centre of addiction and mental health

Dylann Roof’s Family Life

Dylann Storm Roof was born on the 3rd of April, 1994 in Colombia, South Carolina to parents Amelia (Amy) Cowles and Franklin Bennett (Benn) Roof. Although not together at the time, the two reunited at the time of his birth, however there was initially some question about his paternity. Shortly after his birth, Dylann’s parents separated again and he spent the majority of his early years in the custody of his mother Amy.

In November 1999, when Dylann was five, his father married Paige Mann, but they divorced after ten years of marriage. The family mostly lived in South Carolina, though from about 2005 to 2008, they temporarily moved to the Florida Keys.

Prior to the attack, he was living alternately in Benn and Amy’s homes in downtown Columbia and Hopkins, respectively, but was mostly raised by his stepmother Paige Mann.

Throughout his childhood Dylann experienced a lack of supervision, a chaotic home environment including exposure to domestic disputes and possible violence, instability in his mothers relationships, residences and school placements, and lack of structure.

Dylann attended sessions at Lexington County Community Mental Health Centre with his mother in regards to his mental health and addiction to marijuana.

Dylann’s brother-in-law Michael Tyo described trying to talk with Dylann in the years before the shooting, but without success, ‘His responses were short; yes, no, bye, and he didn’t respond to a lot of things I would say. It was kind of like I wasn’t there or I didn’t say anything. It got to the point where I wouldn’t say anything to him other than hey.’

His maternal uncle, Carson Cowles, said that he expressed concern about the social withdrawal of his then-nineteen-year-old nephew, because “he still didn’t have a job, a driver’s license or anything like that and he just stayed in his room a lot of the time.”

Amy said he tried to mentor Dylann, but was rejected and they drifted apart. He cut off all contact with Paige after her divorce from his father. When his sister planned to be married, he did not respond to her invitation to the event.

Stones and Crystals Masterpost

Agate: Strength, Courage, Longevity, Gardening, Love, Healing, Protection.

Amazonite: Gambling, Success, Auric healing.

Amber: Luck, Healing, Strength, Protection, Beauty, Love

Amethyst: Dreams, Overcoming Alcoholism, Healing, Psychism, Peace, Love, Protection against theft, Courage, Happiness.

Aquamarine: Psychism, Peace, Courage, Purification.

Aventurine: Mental Powers, Eyesight, Gambling, Money, Peace, Healing, Luck.

Azurite: Psychism, Dreams, Divination, Healing.

Bloodstone: Halting bleeding, Healing, Victory, Courage, Wealth, Strength, Power, Legal matters, Business, Agriculture.

Calcite: Spirituality, Centring, Peace, Love, Healing, Purification, Money, Protection, Energy.

Carnelian: Protection, Peace, Eloquence, Healing, Courage, Sexual energy.

Chrysocolla: Peace, Wisdom, Love.

Citrine: Nightmare prevention, Protection, Psychism.
 Energy type: Projective. Associated element: Fire.

Fluorite: Mental powers, Meditation.

Haematite: Healing, Grounding, Divination.

Iron Pyrite (Fool’s Gold): Healing, addiction, strengthening of the will.
 Energy type: Receptive. Associated element: Earth.

Jasper: Healing, Protection, Health, Beauty.

Jet: Protection, Anti-nightmare, Luck, Divination, Health.

Lapis Lazuli: Healing, Joy, Love, Fidelity, Psychic, Protection, Courage.

Malachite: Power, Protection, Love, Peace, Business success.

Obsidian: Protection, Grounding, Divination, Peace.

Onyx: Protection, Defensive magick, Reducing sexual desires.

Quartz: Protection, Healing, Psychism, Power, Lactation.

Ruby: Wealth, Protection, Joy, Anti-nightmare.

Sodalite: Healing, Peace, Meditation, Wisdom.

Sugilite: Psychism, Spirituality, Healing, Wisdom.

Tigers Eye: Money, Protection, Courage, Energy, Luck, Divination.

Tourmaline: Love, Friendship, Money, Business, Health, Peace, Energy, Courage, Astral Projection.

Turquoise: Protection, Courage, Money, Love, Friendship, Healing, Luck.


If you are feeling like you have nowhere else to go, please try going here first.


Depression Hotline: 1-630-482-9696

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-784-8433

LifeLine / Suicide Prevention: 1-800-273-8255

Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386

TTY (text telephone for the deaf): 1-800-799-4TTY (4889)

Sexuality Support: 1-800-246-7743

Eating Disorders Hotline: 1-847-831-3438

Rape and Sexual Assault: 1-800-656-4673

Grief Support: 1-650-321-5272

Runaway / Missing / Exploited Children: 1-800-843-5200, 1-800-843-5678, 1-800-621-4000

Exhale: After Abortion Hotline/Pro-Voice: 1-866-4394253

Child Abuse: 1-800-422-4453

Elder Abuse: 800-252-8966

Aids Hotline: 800-342-AIDS (2437)

Drug & Alcohol Rehab: 1-800-521-7128

US Emergency Shelter:
N/A? Anyone know?


Kids Help Phone (Canada): 1-800-668-6868, Free and available 24/7

Good2Talk (Canada): 1-866-925-5454, For post-secondary students, free and anonmyous

Mental Health Helpline, 1-866-531-2600

Drug and Alcohol Helpline, 1-800-565-8603

Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline, 1-888-230-3505

Anishnawbe 24/7 Mental Health Crisis Management Service: 416-891-8606  (Aboriginal clients)

Assaulted Women’s Helpline: 416-863-0511; Toll Free 1-866-863-0511

Distress Centre: 416-408-HELP (4357) offers access to emotional support from the safety and security of the closest telephone. Callers can express their thoughts and feelings in confidence. Callers’ issues can include problems related to domestic violence, social isolation, suicide, addictions, mental and physical health concerns. The Distress Centre offers emotional support, crisis intervention, suicide prevention and linkage to emergency help when necessary.

Toronto Rape Crisis Centre: 416-597-8808

Canada Emergency Shelter:
Central Intake: 416-338-4766; Toll Free 1-877-338-3398
Streets to Homes Assessment and Referral Centre (129 Peter Street): 416-392-0090 Walk in referral to emergency shelter and street respite.


Samaritans (for any problem): 08457909090 e-mail jo@samaritans.org

Childline (for anyone under 18 with any problem): 08001111

Mind infoline (mental health information): 0300 123 3393 e-mail: info@mind.org.uk

Mind legal advice (for people who need mental-health related legal advice): 0300 466 6463 legal@mind.org.uk

b-eat eating disorder support: 0845 634 14 14 (only open Mon-Fri 10.30am-8.30pm and Saturday 1pm-4.30pm) e-mail: help@b-eat.co.uk

b-eat youthline (for under 25’s with eating disorders): 08456347650 (open Mon-Fri 4.30pm - 8.30pm, Saturday 1pm-4.30pm)

Cruse Bereavement Care: 08444779400 e-mail: helpline@cruse.org.uk

Frank (information and advice on drugs): 0800776600

Drinkline: 0800 9178282

Rape Crisis England & Wales: 0808 802 9999 1(open 2 - 2.30pm 7 - 9.30pm) e-mail info@rapecrisis.org.uk

Rape Crisis Scotland: 08088 01 03 02 every day, 6pm to midnight

National Self Harm Network 0800 622 6000

No Panic Anxiety Youth Helpline 01753 840393    


Argentina: 54-0223-493-0430

Australia: 13-11-14

Austria: 01-713-3374

Barbados: 429-9999

Belgium: 106

Botswana: 391-1270

Brazil: 21-233-9191

China: 852-2382-0000

(Hong Kong: 2389-2222)

Costa Rica: 606-253-5439

Croatia: 01-4833-888

Cyprus: 357-77-77-72-67

Czech Republic: 222-580-697, 476-701-908

Denmark: 70-201-201

Egypt: 762-1602

Estonia: 6-558-088

Finland: 040-5032199

France: 01-45-39-4000

Germany: 0800-181-0721

Greece: 1018

Guatemala: 502-234-1239

Holland: 0900-0767

Honduras: 504-237-3623

Hungary: 06-80-820-111

Iceland: 44-0-8457-90-90-90

India Self Harm Hotline: 00 08001006614

India Suicide Helpline: 022-27546669

Israel: 09-8892333

Italy: 06-705-4444

Japan: 3-5286-9090

Latvia: 6722-2922, 2772-2292

Malaysia: 03-756-8144

(Singapore: 1-800-221-4444)

Malta: 179

Mexico: 525-510-2550

Netherlands: 0900-0767

New Zealand: 4-473-9739

New Guinea: 675-326-0011

Nicaragua: 505-268-6171

Norway: 47-815-33-300

Philippines: 02-896-9191

Poland: 52-70-000

Portugal: 239-72-10-10

Russia: 8-20-222-82-10

Spain: 91-459-00-50

South Africa: 0861-322-322

South Korea: 2-715-8600

Sweden: 031-711-2400

Switzerland: 143

Taiwan: 0800-788-995

Thailand: 02-249-9977

Trinidad and Tobago: 868-645-2800

Ukraine: 0487-327715

If anyone has more good phone numbers to add to this post, please shoot me a message! Thank you!


Duchess of Cambridge in 2016

  1. January 6- George’s First Day at Nursery School [No Photos]
  2. January 10- Sunday Service marking the 100th Anniversary of the First World War Gallipoli Campaign
  3. January- Shopping with George
  4. February 7- 75th Anniversary of RAF Air Cadets
  5. February 7- Helicopter Ride
  6. February 7- Video for Children’s Mental Health Week; Video
  7. February- Dinner at The Crown Inn [No Photos]
  8. February 17- Edits Huffington Post in Support of Children’s Mental Health
  9. February 18- RAF Disbandment Parade
  10. February- Shopping
  11. February 24- Visit to Edinburgh: Visits St. Catherine’s Primary School; Visits The Art Room’s Studio at Wester Hailes Education Centre; Visits Craigmount High School for “Tennis on the Road” Released
  12. March 7- Ski Holiday Photos Released
  13. March 10- Private Visit to Maytree; Visits St. Thomas’ Hospital; Screening of The Stranger on the Bridge; Private Discussion with people bereaved by Suicide
  14. March 11- visits XLP Mentoring Programme at London Wall
  15. March 14- Commonwealth Day Service
  16. March 18- Opens EACH’s Charity Shop
  17. March 27- Our Queen at 90 Documentary; Video
  18. April 7- Reception for Natives from India and Bhutan
  19. April 10- Day 1 of Official Visit to India: Arrival; Lays Wreath at Taj Mahal Palace Hotel; Meets with Staff
  20. April 10- Day 1 of Official Visit to India: Visits Oval Maidan; Open-top Bus Tour of Mumbai; Visits Banganga Water Tank; Visits Slum; Meets with Representatives of SMILE
  21. April 10- Day 1 of Official Visit to India: Dinner Gala & Reception
  22. April 11- Day 2 of Official Visit to India: Investiture at Taj Mahal Palace Hotel; Launched GREAT Tech Rocketship Awards; Visits The Social; Arrives in New Delhi; Visits India Gate & Lays a Wreath; Visits Gandhi Smriti
  23. April 11- Day 2 of Official Visit to India: Queen’s Birthday Party
  24. April 12- Day 3 of Official Visit to India: Visits Salaam Baalak Trust
  25. April 12- Day 3 of Official Visit to India: Luncheon
  26. April 12- Day 3 of Official Visit to India: Bohag Bihu Festival
  27. April 13- Day 4 of Official Visit to India: visits Kaziranga National Park
  28. April 13- Day 4 of Official Visit to India: Visits Panbari Village; visits Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation; Visits Kaziranga Discovery Centre
  29. April 14- Day 5 of Official Visit to India: Arrives at Airport
  30. April 14- Day 1 of Official Visit to Bhutan: Arrival
  31. April 14- Day 1 of Official Visit to Bhutan: Visits Thimphu Dzong for Chipdrel; Meets King and Queen; Open-Air Archery Event
  32. April 14- Day 1 of Official Visit to Bhutan: Dinner
  33. April 15- Day 2 of Official Visit to Bhutan: Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery Paro Taktsang
  34. April 15- Day 2 of Official Visit to Bhutan: Reception
  35. April 16- Day 3 of Official Visit to Bhutan: Farewell
  36. April 16- Day 6 of Official Visit to India: Visits Taj Mahal
  37. April 21- Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th Birthday Dinner
  38. April 22- Dinner for the Obama’s
  39. April 24- Announces new Mental Health Campaign “Heads Together”
  40. May 3- British Vogue Released
  41. May 4- Opens the Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace
  42. May 4- Lunch Reception for Anna Freud Centre
  43. May 4- “Vogue 100: A Century of Style” Exhibit at National Portrait Gallery
  44. May 15- Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th Birthday Celebration
  45. May 16- Heads Together Launch
  46. May 19- Sends Message of Support to attendees at International Children’s Palliative Care Network; New Photo
  47. May 20- Visits Portsmouth for 1851 Trust: Opens Tech Deck Education Centre; Sailing
  48. May 23- Chelsea Flower Show
  49. May 23- Walking with George and Charlotte
  50. May 24- Out with George and Charlotte
  51. May 24- Garden Party
  52. May 24- Meeting with Representatives working in support of services for women in prisons [No Photos]
  53. May 24- Boards Helicopter
  54. May 28- Houghton Hall Horse Trials
  55. May 29- Houghton Hall Horse Trials
  56. June 9- SportsAid’s 40th Anniversary Dinner; Speech
  57. June 10- Queen’s 90th Birthday Thanksgiving Service
  58. June 11- Trooping the Colour
  59. June 12- The Patron’s Lunch
  60. June 13- Order of Garter
  61. June 14- Signs Book of Condolence at American Embassy
  62. June 14- Secretary of State for Northern Ireland’s Garden Party
  63. June 15- Royal Ascot
  64. June 22- A Taste of Norfolk Dinner
  65. June 30- Visits Thiepval Memorial; Vigil at Thiepval Memorial for 100th Anniversary of Battle of Somme
  66. July 1- Opens Thiepval Museum; National Commemorative Event to mark the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme
  67. July 6- Art Fund Museum of the Year Award
  68. July 7- Wimbledon
  69. July 8- Royal International Air Tattoo
  70. July 10- Wimbledon Final
  71. July 16- Visits SAS Camp [No Photos]
  72. July 24- America’s Cup World Series; Presents Trophy
  73. July 26- Arrives in France for Vacation [No Photos]
  74. August 4- Video Wishing Team GB Good Luck in Rio
  75. August 15- Message of Support for Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families [No Photos]
  76. August 24- Visit to Luton: Visits Youthscape; Visits Keech Hospice Care; Visits Hayward Tyler
  77. August 25- Visits YoungMinds UK Helpline Service
  78. September 1- Day 1 of Visit to Cornwall: Visits Truro Cathedral; Visits Zebs; Visits Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm; Visits Nansledan; Visits Tregunnel Hill Project; Visits Wave Project
  79. September 2- Day 2 of Visit to Cornwall: Visits Eden Project; Visits Tresco & St. Martin
  80. September 10- Picnic Lunch with the Queen
  81. September 11- Sunday Service at Crathie Kirk
  82. September 16- Visits Stewards Academy for Heads Together Campaign
  83. September 24- Day 1 of Official Visit to Canada: Arrival; Lays Wreath at Cenotaph
  84. September 25- Day 2 of Official Visit to Canada: Visits Sheway; Visits Immigration Services Society of British Columbia; Event celebrating young leaders in Canadian arts, music, sport, charity, business, and film; Visits Kitsilano Coastguard Station
  85. September 26- Day 3 of Official Visit to Canada: Cultural Celebration; Dedication of the Great Bear Rainforest; Visits Great Bear Rainforest
  86. September 26- Day 3 of Official Visit to Canada: Reception
  87. September 27- Day 4 of Official Visit to Canada: Arrival in Kelowna; Visits University of British Columbia Okanagan; Watches Women’s Volleyball Game; A Taste of British Columbia; Visits Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre
  88. September 28- Day 5 of Official Visit to Canada: Arrival in Whitehorse; Visits MacBride Museum; Meet with Children and Elders taking part in Indigenous Languages Initiatives; visits Youth Art Festival
  89. September 28- Day 5 of Official Visit to Canada: Visits Carcross: Elder Blessing; Song and Welcome Dance by Dakhka Khwaan Dancers; Meets Locals
  90. September 29- Day 6 of Official Visit to Canada: Children’s Party
  91. September 30- Day 7 of Official Visit to Canada: Arrives in Haida Gwaii; Welcome Ceremony; Visits Haida Heritage Centre; visits Haida Gwaii General Hospital
  92. September 30- Day 7 of Official Visit to Canada: Goes Fishing
  93. October 1- Day 8 of Official Visit to Canada: Visits Cridge Centre for the Family; Sailing
  94. October 1- Day 8 of Official Visit to Canada: Farewell
  95. October 10- World Mental Health Day
  96. October 11- Visits to the Netherlands: Meets with King Willem-Alexander; Visits “At Home in Holland: Vermeer and his Contemporaries from the British Royal Collection” at the Mauritshuis; visits British Ambassador’s Residence for Round Table on the themes of Addiction, Intervention, Family, and Mental Health; visits Social Makerspace of Bospolder-Tussendijken
  97. October 14- Visit to Manchester: Visits National Football Museum; Visits Manchester Town Hall; Visits National Graphene Institute; visits Francis House
  98. October 18- Team GB Rio Olympians Reception; Reception for finalists of BBC Radio One’s Teen Hero Awards
  99. November 3- Recovery Street Film Festival; A Street Cat Named Bob Premiere
  100. November 4- Visits HMP Eastwood Park; Visits Nelson Trust Women’s Centre
  101. November 12- Festival of Remembrance
  102. November 13- Remembrance Sunday Service
  103. November 14- Autumn Dinner of the Royal Foundation [No Photos]
  104. November 22- Tea Party to bid Farewell to Dippy the Diplodocus at the National History Museum
  105. November 22- Place2Be Awards; Speech
  106. November 28- Memorial Service for Duke of Westminster
  107. December 7- Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry Board Meeting; Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry Reception [No Photos]
  108. December 8- Met with Juli Beattie [No Photos]
  109. December 8- Diplomatic Reception
  110. December 12- Documentary for 60th Anniversary of Duke of Edinburgh Award; Video
  111. December 14- Special Cub Scout Pack Meeting for 100th Anniversary
  112. December 19- Volunteer Christmas Party
  113. December 20- Pre-Christmas Lunch
  114. December 25- Christmas Day Service

Prince Harry started his two-day visit to Singapore by visiting a mobile testing centre at the imposing residence of Britain’s High Commissioner Scott Wightman.

Prince Harry also attended an Action for Aids reception at Eden Hall. HIV and AIDS is one of Prince Harry’s focuses for his charitable work. During this time he also meet with young people to discuss mental health issues.

He also visited a community centre run by a Muslim-faith led voluntary welfare organisation called Jamiyah Singapore, which provides a range of services from help for recovering addicts to residential homes for young people.

Prince Harry also joined traditional iftar  - the evening meal eaten after daily fast has ended with young Singaporeans | June 4, 2017

Prince Harry, Patron of @WeAreInvictus will attend @InvictusToronto from 22 – 30 September 2017. HRH will meet  some of the 550 competitors from 17 participating nations, and watch as they compete across 12 sports.

Kensington Palace on Twitter 

Prince Harry founded The Invictus Games for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women to use the power of sport to inspire recovery.

Prince Harry will also attend a few additional events including visiting the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Canada’s largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, present The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award and attend CIMVHR | ICRSMV.

Small DNA modifications predict brain's threat response

The tiny addition of a chemical mark atop a gene that is well known for its involvement in clinical depression and posttraumatic stress disorder can affect the way a person’s brain responds to threats, according to a new study by Duke University researchers.

The results, which appear online August 3 in Nature Neuroscience, go beyond genetics to help explain why some individuals may be more vulnerable than others to stress and stress-related psychiatric disorders.

The study focused on the serotonin transporter, a molecule that regulates the amount of serotonin signaling between brain cells and is a major target for treatment of depression and mood disorders. In the 1990s, scientists discovered that differences in the DNA sequence of the serotonin transporter gene seemed to give some individuals exaggerated responses to stress, including the development of depression.

(Image caption: An artist’s conception shows how molecules called methyl groups attach to a specific stretch of DNA, changing expression of the serotonin transporter gene in a way that ultimately shapes individual differences in the brain’s reactivity to threat. The methyl groups in this diagram are overlaid on the amygdala of the brain, where threat perception occurs. Credit: Annchen Knodt, Duke University)

Sitting on top of the serotonin transporter’s DNA (and studding the entire genome), are chemical marks called methyl groups that help regulate where and when a gene is active, or expressed. DNA methylation is one form of epigenetic modification being studied by scientists trying to understand how the same genetic code can produce so many different cells and tissues as well as differences between individuals as closely related as twins.

In looking for methylation differences, “we decided to start with the serotonin transporter because we know a lot about it biologically, pharmacologically, behaviorally, and it’s one of the best characterized genes in neuroscience,” said senior author Ahmad Hariri, a professor of psychology and neuroscience and member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences.

“If we’re going to make claims about the importance of epigenetics in the human brain, we wanted to start with a gene that we have a fairly good understanding of,” Hariri said.

This work is part of the ongoing Duke Neurogenetics Study (DNS), a comprehensive study linking genes, brain activity and other biological markers to risk for mental illness in young adults.

The group performed non-invasive brain imaging in the first 80 college-aged participants of the DNS, showing them pictures of angry or fearful faces and watching the responses of a deep brain region called the amygdala, which helps shape our behavioral and biological responses to threat and stress.

The team also measured the amount of methylation on serotonin transporter DNA isolated from the participants’ saliva, in collaboration with Karestan Koenen at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York.

The greater the methylation of an individual’s serotonin transporter gene, the greater the reactivity of the amygdala, the study found. Increased amygdala reactivity may in turn contribute to an exaggerated stress response and vulnerability to stress-related disorders.

To the group’s surprise, even small methylation variations between individuals were sufficient to create differences between individuals’ amygdala reactivity, said lead author Yuliya Nikolova, a graduate student in Hariri’s group. The amount of methylation was a better predictor of amygdala activity than DNA sequence variation, which had previously been associated with risk for depression and anxiety.

The team was excited about the discovery but also cautious, Hariri said, because there have been many findings in genetics that were never replicated.

That’s why they jumped at the chance to look for the same pattern in a different set of participants, this time in the Teen Alcohol Outcomes Study (TAOS) at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Working with TAOS director, Douglas Williamson, the group again measured amygdala reactivity to angry and fearful faces as well as methylation of the serotonin transporter gene isolated from blood in 96 adolescents between 11 and 15 years old. The analyses revealed an even stronger link between methylation and amygdala reactivity.

“Now over 10 percent of the differences in amygdala function mapped onto these small differences in methylation,” Hariri said. The DNS study had found just under 7 percent.

Taking the study one step further, the group also analyzed patterns of methylation in the brains of dead people in collaboration with Etienne Sibille at the University of Pittsburgh, now at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.

Once again, they saw that methylation of a single spot in the serotonin transporter gene was associated with lower levels of serotonin transporter expression in the amygdala.

“That’s when we thought, ‘Alright, this is pretty awesome,’” Hariri said.

Hariri said the work reveals a compelling mechanistic link: Higher methylation is generally associated with less reading of the gene, and that’s what they saw. He said methylation dampens expression of the gene, which then affects amygdala reactivity, presumably by altering serotonin signaling.

The researchers would now like to see how methylation of this specific bit of DNA affects the brain. In particular, this region of the gene might serve as a landing place for cellular machinery that binds to the DNA and reads it, Nikolova said.

The group also plans to look at methylation patterns of other genes in the serotonin system that may contribute to the brain’s response to threatening stimuli.

The fact that serotonin transporter methylation patterns were similar in saliva, blood and brain also suggests that these patterns may be passed down through generations rather than acquired by individuals based on their own experiences.

Hariri said he hopes that other researchers looking for biomarkers of mental illness will begin to consider methylation above and beyond DNA sequence-based variation and across different tissues.

This is your brain on fried eggs

High-fat feeding can cause impairments in the functioning of the mesolimbic dopamine system, says Stephanie Fulton of the University of Montreal and the CHUM Research Centre (CRCHUM.) This system is a critical brain pathway controlling motivation. Fulton’s findings, published in Neuropsychopharmacology, may have great health implications.

“Our research shows that independent of weight gain and obesity, high-fat feeding can cause impairments in the functioning of the brain circuitry profoundly implicated in mood disorders, drug addiction, and overeating – several states and pathologies that impinge on motivation and hedonia,” Fulton explained. Hedonia relates to a mental state of wellbeing. “Another key finding is that the effects of prolonged high-fat feeding to dampen the sensitivity of this brain reward system are specific to saturated fats – palm oil used in this study – but not monounsaturated fat such as the olive oil used in this study.”

The research team obtained these findings by working with three groups of rats. The first group of rats was the control group: they were given a low-fat diet containing roughly equal amounts of monounsaturated and saturated fatty acids. The second group was given a monounsaturated high fat diet, of which 50% of the calories were from fat derived from olive oil. The third group was given a saturated high fat diet – again, 50% of the calories were from fat, but this time derived from palm oil. The high-fat diets were all the same in terms of sugars, proteins, fat content and caloric density, and the animals were free to eat as much or as little as they liked. After eight weeks, all of the rats still had comparable body weights and levels of insulin, leptin (which are major metabolic hormones) and relative glycemia.

At this time, the rats underwent a series of behavioural and biochemical tests known to be indicative of the functioning of rats’ dopamine system. “We established that the rats on the palm diet had a significantly blunted dopamine function,” said Cecile Hryhorczuk, the first author of the study. “Our research group and others hypothesize that this leads the brain to try to compensate by heightening reward-seeking behaviour, much like the phenomenon of drug tolerance where one has to increase the drug dose over time to get the same high. So, a person consuming too much saturated fat may then compensate a reduced reward experience by seeking out and consuming more high-fat and high-sugar foods to get the same level of pleasure or reward.”

Fulton’s study is the first of its kind to show that, regardless of weight changes, unrestrained intake of saturated fats can have negative effects on the controls of motivation by the brain. “As we were able to control for changes in body weight, hormones and glucose levels, we think that the fats may be affecting the dopamine system by a direct action in the brain,” Fulton said. “We in fact have separate evidence that brain inflammation could be involved in this process, as it is evoked by saturated high-fat feeding, which will be presented in a future publication.”

Off camera, Natasha is always working on something. She makes puppets, creates music, and is writing a book for children. She also divides her spare time with volunteering at The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, playing recreational softball, and fostering rescue dogs. Her interests include: eating all of the things and drinking all of the coffee

natvanlis is a perfect human being!

Words cannot explain how much I love and admire and look up to natvanlis Ever since I first got into ‘Carmilla’, I’ve admired the entire cast and how genuine and sweet they all are, but there’s just something about Natasha that’s just ugh. For one, she likes fostering rescued dogs, that was a big thing for me, I’m a huge dog lover and I love when people rescue dogs. 🐶 She volunteered at a local centre for addiction and mental health, which is a beautiful thing. She’s wrote a children’s book. 🙊 She’s a huge advocate to the lgbtq community, she’s so outspoken about her sexuality and I think that incredible, I’ve read so many people’s stories on tumblr about how much they admire Natasha for everything she does, and that her talking about her sexuality has helped them in so many ways. Alsoooo, she sings, beautifully. 😍 She just released 2 demos (which she didn’t think the fandom would like but here we are all dead after them) which are unbelievable. 😭 She cares so much about her fans, and she just seems like the sweetest most caring human being ever, and I just want to take time to thank her for everything she’s ever done for me, I know Carmilla hasn’t been out for that long, but the show, and cast, and her have made a huge impact on my life and I’m forever grateful for that. ❤️