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Archive for May 26th, 2011



By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
Associate Editor

It’s common knowledge that creatives can be eccentric. We’ve seen this throughout history. Even Plato and Aristotle observed odd behaviors among playwrights and poets, writes Harvard University researcher Shelley Carson, author of Your Creative Brain: Seven Steps to Maximize Imagination, Productivity and Innovation in Your Life, in the May/June 2011 issue of Scientific American.

She gave several examples of creatives’ strange behaviors:

“Albert Einstein picked up cigarette butts off the street to get tobacco for his pipe; Howard Hughes spent entire days on a chair in the middle of the supposedly germ-free zone of his Beverly Hills Hotel suite; the composer Robert Schumann believed that his musical compositions were dictated to him by Beethoven and other deceased luminaries from their tombs; and Charles Dickens is said to have fended off imaginary urchins with his umbrella as he walked the streets of London.”

But what’s most compelling is that research has corroborated the connection between creativity and eccentricity. And it starts, interestingly enough, with schizotypal personality, a milder version of schizotypal personality disorder.

According to Carson in the article:

“Schizotypal personality can appear in a variety of forms, including magical thinking (fanciful ideas or paranormal beliefs, such as Schumann’s belief that Beethoven channeled music to him from the grave), unusual perceptual experiences (distortions in perception, such as Dickens’s belief that he was being followed by characters from his novels), social anhedonia (a preference for solitary activities — Emily Dickinson, Nikola Tesla and Isaac Newton, for example, favored work over socializing), and mild paranoia (unfounded feelings that people or objects in the environment may pose a threat, such as Hughes’s legendary distrust of others).”

Not everyone with schizotypal personality has a personality disorder, however. Many are bright and high-functioning.

Carson cited various studies that found that creative people tend to score higher on schizotypal surveys. For instance, her research has revealed that some creative students tend to report magical thinking and odd perceptual experiences.

“In my research at Harvard, done in part with my colleague Cynthia A. Meyersburg, I have found that study participants who score high in a measure of creative achievement in the arts are more likely to endorse magical thinking — such as belief in telepathic communication, dreams that portend the future, and memories of past lives. These participants are also more likely to attest to unusual perceptual experiences, such as having frequent déjà vu and hearing voices whispering in the wind.”

Cognitive Disinhibition

It isn’t that having schizotypal personality predisposes one to creativity, Carson clarifies in the article. It’s more complex than that. Instead, a cognitive mechanism called cognitive disinhibition may underlie eccentricity.


Read in Full:



By Therese J. Borchard
Associate Editor

What looks and feels like depression to a woman may not to a man, which is why so many men in America are misdiagnosed or missed altogether.

However, considering that the rates of completed suicide of men are three to four times that of women, we need to educate ourselves about male depression and its unique symptoms. The following are 10 things you should know about male depression, compiled from Johns Hopkins Depression and Anxiety Bulletin and other sources.

1. Depression affects about 6 million American men and 12 million American women each year. But these numbers don’t tell the story of men, and older men, in particular.

2. Suicide in men peaks in the 20s and again in the 60s and 70s.

3. Many men experience “depression without sadness,” which makes it more challenging for primary care physicians to make the diagnosis of depression. Some of the symptoms of this kind of depression include severe anxiety, physical discomfort, sleep disorders, and diminished energy and self-confidence as some of its primary symptoms.

4. Men—more commonly than women—are likely to feel angry, irritable, and frustrated rather than sad when depressed.

5. Men tend to cope with depression differently than women. Instead of withdrawing from the world, men may act recklessly or develop a compulsive interest in work or a new hobby. Instead of crying, men may engage in violent behavior.

6. Men are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol when in the midst of a depression, perhaps to find relief from the pain of depressive feelings. This can make it difficult to determine whether a problem is specifically alcohol-or-drug-related or whether it is primarily depression.

7. Men often report physical symptoms more often than women, such as headaches, joint pain, backaches, dizziness, chest pain, and digestive problems. However, they are often unaware that these symptom are linked to depression.

8. There may be genetic differences between depression in men and women. Five years ago, researchers from the University of Pittsburg identified 19 chromosomal regions linked to one form of major depression, but only three of them were significantly linked in both men and women. The other 16 were only linked in one sex.

Read in Full:


5 Keys to Building Strong Relationships in Any Sphere of Life


By Joe Wilner

If there is one thing that psychological research and personal experience will reveal to each and every one of us, it’s the positive impact relationships have on our happiness, level of success, and overall well-being. Having healthy relationships means so much for every area of our life.

Relationships offer us joy, love, and support in times of need. They also help us expand our aspirations and level of achievement through support, knowledge, and connections. In general, relationships can help us to grow and become better people.

So, whether your focus is on intimate and loving relationships, or more professional business relationships, there are certain traits that will make any relationship more meaningful and long-lasting.

Commitment – Relationship success and commitment go hand in hand. When we’re committed to a relationship we are willing to put in the effort to make it work. It’s more likely there will be a plan to stick together, and a growing sense of loyalty and trust can develop.

When we’re committed to a partner of any kind, there is a dedication and allegiance that provides stable plans and goals for the future.

Compassion – Being able to connect with others emotionally is so crucial to build a strong relationship, and to have more than just superficial interactions. When we want for others what we want for ourselves and truly care about their well-being it provides an amazing foundation for making real connections.

Connecting with others comes from having empathy and caring about how they feel, just as we do about ourselves. Developing compassion and empathy will offer great security for a long-lasting relationship.

Generosity – In a healthy relationship the more we give the more we get. Wanting to make others happy and offering our support to help one another is a staple of loving and caring relationships.

Being generous is about being willing to give of yourself when you may not immediately get in return, and this can require a having “win/win” attitude or a “what’s mine is yours” mentality. By practicing this habit it will provide amazing benefits to deal with conflict and strife.

Tolerance – Everyone makes mistakes and having a tolerant and open-minded perspective goes a long way in building relationships. Taking a non-judgmental attitude and learning that there will be differences in opinion serves the purpose of making relationships safe and trustworthy. If we feel we are understood and will not be judged for making mistakes or being imperfect, we can be our real self and experience much greater fulfillment and growth.

Kindness – This is one area that has been shown empirically through psychological research to have benefits on peoples’ happiness and life-satisfaction. When we engage in random acts of kindness it is beneficial for both parties involved.

Read in Full:


Sexual Chemistry and Keeping Your Relationship Alive


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

Our partner, YourTango.com, recently completed a scientific survey of over 20,000 people with their partner sites, MSN’s lifestyle website Glo.com and Chemistry.com, on sexual chemistry and what keeps a relationship alive and growing.

The effort was overseen by a leading biological anthropologist and relationship expert, Dr. Helen Fisher, who also analyzed the results.

Some of their findings might just surprise you, including the finding that 90 percent of men and women believe that dwindling attraction in a relationship can be rekindled.

Their findings are detailed below.


Check out the articles linked above — a lot of interesting and a few eye-opening findings there garnered from their survey. And just to whet your appetite…

7 Ways to Keep Your Marriage Sexy

Who doesn’t want to keep their marriage or long-term relationship on the sexy side? I know I do! Here is a summary of the seven tips offered by the article above, Lifelong Attraction: 7 Ways To Keep Your Marriage Sexy Forever.

1. Flaunt your sexy self.

The first step to staying attractive to each other: Feeling attractive. There’s nothing more appealing to a man than a woman who feels sexy in her own skin.

2. Have sex. Lots of it.

Two-thirds of women don’t get aroused until they’re already in the act, says marriage and family therapist Pat Love. Translation: Don’t wait to “feel” like having sex to do it.

3. Be a little selfish.

The happiest marriages are the kinds in which both spouses have their own hobbies and interests, according to a Monmouth University study.

4. Step out of your comfort zone.

If your the Chinese delivery restaurant knows your Friday night order by heart, listen up: One of the best ways to stay hot for each other is to do new things together.

5. Have an affair… with your partner.

Having an affair with your spouse can bring back the feelings of excitement and closeness—not to mention the smoking-hot sex—that you had when you first met, Love says.

Read in Full:


Politicians and Sex: The Type T Personality


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

Colleague and psychologist Dr. Frank Farley has an interesting op-ed over at the LA Times the other day about some of the underlying psychological motivations that may explain why politicians stray from their marriages.

In the article, Dr. Farley refers to the “Type T Personality” — the T stands for Thrill. He makes the argument that we elect the politicians we do because we’re drawn to their bold ideas, their intensity, their charisma. But those same qualities that may make them a good politician (we don’t really know, because there hasn’t been a lot of research done in this area yet), also may put them at greater risk for engaging in unethical relationship behavior, such as cheating on their spouse.

Politicians, like Hollywood celebrities, are also constantly surrounded by people who do nothing but look up to them, sing their praises — “yes” people. He notes that the politician is immersed in a set of people who are “adoring followers, campaign workers, office staff — all focused on pleasing the politician.” It may give someone an unrealistic belief that they above normal morals and ethics, and so cheating is “okay” (perhaps explaining former President Clinton’s tryst with an intern).

Farley’s take on risk-takers who exhibit the Type T Personality:

Read More …


Study Of Sexual Attraction Between Heterosexual Men And Women

Article Date: 24 May 2011 – 7:00 PDT

Women find happy guys significantly less sexually attractive than swaggering or brooding men, according to a new University of British Columbia study that helps to explain the enduring allure of “bad boys” and other iconic gender types.

The study – which may cause men to smile less on dates, and inspire online daters to update their profile photos – finds dramatic gender differences in how men and women rank the sexual attractiveness of non-verbal expressions of commonly displayed emotions, including happiness, pride, and shame.

Very few studies have explored the relationship between emotions and attraction, and this is the first to report a significant gender difference in the attractiveness of smiles. The study, published online today, May 24th, in the American Psychological Association journal Emotion, is also the first to investigate the attractiveness of displays of pride and shame.

“While showing a happy face is considered essential to friendly social interactions, including those involving sexual attraction – few studies have actually examined whether a smile is, in fact, attractive,” says Prof. Jessica Tracy of UBC’s Dept. of Psychology. “This study finds that men and women respond very differently to displays of emotion, including smiles.”

In a series of studies, more than 1,000 adult participants rated the sexual attractiveness of hundreds of images of the opposite sex engaged in universal displays of happiness (broad smiles), pride (raised heads, puffed-up chests) and shame (lowered heads, averted eyes).

The study found that women were least attracted to smiling, happy men, preferring those who looked proud and powerful or moody and ashamed. In contrast, male participants were most sexually attracted to women who looked happy, and least attracted to women who appeared proud and confident.

Read in Full:


By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on May 25, 2011

Although motor deficits often accompany a mood or psychiatric disorder, most researchers have not targeted motor areas as a method to improve mental health. In a new study, researchers at Indiana University suggests that postural control problems may be a core feature of bipolar disorder, not just a random symptom.

The investigators believe attention to the postural problems can provide insights both into areas of the brain affected by the psychiatric disorder and new potential targets for treatment.

Bipolar disorder is a severe psychiatric disorder characterized by extreme, debilitating mood swings and unusual shifts in a person’s energy and ability to function.

Balance, postural control and other motor control issues are frequently experienced by people with mood and psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and neurological disorders such as Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease.

In this study, published in the journal PLoS ONE, researchers surmised that problems with postural control — maintaining balance while holding oneself upright — are a core component of bipolar disorder.

As such, the researchers believe it is possible that the motor abnormalities could appear before other symptoms, signaling an increased risk for the disorder. According, researchers wanted to know if therapies that improve motor symptoms may also help mood disorders.

“For a number of psychological disorders, many different psychiatric treatments and therapies have been tried, with marginal effects over the long term. Researchers are really starting to look at new targets,” said Amanda Bolbecker, Ph.D., lead author of the study.

“Our study suggests that brain areas traditionally believed to be responsible for motor behavior might represent therapeutic targets for bipolar disorder.”

Read in Full:



Article Date: 25 May 2011 – 3:00 PDT

A new NICE guideline aims to help GPs provide quick, cost-effective treatment to improve the lives of millions of people experiencing common mental health disorders.

Common mental health disorders can affect up to 15% of the population at any one time. They account for one in five of all work days lost and cost UK employers £25bn each year. Common mental health disorders include depression, generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social anxiety disorder.

This new NICE guideline on the identification of and pathways to care for common mental health disorders focuses on primary care. It draws on existing NICE guidelines and makes new recommendations on how patients are assessed, and when and how they are referred to other services for treatment. The guideline also provides clear advice to managers and commissioners on how to develop referral and care pathways in their local area.

Professor Stephen Pilling, Director, National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health, and Director, Centre for Outcomes Research and Effectiveness, University College London, said: “This guideline will ensure that effective treatments are made available to people with depression and a range of anxiety disorders. This is important because, untreated, the outcomes of these conditions are serious. For example, depression is the commonest cause of suicide in this country. But if people receive appropriate treatment, as outlined in this guideline, they get better.”

Read in Full:


What psychological roles does music play in our lives?

Modern technology means it’s never been easier to hear exactly the music we want, whenever we want it. But whatever technology we use, the reasons we listen to music are universal.

Music grabs our emotions instantly in a way few other art-forms can manage. It engages us on all sorts of different levels. A few bars of a song can take us back decades, to a different time and place.

So what are the universal psychological functions of music? Lonsdale and North (2010) asked 300 young people about their main reasons for listening to music to see which came out top. Here are the answers, in order of importance, counted down from six to the number one spot.

6. To learn about others and the world

Languishing down at number six was the way in which music teaches us about the world. Music tells us stories about other people and places and it gives us access to new experiences. Music can teach us how other people think and even suggest how we might live.

Psychological research backs up the importance of the information music sends out to others about our personalities. In one study participants could broadly judge another’s personality solely on the basis of their top 10 songs (see: personality in your mp3 player).

Music is also sending us a message about the state of the world. Dodds and Danforth (2009) downloaded the lyrics to almost 250,000 songs composed between 1960 and 2007. They found the lyrics got steadily more depressing up until 1985 and then levelled off around 1990. This decline was seen across all musical genres.

5. Personal identity

In at five is identity. The type of music we like expresses something about ourselves. Even the broadest genres like rock, classical and blues begin to give us a picture of a person. We also seem to discover ourselves through music: it can teach is who we are and where we belong. Through music we can build up and project an image of ourselves.

One general trend in popular music is towards greater narcissism. A study has examined the lyrics of the top 10 songs in the U.S. between 1980 and 2007 (DeWall et al., 2011). This found that lyrics related to antisocial behaviour and self-focus increased over the period. On the other hand, over the same time, lyrics related to positive emotions, social interaction and a focus on others have decreased.

4. Interpersonal relationships

The fourth most important function of music is its social dimension. Music is a point of conversation. We listen to it while we’re with other people and we talk to them about it. It’s a way of making a connection.

There’s little doubt that music and love are inextricably linked and we use one to get the other. One study tested whether exposure to romantic music makes a woman more likely to agree to a date Gueguen et al. (2010). The answer is, emphatically, yes. The percentage of women who agreed to a date almost doubled from 28% to 52% after they had been played some romantic music.

The song that did the trick? “Je l’aime à mourir” (I love her to death) by Francis Cabrel (the research was conducted in France).

2= Negative mood management

Tying for the second spot is negative mood management. When we’re in a bad mood, music can help us deal with it. When your mood is low, there is something cathartic about listening to sad music. Somehow it helps to know that you’re not alone. We use music to relieve tension, express our feelings and escape the realities of everyday life.

Music certainly seems to help us cope with life’s slings and arrows. There have been many studies on those about to undergo painful medical procedures. These find that music helps people get through this stressful and anxious time (e.g. Good et al., 2002).

Read in Full:


ScienceDaily (May 26, 2011) — Omega 3 fatty acids may be beneficial for more than just the heart. Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine have found at a molecular level a potential therapeutic benefit from these dietary supplements for treating alcohol abuse and psychiatric disorders.

In a multi-year study, researchers showed conclusive behavioral and molecular benefits for omega 3 fatty acid given to mice models of bipolar disorder. The fatty acid DHA, which is one of the main active ingredients in fish oil, “normalized their behavior,” according to Alexander B. Niculescu, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and the lead author of the study reported online in the Nature Publishing Group journal Translational Psychiatry.

Using a stress-sensitive mouse model of bipolar disorder developed in his lab, Dr. Niculescu and his colleagues studied the influence of dietary DHA. The mice have characteristic bipolar symptoms including being depressed and, when subjected to stress, becoming manic.

“The mice that were given DHA normalized their behavior, they are not depressed and when subjected to stress, they do not become manic,” said Dr. Niculescu. “When we looked into their brains, using comprehensive gene expression studies, we were surprised to see that genes that are known targets of psychiatric medications were modulated and normalized by DHA.”

An unexpected finding of the research was the discovery that the mice given DHA also showed a reduced desire for alcohol.

“These bipolar mice, like some bipolar patients, love alcohol. The mice on DHA drank much less; it curtailed their alcohol abusive behavior,” he said, adding that this is a completely novel finding. To verify this finding, the researchers studied another well-established animal model of alcoholism, the alcohol preferring P rats, and obtained similar results.

“We believe a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids may help the treatment and prevention of bipolar disorder, and may help with alcoholism as well,” he said.

Read in Full:


Barack Obama listens asDavid Cameron speaks during a joint press conference at the Lancaster House

Barack Obama listens as David Cameron speaks during a joint press conference at Lancaster House. Photograph: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

There were no big policy announcements, But, nevertheless, it was still packed with interesting stuff. Andrew Sparrow with the main points

• Obama said that winning the war in Libya would be a “slow, steady process”. He said that he and Cameron continued to discuss on a regular basis what could be done to put more pressure on the Libyan regime. But he played down hopes of an early breakthrough. “I think that there may be a false perception that there are a whole bunch of secret super-effective air assets that are in a warehouse somewhere that could just be pulled out and would somehow immediately solve the situation in Libya,” he said. “That’s not the case.” People had to be patient, he said.

We are bringing to bear an array of air power that has made a huge difference but ultimately this is going to be a slow, steady process in which we’re able to wear down the regime forces and change the political calculations of the Gaddafi regime to the point where they finally realise that they’re not going to control this country, the Libyan people are going to control this country

Obama said that the need to avoid civilian casualties meant that the operation might take longer than would otherwise be the case. But he said he was confident that Gaddafi would eventually go. “I believe that we have built enough momentum that, as long as we sustain the course that we’re one, that he is ultimately going to step down.” Cameron said that he and Obama had agreed that they should be “turning up the heat in Libya”

• Obama declined to give a specific endorsement for Cameron’s deficit reduction strategy. He said that the two leaders agreed on the need for deficit reduction, but he did not say anything that could be read as clear backing for the coalition’s approach and a clear rejection of Labour’s. In his opening statement Cameron said that although he and Obama didn’t go into politics to cut spending, “neither did we seek office to see our great economies decline, or to land our children with unsustainable debts”. Cameron went on: “That’s why by the second half of this decade, we’re making sure that debt ratios will be falling on both sides of the Atlantic.”

But when Obama was asked if he supported Cameron’s debt reduction approach, he said that each country was going to have to take different decisions. He said America and Britain had to sustain growth and that, although governments had to “live within their means”, they also had to sustain investment in areas like science and education. He said that he and Cameron wanted to arrive at the same point, where “we’re making sure that our governments are doing what they need to do to ensure broad-based prosperity, but doing so in a responsible way that does not mortgage our futures and leave a mountain of debt to future generations.”

He also stressed that the nature and role of the public sector was not the same in the UK as it was in the US, and that “the nature of the debt and the deficits are different, and as a consequence the sequencing and pace [of deficit reduction] may be different.”

• Obama stressed that it was important to be flexible in economic policy. He said governments had to be wiling to make adjustments. “There are going to be opportunities for us to make investments, there are going to be areas where we thought those were good ideas at the time, programmes that were started with the best of intentions and it turns out they were not working as well as they should,” he said. “If it’s not working well, we should get rid of it and put that money into programmes that are working well.”

Although Obama said that Cameron agreed on the importance of “making adjustments”, this was mildly embarrassing for Cameron because he has always insisted that his government has no “plan B” in relation to the economy.

• Obama said that the Americans would accept any decision by the British not to extradite the computer hacker Gary McKinnon to the US. The Americans want to put him on trial in the US for breaking into military computers, but his supporters in Britain say that he’s a harmless eccentric with Asperger’s syndrome (he was looking for evidence of UFOs when he hacked the Pentagon system) and that his health would be at risk in a US jail. Theresa May, the home secretary, is now considering whether new medical evidence justifies his extradition being blocked. Obama said the matter was now in the hands of the British legal system. “We have confidence in the British legal system coming to a just conclusion, so we await resolution and will be respectful of that process,” he said.

Cameron said that May was considering the matter in a quasi-judicial capacity. “I totally understand the anguish of [McKinnon’s] mother and his family about this issue,” Cameron added.

• Obama and Cameron both paid lavish tribute to the warmth of the relationship between the US and Britain. Using the formula the two men unveiled yesterday, they said that the relationship was not just “special”, but “essential” too. They were also keen to stress their personal regard for each other, referring to each other by first name rather than by title. Cameron also warmly praised the leadership Obama has shown in international circles. “I have come to value not just his leadership and courage, but the fact that to all the big international issues of our time, he brings thoughtful consideration and reason,” Cameron said.

Read in Full:


Previous Updates

“Clegg Washes hands of Hacker Case”:



“UK-US Extradition Treaty To Be Reviewed”:


Gary Mckinnon Updates: UK Hacker Could Serve Time In British Jail/Gary McKinnon’s Mother Praises Cameron-Obama Talks

Wednesday, 21 July 2010 7:44 P GMT
Wednesday 21st July, 2010. David Cameron has raised the prospect that computer hacker Gary McKinnon could serve some of any US-imposed sentence in a British jail after raising the issue with US President Barack Obama at the White House. He

Gary McKinnon Updates: Nick Clegg Raises Doubts Over Powers To Halt Extradition

Wednesday, 26 May 2010 6:41 P GMT
Gary McKinnon: Nick Clegg raises doubts over powers to halt hacker’s extradition Plans to extradite Gary McKinnon, the Pentagon computer hacker, might not be stopped by the Government after all, Nick Clegg has suggested. By

Gary McKinnon Updates: New British Government Considers McKinnon’s Appeal/Theresa May Halts Legal Battle Against Extradition To US

Wednesday, 19 May 2010 2:43 P GMT
Gary McKinnon is hoping to avoid U.S. prosecution for hacking by approaching the new coalition governmentby Jeremy KirkMay 18, 2010, 12:10 PM —  IDG News Service —  <!–paging_filter–> Britain’s new government i

Gary McKinnon Updates: US Prosecution Of McKinnon ‘Spiteful’, Says Ex-Top-Cop

Tuesday, 11 May 2010 8:40 P GMT

No reason why Pentagon hacker can’t be tried in UK By John Leyden • Get more from this author Posted in Policing, 10th May 2010 09:04 GMT The senior former policeman in charge of the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit squad which first

McKinnon’s Mum Fights For Civil Liberties In Parliamentary Run(Includes Outcome Update)

Tuesday, 4 May 2010 10:01 P GMT
A day in a life on a campaign trail By John LeydenPosted in Government, 3rd May 2010 08:02 GMTInterview Janis Sharp, mother of accused Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon, is upbeat about her run for Parliament despite acknowledging she has little cha

Gary McKinnon Updates: Janis Sharp To Battle Straw

Tuesday, 13 April 2010 5:31 P GMT
Janis Sharp PRESS ASSOCIATION The mother of accused computer hacker Gary McKinnon is to stand against Justice Secretary Jack Straw at the General Election. Janis Sharp blames Mr Straw, who was Foreign Secretary when Britain’s current extrad

Gary McKinnon Updates: New Court Date In Extradition Marathon

Tuesday, 23 February 2010 2:46 P GMT
Ian GrantMonday 22 February 2010 03:33 Self-confessed hacker Gary McKinnon will return to court in May to hear whether the home secretary was right to allow his extradition to the US to face charges of hacking US federal and military comp

Gary McKinnon Updates: Charlie Mckinnon On His Son’s Fight Against US Extradition

Tuesday, 9 February 2010 7:02 P GMT
Feb 7 2010 Lesley Roberts, Sunday Mail CHARLIE McKINNON should have left his scaffolding job by now and be enjoying a quiet retirement. Instead, the building site worker is at the centre of a major international incident, fi

Gary McKinnon Updates: Death Threats

Friday, 22 January 2010 4:40 P GMT
UFO hacker Gary McKinnon gets death threats Exclusive report by Chris Richards, Rep

Gary McKinnon Updates: Pentagon Hacker Wins Delay Of Extradition To U.S.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010 1:42 A GMT
January 13, 2010. A Briton who hacked into NASA and Pentagon computers has won the right to challenge the government’s decision to refuse to block his extradition to the United States, his lawyers said on Wednesday. Skip related contentGary

Gary McKinnon Updates: New Hope on Extradition

Tuesday, 1 December 2009 2:02 P GMT
Hacker gets new hope on extraditionTuesday, Dec 1  2009 Home Secretary Alan Johnson has said he is considering granting computer hacker Gary McKinnon extra time to apply for a judicial review of his case. Skip related contentMr McKinn

Gary McKinnon Updates: Gary McKinnon’s Mother In Tears After Snub From Alan Johnson

Wednesday, 11 November 2009 1:33 A GMT
The mother of Gary McKinnon, the internet hacker fighting extradition to the United States, broke down in tears yesterday after Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, allegedly refused to talk to her. By Rosa Prince, Political Correspond

Gary McKinnon Updates: Computer Hacker Gary McKinnon Loses Fight To Stand Trial In UK

Wednesday, 7 October 2009 3:36 P GMT
Janis Sharp will talk about her son Gary McKinnon’s ongoing extradition case. 07 October 2009 05:00 AM The mother of Scottish computer hacker Gary McKinnon

GaryMcKinnon Updates: Verdict on Extradition to be Announced This Week

Tuesday, 15 September 2009 9:58 P GMT
UFO hacker Gary McKinnon to learn of Supreme Court appeal 14 September 2009 Self-confessed hacker Gary McKinnon, who gained unauthorised access to multiple Pentagon computer systems, will learn this week whether an application for an

Gary McKinnon Updates: Protestors Challenge McKinnon Extradition/American Civil Liberties Union Attacks David Miliband over UK/US Extradition Treaty

Thursday, 27 August 2009 9:05 P GMT
By Jon Ashford Skip related contentProtestors against Gary McKinnon’s extradition demonstrated in Grosvenor Square today, just metres from the US embassy.Among the attendees at the demonstration, organised by civil liberties campaigners Lib

Updates(Includes New Petition): Gary McKinnon Loses Appeal Against Extradition To The U.S.

Friday, 31 July 2009 10:39 A GMT
By Michael Seamark and James Slack Last updated at 10:59 AM on 31st July 2009British computer expert Gary McKinnon today lost his latest High Court bid to avoid extradition to America where he faces trial for hacking into U.S. military networ

Updates: Gary McKinnon’s Impending Extradition Must Be Stopped/No Pity From US

Sunday, 26 July 2009 9:45 P GMT
David Burrowes MP, Sunday, July 26 2009 This last month has been an unusual one since it has involved a constituent’s case receiving national prominence and has led to Parliamentary calls for a review of both an Act of Parliament and a Treaty.

Gary McKinnon Updates: In the Name of Compassion, Britain Must Reverse This Shameful Decision

Friday, 3 July 2009 6:57 P GMT
Gary McKinnon is facing charges of up to 60 years in a U.S. court By Daily Mail Comment Last updated at 1:51 AM on 03rd July 2009Eight years ago, a solitary geek sat at his computer in his flat in North London. A sufferer of Asperger’s sy

Gary McKinnon Updates: New Hearing Date Set On Extradition/My Son Is Not A Cyber-Terrorist/Petition Tops 4,000

Tuesday, 16 June 2009 1:10 P GMT
TERRIFIED: Gary McKinnon  GARY McKinnon is facing extradition for what has been described as “the biggest military computer hack of all time”. His mother JANIS SHARP argues that his treatment by the authorities is cruel, unne

Gary McKinnon Updates: Can A Harmless UFO Obsessive Be Saved From 70 Years In A Brutal American Jail?

Monday, 1 June 2009 6:22 P GMT
By Geoffrey WansellThe fate of self-confessed ‘bumbling computer nerd’ and UFO spotter Gary McKinnon  -  who faces extradition to the U.S. and a possible 70-year prison sentence after hacking into 97 military and Nasa computers&nbs

Gary McKinnon Updates – Pink Floyd Guitarist Sings In Support

Wednesday, 27 May 2009 1:43 P GMT
Warwick AshfordPink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour is to produce a new recording of the song Chicago by Graham Nash in support of London UFO fanatic and computer hacker Gary McKinnon.Nash authorised a reworking of the song written for the “

Gary McKinnon Update: Sign Our Petition Today

Wednesday, 13 May 2009 5:45 P GMT
Journalists: find our latest press release about Gary McKinnon’s case in ‘Related resources’ at the bottom of this page. Gary McKinnon was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome in August 2008 and faces extradition to the United States to

Gary McKinnon Updates: Supporters Rally at U.S. Embassy in London

Friday, 3 April 2009 10:10 P GMT
Gary McKinnon’s mother, six others back his effort to avoid being extradited to the U.S. By Jeremy Kirk April 2, 2009 (IDG News Service) As protesters again took to the streets of London today in

Gary McKinnon Updates – ‘Drop Hacker Case’ – Terry Waite

Tuesday, 17 March 2009 3:42 P GMT
‘Drop hacker case’ – Terry WaiteHuman rights campaigner and former hostage Terry Waite has called on the US to drop charges against British computer hacker Gary McKinnon. Glasgow-born Mr McKinnon, 42, from Wood Green, north London, faces up t

Gary McKinnon Updates: Latest Round in Extradition Battle Lost/Sting Supports Fight for UK Trial

Thursday, 26 February 2009 2:57 P GMT
Hacker loses extradition battleComputer hacker Gary McKinnon lost the latest round of his fight against extradition to the US when British prosecutors refused to bring charges against him.  Gary McKinnon lost latest round of hi

Gary McKinnon – Ongoing Updates

Monday, 12 January 2009 11:26 P GMT
Gary McKinnon, the hacker accused of breaking into the Pentagon and Nasa, could be tried in Britain Photo: PA Nasa hacker Gary McKinnon could be tried in Britain Gary McKinnon, the British hacker accused of breaking into

Ongoing Updates: Gary McKinnon: Extradition Judicial Review Hearing Set For Jan 20

Tuesday, 2 December 2008 3:24 P GMT
Tuesday 2 December 2008, 6:22 PM Posted by Tom Espiner Gary McKinnon, the man accused of hacking Nasa and Pentagon computers, will have his oral judicial review hearing on 20 Jan, according to the Free Gary McKinnon website. The judic

Ongoing Updates: Dan Ackroyd, Peter Howson, Politicians Rally Behind Gary McKinnon/”Only A Fool” Music Video

Monday, 3 November 2008 4:48 P GMT
MPs join fight to save McKinnon from US prisonPentagon hacker ‘too vulnerable’ to survive hard time By John Leyden • Get more from this author Posted in Law, 3rd November 2008 13:32 GMT MPs are being asked to support accused Pentag

Gary McKinnon: Last Ditch Attempt Fails, Judicial Review Only Recourse Left

Tuesday, 14 October 2008 11:56 A GMT
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.  Tod

Gary McKinnon: Protest Outside Embassy

Friday, 3 October 2008 12:08 A GMT
Protest outside Embassy for hacker editorial@hamhigh.co.uk02 October 2008 Campaigners for Gary McKinnon By Robyn RosenA second demonstration in support of computer hacker Gary McKinnon drew a crowd of more than 100 supporters.Mr McKinnon, 42 an

NAS Media Response: Gary McKinnon Extradition

Thursday, 4 September 2008 11:15 P GMT
Media response: Gary McKinnon extradition3rd September 2008 We are aware of the ongoing case of Gary McKinnon, a man with Asperger syndrome who is appealing against extradition to the US where he will face charges of hacking into US defence computer

Even as society becomes more sensitive to Asperger’s syndrome, the diagnosis is being removed from the new version of the DSM. Lucy Berrington on the decision’s unnerving consequences.

It is difficult to think of another neurological diagnosis that has captured the public imagination more powerfully than Asperger’s syndrome. In the 17 years since Asperger’s joined the parade of neurologically based eccentricities, it has carried the flag for idiosyncrasies of human connection and imparted to the crowds a greater understanding of difference. Recently the spotlight has been on James Durbin—the unlikely rock star of American Idol, just voted off after reaching fourth place—and Zev Glassenberg of The Amazing Race. Both contestants acknowledged they have Asperger’s, an autism-spectrum condition. Popular culture, perhaps most notably the NBC series Parenthood, has taken characters and individuals with Asperger’s who would otherwise be on the periphery and placed them at the center.

Nevertheless, the diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome seems about to be lost, a casualty of the struggle to clarify how we think about autism. Under proposed revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the diagnostic encyclopedia of American psychiatry, it appears the term Asperger’s will be discarded—a change unwelcome in much of the Asperger’s community. This is happening even as a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry using new methodology suggests the prevalence of autism in developed nations may be far higher than previously thought, suggesting that the impact of the DSM changes will be more widely felt than we can currently know. Meanwhile, a parallel debate, also with profound implications for diagnosis and treatment, is about how to conceptualize and organize the perplexing variety of ways that autism presents.

In the current edition of the DSM, Asperger’s is one of several subgroups of autism identified by separate labels. These are poorly defined and have generated confusion and subjectivity around diagnosis. In the forthcoming DSM edition, scheduled to be published in 2013, these subcategories will probably be discarded, and the single diagnostic label of Autistic Spectrum Disorder will serve for all. Its manifestations will be categorized by two numerical scales of severity that aim to locate each individual on the continuum. (The DSM committee invites public comment on its proposals until June 15.)

Many experts and advocates have expressed skepticism, arguing that these numerical scales cannot capture the complexities of autism. Some say the diagnostic dilemma would be better resolved by more precisely defining Asperger’s than eliminating it. Nevertheless, the DSM changes appear set to proceed. The best hope for the survival of the Asperger’s brand is that the narrative of the DSM will retain a shorthand labeling system for regions of the autism spectrum associated with relatively well-defined needs and interventions. Asperger’s inhabits one such region. Classic or non-speaking autism probably inhabits another.

Why is the Asperger’s label worth retaining? At the Asperger’s Association of New England (based in Watertown, Massachusetts), the largest and most established U.S. organization supporting people with Asperger’s, we see daily how powerfully and positively this diagnosis influences the lives of those with the condition. Before 1994, when Asperger’s syndrome was first included in the DSM, they wandered a diagnostic wasteland, sometimes picking up inappropriate labels—bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, OCD, atypical ADHD—that did little to clarify or address their needs. The Asperger’s diagnosis, in contrast, has provided meaningful identity and generated a tremendous international self-help movement. As Temple Grandin, a professor and a prominent autistic American, has said, the size and voice of the Asperger’s community is reason enough to leave the diagnosis in place. A corresponding profusion of literature and research has facilitated leaps in understanding among individuals, families, educators, and clinicians. A simple qualitative scale cannot serve this community and culture.

The effect on the continuity of service provision is a major concern.

Moreover, the DSM changes risk an erosion of the autism spectrum at the higher-functioning end. Tony Attwood, a leading Asperger’s expert, has expressed concern that dropping the label will dissuade people from being evaluated. Some aspects of the proposed criteria can be unclear in adults, who might be “undiagnosed” under the numerical cutoffs. Neuropsychological testing instruments can be insensitive to less-pronounced autism, again making diagnosis less likely.

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Winchester resident, John Williams, an artist with Asperger’s, has an upcoming art show at Frameworks in Burlington.

For John Williams, creativity and art is one of the most crucial aspects of his life.

The Winchester native and burgeoning artist, is a graduate of Winchester High School and UMASS Lowell, where he earned a BFA in Fine Art.

Along the way, Williams has had to overcome Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a form of autism.

“For me, living with this disability is like having a TV turned on in my head with the channel changer broke/ Art helps me live with my disability. I can escape from the world and channel my energy into creations,” Williams said.

Williams’ love for art began as soon as he came across his first mound of clay.

“It started the moment I could even touch clay at four years old. Originally, I thought I wanted to be a sculptor. My collage work started in High School art class.”

Williams art show is entitled Painting with Paper and premieres at Frameworks, 10 Wall Street, Burlington on May 20 and runs through June 15. Times for viewing are Monday and Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can also stop by Frameworks, Sunday, May 22 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. to meet Williams at the Artist’s Reception.

For more information on Williams’ upcoming Painting with Paper art show, visit the Frameworks website by clicking here.

For more on William’s art, visit his website.

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