As another American, anti-government psycho (Eric Matthew Frein) runs amuck in Pennsylvania, having fatally shot a state trooper and seriously wounded another, we must ask what material and practical means can be found to halt these nuts before they can carry out their misdeeds. Perhaps if Frein was being surreptitiously administered doses of lithium in the right amounts this latest outburst wouldn't have transpired - and school kids in PA wouldn't be terrorized and forced to stay home.
A possible solution for tempering and tamping down psychosis is mentioned in the article: A Bit of Lithium for All of Us? in the New York Times International edition (Sept. 15, p. 9). The piece, by Anna Fels, is totally compelling and basically details research showing that lithium occurring naturally in assorted water supplies around the world correlates with significantly lower incidence of homicide, suicide, rape and other assaults. According to work cited by Fels, a psychiatrist and faculty member at Weill Cornell Medical College, "9 of 11 studies found an association between higher levels of lithium in local water and beneficial clinical, behavioral, legal and medical outcomes,"
She adds (ibid.):
"Other studies have supported that ....lithium appears to promote the health, growth and resilience of neurons, reducing stress-induced damage."
"One study found that at the higher therapeutic doses used to treat mood disorders, brain scans of bipolar patients treated with lithium actually had increased areas of gray matter in their brains compared with bipolar patients who had not been on lithium and with normal controls."
What's even more astounding, another study found that "continued lithium treatment was associated with reduction of the rate of dementia" - this was for a Danish study which compared those taking prescription meds for dementia and those in the general population. Effectively, the lithium had as beneficial an effect for those patients and reduced the incidence to that for those affected in the general population but using lithium alone.
But the real benefit may be in lacing water supplies to reduce psychosis or potential psychotic outbursts, especially of anti-government, militia and "survivalist" types who seem to have made a fetish out of irrationally hating Obama and "liberals" in general. Most of these people can't be reasoned with because they don't think or reason. They THINK they do but in reality merely parrot the irredeemable codswallop of known anti-government, anti-Obama lackeys - who are so familiar they need not be named.
Supporting this are the words of Dr. Nassir Ghaemi, a professor of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine quoted in the article:
"Lithium is by far, the most proven drug to keep neurons alive, in animals and in humans, consistently and with many replicated studies."
"If lithium prevents dementia we may have overlooked a very simple means of preventing a major health problem."
All of which seems to encourage that local governments consider using lithium to manage dysfunctions in their populations.
However, Fels warns that precipitous steps must not be made, first because we need to know more about the tolerance levels for different people and whether there are any adverse effects that override the benefits Second, a lot of work needs to be done to overcome the negative PR of lithium, already well known to be administered in insane asylums to psychotics. As she observes:
"It retains a grim and undeserved reputation because it was originally associated in the public mind with serious mental illness and because like many medications it can have side effects if not monitored properly."
This is something to consider, but given how many brains "lose it" regularly in this country and cease functioning at high levels, it may well be the solution we need - to dealt with both the unhinged whackos among us as well as those suffering from dementia. In addition, it could provide a neuronal protective benefit to all of us.
Things worth considering.