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Archive for January 11th, 2011

First Published Friday, 2 January 2009

Men often experience nontraditional symptoms of depression, which can keep them from recognizing the problem and seeking help.


If you’re a man and suffer from depression, you’re not alone! Nearly six million men in the United States are diagnosed with depression each year. But because men are less likely than women to recognize their symptoms and seek treatment, many more men probably suffer from this condition.


Depression in men is under diagnosed for at least two reasons:


  1. 1.  Men tend not to experience some of the typical symptoms of depression, for example, crying episodes and feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and guilt, which are common in women. Instead, men with depression may experience anger, irritability, frustration, and physical problems, such as headaches, gastrointestinal symptoms, and sexual dysfunction. They may also experience sleeping problems, withdrawal, and loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, just like women. In addition, they may become self-critical and doubt their abilities. Men often mask their depression by turning to drugs or alcohol, or by working excessively long hours.

  2. 2.  Men may be less likely than women to talk about their symptoms or report them to their doctor. Moreover, they may feel that they can handle their depression or that it will go away on its own. However, men’s reluctance to seek treatment may explain why more than four times as many men than women die by suicide, although more women attempt suicide. In fact, the highest suicide rate is for white men over 85 years of age. Even men who do not attempt suicide may engage in reckless behavior that is life threatening.

The good news


The good news is that men who do receive treatment for depression respond as well to medication and psychotherapy as women. If you think you might be experiencing some of the symptoms of depression, see your primary care physician. He or she may start treatment or refer you to a mental health professional. Some men are reluctant to consider therapy, but most research suggests that a combination of antidepressant medication and psychotherapy is the most effective treatment approach.


Source:   http://www.johnshopkinshealthalerts.com/alerts/depression_anxiety/JohnsHopkinsDepressionAnxietyHealthAlert_280-1.html


Johns Hopkins Health Alert

Men And The Blues


Is depression really less common in men than in women? Researchers are beginning to wonder. In fact, some experts believe that depression may actually be just as common in men as in women but is often overlooked because of its different symptoms.


Rather than feeling sad, weepy, worthless, or guilty, as women usually do, men are more inclined to get angry and irritable, feel an increasing loss of control over their lives, take greater risks, become more aggressive, and complain about problems at work. But the consequences of depression in men — and of not being diagnosed and treated — can be even more dangerous than for women.

Tragically, men are four times more likely than women to commit suicide. And while depression is associated with a greater risk of coronary heart disease in both genders, a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that only depressed men, not depressed women, suffer a higher death rate from heart disease.

Researchers believe that men are more vulnerable than women to stressful life changes that can trigger depression, such as divorce, loss of a spouse, unemployment, or retirement. All too often, men fail to get treatment because they may not recognize the symptoms of depression or, even if they notice something is wrong, they can’t admit they have a problem for fear of being perceived as “weak” or “dependent.”

Typically, when men try to cope with depression on their own, they often become argumentative and combative, withdraw from relationships, engage in dangerous sports or unprotected sex with multiple partners, and self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. Ultimately, these risky behaviors only make the condition much worse.

The stigma surrounding depression is lessening in this country, even for men, as researchers are learning about the physical basis for depression — it’s not a sign of weakness, but rather a brain disorder that can be treated. Because of the change in thinking, men are slowly coming around to the idea that it’s okay to get help for a mental illness. So if you’ve noticed that you’re feeling more irritable or withdrawn than usual, be sure to tell your primary care doctor about it. He or she can perform tests to check for illnesses that could be causing depression, assess whether your medications are a contributing factor, and evaluate the need for antidepressant medication or psychotherapy.

Bottom line on men and depression: Assistance is readily available in a variety of treatments that can help manage depression and make you feel better. The good news is that men who receive treatment respond as well as women do to medication and psychotherapy. There is no disgrace in seeking help — and no one except you and your doctor needs to know you’re doing so. The only shame is in letting outdated notions about depression and masculinity stop you from taking advantage of the support that is available.

Posted in Depression and Anxiety on January 21, 2009



First Published Friday, 2 January 2009

Pets

By Jenna McGuire


A new study suggests that college students may handle stressful situations better if they have a pet.


Research has already shown that pets can improve the quality of life for people who are aging or those who are chronically ill. But researchers at Ohio State University recently found that many college students may also benefit from owning a cat or a dog.


A survey of students at a large university and other adults in the area found that nearly a quarter of college students surveyed believed their pets helped them get through difficult times in life. Students who chose to live with at least one dog, one cat, or a combination of the two were less likely to report feeling lonely and depressed; something they directly attributed to their beloved pet.


These findings highlight how even younger, healthier young adults can benefit from living with our four-legged friends, said Sara Staats, lead author of the study and professor emeritus of psychology at Ohio State’s Newark Campus.


We might not think of college students as being lonely, but a lot of freshman and sophomores are in an early transition from living at home to living in dorms or off-campus. College is a very stressful environment for them and sometimes they can feel isolated or overwhelmed with the change,” she said.


We found that a lot of young adults are choosing to have an animal companion for important reasons. Many feel their pets will help get them through these difficult and stressful situations, and many more say that without their pet, they would feel lonely.


The study was based on survey responses from nearly 350 college students at a Midwestern commuter campus and nearby community members. Only those people who currently or previously owned a cat, a dog, or a combination of the two were included in the present study. People who were 18 to 87 years of age were all surveyed to study the differences between adults and students.


Participants were asked to indicate their current level of health, the type of pet(s) owned, and whether they believed a pet affected their overall health. They were then asked to identify their top reasons for owning a pet in both multiple-choice and open-ended surveys. The results were recently published in the journal Society and Animals.


The results showed that most adults and college students chose to own a pet for similar reasons. Although the results were based on self-reports, many of those surveyed believed their pet contributed to their overall health in a number of ways.


Nearly a quarter of all college students and adults reported that their pet was useful in keeping them active. This answer was more common for those who owned dogs, but those who had feline friends also reported their cat helped keep them active.


Likewise, 18 percent of college students and 13 percent of adults said their pet was important to helping them cope during difficult times. This belief was far more likely among those who were single rather than married, but it was listed by both groups in both open-ended and multiple choice questions.


But the results showed that avoiding loneliness was the top reason given by both students and adults. Nearly identical percentages of married and single persons gave this response, but students and those over 50 years of age were far more likely to list this as their top reason.


While previous work has demonstrated that the elderly benefit from animal companionship, this study is the one of the first to suggest that animal companions help those younger than 30 years of age, Staats said.


Most of the studies on pet ownership focus directly on those adults and older generations who have heart problems or special needs. But there hasn’t been much recognition of that fact that young, healthy college students also derive benefits from pet ownership such as hedge against loneliness and improved ability to cope,” she said.


While the reasons for keeping a pet may be similar among adults and college students, the lifestyles differences between the two may provide clues as to why students rely on their pets more often, Staats said.


Many people in their late twenties to mid-forties have established circles of friends. Adults usually live in areas with friends, colleagues, and family nearby, making their lives more stable than those beginning to build their lives. Many more adults are married or have started raising a family, and have years of experience learning how to cope with difficult situations.


Many first and second-year students, however, are in the beginning stages of building a new network of friends. College students living far from home may find it harder to deal with difficult situations because they are thrown into a new environment and expected to find their way, often for the first time in their lives.


As a result, many students may find themselves feeling isolated and withdrawn from their environment.


Many students said that their pets fulfill a significant role that is missing in their lives. The pets are not a substitute for human social interaction and support, but they do provide important interaction for these kids who might otherwise feel isolated from their current environment,” Staats said.


I wouldn’t advise everyone to go out and buy a puppy. But I think this research clearly shows that many students can benefit both psychologically and socially from living with an animal companion.



Staats S, Wallace H, Anderson T. Reasons for Companion Animal Guardianship (Pet Ownership) from Two Populations. Soc. Animals 2008 Nov;16(3):279-291   [Abstract]

Pets really do improve our mental (and physical) health. Here’s why.


Pets are more than just furry friends and loyal companions. Yes, pets tug at our heartstrings, but they also improve our health, both mental and physical, helping us to live longer and happier lives. Studies over the past 25 years have shown that stroking a dog or cat can lower blood pressure and heart rate and boost levels of the mood-related brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine. Heart attack sufferers recover more quickly and survive longer when they have a pet at home, and children who are exposed to pets early in life may have a reduced risk of allergies and asthma.


For people with disabilities, pets can offer a lifeline to a more normal existence: guiding the blind, hearing for the deaf, and performing tasks for those who can’t do for themselves. Dogs and cats, even a tankful of fish, calm frazzled nerves and ease anxiety and depression, according to research. In one study, pets seemed to temper some of the psychological stress of being a caregiver to someone who is ill or suffering from dementia.


Dogs also act as conversation starters among strangers, a common interest, and a shared purpose. By getting their owners out of the house, dogs can also be a great stimulus for exercise and a tool for weight loss. In a recent study, researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia found that people who walked a dog for 10 minutes three times a week, eventually working up to 20 minutes five times a week over the course of a year, lost an average of 14 lbs, without changing their diets.


Why do pets make us feel better? One reason is that pets alter our behavior. When they are near, we tend to calm down and speak more slowly and softly. All types of pets offer distractions from the worries of the day, because we naturally shift our attention to them when they are around. Pets also provide an opportunity to touch and stroke another living thing, which has been shown to be of value to our mental and physical health.


Feel Better

Further Articles


Glen of Imaal Terrier

A child’s best friend is his dog


AN AUTISTIC child’s love for his dog has earned the animal a Child’s Best Friend award.


Paddy, a four-year-old Glen of Imaal Terrier, has made an amazing difference to the life of seven-year-old Ryan Gough, of Tudor Terrace, Aberdare.


And his parents Gaynor 37, and Jeremy, 38, were so impressed at the bond formed between Ryan and Paddy, that they nominated the much-loved dog for a special award.


“Paddy is devoted to Ryan and has changed his life,” said Mr Gough.


“His condition has improved in all aspects.”


When the family saw a competition in the magazine Dogs Today, asking readers to write in if a dog had helped someone through an illness or difficult time, they quickly put pen to paper.


To their delight, Paddy scooped the Child’s Best Friend Category and is also featured in a 2009 calendar brought out by the magazine. He will be the dog for April.


Ryan was diagnosed with autism when he was two and has difficulties with communication.


His speech is affected and the seven-year-old, a pupil at Ysgol y Goch, Tonteg, uses a symbol board to communicate.


“When we decided to get a dog, we researched the whole matter very carefully and chose a Glen of Imaal Terrier as they are very placid and good-natured,” said Mr Gough.


“They are a very rare breed of dog, and because Paddy was such a treasure, we have a bought another one – Cassie, who is almost a year old.”


Paddy, he said, has a great calming effect on Ryan and the little boy will talk to the dogs when he will not talk to the family.


“The dogs, especially Paddy, have changed our home life, improving it 100%,” said Mr Gough.


“Ryan used to suffer screaming tantrums, but these are now virtually a thing of the past.”


Ryan, he said, also has tremendous help and support from his older sister Lawrie, 11, who is a pupil at St John Baptist School, Aberdare.


Source:   http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/south-wales-news/cynon-valley/2008/12/18/a-child-s-best-friend-is-his-dog-91466-22487135/


Nuala



First Published Friday, 2 January 2009

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive, recurrent, and prolonged anxiety and worrying. People with generalized anxiety disorder typically agonize over everyday concerns, such as job responsibilities, finances, health, or family well-being or even such minor matters as household chores, car repairs, being late for appointments, or personal appearance. The focus of anxiety may shift frequently from one concern to another, and sensations may vary from mild tension and nervousness to feelings of dread.


Generalized anxiety disorder affects 6.8 million adults (3.1% of adult Americans) each year. Although people with generalized anxiety disorder know that the intensity, duration, and frequency of their anxiety and worry are out of proportion to the actual likelihood or impact of the feared event, they still have difficulty controlling their emotions.


Perpetual anxiety may impair concentration, memory, and decision-making ability, decrease attention span, and lead to a loss of confidence. Normal activities, such as working, socializing with friends, and maintaining intimate relationships, may become difficult or even impossible.


Generalized anxiety disorder may also produce a range of physical symptoms, including heart palpitations, restlessness, sweating, headaches, and nausea. Some generalized anxiety disorder sufferers, not realizing that generalized anxiety disorder is a treatable illness, become accustomed to their condition and assume that it is normal to feel on edge all the time. But the constant anxiety can lead to alcohol or drug abuse. The physical symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, along with alcohol or drug abuse, are often what finally compel a person to seek treatment.


Despite its more chronic course, generalized anxiety disorder responds better to treatment than does panic disorder. Psychotherapy helps many people, either by itself or in combination with medication. In addition, relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or meditation, may relieve symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.


The antidepressant medications duloxetine (Cymbalta), escitalopram (Lexapro), Paxil, and Effexor are FDA approved for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, but other serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, SSRIs, tricyclics, benzodiazepines, and BuSpar are also commonly used to treat generalized anxiety disorder.


Posted in Depression and Anxiety on December 31, 2008



First Published Friday, 2 January 2009

TAP

Latest Edition:  http://www.uniflip.com/catalogs/6341/11764/pub/index.html



Homepage:   http://www.theautismperspective.org/index.htm


TAP’s mission is to:


• provide free information to all
• provide unbiased information
• educate its readership
• a comprehensive resource for information, services, options, treatments, etc.
• provide the latest research findings and cutting-edge information
• share personal life stories – experiences, triumphs, struggles, and humanness
• continue to evolve as more knowledge is acquired


TAP recognizes that:


• Autism is complex
• no two people are alike, therefore every person will respond differently to every situation
• if someone has benefited, it was valuable
• we must collaborate with one another and work together in order to affect change


THE AUTISM PERSPECTIVE

The Autism Perspective magazine was founded upon the passionate philosophy that those living with and treating Autism should have a resource that presents the full perspective of options available to inspire us and make every person feel a little less alone in its struggles, hopes and dreams.

Our organization, The Autism Perspective, is poised to achieve this goal, to bring a world-class on line publication filled with balanced, cutting edge, informative and educational articles from across the country and the world free of charge.

Within the pages of our magazine you’ll find inspirational stories, new therapies and treatments, personal accounts and advocacy advice. Our goal is to enrich and enhance the lives of those living with autism and offer new sources of hope.

The Autism Perspective is read by people across the United States and in over 15 countries.


First Published Friday, 2 January 2009

Proposals for Autreat 2009 may be submitted until February 15.
Complete information, instructions, and an online submission form may
be found at www.ani.ac/aut09cfp .php . It may be slow to load due to a
busy server. Please keep trying.

The Autreat Planning Committee will begin considering proposals on
February 16, and will notify proposers of our decisions by March 1.

Forwarding and cross-posting permitted and encouraged.

J8

About Autreat



First Published Saturday, 3 January 2009

By JEREMY OLSHAN


John Travolta’s 16-year-old son died today while the family was vacationing in the Bahamas, authorities said.


The circumstances of the boy’s death are unclear, although sources told the Post that his body was found unconscious in a bathtub at the Old Bahama Bay Resort Hotel in Grand Bahama.


Jett was pronounced dead on arrival at Rand Memorial Hospital, officials said.


According to Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston, Jett had long suffered from Kawasaki disease – a rare condition said to be caused by chemical contaminants — but many had criticized the couple for refusing to acknowledge that the boy was autistic because of his belief in Scientology.


In 2007, one of Travolta’s Florida neighbors, whose son is autistic, said he was shocked that the movie star could let his belief stand in the way of helping the boy.


“They see it as a weakness. That’s what the space aliens are telling him I guess,” Tim Kenny told Hollywoodinterrupted.com after approaching Travolta as “one autistic father to another.”


“Scientology is keeping him from acknowledging his son’s autism. They see it as a weakness,” he said.


In Scientology mental illness is viewed as a weakness, that can be treated through hard work rather than through medicine.


Source:   http://www.nypost.com/seven/01022009/news/nationalnews/john_travoltas_son_found_dead_146914.htm


John Travolta

John Travolta’s Son Dies In Bahamas


NASSAU (Reuters) – The teenage son of actor John Travolta died suddenly on Friday during a family vacation in the Bahamas, according to police and the family’s lawyer.


Jett Travolta, 16, suffered a seizure at his family’s vacation home at the Old Bahama Bay resort on Grand Bahama Island, attorney Michael Ossi said.


The teen apparently hit his head and a caretaker found him unconscious in the bathroom on Friday morning. He was taken by ambulance to Rand Memorial Hospital in Freeport, where he was pronounced dead, according to a statement from the Royal Bahamas Police Department.


Jett, who had a history of seizures, was the eldest child of Travolta and his wife, actress Kelly Preston. They also have an 8-year-old daughter, Ella.


An autopsy was pending, police said.


The family, who have homes in California and Florida, arrived in the Bahamas on Tuesday by private plane, police said.


(Reporting by John Marquis; editing by Jane Sutton)


Source:   http://www.reuters.com/article/lifestyleMolt/idUSTRE50145920090102


‘My agony at losing my beloved boy’: ‘Heartbroken’ John Travolta breaks silence over death of teenage son


By Paul Thompson
Last updated at 6:58 PM on 04th January 2009


John Travolta has spoken for the first time of his desperate struggle to save his son’s life.


In a statement on his website, John Travolta said he and his wife Kelly Preston were ‘heartbroken’ by their sudden loss.


‘Jett was the most wonderful son that two parents could ever ask for and lit up the lives of everyone he encountered,’ the star said in a statement posted on www.travolta.com.


John Travolta and Kelly Preston's teenage son Jett, 16, died in the Bahamas

John Travolta and Kelly Preston’s teenage son Jett, 16, died in the Bahamas


‘We are heartbroken that our time with him was so brief. We will cherish the time that we had with him for the rest of our lives.’


The statement did not refer to Jett’s medical history or possible cause of death. But it offered thanks from the Hollywood star, his wife and their eight-year-old-daughter, Ella, for ‘many messages of condolence from around the world.’


As many of his Hollywood friends called to offer their support, the actor described the frantic efforts to revive his 16 year-old son Jett.


The Grease star sat down with family lawyer Michael McDermott to talk about  the tragedy and make funeral arrangements.


‘I did everything I could to keep Jett alive,’ Travolta told McDermott.


John Travolta's house in the Bahamas where Jett died

John Travolta’s house in the Bahamas where Jett died


‘There was a slight pulse so we did all we could. I tried the kiss of life for about 20 minutes.I wouldn’t give up.


‘The paramedics took over from me when they arrived, and they continued. Jeff (nanny Jeff Kathrein) gave Jett CPR while I tried to resuscitate him.’


Despite Travolta’s frantic efforts, his son, who had a history of seizures, was pronounced dead after being rushed to hospital in Freeport, Bahamas.


Two pathologists will on Monday carry out a post mortem to determine the exact  cause of death.


‘I’ve got to be strong for Kelly and Ella,’ Travolta told McDermott, referring to his actress wife Kelly Preston and eight year-old  daughter Ella.


‘We have to  try and pick ourselves up and continue with our lives.’


Jett is rumoured to have suffered autism

Jett is rumoured to have suffered autism


The actor is expected to issue a formal statement later Monday.


McDermott said Travolta, 54, and wife Kelly, 46, have been comforted by the messages of sympathy from his friends, family and  fans.


Chat show queen Oprah Winfrey was due to arrive in the Bahamas on Sunday to comfort the couple. McDermott said other A-list stars were also planning to fly to the Bahamas to comfort Travolta.


Tom Cruise, a close friend and fellow Scientologist, has spoken at length to Travolta.


Will Smith has also called the resort in the Bahamas where Travolta and his family had travelled to see in the New Year.


Oprah Winfrey, pictured during her 50th birthday celebrations, is flying to see Travolta (centre)

Oprah Winfrey, pictured during her 50th birthday celebrations, is flying to see Travolta (centre)


Actress Kirstie Alley, who starred with Travolta in “Look Who’s Talking” is flying to the Travolta family home in Ocala, Florida, to wait for  his return.

‘John has had dozens of calls from all the people he has  worked with in  Hollywood,’ said McDermott.


‘He and Kelly are very grateful for all the messages of support. It has been a  great source of strength to them as they try to cope with  what has happened.


‘They really have appreciated all the messages, and they know  lots of people are hurting. This has been the worst time of their lives, but  they know life continues and they will pull themselves together.’


McDermott, speaking with the authorisation of Travolta, also released new details about the events leading up to Jett’s death.


Kirsty Alley, pictured with Travolta and Kelly Preston, is flying to the family home in Florida to await the actor's return

Kirsty Alley, pictured with Travolta and Kelly Preston, is flying to the family home in Florida to await the actor’s return


The teenager had been with his family on a boat trip and returned to his room with his nanny Jeff Kathrein.


‘Jett was tired and wanted to go to bed early,’ said  McDermott. ‘It was about  6pm when he got back to his room which is on the ground  floor of the house  where John was staying.


‘He was accompanied by his nanny who stayed watching TV while Jett was in his  room.’


Travolta and Preston in happier times, pictured at an Oscar party last year

Travolta and Preston in happier times, pictured at an Oscar party last year


McDermott said Jett’s other nanny, a man called Eli, later returned to the  room and slept in an adjacent room. He was just a few feet  away.


Jett’s room was fitted with a baby monitor and chimes on the  bathroom door.


The family have said Jett, who suffered from a condition known as Kawasaki disease, had a history of seizures.


One theory is that Jett suffered a seizure while using the bathroom. Another  is that he slipped and banged his head and then suffered a  fatal seizure.


‘There have been reports that Jett was alone for hours and  they are just wrong and distressing for the family,’ said  McDermott.


‘As soon as Jett was discovered Jeff tried to revive him. The duty manager of  the hotel was alerted and ran 150 yards to help. She knew about  CPR and said  there were signs of a pulse.


‘John and Kelly were asleep in the room, but the other nanny  fetched them. John took over trying to resuscitate his son.


‘The ambulance took about 15 to 20 minutes to get to the  hotel, and all that  time John said he never once gave up trying to save his  son.’


After returning from Rand Memorial Hospital where his son had  been taken he  broke the news of Jett’s death to their eight year old daughter  Ella.


‘Kelly is still very quiet and withdrawn, but she is coping,’  said McDermott.  ‘You only have to look at them both to see the pain, it is etched into their  faces. They have not had a lot of sleep.


‘It is hard to know what to say to a couple who have just lost  their son.’


Jett’s funeral is expected to take place later this week in Ocala where Travolta has a home built around its own runway.


An avid pilot, who named one of his planes after his children, he can park two jets just yards from his home in the Jumbolair  estate.


Source:   http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1105129/My-agony-losing-beloved-boy-Heartbroken-John-Travolta-breaks-silence-death-teenage-son.html?ITO=1490


Condolences for Travolta Family – John Travolta, Kelly Preston & Sister Ella


 

No parent such as John Travolta and Kelly Preston should have to outlive their child, Jett. Even more tragic is for their son, Jett Travolta to die so young. There is a bit of confusion around the web searching for information as people wishing to extend their condolences to the Travolta Family have been keying Jeff Travolta rather than Jett Travolta. Our hearts go out to John Travolta, Kelly Preston & Sister Ella at this time as we extend our deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences.


Image Source: Reuters Pictures on Daylife.com


Jett Travolta Remembered


Photos for Jett Travolta From Daylife.com


John Travolta on Jett Travolta


Kelly Preston & John Travolta Release Statement of Thanks for Condolences


We would like to extend our deepest and most heartfelt thanks to everyone who has sent their love and condolences. Jett was the most wonderful son that two parents could ever ask for and lit up the lives of everyone he encountered.

We are heartbroken that our time with him was so brief. We will cherish the time we had with him for the rest of our lives.

We have received many messages of condolence from around the world and we want to thank everyone for their prayers and support. It has meant so much to us. It is a beautiful reminder of the inherent goodness in the human spirit that gives us a hope for a brighter future.

With love, John, Kelly, Ella

Source: travolta.com

Celebrities Supporting Travolta Family


Including Famous Scientologists


According to aspie-editorial.blog-city.com, Travolta’s attorney reports Travolta and his wife Kelly have been comforted by messages of sympathy from friends, family and fans.

Several stars including Oprah Winfrey are scheduled to fly to the Bahamas to comfort Travolta. Kirsty Alley has apparently flown to Ocala to be there for when Kelly and John return to Florida. Other stars who have reached out and contacted Travolta include Will Smith, fellow Scientologist Tom Cruise.

Qantas airlines also extended their condolences. Travolta, an aviation fanatic is also a spokesperson for Qantas.


Sources:
“Condolences for Travolta Family”, aspie-editorial.blog-city.com
“Qantas pass condolences to John Travolta, Kelly Preston for Jett”, The Daily Telegraph

What is Kawasaki Syndrome? Jett Travolta


Kawasaki disease, also known as lymph node syndrome, mucocutaneous node disease, infantile polyarteritis and Kawasaki syndrome, is a poorly understood self-limited vasculitis that affects many organs, including the skin and mucous membranes, lymph nodes, blood vessel walls, and the heart. It was first described in 1967 by Dr. Tomisaku Kawasaki in Japan.



Jett Travolta Kawasaki Syndrome & Scientology


Information Provided by Associated Content


Kawasaki Disease in Spotlight After Jett Travolta Death
The death of John Travolta’s son puts a new light on Kawasaki Disease, which Jett Travolta was diagnosed with. Speculation is over how much the disease contributed to his death- and even on whether he was autistic instead.
Jett Travolta: Did Scientology Kill Him?
The Church of Scientology denies mental illness exists, including autism. Did Jett Travolta have autism and, because of religious beliefs, was denied treatment?
Scientology Beliefs, Autism and Jett Travolta
Was John Travolta’s Son the Victim of Church Prescribed Medical Neglect?
Jett Travolta & Kawasaki Syndrome

Jett Travolta, Kawasaki Disease: Separating Fact From Fiction
The recent tragic death of Jett Travolta has raised awareness of Kawasaki Disease, a disease with which he was diagnosed in early childhood. Kawasaki disease is a rare form of vasculitis which usually strikes children under the age of
Jett Travolta and Kawasaki Syndrome – On Parenting (usnews.com)
Knowing signs of the mysterious ailment can reduce heart risk.
Kawasaki Disease: No Link to Travolta Death
Jett Travolta’s childhood brush with Kawasaki disease is highly unlikely to have caused the seizures that apparently led to his death, a Kawasaki expert tells WebMD.
Kawasaki Syndrome Jett Travolta
Jett Travolta, John Travolta’s son, reportedly suffered from Kawasaki Syndrome. But what is Kawasaki Syndrome? The disease of Kawasaki Syndrome is given a complete write …

Source:   http://www.squidoo.com/jett-travolta

Jett Travolta died of ‘seizure’: Bahamas officials

Jan 6 12:19 AM US/Eastern

Officials in the Bahamas who conducted an autopsy on Jett Travolta said the 16-year-old son of actor John Travolta died here last week of a “seizure,” and that his body showed no signs of head trauma.

…Jett Travolta had a history of seizures since he was a toddler, and a lawyer for his father said he may have suffered a lethal one on Friday.

Citing the assistant director of a funeral home that carried out the autopsy, TMZ.com said Jett Travolta’s death certificate listed “seizure” as the cause of death.


To Continue Reading …


http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=090106041843.wk8v3bcc&show_article=1




1. Rose left…

Saturday, 3 January 2009 3:27 am

I am so sorry to the Family of Jett ,I lost my only son Leo at the age of sixteen almost three years ago,Please know your wonderful son has already been welcomed into Heaven by some many who have cared & loved him .God Bless and again my deepest condolences ,But Please remember ‘Jett will always be only a whisper away’


2. Mike left…

Saturday, 3 January 2009 7:28 am

What a sad horrible thing that made me cry. I could never imagine loosing my son. God be with you Mr. Travolta. Hang in there. I know it must be the worst day of your life. I lost my sister to cancer at age 39. There is nothing worse than loosing a loved one especially your son. I am so sorry that this happened to you. I wish you the very best in these times of sadness.


3. Michelle left…

Saturday, 3 January 2009 5:34 pm

It is hard to articulate how badly my heart grieves for this fine family. Both parents are very well respected in their professions, but are human beings as well, living what appeared to be a great family life. To have such a tragedy bestowed upon them is just simply unthinkable. My heart goes out to the entire Travolta family and my prayers as well. Just know, God needed one really special angel, and Jett was chosen. I imagine no words are enough to help mourn your loss, but know that there are many people out here that have love and respect for the entire family and we grieve as you grieve. May you hold your heads high during this trying time, with the dignity that defines John Travolta and Kelly Preston. I must say, again in closing, how terribly sorry I am for your loss. Blessings to you all.


4. Rhonda Alspaugh left…

Sunday, 4 January 2009 8:11 am

Such a loving family with such a terrible loss. I too buried my first born & only son. I wish Jett’s family peace in knowing that one day in the very distant future the love & happy memories will overcome the thoughts of his death.

I am so sorry.


5. Kathy Conrad left…

Sunday, 4 January 2009 1:31 pm :: http://www.shawna-hunter.memory-of.com/A

Dearest John, Kelly and family. Please know that my heart aches along with yours. As a mother of an angel that passed to heaven in 2003 I feel your pain and want to offer my deepest condolences to you all. If there is anything I can do please call on me. It is our new life that we live without our children and sometimes it helps to speak with those that understand this undeniably harsh pain. May God Bless you all. Kathy (mom to angel Shawna Hunter)


6. Shelly-alwayskennysmom left…

Sunday, 4 January 2009 3:08 pm

My sincere condolences for the loss of young Jett.My Heart goes out for all.You have many bereaved parents mourning your loss on Memory of We feel your pain & Send Much Strength….Shelly


7. Janet (Mom to angel Nicholas Pic left…

Sunday, 4 January 2009 5:29 pm

My husband and I are so sorry for your loss. We thoroughly feel your pain John and Kelly as we too have lost our son Nicholas. We are changed forever. Please know that Jett and you and your family are all in our thoughts and prayers. Our sons are at peace with God now watching over us until we are all reunited again and oh how beautiful that will be. God bless.


8. Wendy Bloom left…

Sunday, 4 January 2009 10:11 pm

MY HEART GOES OUT TO JOHN AND HIS WIFE AND FAMILY…..NO PARENT SHOULD EVER HAVE TO BURY THEIR CHILD.


9. Martha Vázquez left…

Monday, 5 January 2009 12:04 am

My heart and prayers go out to John, Kelly and his family for the loss of their beloved son (in Coral Gables, Florida)


10. Gracie left…

Monday, 5 January 2009 1:16 am

My prayers and heartfelt sympathies go out to the Travolta family. What a horrible tragedy. Jett will never be far away, always in your hearts.


11. Delia Beggs left…

Monday, 5 January 2009 7:26 am :: http://www.preciousmemorials.com/

Dearest John and kelly i am so sorry at your loss of your Precious Son Jett, my heart breaks for your family, keeping you all in my heart and prayers at this very sad time i lost my own son 6 years ago and having our children go before us so very hard … again please exept my deepest sympathy Delia (mother of Angel Allan Tomlin)


12. KATIE tORRES left…

Monday, 5 January 2009 7:44 am

JOHN & FAMILY, i HAVE TO LET YOU KNOW i LOST MY SPECIAL NEEDS 32 YR OLD SON 30 MONTHS AGO – i FEEL i LOST MORE THAN A CHILD, i LOST SOMEONE THAT BRIGHTEN EVERYONE’S LIFE. hE SHOWED THEM HOW LITTLE IT TOOK TO MAKE OTHERS HAPPY. hE SHOWED THEM PURE LOVE. hE LOVED YOU SO MUCH & SO MANY TIMES, “GREASE’ WAS PLAYING AGAIN ON VIDEO. sO KNOW YOU TOUCHED HIS LIFE & GAVE HIM MANY HAPPY TIMES WHILE WATCHING”GREASE”. hE LIVED RIGHT @ DELAND & HOPED SOMEDAY HE’D SEE YOU! nOW HES WITH YOUR SON jETT & I’M SURE THEY’LL HAVE A LOTS TO TALK ABOUT. i PRAY FOR STRENGTH FOR YOU, KELLY & YOUR DAUGHTER & yOU WILL FIND HAPPY MEMORIES WILL COMFORT YOU – HUGS TO ALL OF YOU. kATIE


13. Susan from Massachusetts left…

Tuesday, 6 January 2009 4:49 am

Dear John, Kelly and Ella……I cried when I heard the news about your son. I’ve never written a public note like this ; however, John, you have always struck me as one of the most sincere, authentic stars of our time……a caring person, and loving father. The pics of the family are beautiful! I can’t imagine the grief and shock you must all feel right now. Jett didn’t die in vain. This is yet another reminder to us all to savor every single moment with our children and grandchilldren! I love Jett’s smile! My prayers are with you all, and may you find peace in your hearts. A day at a time , and you will get thru. Much love, Susan M.


14. Karen left…

Tuesday, 6 January 2009 5:22 am

My heart aches for your family over the loss of your sweet boy Jett. I have an 18 yr old special needs son who looks just like Jett. The way you held him and guided him in all the photos and videos I’ve seen is all too familiar. Every time I see his picture on tv, he just oozes sweetness and pure love. He is in the arms of the Lord and is safe now. The world knows what wonderful parents you were to him, and so does he. God bless you all, and keep you, and give you the grace to get through this tragedy.


15. Kay King left…

Wednesday, 7 January 2009 3:25 am

My heart is broken for this loving family. How sad and how helpless they must all feel. My prayers are with them. There are no words for times like these. Hold on to your family & friends any minute can be the last. I feel as if I am mouring a friend myself. Such dear people and so much loss. I hope the press will leave them in peace.



First Published Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Transition Team - Of the People, By the People

Hello,


This past Friday, we met with representatives from the Office of the
President-Elect on Autism Policy. The meeting was attended by
representatives from the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, Easter Seals, TASH,
the Marino Foundation, Autism Speaks and the Autism Society of America. At
the request of the Office of the President-elect, we presented to the new
administration our top three policy priorities for the coming year: 1)
Supporting and Empowering autistic adults, 2) Ending School Abuse and
Ensuring a Free and Appropriate Public Education for Every Student, and 3)
Balancing the Research Agenda in Support of Quality of Life. You can read
our recommendations to the new Administration on our
website<http://www.autistic advocacy. org/documents/ ASANTransitionRe commendations. pdf>and
we encourage you to post them on your blogs, listservs and elsewhere.


Although these are our top three priorities, they do not represent our only
action items and we are pleased to report that the incoming administration
expressed a strong interest in remaining in continuous contact on these and
other issues. It is absolutely essential that we ensure that autistic
self-advocates have a voice at the policy table and we will continue to keep
you up to date as we advocate for the autistic community.


Nothing About Us, Without Us!
Regards,
Ari Ne’eman
President
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network
1660 L Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036
http://www.autistic advocacy. org
732.763.5530



First Published Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen
Director, Autism Research Centre, Cambridge University


The prospect of a prenatal test for autism, allowing couples to choose whether to have a baby with the condition, is coming closer. And with it also comes the possibility of a prenatal drug treatment being developed.


But in this week’s Scrubbing Up, leading autism expert Professor Simon Baron-Cohen warns caution is needed to ensure associated talents, like numerical abilities, are not lost if the test or a “cure” become available.


Males, maths and autism. On the face of it, these three things don’t appear to be linked. And yet they are.


Males are much more likely to apply to university to study maths, for example.


Numbers/DNA

An ability to understand numbers could be in DNA


In 2007, three quarters of applicants to read maths at Cambridge were male, as were 90% of applicants for the computer sciences degree.


Research is not yet at the stage where autism can be detected prenatally


Cambridge is not unique in this way. So why are males so attracted to studying maths?


And why, in over 100 years of the existence of the Fields Medal, maths’ Nobel Prize, have none of the winners have ever been a woman?


Similarly, people with autism are much more likely to be male. Among those with classic autism, which includes a developmental delay in language and a risk of learning difficulties, males outnumber females by four to one.


And among those with Asperger Syndrome, males outnumber females by nine to one.


People with the condition talk at a normal age and have at least an average IQ, but share the social and communication difficulties of those with classic autism, as well as the narrow – even obsessive – interests and love of repetition.


‘Male brains’


It seems as you move to the extremes of mathematical excellence, autism becomes more common.


The search to understand why led scientists to genetics. Fathers and grandfathers of children with autism are more likely to work in the field of engineering, a field that needs good attention to detail and a good understanding of systems, just like mathematics.


Siblings of mathematicians also have a higher risk of autism, suggesting the link between maths and autism is genetically mediated. And parents of children with autism show male-typical brain function in tests.


But genetics may not be the only explanation.


Research published this year showed a link between higher levels of the male hormone testosterone in the amniotic fluid surrounding a foetus and autistic traits when the child was eight.


And animal studies have shown foetal testosterone levels influence brain development, masculinising it.


‘Wise to think ahead’


Research is not yet at the stage where autism can be detected prenatally using a biological test, but this may not be far off.


Such a test will need to prove itself clinically in terms of whether it is highly specific (in detecting just autism).


But assuming such a test is developed, we would be wise to think ahead as to how such a test would be used.


If it was used to ‘prevent’ autism, with doctors advising mothers to consider termination of the pregnancy if their baby tested ‘positive’, what else would be lost in reducing the number of children born with autism?


Would we also reduce the number of future great mathematicians, for example?


Or if this test led to some kind of prenatal treatment, such as the use of drugs to block the effect of testosterone which is already medically possible, would this be desirable?


If reducing the testosterone in a foetus helped that baby’s future social development, we would all be delighted.


But what if such a treatment reduced that baby’s future ability to attend to details, and to understand systematic information like maths?


Caution is needed before scientists embrace prenatal testing so that we do not inadvertently repeat the history of eugenics or inadvertently ‘cure’ not just autism but the associated talents that are not in need of treatment.


Source:  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7736196.stm


Further Articles




First Published Thursday, 8 January 2009

Paul Dirac
Paul Dirac – a pioneer of quantum mechanics – displayed some of the classic signs of autism. Photograph: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives


A prenatal test for autism would deprive the world of future geniuses


As a new book speculates that ‘Britain’s Einstein’ was autistic, an autism expert warns that a prenatal test for the condition would prevent brilliant scientists like Paul Dirac from ever being born.


A new book on the greatest British physicist since Newton speculates that both his profound mathematical abilites and his extreme social awkwardness stemmed from undiagnosed autism.


The claims – from a biography of Paul Dirac by Graham Farmelo, The Strangest Man – tie in with an article on the BBC website from leading autism researcher Prof Simon Baron-Cohen. Baron-Cohen says we need a public debate about the prenatal diagnosis of autism. Although such a test is not yet available, it soon could be.


Baron-Cohen points out that the use of embryo selection during IVF to reject babies with autism genes might have the effect of preventing some individuals with brilliant mathematical abilities from being born.


More on Baron-Cohen’s argument later, but first, Farmelo’s book presents a highly detailed picture of a brilliant but profoundly odd man with an extremely troubled relationship with his parents. Given Dirac’s contribution to science, Farmelo argues that he is shockingly under-appreciated and largely unknown in the UK, particularly in his home town of Bristol.


Dirac was one of the pioneers of quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics. For example, in 1930 he predicted that the electron has an equivalent anti-particle, the positron – a notion that was greeted with scepticism and derision by some physicists at the time but was proved correct in experiments two years later.


He is the youngest theoretical physicist ever to win a Nobel Prize, and a year earlier in 1932 he was made Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge. At 29 he was a few months older than Sir Isaac Newton when he took up the same position in 1669. Its current holder is Prof Stephen Hawking.


The physicist Freeman Dyson summed up Dirac’s effortless brilliance thus:


His great discoveries were like exquisitely carved marble statues falling out of the sky one after another. He seemed to be able to conjure laws of nature from pure thought.


Perhaps not surprisingly, Dirac was also an extemely unconventional person (Farmelo’s title is a quotation from Dirac’s contemporary Niels Bohr). Even Einstein found him peculiar. “I have trouble with Dirac,” he wrote to a friend. “This balancing on the dizzying path between genius and madness is awful.”


Dirac was prone to very long silences and was famous for his apparently emotionless responses to events. He also often took a very literal interpretation of statements by other people. All are characteristics of autism.


When Farmelo spoke to Baron-Cohen about the condition he said he was struck by two things. First, that autistic men often have foreign wives, “perhaps because the women were more tolerant of unusual behaviour in foreign men than in men from their own culture.” Dirac was married to a Hungarian woman for 50 years.


Baron-Cohen also said that autistic people are often extremely loyal. “When they believe that a friend has suffered an injustice, they are often so indignant that they will disrupt or abandon their almost invariable daily routines to rectify it,” wrote Farmelo. Dirac demonstrated great loyalty to his friends the physicists Pyotr Kapitsa and Werner Heisenberg. There are also signs that Paul’s father Charles was autistic and there was a history of depression and suicide in the Dirac family.


Whatever the difficulties in diagnosing autism in a man who died in 1984, Baron-Cohen’s argument is that preventing cases of the condition by screening the genes for autism out of the population could stop brilliant individuals such as Dirac ever being born.


Research is not yet at the stage where autism can be detected prenatally using a biological test, but this may not be far off … If it was used to ‘prevent’ autism, with doctors advising mothers to consider termination of the pregnancy if their baby tested ‘positive’, what else would be lost in reducing the number of children born with autism?


Would we also reduce the number of future great mathematicians, for example? Or if this test led to some kind of prenatal treatment, such as the use of drugs to block the effect of testosterone which is already medically possible, would this be desirable?


Caution is needed before scientists embrace prenatal testing so that we do not inadvertently repeat the history of eugenics or inadvertently ‘cure’ not just autism but the associated talents that are not in need of treatment.


If a prenatal test for autism becomes available, should medical science be used to ‘cure’ the condition?


Source:   http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2009/jan/07/autism-test-genius-dirac


Book Cover
The Strangest Man: Graham Farmelo


Published  – 22.01.2009


Synopsis:


The first full biography of Paul Dirac, the greatest British physicist since Newton – and one of the strangest geniuses of the twentieth century, who may have suffered from autism.


Paul Dirac was a pioneer of quantum mechanics and was regarded as an equal by Albert Einstein. He predicted, purely from what he saw in his equations, the existence of antimatter. The youngest person ever to win the Nobel Prize for Physics, he was also pathologically reticent, strangely literal-minded and almost completely unable to communicate or empathise. His silences were legendary and when he spoke, he betrayed no emotion. Through his greatest period of productivity, his postcards home contained only remarks about the weather. He is said to have cried only once, when his friend Einstein died.


Based on a previously undiscovered archive of family papers in Florida, Graham Farmelo celebrates Dirac’s massive scientific achievement while drawing a compassionate portrait of his life and the people around him. Dirac had a traumatic relationship with his family: his brother committed suicide, and he hated his father to the end of his life. His political allegiances were radical. His best friend was the Russian physicist Peter Kapitza, and even at the height of the purges Dirac holidayed in the Soviet Union.

Yet Farmelo also reveals a man who, while seemingly lacking in emotion, could manage to love and father a family. He catches Dirac’s absolute belief in the beauty of mathematics with warmth and sympathy. And Farmelo shows that Dirac’s eccentricities may well have stemmed from undiagnosed autism.


The Strangest Man is a moving human story, and a study of one of the most exciting times in scientific history.


Source:   http://www.faber.co.uk/work/strangest-man/9780571222780/


Paul Dirac

Paul Dirac – Photos and Anecdotes About the Physicist:
http://www.dirac.ch/PaulDirac.html


Paul Dirac – Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Dirac


Paul Dirac: Biography from Answers.com:
http://www.answers.com/topic/paul-dirac


The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Quantum Genius: Graham Farmelo
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Strangest-Man-Hidden-Quantum-Genius/dp/product-description/0571222781

http://www.amazon.com/Strangest-Man-Hidden-Quantum-Genius/dp/0571222781/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1231424942&sr=1-2



First Published Friday, 9 January 2009

Self monitoring blood pressure

Clinical Review


Blood pressure self monitoring: questions and answers from a national conference


Richard J McManus, clinical senior lecturer1, Paul Glasziou, professor2, Andrew Hayen, senior lecturer3, Jonathan Mant, professor 4, Paul Padfield, professor5, John Potter, professor 6, Emma P Bray, research fellow1, David Mant, professor 2


1 Primary Care Clinical Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston Birmingham B15 2TT, 2 Department of Primary Health Care, University of Oxford, Headington, Oxford OX3 7LF, 3 Screening and Test Evaluation Program, School of Public Health, University of Sydney, NSW 2006 Australia , 4 General Practice and Primary Care Research Unit, Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 0SR, 5 Department of Medical Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH4 2XU, 6 Faculty of Health, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ


Correspondence to: R J McManus r.j.mcmanus@bham.ac.uk


Summary points


Self monitoring of blood pressure is useful in the diagnosis and management of hypertension
Multiple measurements of blood pressure allow a better estimation of “true” blood pressure
Systematic reviews show that blood pressure is lower when self monitored
Self monitored blood pressure correlates better with risk of stroke than office readings
Patient education and clinically validated sphygmomanometers are prerequisites for effective self monitoring

Self measurement of blood pressure was introduced in the 1930s and is now practised by almost 10% of the general population of the United Kingdom.1 2 Because blood pressure monitors are now readily available and cheap (as little as £10; $15; {euro}11.8), self monitoring is likely to increase—in the United States and Europe up to two thirds of people with hypertension self monitor.3 At present we have insufficient evidence to make use of multiple blood pressure readings generated from home monitoring in clinical care. This review—which is based . . . [Full text of this article]

Relevant Articles


Targets and self monitoring in hypertension: randomised controlled trial and cost effectiveness analysis
R J McManus, J Mant, A Roalfe, R A Oakes, S Bryan, H M Pattison, and F D R Hobbs
BMJ 2005 331: 493.
[Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

Self monitoring of blood pressure at home
George Stergiou, Thomas Mengden, Paul L Padfield, Gianfranco Parati, Eoin O’Brien working group on blood pressure monitoring of the European Society of Hypertension
BMJ 2004 329: 870-871.
[Extract] [Full Text] [PDF]

Blood pressure control by home monitoring: meta-analysis of randomised trials
Francesco P Cappuccio, Sally M Kerry, Lindsay Forbes, and Anna Donald
BMJ 2004 329: 145.
[Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

Evidence based treatment of hypertension: Measurement of blood presssure: an evidence based review
Finlay A McAlister and Sharon E Straus
BMJ 2001 322: 908-911.
[Extract] [Full Text] [PDF]

Source:   http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/extract/337/dec22_1/a2732?ijkey=1952c9f18c9d33d83e08cfaa8879f923180cc956&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha

Blood pressure home monitoring


Being told you have high blood pressure can feel like a big deal – you’ll probably have to take pills for the rest of your life and go to your GP regularly to check your blood pressure’s under control.


There’s not much you can do about the first bombshell, except remind yourself high blood pressure isn’t so much a disease as a risk factor for other diseases, such as heart disease and stroke.


Why are many doctors still sniffy about patients measuring their own blood pressure at home?

But you might decide you’re going to wrestle back some control by checking your blood pressure yourself at home, using an automatic blood pressure monitor.


They’re easy to get hold of, reasonably priced (from about £40-£150), and you don’t need to be a brain surgeon (or even a heart surgeon) to use one. No wonder sales of these devices are booming.


So why are many doctors still sniffy about patients measuring their own blood pressure at home? Is home monitoring a good idea or not?


Taking control or worrying yourself sick?


There are several reasons why your GP might be sceptical about self-monitoring.


It could be a hangover from earlier times when it meant doctors training patients in the complicated art and science of using a manual blood pressure device. Modern devices pose much less of a challenge.


Even automatic machines are open to bias: it’s easy to round figures down or simply ignore unusually high results. In my experience, this can apply equally to doctors, and some modern machines memorise readings so you can’t fiddle the records.


More simply, doctors worry that patients will worry. They worry some people will develop an obsessional and unhealthy interest in every peak and trough of their blood pressure. I’ve certainly seen people panicked unnecessarily by a one-off high reading.


But perhaps the main reason is that most automated blood pressure monitors on sale to the public haven’t been properly validated, or have been shown to be inaccurate. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, which issues guidance for doctors, says using home-monitoring devices as part of primary care needs more research.


Golden rules of self-monitoring


Other doctors may have a different view, but if a patient of mine wanted to buy one of these devices this is what I hope they would do.


First, discuss it with me. We can talk about how to use the machine properly, how often and when to take readings, and how to interpret them. For example, the threshold for high blood pressure is generally lower using home monitors (more than 135/85 is high) than in the clinic (more than 140/90 is high).


Without getting too obsessive, when it comes to long-term monitoring I’ve found the European Society of Hypertension advice works well – take two morning and evening readings each day for one week every three months. Alternatively, you could take readings on one day every week.


Things that temporarily affect blood pressure


  • *Anxiety
  • *Exercise
  • *Meals
  • *Tobacco
  • *Alcohol
  • *Pain
  • *Time of year – blood pressure’s generally lower in summer
  • *Time of day – blood pressure’s usually lower when you’re asleep

Second, before my patient handed over their hard-earned cash, I’d strongly advise them to check up-to-date information on which devices have been properly validated.


Just because a monitor is on sale – and even if it has a ‘CE’ mark (indicating it meets European standards) – it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s accurate or reliable.


Luckily, this job is done for you by the British Hypertension Society.


Third, choose an upper arm monitor as these have been shown to be the most reliable, but always make sure you have the right sized cuff to fit your arm – too small or too large and the reading can be inaccurate.


In general, wrist and finger devices aren’t recommended because they’re easily influenced by changes in circulation, and the measuring cuff is not always at the level of your heart, which it should be.


Benefits of self-monitoring


Despite some doctors’ reservations, the tide seems to be turning.


Self-monitoring can be useful in detecting white coat hypertension. This is a phenomenon affecting up to one in five adults, in which blood pressure measurements taken at your doctor’s or in a clinic are high even though your blood pressure’s normal the rest of the time.


The European Society of Hypertension and the US Joint National Committee reckon self-monitoring might work well in these cases because several readings, taken in your normal environment, can be averaged over time.


The latest guidance from the British Hypertension Society also says self-monitoring could encourage people to take their blood pressure medication.


Last but not least


Finally, if you buy a self-monitoring device get it properly checked and recalibrated every year or so. Check with the manufacturer if they’ll do this for you and how much it’ll cost. One manufacturer I asked quoted around £30 and recommends a check every two years.


With a bit of dialogue, you and your GP can both feel managing your blood pressure effectively is a team effort.


Dr Graham Easton works in a London GP practice with around 10,000 patients. It has three GP partners, three salaried doctors and fully computerised medical records. His medical training was at The Royal London Hospital. He’s also an experienced medical journalist who has worked for BBC Radio Science and the British Medical Journal.


Source:   http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/surgerynotes/geaston/blood_pressure.shtml