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April 2011



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Archive for April, 2011



"Bunny on the way home from market"


Dear Readers,

Wishing You a Safe and Happy Easter!




Posted on: Tuesday, 19 April 2011, 12:39 CDT

Associated with early seizure onset and cognitive impairment

A new study found that treatment-resistant epilepsy (TRE) is common in idiopathic autism. Early age at the onset of seizures and delayed global development were associated with a higher frequency of resistance to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Full findings appear online in Epilepsia, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of developmental disabilities that can significantly impact social interaction, communication and behavior. The CDC estimates that on average, 1 in 110 U.S. children has an ASD (which is four times more likely to develop in boys than in girls). Medical evidence suggests that the prevalence of epilepsy in autism ranges from 7% to 46%.

Read in Full:


Forbidding Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Should you let your partner check other people out?
It’s no surprise that partners who are less interested in alternatives to their current relationship partners turn out to be more satisfied with those relationships . If you don’t think the grass is greener, then you won’t be as interested in hopping the fence. What might come as a bigger surprise are the findings of a group of psychologists at the University of Kentucky and Florida State suggesting how one should react to a partner whose eyes (and potentially, hearts) are wandering: let them ogle.

They root their theory in an old idea that has received strong recent empirical support: forbidden fruit tastes sweeter. When our desires are externally prohibited, desires grow stronger. Psychologists call this “reactance”. When prohibitions are imposed upon us we tend to interpret such impositions as an affront to our liberty. In response we come to value the forbidden more than we otherwise would. This is why we drive even faster than we were previously going after we pass by police cars on the highway. Police going to tell me how fast I can drive? I don’t think so.

Sometimes such prohibition can benefit relationships (e.g. Romeo and Juliet). But when you catch your boyfriend doing the old “oh I’m just stretching my neck” routine , how should you react? Scolding such action might make that passerby, and perhaps others as well, seem more desirable. This is the possibility the researchers sought to test.

They brought participants who were in relationships of over 1 month into the lab and told them they would be engaging in a timed categorization task. A letter (E or F) would appear on the screen and they were to press the corresponding key as quickly as they could on the keyboard. Simple enough. But before the letter appeared, two pictures (one of an attractive opposite-sex person and an average looking opposite-sex person) were flashed on the screen, and then the letter appeared in the same location as one of these pictures. In the experimental condition, the letter appeared in the location of the average-looking picture 80% of the time, subtly directing participants’ attention towards those pictures (and away from the attractive alternatives), while in the control condition letter placement was random. Now, having limited participants’ attention away from the hotties, how would participants judge the quality of their actual relationships?

Read in Full:


Want a Happier Marriage? Unrealistically Idealize Your Partner

By John M Grohol PsyD
Founder & Editor-in-Chief

If ignorance is bliss, then delusion is even better — if you’re in a new marriage, anyways.

So says new research from investigators at the University at Buffalo, who examined 193 newly-married couples over three years to see what kinds of variables might predict greater marital satisfaction.

How could this be? Weren’t we always told the common wisdom — that we needed to be realistic in our relationships, and not look for that Knight in Shining Armor who comes to our rescue (or a Maiden trapped in a castle tower who needs rescuing)?

Apparently the common wisdom may need to be revisited, because continuing to idealize your partner long after the glow of the wedding fades away seems to help keep you happy.

Read on to learn more…


The Forbidden Fruit in Relationships

By John M Grohol PsyD
Founder & Editor-in-Chief

A long-term, stable romantic relationship with a committed, caring partner has many psychological benefits, which we know from the oodles of psychological research published about them. So it’s a good thing to try and protect one’s relationship from external influences. One of the most difficult to recover from and damaging influences is cheating.

If cheating will harm a relationship (and cheating appears to be one of the primary reasons cited in many, if not most, relationship breakups), what can be done to minimize it?

After all, isn’t it human nature — and the nature of temptation — to constantly look for desirable alternatives?

One of the ways people look to protect their long-term relationship is to simply remain inattentive to those alternatives. Research has demonstrated that being inattentive to attractive members of the opposite sex generally promotes relationship success.

But new research (DeWall et al., 2011) suggests it’s not so simple. If the circumstances or situation implicitly limit a person’s attention to an attractive alternative, that alternative suddenly becomes “forbidden fruit.”

And all that more attractive.

The researchers call this the “forbidden fruit hypothesis,” based upon previous research that has demonstrated that people find things more desirable when they off-limits or forbidden. There’s something in human nature that wants what it can’t have. (Or perhaps we can have it, but with serious consequences.)

This hypothesis is consistent with another psychological theory called the “ironic process model.” This model suggests that suppressing thoughts about something will lead that thing to become even more salient. The more we try and not to think about something, the more we think about it.

To test their forbidden fruit hypothesis, the researchers conducted a series of three experiments involving undergraduate students.

Read in Full: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/04/08/the-forbidden-fruit-in-relationships/

A General Theory of Love, Part 2: The Science of Attraction

By Daniel Tomasulo, Ph.D.
Ask the Therapist

“When love is not madness, it is not love.”
~Pedro Calderon de la Barcaa

“Love must be as much a light, as it is a flame.”
~Henry David Thoreau

“Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.”
~Zora Neale Hurston

To be loved means being free to be yourself in the presence of another person.  It is the mutuality of this experience that we each crave.  Somehow we know when it is near, and ache when it is lost. We have all had it: the look, the feeling, and the sense of awe in the presence of the person we are attracted to.  But is it more than just the infusion of the catecholamine neurotransmitter, dopamine, or the mammalian hormone oxytocin?


Proof Positive

You most likely know that the limbic system is the seat of emotions and it regulates the type, degree and intensity of our feelings.  But what you may not know is your limbic system may be trying to detect whom you will love, and who will love you back. Limbic resonance is a term used to describe the feeling of attraction to another.

From the book A General Theory of Love the authors define the term:

Read More …


The Myth of Closure: We Can Heal Without It

Bob Livingstone, LCSW Updated: Apr 18th 2011

We are brainwashed by television and movies at a very young age that there is a glorious, happy ending at the end of every story. This phenomenon instructs us that our lives should always include happy endings. We are taught that anything less than total fulfillment and smiles all around amounts to dismal failure. We are taught this concept called closure. It is a term used often in contemporary media and it means to heal a personal loss or trauma such as death of a loved one, being abused by a parent or being a child of an alcoholic parent. After this process, we are supposed to ride off into the sunset with this emotional pain never darkening our door step again.

Well, this is actually impossible to accomplish unless you get total amnesia. If you have the expectation that you will not have any sad or frightening memories about this trauma once you have believed you have fully healed, you will find yourself deeply disappointed and frustrated.

Memories and feelings about the trauma are likely to come up from time to time. Just because the memories continue to arise don’t mean that you haven’t worked through your issues. It only means that as humans; memories and feelings will continue to move in and out of our awareness unless you are deeply repressing them. Repression is not a useful or helpful tactic unless you are in a situation where pushing away memories and feelings is the only way to survive.

Read in Full:


Snow White Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

Laughter, Pleasure, Malice, and the Pursuit of Adult Fun


Article Date: 19 Apr 2011 – 3:00 PDT

The future mood swings of people with bipolar disorder can be predicted by their current thoughts and behaviour, a study has found.

Psychologists from the Universities of Manchester and Lancaster say their findings are important because they mean talking therapies, like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), could prove effective treatments for the condition.

People with bipolar are prone to extreme mood swings that take them from great emotional highs to the pits of depression; the cause of these mood swings is often put down to the patients’ genes and biology rather than their own thoughts and actions.

For this latest study – published in the American Psychological Association journal Psychological Assessment – the researchers followed 50 people with bipolar disorder for a month. The team found that the patients’ thinking and behaviour predicted their future mood swings even when their medical history had been accounted for.

“Individuals who believed extreme things about their moods – for example that their moods were completely out of their own control or that they had to keep active all the time to prevent becoming a failure – developed more mood problems in a month’s time,” said study lead Dr Warren Mansell, in Manchester’s School of Psychological Sciences.

“In contrast, people with bipolar disorder who could let their moods pass as a normal reaction to stress or knew they could manage their mood, faired well a month later. These findings are encouraging for talking therapies – such as CBT – that aim to help patients to talk about their moods and change their thinking about them.”

A new form of CBT, known as TEAMS (Think Effectively About Mood Swings), is being developed by Dr Mansell and colleagues, at The University of Manchester. It aims to improve on previous therapies by focusing on current problems, like depression, anxiety and irritability, and helping patients to set goals for their life as a whole.

Read in Full:


Catharine Zeta-Jones Treated For Bipolar Disorder In Clinic


Article Date: 14 Apr 2011 – 0:00 PDT

Catharine Zeta-Jones, 41, was hospitalized for five days at the Silver Hill Hospital, Connecticut, last week and treated for bipolar disorder II. With bipolar disorder II the individual experiences depression and one or more episodes of hypomania, but no severe mania, which occurs in bipolar disorder I.

Hypomania is less severe than mania, but similar. The patient has an elevated mood, raised activity, sleeps less, has feelings of grandiosity, and racing thoughts. However, symptoms are not severe enough to cause considerable distress or disabling enough to impair one’s work, social life or family life like manic episodes do.

Put simply, those with bipolar disorder I have extreme mood swings, while those with bipolar disorder II have mood swings, but less severe ones.

The following actors are known to have had bipolar disorder:

  • Maurice Benard
  • Russell Brand
  • Jeremy Brett
  • Richard Dreyfuss
  • Patty Duke
  • Carrie Fisher
  • Stephen Fry
  • Mel Gibson
  • Linda Hamilton
  • Mariette Hartley
  • Vivien Leigh
  • Jenifer Lewis
  • Kristy McNichol
  • Burgess Meredith
  • Eric Millegan
  • Spike Milligan
  • Cheri Oteri
  • David Strickland
  • Charlie Sheen
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme


Read in Full:


Related Articles


By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on April 15, 2011

A Spanish study finds that 1 in 5 people engage in self-medication — using an over-the-counter drug, alcohol, street drugs, or drugs prescribed for a different purpose, to alleviate an illness or condition, without professional supervision.

The study found that women were more likely than men to self-medicate.

Experts from the Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid believe self-medication is associated with nationality, income level and alcohol and tobacco consumption amongst the population.

“In spite of the negative connotations generally associated with the idea of self-medication, it is actually the most significant method of self-care for the population,” said Dr. Pilar Carrasco, main author of the study.

According to the research, published in Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, 20.17 percent of Spaniards use medication without a medical prescription.

Women were found to self-medicate more than men (with a prevalence of 16.93 percent  compared to 14.46 percent).

According to Carrasco, women self-medicate more because they “are more likely to suffer from emotional disorders and are more vulnerable in our society.

“This may be due to a greater disposition among women to acknowledge and voice their symptoms.”

Researchers used data gathered between 2006 and 2007 from 20,738 people through the National Health System. Age, sex, nationality, marital status, level of education and occupational status were studied.

Those surveyed were asked if, in the last two weeks, they had consumed any of the drugs on a list drawn up by the researchers, without medical prescription.

Both men and women had consumed painkillers, antipyretics (to reduce fevers) and drugs to relieve the common cold or sore throat, without a medical prescription.

Read in Full:



Washington, Apr 17 (PTI) Scientists claim to have created the world”s first digital brain map that they say will help doctors better understand a range on conditions such as Alzheimer”s disease, autism and mental health disorders.

A team at the Allen Institute for Brain Science has created the computerised map after spending four years piecing together minute details from brain tissue including millions of genes, the ”Wall Street Journal” reported.

The brains were chopped up into sections to extract the RNA and find the 25,000 genes present in the human genome. Each detail was loaded into a computer to provide the exact directions from oner point of the brain to another.

In fact, the scientists hope the map will help doctors understand how the brain works and aid new discoveries in disease and treatments.

“Until now, a definitive map of the human brain at this level of detail simply hasn”t existed. For the first time, we have generated a comprehensive map of the brain that includes the underlying biochemistry,” Allan Jones from the Institute was quoted as saying.

The institute is making the atlas freely available at www.brain-map.org as a resource for scientists studying brain diseases, along with a set of computational tools to help them analyse the data for clues to conditions such as Alzheimer”s disease, autism and mental health disorders like depression.




April 18, 2011|By Karen Weintraub, Globe Correspondent

Q. How is your latest book about having Asperger’s syndrome different from your first, “Look Me in the Eye’’?

A. I resolved to write a book that answered the people who asked for more insight. I felt that by elucidating how [my autistic traits] affect me, it would allow people insight into other people in their lives, and might thereby offer them an opportunity to find their own path out of disability.

Q. You emphasize that Asperger’s slows down development, but that people with it can catch up eventually.

A. Life stank for me when I was little and I see how much better it’s gotten with understanding and wisdom and practice and age. I want to show young people today that life does get better. I want them to be able to see examples of people like me.

Q. But not everyone will be as successful as you’ve been in turning what some see as a disability into a career as a best-selling author, public speaker, and car restorer.

A. It’s certainly true that not everyone will emerge in the way that I have, but it’s generally true that the vast majority of people with any kind of autistic disorder improve with age. Autism is a condition where we’ll always be autistic, we will not always be disabled.

Q. You seem to bristle at the talk of finding a cure to autism.

A. When you talk about a cure for something that is really the way you are and the way you were born, it’s sort of like telling your kid what a piece of trash your ex-husband is. The kid knows the ex-husband is half him, therefore anything bad about the ex-husband is him. If you say how evil or ugly the autism is, well that’s you. And so, I suggest that talk about autism as disease and talk about autism as cure has a powerfully corrosive effect on people who are touched by it.

Q. You offer a lot of tips in your book on how to fit in socially.

A. I think we need to learn how to behave in society such that society will accept us, and that will tremendously improve our quality of life.

It’s very important that we learn to behave in ways that society will accept while still remaining true to ourselves.

Read in Full: http://articles.boston.com/2011-04-18/lifestyle/29444348_1_autistic-traits-autism-car-restorer

School mural


MONTREAL – Grade 11 student Shaun Perrier usually keeps to himself at school. But on Tuesday he stood onstage facing 400 students in the auditorium at Laval Liberty High School because he had a message he wanted to share.

Poised and reading from a speech he wrote, Perrier talked about the challenges he faces and the obstacles he has had to overcome.

“I may not look it, but I’m very different from the rest of you,” Perrier said.

It’s because, he told them, he has Asperger’s syndrome, a developmental disorder.

Perrier, 17, is an honour roll student at the Chomedey school. He came up with the idea of talking to students, many of them classmates, about what it is like growing up with the autism spectrum disorder.

“Social rules are difficult for us to understand, and it’s hard for us to conform to the world around us,” said Perrier, 17. “It is kind of like when you learn algebra for the first time – you don’t understand its purpose or how to do it on your own.

“School can be gruelling for someone like me. Part of Asperger’s means you like things to be routine, structured and working smoothly. School is none of that.”

When he first came to the school, Perrier said he would have preferred if everyone were quiet, sitting down and doing their work instead of having to listen to students bad-mouth the teacher and throw a beach ball across the room.

“True story,” he said.

His mother, Debra Burger, and Leslie Klein, a psychologist who has worked with Perrier, later joined him onstage to answer questions.

Her son wants to raise awareness, Burger said afterward. He wants people to know that there are people with autism and Asperger’s in the community and mainstream schools who are able to succeed if they have a bit of help, she said.

“He wants to be understood, and he wants people to know why he is the way he is.”

Bullying has been part of Perrier’s school experience. When he was in junior high, for example, he had bathroom doors kicked in on him, Burger said.

But she praised staff at Laval Liberty and Laval Junior High School – they share the same building – for acting swiftly when something happened.

Read in Full:



Fri, Apr 15, 2011

Teenager Jessie overcomes disabilities to run business

IT’S impressive enough that a 20-year-old has their own successful business.

But when you consider that Jessie Carter-Kay, from West Bridgford, also has a range of learning disabilities, including autism and dyspraxia, it’s even more remarkable.

“Jessie has demonstrated that having a learning disability is not a barrier to success,” said her father, Peter Kay, who has nominated Jessie for an Outstanding Achievement Award for 4Uth.

“Even though she has a lot of support because of her difficulties, Jessie has achieved a lot for her age.”

Jessie and her mother, Jill, set up the Pulp Friction Smoothie Bar project in 2008.

They travel to community events on a bike with a pedal-powered blender on the back and create smoothies.

They started with one bike, but the business has now expanded to seven bikes and has seen them travel around the country.

Mr Kay said it is also an opportunity to offer other people with learning disabilities vital work experience.

“It has really taken off – people like the idea and like what we do – and it’s now at the stage where Jessie will be director of her own successful community interest company,” he said.

Jessie, who attended Foxwood School in Bramcote, said: “I like that the smoothie bar gives me more independence. I like cleaning and making everything tidy.”

The family is now setting up an allotment in Stapleford, where young people with learning disabilities can gain work experience growing fruit to use on the smoothie bikes.

Jessie has also been involved in a number of community projects and has worked with Broxtowe Borough council and the UK Youth Council, including helping to create a DVD about personal safety for young disabled people. She also spoke at a conference at Nottingham Trent University on education and disability.

As a nominee for the first ever Notts 4Uth Awards, run by the Nottingham Post and Notts County Council, Jessie is now in with a chance of winning £250 of vouchers of her choice.

The awards, which will culminate in a ceremony at County Hall on September 30, celebrate teenagers and young people in the county who have made outstanding achievements.

Jessie said: “I am really happy. It is nice to be nominated and I am very excited.”




Mad, Bad and Sad: A Historical Romance

Lisa Appignanesi’s book Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 to the Present is a romantic tour through the last 200 years of psychiatry and the feminine, although probably not in the sense you’re thinking of.

The romantic movement was a literary and artistic phenomena that emerged in the 1800s as a backlash to the rationalism of the enlightenment. They railed against science as a dehumanising force, although this view was not its most lasting legacy.

Perhaps the biggest impact of the romantic movement was to seed the idea that the scientific and the humane were contradictory and incompatible, suggesting that it is not possible to be both scientific and compassionate, rational and poetic, or objective and understanding at the same time.

These are the two cultures, of which C. P. Snow famously spoke, and applied to the mind the romantic view suggests that an interpretative psychology touches the very core of our humanity, whereas the empirical barely scratches the surface.

It’s a false dichotomy because we are neither the facts of biology nor the feelings of the mind. We are at all times, both. Each is just a shadow of the whole that, paradoxically, has no single identity.

Read in Full: http://mindhacks.com/2009/04/17/mad-bad-and-sad-a-historical-romance/