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Do you believe that people with disabilities should have the right to make decisions about our own services? To choose with whom and where we live? To be able to invite visitors home and make our own decisions about how to spend our day, decorate our homes and what kinds of services we want and don’t want? Today, you have an opportunity to make these rules law! 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the government agency that funds most disability service provision in the United States, has put forward a regulation that would set out requirements for how service providers receiving Home and Community Based Services funding can behave. CMS has proposed a wide variety of crucial protections, such as protecting people with disabilities from eviction from our homes due to refusing a particular service or treatment, requiring that community providers must respect the choice and autonomy of the people they support and many other important protections that will empower people with disabilities in interactions with their service providers.


But these regulations are facing severe opposition from many in the provider industry that believe that people with disabilities are “too disabled” to make these choices for ourselves. We have till this Monday to make our voices heard, before the CMS Public Comment period closes for good! Follow these simple instructions to make sure you’re represented:

  1. 1.  Go to Regulations.gov. Search for CMS-2249-P2.
  2. 2.  Click on the first result. A direct link can be found here.
  3. 3.  Take a look at the regulation and click Comment Now! to share your thoughts (NOTE: the regulation text states June 4th as the deadline for comment – it has since been extended to July 2nd). 
  4. 4.  Take a look at the ASAN public comment for ideas – feel free to copy any points that resonate with you. Here are a few points you may want to consider including:

  • *CMS should incorporate within the Final Rule a requirement that receipt of any particular service or support cannot be a condition for living in a unit.

  • *CMS should require that any modification to the conditions placed upon provider-controlled or owned residential settings be supported by a specific assessed need documented in the person’s person centered plan and should limit the acceptable scope of any modifications to the requirements placed on providers owning or controlling residential settings.

  • *CMS should shift from a rebuttable presumption of non-compliance with the HCBS program “for any setting that is located in a building that is also a publicly or privately operated facility that provides inpatient institutional treatment, or in a building on the grounds of, or immediately adjacent to, a public institution, or disability-specific housing complex” to an unequivocal requirement that said settings are not acceptable under HCBS funding authorities.

This is a critical opportunity for our community to be heard on a vital civil rights issue – but time is running out! Please help spread the word and make sure that you weigh in today to protect our rights. As always, Nothing About Us, Without Us!

 

Regards,
Ari Ne’eman
Autistic Self Advocacy Network



Alan Turing and bullying

A geek – and a genius. Alan Turing’s reading matter marked him out at school and university. Cartoon courtesy of the Turing Centenary Year

S.Barry Cooper

Wednesday 20 June 2012 11.26 EDT


Celebrations of Alan Turing’s life and work reach a peak this week with the centenary of his birth. The chair of the project, Professor S.Barry Cooper, continues his series for the Guardian Northerner with insights on the torment which the bright but unusual can still suffer at school


John Turing talks in the family’s reminscences about his younger brother Alan, recalling how the future computer genius was noted for:

bad reports, slovenly habits and unconventional behaviour

The ‘neurotypical’ John says that neither he nor his parents “had the faintest idea that this tiresome, eccentric and obstinate small boy was a budding genius.”


It is still very common for geekishly irritating little boys and girls to suffer misunderstanding and routine bullying at school. Nowadays Alan would probably have been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.


Later, according to brother John:

Alan was first class at beating the system. He refused to work at anything except his precious maths and science, but he had an incredible aptitude for examinations, aided by last minute swotting.

As Turing’s centenary on Saturday 23 June approaches, all over the world people are celebrating the centenary of this odd and strangely inspiring British genius: the man who imagined the stored program computer before it was built, and who helped revolutionise our world with his thinking about the computer’s capabilities.


His visionary ambition led him to say in 1944: “I am building a brain.” Our continuing adventure with robots and artificial intelligence started with Turing.


But, as we honour the legacy of this great and enigmatic scientist, let’s spare a thought for today’s young geeks. There are so many schoolkids out there on the autistic/aspergers spectrum who could benefit from knowing more about Turing and his iconic achievements. I was invited to talk about Turing’s ideas to an audience of 300 high-school students in Beijing in May. It was an inspiring and moving experience.


“Will there be robots?” asked one bright spark before I started (yes, there were). Afterwards, I spotted one small lad in the cluster of questioners around me, and asked “how old are you?” When he replied “13”, I couldn’t help commenting: “But you can’t have understood much.” He looked fiercely serious and retorted “I understood everything!!”. Maybe another little Turing in the making, I thought, somewhat abashed.


Throughout his adult life, Alan Turing was befriended and protected by Professor Max Newman and his family. An Italian correspondent reminded me of this description of Alan, after his tragic death in Manchester, by Newman’s wife Lyn:

He was a strange man, who never felt at ease in any place. His efforts, mostly occasional indeed, to look like he felt a part of the middle upper class circles which he naturally belonged to, were clumsy. He randomly adopted some conventions of his class, but rejected with no regret and hesitation most of their habits and ideas. And unfortunately the academic world’s customs, which could have sheltered him, disconcerted and deeply bored him.

Lyn is remembering how much our country owed Turing, his role at Bletchley Park during the war, and how his last two years of life were made a misery by the British state which he had served so well. A while back I came on a response to Turing being “under-appreciated in his own time”. It was beautifully expressed (I Tweeted it and it is now all over the web):


In 2002, an American study found that 94% of school students with Asperger’s syndrome faced torment from their peers and commented:

Some of their behaviors and characteristics that others see as ‘different’ make these children easy targets for frequent and severe bullying.Having Asperger’s Syndrome means these children are part of a vulnerable population and are easy targets.

Read in Full:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/the-northerner/2012/jun/20/alan-turing-geeks




Over the last few months, our fight against the Judge Rotenberg Center has heated up. The JRC, the only facility in the country to use contingent electric shock as a means of “treatment” of disabled children and adults, has been increasingly spotlighted in the news both locally and nationally. Public attention has grown due to Cheryl McCollins’s lawsuit on behalf of her son Andre, who in 2002 received over 31 shocks while restrained facedown for refusing to remove his jacket.


Yet for over twenty years, the Massachusetts legislature has failed to enact laws that would ban the use of electric shock as a “treatment” for developmental disabilities and behavioral challenges. The closest Massachusetts has come to restricting the use of electric shock was through Department of Developmental Services regulations implemented last year that prohibit shocks for any new students, but codify their use for students already receiving the shocks. It’s a step in the right direction, but we know it doesn’t go far enough.


This year, the Massachusetts legislature now has another opportunity to close the JRC for good. Senator Brian Joyce, whose district includes the JRC, has attached an amendment to the Massachusetts Senate budget that, if passed, would codify a complete ban on aversives – torture in the name of treatment. The State Senate passed Amendment #548, which bans all use of contingent electric shock and other aversives, but the Senate version of the budget has been passed to a Conference Committee that must reconcile differences between the Senate’s and House’s versions of a final budget.


A protest of the JRC last week in Massachusetts drew nearly one hundred supporters in the pouring rain, followed shortly thereafter by an ASAN joint letter to the Conference Committee carried thirty signatories from local and national disability, human rights, and youth empowerment organizations. It is critical to urge the Conference Committee members to pass Amendment #548. The JRC has already been lobbying throughout the Massachusetts Legislature in another attempt to stop any measure that would end their practice of abuse and torture, and it is imperative that the voices of those who support a future for people with disabilities free of these barbaric practices be heard.


Sign our petition to the members of the Conference Committee urging them to pass Amendment #548. Massachusetts has an opportunity to remove the shadow of the JRC from its reputation and to take an important step forward in supporting equal rights for all people, but your voices must be heard!


Stop the torture of Disabled People!




By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
Associate Editor


Inspiration is everywhere — from the words of your favorite writer to the blooms and leaves on your morning walk. You just need to open your eyes, and breathe it in.


Sometimes it helps to talk to others who are creative to get ideas about what gets their creativity juices flowing.


Here, 10 creative people share the various things that inspire their beautiful works.


Breanna Radermacher is a print and web designer in the Minneapolis area.

As a designer, I find myself planted in front of a computer screen for long hours at a time; it’s a part of my job, after all. While it’s easy to say that I find loads of inspiration through visual blogs and social media websites like Pinterest (which I do), the truth is that I’m most inspired by stepping away from the screen.

Whether I’m going for a walk around town or road-tripping across the states, it’s always a breath of fresh air. Intriguing and different. Inspiration, truly, is everywhere. You just need to open your eyes a little bit to see it all around you.

 

Melissa Tydell is a Chicago-based freelance writer.

It sometimes feels so innate, so natural to me as a writer, and I think I find inspiration in many places and spaces…Reading other people’s writing gets my imagination working.

I do some of my best thinking when I can’t sleep in the middle of the night or when I’m away from my computer; in those quiet moments, I sometimes practically “write” an entire piece in my head before I actually sit down to type it out.  But in thinking more about your question…

I find inspiration in the everyday.  I am fascinated by relationships of all types–happy ones, complicated ones, unusual ones.  Through writing, I often attempt to dissect the meaning behind something that has happened or to describe a particular feeling or emotion.

I enjoy the challenge of communicating what we each experience in our everyday lives, bringing those unique moments to life through words and sentences.

And what is really wonderful about writing is that I can pass on that inspiration; if I can clearly communicate some aspect of life, if I can inform or entertain the people who read my writing, I may also have the opportunity to inspire them as well.

Read More …

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/06/03/10-creative-people-share-what-inspires-them/



 


By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
Associate Editor


Whenever a teacher would say, “Today, we’re working in groups,” I could feel the dread bubbling in my stomach. For the most part I’ve always preferred working alone, digesting the assignment and slowly making sense of my thoughts.


I also rarely raised my hand in class until I mulled over my response in my mind (over and over). And even then, there were many times I stayed quiet, hands at my sides.


Today, while I love being out and about, I prefer quieter places and I’m happy to stay home with a good book (or two). I love interacting with people, but I have my limits, especially in noisy environments. None of the people who know me would ever describe me as a risk-taker, fierce competitor, quick decision-maker or multitasker. And I’m a much better writer than I am a speaker.


In other words, I’m an introvert.

 

But I didn’t really realize this or appreciate it fully until I read Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Cain is a former corporate attorney and an introvert.


And her book is an absolute must-read. It’s beautifully written and packed with sound – and often surprising – science and stories. If you’re an introvert, it provides you with a deeper understanding of yourself.


Read in Full:

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/06/08/the-power-of-introverts-qa-with-susan-cain/

 



 


Ketamine Relieves Bipolar Depression, Suicidal Thoughts in Less Than an Hour


By Traci Pedersen Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on May 31, 2012


Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), led by Dr. Carlos Zarate, recently found that a single dose of ketamine could rapidly relieve depression in patients with bipolar disorder.


They have now replicated these results in a new study of depressed patients who also have bipolar disorder, this time “blinding” the study by giving some subjects a placebo. Replication is a vital part of the scientific method, as it helps ensure that the first results weren’t accidental.


Bipolar disorder is a serious and debilitating condition in which sufferers experience severe mood swings ranging from mania to depression. The time periods of low or high moods can last for days or months, and the risk of suicide is high.


Antidepressants are often prescribed for bipolar disorder, but they are not universally effective. Many patients continue to suffer through episodes of depression even while on medication, and many individuals must try several different types of antidepressants before finding one that is effective.


In addition, sometimes it takes several weeks before a patient begins to feel relief from the drug’s effects. Because of this, better treatments for depression are desperately needed.


Read in Full:

http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/05/31/ketamine-relieves-bipolar-depression-suicidal-thoughts-in-less-than-an-hour/39472.html

 


Was Freud Right About Depression and Guilt?


By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on June 6, 2012


New brain imaging research suggests Sigmund Freud was correct that depression can result from exaggerated expressions of guilt and self-blame.


In a study, scientists have shown that the brains of people with depression respond differently to feelings of guilt – even after their symptoms have subsided.


Researchers found that the brain scans of people with a history of depression differed in the regions associated with guilt and knowledge of socially acceptable behavior from individuals who never get depressed.


The University of Manchester study is published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry.


The hard evidence displayed by functional magnetic imaging (fMRI) is one of the first to show how the brain responds among people with a diagnosis of depression.


Read in Full:

http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/06/06/was-freud-right-about-depression-and-guilt/39751.html


Making Decisions When Depressed


John Folk-Williams Updated: Jun 1st 2012


I experience depression in various forms, yet each in its own way knocks out the decision control center in my mind. At times, I scramble in anxiety and can’t focus enough to pick out one among many possibilities. At other times, I don’t care about choosing – or anything else for that matter – and I let the alternatives fall where they may. Or I make all kinds of decisions, even life changing ones, but none of them seems like a choice. Each one is do-or-die. If I fail to do it, I’ll go right over the edge.


Varieties of Indecision


Depression isn’t one thing but a series of moods along a continuum from mild to severe. I used to move regularly with this perverse flow toward desperation. At the mild end, I might wake up knowing that something is wrong, feeling at once that everything is a bit off. I want and need to get a lot done, but I’ve lost my sense of where to begin and what’s most important. Then I get anxious.


There’s a steady snowfall of tasks, floating free of deadlines and priorities. I feel the anxiety and tension about getting them all done, so I pick one out of the air – yes, I’ve got to do that! Then I realize after a few minutes of continuing worry that I’ve got to do that other one in a hurry too. So I grab that and start working. And then another and another. It’s like picking snow flakes out of the air, each melting at once, a drop of moisture in my hand. I’ve got to get everything done, but I’m going crazy because I can’t grab hold of anything.


Read in Full:

http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=47325&cn=5


Effectiveness of Telephone-Administered Vs. Face-To-Face Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression Compared


ScienceDaily (June 5, 2012) — Patients with major depression who received telephone-administered cognitive behavioral therapy (T-CBT) had lower rates of discontinuing treatment compared to patients who received face-to-face CBT, and telephone administered treatment was not inferior to face-to-face treatment in terms of improvement in symptoms by the end of treatment; however, at 6-month follow-up, patients receiving face-to-face CBT were less depressed than those receiving telephone administered CBT, according to a study in the June 6 issue of JAMA.


“Depression is common, with the 1-year prevalence rate of major depressive disorder estimated at between 6.6 percent and 10.3 percent in the general population and roughly 25 percent of all primary care visits involving patients with clinically significant levels of depression. Psychotherapy is effective at treating depression, and most primary care patients prefer psychotherapy to antidepressant medication. When referred for psychotherapy, however, only a small percentage of patients follow through.


Read in Full:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120605172013.htm


Post-Stroke Depression Linked to Functional Brain Impairment


ScienceDaily (June 5, 2012) — Researchers studying stroke patients have found a strong association between impairments in a network of the brain involved in emotional regulation and the severity of post-stroke depression. Results of the study are published online in the journal Radiology.


“A third of patients surviving a stroke experience post-stroke depression (PSD),” said lead researcher Igor Sibon, M.D., Ph.D., professor of neurology at the University of Bordeaux in Bordeaux, France. “However, studies have failed to identify a link between lesions in the brain caused by ischemia during a stroke and subsequent depression.”


Instead of looking for dysfunction in a specific area of the brain following a stroke, Dr. Sibon’s study was designed to assess a group of brain structures organized in a functional network called the default-mode network (DMN). Modifications of connectivity in the DMN, which is associated with internally generated thought processes, has been observed in depressive patients.


Read in Full:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120605075533.htm


Depression Treatment Can Prevent Adolescent Drug Abuse


ScienceDaily (June 4, 2012) — Treating adolescents for major depression can also reduce their chances of abusing drugs later on, a secondary benefit found in a five-year study of nearly 200 youths at 11 sites across the United States.


Only 10 percent of 192 adolescents whose depression receded after 12 weeks of treatment later abused drugs, compared to 25 percent of those for whom treatment did not work, according to research led by John Curry, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University.


“It turned out that whatever they responded to — cognitive behavioral therapy, Prozac, both treatments, or a placebo — if they did respond within 12 weeks they were less likely to develop a drug-use disorder,” Curry said.


The study found no such relationship when it came to thwarting alcohol abuse, however.


Read in Full:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120604155713.htm

 


Early Puberty Linked to Depression


By Traci Pedersen Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on June 4, 2012


Going through early puberty puts a child at greater risk for anxiety and depression later in adolescence, according to researchers at the University of Melbourne.


By studying magnetic resonance images of the brains of 155 adolescents (ages 12, 15, and 18), researchers discovered that participants who went through puberty earlier than their peers had a larger pituitary gland and were in turn more prone to depression in their later teen years.


The pituitary gland is the part of the brain that triggers puberty.


The lead researcher, Sarah Whittle, Ph.D., said the results indicate there may be a biological reason why children — especially girls — who go through early puberty are more likely to experience depression in young adulthood.


Previously, the ongoing theory suggested it was a largely social problem caused by being teased about early development.


Read in Full:

http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/06/04/early-puberty-linked-to-depression/39638.html




The Brains Of Anxious Girls Work Harder


Article Date: 07 Jun 2012 – 1:00 PDT


In a discovery that could help in the identification and treatment of anxiety disorders, Michigan State University scientists say the brains of anxious girls work much harder than those of boys.

 

The finding stems from an experiment in which college students performed a relatively simple task while their brain activity was measured by an electrode cap. Only girls who identified themselves as particularly anxious or big worriers recorded high brain activity when they made mistakes during the task.

 

Jason Moser, lead investigator on the project, said the findings may ultimately help mental health professionals determine which girls may be prone to anxiety problems such as obsessive compulsive disorder or generalized anxiety disorder.

 

“This may help predict the development of anxiety issues later in life for girls,” said Moser, assistant professor of psychology. “It’s one more piece of the puzzle for us to figure out why women in general have more anxiety disorders.”


Read in Full:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/246243.php

 


Stress Shown to Impact Brain Development


By Janice Wood Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on June 7, 2012


Stress may affect brain development in children, according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


The researchers note there has been a lot of work in animals linking stress to changes in the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in complex cognitive abilities.


“We have now found similar associations in humans, and found that more exposure to stress is related to more issues with certain kinds of cognitive processes,” said Jamie Hanson, a UW-Madison psychology graduate student.


Children who experienced more intense and lasting stressful events posted lower scores on tests of spatial working memory, the researchers said. The children had more trouble navigating tests of short-term memory, such as finding a token in a series of boxes, according to the study, which was published in the Journal of Neuroscience.


Read in Full:

http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/06/07/stress-shown-to-impact-brain-development/39824.html

 


Hunger Anxiety on the Rise Among U.S. Senior Citizens


By Traci Pedersen Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on June 3, 2012


The possibility of senior citizens in the U.S. not having enough to eat is a developing crisis that will probably lead to new public health challenges, says a University of Illinois economist who studies the effectiveness of food assistance programs on public health.


More than one in seven seniors faced the threat of hunger in 2010, according to research by Craig Gundersen, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics.


This is up significantly from 2005, when one in nine seniors went hungry.


“The Great Recession has caused extreme hardship on many families in the U.S., and senior citizens are no exception,” said Gundersen, who also is the executive director of the National Soybean Research Laboratory at Illinois.


“This report demonstrates that our seniors may face more challenges than initially thought.”


Read in Full:

http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/06/03/hunger-anxiety-on-the-rise-among-u-s-senior-citizens/39611.html




Marijuana Compound May Beat Antipsychotics at Treating Schizophrenia


By Traci Pedersen Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on June 7, 2012


A certain marijuana compound known as cannabidiol (CBD) can treat schizophrenia as well as antipsychotic drugs, with far fewer side effects, according to a preliminary clinical trial.


The research team, led by Markus Leweke of the University of Cologne in Germany, studied 39 people with schizophrenia who were hospitalized for a psychotic episode. Nineteen patients were treated with amisulpride, an antipsychotic medication that is not approved in the U.S., but is similar to other approved drugs.


The remaining 20 patients were given CBD, a substance found in marijuana that is considered responsible for the mellowing or anxiety-reducing effects. Unlike the main ingredient in marijuana, THC, which can trigger psychotic episodes and worsen schizophrenia, CBD has antipsychotic effects, according to prior research in both animals and humans.


Neither the patients nor the scientists knew who was receiving which drug. At the end of the four-week trial, both groups made significant clinical improvements in their schizophrenic symptoms, and there was no difference between those getting CBD or amisulpride.


“The results were amazing,” said Daniel Piomelli, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology at the University of California-Irvine and a co-author of the study. “Not only was [CBD] as effective as standard antipsychotics, but it was also essentially free of the typical side effects seen with antipsychotic drugs.”


Antipsychotic drugs may cause devastating and sometimes permanent movement disorders; they can also lower a patient’s motivation and pleasure. The new generation of these drugs can also lead to weight gain and increase the risk for diabetes. These side effects are well known as a major hindrance during treatment.


Read in Full:

http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/06/07/marijuana-compound-may-beat-antipsychotics-at-treating-schizophrenia/39803.html

 


An open-label, multicenter evaluation of the long-term safety and efficacy of risperidone in adolescents with schizophrenia


Gahan Pandina, Stuart Kushner, Keith Karcher and Magali Haas


Abstract (provisional)


Background


Data on the long-term efficacy, safety, and tolerability of risperidone in adolescents with schizophrenia are limited. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of maintenance risperidone treatment in adolescents with schizophrenia.


Methods


This open-label study of adolescents aged 13 to 17 years with schizophrenia was a single extension study of two short-term double-blind risperidone studies and also enrolled subjects directly in open-label risperidone treatment. The risperidone dose was flexible and ranged from 2 to 6 mg/day. Most subjects enrolled for 6 months; a subset enrolled for 12 months. Assessment tools included the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale total and factor scores, Clinical Global Impressions, Children’s Global Assessment Scale, adverse event (AE) monitoring, vital signs, laboratory testing, and extrapyramidal symptom rating scales.


Results


A total of 390 subjects were enrolled; 48 subjects had received placebo in a previous double-blind study; 292 subjects had received risperidone as part of their participation in one of two previous controlled studies; and 50 subjects were enrolled directly for this study. A total of 279 subjects enrolled for 6 months of treatment, and 111 subjects enrolled for 12 months of treatment. Overall, 264 (67.7%) subjects completed this study: 209 of the 279 subjects (75%) in the 6-month group and 55 of the 111 subjects (50%) in the 12-month group. The median mode dose was 3.8 mg/day. At 6 months, all three groups experienced improvement from open-label baseline in symptoms of schizophrenia as well as general assessments of global functioning. Improvements were generally maintained for the duration of treatment. The most common AEs ([greater than or equal to]10% of subjects) were somnolence, headache, weight increase, hypertonia, insomnia, tremor, and psychosis. Potentially prolactin-related AEs (PPAEs) were reported by 36 (9%) subjects. The AE profile in this study was qualitatively similar to those of other studies in adult subjects with schizophrenia and in other psychiatric studies of risperidone in pediatric populations.


Conclusions


Risperidone maintenance treatment in adolescents over 6 to 12 months was well tolerated, consistent with related studies in this clinical population, and associated with continued efficacy. Trial registration Clinical trials.gov registration number: NCT00246285 http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00246285?term=NCT00246285&rank=1


The complete article is available as a provisional PDF. The fully formatted PDF and HTML versions are in production.


Source:

http://www.capmh.com/content/6/1/23/abstract

 


New Study Looks at Physical Conditions Linked with Schizophrenia


By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on June 6, 2012


While schizophrenia is a well-known mental health condition, scientists have observed that accelerated biological aging often accompanies the disorder.


A new study funded by a $4 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) will investigate why individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia also suffer a wide range of physiological changes.


“Schizophrenia is one of the most serious, challenging, and disabling mental illnesses,” said principal investigator Dilip V. Jeste, M.D., at UC San Diego School of Medicine.


Characterized by symptoms such as delusions, loss of touch with reality and social withdrawal, this chronic condition has become one of the leading causes of disability and premature mortality in the world. In the United States alone, the overall annual cost of schizophrenia is estimated to be more than $60 billion.


Physicians, mental health specialists and scientists have long observed that schizophrenia is more than a brain disease as it also affects a wide range of physical functions and presents rapid biological aging.


Prior studies have suggested that physiological changes seen throughout the body occur at an earlier age in people with schizophrenia. For example, young adults suffering from this mental condition are prone to diseases associated with growing older, such as diabetes and cardiovascular problems.


“Even though schizophrenia has been associated with a higher risk for suicide, two-thirds of the excess deaths in patients suffering from this mental illness are from other causes,” said Jeste. “The lifespan of patients with schizophrenia is usually 20 to 25 years shorter than those of unaffected individuals.”


The new study will directly examine biological aging in schizophrenia by using a battery of psychiatric and medical interviews, as well as several state-of-the-art laboratory techniques. Over the course of five years, the team will annually follow more than 250 subjects, aged 26 to 65 years.


Read in Full:

http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/06/06/new-study-looks-at-physical-conditions-linked-with-schizophrenia/39767.html


Joshua’s Story: Living with Schizophrenia


By Natalie Jeanne Champagne


As a woman living with bipolar disorder, I understand mental illness-related stigma. I understand the damage it causes and the impact it can have on a person’s quality of life. But I cannot tell you that I understand the stigma associated with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is, without a doubt, the most stigmatized mental illness.


Bipolar disorder often is associated with intelligence, creativity, highs and lows. But schizophrenia is viewed differently. Society often is confronted with negative imagery: A homeless man or woman, dirt under their fingernails, mumbling to themselves; bars on hospital windows where they are confined and, above all, violence.


The stigma connected to schizophrenia, and to those who live with the illness, is different from that connected to people living with depression or bipolar disorder. It is harder to shatter; it is harder for people to understand.


Stepping out and putting a face and a name to my illness was anything but easy. But more people are doing this, and in doing so, we can lessen the stigma.

 


I had the pleasure of interviewing Joshua, who is featured in the documentary “Living With Schizophrenia: A Call for Hope and Recovery.” Joshua was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 17 following psychotic symptoms. He describes his experience living with the illness. Joshua effectively puts a face and name — a life story — to a horribly stigmatized illness.


Read More …

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/06/03/joshuas-story-living-with-schizophrenia/

 


Full Recovery from Schizophrenia?


By


This is the first of a series of blog postings related to my own series of research studies (my doctoral research at Saybrook University) of people who have made full and lasting medication-free recoveries after being diagnosed with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. This is very exciting research because it is one of the few areas within psychological research that remains almost completely wide open. One reason it is so wide open is that most Westerners don’t believe that genuine recovery from schizophrenia and other related psychotic disorders is possible, in spite of significant evidence to the contrary. Since there are some very hopeful findings that have emerged within this research, I want to begin this series of postings by summing up one particularly hopeful aspect of my own research, which is a group of five factors that emerged which are considered to have been the most important factors in my participants’ recovery process. But before looking closer at these factors, we should back up for a minute…


Read in Full:

http://brainblogger.com/2012/05/29/full-recovery-from-schizophrenia/?utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+GNIFBrainBlogger+%28Brain+Blogger%29

 




ScienceDaily (May 30, 2012) — The Department of Neurosurgery at NYU Langone Medical Center has established a unique, multidisciplinary neuromodulation center for the treatment of complex neurological conditions including movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain and psychiatric condition such as obsessive compulsive disorder and severe depression.


“Neuromodulation includes deep brain stimulation (DBS), spinal cord and peripheral nerve stimulation as well as targeted drug delivery — procedures that are minimally invasive and are safe alternative for those suffering from these conditions,” said Alon Y. Mogilner, MD, PhD, faculty member, Department of Neurosurgery and director of NYU Langone’s Neuromodulation Center.


DBS uses mild electrical stimulation to restore or improve function or reduce pain by correcting abnormal electrical or chemical activity in the brain. A small pulse-generator is inserted just below the skin by a specially-trained neurosurgeon, which transmits pulses through microelectrodes applied to targeted areas in the brain or along nerves known to be associated with the condition. The program generating the pulses can be easily reversed, modified or turned off for periods of time to offer more flexible treatment and measurable results.


The Center specializes in two types of neuromodulation techniques, deep brain stimulation (DBS), an FDA-approved treatment successful for helping patients with complex movement disorders and peripheral neurostimulation (PNS), a growing specialty for potentially treating chronic headaches or severe facial pain — which can cause disabling psychological, sociological or financial distress and an inability to work or maintain healthy relationships.


The Neuromodulation Center is also conducting research investigating the effectiveness of DBS in treating disorders such as depression and Tourette’s syndrome, as well as clinical trials utilizing the latest advantages in technology to better treat Parkinson’s disease. Scientists and clinicians anticipate neuromodulation will also result in effective treatment for headache pain, psychiatric disorders and neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.

 


NYU Langone Medical Center (2012, May 30). Neurosurgeons offer new treatments for movement disorders, pain. ScienceDaily.



 

The following is a collection of articles and resources that I hope will grow with time …


What is Angelman Syndrome?


Angelman Syndrome is a rare genetic condition first identified in 1965 by a British doctor, Harry Angelman, from whom it also gained its name.


Dr Angelman had noticed similarities between a small number of previously undiagnosed children that seemed to indicate they had a common problem. After seeing a painting in the Castelvecchio museum in Verona, Italy entitled A Boy with a Puppet he was inspired to write a medical paper titled Puppet Children.


The syndrome – originally called ‘Happy Puppet Syndrome’ because of the characteristic happy demeanour and stiff jerky movements of the children – was renamed Angelman Syndrome in 1982. Although at first little was known and indeed few other cases identified, in recent years much more has been learned. During the 1980′s advances in genetic medicine made it possible to diagnose increasing numbers of cases and also to start identifying the cause.


In simple terms, it is a chromosome disorder that causes severe learning difficulties. It is now known that irregularities in Chromosome 15 are responsible for AS. However it is also known that there are several different irregularities that can occur in Chromosome 15, all of which result in a diagnosis of AS.


Angelman Syndrome is not a disease, it is a neurological disorder that causes severe learning difficulties, and although those affected have a normal life expectancy, they will require looking after throughout their lives. It’s possible to go from knowing nothing about AS, to being overwhelmed by the information now available to families of those newly diagnosed with AS. It can be very difficult to understand all there is to know about AS very quickly, you’ll probably have lots of questions on a topic you may never have heard of before.


Source:

http://www.angelmanuk.org/angelman_syndrome.html


New Clinic For Rare Disorder


Friday, February 03 2012 by Catherine Brand

 

UNC Chapel Hill this afternoon will officially mark the opening of its new Comprehensive Angelman Syndrome Clinic at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities. Anne Wheeler is a psychologist at CIDD; she’s also co-coordinator for the new clinic. She says Angelman Syndrome is a rare congenital disorder that occurs in about 1 in 15-thousand births.

 

Anne Wheeler: And it’s associated with a whole host of lifelong challenges and disorders, autistic-like behaviors, significant intellectual and behavioral disabilities… language disorders, lack of speech for a lot of them, frequent seizures, motor imbalance probs, so it’s pretty significant.

 

Wheeler says treatment of the disorder is integrative and complex. The clinic will bring together specialists from fields including neurology, speech therapy, genetics, and physical therapy. Wheeler says the clinic is the first of its kind in the country to provide all of these resources under one roof.

 

Source(Includes Audio):

http://wunc.org/programs/news/archive/TAW020212.mp3/view

 

 

Related Articles


“Farrell’s Son Diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2011/06/15/farrells-son-diagnosed-with-angelman-syndrome/


“Brain Cell Activity Imbalance May Account For Seizure Susceptibility In Angelman Syndrome”:

http://www.aspie-editorial.com/2012/06/11/brain-cell-activity-imbalance-may-account-for-seizure-susceptibility-in-angelman-syndrome/


“Disrupted Gene Causes Angelman Syndrome”:

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2009-05-11/health/28203859_1_cortex-gene-cells

 

 Resources


“Angelman Syndrome Foundation”:

http://www.angelman.org/


“Angelman Syndrome Support Education and Research Trust”:

http://www.angelmanuk.org/


“BBC Health: Angelman Syndrome”:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/angelman1.shtml


“Angelman Syndrome Association, Australia”:

http://www.angelmansyndrome.org/home.html


“Angelman Syndrome Books”:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/angelman-syndrome-Books/s?ie=UTF8&keywords=Angelman%20Syndrome&rh=n%3A266239%2Ck%3AAngelman%20Syndrome&page=1