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Archive for January 19th, 2011

First Published Thursday, 21 May 2009


Don Powell


synapse

Scientists at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have discovered a set of brain proteins responsible for some of the most common and devastating brain diseases. The proteins underlie epilepsy, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disease, mental retardation and neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s diseases.


The reason such a remarkable number of diseases are relevant to this set of proteins is that these proteins are at the heart of how brain cells function,” explains Professor Seth Grant, Director of the Genes to Cognition Programme at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.


Rather than taking traditional methods for studying just one protein at a time, the researchers developed a method that finds whole sets of proteins that bind to each other and form microscopic molecular machines. They were hunting for the ‘engine room’ of nerve cells, which is known to be inside the connections between nerve cells called synapses.


Synapses join the billions of nerve cells together in the brain and they are the location where learning and memory and many other behaviors are controlled.


We developed a new method, which led to this discovery,” says Dr Jyoti Choudhary, leader of the Proteomic Mass Spectrometry team, which collaborated with Professor Grant’s team on the study, “and it should be equally useful in finding the basis of many other diseases in other cells and tissues of the body.


To find this key set of proteins – called MASCs (a scientific acronym for MAGUK Associated Signaling Complexes and pronounced ‘mask’) – the researchers adapted a method that had previously been used in yeast cells.


These approaches have enabled the most specific interrogation of the synapse, in terms of its constituent complexes and have revealed that genes associated with brain diseases such as schizophrenia are highly over represented within this molecular machine,” says Dr Mark Collins, author on the study from the Sanger Institute. “This is a landmark in terms of characterisation of truly endogenous protein complexes or ‘molecular machines’, as this is the first time it has been conducted in a higher organism in this way.


The method involved making a ‘molecular hook’ and attaching it to one protein inside brain cells of mice. They then caught the hook and pulled it out and found it brought along another 100 proteins. The set contained dozens of disease causing proteins.


This points to the new concept that the molecular machines are defective in the diseases and that they present new ways to approach therapy,” says Dr Choudhary.


Not only were there many disease proteins within the molecular machines but also proteins that control the communication between nerve cells and the mechanisms of learning and memory.


This research is an important convergence of basic and clinical science,” says Professor Grant. “Our findings are exciting because they suggest that the molecular machine itself is at the root of many important brain diseases. This was a blue-skies research project seeking the basic mechanisms of learning and memory and it has led us into some of the inner workings of the brain.


This is a key step toward new ways to fight mental illness.


This research was part of the Genes to Cognition Programme, that is an international research consortium based in the UK and directed by Professor Grant. The research program also maintains the G2COnline an education and public understanding of science website.


Fernández E, Collins MO, Uren RT, et al. Targeted tandem affinity purification of PSD-95 recovers core postsynaptic complexes and schizophrenia susceptibility proteins. Mol Syst Biol. 2009 May;5:269 doi:10.1038/msb.2009.27   [Full text]



First Published Thursday, 21 May 2009


Pill macro

by Linda A. Johnson


TRENTON, N.J. – Pfizer Inc. says it will provide 70 of its most widely prescribed prescription drugs — including Lipitor and Viagra – for free to people who have lost their jobs and health insurance.


…Drugs from several other popular classes such as antibiotics, antidepressants, antifungal treatments, heart mediations, contraceptives and smoking cessation products also are included. Cheaper generic versions are available for quite a few of the drugs.


More…



First Published Thursday, 21 May 2009


Chinese data unraveled at University of Oregon show a training technique has brain, physiological linkage


Jim Barlow


Chinese researchers have unlocked the mechanism of an emerging mind-body technique that produces measurable changes in attention and stress reduction in just five days of practice.


The practice — integrative body-mind training (IBMT) — was adapted from traditional Chinese medicine in the 1990s in China, where it is practiced by thousands of people. It is now being taught to undergraduates involved in research on the method at the University of Oregon (OU).


In October 2007, researchers led by visiting UO professor Yi-Yuan Tang and UO psychologist Michael Posner documented in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences that doing IBMT prior to a mental math test led to low levels of the stress hormone cortisol among Chinese students. The experimental group also showed lower levels of anxiety, depression, anger and fatigue than students in a relaxation control group.


The previous paper indicated that IBMT subjects showed a reduced response to stress.” Tang said. “Why after five days did it work so fast?” The new findings, he said, point to how IBMT alters blood flow and electrical activity in the brain, breathing quality and even skin conductance, allowing for “a state of ah, much like in the morning opening your eyes, looking outside at the grass and sunshine, you feel relaxed, calm and refresh without any stress, this is the meditation state.


This week, in a paper appearing online ahead of regular publication in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tang and 13 Chinese colleagues define brain and physiological changes triggered by IBMT. Data were drawn from several technologies in two experiments involving 86 undergraduate students at Dalian University of Technology, where Tang is a professor. The data were analyzed and prepared for publication at the UO with help from Posner and psychology professor Mary K. Rothbart, who are not co-authors on the paper.


We were able to show that the training improved the connection between a central nervous system structure, the anterior cingulate, and the parasympathetic part of the autonomic nervous system to help put a person into a more bodily state,” Posner said. “The results seem to show integration — a connectivity of brain and body.


In each experiment, participants who had not previously practiced relaxation or meditation received either IBMT or general relaxation instruction for 20 minutes a day for five days. While both groups experienced some benefit from the training, those in IBMT showed dramatic differences based on brain-imaging and physiological testing.


Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) — a scanning method less distracting than functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) — showed IBMT subjects had increased blood flow in the right anterior cingulate cortex, a region associated with self regulation of cognition and emotion.


Physiological tests also revealed significant changes. Compared with the relaxation group, IBMT subjects had lower heart rates and skin conductance responses, increased belly breathing amplitude and decreased chest respiration rates, all of which, researchers wrote, “reflected less effort exerted by participants and more relaxation of body and calm state of mind.”


Finally, researchers noted, IBMT subjects had more high-frequency heart-rate variability than their relaxation counterparts, indicating “successful inhibition of sympathetic tone and activation of parasympathetic tone [in the autonomic nervous system].” Sympathetic tone becomes more active when stressed.


Preliminary findings of a recently completed but unpublished UO study involving a small group of U.S. students are showing nearly identical results, Posner said. The UO study used fMRI rather than SPECT. A much larger UO study is in progress.


IBMT avoids struggles to control thought, relying instead on a state of restful alertness, allowing for a high degree of body-mind awareness while receiving instructions from a coach, who provides breath-adjustment guidance and mental imagery and other techniques., while soothing music plays in the background. Thought control is achieved gradually through posture, relaxation, body-mind harmony and balanced breathing. A good coach is critical, Tang said.


Life is full of stress, and people need to learn methods to handle stress and improve their performance,” Tang said. “There is physical training but we wanted to see about mental training. This method appears to have benefit for the modern society where the pace is fast.


China’s Natural Science Foundation and Ministry of Education and the U.S.-based James S. Bower and John Templeton foundations funded the research.


Tang YY, Ma Y, Fan Y, et al. Central and autonomic nervous system interaction is altered by short-term meditation. PNAS 2009 May 18; doi:10.1073/pnas.0904031106   [Abstract]



First Published Thursday, 21 May 2009


Jessica Collins Grimes – Lifespan


Individuals with heart disease are twice as likely to suffer from depression as the general population, an association the medical community has largely been unable to explain. Now, a new study by researchers at The Miriam Hospital, in conjunction with The Montréal Heart Institute, University of Montréal and McGill University, reveals there may be genetic variations that contribute to depression in heart disease patients.


According to the study, published in the April issue of the American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, the genes are related to the vascular system, suggesting that vascular health – which includes the body’s network of blood vessels, arteries and veins – may be a predictor of depression in individuals with heart disease. This is the first large-scale genetic study of depressive symptoms in cardiac patients.


Depression can significantly impact quality of life for heart disease patients and can increase the risk for additional cardiac events or even death,” said lead author Jeanne M. McCaffery, PhD, of The Miriam Hospital’s Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center. “Although it’s too early to begin to speculate about the possible clinical implications of these findings, it’s intriguing to think that there may be a genetic explanation as to why people with heart disease are more susceptible to depression.


Researchers say several mechanisms have been suggested to account for the greater prevalence of depression among cardiac patients, including the stress of a poor prognosis and systemic inflammation, although little attention has been paid to date about the possibility of a genetic cause. According to previous studies, approximately 15 to 20 percent of heart disease patients experience depression, with the highest rates seen among those who recently experienced a cardiac event. In contrast, depression affects about seven percent of the general population in the United States.


The current study focused on 977 patients with cardiovascular disease who had either a 50 percent or higher blockage in at least one major coronary artery or a documented heart attack. Of these patients, 21 percent were female and the average age was 59 years. Symptoms of depression were measured using a standardized self-reported questionnaire recommended by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI).


Researchers targeted 59 different candidate genes because of their relevance to a biological pathway of interest or their prior association with depression in medical literature. The genes include those related to inflammation; platelet aggregation, or clumping; endothelial function involving the cells that line the inner surface of blood vessels; and omega-3 fatty acid metabolism, which can affect the hardening of the arteries.


Following genotyping and statistical analyses, the research team discovered that genetic variations involving endothelial dysfunction – a hallmark for vascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis – and platelet aggregation appear to contribute to depressive symptoms.


Specifically, they identified one marker within the vonWillebrand factor (vWF) gene that appears to have a significant association. vWF is a protein produced by the endothelium that is critical to the initial stages of blood clotting by helping platelets stick to damaged blood vessels. When elevated in concentration, VWF is a strong predictor of endothelial dysfunction and a risk factor for atherosclerosis.


Although further study is needed, our findings suggest that endothelial dysfunction may be a novel mechanism contributing to depressive symptoms among heart disease patients,” said McCaffery, who is also an assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.


Researchers note that the candidate gene approach used in the study is limited by the current knowledge of the biology of depression in cardiac patients. They call for genome-wide association studies – which involve the study of genetic variations across the entire human genome – to further identify other genes and pathways that may be associated with depression and heart disease.


The study was supported by National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute grants.


McCaffery JM, Duan QL, Frasure-Smith N, et al. Genetic predictors of depressive symptoms in cardiac patients. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2009 Apr 5;150B(3):381-8   [Abstract]


Madrid

HEADLINES


Starved girl weighed 9kg at death: court”:

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/815506/jurors-to-hear-confronting-evidence


Outrage and action over autistic child’s alleged abuse”:

http://www.11alive.com/rss/rss_story.aspx?storyid=130355


Coroner hears Connah’s Quay man’s death was due to heart disease … AN autistic man who appeared fit and active died from heart failure just over an hour after he was admitted to A&E at Wrexham Maelor Hospital and a bed could not be found on a ward for him. Christopher Bithell, 49, was timid and frightened at being examined and hospital staff recorded a massive increase in his heart rate.”:

http://iccheshireonline.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0100regionalnews//tm_headline=coroner-hears-connah-8217-s-quay-man-8217-s-death-was-due-to-heart-disease&method=full&objectid=23626318&siteid=50020-name_page.html


UPDATE Devon,UK: Search launched for autistic youth/Found safe & well”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/devon_uk__search_launched_for_autistic_youth.htm

Plea to parents on measles as numbers hit a North East high”:

http://www.journallive.co.uk/north-east-news/todays-news/2009/05/19/plea-to-parents-on-measles-as-numbers-hit-a-north-east-high-61634-23658093/


Why the NHS is facing measles fight”:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8057508.stm


Police and prosecutors apologise to disabled victims of crime”:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/may/10/police-disabled-victims-apology


Care worker could face jail after stealing cash from disabled and autistic client”:

http://www.cambs24.co.uk/content/cambs24/news/story.aspx?brand=Cambs24&category=—CambsNews&tBrand=HertsCambsOnline&tCategory=newslatestC24&itemid=WEED12%20May%202009%2015%3A28%3A19%3A540


Man with cerebral palsy can sue … A man with cerebral palsy who won a scholarship to Eton and went on to study at Cambridge has won the right to sue a health authority.”:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/8038714.stm


Ari Ne’eman in Newsweek on Eugenics and Neurodiversity”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/ari_neeman_in_newsweek_on_eugenics_and_neurodiversity.htm


Advocacy Progress: Senate Finance Committee includes LTSS in Proposed Benefits Coverage”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/fwd__advocacy_progress_senate_finance_committee_includes_l.htm


Bullying Bill passes IL & NY Houses”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/fwd__bullying_bill_passes_il__ny_houses.htm


UK “Key politicians attend autism seminar in the run up to the Autism Bill’s third reading”:

http://www.24dash.com/news/Education/2009-05-13-Key-politicians-attend-autism-seminar-in-the-run-up-to-the-Autism-Bill-s-Third-Reading


Majority of families with disabled children face prejudice”:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/may/19/disability-children-prejudice-family-support


John Bercow MP: Progress on special educational needs”:

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/11/20090514/tpl-john-bercow-mp-progress-on-special-e-0a1c1a1.html


TEXAS ”Speech, hearing workers could use legislative hand … For more than 75 years, May has been recognized as “Better Hearing and Speech Month” by the dedicated professionals who work to provide critical, life-changing help for the 49 million Americans of all ages and from all walks of life who struggle with some type of speech, language or hearing disorder. In Texas alone, it’s an estimated two million people.”:

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/outlook/6423033.html


NAS “Gary McKinnon Update: Sign Our Petition Today”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/gary_mckinnon_update_sign_our_petition_today.htm

RESEARCH & HEALTH


Asperger’s theory does about-face… A groundbreaking study suggests people with autism-spectrum disorders such as Asperger’s do not lack empathy – rather, they feel others’ emotions too intensely to cope.”:

http://www.thestar.com/article/633688


Blue-skies’ research finds proteins underlying Epilepsy, Depression, Schizophrenia, Bipolar, I.D., Alzheimer’s & Huntingtons”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/blueskies_research_finds_proteins_underlying_epilepsy_de.htm


New research under way to study treatment for older adults with Bipolar Disorder”:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/149292.php


Omega-3 fatty acids and mood disorders: Integrative treatment strategies/Panic Attacks & Mood Disorders”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/omega3_fatty_acids_and_mood_disorders_integrative_treatmen.htm


Most depressed adolescents go untreated”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/most_depressed_adolescents_go_untreated.htm


Online treatment for depression: Depresis”:

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/05/16/online-treatment-for-depression-deprexis/


The internet helps teenagers with social relationships”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/the_internet_helps_teenagers_with_social_relationships.htm


Imaging study finds evidence of social orienting ability associated with brain abnormalities in autistic toddlers”:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/149858.php


Researchers identify pathway to reactivate myelin repair”:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/149799.php


Community-Based mental health programs improve youth performance and save millions in school costs”:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/149371.php


West Virginia Gov. Manchin vetoes Medicaid Mental health reimbursement hike, promises $12.7M to improve system”:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/149692.php


Tuberous Sclerosis & Epilepsy “Reigate boy, 4, on life changing ketogenic diet”:

http://www.thisissurreytoday.co.uk/news/Reigate-boy-4-life-changing-diet/article-974826-detail/article.html


UK National Epilepsy Week – May 17 “Apprentice star Katie Hopkins: Why I kept Sandhurst in the dark about my epilepsy”:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1179775/Apprentice-star-Katie-Hopkins-Why-I-kept-Sandhurst-dark-epilepsy.html


Seizures “Man goes to US over memory loss”:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/manchester/8041182.stm


A Guy, a Car, Beyond Schizophrenia”:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/05/health/05case.html?ref=health


Impaired brain plasticity linked to Angelman Syndrome Learning Deficits”:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090510142547.htm


Angelman Syndrome “Disrupted gene causes mental retardation”:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Lifestyle/Disrupted-gene-causes-mental-retardation/articleshow/4508964.cms


University of Qld “Traditional kava extract eases anxiety and moderate depression”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/traditional_kava_extract_eases_anxiety_and_moderate_depressi.htm


OCD “WSO researcher finds connection between brain chemical and anxiety disorder”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/ocd__wsu_researcher_finds_connection_between_brain_chemical.htm


The study of a lifetime: What Makes Us Happy? … The project has followed two groups of men for almost seventy years, tracking physical and emotional health, opinions and attitudes, successes and failures, all in the hope of understanding what makes us happy.”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog

city.com/the_study_of_a_lifetime_what_makes_us_happy.htm


Is happiness inheritable?”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/is_happines_inheritable.htm


Sunlight linked to summer suicides”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/sunlight_linked_to_summer_suicides.htm


Abstract: Drinking when feeling down can be harbinger of co-occuring depression and alcohol dependence”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/abstract__drinking_when_feeling_down_can_be_harbinger_of_co.htm


Free Online Handbook “Rethinking Drinking”/Recognizing an alcohol problem in yourself”:

http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=weblog&id=704&wlid=5&cn=14


Cognition already seriously impaired in first episode of schizophrenia … Washington — Significant and widespread cognitive problems appear to exist in schizophrenia in its earliest phase, making it very hard for people with the disorder to work, study or be social, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association.”:

http://www.healthnewsdigest.com/news/Mental_Health_430/Cognition_Already_Seriously_Impaired_in_First_Episode_of_Schizophrenia.shtml


Virtual Hospital”:

http://www.uihealthcare.com/vh/

EDUCATION


GAO Report: Widespread Special Needs abuse in US schools”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/gao_report_widespread_special_needs_abuse_in_us_schools.htm


Duncan to ask state school chiefs about the restraints used by teachers on disabled kids … In one case, a 4-year-old autistic girl born with cerebral palsy was strapped to a chair for throwing tantrums when she needed to use the bathroom, according to findings by the Government Accountability Office. She came home with bruises on her chest, calves and wrists, her mother told investigators.

At least 20 deaths since 1990 were attributed to restricted breathing tactics used as school discipline, the GAO report said.”:

http://www.startribune.com/nation/45492502.html?elr=KArks:DCiUMEaPc:UiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUU


Autistic Davis boy left alone on school bus … A 3-year-old autistic boy sent by bus to his Davis preschool instead ended up alone Tuesday in a Woodland bus yard.”:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30727566/


Anger after incident with autistic boy”:

http://www.iwcp.co.uk/news/news/anger-after-incident-with-autistic-boy-26169.aspx


School isn’t taking my son’s needs seriously”:

http://www.berrowsjournal.co.uk/news/4354878.School_isn_t_taking_my_son_s_needs_seriously/?ref=rss


Ruane’s anger after Republic pulls plug on autism school”:

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/education/ruanersquos-anger-after-republic-pulls-plug-on-autism-school-14306484.html?r=RSS


Autistic children hit by fund cuts”:

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/21/20090519/tuk-autistic-children-hit-by-fund-cuts-f858358.html


Wales “Schools worry over autism support”:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/8056043.stm


John Bercow MP: Progress on Special Educational Needs”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/john_bercow_mp_progress_on_special_educational_needs.htm


Tuscaloosa teacher values autistic students”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/tuscaloosa_teacher_values_autistic_students.htm


Autistic pupil who was expelled becomes Malmesbury’s Young Citizen of the Year”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/autistic_pupil_who_was_expelled_becomes_malmesburys_young_c.htm


Special playground translates to success at school … NEW ORLEANS — One out of every 150 kids is born with autism, including 8-year-old Cole Cantrell. His mother, LeAnne Cantrell, knew kids with autism learned differently than other kids.”:

http://www.wdsu.com/news/19465911/detail.html


Jack Taylor launches sensory garden”:

http://www.camden.gov.uk/ccm/content/press/2009/may/jack-taylor-launches-sensory-garden.en;jsessionid=4812F3064632CEA56DF0DE3F8B8096C0.node2


Study: Multiplication is vexation”:

http://www.examiner.com/x-9978-Seattle-Education-Examiner~y2009m5d13-Study-Multiplication-is-vexation


School burnout suffered by one in five girls in Upper Secondary School”:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/150284.php


California homeschoolers need to pay attention to Prop 1A and 1B … We need to pay attention to 1A and 1B, and vote in a way that we think will benefit the community, so that homeschoolers, and everyone else, wins.”:

http://www.examiner.com/x-9480-LA-Homeschooling-Examiner~y2009m5d13-California-homeschoolers-need-to-pay-attention-to-Prop-1A-and-1B


Graduation for home schoolers”:

http://www.examiner.com/x-9831-Birmingham-Homeschooling-Examiner~y2009m5d13-Graduation-for-home-schoolers-is-unique


Homeschooling “Focus on your child’s strengths and manage their weaknesses”:

http://www.examiner.com/x-9782-Long-Beach-Homeschooling-Examiner~y2009m5d13-Focus-on-your-childs-strengths-and-manage-their-weaknesses


Green Dot founder’s startling new parent power proposal: Close down this school!”:

http://www.examiner.com/x-356-SF-Education-Examiner~y2009m5d13-Green-Dot-founders-startling-new-parent-power-proposal-Close-down-this-school

EMPLOYMENT


Goldsmiths, University of London – Unique Event held to discuss Autism & Employment”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/goldsmiths_university_of_london__unique_event_held_to_disc.htm


Voice for a new age … The young, relative unknown Scott Watkin, who has gone from supermarket shelf-stacker to learning disabilities co-tsar, tells David Brindle that his advisory role on developing strong advocacy is anything but tokenistic”:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/may/20/interview-scott-watkin


Cambridgeshire, UK “SEN Teacher”:

http://www.tes.co.uk/jobDetailsGold.aspx?ac=2774586


Job Vacancy: Head Teacher”:

Bradford Communication & interaction School This unique opportunity comes at a significant point of change in Bradford that will see 6 generic special schools and this specialist city wide school for 80 pupils aged 3-19 opening in April 2010. This specialist school will cater for children with severe and complex communication and interaction difficulties, most of whom will have a formal diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The children will also have severe learning difficulties. Governors wish to appoint a head teacher with appropriate experience to lead this newly established school, who will: * provide strong professional leadership and management * ensure high quality education and personalised learning for all pupils * deliver high standards of achievement in all areas of the school’s work * successfully manage change and develop a unique and inspirational environment. Closing date: 3 June 2009. Selection process: 2 & 3 July 2009. An enhanced disclosure check with the Criminal Record Bureau will be undertaken for this post. — For the detailed job vacancy description & application details see this link

http://www.publictechnology.net/article_avantgo.php?sid=20066


Autelligent Laboratories

We believe all people have a contribution to make and deserve an opportunity to be productive.

With your caring and excellent help, we are creating jobs for the 40 million people worldwide who are diagnosed with Autism and Asperger Syndrome. Today less than one in five of us are currently employed. We are motivated and competent and we deserve equal employment. Help make this a reality.

Autelligent Laboratories is dedicated to creating a space where autistic software engineers can more than contribute, we can excel.”:

http://www.autlabs.com/


Luxury Quality Scented Candles “Humbolt Candles – Autism & Disability Employment Company”:

http://www.humboldtcandles.com/index.html


Auties.org”:
Individuality, Diversity, Equality, Achievement

Auties..org is an Aspie & Autie friendly site for all people on the Autistic Spectrum who are ready to dare reach out to occupation and employment, open the doors to the community and market their abilities directly to the public and for those interested in supporting these pioneers.

http://www.auties.org/


Prospects”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=473&a=2348


AutismJobs”:
Linking job seekers with vacancies in work related to autism, Aspergers and ASDs

http://www.autismjobs.org/?section=00010009


Current job vacancies within the NAS”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=170


For further employment information, please view”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/employment_on_the_autism_spectrum.htm

GENERAL/HUMAN INTEREST


Orange chief thrives on challenges … Phillipe Luxcey must be French slang for incurable adventurer… “In Cameroon, we sponsor the national soccer team. We are also helping the disadvantaged people in society; securing teachers for them, buying braille machines for the visually impaired and looking after orphans. Through the France Telecom Foundation, we have a programme targeted at diagnosing autism and helping autistic children,” he said.”:

http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/220/680518


Twin brothers worlds apart”:

http://www.bloggernews.net/120812


DNA father James Watson’s ‘holy grail’ request … He is the scientific genius who jointly discovered the “secret of life”, the double helix structure of DNA, at the Cavendish laboratory in Cambridge. ”:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/5300883/DNA-father-James-Watsons-holy-grail-request.html


Foster Care “The most gratifying experience of our lives”:

http://www.hornseyjournal.co.uk/content/haringey/hornseyjournal/news/story.aspx?brand=HCEJOnline&category=news&tBrand=northlondon24&tCategory=newshcej&itemid=WeED13%20May%202009%2010%3A14%3A54%3A677

SPAIN

Madrid Gran Via

Asociación de Padres de Niños Autistas (APNA)
C/ Navaleno 9
28033 Madrid
SPAIN
tel: +34 91 766 22 22
fax: +34 91 767 00 38
e-mail: apna@apna.es
Website: http://www.apna.es/

Valencia's Opera House at Dawn

Associación Autismo Ciudad Real
Ronda del Carmen s/n
13003 Ciudad Real
SPAIN
tel: 34-(9) 26-256258
fax: 34-(9) 26-256258

La Sagrada Familia

Associacio de Pares amb Fills Autistes
3, Carrer Puigblanc
SP- Mataro (Catalunya)
SPAIN
tel: 34-3-790-3155

Azul

Associacio de Pares amb Fills autistes I caracterials de catalunya (APAFACC)
Ave. San Antonio 282 A 2n 2a
SP- 08026 Barcelona
SPAIN
tel: 34-3-43-51679, 34-3-43-51404

Moonscape, Lanzarote, centre of volcanic eruption

Associacio Del Centre Especializat de Reeducation d’autistes I caracteials (CERAC)
Av. San Antonio-Maria Claret 282 A 2n 2a
SP – 08026 Barcelona
SPAIN
tel: 34-3-435-1679

Lanzarote cave

Associacio Nuevo Horizonte
Avda de la Communidad de Madrid, 43
SP- 28230 Las Rozas de Madrid
SPAIN
tel: 34-1-637-7455-7762

Museo del Prado

Associacion de Padres de Affectados de Autismo I Otras Psicosis Infantiles de Biskaia Apnabi
C/. Pintor Guezala 1-2
SP- 48015 Bilboa
SPAIN
tel: 34-4-475-5704

Temple of Debod

Associación de Padres de Niños Autistas de Cádiz (APNA-Cádiz)
Pintor Zuloaga, 19
11010 Cádiz
SPAIN
tel: 34-(9) 56-251420
fax: 34-(9) 56-251420
e-mail: madmac@tnet.es

Cuatro Torres Business Area

Associacion Espanola de Padres de Ninos Autistos de Burgos
Calle Las Torres, s/n
SP- 09007 Burgos
SPAIN
tel: 34-23-91-42

Ramblas, Barcelona

Associacion Guipuzuoana de Autismo y Psychosis infantiles (GAUTENA)
P de Oriamendi, 3
Apartado 1000
SP- 20080 San Sebastian
SPAIN
tel: 34-43-215-344

Barcelona Sunset

Association de Padres de Personas Con Autismo-Autismo-Burgos
Calle Las Torres, s/n
SP-09007 Burgos
SPAIN
tel: 34-47-239-182

Parc Guell, Barcelona

Centro Español del Autismo
Avda. Comunidad de Madrid, 43
28230 Las Rozas, Madrid
SPAIN
tel: 34(9)1-6377455
fax: 34(9)1-6377762

El Alcazar, Toledo, Spain

Federation of Parents’ Associations for the Protection of Autistic People in Spain
(Autismo-Espana)
Avda. Cumunidad de Madrid n 43
Ciudad de las Rozas
Madrid
SPAIN
tel: 91-637-7455 or 93-435-1404

Salobrena-Andalucia, Spain

Fundacio Tutelar Congost Autisme
C/Sant Antoni
Ma Claret 282, A, 2n, 2a
SP- 08041 Barcelona
SPAIN
tel: 34 (9) 3-435-1679

Alcabete, Spain(A Dream Place)

Fundacion Menela
Avda Marques de Alcedo, 19
SP-36203 VIGO
SPAIN
tel: 34-86-42-3433

A Sunny Day in Southern Spain

Gautena
Apartado 1000
SP- 20080 San Sebastian
SPAIN
tel: 34-43-215-344

Map of Spain

Spain: Facts, Maps, Music, Photos etc”:

http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/places/countries/country_spain.html

Shimmering Flamenco

WorldWise Quiz: How well do you know Madrid?”:

http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/places/places-of-a-lifetime/madrid-quiz.html

A Spanish Decisive Moment

Photo Galleries: Perrenial & Modern Madrid”:

http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/places/photos/places-madrid-gallery-1.html

http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/places/photos/places-madrid-gallery-2.html

ADD/ADHD


Paying attention to ADHD … What do German composer Ludwig van Beethoven and American Olympian swimmer Michael Phelps have in common?

These driven and highly focused individuals suffer from Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). But what exactly is ADHD?”:

http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2009/may/20/yehey/life/20090520lif1.html


Miss Wyoming 2008 and her struggles with AD/HD … Courtney says the best thing about having AD/HD is “the creativity, and the thinking outside the box–being able to take a problem and a situation and think about it in a totally separate way than anybody else would, I think, is a big asset to me.”:

http://www.examiner.com/x-2259-DC-Mental-Health-Examiner~y2009m5d13-Miss-Wyoming-2008-and-Her-Struggles-with-ADHD


Stress and alcohol – A marriage made in misery … Other studies suggest that chronic drinkers have symptoms similar to those seen in children with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Children of those drinkers, this research concludes, have a higher incidence of actual ADHD.”:

http://www.y95radio.com/marriage/0,4825,345761,00.html


Health Q & A on Summer and ADHD”:

http://www.wisinfo.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2009905160579


New Educational DVD “Children warned over playing with fire”:

http://www.thisisgrimsby.co.uk/news/Children-warned-playing/article-979396-detail/article.html


Actor recognized for talking about disorder”:

http://www.mississauganews.com/article/27182


ADRES “Adverse Drug Reaction Electronic System(Adverse Drug Reactions Website)”- This website provides patients, doctors, and other medical professionals with a comprehensive examination of adverse drug reactions (ADRs), side effects, and other safety information for both prescription and over-the-counter medications.. Our goal is to allow users of our website make informed decisions when taking (patients) or prescribing (doctors) drugs. We are providing unmatched information and analysis tools.

http://www.adverse-drug-reaction.net/


“adders.org”
Our objective is to promote awareness to AD/HD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) and to provide information and as much free practical help as we can to those affected by the condition, both adults and children, their families in the UK and around the World via this website.

http://www.adders.org/


ADDISS” The National Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service…

http://www.addiss.co.uk/index.html


ADDA”:

http://www.add.org/index.html


hi2u ADHD Pages”:

http://www..adhd..org.uk/


CHADD”:

http://www.chadd.org/am/CustomPages/home/CHADD_Home.htm?CFID=2282059&CFTOKEN=38105335&jsessionid=f2303343221169802693562

SPORT


Judo expert selected for Special Olympics … A 17-year-old judo competitor from Brentry has been selected to represent his country at the Special Olympics in Leicester.

David Woodland, who has autism, first discovered the sport when he was eight and, despite numerous serious injuries, lives and breathes the sport.”:http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/news/Judo-expert-selected-Special-Olympics/article-963465-detail/article.html


Marathon effort pays off for uncle”:

http://www.linlithgowgazette.co.uk/news/Marathon-effort-pays-off-for.5249336.jp


Trek the Inca Trail – 22-31 May, 2010”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1863


Trek Ben Nevis – 19-21 June, 2009”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1971


Flora London Marathon 2009”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1823


It’s back! The London to Paris Bike Ride 2009 – 15-18 May”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1860


5-8 June, 2009 “Five Countries Bike Ride – England, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1970


Racecourse Bike Ride – 12 July, 2009”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=2116


Trek Hadrian’s Wall – 7-9 August, 2009”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=2088


Trek Jordan 2009 – 10-14 September”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1833


Cycle India – 27 November – 6 December, 2009”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1832


“Sky Diving”:

http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1726

MUSIC


Ladyhawke: Kiwi and proud of it”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/ladyhawke_kiwi_and_proud_of_it.htm


Griffith Lodge(Residential home for autistic/deaf children) “Deaf students enjoy music lessons thanks to Children In Need”:

http://www.communitynewswire.press.net/article.jsp?id=5781390


The AutisMusic Project”:

http://www.autismusic.com/

ART


Video [4:14] “Ping Lian Yeak, Autistic Savant Artist at age 12”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buktflGp0GE


Bart Powers”

http://www.outsiderart.co.uk/bart.htm


GLIMPSE – the talents of the autism community

They are painters, sculptors and photographers; poets and storytellers; musicians and creators of amazing video games. They are kids, teens and adults. Last year, a new online publication arose to celebrate the talents of autistic individuals and other developmental disabilities: GLIMPSE, offered by ICDL (The Interdisciplinary Council of Developmental and Learning Disorders). In late 2008, Volume 2 of GLIMPSE was released, and was expanded into a print book and notecards. The works are serious, humourous, deeply personal and illuminating. See it for yourself, share it with others, submit your own/your child’s work for inclusion in Volume 3, to release later this year. Find information and ordering details at www.icdl.com


ARTROOM ………where under 17s can make and display art online”:

http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/artroom/index.php

MOVIES/ENTERTAINMENT


Angelique Chrisafis meets actor Sandrine Bonnaire(My Sister Sabine)”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/angelique_chrisafis_meets_actor_sandrine_bonnairemy_sister_.htm


Borough’s talent on show in short films”

Storage (a trailer) by David Lea

Jason is an autistic 19-year-old who obsessively boxes up everyday objects as a means of controlling his experiences. In a desperate attempt to communicate, the father uses these items to convey a message to his son.

http://www.epsomguardian.co.uk/leisure/4364977.Film__Wandsworth_Film_Festival/

Actors for Autism”:
http://www.actorsforautism.com/

BOOKS


NAS to benefit from children’s murder mystery”:

http://www.pr.com/press-release/151511


“Why Does Izzy Cover Her Ears? Dealing with Sensory Overload”

Author & Illustrator: Jennifer Veenendall

http://www.asperger.net/bookstore_9037.htm


“Job Success for Persons with Developmental Disabilities”

Author: David B. Wiegan Foreword by Ron Rush

http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/book.php/isbn/9781843109228


Amazingly … Alphie: Understanding and Accepting Different Ways of Being”

Author: Roz Espin Illustrated by Beverley Ransom

http://www.asperger.net/bookstore_9927.htm


Running on Dreams”

Author: Herb Heiman

http://www.asperger.net/bookstore_9972.htm


The New Social Story Book”

Illustrated Edition by Carol Gray

http://www.asperger.net/bookstore_T108_V102.htm

MOVIE

Night At The Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (PG)

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian is a 2009 American adventure comedy film and the sequel to the American adventure comedy film Night at the Museum. The film stars Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Amy Adams, Owen Wilson, Rami Malek, Hank Azaria, Alain Chabat, Bill Hader, Ricky Gervais, Christopher Guest and Steve Coogan. It is set for release on May 22, 2009, and is rated PG for mild action and brief language. It will be released in theaters and IMAX.

Synopsis:

When the Museum of Natural History is closed for upgrades and renovations, the museum pieces are moved into federal storage at the Smithsonian Institution, which comes to life. The museum houses the world’s largest museum complex with more than 136 million items in its collections, ranging from the plane Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams) flew on her non-stop solo flight across the Atlantic and Al Capone’s (Jon Bernthal) rap sheet and mug shot to Dorothy’s ruby slippers, Fonzie’s jacket from Happy Days, the still from M*A*S*H and Archie Bunker’s lounge chair from All in the Family. When the museum pieces from the first film are attacked by Kahmunrah, an evil Pharaoh, Larry (Ben Stiller) breaks into the Smithsonian to save the old exhibits from New York (Such as Theodore Roosevelt and Dexter) from new exhibits (like General Custer, Napoleon Bonaparte, Al Capone, and even Darth Vader). Larry enlists the help of Amelia Earhart, whom he develops a romantic interest in, and together they try to put everything back in order.

http://www.nightatthemuseummovie.com/

VIDEO GAME

Ghostbusters The Video game

Ghostbusters: The Video Game (12+)

Release Dates

Release date(s) NA June 16, 2009[5]
EU June 19, 2009 (PS2, PS3), Late 2009 (Xbox 360, Wii, DS, PSP)[3]


Ghostbusters: The Video Game is an action game in development for the Nintendo DS, PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Wii, and Xbox 360.[1] The PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 versions are being developed by Terminal Reality, while the PlayStation 2 and Wii versions are being developed by Red Fly Studio (developers of Mushroom Men) and the Nintendo DS version will be handled by Zen Studios.[6] In North America, all versions of the game will be published by Atari.[2] In Europe, Sony Computer Entertainment will publish the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 versions, while Atari will publish the other versions later in the year. [3]

The game is based on the Ghostbusters film franchise. Ghostbusters creator Dan Aykroyd has confirmed that the game is essentially Ghostbusters 3.[7]

The game’s storyline was written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, the writers of the original films.[4][8] They, along with Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson, will also lend their voices and likenesses to the game. Several supporting cast members, such as William Atherton (Walter Peck), Brian Doyle-Murray (as the new mayor of New York, Jock Mulligan) and Annie Potts (Janine) have also signed on. However, Rick Moranis (Louis Tully) declined to end his retirement from acting to be a part of the game.[9] In addition, Sigourney Weaver will not be reprising her role of Dana Barrett.[10] Instead, Alyssa Milano will be playing the role of the new love interest in the game, Dr. Ilyssa Selwyn.[11]

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Atari-Ghostbusters-Xbox-360/dp/B000ZLJXCK/ref=wl_it_dp?ie=UTF8&coliid=IAX0VANN1QF85&colid=2M2468ZYIVALY

TECH

Chess

Nine Games Computers Are Ruining For Humanity”:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17145-nine-games-computers-are-ruining-for-humanity.html

LIFE

Einstein on Violin

Creativity Chemical Favours The Smart”:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20227084.300-creativity-chemical-favours-the-smart.html


Take Care,

Julie

El Toro Sunset



First Published Friday, 22 May 2009


Health Care in Congress

As we speak, Congress is deliberating on vast and important changes to the
system of health care in the United States. This issue is one of crucial
importance to all Americans, but of particular interest to those Americans
who interact with public health insurance more than almost any other group
— people with disabilities. Ranging from veterans with disabilities who
receive care through the Veteran’s Administration health care system to the
many low-income disabled adults who are eligible for Medicaid, the
disability community interacts with the public health care infrastructure in
the United States in a wide variety of ways. As we consider how to reform,
streamline and expand that infrastructure through any of a variety of means,
it is incumbent upon us to remember the key issues for making sure that
health care reform doesn’t leave disabled adults and youth behind.


*1. Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS):* Ever since the passage of the
Americans with Disabilities Act 19 years ago, the main priority of the
disability rights movement in the United States has been eliminating the
institutional bias in Medicaid. This bias imprisons Americans both young and
old in nursing homes and institutions in order to get the basic services
necessary to survive. This is both tragic and unnecessary. Individuals and
families are forced to choose between having to fend for themselves or
living out their lives in institutional care. Both research and the
experience of countless people with disabilities show that, with the right
support, people can live in the community rather than be relegated to
institutions. Community living settings, when properly implemented, improve
quality of life, reduce the risk of abuse, make it more likely that a person
with a disability will be able to work and are actually much less costly
than institutional care.


Right now, the main obstacle to LTSS reform is the bias in Medicaid long
term care policy which reimburses states for costly and segregated
institutional care but makes it extraordinary difficult to use the same
money to support adults in the community instead. A person who uses a
wheelchair or an adult with a developmental disability such as autism or
Down Syndrome can get the government to pay for a costly institutional
placement with low quality of life, but often must spend years on a waiting
list for far less expensive services, such as attendant care that could keep
them in their home or their family’s. The abuses that take place within
nursing homes and institutions are well documented and are truly shocking.
This situation benefits nobody but lobbyists for the nursing
home/institutions industry, which has been quite active in opposing reform
on this issue.


The Senate Finance Committee has recognized the need for some action on
LTSS, but so far has only recommended limited reforms like increasing the
federal Medicaid reimbursement for Home and Community Based Services by 1%.
The real answer can be found in the Community Choice Act, which would add a
benefit to Medicaid that would require states to allow people who meet an
institutional level of care to instead control their own supports while
choosing to live at home or with their families. President Obama won kudos
from the disability community by supporting the Community Choice Act during
his campaign, but since then the White House has signaled that this issue
will not be considered as part of health care reform. The Community Choice
Act should be properly considered a civil rights issue, as it means the
difference between segregation or integration for millions of disabled
citizens as well as many senior citizens for whom LTSS reform may be what
keeps them out of a nursing home and living a life of dignity. Health care
reform that fails to include this issue is health care reform that fails to
meet the needs of over 50 million Americans with disabilities.


*2. Health Care Disparities for People with Disabilities: * Both
Congressional leaders and the President have talked about the importance of
addressing health care disparities on the basis of race, income and
geography. But what about disability health care disparities? Too often,
medical problems faced by people with disabilities are assumed to be normal
and unavoidable as a result of being disabled. However, disability and ill
health should not be considered synonymous. People with disabilities face
significant barriers to access quality health care, due to both poverty and
accessibility problems. In addition, most physicians lack necessary
expertise on common co-existing medical issues that people with disabilities
of various kinds face.


For Autistic adults and children, who often have sensory hyper- and
hypo-sensitivities as well as trouble with social and/or verbal
communication, communicating medical problems can be exceedingly difficult.
For people with Down Syndrome and other developmental disabilities, a
doctor’s expertise on co-existing medical issues can mean the difference
between living full, meaningful and fulfilling lives or facing an early
death due to preventable secondary conditions. For Deaf people, getting
access to sign language interpreters in hospitals and doctor’s offices is
often exceptionally difficult. For many wheelchair users or people with
other mobility impairments, even getting in the door to the doctor’s office
can be a problem. If they can, they often face inaccessible examination
tables and other medical equipment that prevents them from getting the same
medical care available to any other person. One woman with a mobility
impairment was told by her physician that the scales they possessed were
inaccessible to people with her disability, but that she should consider
going to the post office and being weighed on the scale for large packages
instead!


Respectfully, people with disabilities are not postal mail. It is disturbing
to think of the number of preventable medical conditions caused by lack of
access to appropriate medical care. This is imposing a cost that can be
measured both in terms of quality of life and dollars spent later on
preventable secondary medical conditions. Congress must recognize people
with disabilities as an underserved population subject to health disparities
by undertaking both data collection and serious policy reform to ensure that
issues of access, expertise and coverage are address for the disability
community.


*3. Insurance Discrimination: * According to the Executive Director of Access
Living, a Center for Independent Living in Chicago, and past Chair of the
National Council on Disability Marca Bristo, insurance discrimination has
been one of the single largest obstacles to full integration of people with
disabilities in society. States have tried to address this matter with a
patchwork of insurance mandate laws, virtually all of which have represented
disability and methodology- specific approaches that do not come close to
comprehensive reform. As Congress determines the structure of our updated
health care system, it is important that obstacles to access, such as
pre-existing conditions, as well as obstacles to coverage, such as the
refusal of many insurance companies to cover “habilitative” care for
children and adults with developmental disabilities, be considered and
addressed.


4. Stop discrimination in the provision of care:* Too often, people with
disabilities are denied necessary — sometimes even life-saving — medical
care because of assumptions that non-disabled people make about our quality
of life. For many people, disability is still considered a fate worse than
death instead of a part of the human experience. As a result, it has been
disabled people who are pushed over the side first when resources become
scarce. As recently as last year, a task force including doctors from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Homeland
Security and the Department of Health and Human Services issued guidelines
stating that, in the event of a flu pandemic or similar emergency, people
with intellectual disabilities as well as those with chronic health
conditions may be excluded from care.


The eugenic impulse that views people with disabilities as “burdens on
society” or “life unworthy of life” is still regrettably alive and well
within our health care system. Just last week, Disability Rights Wisconsin,
the state’s protection and advocacy system for people with disabilities,
filed suit against the University of Wisconsin hospital as a result of their
decision to withhold medication and basic nourishment from two patients with
intellectual disabilities who had pneumonia. These individuals were not in a
persistent vegetative state, were not dying and one even asked for food. The
decision to refuse anti-biotics, nutrition and fluids for a treatable
medical condition was made by hospital officials based on their
determination of “quality of life” for the individuals in question. Health
care reform must include non-discrimination protections that prevent these
types of atrocities by health care providers.


These concerns are also relevant because of the likelihood that cost
containment measures will be included in the health care reform initiative.
Congress should avoid repeating the highly controversial Oregon Health Plan
of the early 1990s, whose priority list of services ranked medical
conditions in order to ration out care on the basis of a government
determination of severity. Americans, with or without disabilities, deserve
not to be pitted against each other in their efforts to obtain the health
care services they need. With limited resources, Congress will need to make
difficult decisions – yet discriminating against people with disabilities in
the provision of health care services should never be considered an
acceptable option.


One of the key critiques of the Disability Rights Movement has always been
that, for many of us, the problems we face are not inevitably associated
with whatever condition or diagnosis we may possess but are as much the
result of societal discrimination in the form of infrastructures that were
built without consideration that people like us might one day use them.
Nowhere is this issue clearer than in health care. A health care reform
agenda that includes these concerns can drastically improve the lives of
many millions of Americans. One that simply reinforces the status quo will
represent yet another wasted opportunity. It is no longer acceptable to doom
a considerable portion of the American populace to more discrimination, more
segregation and more disparities in access to meaningful health care.
Disability has often been called the great equalizer — our community
reaches throughout every racial, religious, gender and political
classification. Furthermore, though we are wide and varied, including both
people with acquired disabilities, such as many of our brave men and women
in uniform coming home from overseas, and others who were born with their
disabilities, such as myself and the rest of the Autistic community, we can
unite around our common dream for full participation, inclusion, integration
and equality of opportunity for all. The disability message is a civil
rights message. It is time for Congress and the President to hear our
voices: Nothing About Us, Without Us!


Source:   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ari-neeman/health-care-reform-and-th_b_206492.html



First Published Friday, 22 May 2009


Paul Dirac

Paul Dirac: a physicist of few words


Frank Close


A detailed biography argues that the Nobel prizewinner’s notorious reticence delayed experimentalists from discovering the antimatter that would confirm his elegant theory, explains Frank Close.


BOOK REVIEWEDThe Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac


by Graham Farmelo


Faber & Faber: 2009. 560 pp. £22.50


Paul Dirac: a physicist of few words

BETTMANN/CORBIS


Paul Dirac predicted the anti-electron’s existence, but did little to encourage others to hunt for it.


Among scientists, Paul Dirac is widely regarded as being in the same league as Albert Einstein. In London’s Westminster Abbey, Dirac’s eponymous equation describing the quantum behaviour of electrons is set in stone. But in his home town of Bristol, UK, his reputation is overshadowed by that of his fellow student at the Bishop Road School, Archie Leach — better known as the film star Cary Grant. On asking the Bristol Record Office for material about Dirac for his new book, author Graham Farmelo received the response: “Who?”


Danish physicist Niels Bohr described Dirac as “the strangest man”. His extreme reticence, monosyllabic responses and repetitious statements are legendary. Six years elapsed before even close colleagues learned any of P. A. M. Dirac’s forenames. When he came up with the equations of quantum mechanics, his weekly postcard home merely said, “Not much to report here.” After solving a decades-old problem by creating Fermi–Dirac statistics later that year, the news once more was: “Not much to report.” When he arrived at the relativistic quantum equation that describes the electron, he didn’t even send a postcard. Even his colleagues were unaware of it.


In this elegantly written biography, Farmelo’s meticulous research sheds considerable light on Dirac’s personality and the circumstances behind it. Several members of Dirac’s extended family developed acute depression, six committing suicide within a century, including his brother. His father was cold and authoritarian, his mother overweening — the description of her excruciating behaviour at the Nobel prize ceremony, haranguing journalists and officials on behalf of her idolized son, is pure entertainment. Dirac immersed himself in mathematics.


The received wisdom is that in producing his equation for the electron, Dirac ‘discovered’ the concept of antimatter in 1928, and four years later, Carl Anderson’s discovery of the positron in cosmic rays validated Dirac’s idea. But in Farmelo’s account the reality is rather different.


Dirac’s electron equation — declared “achingly beautiful” by physicist Frank Wilczek — described the spin of the electron, and caused a sensation once people began to understand its unusual structure. However, it contained puzzling solutions in which the electron had negative energy. Dirac proposed that a vacuum is filled with a sea of negative-energy electrons. Any hole in this vacuum would appear as a positively charged, positive-energy particle. At first, he thought that this particle was the proton, until J. Robert Oppenheimer pointed out that if this were so, the electron and proton could destroy each other and matter would be unstable. Wolfgang Pauli was equally sceptical, remarking that anyone making a theory of matter should first apply it to the atoms of their own body. Pauli went on to prove that the positive particle must have the same mass as an electron, which was worrying because experimenters had not found any such particle. With the debate unresolved, many began to wonder if Dirac’s equation might be wrong.


In 1931, Dirac referred for the first time to the ‘anti-electron’, remarking that it could not occur in nature owing to its immediate destruction by ubiquitous electrons. Although he commented that it could be made transiently in experiments, he was surprisingly circumspect, more concerned with the difficulties of detection than the inevitability of its existence. He made no suggestion as to how experimentalists might make it, or recognize it. He was away in the United States later that year when Robert Millikan gave a talk at the University of Cambridge, UK, showing Anderson’s images of particle tracks from cosmic rays — including some that looked like those of electrons but which curved the wrong way in a magnetic field. No one associated these tracks with Dirac’s holes.


By 1932, the holes had become a joke. At a meeting in Copenhagen, when Bohr lost his patience and confronted Dirac with: “Do you believe all that stuff?”, he simply replied, “I don’t think anyone has put a conclusive argument against it.” Dirac no longer seemed to be strongly committed to the anti-electron; the absence of the particle was, Farmelo says, “sapping his morale”. He even told Werner Heisenberg that he had ceased to believe in it.


On 2 August 1932, Anderson found his first clear single particle trail, now hailed in textbooks as the ‘discovery of the positron’. This realization was far from clear cut, however. In a series of missed opportunities, no one seemed able to put two and two together to link Dirac’s holes and Anderson’s ‘positron’.


Anderson published his positron paper in September 1932 in the journal Science. But remarkably, no one in Cambridge seemed to have read it. By that autumn, British physicist Patrick Blackett had his own images of positrons, and had even shown them in a talk with Dirac and Soviet physicist Peter Kapitsa in the audience. Dirac stayed silent. Kapitsa exclaimed “Now, Dirac, put that into your theory! Positive electrons, eh!” Farmelo comments that Kapitsa “had spent hours talking with Dirac but had evidently not even heard of the anti-electron” and that Dirac simply replied “Positive electrons have been in the theory for a very long time”. Yet there is no sense that Dirac was claiming anything, apparently convinced that the positive trails in the pictures were “a mirage”. Farmelo sees Dirac as exhibiting “reticence taken to the point of perversity”. His colleagues so mistrusted his abstract theory that they could not accept that it predicted new particles.


The first link between hole theory and the positron came from Blackett, who showed sensational images of electron-positron pair creation at a meeting at the Royal Society in London, saying that they “fit extraordinarily well with Dirac’s hole theory”. Immediately afterwards, journalists rushed to interview him. Meanwhile Dirac, who was lecturing in another room in the same building, was “unavailable for comment”.


According to Farmelo, Dirac later realized that he held responsibility for not having advocated that experimentalists should hunt for positrons, nor advising on how to detect them. Had he done so, the positron could have been discovered “in a single afternoon”, as Anderson put it. When asked later why he did not speak out and predict the positron, Dirac said, “pure cowardice”.


Nonetheless, Dirac on other occasions believed that he had predicted it, although not everyone agreed. Blackett said: “Dirac nearly but not quite predicted the positron.” So much for history; today, Dirac’s role in foreseeing the positron, and the mirror world of antimatter, was, as Farmelo describes it, “one of the greatest achievements in science”.


Farmelo concludes The Strangest Man by analysing Dirac’s singular character and genius. He makes a sound case that Dirac was autistic, and argues that his behavioural traits were crucial to his success as a theoretical physicist. Cambridge in the 1920s was the ideal environment for him: tolerant of eccentricity; college life providing for his every need; the rules of dining at High Table enabling a rigidly predictable form of social contact. These unusual circumstances enabled Dirac’s special genius to flower. As to autism, this is thought to be caused by disrupted brain development, which can show up as irregularities in brain tissue. These can be visualized using positron emission tomography scans — the medical application of Dirac’s antimatter. Irony indeed.




First Published Friday, 22 May 2009


Dear Readers,


Just a quick message to inform you that Blog City staff will be carrying out maintenance from 12pm GMT this Sunday.  Apologies for the disruption.


The site should be and up and running again before too long.


Julie xx



First Published Monday, 25 May 2009


Ask any autistic/AS teen what it’s like to be where they’re at right now, you’ll get a mixed response.  Let’s face it, aspies are unique individuals, no two are the same.  Some are having a much harder time than others navigating their way through on a daily basis.  Many are struggling with depression, anxiety and identity issues and simply trying to fit into a world that is confusing enough for any teen.  On the social front, finding acceptance among peers via shared interests and activities can make all the difference.


Autistic/AS teens are growing stronger in voice so far as advocating for themselves.  They’re speaking out on issues that affect them and their families.  Many wish for better acceptance, equal opportunities to utilise their skills in the workforce, greater understanding.  They’re sharing their talents, lending a voice through their art, their poetry, their literature, their music, their films, their sporting achievements, their blogs, now more than ever.  While friendships and relationships are not so easy to develop and maintain for the vast majority, autistic/AS teens are utilising the internet to their advantage and creating links with others via websites and meet-ups/support groups both online and off.


For those struggling right now, remind yourself that this is but one phase of your life.  This is not ‘forever’. There are a great many adults on the spectrum who have been where you are now, and you have the potential to make a difference, to live a good life, if you believe in yourself.   Things don’t always go to plan in life, but it’s about making the most of where you’re at.  Some have a tendency to just put their heads down and get on with it in life, regardless of the obstacles.  In many ways, that’s a good thing, but, for others, that can lead to misery, and in some cases, poor health.  Let your voice be heard if things are not as they should be.  Do not suffer in silence.


Be kind to yourself, develop your talents, even if it seems as though no-one else wants to know.  Mood swings and turbulence are a part of the teen years.  Exercise and good, healthy food can make a genuine difference to your state of mind and overall health.  Focus on your hopes and your dreams.  Never lose sight of them.  Know you are not alone in your darkest days.  For those who manage to make it through the teen years relatively unscathed and with positive connection to the past, wonderful!!  For many, as secondary school draws to a close, the realisation that this is it, can be something of a rude shock.  Transitions may be difficult, endings may seem abrupt for some.


The following articles and books provide some fine examples of what our autistic/AS teens are doing with their lives, employment-wise, advocacy-wise, creativity-wise etc.  If you’re a teen who wishes to share a book you’ve written, your artwork, or simply your words of wisdom for others, please feel free to share.



Articles


“Teen on the Spectrum: AS From An AS Perspective”
http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/10/teens-on-the-spectrum-as-from-an-as-perspective/



“Dean Beadle: AS From An AS Perspective”:
http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/19/dean-beadle-as-from-an-as-perspective/



“New Online ASD Teen Group”
http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/05/fwd-new-online-asd-teen-group-asan-teens/



Zac Smith (Australian-American English Junior & Columnist for the Oklahoma Daily)  “Autism Speaks Promotes Hysteria, Ignorance”
http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/fwd_oklahoma_daily_autism_speaks_promotes_hysteria_ignora.htm



“Autistic Students Self Represent”
http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/fwd__autistic_students_self_represent.htm



“AS Teenager Sought for BBC Production”
http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2010/12/20/as-teenager-sought-for-bbc-production/



“Update on “Dustbin Baby” Role – Breakthrough for AS Actress”
http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2010/12/20/update-on-dustbin-baby-role-breakthrough-for-as-actress/



“UK Screening Date – Lizzy plays girl with Asperger syndrome in Dustbin Baby”
http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/09/uk-screening-date-lizzy-plays-girl-with-asperger-syndrome-in-dustbin-baby/



“ASAN in Social Work Today: Autism into Adulthood – Making the Transition”
http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2010/12/20/fwd-asan-in-social-work-today-autism-into-adulthood-making-the-transition/



“Northern Virginia Magazine – Am I On The Wrong Planet?”
http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/17/northern-virginia-magazine-am-i-on-the-wrong-planet/



Rex Lewis-Clack “Rex: A Musical Savant’s Remarkable Strides”
http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/12/rex-a-musical-savants-remarkable-strides/



“Artist Kim Miller: The Girl Who Spoke With Pictures”
http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/05/artist-kim-miller-the-girl-who-spoke-with-pictures/



“Katie Miller – Local Artist is Positively Influenced By Autism”
http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/12/katie-miller-local-artist-is-positively-influenced-by-autism/



“Building Brainpower: AS Teen Turns Computer Skills Into Business”
http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/09/building-brainpower-as-teen-turns-computer-skills-into-business/



“Employment: Autistic Menasha Student’s Skills Shine On The Job At Ferguson In Appleton”
http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/17/employment-autistic-menasha-students-skills-shine-on-the-job-at-ferguson-in-appleton/



“Autistic Pupil Who Was Expelled Becomes Malmesbury’s Young Citizen of the Year”
http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/autistic_pupil_who_was_expelled_becomes_malmesburys_young_c.htm



“Autism Asperger’s Digest: Animal Crossing Creating Connections via Video games”

Sandi Busch is a freelance writer and single mom who home-schools her son. Ben is a 15 year old who is learning to build on the strengths of Asperger’s Syndrome and who looks forward to a vocation saving animals.

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/12/autism-aspergers-digest-animal-crossing-creating-connections-via-video-games/



“Teen Uses Experience To Become Autism Advocate”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/teen_uses_experience_to_become_autism_advocate.htm


Health/Research


“Most Depressed Adolescents Go Untreated”

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/most_depressed_adolescents_go_untreated.htm



“Summer Jobs May Help Prevent Suicidal Tendencies In At-Risk Teens”

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/14/summer-jobs-may-help-prevent-suicidal-tendencies-in-at-risk-teens/



“School-Based CBT for Adolescent Depression(Abstract)”

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/06/school-based-cbt-for-adolescent-depression-abstract/



“Study: Third of Teen Cannabis Users Self-Medicating Health Problems”

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/18/study-third-of-teen-cannabis-users-self-medicating-health-problems/



“Anorexia Nervosa in Autistic Women/Disorders Are Common In Adults Who Have Had Anorexia/Milkshakes for Anorexia”

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/14/anorexia-nervosa-in-autistic-womendisorders-are-common-in-adults-who-have-had-anorexiamilkshakes-for-anorexia/



“The Internet Helps Teenagers with Social Relationships”

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/the_internet_helps_teenagers_with_social_relationships.htm



“Feel Upset?  Writing It Down Helps You To Calm Down, Scientists Say”

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/12/feel-upset-writing-it-down-helps-you-to-calm-down-scientists-say/



“Pets Can Help College Students Cope With Stress & Loneliness”

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/11/pets-can-help-college-students-cope-with-stress-loneliness/



“Feeling Stressed?  Call Pooch Over”

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/18/feeling-stressed-call-pooch-over/



Fears & Phobias  “Study: Half Of Group Free Of Phobia After A Single Treatment/Biochemical Pathway For Blocking Worst Fears”

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/14/study-half-of-group-free-of-phobia-after-a-single-treatmentbiochemical-pathway-for-blocking-your-worst-fears/



“Teens: Nocturnal Teens Need Sunlight, Teen Driving, Focus on Fun Gets Teens Active”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/teens_nocturnal_teens_need_sunlight_teen_driving_focus_on.htm


Books

Asperger Syndrome in Adolescence

Living with the Ups, the Downs and Things in Between

Edited by Liane Holliday Willey

Foreword by Luke Jackson

http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/book.php/isbn/1-84310-742-2


The Feeling’s Unmutual: Growing Up With Asperger Syndrome (Undiagnosed)

Will Hadcroft

http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/book.php/isbn/9781843102649


Freaks, Geeks and Asperger Syndrome: A User Guide to Adolescence

Luke Jackson

http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/book.php/isbn/9781843100980


Crystalline Lifetime: Fragments of Asperger Syndrome

Luke Jackson

http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/book.php/isbn/9781843104438


Asperger Meets Girl: Happy Endings for Asperger Boys

Jonathon Griffiths

http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/book.php/isbn/9781843106302


The Love-Shy Survival Guide

Talmer Shockley

http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/book.php/isbn/9781843108979


Autistics’ Guide to Dating: A Book by Autistics, for Autistics and Those Who Love Them

Emilia Murry Ramey and Jody John Ramey

http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/book.php/isbn/9781843108818


How To Be Yourself In a World That’s Different: An Asperger Study Guide for Adolescents

Yuko Yoshida M.D.

http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/book.php/isbn/9781843105046


Aquamarine Blue 5: Personal Stories of College Students with Autism

Dawn Prince Hughes

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0804010544


Autistic Authors Booklist and Facts

http://www.autistics.org/library/booklist.html



First Published Tuesday, 26 May 2009


Parliament House, Canberra, Australia

Urgent Action Required


Efforts are underway to establish an enquiry into issues relating to Autism Spectrum Disorders in Australia.  If you support improved funding, employment assistance, supports and services for Australians affected by these issues, please email Jenny Macklin today at JMacklin.MP@aph.gov.au


Tomorrow,  Wednesday, May 27, Jenny Macklin MP  will be considering the many voices of Australians who seek an overhaul of current services and supports for those on the autism spectrum and their families.   It’s not too late to make a statement.


Examples of Messages Sent:


The following was written by an Australian advocate who has long been the driving force behind this enquiry.


Members,


I am writing to you to strongly recommend an enquiry into the issues relating to all aspects of Autistic Spectrum Disorders. This takes in not only Autism but also other like conditions including ADD, ADHD, Aspergers Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS).


There are a number of reasons why I believe this should be done. Firstly, the financial requirements associated with these conditions is over and above what is presently available, and are being underestimated to a degree by the states. This varies from state to state, with Victoria for example only assisting with ASD’s that have an intellectual incapacity (usually applicable to Low Functioning Autism only). This is despite their efforts with the Autism State Plan. The Disability Support Pension has no hope of keeping up with these needs.


Secondly, issues with employment (the usual way one would supplement income or fund the needs of the condition). This relates to the changes over the last decade to the work place that has in effect pushed those on the Spectrum out. My own experience would be of interest to the committee and I am certain I am not the only one.


Thirdly, the issue of information about the condition – especially over the Internet. There is a growing feeling in the United States that the Spectrum is not genetic in origin and can be “cured”. This is causing problems for many parents who believe this false information and I believe Australia is in a position to take a lead and deflect this nonsensical view as strongly as we can. Speaking for myself I feel very threatened by this growing attitude, and my ability to act is restricted.


Such are the variations on the Spectrum even within conditions like Aspergers it is a complicated situation to resolve. We have adults like myself, and children with parents who needs support, correct information and understanding. With the Americans calling us “brain damaged” and refusing to accept the concept of “neurodiversity” (recognition of the different way our brains work) the hating on the condition is threatening to envelope the whole issue and prevent real assistance to people like myself.


It should also be noted that the haters may cause vaccines to be targetted as a cause of the Spectrum, which would threaten the vaccination process – something I would assume the committee would be keen to prevent in a bipartisan manner.


I have been trying to get this enquiry off the ground since October 2002, and it has been too long.


Dear Ms Macklin,


I am writing to you in order to support the request by fellow Australians of an enquiry into issues relating to Autism Spectrum Disorders. It is hoped that an enquiry will be established by the Committee on Family, Community, Housing and Youth in the House of Representatives, Canberra. As the mother of three children on the autism spectrum, two of whom are now adults, I fully support and encourage a thorough review of current services and supports for families including all who find themselves on the Autism Spectrum, inclusive of the following conditions – ADD, ADHD, Aspergers Syndrome and PDD-NOS.


Those on the spectrum have a great deal to offer society, but often find themselves underemployed, if employed at all. There are some wonderful employment models(eg, “Prospects” in the UK) that are proven to assist individuals toward sustained employment, reducing the financial burden overall and benefiting society enormously. Additionally, parents are all too often struggling with the financial requirements that go hand in hand with raising a child with additional needs and increased assistance would make a huge difference in their lives.



Parents are often fed harmful information in regard ‘cures’ and ’causes’ of their child’s condition rather than being informed of the facts. The vaccine myth has clearly been dispelled as a cause of autism by the medical profession, and yet many parents are continuing to place others at risk by way of refusing the immunisation programme for their child. The National Autistic Society in the UK clearly recognizes that autism cannot be cured. They collectively support and embrace autism as a different way of being which in turn promotes a more positive outlook for all concerned. They are working with it, rather than against it and parents and those on the spectrum are benefiting enormously from this particular stance. My adult children are examples of how positive representation can and does work, here in the UK. They are extraordinarily hard-working contributors to society. My son is working full-time after obtaining an Honours Degree in Music, while my daughter is studying toward becoming a clinical psychologist. Like many on the autism spectrum, they are high achievers who once given a chance, have proven themselves very capable.  Many Australians on the Autism Spectrum are not being granted the same supports and opportunities sadly.  An enquiry with an enthusiastic team at the helm, could make an enormous difference to a great many lives.



In closing, dispelling myths, increasing positive awareness, establishing supportive employment programmes and increasing funding where it’s so desperately needed in areas of assisting parents and those on the spectrum, benefits Australian society both in the long and the short term. Australia has always been a nation that cares. An enquiry that creates much needed change, boosts morale, increases employment and productivity, ensures parents will receive the support they require, would be heralded by the disability sector and the nation as a whole. A great many Australian families and adults on the autism spectrum wish to meaningfully contribute to society but require support and government investment in order to do so.



I urge you to please consider this enquiry as a matter of importance.  Thankyou for your time.


Previously, the Committee Chair deferred any decision on the subject of their next enquiry, stating that they will not act without a direction from the Minister – Jenny Macklin.