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First Published Thursday, 5 March 2009


Pauline Anderson

Amsterdam, the Netherlands – Contrary to prevailing opinion, new research indicates it is not depression that raises blood pressure but the drugs used to treat depression-a finding that suggests patients on antidepressants might need to be more closely monitored.

Investigators at the VU University Medical Center, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, show that depression is associated with low-not high-blood pressure but that taking certain antidepressants, particularly tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), tends to raise blood pressure and increase the risk for hypertension.

Doctors should at least be aware of a potential blood-pressure rise that could be linked to TCA use, especially for patients with cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure or others who are at risk for hypertension,” lead author Carmilla Licht (VU University Medical Center) said.


© 2009 Medscape Medical News

First Published Thursday, 5 March 2009

Two-Storey Library

Library staff share some of their favourite books for World Book Day

Date: Mar 4, 2009

World Book Day is the biggest annual celebration of books and reading in the UK and Ireland.

World Book Day, Thursday 5 March 2009

Library staff share some of their favourite books.

Jane Healey, Senior Librarian, Highgate

  • Elizabeth and her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim -The beauties of nature, social commentary and wry observations on life all mix in this witty and idiosyncratic semi-autobiographical diary.
  • The Greenlanders by Jane Smiley – If you ever wondered what life was like in medieval Greenland! … an entry into another world – this has lived on in my mind for years. Beautiful and enthralling.
  • Possession by A.S. Byatt – My favourite Booker winner – a lush interweaving of dual worlds as two contemporary scholars reconstruct an unsuspected love affair between two Victorian poets
  • The Charterhouse of Parma – by Stendahl – Possibly the greatest French novel ever. A romantic thriller set in the Napoleonic era it broke new ground with its realism and deep psychological insights. The description of the confusion of the battle of Waterloo greatly influenced Tolstoy.
  • Le Grand Meaulnes by Alain-Fournier – Romance with a capital R. Beautifully written, elegiac, mysterious and tragic. Read with a box of tissues to hand …unless you have a heart of stone!

Felicity Page, Principal Librarian, Children and Young People

  • The Moons of Jupiter by Alice Munro – This encapsulates so much of her superb craft in short story telling. Called the Proust of the twentieth century she writes of love, loss, happiness and misery of the human heart.
  • Austerlitz by W.G.Sebald – Intriguing and lyrical journey of discovery into Europe’s shameful past.
  • Memoirs of a Fox Hunting Man by George Sherwood. Thinly disguised fictional autobiography of Siegfried Sassoon, a brilliant diarest, poet and man of letters.
  • The Brothers Karamozov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. This illuminating and epic tale of a family and their tragic history in nineteenth century Russia demonstrates so many of the fundamental questions of life, death, religion, sin and redemption.
  • Anna Karenina by Leopold Tolstoy. This tragic love story and the tragic demise from grace of the heedless and beautiful and Anna and her treacherous lover is gripping from the first line – ‘each happy family is happy in a similar way but each unhappy family is uniquely unhappy.’

Sue Jessop, Principal Librarian Learning and Reading

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee- Based on a true story, and set in 1930s Alabama, Atticus Finch is the small town lawyer who challenges the rigid social codes of the time by defending a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Harper Lee’s only novel won the Pulitzer Prize.
  • The Great Gatsby by F Scott – Fitzgerald – Set in a heat wave in America during the roaring 20’s, Fitzgerald invites you to join the world of glittering parties and a society obsessed with wealth and status. But Gatsby’s pursuit of his secret obsession and the tragic unfolding of events reveal a society with a murky underside.
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon. A mystery story told by a 15-year-old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome, at ease with complex maths but completely unable to recognize human emotions. An unusual and sensitive combination of maths, humour, love and sadness.
  • The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler . "I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be." Chandler’s first novel, introducing the tough, cynical, world-weary, wisecracking Philip Marlowe
  • Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy – Jude Fawley’s university aspirations are thwarted and his socially unacceptable love for the intellectual, free-spirited Sue Bridehead leads to truly shocking and unbearably tragic consequences. Created such a scandal when published Hardy never wrote another novel.

Sonia Winifred, Deputy Head of Camden Libraries

  • Forever Amber by Kathleen Windsor
  • Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
  • Cancer Ward by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  • Nana by Emile Zola
  • Love in the Time of Cholora by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Pamela Butler, Senior Librarian, Kentish Town

  • What we talk about when we talk about love by Raymond Carver -American master of minimalist prose puts meaning into the lives of everyday people.
  • The women’s room by Marilyn French – A book which meant so much in the movement for womens liberation and which still packs a punch.
  • Hunger by Knut Hamsun – A flavour of what it feels like to be starving, cold and desperate on the icy streets of Norway.
  • The Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake – A colourful fantasy of exquisite characters and goings on in a fairytale castle.
  • Finding a different kind of normal: misadventures with Asperger syndrome by Jeanette Purkis – Fascinating and frightening in equal measure as a young woman looks back on her roller coaster life up to her success and acceptance of living with the syndrome.

Diane Bowman, Senior Librarian, West Hampstead

  • Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx – True love is found in the most unexpected places.
  • Fingersmith by Sarah Waters – This novel had me in its grip from the first page, a thrilling dip into the sordid under life of Victorian London.
  • Gone with the wind by Margaret Mitchell – Ten years in the writing, a heart breaking story of love and loss, a nation mortally divided. Margaret Mitchell’s only published work.
  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens – A savage, but often comic indictment of a society that is rotten to the core. The case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce rumbles on and on.
  • Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck – The most beautifully written book I have ever picked up. A poetic tribute to the endurance and dignity of the human spirit.
  • Kidnapped by R.L Stevenson – I just love dashing heroes and you don’t get more dashing than Alan Breck. Romance in the Scottish Highlands.

Gloria Keys, Group Manager St. Pancras

  • Secret History by Donna Tartt – Eerie and atmospheric with wonderful descriptions of New England in all its changing seasons.
  • A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby – Wonderful and very funny account of a complete non- walkers plan to walk to Afghanistan – a great travel book and fascinating picture of what Iran and Afghanistan used to be like.
  • From the Holy Mountain by William Dalrymple – Another travel book following in the footsteps of a sixth century monk from Mount Athos in Greece across Turkey, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, tracing the Middle Eastern roots of Christianity.
  • The Kindness of Strangers by Kate Adie – Kate Adie’s autobiography starting with the sometimes hilarious memories of her early years at the BBC and her travels around the world as a foreign correspondent.
  • Lake Wobegone Days by Garrison Keillor – Read this after listening to GK read it on the radio! An account of growing up in the fifties in a small town in Minnesota. As Keillor grew up and embarked on the treacherous dating game, he had to cope with taking his date out in a car covered in verses from the Bible picked out in red reflective beading!

Nick West Senior Librarian, Holborn

  • Of Love and Hunger by Julian McClaren-Ross -The uncertain life of vacuum cleaner salesmen on the south coast in the immediate pre-war years.
  • 1974/1977/1980 by David Peace – First three parts of the Red Riding quartet. Murderous doings in the West Riding against a backdrop of the Ripper killings.
  • The Dumas Club by Arturo Perez-Reverte -Occult mystery set in the antiquarian book trade. Filmed by Polanski as ‘The Ninth Gate.’
  • The Separation by Christopher Priest- Alternative history of the Second World War.
  • Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens – Love and greed on the Kings Cross dust heaps and the Thames
  • Mother London by Michael Moorcock – Chronicles of London across the decades – 1930s to 1980s. Theobalds Road and Brooke Market and Holborn Viaduct feature prominently.
  • The Psalm Killer by Chris Petit -Northern Ireland serial-killer investigation sheds light on the darker recesses of the Troubles
  • Misfortune by Wesley Stace -Like a ballad bought to life. Victorian picaresque. Sarah Waters meets Jeffrey Eugenides.

Sally Davies, Senior Librarian, Swiss Cottage

  • Perfume by Patrick Suskind – Weirdly fascinating, compellingly gruesome story of obsession in pursuit of perfection.
  • A Secret History by Donna Tartt – A modern day Greek tragedy, a Dionysian cult in a New England college goes horribly wrong.
  • Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd – A dark tale of evil deeds by a real life eighteenth century architect, it’ll make you want to explore his churches in London.
  • The Plague by Albert Camus – That second most famous French existentialist footballer after Cantona muses on morality using the backdrop of the last outbreak of bubonic plague in North Africa.
  • Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka – A typical story of a man turning into an insect. Full of angst ridden horror and self revulsion.
  • The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevksy – A young man of pure innocence and frail health falls in love and falls prey to the ruthless power hungry characters who cross his path and seek to manipulate his life.

Roma Greliak, Senior Librarian, Swiss Cottage

  • The Leopard by Tomasi di Lampedusa –A 19th century Sicilian aristocratic family play out love and war in the searing landscape of Sicily pre and post the fateful landing of Grariboldi.
  • Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry – A tender story of family relationships. Wonderful dialogue, humour, warmth and sensitivity.
  • Love in the time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – magical realism and epic story lines, a novel about love.
  • Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth – An epic about love and marriage in post independent India.
  • Middlemarch by George Elliot – complex novel of early Victorian provincial life, charting the social and political movements of the time and how they shaped the destinies of ‘ordinary’ people.

Lesley Halliday, Senior Librarian

  • 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith – This book started life in weekly installments on the pages of The Scotsman. If you enjoy reading it, the very good news is that it is only the first of Alexander McCall Smith’s Scotland Street series. The occupants of 44 Scotland Street in one of Edinburgh’s more desirable residential areas are a fascinating bunch. A particular favourite of mine is Bertie who at the age of five can speak Italian and play the saxophone well. However, all is not well -he is in therapy after setting his father’s Guardian on fire…
  • The Natural Flights of the Human Mind by Clare Morrall – A recent Christmas present, much enjoyed. The two main characters have been so damaged by their life experiences they can barely function. One has withdrawn completely from society. A well timed bequest that one receives brings happiness for them both.
  • The Keeper of the Bees by Gene Stratton Porter – This old book was recommended by a friend in her nineties and it is both dated and charming with a dash of adventure thrown in. The Keeper of the Bees gives the reader a fictional insight into life in California post-First World War -and most definitely pre-Roaring Twenties!
  • Case Histories by Kate Atkinson- A bit of a departure for Kate Atkinson. I really enjoyed this who-dunnit with a difference. I was delighted when she continued the story of two of the characters in One Good Turn (I think I enjoyed this second book even more than Case Histories – but best to start at the beginning!)
  • Affinity by Sarah Waters – One of Sarah Waters’ lesser known books. It is more compact than Tipping the Velvet, Fingersmith or The Night Watch –but it is perfectly developed. Her use of language and description is marvellous. Like Fingersmith, the book is set in Victorian London and in both books the plotline twists. I think the end will come as a surprise for most people.
  • Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler -I could have recommended any of Anne Tyler’s books with confidence but this is a particular favourite of mine. If you can’t find it on the shelves borrow another of Anne Tyler’s!

Steve Lack, Head of Camden Information Services

  • English journey by JB Priestley – Life, high and low, goes on during the Great Depression. Priestley brings provincial towns and cities to life with portraits of theatres, fairs, pubs, people.
  • Adolf Hitler, my part in his downfall by Spike Milligan – Comic writing was never the same again, Milligan makes you fall over laughing at tales of army life in the early days of WW2
  • Knulp by Hermann Hesse – Find out why proud vagrant Knulp wanders around the idyllic countryside of Southern Germany in the early 1900s.
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John Le Carre – Smiley gets his man – or does he? Don’t worry about the plot, just enjoy the writing and the characters.
  • Under the Greenwood tree by Thomas Hardy -The light and fluffy romance of Dick Dewy and Fancy Day fizzes along whilst the wicked Reverend Maybury tries to replace the church band with a mechanised organ. Happy ending? Don’t bank on it with Hardy.
  • Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood – seen Cabaret, now read the book if you want to be topical.

Gordon Keys, Principal Librarian, Bibliographic Services

  • Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope – Trollope’s wonderful comic description of ecclesiastical jealousies and ambitions – introducing two of the most notorious characters in Victorian fiction, Mrs. Proudie and Mr. Slope.
  • Roman Blood by Steven Saylor– the first in the brilliant Roman detective series. Gordianus the Finder solves real historical crimes during the times of Cicero and Julius Caesar.
  • 2 ½ pillars of wisdom by Alexander McCall Smith – A comic trilogy by the author of “The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency”. The vain, pompous Professor von Ingelfield has been described as a cross between Frasier Crane and Victor Meldrew.
  • Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck – set in America during the Depression years, the Joad family are forced to migrate to California with all their possessions where they and thousands of others endure hardship and poverty and are at the mercy of unscrupulous employers. You would have to possess a heart of stone to fail to be moved by this magnificent novel.
  • Chronicles by Bob Dylan – there are so many biographies of Dylan but he always surprises us with this autobiography unlike any other – is he being truthful? Maybe, maybe not it’s just such a joy to read.

Stella Richards, Manager, Children, Young People and Schools Library Service

  • The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini – A gripping story of boyhood friendship destroyed by and fear. It moved me to tears. I had no idea of what life was like in the Afghanistan in the 1970s.
  • The Map of Love by Ahdef Soueif – Beautiful writing. A romantic love story along with Egypt’s history, past and present.
  • Bird Song by Sebastian Faulks – Largely set on the western front in the First World War it tells the harrowing story men who lived in barely imaginable conditions and a clandestine love affair. A wonderful read.
  • Perfume: the story of a killer by Patrick Suskind -It is the story of a survivor, genius, perfumer, killer. Beautiful and horrific; the essence of the book stays with you for a long time.
  • Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter -Baroque fairy tale at the turn of the 19th century world. Magical realism at its best.

Nick Durant, Community Learning and Development Librarian

  • Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. – It was a very subversive book in its time, and it still is: the “good” widow who is a church-goer and tries to educate and ‘sivilise’ Huck, is also a slave-owner; and the turning point is when Huck decides that he’s going to be “bad” after all: he’ll help Jim – the runaway slave – escape to freedom. This is the only book which I read as a child (and not at school) which I still read as an adult.
  • Tartuffe by Moliere (in the brilliant translation by Richard Wilbur). – Again, a subversive work. A play about how a conman, by pretending to be very religious, almost takes over a family. The ending, when a messenger from the King (Louis XIV) reveals that the King has understood the depths of Tartuffe’s wickedness and will put everything to rights, always makes the audience laugh – and Moliere meant it to.
  • The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov. – The devil visits to Moscow, with his assistants (including a talking cat). One of the funniest books I’ve ever read: e.g. the theatre performance, during which Koroviev the Cat pulls off someone’s head, and then sticks it back on! Bulgakov wrote this at the height of the Stalin era, and though it never refers to Stalin, gives some idea of the terrifying craziness of those times.
  • Silence Among the Weapons, by John Arden. A vivid and authentic historical novel about politics and the theatre: in the first century BC a small troupe of actors tour Italy, as the Roman republic descends into chaos and civil war.
  • Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky. – A novel about France’s defeat and occupation by the Germans in the second world war. Written from the midst of the events, it was never finished, because the author was arrested and sent to Auschwitz. Only two-fifths of the book was completed, but it is magnificent. First we follow a number of different characters as they flee from Paris, after the collapse of the French army; then, once France is under occupation, we read how a Frenchwoman whose husband is a prisoner of war falls in love with a German officer billeted at her house. Clear-eyed, but compassion. An amazing book.

The Library

Where can I get these books?

All these books are in stock in Camden Libraries or can be reserved free of charge

Source:   http://www.camden.gov.uk/ccm/content/leisure/news/2009/march/library-staff-share-some-of-their-favourite-books-for-world-book-day.en;jsessionid=62480794C6B3658D58EF9BCE1B6CBCFB.node1

First Published Thursday, 5 March 2009


Switching off a protein causes the brakes to fail in our natural ability to respond to stress

Chronic stress takes a physical and emotional toll on our bodies and scientists are working on piecing together a medical puzzle to understand how we respond to stress at the cellular level in the brain. Being able to quickly and successfully respond to stress is essential for survival.

Using a rat model, Jaideep Bains, PhD, a University of Calgary scientist and his team of researchers at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute have discovered that neurons in the hypothalamus, the brain’s command center for stress responses, interpret ‘off’ chemical signals as ‘on’ chemical signals when stress is perceived. “It’s as if the brakes in your car are now acting to speed up the vehicle, rather than slow it down.” says Bains. This unexpected finding is published in Nature Neuroscience.

Normally, neurons receive different chemical signals that tell them to either switch on or switch off. The off signal or brake only works if the levels of chloride ion in the cells are maintained at a low level. This is accomplished by the transporter protein KCC2. What Bains and colleagues have shown is that stress turns down the activity of KCC2, thus removing the ability of the brake, a chemical known as GABA, to work properly. A loss of the brain’s ability to slow down may explain some of the harmful, emotional consequences of stress.

While the findings provide a new mechanistic explanation of how the brain interprets stress signals, “there is still much work needed in the basic science of this phenomenon before there are any new advances in the medical treatment of stress,” says Bains.

This opens entirely new and quite unexpected avenues for controlling stress responses,” says Yves De Koninck, PhD, president-elect of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience and professor of Psychiatry at Laval University.

I was fascinated when I learned of this work. It has not been clear till now how the neuroendocrine stress response was activated by external stressors. Bains’ work shows a complex, yet elegant solution, involving a switch from inhibition to excitation.” says Jane Stewart, PhD a behavioral neuroscientist from Concordia University, “these findings may lead to a better understanding of the changes in sensitivity to stress that result from chronic exposure.

The research was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Hewitt SA, Wamsteeker JI, Kurz EU, Bains JS. Altered chloride homeostasis removes synaptic inhibitory constraint of the stress axis. Nat Neurosci. 2009 Mar 1; doi:10.1038/nn.2274   [Abstract]

First Published Thursday, 5 March 2009

Menasha High School

By Michael King • Post-Crescent staff writer • March 2, 2009

APPLETON — As each image appears on the computer screen on the desk in front of him, the fingers on Jimmy Brodhagen’s right hand spring to action.

He deftly enters numbers from paperwork he has scanned into the computer to start the indexing process for packing slips at Ferguson, an Appleton wholesale plumbing and piping business.

Brodhagen, a Menasha High School student with autism, has worked three days a week for more than a year at the business, whose employees have embraced him.

Kathleen Belongea, MHS educational autism case manager, called it a “new frontier” where students with autism, like Brodhagen, can bring a high level of interest and expertise into certain areas of the work force.

“I do about 400 (data entries daily), between 400 and 500,” Brodhagen said about his typical five-hour work shift that includes a 45-minute lunch hour and other breaks during which he visits with his co-workers.

Besides scanning documents and data entry, Brodhagen is in charge of the “birthday board” in the entryway that recognizes birthdays and anniversaries for Ferguson’s 85 associates.

“What I like best about Ferguson is that I work with the ladies in the afternoon,” he said.

One of those women is Kathy Sultze, Ferguson inventory manager. In 2007, Sultze approached her boss about participating in the school-to-work program at Menasha High School, where Sultze’s sister is a counselor and program coordinator.

“(General manager Bill Harrison) was all for it,” Sultze said. “We like to do a lot with the community.”

The result has been a win-win situation.

“He’s great,” Harrison said of Brodhagen. “We’ve seen a real nice maturation process with him and (growing) level of comfort with people. He’s very, very good with numbers and very good with memorization.”

“Jimmy’s not only grown himself but I think he’s helped us here become better people,” Sultze said.

Kelly Brodhagen refers to her 19-year-old son as a “super senior” since special education students can attend school in Wisconsin until they reach 21.

She is grateful for Ferguson’s unpaid internship and hopeful that “eventually when school is done that this could lead to some meaningful employment for him.

“He’s doing more and more (on his own),” Kelly said. “His work stay is primarily independent and he’s reaching towards independence. We’re really excited about that.”

“This has been a nice job for him because his capabilities can shine,” said Wendy Jung, a school district paraprofessional who accompanies Brodhagen at Ferguson.

“He caught on to it so quickly. He keeps track of his own time. He’s always very polite. He’s a very hard worker. He does a very, very nice job,” said Jung.

“Jimmy’s ability to read and spell is phenomenal; his sense of humor and willingness to work are truly just a few of his strengths,” Belongea said. “His social understanding at work develops each day as they have accepted him as a contributing member of their team.”

Many businesses support work assessments for students with disabilities, said Ann Bell, a counselor and school-to-work coordinator at MHS. “We are always looking for new business relationships to give our students a wide variety of opportunities to explore future career options.”

Source:   http://www.postcrescent.com/article/20090302/APC0101/903020434/1979&located=RSS

1. Mike Siegl left…

Saturday, 26 September 2009 4:58 am

This is a wonderful opportunity for businesses to help in ways that really, no one else can. Businesses like Ferguson – and I am aware of others such as TheCommunityPage.com – that take the time to help teach these kids meaningful life skills in a real work environment should be commmended. It truly represents the spirit which I like to think makes Northeast Wisconsin different from the rest of the country. My hat’s off to Ms. Bell for taking the initiative to coordinate and improve this project at Menasha High School. Your obvious interest in these kids shines through. God bless you!

First Published Thursday, 5 March 2009


By Michael Corcoran | Wednesday, March 4, 2009, 10:59 AM

New Zealand-raised singer songwriter Pip Brown started calling herself Ladyhawke after she left the duo Teenager a couple years ago to work on her own musical project. The name, which comes from a 1985 fantasy movie starring Michelle Pfeiffer, made Brown feel as if she had supernatural powers for infiltrating the pop mainstream with catchy, ‘80s-influenced numbers not unlike Kim Wilde’s “Kids In America” and “Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac.

But Brown is a true hero for some of the things she had to conquer in her real life. Long before she made the music magazines, Brown was the subject of articles in medical journals. At age 10 she contracted a disease thought to be common only to seagulls. When doctors treated her with penicillin, she had an allergic reaction that put her in a coma. She’s also allergic to antibiotics and antihistamines and has been lactose intolerant her whole life.

As a teenager, Brown went to the doctor to see if he could explain her paralyzing shyness and discomfort with crowds. At the time, she was playing guitar for local garage band Two Lane Blacktop and would freak out onstage whenever she made eye contact with someone in the audience. She was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder, which causes idiosyncratic social behavior.

Finally, Brown understood why she was such a loner, with a penchant for saying the wrong things. Those with Asperger often engage in long, one-sided conversations, without any empathy for the listener.

Another quirk, though unrelated to Asperger, is that Brown refuses to wear women’s clothing. Even backed by a cello and piano for a recent gig in a British cathedral, Ladyhawke wore a flannel shirt, jeans and work boots.

A symptom of Asperger is a preoccupation with a single subject and in Brown’s case that was music. She’s been consumed with beats and melodies since she was very young. Now 27, Brown played almost all the instruments on her 2008 self-titled debut and co-wrote the songs, including “Paris Is Burning” and “My Delirium,” which both charted in the UK, where Brown currently resides.

“Music that came out of the eighties had such a unique and definitive sound,” Brown wrote on her Web site. “Big production, big synths, and big guitar riffs. The songwriters were incredibly significant, and the whole musical era left an everlasting impression on me.”

She still gets nervous before shows, but Brown recently told NME that the fear subsides when the music starts. That eye contact thing is still a concern and Ladyhawke is an unrepentant shoegazer. If, by chance, your eyes do meet hers onstage at Stubb’s Wednesday March 18 at 9 p.m., please don’t smile. That will really freak Brown out.

Image from myspace.com/ladyhawkemusic

Source:   http://www.austin360.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/music/entries/2009/03/04/behind_the_sxsw_buzz_ladyhawke.html

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“Ladyhawke: flying high”:


First Published Friday, 6 March 2009

Louis Braille

Louis Braille, born in 1809, invented braille when he was a teenager

Braille users in Wales aged five to 19 have a chance to show off their writing skills as part of World Book Day celebrations of its inventor’s birth.

The RNIB in Wales is holding a competition for the best story written in braille.

The stories can be written in either English Braille or Welsh Braille.

Braille was developed by Frenchman Louis Braille, born in 1809, who became blind at age three after an accident in his father’s workshop.

The contest, part of World Book Day on Thursday, has three age groups: 5-7 years, 8-12 years, 13-19 years.

Entrants must use learners’ (grade one) Braille, which mostly represents each print character as one Braille cell, to write a story of no more than 500 words.

Entries will be judged on creativity and accuracy by a panel of judges.

The deadline for entries is 17 July 2009, with winners announced on 2 September.


Six-dot system

All the stories submitted will be made available in both English and Welsh languages and will be included in a book marking the bicentenary of Braille’s birth.

Braille’s school taught pupils to read by letters raised above the surface of the page, but these letters were difficult to tell apart and none of the children were taught to write.

His invention was inspired by Napoleonic solder, Charles Barbier’s visit to his school, who told the pupils of the writing system he had invented called ‘night writing,’ which was intended to pass information on in the trenches silently.

Braille set out to simplify the system, creating much of the six-dot braille system as it is known today, by the time he was 15.

Director for the RNIB in Wales, Sarah Rochina said: “Braille is a vital communication tool for many people who have severe sight problems and this is their chance to get creative.”

Source:   http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/7926086.stm

First Published Saturday, 7 March 2009


March 6, 2009

For Immediate Release

Regional Forums to Gather Public Input on the Needs of Adults with Autism

TRENTON – The New Jersey Adults with Autism Task Force will sponsor
four public forums to gather input from New Jersey residents
regarding the needs of adults with autism. Charged with studying and evaluating the needs
of adults with autism, forums are being held to gather information on issues
such as job training and placement, housing and long-term care needs.

This information from the public will be used to develop recommendations
designed to support and meet the needs of adults with autism who are
residents of New Jersey. The recommendations will comprise the basis for a
comprehensive report which the task force shall present to Governor Jon S.
Corzine and the New Jersey Legislature in June 2009.

*Who: New Jersey Adults with Autism Task Force*

*What: Public forums on the Needs of Adults with Autism *

*Where and When:*

Bergen Community College, 400 Paramus Road, Paramus, Pitkin

Center, Room A104

March 14th, 2009 – 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  This forum will be
broadcast live on* *www.bergen.edu

For more information, contact:

Monmouth County Library, 125 Symmes Drive, Manalapan

March 14th, 2009 – 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

For more information, contact: llong@autismnj.org*<llong@autismnj.org>
or 609-883-8100 ext. 48

Burlington County Human Services Facility, 795 Woodlane Road, Mount

Lecture Hall A

March 16th, 2009 – 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 pm.

For more information, contact
or call 609-984-3351

Hudson Community College in 25 Journal Square, Building B,
1st Floor Student Lounge, Jersey City

March 21, 2009 – 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

For more information, contact:

Individuals planning to present testimony are asked to keep their remarks to
three minutes.  All testimony must be submitted in writing as well.  For
those who are unable to attend any of the forums, written testimony may be
submitted to deborah.cohen@dhs.state.nj.us <deborah.cohen@dhs.state.nj.us>.
Written testimony must be received by March 21, 2009

On September 12, 2007 Governor Jon S. Corzine signed into law (PL 2007, c.
173), which created the task force to study, evaluate and make
recommendations intended to meet the needs associated with the significant
challenges presented by autism. This 13 member task force includes
advocates, family members and professionals in the field of autism.

Ari Ne’eman
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network
1660 L Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC  20036

First Published Saturday, 7 March 2009

Nova Scotia

Courtesy of Phil Schwatrz:

From Dennis Debbaudt, via his Autism-Risk- Safety Yahoogroup:

On World Autism Awareness Day, April 2, 2009, the Provincial
Autism Centre and the Autistic Self-Advocacy Council –
Nova Scotia (ASAC-NS)are hosting the province¢s first confer-
ence for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders at the World
Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax.

Real People Living Real Lives

I’ll be there to present as will Jypsy from this list and her son Alex.

Please help spread the word.

First Published Saturday, 7 March 2009



Recently, Lindt Chocolates announced a fundraising campaign for Autism
Speaks, an organization that excludes autistic people themselves from its
decision-making, uses offensive and unethical advertising tactics based on
fear and pity and raises funds for the eugenic elimination of the autism
spectrum. Too often, money raised to improve our lives goes towards
organizations that don’t speak for us and work against our interests. People
with disabilities of all kinds have a right to be at the center of the
decisions made about us, not standing at the sidelines. We’ve started an
action alert to tell Lindt Chocolates that its money is better used
elsewhere, with charities whose work will benefit the lives of autistic
people rather than aim to eliminate us. Click here
<http://www.change. org/autisticadvo cacy/actions/ view/tell_ lindt_chocolates _that_autism_ speaks_doesnt_ speak_for_ us>to
go to our action alert or go to:
http://www.change. org/autisticadvo cacy/actions/ view/tell_ lindt_chocolates _that_autism_ speaks_doesnt_ speak_for_ us

The action alert allows you to write your own e-mail or use a form letter
already available, however, for those of you who want to write your own
e-mail or can’t use the action alert for whatever reason, here are some
talking points on why Autism Speaks is bad for the autism and autistic
communities. Lindt Chocolate’s e-mail is here: lindt@qualitycustom ercare.com

-Autism Speaks is an autism organization that claims to speak for autistic
people, without a single autistic person on its board of directors or
leadership. This is far out of line with the mainstream of the disability
community, where individuals with disabilities work side by side with family
members, professionals and others to achieve quality of life and equality of
opportunity. Autism Speaks’ exclusionary policies are an embarrassment to
itself and its funders.

-Autism Speaks advertising is highly offensive to autistic people and our
families, with ads that compare a life on the autism spectrum to a car
accident, being struck by lightning, a terminal illness and other fatal
situations. Rather than work to decrease stigma and increase respect for
autistic people, Autism Speaks’ advertising fosters pity, shame and fear,
suggesting that our very lives are mistakes and burdens.

-Autism Speaks’ fundraising goes towards genetic research aimed at
developing a prenatal test with potentially eugenic applications. Given the
fact that 92% of fetuses that test positive for Down Syndrome are
selectively aborted prior to birth, we are concerned by the prospect of a
similar result in respect to the autism spectrum. This is an issue of
discrimination, wholly separate from typical abortion politics. Money raised
in the name of autistic people should go towards opportunities for quality
of life, not towards our elimination. Autism Speaks research agenda is
overwhelmingly focused on causation and prevention rather than research
initiatives that might support quality of life for all autistic people. This
drains support from initiatives that stand to improve the quality of life of
autistic people, such as services, supports and education, which Autism
Speaks supports in only a tiny fraction of its massive budget.

Thank you to those who alerted us of this situation and we urge your
immediate support. Together, our voices cannot be ignored. Nothing About Us,
Without Us!

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

First Published Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Depression Increases HealthCare Costs For Female Coronary Patients

Sally Stewart

Women with suspected coronary artery disease who suffer from depression have significantly higher health care costs than those who are not depressed, according to findings from the Women’s Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (WISE), an ongoing, multi center study funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Previous studies have shown that patients suffering from certain medical conditions and depression have greater health expenses than those without depression. Because women are diagnosed with depression at twice the rate of men, the study of costs related to depression and women’s health issues is particularly important.

This study, conducted among 868 women undergoing evaluations for possible coronary artery disease, used three different approaches to measure depression (history of treatment for depression, use of antidepressant medications, and a standard, widely accepted questionnaire). Seventeen percent to 45 percent of the women in the study met depression criteria.

Depression was associated with 15 percent to 53 percent increases in cardiovascular costs over five years. Translated into dollar figures, annual cardiovascular costs were $1,550 to $3,300 higher for depressed women than for those who were not depressed (depending on the depression criteria used).

Several factors appear to be responsible for these increased costs, but one clear association is the fact that the depressed women experienced more cardiovascular disease events. Interestingly, relationships between depression and costs were particularly strong among women who did not have evidence of significant coronary artery disease, suggesting that depression may play a larger cost role in women who do not have traditional markers of heart disease. These results combined with prior work suggest that women with symptoms of heart disease without obstructive CAD are more prone to depression possibly secondary to misdiagnosis and misunderstanding. “More research is needed,” said Bairey Merz.

The findings suggest that depression is an important factor in understanding overall and cardiovascular-related costs in women who have symptoms of heart disease. Although it is not currently known whether treatment for depression can lower costs in cardiac populations, the results support future research in this area.

The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, the National Center for Research Resources, the Gustavus and Louis Pfeiffer Research Foundation, The Women’s Guild of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, The Ladies Hospital Aid Society of Western Pennsylvania, and the Edythe Broad Endowment for Women’s Heart Research.

Rutledge T, Vaccarino V, Johnson BD, et al. Depression and Cardiovascular Health Care Costs Among Women With Suspected Myocardial Ischemia. J Am Coll Cardiol, 2009; 53:176-183   [Abstract]

Heart Health

More Evidence That Depression Is Hard On The Heart


WASHINGTON – Severe depression may silently break a seemingly healthy woman’s heart. Doctors have long known that depression is common after a heart attack or stroke, and worsens those people’s outcomes. Monday, Columbia University researchers reported new evidence that depression can lead to heart disease in the first place.


Copyright © 2009 Associated Press