Co slychac w Albercie ,a konkretnie w Edmonton ?
A no robimy co tylko sie da , dla Pan, aby ulzyc im w ciezkich okresach.
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The Globe and Mail
Alberta team tackles 'PMS from hell'
Researchers believe between 2 and 7 per cent of women in their reproductive
years suffer debilitating symptoms each month from a mysterious disorder
By JILL MAHONEY
Friday, August 20, 2004 - Page A11
EDMONTON -- Wendy's mysterious symptoms "really reared their ugly head" after
she suffered a deep bout of postpartum depression following the birth of her
first child 16 years ago.
When she recovered, she was plagued by a host of ailments -- from severe mood
swings and anxiety to memory loss and fatigue -- that worsened as the years
The 49-year-old Edmonton woman's emotions became so volatile that she could
no longer watch movies, a favourite family pastime, because she would cry
hysterically at both the happy and sad parts.
"You don't feel in control at all -- of your emotions, your moods -- and then
that affects your behaviour and even your attitude," said Wendy, who asked to
be referred to by her first name to protect her family's privacy.
At some point, she realized the debilitating symptoms came like clockwork in
the days and weeks before her period and faded after it started.
Despite consulting several doctors, none could pinpoint the root of her
symptoms, which she figured were related to premenstrual syndrome. Most
diagnosed her with depression, but the label didn't feel right.
As her condition got worse, so did her family life. The mother of two battled
regularly with her son. She and her husband, who initially discounted PMS,
decided not to have a third child. She felt incapable of returning to her
teaching job, which she left when she had her first baby.
After searching for years, Wendy was diagnosed last fall with a controversial
and little-known extreme form of PMS called premenstrual dysphoric disorder,
or PMDD. Many call it "PMS from hell."
"They very often feel like a different person; that's how those ladies
usually describe themselves," said Janette Seres, a post-doctoral fellow who
studies the condition at the University of Alberta. "Usually they come and
say, 'You know, I'm crazy for two weeks.' And it's good for them to
know, 'Okay, this is a disorder, this is a known problem.' "
PMDD, which is considered a mental disorder, is characterized by disabling
emotional symptoms that are so severe they interfere with normal life.
Researchers estimate that the syndrome, which tends to intensify as sufferers
get older, affects 2 to 7 per cent of women in their reproductive years. Such
women are also predisposed to other psychiatric conditions, including
Women with PMDD -- who can also experience strong food cravings, sadness,
lack of interest in regular activities, insomnia, anxiety and difficulty
concentrating -- live a roller-coaster existence. Symptoms vary during their
menstrual cycles, tending to be worst up to two weeks before their periods
and virtually disappearing afterward.
Many experts believe the symptoms are triggered when natural hormones that
fluctuate during the menstrual cycle interact with brain chemicals that are
somehow altered in women with the disorder.
These changes set off "severe behavioural modification and emotional
symptoms," said Jean-Michel Le Mellédo, a psychiatrist and director of the
University of Alberta's brain neurobiology program.
However, the disorder, whose legitimacy is the subject of heated debate, is
not considered a full-fledged condition in the current edition of the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is psychiatry's
bible. Instead, PMDD appears in the appendix, which lists potential
disorders "proposed for further study."
Dr. Le Mellédo and Dr. Seres, who are convinced that PMDD exists, are
conducting three studies in hopes of discovering its cause and eventually an
(Wendy was prescribed a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, a class of
drugs that includes Prozac and Paxil, which is also used to treat depression.
However, she stopped taking the medication so she could participate in Dr. Le
Mellédo and Dr. Seres's research.)
The scientists believe two brain chemicals called GABA and glutamate are
altered in women with PMDD. They are trying to figure out the interaction
between the chemicals and female hormones, such as progesterone and
allopregnanalone, which fluctuate during the menstrual cycle.
Women who participate in the studies -- which are funded by the University of
Alberta Hospital Foundation, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and a
drug company that pays part of Dr. Seres's salary -- are asked to keep a
diary of their symptoms during two menstrual cycles, which is an important
tool in diagnosing them.
"The ladies usually love these diaries," Dr. Seres said. "They can see on
paper . . . how these symptoms change."
One of their projects, the only one of its kind in Canada, involves measuring
GABA and glutamate in parts of the brains of PMDD women that are associated
with emotions. Using a powerful MRI machine, the team uses magnetic resonance
spectroscopy, a sophisticated method to measure the chemicals.
The process is done four times during sufferers' cycles -- when they have
symptoms and also when they do not -- to see if their brain chemicals are
always altered or only when they suffer PMDD's effects. (Women who do not
have the disorder are also studied as controls.)
In another project, the researchers use flumazenil, a chemical that binds to
GABA and allows study of its effect on women with PMDD. Those who have the
disorder experience "short-lived panic symptoms" after flumazenil is
administered while healthy women do not, Dr. Seres said.
The third study, which is the newest and also the only one of its kind in
Canada, focuses on the possibility of a hereditary component of PMDD. DNA
from sufferers and their parents is studied for abnormalities.
"If you want to find the treatment," Dr. Seres said, "first we have to know