Experts sound warning on looming food crisis in the North

‘Nutrition transition’ creates health hazards
Panel member David Natcher, the director of the Indigenous Land Management Institute at the University of Saskatchewan, said much of the problem of food insecurity has to do with the logistical difficulties of getting healthy food to isolated northern towns.

“You can look at cost, for example,” he said, outlining how healthy food in a Yukon city like Whitehorse (population 27, 889) costs less than half what it does for a remote Yukon community like Old Crow (population 267.)

“The average cost of groceries for a household in Nunavut is approximately $19,700 per year, yet 49 per cent of Inuit in these regions earn less than $20,000 per year,” Natcher said. “Obviously if all of their income is going toward securing a healthy food basket, there are enormous challenges.”

One consequence of the high cost of food is that many families are forced to buy the cheapest food possible at stores, leading to what Kuhnlein calls “a nutrition transition.”

To read more – Click here

This article was originally published on April, 11, 2014 by Brian Platt.



To Shake Violently.

The word “concussion” derives from the Latin concussus, which means to shake violently.


To live with a history of 7-8 Concussions, all gathered like easter eggs in one wonderful, but very fragile basket (a.k.a my skull cavity) all accumulated during the ages of 13-19, leaves one to wonder just what the heck is really going on up there.

At this point in time, I prefer not to go to the hospital when I happen to have sport/life related head injuries. Because frankly- Is there anything that they do besides shine a flashlight in my eyes, look at my chart, see that I’m a “chronic offender” and simply treat me like a hypo-chrondriac? That seemed to be the case last night. And when the doctor pulled the mental illness card. Saying, “I could be experiencing other symptoms due to my other problems” I knew I had to leave. I was not going to receive any help from this Doctor.

Yes anti-depressants can cause symptoms similar to concussions, but the severity of head pain due to pressure and the overwhelming memory loss and slow functioning, I know this is not just some  “side effects” – those side effects are something that I deal with everyday. What I am experiencing is getting worse, not better, and is limiting what I am able to do. After having an antique wooden door fall, and crack me on the back of the head on May 1st, then 2-3 weeks later, having a soccer ball almost knock my lights out, the month of May has been full of concussion symptom observation. What I am finding a little uneasy is that I am finding it harder to “bounce back”. Trust me. I think I know myself after all the mental health shenaneghans I’ve had to deal with before the age of 20. It seems that unless you see a brain surgeon, or a neuroscientist, post-concussion symptoms are not recognized to be much of a big deal. And since I did not come in unconscious, puking, or in a vegetable-like state, I was pretty much told “we can’t help you” and sent on my way.

It’s true, they can’t help me. Unfortunately medical care has not ventured into the treatment of brain injuries, and the problems one may experience afterwards. Help like that doesn’t seem to be implemented in an everyday hospital. After being told that they “cannot prescribe magic” I literally begged for a cat-scan. But was told “it would not change anything”.

Thanks for thinking I am a 6 year old, I know it won’t change anything. I want to be aware if there is anything that is being ignored, or that could explain any of my problems that lately, I am finding very hard to cope with. And the treatment and unprofessional remarks I received from this doctor? – not impressed at all.

It seems I have hit many a wall in regards to trying to find a better quality of mental health. Is it really so hard? More often than not I come home and begin to doubt myself, thinking that yes, I do complain too much. But then again, all I am looking for is to be able to actually enjoy living. And having the fear that yes, there may be something happening in my head unawares, does affect my ability to achieve a day without worry.

So even though it frightens me, and causes me to worry,  I’ll keep reading articles, papers, whatever I can to find help, since I have yet to find a doctor that will acknowledge my worries about permanent damage.

The only “advice” I received last night was “to avoid getting hit in the head again”.

Thanks, like I didn’t know that already…

My Experience: A Photo Essay about Depression

For this photo essay project, I photographed a series of objects that connect directly to terms and experiences I encounter on a daily basis while coping with a mental illness. My photographs will talk about the process of accepting depression and learning how to live and move forward while making the best of my life.  Depression is a common affliction in society today for many reasons, may it be environmental, internal or inherited. How people acknowledge their mental illness is unique in its own way as everybody has different coping strategies. I want to challenge myself to find new avenues toward healing, coping, and renewal through art and the creative process. Mental health issues cannot be shelved or put on the back burner, so I want to take the opportunity to explore my world in a true holistic sense. In this photo essay, I capture my experience with depression, and the symbols and meanings I connect to. This series of photographs  provide a sense of release and awareness, not just for myself, but for others who may connect to what I have to say, whilst finding a beauty in the deep and dark mundane aspects of my life.

trigger shot Sally

Trigger – Anything, as an act or event, that serves as a stimulus and initiates or precipitates a reaction or series of reactions.


Stress – A reaction to a stimulus that disturbs our physical or mental equilibrium.

pills pills sally

Anti-Depressants – Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (or SSRIs) are a class of antidepressants prescribed for depression and anxiety disorders. They work by increasing the amount of the neurotransmitter serotonin.

paranoia  copy Sally

Paranoia– An unfounded or exaggerated distrust of others, sometimes reaching delusional proportions. Paranoid individuals constantly suspect the motives of those around them, and believe that certain individuals, or people in general, are “out to get them.”

self depricating Sally

Self-Depricating Thoughts – the act of belittling or undervaluing oneself

This is my experience.



Abnormal Psychology Research Project ~ Schizophrenia


The category of disorders I am presenting is Schizophrenia. In my two text books, information can be found on pages: 220, 239-242 in Adjustment and Growth The Challenges of Life sixth edition by Spencer A. Rathus and Jeffrey S. Nevid and pages 101, 557-563 in Psychology: Frontiers and Applications Second Canadian Edition by Passer, Smith, Atkinson, Mitchell, and Muir.


                                                   ~GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT SCHIZOPHRENIA~

Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder characterized by loss of control of thought processes and inappropriate emotional responses. Of all the psychological disorders, schizophrenia is the most serious and, in many ways the most puzzling and difficult to treat ( Hogarty, 2003). Despite the thousands of research studies and many theories of schizophrenia, a complete understanding of this disorder has not been successfully obtained. The term schizophrenia was introduced by the Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler in 1911. Literally the term means “split  mind”, which is often confusing for people. Many would confuse schizophrenia with a dissociative identity disorder or with a Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde phenomenon. The term “split mind” is intended to suggest that certain psychological functions, such as thought, language, and emotion, which are joined together in normal people, are somehow split apart or disconnected in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia affects equal numbers of males and females, but it appears earlier in males, frequently between the ages of 15 and 30 ( Jeste & Heaton, 1994).



Schizophrenia has behavioural, emotional, and cognitive facets that can very widely from case to case. In my research I have found four major subtypes of schizophrenia in my research.

  •  Paranoid type: A type of schizophrenia characterized primarily by delusions commonly of persecution, and delusions of grandeur in which they believe they are enormously important.suspicion, anxiety, or anger may accompany the delusions, and hallucinations.

  • Disorganized type:  Disorganized schizophrenics show disorganized delusions and vivid hallucinations. The central features are confusion and incoherence, together with severe deterioration of adaptive behaviour. Their behaviour often appears silly and childlike, and their emotional responses are highly inappropriate. Thought disorganization is often so extreme that is it very difficult to communicate with them. These people usually cannot function on their own.

  • Catatonic type: Catatonic schizophrenics show striking impairment in motor activity ranging from muscular rigidity to random or repetitive movements. Catatonics sometimes alternate between stuporous states in which they seem oblivious to reality and agitated excitement during which they can be dangerous to others. Something I found quite interesting was that while in a stuporous state they may exhibit a ” wavy flexibility” in which their limbs can be moulded by another person into grotesque positions that they will then maintain for hours. The following picture below is an example of wavy flexibility.


  •  Undifferentiated type: Undifferentiated type schizophrenics are people who exhibit some of the symptoms and thought disorders of the above categories but not enough of the specific criteria to be diagnosed in those categories.

In addition to these formal categories, many mental health  workers and researchers categorize schizophrenic reactions into two main categories on the basis of two classes of symptoms.Type I schizophrenia is characterized by a  predominance of positive symptoms like delusions, hallucinations, and disordered speech and thinking. These symptoms are refered to as “positive” because they represent pathological extremes of normal process. Type II schizophrenia  features negative symptoms which is an absence of normal reactions such as lack of emotional expression, loss of motivation, and an absence of normal speech. ( Herz & Marder, 2002)

Why are these subtypes important?

  • Researchers have found differences in brain function between schizophrenics having positive symptoms and those with mainly negative symptoms (Gur et al., 1998; Zakzanis, 1998)
  • Subtypes also show difference in life history and prognosis
  •  Negative symptoms are likely to be associated with a long history of poor functioning prior to hospitalization and with a poor outcome following treatment (McGlashan & Fenton, 1992)
  • Positive symptoms especially those associated with a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia are associated with good functioning prior to breakdown anda better prognosis for eventual recovery, particularly is the symptoms came on suddenly and were preceded by a history of relatively good adjustment ( Fenton & McGlashan, 1991a,1991b)


Pyschologists have investigated various factors that may contribute to schizophrenia.

I will give a brief description of each for the class to use as a resource.

  •  The thalamus plays such an important role in routing sensory information to higher brain regions, disrupted thamalic functioning can produce a highly confusing world for its victims. In research at the National Institute of Mental Health carried out by Nancy Andreason and her co-workers (1994), MRIs from 39 schizophrenic were compared to 47 normal male volunteers. Brain images showed specific abnormalities  in the thalamus of the “schizophrenic” brains. Researchers suggested that malfunctioning in this structure could help to account for the confused thinking and disordered attention that characterize schizophrenic behaviour.
  • Psychodynamic views – The psychodynamic model views schizophrenia as the overwhelming of the ego by sexual or aggressive impulses from the id. The impulse threaten the ego and cause intense intrapsycic conflict.under this threat the person regresses to an early phase of the oral stage in which the infant has not yet learned that it and the world are separate. fantasies become confused with reality giving birth to hallucinations and delusions. primitive impulses may carry more weight than social norms.

Diagram of Freud’s psyche theory

  • Behavioral views: Behaviorists explain schizophrenia through conditioning and observational learning. From this perspective people show schizophrenic behaviour when it is more likely than normal behaviour to be reinforced. this may occur when the person is reared in a  socially unrewarding or punitive situation. Inner fantasies then become more reinforcing than social realities. *Remember we learned about conditioning and observational learning earlier with Albert who was the baby scared of everything fuzzy*
  • Genetic factors:Schizophrenia, like many other psychological disorders runs in families ( Grove and others, 1991). Schizophrenic persons constitute about 1% of the population. But children with one schizophrenic parent have a 10-15% chance of becoming a schizophrenic ad children with two schizophrenic parents have about a 35% chance of developing the disorder ( Gottesman, 1991).Twin studies also find about a 45% concordance rate for the diagnosis among pairs of identical twins, whose genetic codes are the same, as compared to a 13% rate among pairs of fraternal twins who are no more closely related genetically than other siblings (Gottesman, 1991; Murray & Reveley, 1986) heredity cannot be the sole factor, most investigators today favor a multifactorial model in which genetic factors create a predisposition toward schizophrenia. The predisposition interacts with other factors, such as the quality of parenting, viral infections, birth complications, and stress to produce schizophrenia. ( Gottesman, 1991; Michels & Marzuk, 1993a)
  • The Dopamine Theory of schizophrenia  -THe dopamine theory of schizophrenia evolved from observation of the effects of amphetamines, a group of stimulants. researchers are confident that amphetamines act by increasing the amount of dopamine in the brain. High doses of amphetamines lead to behaviour that mimics paranoid schizophrenia in normal people, and even low doses exacerbate the behaviours of schizophrenics. ( Synder, 1980) A second source of evidence for the dopamine theory lies in the effects of a class of drugs called phenothiazines. It does not appear that schizophrenic persons produce more dopamine than others but that their brains are more sensitive to dopamine ( Snyder, 1984)
While doing further research, I have found that fairly recent studies have concluded that there may be a link between use of cannabis and schizophrenia. I have included a paper by Filip Smit, Linda Bolier & Pim Cuijpers from Trimbos Institute, Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction, Utrecht, the Netherlands. You will be able to view this if you scroll down to bottom of my blog and click “Cannabis use and the risk of later schizophrenia: a review ” in my blogroll. Might make you think twice about making plans to get baked anytime soon.
  •  Schizophrenic patients are likely to be treated with Antipsychotic drugs ( also called major tranquilizers). In most cases, these drugs reduce agitation, delusions, and hallucinations (Michels & Marzuk, 1993)
  • Phenothiazines is a family of drugs that are effective in treatment of many cases of schizophrenia.THe phenothiazines, work by blocking the action of dopamine receptors ( Michels & Marzuk, 1993a). Some examples of phenothiazines are : chlorpromazine (brand name: Thorazine), fluphenazine (Duraclon), mesoridazine (Serentil), perphenazine (Etrafon and Trilafon), prochlorperazine (Compazine), promazine (Robinul and Anectine), thioridazine (Mellaril), trifluoperazine (Stelazine) and triflupromazine (Robinul).
  • Clozapine is effective in treating many seriously disturbed schizophrenics who are unresponsive to other antipsychotic drugs ( Baldessarini & Frankeburg, 1991 ; Green & Salsman, 1990; Naber & Hippius, 1990; Pickar and others, 1992)
Schizophrenia afflicts only one to two percent of the population, yet schizophrenic patients occupy about half of all psychiatric hospital beds ( Satcher, 1999) Many others, barely function as “homeless people” in large cities ( Herman et al., 1998). About 10% of people with schizophrenia remain permanently impaired, and 65% show intermittent periods of normal function. The other 25% recover from the disorder ( American Psychiatric Association, 1994)

I tried to find some famous people with schizophrenia, I didn’t find much because schizophrenia is a brain disorder that typically strikes people when they are quite young – age 17 to 28. People this age typically are too young to be famous, they are just starting out their professional lives after completing high school or college. I was quite impressed that many of these people who had been diagnosed or had been suspected of suffering from schizophrenia had quite normal jobs.

Many “historical diagnoses” are frequently not entirely certain — a “good guess” for schizophrenia includes Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of President Abraham Lincoln. Following is a list of famous people who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, or are highly suspected of suffering (or who had suffered) from schizophrenia.

  • Tom Harrell, Jazz Musician
  • Meera Popkin, Broadway Star
  • John Nash, Mathematician/Nobel Prize Winner
  • Albert Einstein’s son: Eduard Einstein
  • Dr. James Watson’s son ( Dr. Watson is co-discover of DNA and Nobel Prize winner)
  • Alan Alda’s Mother ( Alan Alda is the famous TV actor from the series MASH)
  • Andy Goram – Scottish Soccer Player/ Goal Keeper
  • Syd Barrett of the band Pink Floyd
  • James Beck Gordon (JIm Gordon) – had been one of the greatest drummers of his time
  • Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of Abraham Lincoln ( past-PResident of the United States)
I hope you guys found this somewhat interesting, and can use it as a study tool for the Mental Illness test coming up.

Quiet before the storm (via bang | Photography) *A Window Into My Thoughts*

This is how my mind felt today. As if all the answers got up and walked out of my brain leaving me… well empty and useless. Frustrating? Of course it is. I usually feel like a failure. But also dosn’t not having the answer give you and interestingly satisfying feeling? This is where my mother would sigh and look at me making a joke about a past concussion or something witty. She has a knack for dissing I would not lie about this. My old english teacher would throw a pen at someone and make us do an essay on procrastination ( which yes, I have had to do…) and where fellow students would agree with me. An excuse to sit in class and think about things that are not on the top of your priority list is a wonderful thing.Or maybe they are on top of your priority list. Just they are not exactly rational. But to be able to separate yourself from the daunting task in front of you and stare into oblivion is quite a welcomed gift in my mind. To think about things that are much more I don’t know, theorectical then Stoicheometry? Maybe theorectical isnt the right word, maybe… more colorful more tactile more, well more letting your mind wander and not forcing it to do something. ( Can you tell that I’d do anything to get myself out of my Chemistry 11 class??) Some call it procrastinating, day dreaming, being lazy. What ever. This photograph illustrates this perfectly. Double block of chemistry, and all I wanted to do was to join my answers and every other educated thought… and walk out the door.

Quiet before the storm Quiet before the storm, originally uploaded by bang*. 146 / 365 A little moment of calm and quiet, pools of warming sunlight break the cold darkness of shadow while we await the noise & colour of the crowd. Fuji X100 … Read More

via bang | Photography