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Archive for May 11th, 2011

 

Editor’s Choice
Academic Journal
Main Category: Genetics


Article Date: 07 May 2011 – 1:00 PDT


A gene which regulates the movement of serotonin in the brain has been labeled the “happiness gene” by researchers from the London School of Economics and reported in the Journal of Human Genetics. This is the first study to demonstrate a direct link between an individual’s happiness and a specific genetic condition. The researchers measured people’s satisfaction with life to define happiness.


Behavioral economist Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, and team gathered genetic information from over 2,500 individuals in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. They focused on which functional variant of the 5-HTT gene the participants possessed.


Read in Full: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/224536.php




 

By Therese J. Borchard
Associate Editor


Public speaking is the king of phobias. That’s according to Taylor Clark, author of the insightful book, Nerve. He writes:


According to a 2001 poll, more than 40 percent of Americans confess to a dread of appearing before spectators. (In some surveys, fear of public speaking even outranks fear of death, a fact that inspired Jerry Seinfeld’s famous observation that at a funeral, this means the average person would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.)


To get to the solution of this phobia — which can help us with all our other phobias — Clark tells the story of cellist Zoe Keating. Today her music is featured everywhere from National Public Radio to film scores to European ballets. Clark attended one of her performances and comments, “Keating seemed entirely oblivious to the hundreds of eyes watching her. She played as though she were in the midst of a dream, eyes closed, swaying languidly with her cello, utterly immersed in her performance.”


But it was a long way getting there.


Her process is intriguing and insightful for anyone trying to get over a severe case of jitters, or any phobia for that matter. Clark explains Keating’s starting point:


Stage nerves first hit Keating when she was fifteen years old—right when music becomes a brutally competitive dogfight for serious young orchestra musicians—and from that point on, each public performance felt like a battle for psychological survival.


Keating received nothing but bad advice, which is often the case when you are dealing with something psychological. Friends and mentors told her to practice more. If she was comfortable enough with her piece, then she wouldn’t feel nervous. Practicing, however, did little to alleviate her anxiety.


Here’s where Keating’s story takes a fascinating turn.


Read More …

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/05/10/conquering-performance-anxiety-a-primer-for-all-phobias/



Article Date: 06 May 2011 – 8:00 PDT


Imagine going in for dental surgery with an Oregon accent, and coming out with a mixture of Northern British, Scottish, Irish and a hint of Eastern European. This is what happened to Karen Butler, 56. She woke up from anesthesia sounding like somebody from the British Isles.


After undergoing several tests, experts say she has “foreign accent syndrome”, an extremely uncommon neurological disorder – only 60 cases have been identified since 1941.


Butler, of Toledo, Oregon, underwent the dental procedure 18 months ago. When she started speaking after the procedure she said “I sounded more like I was from Transylvania.”


As foreign accent syndrome is only present when the patient has suffered a stroke or some kind of brain damage, doctors are bewildered.


When interviewed in Meredith Viera’s TV “Today” show, Butler explained that doctors had told her she is physically fine. She has no vision problems, her motor skills are functioning properly, and she has no signs and symptoms of brain damage or stroke.


Experts believe Butler’s condition will gradually fade, and her original accent will come back.


According to Butler, her new condition is a source of fun and enjoyment for her and her husband, and feels like a new toy.


Read in Full:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/224512.php



ScienceDaily (May 9, 2011) — Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in South Korea affect an estimated 2.64% of the population of school-age children, equivalent to 1 in 38 children, according to the first comprehensive study of autism prevalence using a total population sample. The study — conducted by Young-Shin Kim, M.D., of the Yale Child Study Center and her colleagues in the U.S., Korea and Canada — identifies children not yet diagnosed and has the potential to increase autism spectrum disorder prevalence estimates worldwide.


ASDs are complex neurobiological disorders that inhibit a person’s ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and are often accompanied by behavioral challenges.


Published online in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the study reports on about 55,000 children ages 7 to 12 years in a South Korean community, including those enrolled in special education services and a disability registry, as well as children enrolled in general education schools. All children were systematically assessed using multiple clinical evaluations. This method unmasked cases that could have gone unnoticed. More than two-thirds of the ASD cases in the study were found in the mainstream school population, unrecognized and untreated.


The research team, including cultural anthropologist Roy Richard Grinker of George Washington University, took steps to mitigate potential cultural biases that could impact diagnostic practices and prevalence estimates. They also considered that more Korean children with ASD may be found in mainstream educational settings based on the design of the highly structured Korean educational system, which often includes 12-hour-long school days. Therefore Korean children with ASD may function at various levels in the Korean general population while not receiving special education services.


“While this study does not suggest that Koreans have more autism than any other population in the world, it does suggest that autism may be more common than previously thought,” said Grinker.


Read in Full:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110509065533.htm



Ari Ne'eman

 

Centre for Research in Autism and Education 2nd Annual Lecture


“The Education and Miseducation of Autistic Students”


Ari Ne’eman


Tuesday 31st May 2011


4:45pm for 5:00pm start


Free to attend. All welcome. To book a place, please email Liz: l.pellicano@ioe.ac.uk

The Drama Studio, Institute of Education, University of London,


20 Bedford Way, London, WC1H 0AL


 

Ari Ne’eman is the Founding President of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, where he initiates and directs efforts to increase the representation of autistic individuals in public policy discussions. He is an adult on the autism spectrum and a leading advocate in the neurodiversity movement, frequently briefing policymakers and speaking publicly on disability and autism policy issues. In 2009, President Obama nominated Ari to the National Council on Disability, a federal agency charged with advising Congress and the President on disability policy issues. He was confirmed by the US Senate in July 2010. In April 2010, he was appointed by Secretary Sebelius as a public member to the US’s Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, a Federal advisory committee that coordinates all efforts within the Department of Health and Human Services concerning autism.


 

Appointed by Governor Jon Corzine, Ari served as Vice Chair of the New Jersey Adults with Autism Task Force, where he represented autistic adults in reviewing the state’s autism services. He also previously served on the New Jersey Special Education Review Commission, where he authored a minority report on the topic of aversives, restraint and seclusion. In 2008, Ari served as the first ever Patricia Morrissey Disability Policy Fellow at the Institute for Educational Leadership. That year, he also received the HSC Foundation “Advocates in Disability” Award, and in 2009, he received the Expanding Horizons Award from United Cerebral Palsy. He is also a board member of TASH, an advocacy organization focusing on advancing social justice for people with significant disabilities. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, where he studied political science in the Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program.


Source: http://www.talkaboutautism.org.uk/discussion-forums/autism/events/7478



May 9, 2011 12:21 PM

Posted by Ryan Jaslow

 

(CBS) Autistic kids can’t succeed at college? Try telling that to the many colleges and universities that have recently established special programs to help students with Asperger syndrome and other autism spectrum disorders.


More than a dozen colleges in the U.S. now have such programs, according to College Autism Spectrum.


“Colleges are seeing more people with autism spectrum disorders, the kinds of people who, in the past, wouldn’t have gone on to college,” Felicia Hurewitz, director of the autism support program at Drexel University, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We have a lot of diversity. Neurodiversity is the newest.”


Where else are asperger support programs being offered? Rutgers offers students with autism spectrum disorders special faculty support and other accommodations, including the ability to live in a single room, according to Rutgers’ Focus magazine. And at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa., autistic students have access to weekly group counseling sessions and graduate-student mentors who share quiet meals.


“It’s a monumental thing to be graduating from college with this disorder. I learned to never give up on myself, Jon Dorfman, a 22-year-old senior with Asperger syndrome at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, told the Inquirer.


Read in Full: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20061046-10391704.html#



Amoako Buachie, 20, a Flatbush artist with autism, has flourished since changing to PS 370 in Brighton Beach and getting help from art teacher Audrey Lacy and principal Susan Goldberg.

Nicholas Fevelo for News
Amoako Buachie, 20, a Flatbush artist with autism, has flourished since changing to PS 370 in Brighton Beach and getting help from art teacher Audrey Lacy and principal Susan Goldberg.

Tuesday, May 10th 2011, 1:37 PM


Just two years ago, autistic artist Amoako Buachie could barely control his temper, breaking out into screaming fits that were so loud neighbors called the cops.


But with the help of teachers – and after being featured in the Daily News – the 20-year-old savant from Flatbush is now working at top Manhattan studios and displaying his creations in some of the city’s best art museums.


“The change is incredible; he is happy,” said Buachie’s mom, Akosua Mainu, 48. “He’s not making the noise he used to – before it was almost every night but now he’s more alert and he’s watching ‘The Cosby Show‘ and laughing.”


Buachie – who paints with acrylics and sketches his own cartoon characters – is displaying his creations in the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the second time in two years this month.


Last month, he drew a piece that was featured in the Lincoln Center production of “Where The Wild Things Are.”


“I’ve learned a lot,” said Buachie, who hopes one day to work as a cartoonist for Warner Bros. “I like [art] a lot. It makes me happy.”


After Buachie was featured in The News two years ago, his mom was able to transfer him out of Wingate High School where he wasn’t getting attention – and into Public School 370, a school for kids with special needs in Brighton Beach.


PS 370 principal Susan Goldberg helped Buachie get involved with art programs in the city, put him on an art-focused academic track – and has seen his attitude and abilities dramatically improve ever since.


“At first he was very apprehensive to even try new things or want to be involved in the school,” said Goldberg. “Now he’s one of the kings here; he’s a mentor for other art classes…and has the responsibility of helping other kids learn.”


Since January, Buachie has been learning new techniques and working with professional artists with disabilities at the Pure Vision Arts studio and gallery on W. 17th St. in Manhattan – a gig Goldberg helped coordinate.


“He can basically draw or paint anything he wants to and he doesn’t look at any reference material,” said Pure Vision Arts director Pam Rogers, who is helping Buachie on a current acrylic painting of the Manhattan skyline.


“Here he is part of a whole group of people on the autism spectrum who all have the same thing in common: They love art and it is one of their sole endeavors in life.”


With Goldberg’s help, Buachie now spends Sundays at the Chelsea studio of the Rush Philanthropic Art Foundation, which helped display his work at Lincoln Center.


Read in Full:

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/brooklyn/2011/05/10/2011-05-10_personal_renaissance_lifechanging_help_for_artist.html


Related Article


“Artwork of Autistic Student Hung In Metropolitan Museum of Art”

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/01/22/artwork-of-autistic-student-hung-in-metropolitan-museum-of-art/