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First Published Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Heart Health

Two new studies show effects on angina and mortality

By Ed Edelson
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) — Two new studies show that problems with the mind can play a significant role in problems of the heart.

One study found that anxiety and depression can increase the incidence of angina, the chest pain that sends many people to the doctor, said Dr Mark Sullivan, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington, and senior author of one of the reports in the June 29 online issue of Circulation.


First Published Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Sleeping Beauty

Holshoe JM.

University of South Alabama College of Nursing, Mobile, AL, USA.

PURPOSE. Insomnia is one of the most common symptoms seen in both primary and psychiatric care. Sleep hypnotics and benzodiazepines are the drugs of choice for insomnia but are not appropriate for all patients.

CONCLUSION. The sedating tricyclics, the serotonin-2A receptor antagonist/serotonin-reuptake inhibitor antidepressants, and the atypical antidepressants can improve sleep and return sleep architecture to its restorative function. The serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors and selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors, with the possible exception of escitalopram, derange sleep architecture and decrease restorative sleep.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS. Although most antidepressants cause sedation, not all antidepressants are equal in their effects on producing restorative sleep.


First Published Tuesday, 30 June 2009

London phone boxes,OCD

A Pilot Study of Telephone Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Young People

Turner C, Heyman I, Futh A, Lovell K.

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, and Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, UK; Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, UK; University of Manchester, UK

Background: Cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT) is the recommended psychological treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in young people. Access to CBT may be limited by a number of factors, including lack of trained therapists, and geographic or financial factors preventing access to a specialized service. Telephone delivery of CBT represents one way of overcoming some of these accessibility issues. This pilot study describes outcomes for a telephone-based cognitive-behavioural treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in young people.

Method: Ten participants, aged 13 to 17 years, and their parents received up to 16 sessions of telephone CBT (TCBT). Measures of OCD symptoms were obtained using multiple informants and a repeated measures design. Assessments were conducted at pre-treatment, post-treatment, and at 6- and 12-month follow-up.

Results: Improvements were found for OCD symptoms across all informants. Family satisfaction with treatment over the telephone was high.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that TCBT is a clinically effective, feasible and acceptable means of service delivery that offers the potential to make CBT a more accessible treatment for young people. TCBT requires further evaluation in randomized, controlled trials to compare effectiveness with face-to-face CBT, which currently represents the usual care model.


First Published Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Canadian Mental Health Association

Women’s mental health hit hard by recession

Endless Rain


But many show resilience and resourcefulness in coping with stress

Dan Page & Hillarie Turner

More than two-thirds of American women interviewed for a survey released by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) say that the nation’s sagging economy has negatively affected their lives or the lives of their loved ones. The findings also indicate women may be neglecting their own needs while focusing on other concerns.

This two-pronged telephone survey examines the impact of the economic crisis on the mental well-being of women both nationally and in Clinton County, Ohio, where survey respondents report significantly higher levels of hardship amid deep job cuts by air freight giant DHL, which has devastated the local economy.

Women in the survey report sharp increases in stress, anxiety, frustration and other negative mental health indicators since the recession took hold last fall, with job loss pushing these increases even higher. And while more than three-quarters of these women report engaging in one or more positive coping strategies, most tend to prioritize family and other financial responsibilities ahead of their own needs – a tendency that can backfire despite the best of intentions.

Women will take care of their families before making sure they have what they need to stay healthy. If at all possible, they should avoid spending cuts on activities and resources that can help maintain their own health,” said APA President Nada L. Stotland, MD, M.P.H. “For instance, keep up the gym membership, even if it means you can’t give your kids the latest electronics. Take time to exercise and eat right. The bottom line is that taking care of your mental health is necessary to your ability to care for your family.

In this national telephone survey, women rank the ability to provide food, clothing and education for their families, relationships with family and friends, and personal finances such as mortgages and retirement savings, as more important than their own mental and physical health.

Losing a job or taking a wage cut creates an ongoing source of anxiety for families. Women are particularly affected because they are often juggling the stress of their workplace demands with those of running a household and keeping their families healthy,” Dr Stotland said. “While this survey focused on women, the answers we found can be indicative of the health and well-being of the entire family. The challenge for each of us is to find effective ways to cope with the stress caused by the economic crisis. Reaching out to a support network can help.

The APA conducted the survey as part of its “Healthy Minds. Healthy Lives.” campaign, which is designed to improve understanding of mental illnesses, psychiatry and successful treatment options, as well as to reduce the stigma sometimes associated with seeking mental health care.

While women across the country are greatly affected by these difficult times, the APA wanted to look at how the economic crisis was impacting communities more acutely affected by the stress and anxiety from job loss and wage cuts. Results from a telephone survey conducted in Clinton County, Ohio – where DHL’s cutbacks have eliminated more than 5,000 jobs in recent months, and the unemployment rate among the county’s roughly 43,000 residents to an estimated 10.5 percent in February – show that women in this hardhit community encounter greater levels of stress that seen in women nationally.

More than half of women in Clinton County say they are worried that they or a family member will lose a job in the near future compared with 40 percent nationally. And nearly two-thirds of women in Clinton County say the economy has had “a negative impact” on their mental health, versus just over half of women polled nationwide. Moreover, when compared with women nationally, the women of Clinton County are much more likely to be experiencing greater levels of stress (45% vs. 33%), frustration (38% vs. 27%), anxiety (34% vs. 24%), irritability (35% vs. 23%) and insomnia or oversleeping (29% vs. 20%). These feelings are natural, considering the reality of life in Clinton County: 30 percent of women in this hard-hit region say that wage cuts have affected their family, compared to 21 percent nationally. In addition, the incidence of job loss in the family is 9 percentage points higher in Clinton County than the national average.

Even if people are working, it’s emotionally draining to live with a constant fear of losing a job,” said Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association President, Joseph Locala, MD “To help get through these uncertain times, it’s important to find positive ways to cope – whether it’s spending time with friends and family, engaging in hobbies, exercising, or talking with a clergy member or mental health professional.

While women in communities across the country are facing the stresses brought on by the economic crisis, this survey demonstrates that women tend to be resilient and resourceful. More importantly, 76 percent of women polled nationally say they are participating in more positive activities than they were six months ago – including spending time with family or friends, praying or attending religious services, exercising, watching television, reading, or listening to music.

This survey also found that the majority of women view getting mental health care as a positive action. Eighty-five percent see the benefit in receiving support from a mental health professional for emotional or mental health concerns, and view it as a sign of strength. In addition, 80 percent of women are confident they could find mental health resources should they or family members require the services.

APA: tips for coping with stress of the economy (PDF)

Father’s mental health impacts on children, study finds


Children whose fathers suffer from mental illnesses are much more likely to grow up to develop anxiety, depression and even addictions to drink and drugs, a new study warns.

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2009

First Published Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Sunset on the Ohio River

By: Lauren Ludlow

A new organization on campus wants to change people’s perceptions about a
behavioral condition that is often characterized as a debilitating illness.

The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, co-chaired by Benzion Chinn, a Ph.D.
student in history, and Melanie Yergeau, a Ph.D. student in English, is
seeking to change misconceptions about autistic people.

Yergeau and Chinn formed the Ohio State chapter last winter, but had been
trying to get the organization off the ground since early fall. Both Yergeau
and Chinn have Asperger’s syndrome, which is a considered a
“high-functioning” type of autism.

“Autism is a mental state where the person turns inward and does not engage
in the sort of social behavior expected of normal people,” Chinn said.
“Autism is a spectrum ranging from people who are incapable of doing the day
to day tasks needed to care for themselves to people who are fully
functional, but have difficulties in social interactions. “

A big difference between ASAN and similar organizations is that it is a

“We’re an alternative organization. We’re especially concerned with
self-advocacy and issues of representation, and issues of speaking for
versus speaking as or speaking with,” Yergeau said.

Perhaps the group’s biggest break from the norm of other autism
organizations is its anti-cure stance.

“This stance tends to scare a lot of people. They tend to misinterpret it as
anti-assistance, anti-accommodation, anti-services, anti-medicine, and so
forth. It’s not,” Yergeau said. “Any service that seeks to eradicate autism
from an individual is not an OK service in my book.”

Yergeau hopes the organization will be a source of information for students
and faculty alike.

“We really want to start a dialogue, complicate people’s views of what
autism is, of who autistics are,” Yergeau said.

ASAN’s first meeting will be at 5:45 p.m. Thursday at at Barnes and Noble in
the South Campus Gateway. Students, faculty and community members are
welcome to attend.

Jason Cocca can be reached at ludlow.9@osu. edu. © Copyright 2009 The

ASAN: http://www.autistic advocacy. orgASAN-OSU:
http://asancentralo hio.blogspot. com/


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

———— ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— –
Take a look at our innovative new Public Service Announcement produced with
the Dan Marino Foundation at http://www.nomyths. org

If you like what we do, help support the Autistic Self Advocacy Network by
making a donation at:
https://www. change.org/ donation/ create?charity_ id=211198

First Published Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Close Your Eyes & Sleep ...

By Elvira G. Aletta, Ph.D.
May 5, 2009

With everything that’s going on these days from recession worries to epidemic scares, it’s not surprising a lot of people are reporting sleep problems. Sleep is essential to our health generally, our sanity in particular. Interrogators know, if you want to break someone down, deprive them of sleep. I didn’t appreciate how important sleep was until I became sleep deprived myself about six years ago. The anxiety that fed my insomnia that fed my anxiety was driving me crazy and drove me, literally, to my doctor’s office. Surely something was very wrong with my thyroid or maybe I had a brain tumor.

After a complete workup that took two days and many little tubes of blood I met with my medical specialist, an endrocrinologist. With unforgettable kindness he asked what was going on in my life. As I ticked off about five pretty high stress events, I could see where he was going with this, and I didn’t like it. He said, “Well, that would do it for me!” So the good news was my brain and thyroid were fine, the not so good news…it was all in my head.

No, it couldn’t be! I was a psychologist for God’s sake! Wouldn’t I know if stress was making me sick? Turns out, if you are overwhelmed, even if you are a qualified mental health professional, you are often the last to know. A humbling lesson; it was the old frog in the pot syndrome.

ANYWAY… For a couple of weeks I took a sleep medication to get my sleep back on track. Then I got a crash course on sleep hygiene, learned how to breathe to calm down my anxiety and took a serious look at what I could change in my life to allow a better balance. These are lessons I learn over and over again and now pass on to my clients. For really serious sleep troubles I use cognitive behavioral therapy, the best non-medication treatment for insomnia. It does wonders.

Here are a few quick tips to improve the quality of your sleep:

– Only use your bed for sleep, sex and reading really easy stuff; no TV!
– Create a soothing bedroom that engages all five senses.
– After the sun sets keep lights low, mimicking a camp fire.
– Have a before-bedtime ritual, such as washing up, putting on pajamas, stretching, prayers, light reading, lights out.
– Go to bed and get up at the same time (within half an hour) every day.
– Exercise but not within four hours of bedtime.
– Remember to breathe!

Recommended Reading… A Good Night’s Sleep, by a couple of smart guys at Harvard Medical School.

Source:   http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/05/05/sleep-and-your-sanity/

First Published Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Seeing one person be rude to another can stunt a person’s creativity, impair their mental performance and make them less likely to be civil themselves. Christine Porath and Amir Erez, who made this finding, say it has profound implications for the workplace, where rudeness has been described by some as a modern epidemic.

Across three studies, Porath and Erez recruited undergrad students to take part in what they were led to believe was an investigation into personality and task performance. Porath and Erez contrived situations in their lab so that the student participants witnessed either a researcher be rude to a student for turning up late, or one student be rude to another student for taking so long over a consent form.

Witnessing an act of rudeness, whether committed by a researcher or student, led the participants to solve fewer anagrams, come up with fewer uses for a brick (and to come up with more aggressive uses!), made them less likely to offer to participate in another study, and lowered their mood.

A third study showed that the harmful effects of witnessing rudeness were greater when students were enrolled in a collaborative group task, compared with when they were enrolled in a competitive group task where they had something to gain from the rudeness victim’s ordeal. Although the harmful effects were lower in the competitive scenario, they were still present.

Porath and Erez said this is the first study to their knowledge that has investigated the direct effects of merely witnessing rudeness as opposed to being the target of rudeness. Future research is needed to explore the mechanisms by which witnessing rudeness leads to the harmful outcomes reported here.

“The conclusion that rudeness may not be contained within the instigator-target dyad and that it affects performance is theoretically and practically significant because it implies that the organisational functioning and climate could be affected by isolated rude incidents,” the researchers said.

Porath, C., & Erez, A. (2009). Overlooked but not untouched: How rudeness reduces onlookers’ performance on routine and creative tasks Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 109 (1), 29-44 DOI: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2009.01.003

First Published Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Online programs developed to treat social phobia can be as effective as face-to-face contact with a therapist, reports Lynnette Hoffman

ONE moment Stewart Coad was proposing to a woman at the Eiffel Tower during a holiday in Paris.

The next he was homeless and living out of his car. Coad, 58, blames his riches-to-rags story — the loss of his once-successful telecommunications business and two failed marriages — on something he has been battling most of his life: social phobia.

Social phobia is an anxiety disorder characterised by an intense fear of being judged, criticised or embarrassed in social or performance situations.


First Published Tuesday, 5 May 2009

*In Majority of Cases, Parents Had Not Consented, Schools Did Not Provide
Comprehensive Positive Behavioral Intervention Plans*

*May 5, 2009*

The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc. (COPAA) today released a
report asking Congress to stop the use of restraints, seclusion, and
aversives upon children with disabilities in school.  The report
entitled, Unsafe in the Schoolhouse: Abuse of Children with Disabilities, details 143
incidents of the use of abusive interventions against children with
disabilities in school.  The report also includes suggested legislative

The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) is a national
nonprofit organization of parents, advocates, and attorneys who work to
protect the civil rights of children with disabilities and ensure that they
receive appropriate educational services.  We have over 1200 members in 47
states and the District of Columbia.  Our members see the successes and
failures of special education through thousands of eyes, every day of every

No child should be subject to abuse in the guise of education.  Every
child’s dignity and human rights must be respected.  Abusive interventions
are neither educational nor effective.  They are dangerous and unjust.
Congress should act swiftly to adopt national legislation to protect
children with disabilities.  Thirty miles and a state border should not
determine whether a child receives comprehensive protection or little

In March-April 2009, we conducted a survey that identified 143 cases in
which children were subjected to aversive interventions.  We received
reports of children subject to prone restraints; injured by larger adults
who restrained them; tied, taped and trapped in chairs and equipment; forced
into locked seclusion rooms; made to endure pain, humiliation and deprived
of basic necessities, and subjected to a variety of other abusive
techniques.  The most recent report involved events revealed only in the
last month:  a father learned that his 8 year old son was restrained 60
times over a 9-10 month period.

Of the survey respondents, 71% had not consented to the use of aversive
interventions; 16% had, but many believed the interventions would only be
used in limited circumstances where there was an imminent threat of injury.
Moreover, 71% reported that the children in involved did not have a
research-based positive behavioral intervention plans; 10% did (but the
parents often said that the plan was not followed).  84% of children
restrained were under 14 years of age, with 53% aged 6-10.

The use of abusive interventions primarily occurred in segregated
disability-only classrooms or in private seclusion rooms, away from the eyes
of witnesses, with only 26% of the respondents reporting incidents in the
regular classroom.  Almost every disability category was represented:
Autism/Asperger’s Syndrome (cited by 68% of the survey respondents),
ADD/ADHD (27%); Developmental Delay, Emotional Disturbance, Intellectual
Disability and Speech/Language Impairment (14%-20% of respondents); Specific
Learning Disabilities (11%), and others.  Many parents also indicated that
their children had Down Syndrome, epilepsy, Tourette Syndrome and other
specific conditions.

Among the incidents of abuse reported to COPAA are these:

·        A 9 year old boy with autism in Tennessee was restrained face-down
in his school’s isolation room for four hours.  One adult was across his
torso and another across his legs, even though he weighed only 52 pounds.
His mother was denied access to him, as she heard him scream and cry.  He
received bruises and marks all over his body from the restraints.  He was
released to his mother only after she presented a due process hearing notice
under the IDEA.

·        The teacher of a 15 year old Californian with Down Syndrome
reported to his parents that he had been confined inside a closet with an
aide as in-school suspension.  The teacher was concerned about the
confinement and believed it to be wrong.  Although the child had a
behavioral intervention plan, the school district did not follow it.  He was
in the closet all day.  He was only allowed out to go to the bathroom,
causing extreme humiliation as he walked in front of his classmates.

·        An 11 year old South Carolinian girl was being restrained with
beanbags on the floor, and the school attempted to use a straightjacket
restraint on her.  As a result of advocacy by her attorneys, the restraints
were terminated.  Her curriculum was changed to be more age appropriate
because her behaviors appeared to result from being bored with curriculum.
A new crisis plan was put into place to avoid restraint: if the student
became aggressive toward staff, the staff would break away from the student
and briefly leave the classroom. Using this plan, the child quickly calmed
down and went to her desk area.  Previously, the school district had
requested that the parent take the child home early on regular basis;
parents report this has not happened for the last 2 months.  With the new
behavioral plan, the child has made substantial progress in school.

The report includes a summary of all 143 incidents.

COPAA applauds the school teachers, personnel, administrators, and education
leaders who join us in rejecting the use of restraints, seclusion, and
aversives and in providing Positive Behavioral Supports (PBS).  At the same
time, we stress the importance of adopting effective laws to keep children
safe.  These include mandatory PBS, statutory prohibitions on the use of
restraints, seclusion, and aversives, and strong enforcement mechanisms to
hold school district accountable for violations.

Congress should act immediately to ban prone and mechanical restraints, all
restraints that interfere with breathing, locked seclusion rooms, and the
application of painful aversives.  In addition, physical restraint may only
be permitted when there is an imminent threat of serious injury to self or
others.  School districts and their personnel must be held accountable for
any violations of the law, and parents must have all legal remedies to
pursue justice.  All children must receive comprehensive positive behavioral
intervention plans, and schools must provide training on PBS, the harms of
aversive interventions, and the applicable legal requirements.  Schools must
also monitor and report the number of aversive interventions.  The public
policy recommendations are discussed in greater detail in the full report.

The full report, including the 143 incidents of abusive interventions in
school and COPAA’s legislative recommendations, is available on COPAA’s
website, http://www.copaa.org/news/unsafe.html.

We salute all organizations, parents, advocates, and professionals who have
long worked to combat the use of aversive interventions.  In particular, we
wish to recognize the members of The Alliance to Prevent Restraint, Aversive
Interventions and Seclusion  (APRAIS), to which COPAA belongs.  We thank
every person who reported an incident of abuse to COPAA and we thank
everyone who publicized the survey; it is your work that made this
possible.  Special thanks to COPAA members Doug Loeffler, Diane Willcutts,
Becca Devine, and Kathleen Loyer for helping summarize the 143 incident
reports, Marcie Lipsitt for proofreading, and to Bob Berlow, Leslie Seid
Margolis, Judith Gran, and Denise Marshall for their analytical assistance
in reviewing drafts of the report.

–Jessica Butler

Government Relations Co-Chair (Congressional Affairs)

Council of Parent Attorneys & Advocates, Inc. (COPAA)



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

Take a look at our innovative new Public Service Announcement produced with
the Dan Marino Foundation at http://www.nomyths.org

If you like what we do, help support the Autistic Self Advocacy Network by
making a donation at:

First Published Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Picturehouse Cinemas held a series of autism-friendly screenings at their sites around the country between January and March 2009. These proved so popular with families that more screenings have now been organised.

These screenings, arranged in partnership with The National Autistic Society (NAS), are designed for people on the autism spectrum, their families, friends and carers. During the film, low lights are left on inside the auditorium and the volume of the soundtrack is reduced. Cinemagoers are free to move around, make a noise or take a break during the film if they need to – these are activities not usually encouraged at regular screenings.

The cinema is often not a place that is easily accessible for families affected by autism. These screenings aim to make families feel welcome, comfortable and relaxed in an environment that can otherwise seem traumatic, enjoying a film with other families who experience similar issues.

Mark Allenby, from Picturehouse Cinemas, said:

“Autism-friendly screenings have proved to be a huge success, with regular events attracting diverse audiences to our venues. I am delighted to now be able to extend a warm welcome to members of communities up and down the country who might otherwise feel excluded from the cinema experience.”

Download the PDF document below for the latest screening schedule. We are still awaiting details from a few cinemas so please check back if your nearest autism-friendly screening is yet to be confirmed. Alternatively, email kevin.croasdale@nas.org.uk who will be able to give you up-to-date information on the screenings.

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