throughout America or your community.

First US Ebola death.

By Trissean McDonald

Thomas Eric Duncan, 42, the first person with a case of Ebola in America, died in isolation at a hospital in Dallas on Wednesday. Thomas died at 7:51am at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

The virus was detected on September 30, 2014. Reportedly, his condition had worsened in recent days to critical from serious as medical professionals assisted in supporting his fluid and electrolyte levels.

Duncan was admitted into isolation on September 28, 2014 with common symptoms of Ebola: fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. Other symptoms of Ebola may include: red eyes, raised rash, chest pain and cough, stomach pain, severe weight loss, and bleeding of the eyes, nose, and rectum.

According to the CDC, Ebola does not spread through the air. Ebola is transmitted by direct contact with the bodily fluids of a person who is sick with the symptoms listed. The bodily fluids may include: saliva, mucous, vomit, feces, sweat, tears, breast milk, urine, and semen. Duncan, later after admission, tested positive for Ebola that has killed approximately over 3,400 people in west Africa.

Witnesses reportedly say Duncan had been helping Ebola patients in Liberia. Liberian Community leader Tugben Chieh said Duncan was caring for an Ebola-infected patient at a residence in Paynesville City, just outside Monrovia.

The New York Times reported that Duncan had direct contact with a pregnant woman stricken with Ebola on September 15, 2014, days before he left for the US. According to the CDC’s Frieden, Thomas symptoms started to appear “four or five days” after his trip back to the US.

Thomas first walked into Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital (Dallas) after 10:00pm on September 25, 2014. Duncan reportedly had a fever and was vomiting during his first visit to the Dallas Hospital. The hospital, in a statement stated, he (Duncan) had a “low grade fever and abdominal pain.”

He underwent basic blood test but wasn’t screen for Ebola during his first visit, said Dr. Edward Goodman from the hospital in Dallas. Duncan was reportedly given antibiotics and pain relievers. “His condition did not warrant admission,” the hospital said. “He also was not exhibiting symptoms specific to Ebola.”


5 teens killed in fiery car crash.

By Trissean McDonald

Authorities have not determined whether they’ll seek criminal charges in the dire fiery car crash that led to five teenagers dying.

16-year-old Bradley Morales, did not have a driver’s license or permit and had not started the process of obtaining one. He drove and crashed a 1995 BMW killing all 5 passengers inside the car. The crash occurred October 4, 2014, at 2:10am, at the side of 5 freeway near 133 freeway interchange, according to California Highway Patrol. J.J Antillon, an assistant chief with the CHP.

She stated that drugs/alcohol were not indicators of the fatal crash. Morales is the only survivor. Those that did not survive are: Alex Sotelo and Matthew Melo (Capistrano Valley High School), Jenny Campos and Jennifer Bahena (Laguna Hills High School), and Brandon Moreno (Carl Hankey Middle School).

Reportedly, two of the girls and one of the boys were not wearing seat belts. Those names were not release. California law prohibits drivers under the age of 18 to drive from 11 p.m. until 5 a.m., or carry passengers under 20 for the first 12 months of being licensed, unless with a parent/guardian. It’s undetermined how the driver gained access of the vehicle. At this time, the family does not wish to release information.

Investigations are still ongoing. Antillon says investigations could take up to a month.


American arrested after wanting to fight for ISIS

By Trissean McDonald

Mohammed Hamzah Khan of a Chicago suburb was arrested Saturday October 4, 2014 at O’Hare International Airport while waiting to board a flight to Vienna.

His plan was to fly to Istanbul from Vienna and then make his way into Syria or Iraq to fight for ISIS. Khan was charged Monday in a federal criminal complaint. According to an affidavit filed, Khan purchased a round-trip on September 26, 2014 to travel from Chicago to Istanbul.

Federal agents searched his home after observing Khan pass through the airport security checkpoint on Saturday afternoon and recovered handwritten documents expressing support for ISIS. Khan faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.


Breaking the stigma of mental illness amongst family, friends, and peers.

By Trissean McDonald

Discovering the presence of mental illness and also having to live amongst family and friends that are aware of the diagnosis, is an insatiably difficult task. In most cases family and friends of those with mental illness automatically stigmatize or critically taint these individuals as incompetent.

However, these cynical expressions and/or thoughts are usually refuted. It has been reported that though some individuals are mentally ill, these individuals are still able to conduct daily activities, build relationships, complete work and/or scholastic academics/assignments, and live a prosperous life. “Being a ‘high-functioning’ bipolar, I’m not in a mental hospital and I do things like live on my own, pay rent, work, and whatnot,” a commentary from Natasha Tracy. Although this may in fact be relatable amongst many like Natasha, there is a large number of individuals that are not educated concerning the positive attributes of those affected by a mental disorder; thus, creating a world of ridicule and truculent stigma.

Stigmatizing all mentally ill people as incompetent is petulant and cynical. “Halle Berry publicly admitted attempting suicide after divorcing from baseball superstar David Justic, but stopped when she ‘had an image of her mother finding her’,” a quote from popcrunch.com. Although Halle Berry allegedly tried committing suicide, the actress has come to terms of coping with her illness, continues to work, and is a supporting mother. She’s recovered dramatically from her mental breakdown and still is. This illustration was only used to refute the thoughts of those prejudiced and uneducated of the recovery mechanisms one with a mental illness could use to continue conducting their lives productively.

“I (Halle Berry) believe in the triumph of this woman and I thought that if in some way it could shed light on the stigma of mental illness it would be a good thing for people to have a little bit more compassion for people who suffer,” a quote from contact music.com.

Some individuals with mental illness that do not seek professional assistance could be at high risk of suicide. In contrast, the ones that do seek professional assistance could bring down the mortality rate. An allege statement from save.org conveys that, “suicide takes the lives of 30,000 American every year. Many who attempt suicide never seek professional care.”

It is pivotal of any individual to seek professional assistant if feelings of suicide arises. Although these individuals may feel or believe they will escape their pain with suicide, they often fail or choose not to comprehend the permanent pain they will inflict on others. However is it always their fault? To elaborate, some schizophrenics are driven by their own mind unconsciously into suicidal actions.

Additionally, some of the same individuals are paranoid of talking with professional assistance, family, and friends due to their mental illness/disorder possibly being stigmatized. However, these individuals tend to give warnings of suicidal idealization. Reportedly, noticeable signs will include: talking about death or wanting to die, feeling isolated or isolating one’s self from others, displaying mood swings, and behavior that’s irrational and/or reckless. The recovery process for everyone with a mental illness/disorder is absolutely different. Additionally, the process of recovery is highly opinionated and debatable.

Nevertheless, whatever approach that is taken should be conveyed to a physician and/or psychotherapist for professional advice and/or approval. After reviewing several lines of this informative article, perhaps you are interested in furthering your education on mental illness. How about ways of supporting those with mental illness? There are many outlets and nonprofit organizations such as: NAMI, Step-Up, DiDi Hirsh, and Edelman.

These organizations give a lot of valuable information ranging in family acceptance and denial, definitions of certain mental illness, resources for recovery, and peer groups to listen and share relatable and similar symptoms. In correspondence to these agencies, there is another agency called: The Painted Brain.

Within, The Painted Brain, members are usually mentally ill and express their recovery process in the form of art. The art could be poems, creative writings, photographs, drawings, paintings, and crafts. The Painted Brain, a non-profited organization, receives all sponsorships through charitable donations. Some of these sponsors maybe extremely well-known and some maybe not.

However, they all play a tremendous role as of helping to break stigma through a newspaper called: The Painted Brain Magazine/NewsPaper.
With the information given, one may possibly understand the importance of seeing everyone equally as a human being.

It should additionally assist one to remember that recovery is never far out of reach for those who seek it. The goal within this informative article is to dim the light on stigmatizing mentally ill individuals and treat them equally the same.