Will Ecstasy Become The New Antidepressant?

Grind for December 6th, 2018
“I looked up my family tree and found out I was the sap.”

– Rodney Dangerfield

Not Again

The Headline

Marriott announces massive data breach

The Grind

Marriott International on Friday announced a data breach affecting up to 500 former hotel guests. Information at risk includes names, phone numbers, passport numbers, and email addresses.

“There are some customers who may have also had their credit card information taken,” reports NBC. “While that data would have been encrypted, Marriott said it can’t rule out that the information may have been decoded.”

The incident is on par with the Equifax hack of 2017, which compromised the Social Security numbers of nearly 146 million people, and the Yahoo breach of 2017, which affected 3 billion email accounts.

The News

Marriott International is the world’s largest hotel brand, with more than 500 hotels under 30 brand names including Sheraton, Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, Fairfield, Element, W, Courtyard, and St. Regis.

In investigating the breach, officials determined that hackers gained access to the Starwood reservation system in 2014.

Starwood was purchased by Marriott in 2016 for $13 billion.

“We fell short of what our guests deserve and what we expect of ourselves,” said Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson. “We are doing everything we can to support our guests, and using lessons learned to be better moving forward.”

After discovering the breach in November, Marriott launched a special customer call center dedicated to helping customers affected by the breach.

I Hope This Works…

The Headline

In four states, people are signing up for clinical trials with MDMA (ecstasy)

The Background

Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is an illegal drug used mainly to intensify the experience of high-energy events like raves and concerts.

The effects of taking MDMA include:

— Brighter colors and sounds

— Visual effects

— Feelings of social belonging and inner peace

— Energy boost

— Sexual arousal

MDMA is commonly referred to as E, molly, ecstasy, and pills.

The News

The specific impact MDMA has on a person’s mind makes the drug an attractive option for use in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Last Thursday, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) announced it was looking for volunteers to participate in Phase 3 clinical trials. MAPS is looking for 100-150 volunteers with severe cases of PTSD to participate in trials at sites in Colorado, California, South Carolina, and Louisiana.

“MDMA-assisted psychotherapy is unique among trauma treatments,” says Gregory Wells, a lead investigator for the upcoming trial. “It allows the participants or the patients to access their traumas in a way that they aren’t overwhelmed by their past experiences. They can address their fear around their trauma.”

After reviewing data from Phase 3 trials, the researchers at MAPS will conduct a second round of the same trial before approaching the FDA for possible approval.

Did you know… The distinctive smell in the air after it has been raining is caused by bacteria called ‘actinomycetes’.