Nobel Winner Links Mental Illness To Immune System Defect

It appears there may yet be another step forward in the scientific world that can lead to a better understanding of mental illness.  With these advances the hope for better treatment is always the goal.  Science and faith are not mutually exclusive and we should pray for those who devote their lives to improve the lives of others.  Allan

Taken from which is located HERE.

A Nobel Prize-winning geneticist has discovered the first ever link between immune system cells and psychiatric disorder, which potentially opens the way to new psychiatric treatments.

‘We’re showing there is a direct relationship between a psychiatric disorder and the immune system, specifically cells named microglia that are derived from bone marrow and are found in the brain,’ says Mario Capecchi, professor of human genetics at the University of Utah School of Medicine (UUSM).

‘There’s been an inference. But nobody has previously made a direct connection between the two,’ said Capecchi, a 2007 Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine.

Capecchi and colleagues showed that pathological grooming and hair-pulling in mice – a disorder similar to trichotillomania in humans – is caused by a mutant Hoxb8 gene that results in defective microglia.

Microglia are immune system cells that originate in bone marrow and migrate from blood to the brain. They defend the brain and spinal cord, attacking and engulfing infectious agents.

Mice with pathological grooming appear to groom normally, but do so too often and for too long, leading to hair removal and self-inflicted skin wounds.

The disease of pulling out head or body hair is common in humans; studies in seven international communities found trichotillomania affecting 1.9 to 2.5 of every 100 people.

In the key experiment, geneticist Shau-Kwaun Chen, Capecchi and colleagues transplanted bone marrow from normal mice into 10 mice that had a mutant Hoxb8 gene and compulsively pulled out their own chest, stomach and side fur.

As the transplant took hold during ensuing months, grooming behaviour became normal, four mice recovered completely and the other six showed extensive hair growth and healing of wounds.

‘A lot of people are going to find it amazing,’ says Capecchi. ‘That’s the surprise: bone marrow can correct a behavioural defect.’

‘Nevertheless, I’m not proposing we should do bone marrow transplants for any psychiatric disorder in humans,’ he says.

Bone marrow transplants are expensive, and the risks and complications are so severe they generally are used only to treat life-threatening illnesses, including certain cancers and disabling autoimmune diseases such as lupus, said an UUSM release.

‘We think it’s a very good model for obsessive-compulsive disorder,’ says Capecchi. The researchers also transplanted bone marrow into normal mice from Hoxb8 mutant, hair-pulling mice. The normal mice started pulling out their hair compulsively.

Normal mice transplanted with normal bone marrow kept grooming normally, while mutant mice implanted with mutant bone marrow exhibited severe grooming and self-mutilation. Half died, probably due to difficulty in re-establishing mutant bone marrow.

These findings were published in the Friday issue of Cell.

Music Of The Storm: Streams In The Desert, May 31st

“Nevertheless afterward” Hebrews 12:11

There is a legend that tells of a German baron who, at his castle on the Rhine, stretched wires from tower to tower, that the winds might convert them into an Aeolian harp. And the soft breezes played about the castle, but no music was born. But one night there arose a great tempest, and hill and castle were smitten by the fury of the mighty winds. The baron went to the threshold to look out upon the terror of the storm, and the Aeolian harp was filling the air with strains that rang out even above the clamor of the tempest. It needed the tempest to bring out the music!

And have we not known men whose lives have not given out any entrancing music in the day of a calm prosperity, but who, when the tempest drove against them have astonished their fellows by the power and strength of their music?

“Rain, rain
Beating against the pane!
How endlessly it pours
Out of doors
From the blackened sky
I wonder why!
“Flowers, flowers,
Upspringing after showers,
Blossoming fresh and fair,
Ah, God has explained
Why it rained!”

You can always count on God to make the “afterward” of difficulties, if rightly overcome, a thousand times richer and fairer than the forward. “No chastening… seemeth joyous, nevertheless afterward . . .” What a yield!

Praise & Worship, May 29th

Song List

1.  Abide With Me-  Voices Of The Valley

2.  Above All Else-  Wendy O’Connell

3.  Oh The Deep Deep Love Of Jesus-  Anne Walsh

4.  Behold The Lamb (communion hymn)-  Stuart Townend

5.  The Power Of The Cross-  Keith & Kristyn Getty

6.  Yet I Will-  Vineyard

7.  With All I Am-  Hillsong

8.  Agnus Dei-  Michael W. Smith

9.  Give Us Clean Hands-  Chris Tomlin

10.  Number Me In Your Prayers-  Annie Herring

11.  I Have Found-  Kim Walker

Prayer Requests & Praise Reports, May 28th

“We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.” Oswald Chambers

New Prayer Requests

Mom–  Thank you for keeping my request on your prayer list. Our son is doing better and is now able to work and is hoping to return to school next semester.

He’s been through different combinations of medications and we are hopeful that the current combinations will work for him in the long term.

He is still discouraged and is beating himself up for disenrolling from school. We try to encourage him, but he doesn’t receive it.. We are praying that God would allow him to live a rewarding life and that he see God’s hand in all this the last 5 months. Thank you for your continued prayers.

Bevan Allen–  please pray that jest me free from demonic scray night mares i live in nz. male 36 yrs got bipolar disorder renal failure diabetes

Past Prayer Requests

Allan- My sister’s husband is improving although still in a coma after two months.  Please pray that he will soon be weaned from his respirator and that he will have a miraculous recovery. Pray also for my sister and three adult children.

Allan–  Dorci has had surgery to remove a cyst from her spine.  Please pray that God would allow her to heal quickly and completely.

Eero–  We have a spiritual camp (06.11-06.13.2010). To the camp comes people who are alcoholics or drug addicts. I hope, that you praying that Jesus saves, heals and frees them. And that all will go well.

Past Prayer Requests

PK Sweet- please pray for a bipolar son with brain damage also…that he may know and love and follow Christ, be free of all addictions and self destructive behavior, get the help he needs and be @ peace…also that God help us all in the family to be filled with the Spirit and bear luscious fruit, and be filled with joy rather than despair

Mom– Would you all keep our family in prayer? I posted here under another name before, but feel more comfortable with this handle considering my prayer request. Our just turned 20 yr. old son, who disenrolled himself from his engineering studies 2 weeks ago, has been on a roller coaster ride for the last 3-4 weeks. Fortunately, he lives with us in an apartment on our property. First he was diagnosed with depression and prescribed prozac, then celexa. Unfortunately, he was pushed into mania and a mixed bipolar state. He is now recovering and though still agitated, is coming down on the correct medication, with good sleep, good food and good exercise. He has been diagnosed as bipolar and we now have begun the journey of helping him get the right help, medications and plan for his life. Please keep him and us in prayer, and prayer for wisdom for his doctor and counselor. Thank you so much—

Long Term Prayer Requests

Set Free– erunner – we still have no building for our church it’s not easy to share with another ministry since we are limited to having any special services. Please continue to pray that God will answer soon. And when he does I’ll be sure to let you know. I will continue to lift these other prayers you have here in your website I know they are more serious then what I am requesting. God’s Richest Blessings.

Angela–  Keep Angela in prayer as she continues on her road of recovery from Anorexia.

Okie Preacher–  Battling unknown physical problems and depression.  “I have a physical problem that the doctors have not been able to identify. It has been characterized by severe muscle pain and weakness, joint pain, fatigue, shortage of breath, dizziness, difficulty swallowing, and coughing fits that almost cause me to pass out.”

White Horses- Prayer for anxious thoughts and worrying.

Shaun Sells–  Keep Shaun in prayer for wisdom as he seeks to continue his ministry to those with mental illness in his church.

Dusty– Continued prayer for deep depression.

Rachel–  Continued prayer as she struggles with bi-polar disorder.

Natalie Tan–   Keep Natalie in prayer as she moves further away from her battle with Anorexia.

Allan–  Our nephew’s wife has M.S.

Leslie Vernick: Suicide Assessment And Intervention

Yesterday I published statistics relating to teen suicide. Today I am running this article by Leslie Vernick where she talks about the signs to help you assess whether or not a person is a high risk for suicide.  Leslie’s website is located   HERE.

In the event you need to contact someone you can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline   HERETheir toll free number is 800- 273-8255.

Suicide Assessment and Intervention
Leslie Vernick LCSW, DCSW
Understanding Suicide:

Here are some things that you may find helpful in assessing whether or not a
person poses a high risk for suicide. However, if there is any talk of suicide, please tell an adult, and consult with a mental health professional. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

HIGH RISK PEOPLE – People who have depression, mood disorders or bi-polar disorder, alcoholism, and substance abuse, low social support, family history of suicide or previous history of suicide attempts, and hopelessness. Some big days for high suicides are NYD, Fourth of July and Labor Day. (Important to invite people for holiday times)

If you know someone struggling with depression or making some statements about wanting to die here are some things to ask them.

Is it a thought? “Have you ever thought of killing yourself?” – in this initial
assessment, if the answer is yes, you need to find out what are their thoughts,
how often do they have them, what are their fantasies about suicide, what do
they think will happen, what is their attitude toward it?

Sometimes people have these thoughts but they say that they’d never do it
because it would hurt their children too much. (low risk, high deterrent) or some other deterrent. However, if they think about it often and fantasize how
wonderful it would be to finally be at peace and have no stress in their lives and also fantasize how much everyone will regret how terribly they treated the person they are Hi risk, no deterrents.

Do they have a plan? “Gee, you’ve mentioned you wish you were dead, have you ever thought about actually doing something to yourself? “What have you thought of doing? ”

If they’ve answered yes, you want to know how specific is this plan, time,
place, method? How lethal? Is it with guns, hanging, (high risk) or non
specific, “well I haven’t really figured that part out yet.” How available to the
person is the means that they have planned? In other words, if they have a plan (like a gun) do they have a gun in their house or have access to one? How
much control do they have over their suicidal plans? In other words, are they feeling that they have a strong sense of control, unsure of control, or no control.

How determined are they? Can they be talked out of it. Will they agree to
wait a while to see if things will improve. What are their deterrents? (family,
religious beliefs, serious injury if they fail, children, etc?) “You seem to have a
well thought out plan to do it, what do you think that God thinks of this?” or,
“How do you think your children will feel when they find you dead?” Assess
whether this is of great concern to them (high deterrent) or some concern (
medium deterrent) or no concern to them. “My children wouldn’t care, they
would be better off without me.”

What is this persons coping abilities? What are their individual strengths? What is their past history of suicidal attempts? How do they cope with stress? How do they deal with frustration, internal pain, and anger? What is their walk with God and are they realistic in their expectations of self and others? Are they connected interpersonally and able to maintain long term relationships?

Weak coping abilities – a past psychiatric history and/or hospitalization. Low frustration tolerance, poor social and interpersonal relationships, social
withdrawal, excessive use of alcohol or drugs, gambling or promiscuity,
consistent display of extreme reactions to fear, guilt and shame.

What are their external strengths? Supportive relationships from family, job,
church, therapist, and how reliable are they?
Low external strengths = High risk    High internal strengths = low risk
Low internal strengths = High risk      High external strengths = low risk
When there is a combination of low internal strengths, but high external
strengths, you need to enlist the support of these external strengths to help the person through this hard time. You also need to assess these external strengths to see if they are dependable, reliable and consistent. (Their support system may be exhausted and frustrated with the depressed person)

A person may have high internal strengths and low external strengths due to a catastrophic loss (death of family) or move to a new community with
subsequent loss of job. This too needs to be assessed and external strengths
need to come from the church community immediately and consistently until this person gets back on their feet. Probably this person will not initiate too much in terms of requesting help, they may feel embarrassed or ashamed and you will need to be assertive in offering it.

Assess hopelessness. Ask “how much hope do you have that these things can be overcome?” What other options do you have besides killing yourself?”
INTERVENING WITH A SUICIDAL PERSON – Take them to the local hospital emergency room for a mental health assessment. If someone is a danger to themselves, they are usually admitted for observation and assessment.

Teen Suicide: Sobering Numbers


3rd leading cause of death, ages 15-24 (behind accidents and homicide)
4th leading cause of death, ages 10-14

How real is the problem of youth suicide? Here are the numbers:

EVERY YEAR there are approximately 10 youth suicides for every 100,000 youth.
EVERY DAY there are approximately 11 youth suicides.
EVERY 2 HOURS AND 11 MINUTES a person under the age of 25 completes suicide

How pervasive is the problem of youth suicide? Here’s a brief review of what national data tell us:

Suicide is the third leading cause of death for teens.

Suicide is second leading cause of death in colleges.

For every suicide completion, there are between 50 and 200 attempts.

CDC Youth Risk Survey: 8.5% of students in grades 9-12 reported a suicide attempt in the past year.

25% of high-school students report suicide ideation.

The suicide attempt rate is increasing for youths ages 10-14.

Suicide has the same risk and protective factors as other problem behaviors, such as drugs, violence, and risky sexual activities.

While a single suicide is a tragedy, it is estimated that for every adolescent who completes suicide, there are between 50 and 200 suicide attempts.

A recent survey of high-school students found that almost 1 in 5 had seriously considered suicide; more than 1 in 6 had made plans to attempt suicide; and more than 1 in 12 had made a suicide attempt in the past year.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL):

19.3%of high school students have seriously considered killing themselves.
14.5% of high school students made actual plans for committing suicide,
900,000 youth planned their suicides during an episode of major depression.

Warning signs:

Talks about death and/or suicide (maybe even with a joking manner).
Plans ways to kill him or herself.
Expresses worries that nobody cares about him or her.
Has attempted suicide in the past.
Dramatic changes in personality and behavior.
Withdraws from interacting with friends and family.
Shows signs of depression.
Shows signs of a substance abuse problem.
Begins to act recklessly and engage in risk-taking behaviors.
Begins to give away sentimental possessions.
Spends time online interacting with people who glamorize suicide and maybe even form suicide pacts.


Plan that will work
Means to carry out the plan
Can discuss the plan without negative emotions

Racial and Gender Differences and Firearms

Of the total number of suicides among teens ages 15 to 24 in 2001, 86% were male and 14% were female. The great difference between male teen suicide and female teen suicide rates is because males use firearms more to commit suicide than females (who use pills more) and succeed at suicide more than females.

According to American Psychiatric Association, four times as many teen males succeed at killing themselves than women; however, three times as many teen females attempt suicide. In 2001, firearms were used in 54% of youth suicides.

According to Child Trends Databank, among males, suicide rates in 2003 were highest among the following:
Native American (24.7 per 100,000)
Non-Hispanic whites (13.3 per 100,000)
Hispanics at 9.2 per 100,000
Asians at 6.7 per 100,000
Blacks at 6.6 per 100,000.

Among females:
Native Americans had the highest rate of suicide at 9.0 per 100,000
Non-Hispanic whites at 3.0 per 100,000
Asians at 2.5 per 100,000
Blacks at 0.9 per 100,000

Depression and Alcohol Abuse Statistics

According to the American Psychiatric Association, Most young persons who suffer from depression will eventually attempt suicide at least once. Of the young persons who attempt suicide due to depression, more than 7% will die as a result. 53% of teens who commit suicide abused alcohol.

Previous Suicide Attempts

Teens that have attempted suicide in the past are likely to attempt suicide again; in fact, according to the National Youth Violence Prevention Center, about 1/3 of all teen suicide victims have tried to commit suicide before.

High Risk Groups

According to the Youth Suicide Prevention Program (YSPP), Native American youth have the highest rates of suicide among ethnic groups. Gay youth are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than other young people. A higher risk of suicide attempts for gay and lesbian youth has clearly been shown; however, there are no studies that show an elevated risk of death by suicide for gay and lesbian youth. Western states have higher rates of suicide than Eastern states. Alaska and Nevada are highest. New England states are the lowest.

Alarming Numbers

Ten teenagers out of 100,000 decide to kill themselves. These numbers cannot be ignored. Educating our teens about suicide in school and at home can help reduce these numbers, while allowing teens to express their feelings and communicate their problems freely with someone can help save their lives as well.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide please call 1-800-SUICIDE for more information.