There were 49,500 people who committed suicide in the United States in 2022, according to the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. The Center for Disease Control adds, “it is the highest number of suicides ever recorded in a single year.”
Surging death rates from suicide, drug overdoses and alcoholism are largely responsible for a consecutive three year decline of life expectancy in the U.S. It constitutes the first three-year drop since World War I.
Diseases of despair, and the resulting deaths of despair, are highest among middle-aged White Americans; Hispanic Americans; and African Americans. The disease of despair first caught our attention because of its connection to the Opioid Epidemic in 2018, when a surge of some 158,000 U.S. citizens died from related causes. The principle driver of the current decline in the mortality rate was triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Major Depressive Disorders (MDD) is a complex and debilitating disease estimated to affect upwards of 160+ million people worldwide. Moreover, physical and emotional pain is the body's way of telling us something is wrong. It's the fieldwork of doctors; the fairground of drug companies; and the final frontier for lawmakers.
And since the U.S. Supreme Court paused the Purdue Pharma opioid settlement this week—to reconsider if or whether the U.S. Constitution allows a wealthy family responsible for driving nearly one million fatal overdoses to slip the noose of a litigation shield—a quick word on painkillers ahead of the High Court's barbaric yawp.
Empire of Pain
In 1968, New York City psychiatrist Dr. Arthur Sackler began prescribing diazepam (Valium) into the top-selling wonder drug over the next 20 years. “Its the drug you never knew you needed,” read the slogan targeting housewives in Woman’s Day. Along with his psychiatrist brothers Mortimer and Raymond, the Sackler brothers built an empire panhandling to doctors, and creating incentives for those doctors to prescribe their medications and products. In fact, Arthur Sackler pioneered the first direct-to-physician newsletter, The Medical Tribune, between physicians and the pharmaceutical industry. The Medical Advertising Hall of Fame writes: “No single individual did more to shape the character of medical advertising than Arthur Sackler. He is the pioneer of advertising and promotion in pharmaceutical marketing."
But it was his nephew, Richard Sackler, who persuaded the FDA to approve Oxycontin in 1995; a narcotic with the exact same molecule as heroine. A sorority of attractive pharmaceutical reps known colloquially as the "Oxycontin Kittens" pushed 30-day free trials on U.S. physicians who at the time we’re predominantly 87% male. According to the CDC, more than 932,000+ people have died since 1999 from the Opioid Crisis.
Purdue Pharma filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on September 15, 2019, and pled guilty to federal criminal charges relating to opioid sales and marketing. Under the deal, Purdue Pharma would pay out $1.2 billion immediately, and the Sackler family an additional $6 billion over the next 18 years to states, cities, native tribes, and hundreds of thousands of individuals harmed by their marketing practices. In their bankruptcy filing the Sackler family admits:
We knowingly and intentionally conspired and agreed with others to aid and abet doctors dispensing medication without a legitimate medical purpose.
Under that bankruptcy agreement Purdue Pharma would close, and the family’s massive fortune would be shielded from any and all further litigation. According to the US House of Representatives Oversight Committee, the Sackler family are collectively worth $11 billion.
But in response to a recent rebuttal from the Biden Justice Department, the Supreme Court last week ordered a pause on the settlement and asked the U.S. Trustee Division of the DOJ, Purdue Pharma, and Sackler family to prepare arguments on a technical: “Does US bankruptcy code allow courts to approve deals, as part of a Chapter 11 filings, that extinguish claims against third parties that aren't bankrupt?”
The landmark case may effect all future corporations who’re inclined to bail out with golden parachutes abandoning their own companies, patients, and colleagues in a crisis. Still, there were 107,000 overdoses in the United States last year. 75% were linked to an Opioid. Rates were highest among adults aged 35-44. There was an odd 28% increase in adults aged 65 and older. Arguments are scheduled for December.
Concurrent with the pharmaceutical bonanza of opioid painkillers and benzodiazepines over the past 50 years, MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) has provided unprecedented insight in diagnostic medicine. According to the Mayo Clinic, MRI is the most frequently used imaging test of the brain > spinal cord > heart and blood vessels > internal organs > bones, joints and breasts.
While the MRI has been used in research to understand depression, next generation magnets only recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for clinical use has enabled researches to actually observe depression in the brain.
The MRI Tesla 7 is advancing understanding of many neuropsychiatric disorders, including Major Depressive Disorders (MDD). By going where no MRI has gone before, Tesla 7 has recently discovered that all persons with MDD have increased iron deposition in the putamen and globus pallidus regions of the brain, according to research led by Angela Jakary at UCSF’s Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging. Another opportunity for Big Pharma? Not quite.
Drugs merely interfere with the way neurons send, receive and process signals to the brain, and most come with adverse side effects. But like the Earth, Tesla believed that “fluid electrical charges” were running just beneath the surface of the brain, too. Could a series of electrical discharges at repeated set intervals reset those neurons; restore the electrical activity and natural rythem of the brain? Tesla writes:
My brain is only a receiver. In the Universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength and inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know that it exists.
Forget that he lit up the first world’s fair and power station. Nikola Tesla invented the first alternating current (AC) motor, and developed AC generation and transmission technology. Why thats relevant to those who’re blue? Tesla it seems was a depressive, too.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a noninvasive electrical current designed to painlessly stimulate the brain. Through a magnetic coil connected to the scalp, quick impulses of Tesla 1 - Tesla 3 waves can penetrate between 3-6 centimeters into the brain.
First developed for research in 1985, TMS received FDA approval in 2008 and is successfully treating MDD, including the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Tesla himself is believed to have suffered with.
The National Institutes of Health estimates depression medications work for 60-63 percent of people who take them. Concurrently, TMS was found to improve depression in 58 percent of patients but with a caveat. It is considered to have effectively cured 37 percent. The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recently advised the National Health Service (NHS):
The evidence of repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for depression shows no major safety concerns. The evidence on its efficacy in the short-term is adequate, although the clinical response is variable. Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for depression should be considered by the NHS with clinical governance, oversight and audit.
American health insurers also consider Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy a medically sound alternative treatment for all Major Depressive Disorders, including bipolar disorder > anxiety > ADHD > obsessive compulsive disorder > migraines > and chronic pain. A total of 36 sessions at $10 a pop (depending on your copay) complete the treatment course.
“Mark Twain’s novels were so captivating as to make me utterly forget my hopeless state,” Nikola Tesla once said, but it was at 35 South Fifth Avenue in 1894 where Twain actually participated in Tesla’s experiments.
Twain swore a vacuum lamp, powered by a loop of wire that gets electromagnetic energy from a Tesla coil, could cure a hangover. A pesky side effect of their excursions to the Gentlemen’s Club, Twain said, "Truth is stranger than fiction; but that’s because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t."