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February 2011



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Archive for February 16th, 2011


Bipolar disorder involves mood swings that are more exaggerated than typical fluctuations. The “up” periods are known as manic episodes, mania, or hypomania (a less severe form of mania); the “down” periods are called depressive episodes, or depression.

What are typical symptoms of bipolar disorder? For people with bipolar disorder, manic episodes are characterized by aggression, agitation, or irritation; a decreased need for sleep; euphoria; high distractibility; an increased sex drive; inflated self-esteem; racing thoughts; rapid speech; spending sprees; and delusions, hallucinations, or psychosis.

Depressive episodes are marked by difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions; eating disturbances; loss of appetite and weight loss, or overeating and weight gain; fatigue or listlessness; feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and/or guilt; loss of self esteem; persistent sadness; sleep disturbances; suicidal thoughts; or withdrawal from people and activities that were once enjoyed.

Mood swings vary in length and frequency. Some people with bipolar disorder suffer mostly with major depression, with only the occasional manic episode; others experience “rapid cycling,” with at least four episodes of depression, mania, or hypomania occurring within one year.

Types of Bipolar Disorder According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM-IV), there are four types of bipolar disorder, differing primarily in symptom severity and the length of time between manic and depressive episodes.

  1. 1.  Bipolar type I is the most severe and potentially dangerous form of bipolar disorder. Bipolar type I is characterized by manic or mixed episodes that last at least seven days or by manic symptoms that are so severe that the person needs emergency hospital care. Manic or mixed episodes are followed by episodes of major depression that last weeks or even years.
  2. 2.  Bipolar type II involves alternating hypomanic (lasting at least four days) and depressive episodes but no full-blown manic or mixed episodes. While “up” periods are marked by milder symptoms, depressive episodes may be severe and debilitating. Generally, people with bipolar type II can function in their normal daily routine while hypomanic. During the depressive phase, the level of functioning varies significantly among individuals.
  3. 3.  Cyclothymia is an even more mild form of mood cycling with highs and lows that continue for at least two years but never reach the severity of major depression or mania. This can make it hard to distinguish from normal variations in mood and personality.
  4. 4.  Bipolar disorder not otherwise specified (BP-NOS) is diagnosed when symptoms don’t meet the criteria for bipolar I or II or cyclothymia. Symptoms may not last long enough, or the person may have too few of them. But the symptoms are clearly out of the person’s normal range of behavior.

Source:  http://www.johnshopkinshealthalerts.com/alerts/depression_anxiety/bipolar-disorder-symptoms_3853-1.html?ET=johnshopkins:e44564:287009a:&st=email&s=EDH_110215_001

Christy Matta, M.A. Updated: Feb 16th 2011

Family therapy has gained importance over the past 30 years and for many with a diagnosis of a mental illness has become an essential aspect of treatment. Family therapies have been designed for use with relatives of people with specific diagnosis. These treatments recognize both the individuals psychiatric disorder, as well as the context in which is occurs.

Family interventions for people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and their relatives have begun to show some success. In particular, family treatments are emerging that are consistent with Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). In an article published in Family Process (1999), Hoffman, Fruzetti and Swenson describe DBT Family treatment.

A diagnosis of Borderline Personality disorder is characterized by emotional instability, impulse controlFamily interventions, then, seem logical, with the potential to alter a negative environment problems and severe interpersonal difficulties In addition, research has found that people with BPD were often raised in families with psychopathology and problematic interactions that may play a role in the development of the diagnosis. and improve the functioning of the individual diagnosed with BPD.

Read in Full: http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=42062&cn=8

Article Date: 16 Feb 2011 – 1:00 PST

In the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, investigators from the University of Bologna, Copenhagen and Cambridge present data that suggest that the most commonly used scale for assessing depression (the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale) may not be sufficient and another, more comprehensive and accurate, is available.

A comprehensive assessment of the wide spectrum of depressive symptomatology, particularly in its subclinical forms, is lacking in standard rating scales. There is also an emerging need for instruments that can detect small differences in therapeutic studies and have good sensitivity. The purpose of this paper is to review the clinimetric characteristics of Paykel’s Clinical Interview for Depression (CID) and to examine the results of the studies in which the interview has been used.

Read in Full:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/216575.php

16th February, 2011.

Children’s heart surgery at some of the country’s leading hospitals will stop under controversial NHS plans set to be agreed.

At least four of England’s 11 units will close, with surgeons transferred to bigger regional centres.

Sick children will face longer journeys, but the NHS review team believes it will make possible increasingly complex operations around the clock.

Southampton General Hospital operates on 350 children born with serious heart conditions each year.

It is hiring a fourth consultant surgeon in the hope of taking on more work under the reorganisation.

Consultant cardiologist Dr James Gnanapragasam told Sky News bigger units are better for children with rare heart conditions.

“You need at least four surgeons to make sure they are not overburdened with their out-of-hours work in addition to daytime work,” he said.

“Some of these operations are very complicated. It stands to reason that the more you do, you are likely to be better.”

Five-month-old Hannah Slater owes her life to the surgeons at the hospital. Her mum Charlotte says the expert care makes the 60-mile round trip from home worthwhile.

“The quality of care has to come first,” she said.

“It is a relatively short period of time in her life. It’s really tough at the moment, but it’s only six months and hopefully travelling here will give us the opportunity to have a much longer period of time with her.

“We were just incredibly lucky that we have such a world-class facility.”

Currently, London has three children’s heart surgery units. Hospitals in Southampton, Bristol, Oxford, Birmingham, Leicester, Leeds, Liverpool and Newcastle also operate on children.

NHS medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh asked the National Specialised Commissioning Group to review surgery to ensure the spread of services was appropriate.

The group will present a series of options at a public meeting, with an agreed plan then put out for consultation.

But some families will have to travel further for surgery.

Eight-year-old David Crocker was due to have a life-saving operation at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital, but surgery there was suspended last year after a higher than normal death rate.

His mum Maria fears her son, who is autistic, will be unsettled by an operation elsewhere.

“To be told that he’s got to have his surgery at a different hospital, where he’s not going to be familiar with those particular grounds, those particular surgeons, that particular ward, then it’s going to terrify him,” she said.

“It’s going to make the whole healing process after surgery a lot longer.”

Source: http://uk.news.yahoo.com/5/20110216/tuk-doors-set-to-close-on-child-heart-op-45dbed5.html

'Dev D', a reinvention of the classic 'Devdas'.

MUMBAI: Bollywood’s dream merchants have traditionally sold young chocolaty romances, complete with pink roses. But in the last 10 years, a lot of unusual love stories have made their way to the silver screen, be it ‘Mr and Mrs Iyer’, or ‘Cheeni Kum’ or ‘Wake Up Sid’.

So this Valentine’s Day, here’s remembering some unconventional relationships on screen like a 60-plus confirmed bachelor being bowled over by a 35-year-old woman or a married woman being drawn towards her co-passenger during a riot.

‘Mr and Mrs. Iyer’ (2002): Aparna Sen is different, so it was obvious that the love track in her movie ‘Mr and Mrs. Iyer’ would not be run-of-the-mill. The director finely wove a love story between a conservative Tamilian Brahmin housewife, Meenakshi Iyer, and a Muslim wildlife photographer, Raja Chowdhury, during a fateful bus journey. The lead pair of Konkona Sen Sharma and Rahul Bose carried their roles so beautifully that it set new rules for on-screen romance.

‘Socha Na Tha’ (2005): Made by first-timer Imtiaz Ali who teamed up with debutant Abhay Deol and newcomer Ayesha Takia, the young romance saga about a confused young guy exuded freshness in every department – the concept was new, the treatment was fresh, the dialogues were not mushy, the acting was not over the top and the story gelled with the lifestyle of restless GenY.

‘Salaam Namaste’ (2005): Yash Raj Films, known for creating larger than life love stories, broke the tradition with a live-in relationship story in ‘Salaam Namaste’. In the film, Melbourne-based Indians, played by Preity Zitna and Saif Ali Khan, decide to have a no-strings-attached relationship. The audiences welcomed director Siddharth Anand’s concept and thronged the hall.

‘Main, Meri Patni Aur Woh’ (2005): In the same year came a simple story about simple people. Directed by Chandan Arora, the medium- budget movie revolved around a short middle-class small town simpleton, played by Rajpal Yadav, whose marriage proposal is accepted by a glamorous and highly educated woman, Rituparna Sengupta, and how his insecurities surfaces as soon as he marries her. It’s narrated so deftly that you are hooked to it from the first to the last scene.

‘Cheeni Kum’ (2007): Hindi movie audiences have seen the salt-and-pepper generation getting infatuated with a young girl in ‘Shaukeen’, but R. Balakrishnan took the concept forward with his directorial debut ‘Cheeni Kum’ by building a fruitful romance between a 60-plus chef and a 35-year-old computer expert. Amitabh Bachchan and Tabu’s flawless performances and crackling chemistry made it a good watch. It was a bold attempt, but it couldn’t stump the box office.

‘Dev D’ (2009): Anurag Kashyap’s reinvented take on Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novel ‘Devdas’ in ‘Dev D’ saw protagonist Dev (Abhay Deol) being presented as arrogant and impulsive. The two women in his life are a departure from the women in previous movies. Paro (Mahie Gill) is so bindaas that she uses foul language and even breaks into a gig on her wedding, while Chandramukhi (Kalki Koechlin), a girl from a well-to-do family, gets into prostitution after getting involved in an MMS scandal. In short, it was a raunchy romance full of steamy scenes and sexual innuendos.

‘Wake Up Sid’ (2009): Nobody would have ever thought of casting Ranbir Kapoor and Konkona Sen Sharma to play a pair, but first time director Ayan Mukerji did it for ‘Wake Up Sid’ and the risk paid off as everyone lapped up the story of a young boy falling in love with a simple looking older girl who is trying to make a future for herself in his city.

‘My Name Is Khan’ (2010): This was a never before seen love story. A man suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome reaches New York and falls in love with a single mother and manages to convince her to marry him. Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol’s mature performances made it believable.

Read in Full: http://expressbuzz.com/entertainment/interviews/unusual-romances/247813.html

By KIM KOMANDO • Gannett • February 14, 2011

When Apple released the iPad, many wondered how they would use the tablet. We’ve since discovered that it’s great for reading, playing games and watching videos. Uses for the iPad are nearly limitless.

Restaurants are using the iPad in place of menus. Hyundai replaces the owner’s manual with an iPad for some car models. Here are some of the more specialized uses for the iPad. Find links to apps mentioned at www.komando.com/news.


The iPad is a valuable tool for parents of children with autism spectrum conditions. In fact, it can help anyone with a condition that affects language. At $190, the Proloquo2Go app isn’t cheap, but compared with similar solutions, it’s a bargain — even considering the cost of the iPad.

Proloquo2Go is designed to assist with communication. Users build sentences by tapping images on the screen. The app can conjugate verbs automatically. Then, the user simply taps to have the sentence read out loud. It has a built-in vocabulary of more than 7,000 items. Sentences can be stored for later use.

Credit card processing

The iPad can also be used as a point-of-sale system. Some stores and restaurants have developed their own apps. The apps allow them to replace cash registers with iPads. Now anyone can use the iPad to process credit card payments.

The Square app works with a dongle that reads credit cards. Both the app and the dongle are free. Square charges about 3 percent of sales. You can customize the app by adding products. Then, tap a product to add it to a sale. Or, simply enter the information manually.

Read in Full: http://www.courierpostonline.com/article/20110214/BUSINESS/102140324/What-can-t-the-iPad-do-Very-little-it-seems


Amanda Gefter, CultureLab editor

The Omega Theory, Mark Alpert’s Einstein-exploiting thriller, is an entertaining but formulaic parable of the perils of having a theory of everything

What if Einstein, who spent the last twenty years of his life fruitlessly searching for a unified “theory of everything” had in fact discovered such a theory, but decided to bury the ultimate equations forever, having seen the atomic horrors that his earlier discoveries wrought? This intriguing premise opens Mark Alpert’s new novel The Omega Theory, the sequel to his debut physics thriller, The Final Theory.

In reality, of course, Einstein was missing fundamental pieces of the cosmic puzzle, including two forces of nature (the strong and weak nuclear forces) that were discovered after his death – but nevertheless it is a fun counterfactual.

As The Omega Theory opens, Einstein’s great-great-grandson, an autistic teenager named Michael, has been kidnapped by religious zealots who believe they can use the lost equations etched into Michael’s remarkable memory to bring on the end of days and their entrance to God’s eternal kingdom.

Michael’s adoptive parents, the hapless science historian David Swift and his quantum physicist wife Monique, both of whom starred in Alpert’s earlier novel, must figure out the nature of reality – and quickly – to rescue Michael and save the universe. It’s a mission that takes them from quantum computing labs to the tunnels beneath Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall, and from secret Kabbalist meeting grounds to army bases on the borders of Iran.

Read in Full: http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/culturelab/2011/02/the-physicist-who-knew-too-much.html

The Omega Theory

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On Tuesday 8 February 2011, the Education Bill was debated for the first time in Westminster.

We briefed MPs on the Bill before it was debated and, as a result, the impact of the Bill on children with autism was raised a number of times during the debate.

Read the briefing we sent to MPs.


In particular, we had expressed concerns about the replacement of Independent Appeal Panels for exclusions with Review Panels, which would not have the power to reinstate children who had been permanently excluded.

A number of MPs highlighted the disproportionate number of children with autism who have been excluded. Conservative MP Richard Fuller said that the high number of exclusions of children with autism needed more attention.

Shadow Education Secretary Andy Burnham said: “Parents of children with disabilities and special needs already face a battle to get them a good education. With changes to admissions and exclusions, which will see schools become judge and jury, the Bill stacks the odds against those children even further”.

Education Minister Nick Gibb said that parents still had the right of appeal on exclusions.

Joined-up working

We are also particularly concerned that the Bill removes the duty on schools to co-operate with other local agencies. We also oppose the Government’s decision to remove the duty on local authorities to develop a Children and Young People’s Plan.

Liberal Democrat MP Annette Brooke stressed the importance of these plans and of joined-up working between education, health and social care, particularly for those with complex needs, such as autism.

We await the imminent publication of the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Green Paper to determine further how the Government intends its educational reforms to impact on children with SEN.

Source:  http://www.autism.org.uk/en-gb/news-and-events/news-from-the-nas/mps-highlight-impact-of-education-bill-on-children-with-autism.aspx

Tourette Syndrome

A Devon man suffering from Tourette’s Syndrome is to undergo a pioneering form of brain surgery.

Mike Sullivan, 32, from Exeter, will have deep brain stimulation to help reduce his involuntary tics.

It sends electrical impulses to control brain activity and has proved effective in treating Parkinson’s disease, cluster headaches and depression.

Tourette’s is a neurological disorder thought to occur if there is a problem with nerves communicating in the brain.

People suffering from Tourette’s usually have both motor and vocal tics.

Mr Sullivan, who was diagnosed with the condition at the age of 12, became the victim of bullying and teasing at school.

He opted for deep brain stimulation after his condition worsened and symptoms became more frequent.

“Start Quote

If it improves me even by 5% or 10%, it will make such a massive difference to my quality of life”

End Quote Mike Sullivan

Mike Sullivan

Mr Sullivan said he has to work hard to suppress the almost continual tics while working with the public at Exeter Register Office. He describes this experience as exhausting and mentally draining.

“I can, up to a point, control it… but I’m always looking for a way out if people are staring,” he told BBC News.

He has tried a number of different medications. None has relieved his symptoms but many have given him serious and unpleasant side effects.

For deep brain stimulation a local anaesthetic is used and electrodes are put into the brain through the skull.

These are linked to a pacemaker-type battery in the patient’s chest then electrical impulses are sent to the brain to block the damaging signals.

Mr Sullivan said he was aware of the risks involved in undergoing brain surgery, but if it led to any improvement in his condition it would be worth it.

‘Reasonably safe’

“Whilst I’m scared and it’s not something I’d choose to do, it’s more than worth the risk,” he said.

“If it improves me even by 5% or 10%, it will make such a massive difference to my quality of life.”

Doctors at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London are trialling the use of deep brain stimulation to treat not only Tourette’s Syndrome, but Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which many Tourette’s patients including Mr Sullivan also suffer from.

Only a few procedures have so far been carried out worldwide, but Mr Sullivan has been recommended for treatment by Dr Tim Harrower, a consultant neurologist at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

“It’s reasonably safe, but still I think Mike’s being extremely brave to do this because it is pioneering and cutting edge,” Dr Harrower said.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-12370954

Gary McKinnon

First Published Feb 14, 2011.

PINK Floyd guitarist David Gilmour is paying for psychiatric treatment for Scots computer hacker Gary McKinnon, it has been revealed.

Glasgow-born McKinnon, who faces jail in the US for hacking into government computer systems, had his NHS funding suddenly withdrawn last month.

The 45-year-old, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, fell victim to cutbacks at the London NHS trust which had funded his treatment by Professor Jeremy Turk, an expert in the condition.

Gary’s family have been fighting a long campaign to stop him being extradited to the US.

He could face up to 60 years behind bars for breaking into Nasa and Pentagon computers in 2001 and 2002 while looking for evidence of UFOs.

And Prof Turk believes he will become a suicide risk if he is forced to go to America to face trial.

Gilmour, 64, has a long record of charitable work, including supporting mental health charities.

In 2003, he sold his house in Little Venice in London to Earl Spencer and donated the s3.6million proceeds to fund a housing project for the homeless.

His intervention comes at a crucial time for Gary, whose mum, Janis Sharp, has just revealed she has new evidence of mental illness in the family which could bolster the case against extradition.

Janis said yesterday: “When I heard about the funding for Gary’s psychiatrist being refused, I was shell-shocked.

“What will happen to other people with psychiatric problems if their funding is cut off? “I’m so grateful to David Gilmour for helping Gary at such a crucial time.”

Janis added that on her son’s 17th birthday she took him to a neurologist because she feared he might have a brain tumour.

Read in Full: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/2011/02/14/ypink-floyd-guitarist-paying-for-treatment-for-scots-hacker-gary-mckinnon-86908-22922522/

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