Posts Tagged ‘death’

Egyptian archaeologists have discovered a tomb of a prominent goldsmith dedicated to the god Amun and the mummies of a woman and her two children, the antiquities ministry said on Saturday.

The finds were made in the Draa Abul Naga necropolis on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor, famed for its temples and burial grounds.

The tomb dated back to Egypt’s 18th dynasty New Kingdom era – around 15th century BC, said Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities Khaled Al Anani on Saturday.

“The work did not finish yet and we’re continuing and working to find more objects and more tombs,” he said.

The site includes a courtyard and niche where a statue of the goldsmith Amenemhat and his wife and one of his sons, as well as two burial shafts, the ministry said in a statement.

The tomb of “Amun’s Goldsmith, Amenemhat” contained a sculpture carved into a recess of him seated beside his wife, the ministry said.

A portrait of their son was painted between them.

A burial shaft in the tomb led to a chamber where the archaeologists discovered mummies, funerary statues and masks, the ministry said.

Another shaft led to a chamber where the team found the mummies of a woman and her two children.

The woman appears to have died at the age of 50 and tests showed she had suffered from a bacterial bone disease, the ministry quoted bone specialist Sherine Ahmed Shawqi as saying.

The team also discovered 150 small funerary statues carved in wood, clay and limestone.

https://www.trtworld.com/mea/egypt-announces-discovery-of-3-500-year-old-pharaonic-tomb-10361

Advertisements

Ever since her son disappeared almost 30 years ago, led someplace by his mental illness, Karen Bilyeu waited for him to call. She came up with theories: Maybe he witnessed a crime and was now hiding in a witness protection program. Maybe he was dead. His name was John Dean Dickens, and he was stocky and blue-eyed, with a baritone voice.

“One day, you want to think he’s alive,” the 72-year-old Cherryvale, Kansas, woman said. “The next day you don’t believe yourself.” But she remained hopeful and asked a retired police officer friend to try to find her boy.

Then, last month, Bilyeu found him.

The 54-year-old Dickens — known as J.D. — had died in May and been buried in a California grave, after the Orange County Sheriff coroner’s office mixed him up with another homeless man, Francis M. Kerrigan, who was alive. Local media covered the story, and it went viral.

At that moment, the lives of two families from California and Kansas became intertwined. They both loved an estranged, mentally ill, homeless family member, and tried to keep them close, but couldn’t. They both worried whether the men were cold or hungry or dead.

Bilyeu said she didn’t know her son was homeless until she learned of his death from the Orange County coroner’s office.

“At least he’s not suffering … not going hungry,” Bilyeu said.

Orange County officials are investigating how the mix-up happened. They plan to exhume Dickens’ body and cremate him at his family’s request.

J.D. was good at math, his younger sister, Diane Keaton, said. He would often help her with her homework, but they still bickered like siblings, she recalled, particularly when Dickens blasted Jackson Browne’s “Running on Empty.”

“That’s one reason he might have survived so long on his own: He had street smarts, he had the capability of thought,” said Keaton, 52, of Parsons, Kansas.

At 16, Dickens started to disappear and use drugs, his mother said. Shortly after, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

When he turned 18, he would leave home for months at a time but always popped back up, his family said.

“I always got frequent phone calls from him to let me know he was OK and to check on my well-being,” Bilyeu said.

J.D. began to settle down — albeit briefly — after a stint in the US Army in the 1980s, his family said.

In the late 1980s, he briefly stayed with Keaton, who was married, pregnant with her third child and living in Arkansas. But Keaton and her husband were struggling financially and their electricity was turned off, she said. They couldn’t afford to support their family and her brother.

So, J.D. left on good terms. He promised to let her know when he got settled.

“It wasn’t a big deal for him because he was used to getting up and going,” Keaton said.

J.D. made his way to Phoenix, and Bilyeu recalled having a cryptic conversation with him while he was there.

He said his car was stolen, and he knew who did it. But if he tried to recover the car, there would be trouble.

“We discussed it and we agreed, maybe the best thing was to leave it, get out the atlas and go down the road a little way,” Bilyeu said.

Again, he promised to call as soon as he got settled. That was the last time they talked.

“It’s heartbreaking, and it’s just over and over and over because you get your hopes up,” Bilyeu said. “Maybe he’ll call this birthday, and you hear nothing.”

“It’s the worst thing that could ever happen to a parent,” she said, “not knowing if (your child) is OK, if they’re hungry.”

‘My heart breaks for them’

About 15 years ago, Kerrigan was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, said his sister, Carole Meikel, 56, of Silverado, California. She said the challenges her family and Dickens’ family faced were identical. “My heart breaks for them,” she said.

Kerrigan’s life started to unravel a few years after the diagnosis, when their mother died about a decade ago. That’s when he became homeless, Meikel said.

Meikel said her family tried to get her brother, known as Frankie, into housing, but he wanted to stay on the streets. Mostly, she said, he was good about keeping in touch, but she still feared that something would happen to him.

Mistaken identity

In May, the Kerrigan family got a call from the Orange County coroner’s office with startling news: Frankie was dead, they said.

Officials told 82-year-old Francis J. Kerrigan that they had identified his son through his fingerprints, and that they didn’t need the elder Kerrigan to identify the body, members of the Kerrigan family said.

Speaking through his lawyer, the elder Kerrigan told CNN he believed his son was dead at that point — “no question about it.” But a Kerrigan family attorney said officials had actually identified the body found outside the cellular store in Fountain Valley using an old Department of Motor Vehicles identification.

An autopsy said that man died of an enlarged heart and fluid in his lungs, KABC reported.

The Kerrigans saw the body days before a funeral on May 12, and it was tough to recognize, the station reported.

But on May 23, Frankie called his father from the home of a family friend, who had served as a pallbearer at the funeral. He was alive. Days later, the family attorney notified the coroner’s office of the mistake.

The attorney has filed notices of claims, a prelude to a lawsuit, against Orange County on behalf of the elder Kerrigan and Meikel, seeking a little more than $2 million. The court papers allege the younger Kerrigan’s civil rights were violated and the family suffered emotional distress.

‘That’s J.D. — I know it’

On May 30, Orange County officials correctly identified the body using fingerprints. About a month later, Orange County officials reached J.D.’s stepsister in Illinois, who passed a message to Bilyeau, Keaton said.

An official later told Bilyeu of her son’s death in Fountain Valley, but not about the cause of death, Keaton said.

“What upsets me and Mom … is the media knew what he died from, the (Kerrigan) family knew what he died from and the attorneys knew,” she said. “She should have told us.” Keaton said Orange County officials also didn’t mention the mix-up to her mother.

Keaton, who had seen news reports about the burial mix-up, suspected her brother may have been the misidentified body. She also noticed that a form to consent to his cremation said he died in Fountain Valley and was homeless, like the man in the news reports.

Her brother’s physical description also matched the description of the unidentified man.

She called her mother around midnight with the news. “That’s J.D. — I know it,” she said.

A Kerrigan family attorney, who knew the identity of the misidentified body, later confirmed it was her brother, Keaton said.

Soon, Bilyeu will get her son’s ashes and she may spread them at a family plot. Or she may hold onto them, and she’ll leave instructions to bury the two urns together when she’s cremated.

“He and I have always been so close,” she said.

Lives of families intertwined in homeless men’s burial mix-up

Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin disappeared 75 years ago while hiking to a meadow in the Swiss Alps.


Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin disappeared while checking on their cows in the Swiss Alps in August 1942. (Photo: SRF/swissinfo.ch)

On a summer’s day in August 1942, Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin took a hike into the Swiss Alps above the small village of Chandolin. While the purpose of their excursion was to check on the status of their cows grazing in a mountain meadow, it was also an opportunity to briefly enjoy time alone as a couple. Marcelin, 40, a shoemaker, and Francine, 37, a teacher, had spent much of the last several years raising a family of seven children.

“It was the first time my mother went with him on such an excursion,” their youngest daughter, Marceline Udry-Dumoulin, 75, told the Lausanne daily Le Matin. “She was always pregnant and couldn’t climb in the difficult conditions of a glacier.”

When the couple failed to return that evening, search parties were sent out to find them. For two and a half months, locals scoured higher elevations hoping for some sign of their mysterious disappearance. None was ever discovered.


Swiss police circle the spot where the remains of the couple were discovered during a routine inspection of the area. (Photo: Swiss Police)

On July 14, nearly 75 years after they first went missing, a ski lift operator on a routine inspection discovered the mummified remains of the couple at the base of a receding glacier. Also present were personal items such as backpacks, mess kits, a glass bottle and even identification papers.

“The bodies were lying near each other. It was a man and a woman wearing clothing dating from the period of World War Two,” Bernhard Tschannen, the director of Glacier 3000, told the paper. “They were perfectly preserved in the glacier and their belongings were intact.”


Despite spending 75 years trapped in ice, all of the couple’s belongings remained relatively unscathed. (Photo: Swiss Police)

It is thought that the couple fell into one of the many crevasses in the region and were subsequently entombed in the glacier. Officials confirmed their identities by cross-matching their DNA with that of relatives.

For Udry-Dumoulin, a lifetime of heartache over the fate of her parents has finally come to an end.

“We spent our whole lives looking for them, without stopping. We thought that we could give them the funeral they deserved one day,” she said. “I can say that after 75 years of waiting this news gives me a deep sense of calm.”

https://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/arts-culture/blogs/frozen-remains-missing-couple-emerge-swiss-glacier

By Richard Schiffman

In one of the largest and most rigorous clinical investigations of psychedelic drugs to date, researchers at Johns Hopkins University and New York University have found that a single dose of psilocybin—the psychoactive compound in “magic” mushrooms—substantially diminished depression and anxiety in patients with advanced cancer.

Psychedelics were the subject of a flurry of serious medical research in the 1960s, when many scientists believed some of the mind-bending compounds held tremendous therapeutic promise for treating a number of conditions including severe mental health problems and alcohol addiction. But flamboyant Harvard psychology professor Timothy Leary—one of the top scientists involved—started aggressively promoting LSD as a consciousness expansion tool for the masses, and the youth counterculture movement answered the call in a big way. Leary lost his job and eventually became an international fugitive. Virtually all legal research on psychedelics shuddered to a halt when federal drug policies hardened in the 1970s.

The decades-long research blackout ended in 1999 when Roland Griffiths of Johns Hopkins was among the first to initiate a new series of studies on psilocybin. Griffiths has been called the grandfather of the current psychedelics research renaissance, and a 21st-century pioneer in the field—but the soft-spoken investigator is no activist or shaman/showman in the mold of Leary. He’s a scientifically cautious clinical pharmacologist and author of more than 300 studies on mood-altering substances from coffee to ketamine.

Much of Griffiths’ fascination with psychedelics stems from his own mindfulness meditation practice, which he says sparked his interest in altered states of consciousness. When he started administering psilocybin to volunteers for his research, he was stunned that more than two-thirds of the participants rated their psychedelic journey one of the most important experiences of their lives.

Griffiths believes that psychedelics are not just tools for exploring the far reaches of the human mind. He says they show remarkable potential for treating conditions ranging from drug and alcohol dependence to depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

They may also help relieve one of humanity’s cruelest agonies: the angst that stems from facing the inevitability of death. In research conducted collaboratively by Griffiths and Stephen Ross, clinical director of the NYU Langone Center of Excellence on Addiction, 80 patients with life-threatening cancer in Baltimore and New York City were given laboratory-synthesized psilocybin in a carefully monitored setting, and in conjunction with limited psychological counseling. More than three-quarters reported significant relief from depression and anxiety—improvements that remained during a follow-up survey conducted six months after taking the compound, according to the double-blind study published December 1 in The Journal of Psychopharmacology.

“It is simply unprecedented in psychiatry that a single dose of a medicine produces these kinds of dramatic and enduring results,” Ross says. He and Griffiths acknowledge that psychedelics may never be available on the drugstore shelf. But the scientists do envision a promising future for these substances in controlled clinical use. In a wide-ranging interview, Griffiths told Scientific American about the cancer study and his other work with psychedelics—a field that he says could eventually contribute to helping ensure our survival as a species.

[An edited transcript of the interview follows.]

What were your concerns going into the cancer study?
The volunteers came to us often highly stressed and demoralized by their illness and the often-grueling medical treatment. I felt very cautious at first, wondering if this might not re-wound people dealing with the painful questions of death and dying. How do we know that this kind of experience with this disorienting compound wouldn’t exacerbate that? It turns out that it doesn’t. It does just the opposite. The experience appears to be deeply meaningful spiritually and personally, and very healing in the context of people’s understanding of their illness and how they manage that going forward.

Could you describe your procedure?
We spent at least eight hours talking to people about their cancer, their anxiety, their concerns and so on to develop good rapport with them before the trial. During the sessions there was no specific psychological intervention—we were just inviting people to lie on the couch and explore their own inner experience.

What did your research subjects tell you about that experience?
There is something about the core of this experience that opens people up to the great mystery of what it is that we don’t know. It is not that everybody comes out of it and says, ‘Oh, now I believe in life after death.’ That needn’t be the case at all. But the psilocybin experience enables a sense of deeper meaning, and an understanding that in the largest frame everything is fine and that there is nothing to be fearful of. There is a buoyancy that comes of that which is quite remarkable. To see people who are so beaten down by this illness, and they start actually providing reassurance to the people who love them most, telling them ‘it is all okay and there is no need to worry’— when a dying person can provide that type of clarity for their caretakers, even we researchers are left with a sense of wonder.

Was this positive result universal?
We found that the response was dose-specific. The larger dose created a much larger response than the lower dose. We also found that the occurrence of mystical-type experiences is positively correlated with positive outcomes: Those who underwent them were more likely to have enduring, large-magnitude changes in depression and anxiety.

Did any of your volunteers experience difficulties?
There are potential risks associated with these compounds. We can protect against a lot of those risks, it seems, through the screening and preparation procedure in our medical setting. About 30 percent of our people reported some fear or discomfort arising sometime during the experience. If individuals are anxious, then we might say a few words, or hold their hand. It is really just grounding them in consensual reality, reminding them that they have taken psilocybin, that everything is going to be alright. Very often these short-lived experiences of psychological challenge can be cathartic and serve as doorways into personal meaning and transcendence—but not always.

Where do you go from here?
The Heffter Research Institute, which funded our study, has just opened a dialogue with the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) about initiating a phase 3 investigation. A phase 3 clinical trial is the gold standard for determining whether something is clinically efficacious and meets the standards that are necessary for it to be released as a pharmaceutical. Approval would be under very narrow and restrictive conditions initially. The drug might be controlled by a central pharmacy, which sends it to clinics that are authorized to administer psilocybin in this therapeutic context. So this is not writing a prescription and taking it home. The analogy would be more like an anesthetic being dispensed and managed by an anesthesiologist.

You are also currently conducting research on psilocybin and smoking.
We are using psilocybin in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy with cigarette smokers to see if these deeply meaningful experiences that can happen with psilocybin can be linked with the intention and commitment to quit smoking, among people who have failed repeatedly to do so. Earlier we ran an uncontrolled pilot study on that in 50 volunteers, in which we had 80 percent abstinence rates at six months. Now we are doing a controlled clinical trial in that population.

How do you account for your remarkable initial results?
People who have taken psilocybin appear to have more confidence in their ability to change their own behavior and to manage their addictions. Prior to this experience, quite often the individual feels that they have no freedom relative to their addiction, that they are hooked and they don’t have the capacity to change. But after an experience of this sort—which is like backing up and seeing the larger picture—they begin to ask themselves ‘Why would I think that I couldn’t stop cigarette smoking? Why would I think that this craving is so compelling that I have to give in to it?’ When the psilocybin is coupled with cognitive behavioral therapy, which is giving smokers tools and a framework to work on this, it appears to be very helpful.

You are also working with meditation practitioners. Are they having similar experiences?
We have done an unpublished study with beginning meditators. We found that psilocybin potentiates their engagement with their spiritual practice, and it appears to boost dispositional characteristics like gratitude, compassion, altruism, sensitivity to others and forgiveness. We were interested in whether the psilocybin used in conjunction with meditation could create sustained changes in people that were of social value. And that appears to be the case.

So it is actually changing personality?
Yes. That is really interesting because personality is considered to be a fixed characteristic; it is generally thought to be locked down in an individual by their early twenties. And yet here we are seeing significant increases in their “openness” and other pro-social dimensions of personality, which are also correlated with creativity, so this is truly surprising.

Do we know what is actually happening in the brain?
We are doing neuro-imaging studies. Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris’s group at Imperial College in London is also doing neuro-imaging studies. So it is an area of very active investigation. The effects are perhaps explained, at least initially, by changes in something [in the brain] called “the default mode network,” which is involved in self-referential processing [and in sustaining our sense of ego]. It turns out that this network is hyperactive in depression. Interestingly, in meditation it becomes quiescent, and also with psilocybin it becomes quiescent. This may correlate with the experience of clarity of coming into the present moment.

That is perhaps an explanation of the acute effects, but the enduring effects are much less clear, and I don’t think that we have a good handle on that at all. Undoubtedly it is going to be much more complex than just the default mode network, because of the vast interconnectedness of brain function.

What are the practical implications of this kind of neurological and therapeutic knowledge of psychedelics?
Ultimately it is not really about psychedelics. Science is going to take it beyond psychedelics when we start understanding the brain mechanisms underlying this and begin harnessing these for the benefit of humankind.

The core mystical experience is one of the interconnectedness of all people and things, the awareness that we are all in this together. It is precisely the lack of this sense of mutual caretaking that puts our species at risk right now, with climate change and the development of weaponry that can destroy life on the planet. So the answer is not that everybody needs to take psychedelics. It is to understand what mechanisms maximize these kinds of experiences, and to learn how to harness them so that we don’t end up annihilating ourselves.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/psilocybin-a-journey-beyond-the-fear-of-death/


By Lisa Rapaport

Women who have a sunny outlook on life may live longer than their peers who take a dimmer view of the world, a recent study suggests.

Researchers analyzed data collected over eight years on about 70,000 women and found that the most optimistic people were significantly less likely to die from cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease or infections during the study period than the least optimistic.

“Optimistic people tend to act in healthier ways (i.e., more exercise, healthier diets, higher quality sleep, etc.), which reduces one’s risk of death,” said one of the study’s lead authors, Kaitlin Hagan, a public health researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University in Boston.

“Optimism may also have a direct impact on our biological functioning,” Hagan added by email. “Other studies have shown that higher optimism is linked with lower inflammation, healthier lipid levels and higher antioxidants.”

Hagan and colleagues examined data from the Nurses Health Study, which began following female registered nurses in 1976 when they were 30 to 55 years old. The study surveyed women about their physical and mental health as well as their habits related to things like diet, exercise, smoking and drinking.

Starting in 2004, the survey added a question about optimism. Beginning that year, and continuing through 2012, researchers looked at what participants said about optimism to see how this related to their other responses and their survival odds.

Researchers divided women into four groups, from least to most optimistic.

Compared with the least optimistic women, those in the most optimistic group were 29 percent less likely to die of all causes during the study period, the researchers report in the American Journal of Epidemiology, December 7th.

Once they adjusted the data for health habits, greater optimism was still associated with lower odds of dying during the study, though the effect wasn’t as pronounced.

Still, the most optimistic women had 16 percent lower odds of dying from cancer during the study, 38 percent lower odds of death from heart disease or respiratory disease, 39 percent lower odds of dying from stroke and a 52 percent lower risk of death from an infection.

While other studies have linked optimism with reduced risk of early death from cardiovascular problems, this was the first to find a link between optimism and reduced risk from other major causes, the study authors note.

One limitation of the study is the possibility that in some cases, underlying health problems caused a lack of optimism, rather than a grim outlook on life making people sick, the authors point out.

They also didn’t include men, though previous research has found the connection between optimism and health is similar for both sexes, said the study’s other lead author, Dr. Eric Kim, also of Brigham and Women’s and Harvard.

Despite the lack of men in the study, the findings still suggest that it may be worthwhile to pursue public health efforts focused on optimism for all patients, Kim said by email.

That’s because even though some people may have a less positive outlook on life for reasons beyond their control like unemployment or a debilitating illness, some previous research suggests that optimism can be learned.

“Negative thinking isn’t the cause or the only contributor to these illnesses,” said Dr. Susan Albers, a psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio who wasn’t involved in the study. “Mindset is just one factor, but the results of the study indicate they are a significant one and can’t be ignored.”

Some people can develop optimism when it doesn’t come naturally, Albers added by email.

“It is worth tweaking your mindset as much as taking your medicine,” Albers said. “Work with a counselor, join with a friend, hang up optimistic messages, watch films and movies with a hopeful, positive message, find the silver lining in the situation.”

http://www.psychcongress.com/news/optimistic-women-may-live-longer


Robert Morin graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1961, and he had a passion for books and movies.

by Mary Jo DiLonardo

Robert Morin spent nearly 50 years working as a librarian on the campus of his alma mater, the University of New Hampshire. Because he was known to live simply, few at the Durham university knew that the long-time employee had amassed a $4 million estate. Morin died in March 2015, but this week the school announced he had left his fortune to the university.

“Bob’s demonstrated commitment to UNH through his philanthropy is tremendously inspiring,” university President Mark Huddleston said in a statement. “His generous gift allows us to address a number of university priorities.”

Morin loved movies, and from 1979 to 1997 he watched more than 22,000 videos. After he satisfied his passion for movies, he turned his attention to books, deciding to read — in chronological order — every book published in the United States from 1930 to 1940 except for children’s books, textbooks and books about cooking and technology. When he died at the age of 77, he had gotten as far as 1938, the year he was born.

According to his obituary, his job at the library was to write short descriptions of DVDs, enter ISBN, or International Standard Book Numbers, for CDs, and to catalog books of sheet music.

Morin’s financial advisor, Edward Mullen, told the New Hampshire Union Leader that his client was able to accumulate so much wealth because he rarely spent money. He drove an older vehicle and ate frozen dinners.

“He never went out,” Mullen said.

In the last year or so of his life, Morin lived in an assisted living facility where he developed a new passion: football. He became an avid fan, watching games on TV, learning the rules of the game along with the names of the players and the teams.

Mullen said Morin chose to give all his savings to his alma mater because he didn’t have any relatives he wanted to leave it to. Morin trusted the university would spend the money wisely for its students.

The only specific request in the donation was $100,000 dedicated to the Dimond Library where Morin worked. The money will “provide scholarships for work-study students, support staff members who continue their studies in library science, and renovate and upgrade one of the library’s multimedia rooms.”

Of the remaining funds, Huddleston said $2.5 million will help launch an expanded and centrally located career center for students and alumni, and $1 million will go toward a video scoreboard at the school’s new football stadium.

http://www.mnn.com/money/personal-finance/stories/librarian-surprises-school-4-million-gift

By Cimaron Neugebauer

A 17-year-old has died after a hickey reportedly took his life, according to a local news outlet in Mexico City, Mexico.

Doctors say the teen began having convulsions while at the dinner table eating with his family in Mexico City. Before dinner, Julio Macias Gonzalez had spent the evening with his 24-year-old girlfriend, who is now in hiding.

Medical professionals believe the suction of the hickey resulted in a blood clot for the teen. Doctors believe the blood clot traveled to his brain and caused the fatal stroke.

This isn’t the first time for a passionate kiss on the neck to land someone in the hospital.

In a 2010 case, was reported in a New Zealand Medical Journal where a 44-year-old woman was rushed to the hospital after losing movement in her arm due to a hickey on her neck, Doctors weren’t sure why the woman was having a stroke, but then noticed a bruise on her neck and realized the suction on a major artery created a blood clot, which traveled to her heart, causing a minor stroke.

http://wlos.com/news/offbeat/teen-dies-after-girlfriend-gives-fatal-hickey-lover-now-on-the-run

Thanks to Kebmodee for bringing this to the It’s Interesting community.