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January 2011
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Archive for January 10th, 2011

First Published Friday, 30 January 2009

CCDI HOT NEWS: Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act Training

Americans with Disabiliities Act Amendments Act

More Info
<http://capwiz. com/ccdionline/ issues/alert/ ?alertid= 12538941& queueid=28544216 11>
ICED Presents Annual Seminar Series Part I

A New Law for People with Disabilities: What will it mean to you?

The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act explained by attorney
Gerard Broeker of the Statewide Independent Living Council. This
Act broadens the definition of “disability, ” covering more individuals.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009, from 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m.


130 W Mason JR Thompson Center
Auditorium, Lower Level 100 W. Randolph, 9th Floor, Room
Springfield, IL Chicago, IL

Available streaming on-line at
www.agr.state. il.us/iced<http://www.ctechhos ting.com/ iced>(to
participate your computer must have speakers).

This law, effective January 1, 2009, will affect the rights of employees and
the responsibilities of employers. Employees with disabilities, EEO/AA
ADA Coordinators and Personnel Officers, should all attend to learn
about this law.


ICED will present a seminar series for FY09 rather than a
one-time conference. The
sessions are free, and no registration is necessary. You must have
identification to enter the conference locations.

Any necessary accommodation, such as a sign language interpreter, captioning
or Braille materials, should be requested by January 28, 2009, by contacting
Susan Allen (information at ICED below). If captioning is requested, it will
be available through videoconferencing and streaming.


Interagency Committee on Employees with
222 S. College, Room 101
Springfield, IL. 62704
(217) 785-5119 (Voice); (217) 785-5125 (TTY)
(217) 785-5106 (Fax)www.state. il.us/iced;
Susan.Allen@ Illinois. gov

Ari Ne’eman
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network
1660 L Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036
http://www.autistic advocacy. org

First Published Friday, 30 January 2009

Just Breathe

Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, today announced the creation of its online Stress Resource Center at http://www.health.harvard.edu/stress. The resource center was created to help the general public understand the ways that daily stress affects their bodies and how they can reduce these damaging effects.

The Stress Resource Center was unveiled by Dr. Michael Miller, editor in chief of Harvard Health Publications’ Harvard Mental Health Letter, in his appearance today on the Martha Stewart Show, in a segment titled “Stress Less with Dr. Michael C. Miller.”

Harvard Health Publications’ Stress Resource Center offers a variety of tools, including:

– How Stress Affects Your Body: An interactive illustration showing how stress triggers physical changes in the body
– How to Measure Your Blood Pressure at Home, an instructional video showing how to monitor blood pressure at home to make sure it’s not rising too high
– Q & A — The Impact of Stress: Answers to five common questions about how stress affects your health
– The Portable Guide to Stress Relief, which includes tips on taking the sting out of 10 common stressors and instructions for doing mini-relaxations: http://www.health.harvard.edu/stress-relief.

The Stress Resource Center also provides links to stress-related articles from other Harvard Health Publications newsletters and special health reports, including the Harvard Mental Health Letter, Harvard Health Letter, Harvard Heart Letter, Harvard Men’s Health Letter, and Harvard Women’s Health Letter. Topics include:

– Resilience: Remaining mentally strong and healthy during times of stress
– Caregiver Stress: When helpers need help
– Sing Along for Health: Singing to boost mood, relieve stress, promote relaxation, and enhance the immune system
– Optimism and Your Health

As part of Dr. Miller’s appearance on the Martha Stewart Show, Harvard Health Publications distributed to the studio audience 200 free copies of its special health report Stress Management: Approaches for preventing and reducing stress.

http://www.health.harvard.edu features additional health resources, diagnostic tools, and customer reviews of products.

http://www.health.harvard.edu This report helps readers identify stress warning signs and provides information on how to better manage stressful situations.

Source:   http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/136907.php

First Published Friday, 30 January 2009

Getting Through the Winter Blues

Long cold nights and dull dark days – the British winter isn’t fun for anyone.

Travelling to and from work in the dark and spending all day cooped up in an artificially lit office can send some people into a downwards spiral of exhaustion, depression and anxiety.

These symptoms, often referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) are thought to be a direct result of a lack of sunlight.

We subconsciously rely on sunlight, as it produces the hormones responsible for our sleep patterns, moods and our ability to concentrate – meaning that a sudden drop in our exposure to light can result in lethargy, mood swings and anxiety.

So what can you do to help ease the symptoms of SAD?

Dr Maria Read, clinical lead at the Central Sheffield GP Consortium says: “SAD can affect people in many ways. For some people it can be very severe and can actually prevent them from living their life normally. For others, the effects can be less dramatic.

“However, whatever the severity of your case, SAD can still have a detrimental effect on your way of life, making you feel down in the dumps and generally low. You may feel less inclined to socialise and day-to-day activities that you usually carry out with ease can become frustrating and difficult to do.

“It is therefore important to start increasing your exposure to sunlight. Try to get out of the workplace on your lunch break and go for a brisk walk. The fresh air will clear your head and the light will give you a real boost to get you through the rest of the day.”

Another important factor is your diet. SAD disorder can make you crave carbohydrates and in turn, lead to weight gain. So exercise and plenty of fruit and vegetables are essential.

Dr Read added: “The most important thing to remember when you’re suffering from SAD is to take care of yourself.

“Your body is trying to hibernate for the winter, and while none of us can afford to stay in bed for six months, it’s important that you don’t completely ignore the signs.

“Take a gentle walk or jog around the park. The exercise will release mood-enhancing hormones called endorphins and it will also counteract any comfort eating you’ve been doing!

“Also, try to balance out your meals with fruit and vegetables. While you might be tempted to pile on the pasta, or binge on the bread – your body won’t thank you for it in the long run. Try reducing the size of your carbohydrate portions and adding some vitamin-rich vegetables instead.”

Talking to others about how you’re feeling also plays a major part in boosting your mood.

“Discussing how you feel with a friend or family member can help enourmously when you’re feeling down,” said Dr Read.

“Keeping quiet and allowing your emotions to eat away at you will only make you feel worse.”

In more severe cases of SAD, help can be found at your GP surgery.

Most practices within the Central Sheffield GP Consortium can provide or refer you to qualified counsellors within Sheffield, as well as advise you on a variety of alternative therapies available.

For more tips and useful links to help you deal with stress, visit http://www.sheffieldhealth.co.uk

Source:   http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/134885.php

First Published Monday, 1 December 2008



Last week, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network was invited by the National
Institute of Mental Health Director Thomas Insel to present on the concerns
of the autistic community in relation to autism research ethics to the
Inter-Agency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), ASAN Board Member Paula
Durbin Westby delivered the presentation. Links to the powerpoint and the
notes from the presentation itself can be found on the ASAN website
here<http://www.autistic advocacy. org/documents/ IACC/EthicalAuti smResearchPresIA CC-Nov21- 08.ppt>and
here<http://www.autistic advocacy. org/documents/ IACC/EthicalAuti smResearchCommen tsIACC-Nov21- 08.doc>.
We look forward to your thoughts.

Ari Ne’eman
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network
1660 L Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036
http://www.autistic advocacy. org


Personally, I wholeheartedly support the views and concerns so eloquently presented.  Those voices who put forth their ideals, representative of a great many within the community, did a sterling job (given the dialogue courtesy of the powerpoint/notes.)

Among the many excellent points highlighted …, “we do not find it ethical for the research community(or the professional community) to treat autism like it’s a disease or illness.  Autism is a developmental disability and not a condition that stands alone.”  The recommended move toward that of a focus on services and supports rather than a narrow focus on causes, cures, and “the recovery” concept, is long overdue and much needed.

Ethical Research should unequivocally include and value first-hand perspectives.  Who could possibly disagree that :”the goal of all scientific research into any disabling conditions should ultimately be the application of that research to real-life situations in ways that directly benefit the subjects of that research.”  As such, members of the autism community must be granted a voice, represented in both numbers and diversity in all matters of research relevant to the community, for the community.


First Published Monday, 1 December 2008

Temple Grandin

Autism’s star emphasizes value of work

Friday,  November 21, 2008 10:39 PM


A career spent in and around slaughterhouses has its obvious drawbacks. But there are advantages, too.

“It makes you think,” Temple Grandin said. “When you get to the end of your life, have you done something meaningful?”

Making a pile of money does not count, and in fact, Grandin said, it might be a good idea for the new president to call some Wall Street executives “and shame them.”

The concept of fair play comes easily to Grandin.

Not much else has.

She thinks in pictures instead of words, cannot understand personal relationships, and views her surroundings in ways more common to cattle than humans.

“I’m pure geek,” Grandin said.

She also is a rock star in the world of autism, hailed as the world’s best-known and most-accomplished adult with the increasingly prevalent disability.

The 61-year-old animal scientist and author spoke to hundreds of parents and educators yesterday at the national Network of Autism Training and Technical Assistance Programs conference in Columbus.

Sara Glaser has a 4-year-old son with autism. She listened to Grandin’s hope-filled speech and wept.

“This is my Christmas,” said Glaser, a Canton-area pharmacist. “Temple is saying, ‘Look at me. I am autistic, and I am making a difference. We’re not all Rain Man. Just give our children chances.”

And give them jobs, Grandin said. Most of her lectures these days focus on employment and helping autistic teens develop their skills.

Chris Filler, transition coordinator at the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence, said relatively few teens with autism move successfully from school programs to work. Even those with the milder form of autism known as Asperger syndrome do not often land satisfying jobs.

“Only between 6 percent and 12 percent of people with autism spectrum disorders are employed,” Filler said. “A lot of the reason is what Temple says: We’re not building on their strengths.”

Grandin was a lousy student in most ways, she said. Social connections were all but impossible.

But Grandin could draw structures in amazing detail, figure out how things work and think the way animals think. Those aptitudes sparked a career designing livestock-handling facilities.

Half the cattle in North America pass through a restraining system she designed, and she developed a scoring system for assessing humane treatment at meat plants.

“Not bad for someone they said was mentally retarded,” said Grandin, who has a doctorate and teaches at Colorado State University.

Major news outlets regularly seek her out for stories. HBO just wrapped production on a movie of her life. But fame seems to interest Grandin mostly as a platform, a way to explain how the autistic mind works.

People with a mild form of the disorder are everywhere, she said. The focus on children is important but also misleading.

“Where are all the 50- and 60-year-olds with Asperger’s? They’re employed,” Grandin said. “I think things are worse today because too many are buying into this ‘handicap’ mentality. I’m seeing way too many smart, quirky kids without jobs, too many gifted people sweeping floors.”

Grandin said the autistic person must learn social norms: why “please” and “thank you” are important, why you can’t pick your nose in public. Emotional connections might never come, but that’s OK. “You can’t de-geek the geek,” she said. “We can learn to act in the play.”

Autistic young people need mentors, Grandin said.

They also should sell their skills, not themselves, when trying for jobs. “People thought I was really weird,” she said. When she opened portfolios of her drawings, attitudes changed.

Other things remain the same. The nuances of emotional communication, romance, beauty – all are mysterious to Grandin.

Those deficits can be painful. But Grandin feels satisfied that her life is industrious and filled with meaning.

“Who do you think made the first spear?” she asked, smiling a little. “It wasn’t the social people sitting around the campfire.”


Source:   http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2008/11/21/autism.html?sid=101

First Published Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Meditation at the Lake

New treatment hope for people with recurring depression

Research shows for the first time that a group-based psychological treatment, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), could be a viable alternative to prescription drugs for people suffering from long-term depression.

In a study, published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, MBCT proved as effective as maintenance anti-depressants in preventing a relapse and more effective in enhancing peoples’ quality of life. The study also showed MBCT to be as cost-effective as prescription drugs in helping people with a history of depression stay well in the longer-term.

Funded by the British Medical Research Council (MRC), the study was led by Professor Willem Kuyken at the Mood Disorders Centre, University of Exeter, in collaboration with colleagues at the Centre for Economics of Mental Health (CEMH) at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, Peninsula Medical School, Devon Primary Care Trust and the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit.

The randomized control trial involved 123 people from urban and rural locations who had suffered repeat depressions and were referred to the trial by their doctors. The participants were split randomly into two groups. Half continued their on-going anti-depressant drug treatment and the rest participated in an MBCT course and were given the option of coming off anti-depressants.

Over the 15 months after the trial, 47% of the group following the MBCT course experienced a relapse compared with 60% of those continuing their normal treatment, including anti-depressant drugs. In addition, the group on the MBCT program reported a higher quality of life, in terms of their overall enjoyment of daily living and physical well-being.

Members of the study team from the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London also compared the cost of providing MBCT programs with the cost of maintenance anti-depressant treatment. The findings suggest that MBCT provides a cost-effective alternative to anti-depressant drugs. Unlike most other psychological therapies, MBCT can be taught in groups by a single therapist, and patients then continue to practice the skills they have learned at home by themselves. Therefore, MBCT is less costly than individual treatments and is not dependent on having the large number of trained therapists needed for one-to-one psychological treatments so could help the National Health Service shorten its waiting lists for psychological therapies.

During the eight-week trial, groups of between eight and fifteen people met with one therapist. They learned a range of meditation exercises that they could continue to practice on their own once the course ended. Many of the exercises were based on Buddhist meditation techniques and helped the individual take time to focus on the present, rather than dwelling on past events, or planning for future tasks. The exercises worked in a different way for each person, but many reported greater acceptance of, and more control over, negative thoughts and feelings.


Professor Willem Kuyken of the University of Exeter said: “Anti-depressants are widely used by people who suffer from depression and that’s because they tend to work. But, while they’re very effective in helping reduce the symptoms of depression, when people come off them they are particularly vulnerable to relapse. MBCT takes a different approach – it teaches people skills for life. What we have shown is that when people work at it, these skills for life help keep people well.

Professor Kuyken continues: “Our results suggest MBCT may be a viable alternative for some of the 3.5 million people in the UK known to be suffering from this debilitating condition. People who suffer depression have long asked for psychological approaches to help them recover in the long-term and MBCT is a very promising approach. I think we have the basis for offering patients and doctors an alternative to long-term anti-depressant medication. We are planning to conduct a larger trial to put these results to the test and to examine how MBCT works.

MBCT was developed by a team of psychologists from Toronto (Zindel Segal), Oxford (Mark Williams) and Cambridge (John Teasdale) in 2002 to help people who suffer repeated bouts of depression. It focuses on targeting negative thinking and aims to help people who are very vulnerable to recurring depression stop depressed moods from spiralling out of control into a full episode of depression. MBCT is becoming more widely available as part of psychological treatment services in the NHS.

Case study 1: Di

Di has suffered from depression since he was in his late teens, though it was not diagnosed until much later. Now 53, he has been taking antidepressant drugs for more than 15 years and has had no previous psychological treatment.

It is now two years since he completed the eight-week MBCT trial and Di practices the meditation techniques learned during the trial four or five times a week, for up to an hour each time. He plans to continue doing this for the rest of his life.

Di explains how the techniques learned on the trial have helped him in his daily life: “It’s helped me immensely. It’s given me the ability to come up against something that would have previously thrown me, think it through, come up with a solution and then move on. It’s helped me deal with recurrent thoughts.

Shortly after completing the trial, Di was diagnosed with bone cancer and had to undergo treatment, including a major spinal operation, which has left him less mobile than he was before. Despite this set-back, he feels he is managing his depression using the techniques learned on the MBCT trial.

He says: “My view of the world has changed and I look at life in a new light. I’m much more cheerful and positive. Other people noticed a change. My friends and family were very quick to comment that I was showing an improvement.

Di concludes: “It was very worthwhile and I would highly recommend it to anyone who has similar problems. It’s a very sound way of combating mental illness and promoting mental health.

Case study 2: Stephen

Stephen hopes that MBCT will be “the final piece in the jig-saw” in learning to cope with a tendency towards severe depression that he has suffered since his teens. Now 56, he experienced severe episodes between 2000 and 2002, involving hospitalization. Having already tried a number of alternative therapies, and talking cures, as well as antidepressant drugs, he finally agreed to try the mood-stabilizer, Lithium.

Soon afterwards, he embarked on a course of cognitive behavioral therapy, and it was via this route that he heard of MBCT. “It was the right thing at the right time,” he says. Sufficiently “stabilized” by Lithium, he was able to benefit fully from the techniques taught, which he now practices on a daily basis, some six years later.

The group context of MBCT was important for him. Not only did participants share their individual experiences of depression, and find common ground in symptoms suffered and warning signs to heed, they also helped keep each other “on track” with the practical homework involved. Stephen believes that, in addition to the group’s support, self-discipline helped him complete the eight week course and has been essential for him to continue regular practice at home. He says: “Persistence and determination are necessary during the course and become even more vital when you’re on your own.

Stephen is realistic enough to suspect that, without Lithium he could not have reaped the benefits of MBCT. However, he says: “Mindfulness gave me added insight into the way I function and respond to people, and helped me become more accepting. Along the way I have gained an understanding that, much of the time, life may not be as I would like it, but an awareness – particularly a body awareness – of such situations can lead to easier acceptance of them, and sometimes to beneficial change. Maybe, one day, I’ll have gained sufficient insight not to need the Lithium any more.

Kuyken W, Byford S, Taylor RS, et al. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy to prevent relapse in recurrent depression.
J Consult Clin Psychol. 2008 Dec;76(6):966-978   [Abstract]

First Published Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Gary McKinnon

Posted by Tom Espiner

Gary McKinnon, the man accused of hacking Nasa and Pentagon computers, will have his oral judicial review hearing on 20 Jan, according to the Free Gary McKinnon website.

The judicial review will decide whether to overturn Jacqui Smith’s decision that McKinnon be extradited to the US to face the hacking charges. McKinnon was recently diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a condition on the autistic spectrum.

Source:   http://community.zdnet.co.uk/blog/0,1000000567,10009902o-2000331828b,00.htm

McKinnon’s fate decided on Obama day

Myspace pop video makes a comeback

THE FATE of Pentagon Hacker Gary McKinnon will be decided by a UK judge on the same day that Barak Obama is inaugurated as president of the United States.

The UK’s High Court has set 20 January as the day when it decides whether to grant McKinnon a judicial review, his last legal recourse against extradition to the US where he will face hacking charges and a possible 60 years in prison.

McKinnon’s supporters see the coincidence of his hearing with Obama’s inauguration as a good omen. They think his hacking charges were trumped up by a Bush administration hell-bent on vindictive justice. They think that under Obama, justice will shine a favourable light on Gary’s case.

“Is it just a coincidence, or are the officials who set the court dates waving a couple of fingers at President George W Bush and his… henchmen, who officially hand over power to President-elect Barak Obama on the same day, Tuesday 20th January 2009?,” reads the website for Gary’s campaigners.

Obama’s arrival is being anticipated like King Arthur’s awakening from his sleep at Avalon. But it won’t do Gary any favours if his application for a judicial review is thrown out on the same day that the world’s media is celebrating the Coming of the King.

With his legal recourse running thin, his popular support will be all his campaign has to fall back on. The opportunity Gary has on 20 January is elaborate: The High Court has agreed to allow Edward Fitzgerald QC, a renowned human rights lawyer, to make an oral application for a legal review of the decision taken by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith not to reconsider Gary’s extradition order after his diagnosis in the summer with Asperger’s Syndrome, a psychological condition that will make it hard for him to bear the pressures of incarceration.

Fitzgerald had already made a written application for a judicial review on 17 October. It was refused. The oral application is not likely to differ in substance, but is allowed on the basis that an oral representation to a judge can be more persuasive.

If his application fails, Gary will have no other way to secure a trial for his hacking charges in the UK bar his popular campaign. It is fitting then that Gary has re-launched his popular music video after Myspace removed it last month.

You can see it here.

Source:   http://www.theinquirer.net/feeds/rss/generic/en/GB/inq/latest/gb/inquirer/gb/inquirer/news/2008/12/01/mckinnon-fate-decided-obama-day

London hacker tries one more time to avoid extradition over Pentagon

Demonstrators ask Barack Obama to intervene

Jeremy Kirk

A London systems administrator who hacked into US military computers in 2001 and 2002 will have another chance to make his case of why he shouldn’t be extradited to the US.

A High Court judge will decide on 20 January whether another court should review Gary McKinnon’s case again, said Karen Todner, his attorney. If the judge approves the request, a further hearing would be scheduled later next year in the High Court, Todner said.

McKinnon, from Wood Green, North London, was indicted in November 2002 in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on charges related to illegally accessing and damaging US government computers.

McKinnon maintains he was looking for evidence of UFOs.

The UK government approved his extradition in 2006, but McKinnon filed several appeals in UK courts, losing them all. The European Court of Human Rights rejected another appeal in August.

That ruling appeared to clear the way for McKinnon to be sent to the US. But McKinnon applied once again for a written review of the case, which was rejected. However, McKinnon could still ask for an oral review, which will occur on 20 January.

McKinnon’s extradition order has since been put on hold pending the latest challenge, Todner said.

European Court of Human Rights

If the judge rejects the review, McKinnon could appeal once again to the European Court of Human Rights but on new grounds, she said.

McKinnon has been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a neurological disorder characterized by obsessive behaviour and deficiencies in social interaction.

The condition means McKinnon may have an argument that if he is extradited, found guilty and sentenced, he should be allowed to serve his sentence in the UK.

On October 30, 80 members of Parliament signed an early-day motion urging that the UK government get assurances from the US that McKinnon could serve his sentence in the UK due to his medical state.

The soft-spoken McKinnon has admitted to his hacking but said he did not believe it caused damage. The US government alleges it cost at least $700,000 and caused the shutdown of critical military networks shortly after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

McKinnon has not been incarcerated as his case traversed the courts. He’s not supposed to have contact with computers and has said he has struggled to find gainful employment because of the publicity around the case.

He does have a band of supporters, however, who asked the UK government not to extradite him and held small rallies outside the US embassy in London. Those supporters are planning another demonstration in front of the US Embassy on Friday, according to a blog chronicling McKinnon’s plight.

The demonstrators plan to give a letter to the embassy asking President-elect Barack Obama to intervene once he takes office on Janauary 20.

Source:   http://www.macworld.co.uk/digitallifestyle/news/index.cfm?newsid=23787

Protest at US embassy against UK extradition treaty

Posted: 2008/12/04

Gary McKinnon

The rally is being organised by supporters of unemployed Scottish systems analyst Gary Mackinnon who is facing extradition for hacking into computer systems

belonging to the US military in 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks.

A protest demonstration is being held outside the American Embassy

in London on Friday against the UK’s

controversial extradition treaty with the US.

The rally is being organised by supporters of unemployed Scottish systems analyst Gary Mackinnon who is facing extradition for hacking into computer systems belonging to the US military in 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks.

As part of a ‘day of action’, Mckinnon’s family is also handing in a letter to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, requesting that the UK government look again at some of the fundamental issues of the way this new treaty works.
The treaty has been widely criticised including from MPs and peers for being unbalanced and not requiring the US to provide any prima facia evidence for its extradition requests.

There is also concern about the health of Mckinnon, who was recently diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism disorder, and the prospect that he will face a life sentence if he is extradited.

Direct Action Against War (DAAW) campaign group, which is supporting the protests, said a letter was also being handed in to the US Embassy, calling on president-elect Obama to prove his desire for change and treat extradition cases with humanity.

Other outstanding extradition cases include former Iranian Ambassador to Jordan, Nosratollah Tajik, who was entrapped in a CIA sting operation, and Muslim computer expert, Baba Ahmed, who is awaiting a ruling by the EU human rights court.

DAAW said that the campaign against the notorious treaty was also seeking the insertion of a clause voted by MPs, effectively giving a judge the power to conclude that any crime committed in the UK can be tried in Britain to avoid unnecessary extraditions.

“This could have a positive effect for many British people facing extradition to America when they have never set foot in that country,” it said.

“We strongly feel that the Extradition Treaty should be amended to afford UK citizens the Human Rights they deserve and to give us equal rights with our American counterparts,” the campaign group said.

Previous Updates



First Published Tuesday, 2 December 2008


Mental health professionals should consider cognitive ability of patients in prevention and treatment planning


Researchers have hypothesized that people with lower IQs may have a higher risk of adult mental disorders, but few studies have looked at the relationship between low childhood IQ and psychiatric disorders later in life.

In a new, long-term study covering more than three decades, researchers at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) found that children with lower IQs showed an increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders as adults, including schizophrenia, depression and generalized anxiety disorder. Lower IQ was also associated with psychiatric disorders that were more persistent and an increased risk of having two or more diagnoses at age 32.

The study will be published online December 1, 2008 and in the January print issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry.

The study participants were members of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, a cohort of children born in 1972-1973 in Dunedin, New Zealand. At the initial assessment at age 3, the study had 1,037 children. The participants were also interviewed and tested on their overall health and behavior at ages 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 18, 21, 26 and at age 32, when 96% of the original cohort participated. IQs were assessed at ages 7, 9 and 11. Psychiatric disorders were assessed at ages 18 through 32 in interviews by clinicians who had no knowledge of the subjects’ IQ or psychiatric history.

The authors used IQ as a marker of a concept called cognitive reserve, which refers to variation between people in their brain’s resilience to neuropathological damage.

The results showed that lower childhood IQ predicted an increased risk of a variety of adult mental disorders. “Lower childhood IQ predicted increased risk of schizophrenia, depression, and generalized anxiety disorder. Individuals with lower childhood IQ also had more persistent depression and anxiety and were more likely to be diagnosed with two or more disorders in adulthood,” said lead author Karestan Koenen, assistant professor of society, human development, and health at HSPH.

No association was found between lower childhood IQ and substance dependence disorders, simple phobia, panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The mechanism through which lower childhood IQ might lead to increased risk of adult anxiety disorders is not known, but the authors suggest some possible explanations. They write that lower childhood IQ might reveal a difference in brain health that makes an individual more vulnerable to certain mental disorders. Another possible mechanism is stress — individuals with lower childhood IQs are less equipped to deal with complex challenges of modern daily life, which may make them more vulnerable to developing mental disorders.

The findings may be helpful in treating individuals with mental health disorders. “Lower childhood IQ was associated with greater severity of mental disorders including persistence over time and having two or more diagnoses at age 32,” said Koenen. “Since individuals with persistent and multiple mental disorders are more likely to seek services, cognitive ability may be an important factor for clinicians to consider in treatment planning. For example, individuals with lower cognitive ability may find it harder to follow instructions and comply with treatment regimens. By taking clients’ cognitive ability into account, clinicians may improve treatment outcome,” she said.

The results may also be helpful in prevention planning. “Educators and pediatricians should be aware that children with lower cognitive ability may be at greater risk of developing psychiatric disorders. Early detection and intervention aimed at ameliorating mental health problems in these children may prevent these problems from carrying over into adulthood,” said Koenen.

The study was supported by U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, the U.K. Medical Research Council, the Ester Katz Rosen Grant for Research and Programs on Giftedness in Children, the William T. Grant Foundation, the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit from the New Zealand Health Research Council, and the Royal Society-Wolfson Merit Award (Dr Caspi).

Koenen KC, Moffitt TE, Roberts, AL, et al. Childhood IQ and Adult Mental Disorders: A Test of the Cognitive Reserve Hypothesis. Am J Psychiatry 2008 Dec; doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2008.08030343   [Abstract]

First Published Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Clin Psychiatry News 2008 Nov;36(11):15


Over the last few months, at least a dozen people have sought my advice about their finances amid the current housing and financial meltdown. It’s been a startling experience. With their personal finances tumbling and despair setting in, these folks have been desperate for solutions.

The problem is I don’t know any more than they do about the complexities of the current crisis. I’m a psychiatrist, not a financial adviser.

But I do have a sense of why many are turning to us in search of answers: This economic turmoil is causing overwhelming stress and anxiety.


First Published Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Nashville's Parthenon

A national advocacy group for autism has selected Nashville’s Parthenon for the filming of a public service announcement.

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network will film the announcement starting 5 p.m. Thursday at Centennial Park. The nonprofit group hopes to raise awareness about autism. They also want to promote the idea that people with autism should be involved in the discussion about autism policy.

“With all the awareness for autism, we sometimes only see the disability and not the individuals themselves,” said Mary Partin, chief executive officer of the Dan Marino Foundation, which is funding the film. “We want the opportunity to exist for people with autism to speak with their own voice.”

People with autism will appear in the announcement and will step out of the shadows of the Parthenon to symbolically bring light to a new way of thinking.


Source:   http://www.tennessean.com/article/20081203/NEWS01/812030436/1001/RSS01