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March 2011



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Archive for March 1st, 2011


Article Date: 24 Feb 2011 – 12:00 PST

High blood levels of a hormone produced in response to stress are linked to post-traumatic stress disorder in women but not men, a study from researchers at Emory University and the University of Vermont has found.

The results are scheduled for publication in the Feb. 24 issue of Nature.

The hormone, called PACAP (pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide), is known to act throughout the body and the brain, modulating central nervous system activity, metabolism, blood pressure, pain sensitivity and immune function. The identification of PACAP as an indicator of PTSD may lead to new diagnostic tools and eventually, to new treatments for anxiety disorders.

“Few biological markers have been available for PTSD or for psychiatric diseases in general,” says first author Kerry Ressler, MD, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University School of Medicine and a researcher at Yerkes National Primate Research Center. “These results give us a new window into the biology of PTSD.”

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Article Date: 26 Feb 2011 – 0:00 PST


A rare genetic malfunction which only affects 0.3% of patients may eventually lead the way to better treatment for some individuals with schizophrenia, say scientists from the University of California, San Diego, USA. The NIH-funded study found that people with schizophrenia are 14 times more likely to have multiple copies of a gene on Chromosome 7 than those in the control group.

The faults were found in the gene for VIPR2, the receptor for VIP (vasoactive intestinal peptide). VIP is a chemical messenger experts say plays a role in the development of the brain. When examining patients’ blood they found that they had excess VIP activity.

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ScienceDaily (Feb. 28, 2011) — A sub-study of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) headed by Ms Posserud was conducted as part of the “Barn i Bergen” (Children in Bergen) project. The study shows that the diagnosis of ASD may apply to as much as one per cent of the population.


ASD is a collective term for diagnoses such as autism (childhood autism), Asperger’s syndrome, atypical autism and other autistic traits. The classic signs of autistic behaviour include communication difficulties, poor social skills, repetitive behaviour and narrowly focused interests.

Different results

A study conducted in 1998 found that autism occurred in 0.05 per cent of Norwegian children. The figures from the “Barn i Bergen” project could therefore be interpreted to mean that the incidence of autism has risen dramatically. However, Ms Posserud thinks it is important to downplay the difference in results.

“It is difficult to know whether the differences in these studies reflect a genuine increase in the incidence of ASD. Our conclusion is that the rise in ASD can be explained mainly by the use of more thorough mapping methods and, consequently, that we are not seeing the emergence of an autism epidemic,” says Ms Posserud, who is a doctor and researcher in the field of child psychiatry at Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen.

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College Students/Social Skills


By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on March 1, 2011

New research supports the notion that successful navigation of the college environment provides social benefits to students as they move into the workforce.

Specifically, Finnish psychologists discovered students’ social skills and behavior in social situations during their university studies contribute to their success in the transition to work. The social strategies adopted during university studies also have an impact on work commitment and early-career coping with working life.

The study looked at the relationship between the social strategies students show at university and how well they cope with work-related challenges. It was carried out with funding from the Academy of Finland.

“The higher the initial level of social optimism and the bigger the increase during university studies, the greater the level of early-career work engagement, dedication and career-related commitment,” said Dr. Katariina Salmela-Aro, the principal investigator of the project.

Work engagement is defined as a positive, motivating work-related state of mind characterised by vigor, enthusiasm and dedication.

The results of the research project also suggest that social withdrawal and avoidance during university studies are indicative of a distant attitude towards work and an increased likelihood of exhaustion and burnout after the transition to working life.

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Article Date: 01 Mar 2011 – 4:00 PSt


Death can be terrifying. Recognizing that death is inescapable and unpredictable makes us incredibly vulnerable, and can invoke feelings of anxiety, hatred and fear. But new research by George Mason University psychology professor Todd Kashdan shows that being a mindful person not only makes you generally more tolerant and less defensive, but it can also actually neutralize fears of dying and death.



“Mindfulness is being open, receptive, and attentive to whatever is unfolding in the present moment,” says Kashdan. In his latest research, Kashdan and his colleagues wanted to find out if mindful people had different attitudes about death and dying.


“Generally, when reminded of our mortality, we are extremely defensive. Like little kids who nearly suffocate under blanket protection to fend off the monster in the closet, the first thing we try to do is purge any death-related thoughts or feelings from our mind,” says Kashdan.


“On the fringes of this conscious awareness, we try another attempt to ward off death anxiety. We violently defend beliefs and practices that provide a sense of stability and meaning in our lives.”


Kashdan says this practice often has an ugly side – intolerance and abuse. “When people are reminded that death is impending, their racist tendencies increase,” he says. In a series of experiments conducted by the University of Missouri-Columbia, for example, white people asked to read about a crime committed by another person give harsher penalties for black compared with white defendants after being reminded of their mortality.


Kashdan wondered what might prevent these defensive, intolerant reactions from occurring. In a recent study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, he and his colleagues looked at what might happen when mindfulness and the terror of death collide.



“A grudge match between humanity and death,” says Kashdan.


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Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention



David Van Nuys, Ph.D. Updated: Feb 28th 2011


Ms. Ellison, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, is an adult with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD, and the mother of a son who also is diagnosed with ADHD. She has written a book, Buzz, about her experiences living with and coming to terms with ADHD in herself and her son. Ms. Ellison reports she has always been a restless and easily bored person. She gravitated towards journalism in part because it offered her an opportunity to work in a highly stimulating, rapidly changing environment which fit her need for constant novelty. Though decorated for the quality of her work (for her 1980s era coverage of the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines) she was also prone to make mistakes and several times was nearly sued for inaccurate reportage. As a younger person she was skeptical about the validity of ADHD and critical of parents who allowed their children to be medicated for ADHD. However, as she became a parent of a child with ADHD symptoms and grappled with parenting issues made more difficult by her own tendency towards distraction she came around. Her son was medicated for a period of one year and showed dramatic improvement in terms of his ability to concentrate and to make friends and a decrease in oppositional behaviors. After being diagnosed herself she came to understand and appreciate the role this condition has played in the lives of multiple generations of her family.

David Van Nuys: Welcome to Wise Counsel, a podcast interview series sponsored by Mentalhelp.net, covering topics in mental health, wellness, and psychotherapy. My name is Dr. David Van Nuys. I’m a clinical psychologist and your host.


On today’s show, we’ll be talking with Pulitzer-Prize winning author Katherine Ellison about ADHD. Katherine Ellison is a Pulitzer-Prize winning former foreign correspondent, the mother of two boys, and the author of four books. She spent a total of 15 years covering Asia and Latin America for Knight Ridder newspapers. Her books include most recently The Mommy Brain: How Motherhood Makes You Smarter, and the even more recently released Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention.

Now, here’s the interview.


Katherine Ellison, welcome to Wise Counsel.

Katherine Ellison: Thank you very much.


David: Well, it’s great to have this opportunity to speak with you. I discovered you as a result of an article that you wrote for The Washington Post that got reprinted in my local paper. And in that article, you wrote about your family’s struggle with ADD or attention deficit disorder, and then I discovered that there was actually a book behind the article: Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention.


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To Purchase a Copy of “Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention”:




First Published on Mon Feb 28 09:29:06 GMT 2011


The mother of computer hacker Gary McKinnon has said she fears that Nick Clegg is now “washing his hands” of her son’s fight against extradition to the US.

The Deputy Prime Minister has been one of Asperger’s sufferer Mr McKinnon’s staunchest supporters in the campaign for him to be tried in the UK – where all his crimes were committed.

However, Janis Sharp says that since coming into power, the Lib Dem leader has refused a personal request to meet her, stating it “would be better all round” if they did not discuss the ongoing case.

Mr Clegg said the decision was out of his hands and now that of the Home Secretary, Theresa May.


Mrs Sharp told the Daily Mail: “I wanted to raise my concerns with Mr Clegg as it is right and proper and by no means unreasonable in the horrific circumstances to which Gary and I are being subjected.


“I’m now afraid that he might be attempting to wash his hands of Gary and perhaps sees Gary as a thorn in his side.

“I so hope this isn’t true as I trusted Nick Clegg to the core – I really believed in him.


“The Lib Dems used my son’s case pre-election and as far as I am concerned it was 100% commitment to him. How can we have any trust in politicians when they behave like this?”


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Previous Updates




TRIBUTES: University student Ben Cape, 23, has lost his brave fight against a rare form of cancer


First Published at 13:39, Friday 25th February, 2011.



TRIBUTES are being paid to an “inspirational” son and brother.


University student Ben Cape, 23, died after a brave fight against a rare form of cancer.


His mum, Angela, and dad, Richard, both 48, said he never complained during his painful battle and had been nicknamed ‘Iron Man’ by hospital staff.


Ben’s brother, Mike Cape, 21, said: “The word I would use to describe him would be inspirational. He never let anything get in his way. You would always think there’s no way Ben can do that, but in the next breath he had done it.”


Ben, who had a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome, was diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma, which develops in skin tissues, last year.

The former pupil at Dowdales School, Dalton, had four courses of chemotherapy and then surgery to remove a rugby ball sized tumour on his leg.


Surgeons managed to eradicate the tumour but within weeks the aggressive cancer had returned.


Ben had endured several courses of radiotherapy and although the family was told the cancer was terminal, they were not expecting him to pass so suddenly.


His parents remained by his side throughout his illness and lived in special accommodation at The Christie in Manchester, where he was treated.

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Baby Grand



Ann Jackson

Garland Special Education Examiner

  • February 26th, 2011 7:15 am CT


Although ASD people will be trained at nonPareil to find positions in a market that is in high demand, many ASD people will not be able to learn the life skills required to work and live on their own.  To address this socioeconomic issue, nonPareil.Institute co-founders Dan Selec and Gary Moore have extended their vision to include a Phase 4.


Many ASD people spend a lifetime trying to adapt to environments that are not comfortable for them.  Phase 4 is a plan to establish a community within a community, a safe haven, to accommodate both high and low functioning people on the autistic spectrum.  Phase 4 will be an on-campus living facility for those who choose to live, train, work, play, and socialize within the community. The co-founders envision restaurants, theater, medical facilities, exercising facilities, all easily accessible to the ASD community. This community will be a home, a community that promotes their mental and physical health, a community that understands and meets their needs.  Not all who train and work at nonPareil will choose to live in the community, but it will be an option, and an incredible opportunity for many who might not otherwise be able to attain a level of independent living.


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