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First Published Friday, 17th October, 2008.

Bram Cohen

‘Do I Look Like a CEO?’

Bram Cohen has Asperger’s, which makes it hard to deal with everyday life. Even so, he started his own company, BitTorrent

Bram Cohen’s brain works differently from most people’s. He has Asperger’s syndrome, a condition that keeps him rooted in the world of objects and patterns, puzzles and computers, but leaves him floating, disoriented, in the everyday swirl of human interactions.

When Cohen was in his late twenties he sat on a wooden chair with a Dell (DELL) keyboard on his lap for the better part of nine months writing a software program. In 2001 he introduced BitTorrent, an ingenious, disruptive, and controversial piece of technology that is available for free and lets people easily exchange huge amounts of digital information,from software upgrades to videos. Pirated movies have always been the most popular files shared. They, along with more legitimate files, now generate about half of all traffic on the Internet.

BitTorrent brought Cohen fame and notoriety. It turned him into a folk hero and a Hollywood villain. Later, to reclaim the program for himself and possibly for some greater good, Cohen was obliged to become something else he had never considered: a boss. Four years ago, at age 29, he co-founded a company, BitTorrent, to build a business around his software. He got good money from venture capitalists but is still trying to find a convincing strategy.

For Cohen, this has been a fraught journey into the sometimes bewildering world of the office. The social conventions that ease everyday interactions can still elude him. He doesn’t like to shake hands or wear shoes or make small talk. He often plays with a Rubik’s Cube. Sometimes when he is outraged, or more often when he is fatigued, he bursts forth with unwelcome candor. He can be oblivious, lecturing on solar cells or economic theory or euphemisms until someone stops him.

Cohen’s predicament is not so unusual. Asperger’s, only formally recognized in the mid-1990s, is being diagnosed with increasing frequency. Many psychologists view it as a mild form of autism, though that definition is controversial; some advocates believe it is simply a different way of being. In the coming years more people like Cohen will arrive in the workplace, and their presence will have significant consequences, perhaps most obviously in the way we communicate.

Cohen’s childhood in Manhattan was one of isolation. He lived comfortably enough with his mother and father and younger brother, Ross, and they shared a vigorous intellectual life. But he had no friends. At 16, he could program in three languages. Yet he could not comprehend the social hierarchies of adolescence. “I was picked on a lot,” he says. “There was something obviously wrong with me. But it wasn’t acknowledged until I was much older that something had always been off-kilter. Were I to have to redo high school, I would just drop out immediately.” He attended the State University of New York at Buffalo for one miserable year and then left.


Back in Manhattan, staying with his parents, he struggled in the working world as a computer programmer. “At first he would be enthusiastic, and then pretty soon he would tell the people who were running the startup they were doing things wrong,” says his father, Barry, a writer who had returned to school to study computer science. “If they didn’t listen to him—and they never did—he would say ‘this is stupid’ and he would quit.”

By 1997 the code rush was on, and Cohen went west. In San Francisco he felt at ease, and even a bit elated, surrounded by other computer geeks. Here his trouble deciphering human complexities, his seeming indifference to social imperatives, and all his quirks of character were mostly viewed as beside the point. The point was what he could accomplish. In this, Silicon Valley is not as distinct a place as it might seem. Psychologists have noticed clusters of people with Asperger’s wherever there is a concentration of high-tech companies.

It took Cohen a few years and several more startups before he discovered what he wanted to do: find an efficient way to share huge amounts of digital data.

Bram Cohen, San Francisco

Napster and other peer-to-peer programs already allowed people to pass smaller music files from one computer to another. But big files would clog the system. The elegance of Cohen’s solution is that as more people join a network, data move faster rather than slower. His software breaks files into pieces and scatters them on users’ hard drives. When someone requests a movie, the software gathers the pieces from the nearest computers on the network and assembles them only once they reach their destination. This allows a file to download much more quickly.

Cohen was surprised that BitTorrent ushered in the golden era of movie piracy. “I was some dude working on some project,” he says. “I couldn’t anticipate the piracy. But I was very careful from the beginning to distance myself from it. There’s only so much planning you can do for the effect on the Internet at large when you’re just trying to get people to use your software.”


Cohen mostly enjoyed his newfound status. And it was amid this success that he was able to put a name to his lingering complaint. One afternoon in the summer of 2003 he was eating at a Mexican restaurant in Berkeley with his girlfriend, Jenna, and her young daughter. They were talking about empathy, a notion that baffled Cohen. “Then a baby cried, and my daughter turned and made a sad face,” Jenna recalls. “He said, ‘You mean like that?’ I said, ‘Yes, it’s automatic.’ ” Not for Cohen, though, who told her that emotions seemed mysterious. Jenna, who had worked with autistic kids, suggested he might have Asperger’s.

Cohen never sought a formal diagnosis but turned his considerable attention to the matter. He learned how to detect and mimic human expressions, follow social cues, maintain eye contact, flirt. He began pretending to be normal. “Then I realized how out of it I had been my entire life,” he says. Jenna likens Bram to the android Data on Star Trek: “He’d add information to his social algorithm and practice until it became natural. He’s graduated to being an eccentric nerd.”

During the next year, Jenna and Bram had a son and were married. Cohen’s father began pestering him to create a company around his hugely popular software. “And I kind of felt like I should do something,” says Cohen, who was moving among various projects. A friend introduced him to Ashwin Navin, who had worked at Goldman Sachs (GS) and Yahoo! (YHOO), and along with Cohen’s brother, they formed BitTorrent. Then they set out to make peace with the movie studios and bring in investors. In May 2005 pirated versions of the much-anticipated third Star Wars movie, Revenge of the Sith, were being swapped before the official release. Shortly after, Dean Garfield, the head of legal affairs at the Motion Picture Association of America, approached Cohen and Navin to see if they were serious about going legitimate. They began talking. In November of that year, BitTorrent and the MPAA announced a deal that was largely symbolic but did improve the company’s reputation in Hollywood: BitTorrent agreed to remove links that directed users to pirated movies. Cohen doesn’t like to travel, but he went down to Los Angeles for the day.

Cohen and Navin also were meeting with venture capitalists. David Chao, a co-founder of DCM, a $1.6 billion fund, had been using the software to share family videos and was intrigued by it. Cohen arrived at Chao’s office for an initial presentation, took off his shoes, and announced that he had Asperger’s. “It’s one of the first things he tells most people,” says Chao. “He wants to make sure there are no misunderstandings.” Cohen said he wanted to run the company, mostly because he didn’t trust anybody else to, but promised he’d one day bring in a more experienced leader. Navin would be president. Chao agreed to invest $8.75 million. At the first board meeting, Cohen worked on a Rubik’s Cube while he was talking, recalls Chao. “He wasn’t distracted, though.

His hand was solving it.” With someone else, Chao says, he might have said, “Please don’t play games while we’re having a board meeting,” but he didn’t.

As Cohen and Navin began hiring employees, issues emerged. Ross, who was in charge of the engineers, didn’t seem suited to the more structured environment being created. Bram fired him. “He just didn’t work out,” says Bram. The brothers haven’t spoken much since, and Ross didn’t return phone calls and e-mails.

Then there was Bram himself. He could be disruptive. He likes to talk and play with his puzzles. “We have to keep him contained so others can work,” says Navin. “New employees didn’t know they could tell him they had to get back to work.” And his overly blunt but rarely ill-intentioned comments didn’t always go over well. Ivy Hsu, the office manager, was the first person Cohen and Navin hired. One day Cohen said to her: “I don’t understand the point of being detail-oriented. Only the dumb people in this world focus on small details.” Hsu has since learned how to deal with him. “You have to communicate according to the rules he understands,” she says. “You can cut him off, you can walk away. There is no point in sugarcoating things, because if you do, he may miss the whole point. You just tell him: ‘Bram, you’re wrong. Bram, don’t say things like that.’ Usually you would never do that to your boss.”

By the end of 2006 it was clear that Cohen’s days as CEO were coming to an end. Some founders unprofitably delay this rite of passage. For Cohen, it couldn’t come soon enough: “Do I look like a CEO to you? Just saying.” BitTorrent was ready to sell a commercial version of the software to media, gaming, and tech companies and to launch a consumer site with licensed content. Navin and Cohen had also interested another investor, Ping Li, a partner at venture capital firm Accel, an early backer of Facebook. Li agreed to put in nearly $20 million to help BitTorrent expand. There would be accounts to supervise, strategies to devise, performance reviews to conduct, meetings to attend. Cohen was bored just thinking about it all.

Giving up the post of chief executive to become chief scientific officer wasn’t hard for Cohen, but the nine-month search for his replacement, led by the recruiting firm Heidrick & Struggles (HSII), was full of frustration. After BitTorrent found a new chief executive, Cohen dissed the process and some of the other candidates in his blog: “Just because you were approached about being BitTorrent’s CEO doesn’t necessarily mean that I’d ever heard of you. If I had ever heard of you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I thought you had the necessary experience . . . . Even if I did think you had the necessary experience, it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have gotten fuming mad at your name being suggested for any of a number of other reasons, including in some cases widely known lack of competence and morals.” Heidrick doesn’t talk about its clients and declined to comment about its work for BitTorrent.

The executive BitTorrent hired is Doug Walker, who had led graphics software company Alias Technology in Toronto. He is circumspect when it comes to Cohen but does say: “You’re always going to have an honest conversation with Bram. To me that’s fair, even if you may not always like it.”

So does Bram Cohen’s creation have a future? Some wonder if BitTorrent has missed its moment. Gaming companies are using the software to more swiftly and cheaply distribute their wares. Hollywood studios? Not so much. The company’s reputation for piracy may be part of the problem. But media companies also are finding ways to deliver entertainment themselves. All of which has left Cohen & Co. retrenching—in mid-August they laid off 20% of 60 employees—and struggling to find a way forward.

Still, Cohen’s original brainstorm has carried him far. And even if his company falters, or his attention is diverted to solving a different problem, his software will be used by millions of people around the world.

First Published Thursday, 16th October, 2008.

Carrickfergus Castle, Northern Ireland

I Exist is the second phase of our think differently about autism campaign. It launched in Northern Ireland on 16 October.

The National Autistic Society Northern Ireland (NAS Northern Ireland) has produced a new report, I Exist: the message from adults with autism in Northern Ireland. You can read the report on our campaign website or download a copy below. It is the only survey of its kind ever conducted in Northern Ireland and reveals the huge gap between the level of need and the support available.

  • *70% of adults in our survey did not have enough support to meet their needs
  • *96% of adults in our survey feel that with more support they would be less isolated
  • *34% had experienced severe mental health difficulties.

The right support at the right time can make a huge difference, but many adults with autism are ignored by local services and often reliant on ageing parents for support. 64% of adults with autism in our survey still live at home.

Autism is a lifelong condition yet our research reveals that 55% of the Northern Ireland public who have heard of autism believes it mostly affects children. It also reveals that 90% of people do not know how common autism is. Autism affects an estimated 1 in 100 people.

Autism also affects adults.
Most are isolated and ignored.
Think. Act. Transform lives.

Many adults with autism face a lack of recognition and understanding, a lack of suitable services and a lack of support, all of which have a devastating impact on adults and their families.

One parent of an adult with autism said:

“My son is socially and economically isolated – he gets no support from his local health service whatsoever. I am his principal carer and I get no support either. I care for him (along with my wife) as best I can. I am almost 59 and I still need a life of my own. We have three other children who need to be cared for and supported.”

Another major issue is that local health and social care trusts do not know how many adults with autism there are in their local area, making it extremely difficult to plan and deliver services to meet their needs.

NAS Northern Ireland coordinator Regina Cox said:

I Exist is the message from adults with autism who want to be recognised and deserve to have their needs understood and fulfilled. This campaign aims to address the problems they face and the barriers which prevent them from getting the right support. We are calling on the Northern Ireland Assembly to think, act, and transform lives.”

Take action now!

It is only with your sustained support that this ambitious campaign will be a success. Email your Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and ask them to support our campaign.

Visit our campaign website www.think-differently.org.uk/campaign to find out more about I Exist.

For more information, or to request copies of campaign materials, telephone 020 7923 5799 or email thinkdifferently@nas.org.uk

* The term ‘autism’ in this article also includes Asperger syndrome.

Related resources

Relevant documents for downloading

First Published Wednesday, 15th October, 2008.

Denis Leary

Actor DENIS LEARY has sparked outrage among activists for children with autism – insisting parents are just using the disorder to explain their kids’ academic “laziness”.

Leary talks about the brain development disorder in his new book Why We Suck: A Feel-Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid.

He writes: “There is a huge boom in autism right now because inattentive mothers and competitive dads want an explanation for why their dumb-ass kids can’t compete academically, so they throw money into the happy laps of shrinks… to get back diagnoses that help explain away the deficiencies of their junior morons. I don’t (care) what these crackerjack whack jobs tell you – your kid is NOT autistic. He’s just stupid. Or lazy. Or both.”
But the actor’s comments have sparked outrage at The Autism Society of America.

A spokesperson for the group tells the New York Post: “For Mr. Leary to suggest that families or doctors conspire to falsely diagnose autism is ridiculous… (His) remarks reflect the same misconceptions of autism being caused by bad or unemotional parenting that were held over 50 years ago.”



Huffington Post  “Denis Leary Slams Autism As A Joke”:

Leary Defends Autism Comments

LATEST: Actor-turned-author DENIS LEARY has blasted the press for its coverage of his new lifestyle book, insisting comments he made about children with autism have been taken out of context.
The Rescue Me star sparked outrage among activists for young autism sufferers when an excerpt from Why We Suck: A Feel-Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid was printed in a U.S. newspaper on Wednesday (15Oct08).

In the book, Leary claims parents are using the brain development disorder as an excuse to explain their children’s “laziness”.

According to the New York Post, in a chapter titled Autism Schmautism, he writes: “There is a huge boom in autism right now because inattentive mothers and competitive dads want an explanation for why their dumb-ass kids can’t compete academically, so they throw money into the happy laps of shrinks… to get back diagnoses that help explain away the deficiencies of their junior morons. I don’t (care) what these crackerjack whack jobs tell you – yer (sic) kid is NOT autistic. He’s just stupid. Or lazy. Or both.”

But Leary has hit back at his detractors, insisting the journalist has failed to read his book in full because he actually supports those suffering from autism.

He says in a statement: “…If they have (read the book), they missed the sections I thought made my feelings about autism very clear: that I not only support the current rational approaches to the diagnoses and treatment of real autism but have witnessed it firsthand while watching very dear old friends raise a functioning autistic child.”

10/16/2008 12:16:58 PM



Denis Leary

A spelling-challenged advocacy group representing parents of children with autism is calling on Barnes & Noble, Amazon and other booksellers to banish a new book by comic actor Denis Leary from their stores. The group, Autism United, says it will protest outside a benefit comedy show in Boston on Nov. 15 where Leary is set to appear.

In his book Why We Suck, Leary writes that most children diagnosed with autism are simply “stupid. Or lazy. Or both.” He also asserts, “There is a huge boom in autism right now because inattentive mothers and competitive dads want an explanation for why their dumb-ass kids can’t compete academically.”

Evelyn Ain, the president of Autism United, responded in a terribly copy-edited statement, saying, “If Dennis [sic] Leary feels by putting these shockley [sic] comments in book [sic] is going to create hype, were [sic] going to have autism families from coast to coast protesting his appearances, showing the joke is really on him.” (The statement also mistakenly refers to the book merely as We Suck.)

At last check, both Amazon and Barnes & Noble are still selling the book.

Earlier this year, shock-radio host Michael Savage brought the wrath of autism advocates down on his head by voicing similar sentiments, including a belief that the condition could be cured by a parent prepared to say “Don’t sit there crying and screaming, idiot.”

Source:  http://biz.yahoo.com/portfolio/081017/tag_www_portfolio_com_2008_10_15014.html?.v=1

First Published Tuesday, 14th October, 2008.

Depression and Anxiety Special Report

Managing Anxiety Without Drugs

Do you worry excessively? Johns Hopkins provides nine strategies to help you take control of your anxiety.

We live in anxious times, full of bad news. We worry about our families, our country, our basic health and safety. But while a little bit of worry can be a good thing — it can steer us away from taking unreasonable risks, for instance — free-floating anxiety can be paralyzing, unproductive, and self-defeating. If you think that you, or someone you love, has an anxiety disorder, then therapy or medication may be in order. But even if you’re receiving treatment, or if you’re bedeviled by garden-variety over-worrying that doesn’t warrant treatment, the following tips may help.

  • Anxiety tip #1: Notice and name. The first step is to identify your patterns. What specific triggers are linked to your anxiety? Notice what sets your anxiety in motion, and give it a name. Once you bring it into the forefront of your consciousness, you can begin to make sense of it and then to address it.
  • Anxiety tip #2: Develop a plan. Many of us run ourselves ragged by not addressing our worries. One classic example: We’re afraid of getting breast cancer, but we don’t schedule the mammogram — instead, we spin our mental wheels. Write your specific worry down, and then develop a plan to address it. Tackle one or two worries at a time. Once you’ve completed those, go on to the next on your mental list. This task-oriented process can give you a feeling of satisfaction; more importantly, it makes you feel less vulnerable, more in control of your life.
  • Anxiety tip #3: Move. Exercise is one of the best self-treatments for anxiety available. It doesn’t matter whether you go for a walk, join a water aerobics class, dance, play tennis — what does matter is that you get regular exercise, at least every other day. In the interim, whenever one of those cycles of ruminative worry hits, even simple activity — minor housecleaning, a few minutes of gardening, some simple stretches, even just getting up and walking around for five minutes — can help jog you out of that negative feedback loop.
  • Anxiety tip #4: Breathe. A number of breathing techniques can alleviate anxiety. For one thing, many people find that when they’re anxious, they breathe shallowly, from the upper chest — and when breathing is shallow and fast, the body responds with an increase in heart rate, blood pressure and stress hormones. In bad moments, they might even be holding their breath. Instead, take a few moments and simply notice your breathing patterns. After a few breathing cycles, take a deep breath. Let your belly be soft and relaxed, and breathe from your lower abdomen. Repeat — and use this technique any time you notice that you’re tense or worried.
  • Anxiety tip #5: Nurture your spirit. Meditation and prayer trigger the relaxation response, helping calm the mind and body. Even the simplest of prayers or affirmations can help you let go of a worry and put everyday problems into perspective.
  • Anxiety tip #6: Reframe your thoughts. Free form anxiety often is triggered or accompanied by a litany of negative internal “chatter.” The good news is, the brain is an adaptive organ, and it is possible to break out of the negative mode. However, it takes patience and persistence. The first step is to notice when the negative labels start bouncing around in your mind. Simply notice that your thinking is following a particular track, in a nonjudgmental manner. Next, learn how to talk to yourself in a constructive and rational manner. What would you say to a dear and beloved friend in this instance? Try saying the same thing to yourself. This process is a hallmark of cognitive-behavioral therapy.
  • Anxiety tip #7: Watch the toxins. Many people use alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine as short-term solutions for their anxiety. The difficulty is that self-medicating with these substances only creates more problems in the long run. Break the cycle. Similarly, be careful with comfort food—this is one of those times that too much of a good thing can make you miserable.
  • Anxiety tip #8: Don’t watch the news. Use discretion with television, newspapers, and other sources of news. Of course, it is important to know what’s going on in the world, but our current culture—“all news, all the time,” highlighting the latest disaster in endless replays—can easily trigger or feed anxiety.
  • Anxiety tip #9: Don’t worry alone. In the absence of realistic feedback, we often can spin some fairly creative doomsday scenarios. If something is troubling you, get the reassurance and reality checks you need. Consult someone you trust—a friend, family member, or a religious advisor, for instance. Anxiety often diminishes when we share our worries, and practical solutions to problems may emerge in the course of the conversation.


Coping With Panic Attacks

Johns Hopkins shares four strategies for managing panic attacks so they frighten you less, are less intense, and occur less frequently.

It comes on suddenly, without warning. Your heart races and pounds in your chest, you sweat, you feel short of breath, dizzy, sick to your stomach, faint even. You fear you’re having a heart attack or maybe losing your mind. You have a distinct feeling of unreality and, perhaps, a desire to run away and hide. You fear you may do something crazy or uncontrollable. Being in the throes of these feelings and sensations is terrifying and profoundly uncomfortable. But within minutes, the symptoms are gone (one way to know you’re not having a heart attack).

You’ve just had a panic attack. And now you live with the fear of having another panic attack, the dread of which can be worse than the attack itself. You may also be blaming yourself for allowing your emotions to run away from you. But the truth is that once a panic attack begins, your body is being held hostage by a cascade of physiological events — starting with the release of stress hormones such as cortisol — that are difficult to reign in. This doesn’t mean all hope is lost.

Why do we panic? Ironically, panic attacks most often occur during non-threatening, normal activities. They can hit when you’re walking down the street, sitting at your desk at work, or visiting with friends. The catch is that for some reason the brain misinterprets the situation as threatening.

Although the setting of a panic attack is usually benign, panic attacks commonly occur during stressful periods of life, such as when someone is getting a divorce, grieving a death, or moving to a new town. Stress, it’s believed, may create a physiological imbalance or allow an underlying genetic predisposition to panic attacks to emerge.

Strategies for Coping With Panic Attacks
If you experience a panic attack, keep these facts and tips in mind, courtesy of Edmund J. Bourne, Ph.D., author of The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook, and Denise F. Beckfield, Ph.D., author of Master Your Panic and Take Back Your Life! Twelve Treatment Sessions to Conquer Panic, Anxiety, and Agoraphobia, to help get you through the episode:

  • Remember that a panic attack poses no physical danger. You won’t faint, have a heart attack, lose your balance, fall, suffocate, or go crazy. You will not lose control of your body.
  • Recognize and accept your symptoms rather than fight them. Intellectualize the situation by telling yourself that you recognize the symptoms and know they are signs of a panic attack. Though disquieting, tell yourself that the attack will run its course and resolve within a few minutes.
  • Learn the early signs of a panic attack. Sometimes you can stop a full-blown panic attack from developing by intervening at the first sign of an episode and focusing on something else besides your body and feelings.
  • If a panic attack is under way, interrupt the cascade of panicky thoughts by repeating the words “Stop it!” aloud or silently to yourself. Then shift your focus to deep abdominal breathing to slow your respiration rate and relax your muscles so you can “flow through” the attack.

Seeking Professional Help
An occasional panic attack can usually be managed with the strategies discussed above. However, if you have four or more panic attacks in a month and/or your fear of another attack is disrupting your everyday life, it’s time to consult a mental health professional who specializes in panic and anxiety disorders. Both therapy and medication are effective in managing panic disorder and preventing future episodes.

Could It Be a Heart Attack?
The symptoms of a heart attack are quite similar to those of a panic attack. In both cases, the symptoms appear without warning and can include chest discomfort, dizziness or lightheadedness, shortness of breath, stomach upset, and sweating. But there are a few differences. In a heart attack, chest pain often spreads to the arms (particularly the left arm) or to the jaw, and the symptoms continue for longer than 10 minutes. If in doubt whether it’s a heart attack, it’s best to err on the side of caution: Dial 911 immediately for an ambulance.


Anxious Adolescents Respond Differently To Anxiety Triggers

Brain scans show heightened activity among anxious adolescents exposed to an anxiety-provoking situation when compared with normal controls, according to an U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) study published in the November 2008 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

In the new study by Amanda Guyer, PhD., of NIMH and colleagues at Georgia State University, Catholic University, NIMH, and the University of Maryland, 14 adolescents with significant anxiety about social situations and 14 healthy adolescents were told that they were going to participate in Internet chat rooms. Each participant would chat with a peer whom the participant wanted to chat with and who wanted to chat with the participant.

To select those they wanted to chat with, participants looked at photographs of peers and sorted them into categories of less desirable or more desirable. Then the participants were photographed. They were told that the peers would receive their photographs and would find out how the participants rated their desirability. The peers would similarly rate how interested they were in chatting with the participants.

Two weeks later, the participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging scans of their brain activity while looking at pictures of the peers they had rated. Participants were asked to describe how they thought the peers rated them in return.

When anxious adolescents were anticipating evaluation from peers whom they had rated as less desirable – an anxiety-provoking situation – their scans showed increased activation of the amygdala, a fear processing, almond-shaped hub deep in the brain. This increase was much greater than that noted in the scans of healthy adolescents anticipating evaluation from peers whom they had rated as less desirable.

The scans also revealed a perturbed engagement of the amygdala and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain thought to regulate emotion, in the anxious adolescents when compared with the healthy participants. Disturbances in the association between the amygdala and the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, which is located behind the eyes and the forehead, are thought to influence anxiety.

Guyer AE, Lau JYF, McClure-Tone EB, >et al. Amygdala and Ventrolateral Prefrontal Cortex Function during Anticipated Peer Evaluation in Pediatric Social Anxiety. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2008; 65(11):1303-1312.   [Abstract]


Anxiety Network Australia

Anxiety Disorders Association of America

Agoraphobia & Panic Disorder Recovery

The Anxiety Panic Internet Resource

Mayo Clinic: Panic Attacks & Panic Disorder

Mayo Clinic: GAD

“Agoraphobics Building Independent Lives

Canadian Network for Mood & Anxiety Treatment

Social Phobia/Social Anxiety Association

Information for People with Anxiety Disorders

Social Anxiety Support Board

E-couch: Self Help
e-couch provides evidence-based information about emotional problems (including depression and anxiety disorders) and teaches strategies that may help you to prevent problems and understand yourself better.

South African Depression & Anxiety Group

Latest Research/Articles on Anxiety

“Emotional Memories Study Provides Insights Into Anxiety Disorders”

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“Abstract: Genetic Variations Associated with Red Hair Color and Fear of Dental Pain, Anxiety Regarding Dental Care and Avoidance of Dental Care”:

“Abstract+: Nail-Biting Stuff?  The Effect of N-Acetyl Cysteine on Nail-Biting”:

“[Australia] Macquarie University Pioneers Combined Social Anxiety & Alcohol Abuse Therapy”:

“Starve A Fever, Feed A Cold, Don’t Be Stressed”:

“More Leisure Time Boosts Mood, Improves Health”:

“Scent of Fear Puts Brain In Emergency Mode”:

“Scents Really Can Soothe Stress”:

“Heart Health: Garlic For A Healthy Heart? Go Fresh, Study Says”:

“Health Affects of Divorce, Widowhood Linger Even After Remarriage”:

“New Strategies for Fear of Flying”:

“Music and Medicine” Launched by SAGE”:

“Does a Cup of Tea Reduce Stress?”:

“Abstract: Reliving and Disorganization in PTSD and Panic Disorder Memories”:

“Significant Sleep Deprivation & Stress Among College Students, USA”:

“Brain is a Co-Conspirator in a Vicious Stress Loop”:

“Both Heavy Drinkers and Teetotalers More Likely to be Anxious, Depressed”:

“What Is Agoraphobia?  What Causes Agoraphobia?”:

“Up To 15% of Preschoolers Affected by Anxiety, Depression”:

“Fear of Job Loss May Be Worse Than Loss Itself/Job Losses Traumatize Workers: Study Finds Anxiety, Depression, Anger”:

“In Future, Science Could Erase Traumatic Memories”:

“Abstract: Interactions Between Herbal Medicines & Prescribed Drugs/Natural Herbal Supplements Aren’t Always Safe”:

“Abstract: Genetic and Environmental Influences on the Co-Morbidity between Depression, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, and Social Phobia: A Twin Study”:

“Abstract+: Development of Mental Health First Aid Guidelines For Panic Attacks”:

“Melon Derived Antioxidant Relieves Stress”:

“Dealing with Stress & Anxiety?  Take A Walk In The Park”:

“Latest Stress & Anxiety Studies: Adolescent Anxiety, Panic Disorder, Emotional Eating, Social Anxiety Disorder, Naturopathy & More”:

“Avoidant Personality Disorder and Social Phobia”:

“Special Report; What Happens When Stress Doesn’t Go Away?”:

“Abstract: Panic Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder Subtypes In A Caffeine Challenge Test”:

“BPS Research Digest: The Special Issue Spotter”:

” 5 Emotional Vampires And How To Combat Them”:

“National Stress Awareness Day: A Professional Approach to Mental Health At Work”:

“BPS Research Digest: The Special Issue Spotter”:

“[UK]Tackle Work Stress, Bosses Told”:

“5 Clues You Should Be Letting Go Of Something”:

“Latest Stress & Anxiety Studies: Chocolate for an Emotional Release, Banishing Monsters, Impact of Stress Upon Children, Stressful in Seattle Etc”:

“Easing Needle Anxiety”:

“Introverts: Party Survival Tactics, The Party Predicament, Introverts & Health”:

“The Special Issue Spotter”:

“Research Explores the Therapeutic Benefits of Pets”:

“BPS Research Digest: The Special Issue Spotter”:

“Abstract: Empirically Supported Psychological Treatments For Adult Acute Stress Disorder”:

“Scrambled Brain Connections Linked to Generalized Anxiety Disorder”:

“Anxiety: Caffeine Is Not A Remedy For Intoxication”:

“Holiday Anxiety & OCD Exposed”:

“Top Worries During Christmas 2009: Money, Relationships And Health”:

“How To Attack Holiday Stress Head On”:

“Itchy Skin Linked To Psychological Stress”:

“Using The Web To Treat Panic Disorder”:

“Online Help for Panic Disorders”:

“Stress Hormone Key To Alcohol Dependence”:

“Depression, Anxiety & Pets”:

“Addictions: Alcoholic’s Anonymous, Outcomes & New Research On Alcoholism/Stress Hormone Linked To Alcoholism”:

“Jerilyn Ross, Leader in Raising Awareness About Anxiety”:

“Special Needs Children: Depression & Anxiety Symptoms”:

“Psychosocial Problems Are Common In Children With Dental Fear”:

“What Is Social Anxiety Disorder? What Causes Social Anxiety?”:

“People With Anxiety Disorder Less Able To Regulate Response To Negative Emotions, Study Shows”:

“Johns Hopkins Health Alert: Do You Need A PAD(Psychiatric Advance Directive)?”:
http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com /johns_hopkins_health_alert_do_you_need_a_padpsychiatric_ad.htm

“Chamomile For Anxiety”:

“Anxiety Disorders: Fear of Swallowing(Phagophobia)”:

“BPS Research Digest: The Special Issue Spotter”:

“Regular Exercise Reduces Patient Anxiety By 20% Study Finds”:

“Long-Time Cannabis Use Associated With Psychosis”:

“BPS Research Digest: The Special Issue Spotter”:

“Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook”:

“Social Anxiety & Drugs: A Lesson About Addiction from Monkeys”:

“Dealing with Worry-Based Fantasies and Daydreams”:

“Development of New Scale To Measure Anxiety Outcomes”:

“Grinding Teeth at Night May Be a Sign of Daytime Stress”:

“BPS Research Digest: The Special Issue Spotter”:

“Treatment Options for Generalized Anxiety Disorder/Massage and Simple Relaxation”:

“Natural Remedies Ineffective For Anxiety”:

1. anxiety herbs left…

Wednesday, 16 September 2009 5:51 pm :: http://www.sociatropin.com

To cure anxiety attacks, herbs are the best medicine. No side effects, no giddiness, etc. Deep breathing exercises are excellent for anxiety and many people report positive results from meditation. Some other natural anxiety remedies to look into are St.John’s Wort, SAMe, L-Theanine, and Tryptophan.

First Published Tuesday, 14th October, 2008.

According to Karen Todner, the lawyer representing British hacker Gary McKinnon, the UK government won’t intervene to stop the extradition of the hacker to US and neither has it guaranteed his return to UK to serve the sentence.

Todner appealed the home secretary Jacqui Smith to arrange McKinnon’s trial in UK, where he would receive much better treatment, or at least assure his return to UK for serving his sentence; but, the lawyer complained that the home department didn’t even make the request to US.

Meanwhile, a group of 30 people, including Gary’s mum Janis Sharp, protested against the Home Office last Friday in support of Gary McKinnon.

Expressing her resentment, Janis told that she would chain herself and Gary to a railing before she let anyone take her son to the US for trial against the hacking charges.

Todner already presented the evidences of Gary suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome, a type of autism, which explains his obsession for UFOs that made him to hack several computers related to US military.

McKinnon will now try to appeal for a judicial review and has 14 days to do so.

Source:  http://www.itproportal.com/articles/2008/10/14/mckinnons-last-ditch-attempt-fails-judicial-review-only-recourse-left/

Accused hacker fails to halt extradition to U.S.

Herald News Services

Published: Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A British computer programmer accused of hacking into almost 100 U.S. military computers, failed to halt his U.K. extradition to the U.S. on health grounds, his lawyer said Monday.

Gary McKinnon, accused of infiltrating NASA, Army and Navy computers in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks had asked U.K. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to halt the extradition because he suffers from Asperger Syndrome, an autistic disorder.

“We are now considering whether or not Mr. McKinnon has a further judicial remedy and we are urgently investigating this issue,” Karen Todner, of London-based Kaim Todner LLP Solicitors, said in an e-mailed statement Monday.

McKinnon, who claims he was searching for evidence of unidentified flying objects, has already lost appeals to the European Court of Human Rights and the U.K.’s House of Lords.

The U.K. Home Office declined to comment Monday.

Further reports

Includes INQ Podcast  “Hacker McKinnon’s mum squares up to the US”:


“NASA hacker loses last-ditch appeal”:


First Published Saturday, 11th October, 2008.


On 7 October, we launched the Autism Bill (Draft) in Parliament, in partnership with Angela Browning MP and with wide support from the autism community. The Bill has been developed to challenge the exclusion from services that too many people with autism experience: we highlighted this exclusion in our I Exist campaign. The Bill builds on two ‘ten-minute rule Bills’ introduced by MPs Lee Scott and Angela Browning, as well as the Department of Health’s recent commitment to produce a national adult autism strategy.

What will the Autism Bill do?

The Autism Bill aims to strengthen information about the numbers of people with autism and their needs, in order to improve local planning and commissioning of services. It aims to improve inter-agency working to secure effective transition for disabled young people who are moving from child to adult services. Finally, it aims to ensure access to appropriate support and services for people with autism in adult life.

Why are the proposals in the Bill important?

Clauses on information
Very little is known about the prevalence of autism, particularly among adults. Recent research indicates that 1 in 100 children is on the autism spectrum, but very little is know about how many people live in each local authority area.

It is essential that local authorities put systems in place to record the number of people with autism in their area and ensure that they are included in local planning and commissioning strategies. 86% of local authorities say that if they had more information on autism prevalence in their area it would help with long-term planning.

Clauses on transition
The transition from school to adulthood can be a particularly difficult time for young people with autism. They tend to rely on structure, routine and rules and may find it difficult to adapt the rules they have learned in one context to new relationships or situations. Consequently, effective support and early planning is often vital for a successful transition from school life to adulthood. Transition planning requires a high degree of inter-agency co-operation, and this can be where difficulties arise.

Clauses on support for adults
Adults with autism are often unable to access the right support, and consequently become dependent on their families. 61% of adults with autism rely on their families for financial support; over 40% live at home with their parents.

There are structural barriers preventing adults with autism from accessing the support that they desperately need. Local authorities tend to provide services via specific teams, with the teams categorised into client groups. Consequently, people with autism will usually come into contact with the learning disability team and/or the mental health team. However, as autism is a developmental disability - not a learning disability or a mental health problem - many people with autism (particularly those with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism) find themselves ‘falling through the gap’ between services that refuse to take responsibility for them.

A lack of understanding of, and training in, autism means that the health and community care needs of a person with autism are not properly understood in an assessment: they are then unable to access the services they so desperately need. The right types of support are also lacking. The top three types of support that parents and carers believe that their son or daughter with autism would benefit from are social skills training (60%), social groups (56%) and befriending (49%). Yet, there is a clear shortage of these types of support.

It is vital that the draft Autism Bill has the support of as many people and organisations as possible. To pledge your support for the bill, or to request further information about it, please complete the form below.

Autism Bill (Draft): pledge your support

*Mandatory information

First name(s)*

Please verify your email address here*
Comments about the Autism Bill

If you would like to receive more information about the progress of the Bill and our other work, tick here.

Data Protection Act 1998

The National Autistic Society is registered under the Data Protection Act and all the information you supply through this form will be treated under the Act. The NAS will hold data on its own database and will not release it to any commercial organisation. The information supplied will be used for monitoring purposes only.

Related resources

Relevant documents for downloading

Source:  http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=157&a=17660

Parliament Debates Autism and Education

MPs debated autism and education in Parliament on Wednesday 8th October. The debate, led by John Bercow MP and supported by MPs across the political spectrum, focused on the high rates of exclusions and bullying for children with autism, and the need for improved teacher training and support for families.

Watch the debate by following this link.

Source:  http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=253&a=17679

First Published Friday, 10th October, 2008.

Voicemail in Asperger’s boy hunt

Gerwyn Morgan

Gerwyn Morgan needs medication, say police

A voicemail message service has been set up by South Wales Police for people to leave information about a missing teenager who has Asperger’s syndrome.

Gerwyn Morgan, 15, who needs to take medication, has not been seen since he left his Merthyr Tydfil home on the afternoon of Wednesday, 24 September.

The 01685 724323 service – which is also for text – is for anyone who might not want to contact police directly.

There were hopes Gerwyn would have made contact last Monday, his 15th birthday.

A poster campaign has also been launched in the Merthyr area.

There have been some unconfirmed sightings of the teenager since he disappeared but police said the last time he was actually seen was on 25 September, when he was caught on CCTV in Merthyr town centre.

Please call me, Gerwyn, get in touch through the school or the police so we can have a chat and know that you are OK
Rob Stevens, youth worker and Gerwyn’s friend

Police launched the voicemail hoping to gather more information about his movements over the last two and a half weeks.

Officers were also stopping shoppers at the local Asda and Tesco stores to show them posters of the missing boy.

“Some people may feel uncomfortable about phoning a police station or speaking to an officer if they only have a little piece of information they are unsure about,” said Ch Insp Ian Bellshaw.

“They might worry that police will think they are wasting their time or that it won’t be any use but at this stage any piece of information about sightings of Gerwyn, who he might be with or his movements could be a great help in finding him safe and well.”

He said any information will be treated confidentially by officers.

‘Very worried’

Gerwyn is described as white, 5ft 9in (1.75m), with short untidy brown hair, thin build, spotty complexion and brown eyes.

Earlier, a friend of Gerwyn and youth worker also issued a plea for him to get in touch.

Rob Stevens, Gerwyn’s learning support assistant at Pen Y Dre school in Merthyr, said the teenager had left on the day he was last seen “like on any other day”.

“We are now all very worried about him,” he said.

“If Gerwyn is staying away from home I want him to know that I and his teachers and classmates want him to come back safe.

“Please call me, Gerwyn, get in touch through the school or the police so we can have a chat and know that you are OK.”

“You are not in any trouble, we just want you to be safe.”

Asperger’s syndrome is a form of autism that affects how a person makes sense of the world. It can also cause problems with social skills.

Anyone who has information about Gerwyn or who knows his whereabouts can contact police on 01656 655555 or 01685 722541.

Source:  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7664038.stm

Niteroi - Summer in Rio


“Possible heart attack halts trial”:


“Funeral for 22 year-old man found in suitcase”:


“No charges over teenager’s death”:


“Medical blunder girl wins millions in damages”:


“Autistic man sues police over tasering”:


“I did not attack’ police,autistic man says”:


“Disabled man describes tasering”:


Michelle Dawson “Another autistic victory”:


USA Conference Oct 24-25 “Signing on the Spectrum: Meeting the Needs of Deaf Autistic Children”:


“Link between 15 cases of measles”:


“Angela Browning MP urges colleagues to ensure better future for autistic people, UK”:


“Police create autistic help card”:


“Supporters urge halt to hacker’s extradition to US”:


“Don’t extradite Gary McKinnon”:


“Report slams council over North Wales autism centre”:


“NAS Cymru welcomes report on autism centre closure”:


Northern Ireland “Mental health services criticised”:


“Child mental health care warning”:


“President Bush signs $700B financial bailout bill that includes mental health parity provisions”:


“End Child Poverty Campaign Rally: Gordon Brown urged to increase DLA, CLA”:


“Child poverty group’s protest march … Prime Minister Gordon Brown met some of the campaigners and assured them of his intention to introduce a legal duty on Government to eradicate child poverty by 2020.”:


“UK Autism Foundation joins End Child Poverty March in London”:


“U.N. Panel tells Britain to improve child protection”:


Preston, UK “Society opens autism group”
The National Autistic Society (NAS) is opening a new branch in Preston.
The society, the UK’s leading charity for people affected by autism, will launch the branch at an event at Corpus Christi Catholic Sports College on Tuesday October 14 at 4pm.
There will be stands and displays from organisations, an autism bookstall and a talented local 17-year-old singer who has Asperger’s Syndrome (a form of autism) will be performing.
For more information please call 07789 903250 or email: Preston@nas.org.uk

“NAS opens new branch at school”:


Free 2 Day Programme Run By NAS Scotland “Support programme for autism carers to be held this November”:


“U.S. To start $3.2bln child health study in January”:


“New technology holds the key to supporting people with learning disabilities, says charity”:


“Bluetooth sustem orients blind and sighted pedestrians in urban environments”:


“New iPod nano priased for aiding visually impaired”:


“Mereilles’ Blindness under fire … First it was people with learning disabilities protesting outside US cinemas over Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder. And now it seems that Julianne Moore’s new film has upset America’s National Federation for The Blind with its portrayal of a society in which a disease causes large numbers of people to lose their sight.”:


“Blind activists plan film protest”:


“New local authority action launched”:




“Many autistic adults beat odds, Utah researchers find”:


“Autism can add up to genius … The idea that autism may have positive aspects is finding favour among some of those with the condition. Some resent being labelled disabled and have begun describing those without autism as “neurotypicals” to make the point that they could be the ones missing out.”


“Psychotropic drug use soars in UK Teens”:


“Predictor of autism severity: Toddlers focus on mouths rather than on eyes”:


“DVD helps autistic kids read emotions”:


“Unlocking the inner-savant in all of us”:


“Math dyslexia unravelled”:

“Promising drug for patients with Fragile X syndrome”:


“6th World Rett Syndrome Congress gathers researchers from around the globe”:


“Acquisition of internal models of motor tasks in autistic children”:


“Rutgers researcher examines connections between vision and movement”:


“Sick leave link to early death”:




TOKYO “Autistic children thrive in English class”:


“Torfield School praised for its work with autistic children”:


“On Playground, autistic kids bond with peers”:


“Mind the gap: A year out can be a bonus – just choose wisely”:


“Parents voice concern over mutism”:


“Autism school go-ahead likely”:


“Autism school standards protest”:


“Parents: Special-ed busing not a priority”:


“Math dyslexia unravelled”:

“Are multiplication tables bullying your child?”:


“Abbey’s £20,000 boost for college … Sheffield’s Freeman College, which was founded in 2005, is one of three colleges established by RMET and offers a wide range of education and training to 16 to 25-year-olds with autistic spectrum disorders and developmental delay.”:


“School gets new minibus”:


“Midwestern students & peers continue autism experiment”:




“BBC widens search for journalists … BBC Wales is stepping up the hunt for journalists from ethnic minority and disabled backgrounds to help deliver the news to its diverse audiences.”:


Position Available “Assistant Headteacher”:


UK Positions Available – Starting Date Jan 2009 “Student support assistants to work with young people”:


Getting a Job, Career Planning “Time for a change? Try a career in the not-for-profit sector”:


UK: NAS Prospects Employment Service “Employment training courses for autistic adults”:


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/


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

“Current job vacancies within the NAS”:

For further employment information, please view”:



“Here’s how to build your hopes”:


“Help for the Caregivers”:


“Dads with autistic children get a place to learn, brag and vent”:


Stephen Shore “Reaching kids on the autism spectrum”:


“Plea for Dyspraxia … the charity is also launching a special competition during the awareness week -‘Reach for the Stars!’ – to recognise and reward those who have achieved something truly exceptional despite living with dyspraxia. For more information on how to enter, please visit www.dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk .”:


“Teen’s dyspraxia hope for others”:


“Geraldine takes centre stage at Conference”:


“Autistic children explore firefighting”:


“Fire emergency training set for children with disabilities”:


“Special needs children get their chance to not be singled out”:


“Life with autistic boy Joshua”:


“Phelps among athletes, celebs at autism benefit”:


“TSC and Learning Disabilities”:


“Wood worth showing off … An advantage to working from home, Fulkerson says, is being able to spend time looking after his son, who is non-verbal and autistic.

“He likes to hang out in the shop until it gets loud,” Fulkerson said.


“20 things you didn’t know about … Genius”:


Rio de Janeiro


(ABRA) Associação Brasileira de Autismo (Deuzina)
Rua do Lavapes, 1123
Cambuci 01519-000
São Paulo, SP
tel: 55 (11) 242 8822
fax: 55 (11) 270 2363
e-mail: info@ama.org.br

AMA-Ba – Associacao de Amigos do Autista da Bahia
Rua Macedo de Aguiar, 98 – Patamares
Salvador, Bahia, 41740-085
tel: 55 71 233-4177
email: info@ama-ba.org.br

Brazil's Pantanal Wetlands

Associacao Brasileira de Autismo
Sector de Divulgacao e Publicaoes
Estrada Da Canoa 401
S. Conrado (22610)
Rio de Janeiro

festival costume

Associaçao de Amigos do Autista (AMA)
Av. Ipiransa 919
16. andar cj. 1606, 013039
San Paulo

Iguazu – Flow


Associaçao de Amigos do Autista (AMA)
Rua do Lavapés, 1123
SP – CEP: 01519-000
Cambuci Sao Paulo
tel: (011) 242-8822
fax: (011) 270-2363
e-mail: ama@activemidia.com
url: http://www.activemidia.com/ama

Sao Paulo


Associacao de Pais de Autistas
Estr. Da Canoa 401
Rio De Janeiro



Associacao de Pais de Autistas do Rio de Janeiro (APARJ)
Av. General Guedes da Fontoura
880-Barra da Tijuca 22.621-240
Rio de Janeiro
tel: 021-493-3367
fax: 021-495-6436
e-mail: ecgauderer@montreal.com.br
url: http://www.geocities..com/Athens/Agora/4140

Children on the Amazon River

Associaçao de Pais e Amigos dos Portadores de Nessidades Especiais (AMES)
Rua Goiania, 26
Vila Isabel
Rio de Janeiro
tel: (55-21) 208-4873
e-mail: armindo@cvrd.com.br

Brazilian boy

Associacao de Protecao Aos Autistas
Av. Robert Kennedy
3345 Interlagos, CEP 04772
Sao Paulo
tel: 55 246-4718

Brazil's Amazon River

Casa Da Esperanca
e-mail: casa@jangada.fortalnet.com.br
url: http://iate.fortalnet.com/br/casaesperanca/princip.htm

Golden Lion Tamarin of the Amazon

Federaçào Paulista De Autismo (FEPA)
Rua Napoleào de Barros, No. 809
Vila Clementino
Sao Paulo
CEP 04024 002

The Honey Moon, Rio

“Brazil Facts, Videos, Flags, Photos”:


Copacabana Beach

“Photo Gallery: Brazil”:


Brazilian children's music

Brazilian Music for Children

CD “Brazilian Playground”

Putumayo Kids presents Brazilian Playground, offers an enchanting mix of musical styles and artists from one of the most musical countries in the world.

Samba, bossa nova and forró are among Brazil’s most popular and accessible musical styles for adults and children alike. Brazilian Playground features multilingual liner notes in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese, full colour photos, a map of Brazil and a glossary of musical terms.




“Facts and Myths about ADHD”:


“Advice about heart tests before ADHD treatment”:


“Verifying ADHD supplements’ effectiveness is still several studies away”:


“Ritalin abuse hits students looking for an exam kick”:


“ADHD stimulant meds cut young girls’ drug abuse risk”:


“Free prescription drug samples pose risk to kids”:


“Sleep apnea damages brains of young and old causing changes in brain functioning…”:


“Dealing with adult ADHD”:


“Psychologically speaking: Life with a child with ADHD”:


“Health Tip: Parenting a child with ADHD”:


“Hyperactive kids struggle to smell”:


“Sleep deprivation triggering depression, ADHD: Expert”:


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 affected by the condition, both adults and children, their families in the UK and around the World via this website.

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


“hi2u ADHD Pages”:




“Runman: Bain enters marathon for the love of running”:


New DVD “Drive to develop active lifestyle”:


“British woman skydiver conquers Everest”:


“Sun shines on Great North Run”:


“Mum’s Great North Run for children’s sake”:


“Fund-raising fun on the run”:


“Advocate raises £2,000 with multiple skydive”:


“Free sport kicks off for Wyre youngsters”:


“The 5k Santa run – 7th December”:


“Flora London Marathon 2009”:


“It’s back! The London to Paris Bike Ride 2009”:


“Cycle India 2009”:


“Dublin Marathon – 27th October, 2008”:


Newcastle & Portsmouth “BUPA Great North Run 2008 – World’s Biggest Half Marathon – 5th October”:

“Sahara Desert Trek – 8th-15th November, 2008”:

“Cycle China 2009 – 19th-29th March”:

“Trek the Inca Trail 2009 – 14th-23rd May”:

“Trek Jordan 2009 – 10th-14th September”:



“New friends for Mr Electric”:


“All Keith wants for Christmas is a No.1”:


Savoy Theatre, London ~ October 5, 2008 ~ 6pm “Jools Holland duets with Derek Paravacini in London West End autism benefit concert”:


“The AutisMusic Project”:


“Traditional, Multicultural & Ethnic Musical Instruments”:





Kwame Minta, 27, is the oldest of three sons of Akwasi Minta and Stella Dadson. He graduated from South Eugene High School in 1997, and completed the Community Living program.

Kwame lives at home with his Mom, takes a weaving class at Lane Community College, and a painting class at the Hilyard Community Center. Kwame loves to travel; by air, sea, train, any mode of transportation will do. His goal is to live on his own someday.


“Mind of an artist”:


“Enter the Hoffman Foundation’s prize for drawing and painting”:


“Autism Rocks”:


“NAS Christmas cards”:


“Take part in our creativity competition”:




UK Spoonface Steinberg, Lee Hall’s award-winning play about a young autistic girl, is at Guildford’s Mill Studio this weekend.

There are performances until Saturday. For tickets call 01483 440 000 or log on to www.yvonne-arnaud.co.uk


“Teacher’s TV: Every Child Matters – Tom’s Team”:


“Dream come true for Lizzy”:


“Rain Man inspires London stage play”:


NAS “Rain Man’, the play, opens in London’s West End”:


“A Pin-Up fit for Judge Judy”

Giggling teenagers are flocking to the West End production of Rain Man to catch a peek of Josh Hartnett in his undies, but his co-star Adam Godley is not without his fans.

Godley, who plays Hartnett’s autistic brother Raymond, was paid a backstage visit on Monday night by Judith Sheindlin, also known as television’s Judge Judy.

“My character mentions her lot in the play as Judge Judy is his favourite programme, but she had no idea – she was just in town and wanted to see a play,” Godley tells me.

“I had never seen an episode before we started rehearsing, but decided I had better watch a few episodes and ended up hooked.

“I was thrilled to meet her. She very kindly signed her latest book for me.”


“Heavy Load – film review …Heavy Load are much like the next jobbing pub band. The only difference is that three of the five have a learning disability – but in this documentary, which is very funny in places, it’s not disabilities that define them.”:


“Full line-up of movies announced for Sci-Fi-London’s new Oktoberfest event …. The festival includes three all-night movie marathons and takes place at the Apollo West End cinema in Regent Street, London, on October 3 and 4.

It includes the UK premiere of Dark Floors, starring the Finnish winner of Eurovision, in which a man tries to remove his autistic daughter from a hospital. They get stuck in an elevator and when they emerge the hospital is deserted and dark creatures begin a terrifying attack.


“Actors for Autism”:



“Talented autistic girl and mother share stories in new book”:


Mark Hendy “Panic and the Inner Monkey – I thought I was suffering heart failure at 20. It was the first of the panic attacks that left my life in turmoil”:




coming soon “Asperger Syndrome and Employment: What People with Asperger Syndrome Really Really Want”

Author: Sarah Hendrickx


coming soon “Girls Growing Up on the Autism Spectrum: What Parents and Professionals Should Know about the Pre-Teen and Teenage Years”

Author: Shana Nichols

With Gina Marie Moravcik and Samara Pulver Tetenbaum


coming soon “Alphabet Kids – From ADD to Zellweger Syndrome: A Guide to Developmental Neurobiological and Psychological Disorders for Parents and Professionals”

Author: Robbie Woliver


coming soon “The Liam Books”

Author: Jane Whelan Banks


New “Social Skills for Teenagers and Adults with Asperger Syndrome: A Practical Guide to Day-to-Day Life”

Author: Nancy J. Patrick


New “How to Make School Make Sense: A Parents’ Guide to Helping the Child with Asperger Syndrome”

Author: Clare Lawrence

Foreword by Tony Attwood


New “Mind/Body Techniques for Asperger’s Syndrome: The Way of the Pathfinder”

Author: Ron Rubio

Forewords by Irene Brody and Anthony Castrogiovanni


New “Integrated Yoga: Yoga with a Sensory Integrative Approach”

Author: Nicole Cuomo


“Yoga for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Step-by-Step Guide for Parents and Caregivers”

Authors: Dion E. Betts and Stacey W. Betts

Forewords by Louise Goldberg, Registered Yoga Teacher and Joshua S. Betts


“Don’t Call Me Special”:


Disability Resources – Books, Charts/Posters, Supplies etc”:


“Joe: The Only Boy in the World”

Author: Michael Blastland


Review of Joe by Simon Baron-Cohen: The Only Boy in the World

“The Boy Who Made Everything Luminous”:


Lego Batman video game





Fly Me To The Moon 3D Movie



A World Premiere 3D Adventure

Now Playing Worldwide

Official Site


Sweet Dreams







“Video game for flies may unlock secrets of insect flight”



Space Rock Collides with Earth Right on Time

Chemistry Nobel for Green Jellyfish Protein


In closing, we take a look at“Enchanted Learning’s Brazil” for children http://www.enchantedlearning.com/southamerica/brazil/ along with a visit to the Brazilian Touch Art Gallery http://www.braziliantouch.net/

Hope you enjoyed the read.

Take Care,


 Rio de Janeiro

St Johns Wort

First Published Thursday, 9th October, 2008.

The herbal medicine St. John’s wort appears to work just as well as some prescribed antidepressants for treating patients with major depression, a new review finds. However, patients in German-speaking countries might experience the most benefit.

While there is public interest in the United States about whether St. John’s wort adequately treats depression, in some countries, like Germany, doctors commonly prescribe it for mild symptoms. Authors of the review found that studies with German patients did, in fact, have the best results.

The most striking finding from our review is that trials from German-speaking countries have clearly more positive effects, both compared to placebo and standard antidepressants, than trials from elsewhere,” said lead reviewer Klaus Linde of the Centre for Complementary Medicine Research at Technical University in Munich. “In principle, we can say that hypericum extracts work in German-speaking countries, but we are less certain for other countries.

The review appears in the current issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates research in all aspects of health care. Systematic reviews draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing trials on a topic.

A person could be experiencing major depression when depression symptoms interfere with his or her ability to work, sleep, eat and take pleasure in activities previously enjoyed. The symptoms usually last for at least two weeks, but can often last longer than several months. St. John’s wort, an extract of the plant Hypericum perforatum, is an herbal alternative for patients who do not want prescribed antidepressants.

Exactly how the herb works to treat depression is unclear, partly because the extracts can contain at least seven groups of components, according to the reviewers. There is also no regulation on what the extract must contain.

There is no patent protection on herbs; therefore, more or less anyone can market hypericum extracts,” Linde said. “The products on the market vary enormously in their quality and content in active ingredients.

Linde added that consumers should be aware that many St. John’s wort products on the market have very low concentrations (such as dosages of less than 300 milligrams per day), and therefore, probably act only by placebo effects.

The meta-analysis provides the best evidence to date of the effects of St. John’s wort in people with mild to moderate major depression and moderate to severe major depression.

The researchers say that although the review was limited to major depression and did not look at atypical depression, major depression is not necessarily the only or best indication for its use. They acknowledge that people with atypical depression may be particularly suited to treatment with St. John’s wort.

In the United States, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), a division of the National Institutes of Health, reports that St. John’s wort is “of minimal benefit in treating major depression.” A study co-funded by NCCAM, found St. John’s wort to be no more effective than placebo in treating major depression of moderate severity.

Linde and his colleagues wrote a previous Cochrane review in 2005 on St John’s wort and concluded that it did reduce symptoms of mild to moderate depression. The significant difference between the 2005 review and the current one is the reviewers now include only studies restricted to major depression, while the older review included all depressive disorders.

Compared to 2005, the evidence that hypericum extracts are effective is better now,” said Linde. “The new version also for the first time shows significantly fewer side effects associated with hypericum extracts compared to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

The current review evaluated 29 studies from a variety of countries – with a total of 5,489 patients – and all trials were randomized and double blind. The reviewers compared treatment of patients with major depression with extracts of St. John’s wort for four to 12 weeks with either placebo or tri- or tetracyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

According to the reviewers, the St. John’s wort products tested in the trials were high- quality products and the daily extract dosages were between 500 and 1,200 milligrams.

The Cochrane reviewers concluded the available evidence suggests that hypericum extracts are superior to placebo in treating patients with major depressions and are “similarly effective” as standard antidepressants.

However Linde cautions that “using a St. Johns wort extract might be justified, but products on the market vary considerably, so these results only apply to the preparations tested.

The researchers advise that those wishing to take St. John’s wort should consult a health professional about the best preparation for them, and the risks and benefits compared to standard antidepressants.

John Williams, MD, director of the Duke Evidence-based Practice Center at Duke University and Durham VA Medical Center, has also done research on the use of St. John’s wort for depression and disagreed that patients with major depression should turn to the product.

Given the inconsistent evidence about efficacy in major depression and the questionable quality of over-the-counter products, St. John’s wort should not be a first or second choice for U.S. patients with moderate to severe major depression,” he said.

Williams added, however, that for patients with minor depression, where the evidence for St. John’s wort “is more robust,” it might be an option for patients who can find quality products.

The review disclosed that each author has received speaking or travel reimbursement fees from German drug manufacturer Schwabe.

To Take or Not to Take ...

Linde K, Berner MM, Kriston L. St John’s wort for major depression. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 4:CD000448   [Abstract | Full text (PDF)]

St Johns wort is known to interact with many prescription drugs used to treat conditions such as anxiety disorders, depression, heart disease, HIV, and seizures, or to prevent transplant rejection and pregnancy (oral contraceptives)…

If you are taking any prescribed medications consult your doctor before taking a supplement containing St John’s Wort, Hypericum or Hyperforin.

First Published Wednesday, 8th October, 2008.

Don Butler ,  Canwest News Service

Published: Monday, October 06, 2008

OTTAWA – In what’s believed to be its first autism-related case, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has upheld a complaint against Canada Post by a former Montreal mail carrier.

In a ruling released Monday, the tribunal said Canada Post violated the Canadian Human Rights Act by failing to accommodate Michelle Dawson’s disability and by allowing management staff to harass her.

The decision requires Canada Post to work with the Canadian Human Rights Commission to modify its harassment, discrimination and accommodation policies to conform with the Human Rights Act. It also directs Canada Post to conduct “workplace equity, accommodation and sensitivity training” for managers and staff, with a particular focus on autism.

A file photo of Michelle Dawson sitting in Westmount park in western Montreal. Dawson is autistic and is an austism researcher and prolific writer on the subject.

A file photo of Michelle Dawson sitting in Westmount park in western Montreal. Dawson is autistic and is an austism researcher and prolific writer on the subject. Tyrel Featherstone/Ottawa Citizen

But because Dawson didn’t seek remedial measures, the tribunal did not order Canada Post to reinstate her in her job or pay any fines or compensation.

Dawson, 47, who has been receiving disability benefits since 2003, has become an internationally known researcher and writer on autism issues. She was diagnosed with autism in the early 1990s.

She couldn’t be reached for comment Monday. But on her blog, autismcrisis.blogspot.com, she wrote that the decision “is entirely good for autistics in Canada.

“It is unprecedented in establishing under a human rights law in Canada that autistics . . . are human beings with human rights.”

Dawson started working at Canada Post in 1988 and was widely seen as an exemplary employee. But everything went downhill after she disclosed her diagnosis to Canada Post in April 1999, she testified.

After she appeared at work in July 1999 with self-inflicted wounds – a behaviour often seen among those with autism – some employees felt threatened and sent a letter of concern to management.

Dawson testified that Canada Post treated her as a non-person and acted as if autistic people were bizarre, difficult and unable to speak for themselves.

She also accused specific employees of making discriminatory and harassing comments to her, including one who asserted she had mutilated herself in front of her co-workers.

The tribunal found those remarks to be discriminatory because they “brand Dawson as a violent person in relation to her disability, a perception which is totally, given the evidence, gratuitous.”

It also found that Canada Post managers were guilty of harassment for pressuring Dawson to submit to an independent medical evaluation.

The tribunal said it was “disturbing” that autistic people were seen as a threat to the safety of others and “some form of nuisance in the workplace.” They need to be reassured, it said, that employers will do “everything possible short of undue hardship” to dispel such misconceptions among their employees.

“It goes to the right of autistic individuals to be treated equally, with dignity and respect, free of any discrimination or harassment related to their condition.”

Canada Post spokesman John Caines said management will “work with our human rights group” to ensure the proper follow-up occurs in response to the ruling.

Source:  http://www.canada.com/topics/news/story.html?id=785008e8-f501-4605-a3da-3bb960b602e7

Congratulations to Michelle

“Another Autistic Victory”: