Nathan McGee was only four years old when he experienced the trauma that would eventually lead him to MDMA therapy almost four decades later. It’s still too painful to go into the details.
In the intervening years, he played what he calls “diagnosis bingo.” Doctors variously told Nathan he had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, depression, and dyslexia. In 2019 he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Along the way, he cycled through a vast array of medications—antidepressants, pills for anxiety, and tablets to calm the effects of ADHD. But he didn’t want to pop multiple pills every day just to feel normal.
Nathan McGee was part of a trial using MDMA, also known as ecstasy, as
part of his therapy.BEN RASMUSSEN
“I’d never really felt happy, no matter what was going on in my life,” he says. “I always felt restless, always felt this underlying heaviness. Things just didn’t connect in my head. It was like someone had taken a cable and unplugged it, and I was trying to fit it back in.”
Eventually, Nathan heard about a study that was testing the use of MDMA to treat severe PTSD and managed to get into a phase 3 clinical trial, the final hurdle before US regulators consider whether to approve the therapy.
MDMA is a synthetic psychoactive with a reputation as a party drug popular among clubbers—you may know it as ecstasy, E, or molly. It causes the brain to release large amounts of the chemical serotonin, which causes a euphoric effect, but it’s also been found to reduce activity in the brain’s limbic system, which controls our emotional responses. This seems to help people with PTSD to revisit their traumatic experiences in therapy without being overwhelmed by strong emotions like fear, embarrassment, or sadness.
To test this theory, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, a California-based nonprofit, set up a randomized, double-blind trial—the one Nathan took part in. Participants attended three eight-hour sessions, during which they were given either placebos or two doses of MDMA before discussing their problems and receiving counseling from two qualified therapists.
In May 2021, the trial’s results were published in Nature Medicine. They were breathtaking. Of the 90 patients who participated, those who received MDMA reported significantly better outcomes than the rest. Two months after treatment, 67% of participants in the MDMA group no longer had PTSD, compared with 32% in the placebo group.
I’m seeing life as a thing to be explored and appreciated rather than something to be endured.
Ben Sessa, a UK-based researcher involved in launching the country’s first psychedelic therapy clinic, in Bristol, says the US Food and Drug Administration could approve MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD by the end of 2023.
There are other trials under way in the US, the UK, and beyond to test whether compounds like psilocybin and ketamine could be similarly used to help treat mental illness. The early signs are positive, and if they’re borne out, they could shake up the world of mental-health treatment.
I spoke to Nathan about what the experience of MDMA-assisted therapy was like. Our conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Q: How did your mental-health struggles manifest?
A: Before I participated in the trial, things weren’t going well for me. Everything I was trying went horribly. Nothing worked. I tried so many different therapists and different techniques. I lost my job in January 2018. That was depressing, and I’d lost jobs before, but this time it was different. I decided if this is being caused by my mental health, I’m going to fix this. I’m going to do whatever it takes. If my therapist had told me I had to strip naked and walk through a crowded mall and that would help me, I’d have done it.
Q: How did you come across this study?
A: I was just in a late-night internet rabbit hole. I’d been researching PTSD for a few hours, and I came across this study. I thought I might as well just apply. I didn’t think anything of it. In fact, I forgot about it after. I didn’t even tell my wife. Then, two months later, I got this phone call from them, asking if they could interview me.
Q: Walk me through the experience of what the sessions were like
By: Charlotte Jee
Title: “I understand what joy is now”: An MDMA trial participant tells his story
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2021/08/25/1032117/mdma-ecstasy-ptsd-therapy-mental-health/
Published Date: Wed, 25 Aug 2021 11:00:00 +0000
LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys
Bitso, a leading cryptocurrency platform operating in Latin America, and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF), today announced the joint launch of the first collectible NFT of the Mexico National Team’s jerseys that was acquired in cryptocurrencies.
This morning through their social media platforms, the FMF and Bitso announced the opportunity to acquire the new official National Team fan jerseys ahead of the team’s participation in the 2022 World Cup. In just 20 minutes, the entire collection sold out.
The NFTs of the jerseys have an exclusive design for the metaverse – each is unique on the blockchain and can be resold by its owner in subsequent transactions.
The collection consisted of 100 official physical jerseys, each with a corresponding NFT version of the jersey that fans’ avatars can wear within the Decentraland metaverse. Each physical and NFT jersey set sold for the equivalent of $1,800 MXN in ethers.
“Our mission is to make cryptocurrency useful in the everyday life of Mexicans; we are committed to spreading the technology through innovative opportunities that help people throughout the country familiarize themselves with this new world. We are very excited to offer the incredible, historic opportunity for the fans of our National Team so that through their Bitso account, they can wear the colors of the National Team on and ‘off’ the field in the metaverse.”
– Bárbara González Briseño, General Director of Bitso México
Created by Bitso, the virtual jersey sports the official colors of Mexico and the new National Team shield, characteristics that will make it stand out when users wear it in the virtual world of Decentraland.
The post LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys appeared first on CryptoNinjas.
Title: LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2022/07/29/latam-crypto-exchange-bitso-and-fmf-launch-nft-of-mexicos-national-team-jerseys/
Published Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2022 15:19:02 +0000
Did you miss our previous article…
Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth
EXMO, a crypto exchange platform operating since 2014, announced this week a rebranded visual identity with includes a new logo, brand colors, and design features. This new branding comes as EXMO continues to grow its crypto platform while also seeking to expand its presence in other jurisdictions.
Some new developments underway at EXMO:
Soon, users will be able to earn passive income from EXMO’s new staking platform.Plans to launch an EXMO crypto debit card.Expansion of its services in international markets with the opening of offices in Poland and Lithuania.
EXMO’s new logo
The rationale for the re-brand:
“At EXMO, we have a vision of a world where crypto is in every wallet. Hassle-free. We want to achieve this by making crypto as simple and accessible to everyone as possible. And we know that you already appreciate EXMO for offering user-friendly services and helpful support. Also for the opportunity to trade anywhere and anytime, closing deals in just a few taps. Such important changes required a rethinking of our corporate style, which has long needed a massive upgrade. So today we are introducing a new brand identity for EXMO with a completely new visual concept. We are launching a new logo, brand colors, and design elements. Our key design principles are simplicity, boldness, and a pinch of fun. But most importantly, we have changed our logo. Simple and easily recognizable, it represents the humanity of our brand. The logo stands out due to the wavy letter ‘m’ which symbolizes exchange rate charts and also resembles a spring that will launch you into the crypto world.”
– The EXMO Team regarding the re-branding
The post Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth appeared first on CryptoNinjas.
Title: Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2022/07/26/long-running-crypto-exchange-exmo-unveils-lively-rebrand-amidst-growth/
Published Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2022 08:10:38 +0000
Did you miss our previous article…
Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens
The blistering heat waves that set temperature records across much of the US in recent days have strained electricity systems, threatening to knock out power in vulnerable regions of the country.
The electricity has largely stayed online so far this summer, but there have been scattered problems and close calls already.
Heavy use of energy-sucking air-conditioners is the biggest problem. But intense heat can also reduce the output of power plants, blow transformers, and force power lines to sag. Severe droughts across large parts of the country have also significantly reduced the availability of hydroelectric power, according to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC).
It’s unlikely to get better soon. A number of grid operators may struggle to meet peak summer demand, creating the risk of rolling blackouts, the NERC report notes.
The nation’s isolated and antiquated grids are in desperate need of upgrades to keep the lights, heat, and air-conditioning on in the midst of extreme weather events that climate change is making more common, severe, and dangerous. One clear way to ease many of these issues is to more tightly integrate the country’s regional grids, stitching them together with more long-range transmission lines.
If electricity generated in one area can be more easily shared across much wider regions, power can simply flow to where it’s needed at those moments when customers crank up air-conditioners en masse, or when power plants or fuel supply lines fail amid soaring temperatures, wildfires, hurricanes, or other events, says Liza Reed, a research manager focused on transmission at the Niskanen Center, a Washington, DC, think tank.
The problem is it’s proved difficult to build more long-range transmission and grid interconnections for a variety of reasons, including the permitting challenges of erecting wires through private and public lands across cities, counties, and states and the reluctance of local authorities to forfeit control or submit to greater federal oversight.
The case of Texas
The unreliability of the US grid is not a new problem. Severe heat and winter storms have repeatedly exposed the frailty of electricity systems in recent years, leaving thousands to millions of people without power as temperatures spiked or plunged.
One of the fundamental challenges is that the grids today are highly fragmented. There are three main electricity networks within the US: the Eastern Grid, the Western Grid, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). But there are numerous regional transmission organizations within those first two systems, including the California Independent System Operator, Southwest Power Pool, PJM Interconnection, New York ISO, and more.
These grids form a complex web of networks operating under different regulators, rules and market structures, and often with limited connections between them.
A variety of regional transmission organizations oversee different parts of the nation’s aging and fragmented grids, which operate under different rules and with often limited connections between them.
ERCOT is especially isolated, in part because of the desire among local politicians, citizens, and power companies to avoid added competition, the hassle of following other states’ rules, and oversight from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). But the state offers a case study in why that can be a serious problem amid increasingly harsh climate conditions, Reed says.
The Texas grid operator pleaded with customers several times earlier this month to cut electricity use as blistering summer temperatures created demand surges that threatened to outstrip supply and require rolling blackouts. Low wind conditions, cloud cover, and outages at fossil-fuel power plants added to the strains.
Shutting off the electricity needed to run air-conditioning in triple-digit temperatures
By: James Temple
Title: Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/07/28/1056483/stitching-together-the-grid-will-save-lives-as-extreme-weather-worsens/
Published Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2022 08:00:00 +0000
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