US soldiers traumatized by fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are to be offered the drug ecstasy to help free them of flashbacks and recurring nightmares. \nThe US food and drug administration has given the go-ahead for the soldiers to be included in an experiment to see if MDMA, the active ingredient in ecstasy, can treat post-traumatic stress disorder. \nScientists behind the trial in South Carolina think the feelings of emotional closeness reported by those taking the drug could help the soldiers talk about their experiences to therapists. \nSeveral victims of rape and sexual abuse with post-traumatic stress disorder, for whom existing treatments are ineffective, have been given MDMA since the research began last year. \nMichael Mithoefer, the psychiatrist leading the trial, said: "It's looking very promising. It's too early to draw any conclusions but in these treatment-resistant people so far the results are encouraging." \n"People are able to connect more deeply on an emotional level with the fact they are safe now." \nHe is about to advertise for war veterans who fought in the last five years to join the study. \nAccording to the US national center for post-traumatic stress disorder, up to 30 percent of combat veterans suffer from the condition at some point in their lives. \nKnown as shell shock during the first world war and combat fatigue in the second, the condition is characterized by intrusive memories, panic attacks and the avoidance of situations which might force sufferers to relive their wartime experiences. \nMithoefer said the MDMA helped people discuss traumatic situations without triggering anxiety. \n"It appears to act as a catalyst to help people move through whatever's been blocking their success in therapy." \nThe existing drug-assisted therapy sessions last up to eight hours, during music is played. \nThe patients swallow a capsule containing a placebo or 125mg of MDMA -- about the same or a little more than a typical ecstasy tablet. \nPsychologists assess the patients before and after the trial to judge whether the drug has helped. \nThe study has provoked controversy, because significant doubts remain about the long-term risks of ecstasy. \nAnimal studies suggest that it lowers levels of the brain chemical serotonin, and some politicians and anti-drug campaigners have argued that research into possible medical benefits of illegal drugs presents a falsely reassuring message. \nThe South Carolina study marks a resurgence of interest in the use of controlled psychedelic and hallucinogenic drugs. \nSeveral studies in the US are planned or are under way to investigate whether MDMA, LSD and psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, can treat conditions ranging from obsessive compulsive disorder to anxiety in terminal cancer patients.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete