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February 2013



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Archive for February, 2013




An appreciation for art is one of the transcendent values of life, and a great source of happiness, but like many transcendent values, it can sometimes be hard to wedge into your ordinary day.


Here are some tips for getting some visual art into your daily routine, without spending a lot of time, energy, or money.


1. Check out art books from the library. Art books are very expensive, but at the library, you can enjoy as many as you want, for free.


2. Here’s a brilliant suggestion from a reader: When she’s at a museum, she buys postcards of her favorite works of art. She keeps a big stack of these masterpiece postcards, and from time to time, puts a new bunch in the sun visor of her car. When she’s stuck in traffic, she pulls them out and looks at them.


3. Enjoy picture books. We tend to look at picture books only when we’re around very young children, but picture books can be such a source of joy. I wrote a series of posts for the New York TimesMotherlode blog about my love of picture books.


4. Don’t feel like you have to spend hours in a museum.  My family has become members of several museums, so we can visit as often as we like, and for as long or as short a time as we like, without having to pay extra. I find that I like visiting museums much more when I go often, and for a short time.


5. Treat a a store like an art gallery. Visit some outrageously exquisite store, or even a department store or hardware store, without the expectation of purchase — just to enjoy the items there. Added bonus: in a store, you can touch and handle objects. A few months ago, I spent a good five minutes running my hands over a fake-fur throw during a trip to Bloomingdale’s. Extremely satisfying.


6. Make something yourself. There’s a great pleasure in making something by hand — even something as basic as sticking cloves into an orange to make a pomander ball. During high school, I made dozens of pomander balls. Find out something you’d like to make, and set aside time and space to do it.


7. Use sites like Pinterest or Instagram. It’s funny — one way of laying claim to a beautiful object is to take a photograph of it. Taking photos of beautiful sights, or “pinning” them, is a very satisfying way to engage with the world, and then you can look back with great pleasure on all your images. Your own gallery. (You can follow me on Pinterest and Instagram, if you’re curious to see what I’m choosing.)






When Morning Sickness Lasts All Day

Feb. 26, 2013 — Severe nausea during pregnancy can be fatal, yet very little is known about this condition. Hormonal, genetic and socio-economic factors may all play a role.


Almost all women experience some nausea or vomiting when pregnant. Approximately one out of every hundred suffers from acute nausea during pregnancy (hyperemesis gravidarum) and may need hospital treatment to restore hydration, electrolytes and vitamins intravenously.


“At worst, women may die if they go untreated. Many women find that the condition has an adverse effect on their work and family lives,” states Ã…se Vikanes, senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and specialist in gynaecology and obstetrics.
Making up for insufficient research activity
Hyperemesis came under the spotlight earlier this winter when Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, was hospitalised because of it.
But research projects on this illness have been few and far between. When Dr Vikanes completed her doctoral degree in 2010 with funding from the Research Council of Norway, her thesis was the first in this field in Norway in 70 years.
“This is a relatively common affliction among women and even so it has been difficult to win understanding for the need for research. Not too many years ago, people sincerely believed that the cause could be the woman’s subconscious rejection of the child and the child’s father. The attitude in part has been that the pregnant woman needs to pull herself together,” Ã…se Vikanes explains.
The real cause behind severe nausea during pregnancy remains unknown and looks to be complex. But there is little to support the idea that the explanation is psychological. Both hormones and genetics involved

Several studies have shown that elevated levels of oestrogen and the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), may be involved. The likelihood is that hormonal, genetic and socio-economic factors all play a part.


Taking Care of Yourself When You’re Depressed


Associate Editor


Self-care is often the last thing on your mind when you’re struggling with depression. It takes energy and “a sense that you want to be around tomorrow” to tend to your needs, said Therese Borchard, author of Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression & Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes.


But the very nature of depression is draining. “A depressed person is exhausted, hopeless, and usually not all that concerned about the future.”


Deborah Serani, Psy.D, a clinical psychologist who’s experienced depression since childhood, described the fatigue as a “knuckle-dragging, heavy-limbed, bone-weary, energy-zapping exhaustion.” Depression also causes groggy and slow thinking, “which makes it hard to kick-start problem solving skills.”


But, as both experts stressed, self-care is a salve for depression.


According to Serani, author of the book Living with Depression, “tend[ing] to your mind, body and soul is vital for healing depression or any illness for that matter.” Self-care “shortens the time between relapses. In fact, it makes relapsing less likely,” Borchard said.


Self-care gives you the strength and the foundation to start applying the necessary tools to treat your depression, Serani said.


These are several simple but meaningful ways you can practice self-care, even when that’s the last thing you want to – or can – do.


Read More …


Scopolamine flower

Psychiatric Applications For Scopolamine


Article Date: 15 Feb 2013 – 0:00 PST


Scopolamine is an anticholinergic drug with many uses. For example, it prevents nausea, vomiting, and motion sickness. 


However, scopolamine is re-emerging as anantidepressant, with recent studies showing that scopolamine can rapidly improve mood in depressed patients. In addition, in a new study published in Biological Psychiatry this month by Dr. Moriel Zelikowsky and colleagues at the University of California, Los Angeles, it may also be a possible treatment for anxiety disorders. 


Exposure therapy, where the key goal is the elimination of fear through repeated ‘safe’ exposure to the threat, is commonly employed for the treatment of anxiety disorders. However, its effectiveness is diminished because humans and animals alike tend to be very sensitive to context, causing extinction learning to be dependent on the environment in which it occurs. This makes memories formed during extinction unstable. As a result, extinguished fears commonly return when people put themselves in new situations.


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Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation: A New Electrical Treatment for Depression?




When electricity and the brain are mentioned in the same sentence, your mind might immediately jump to disturbing images of people receiving huge shocks while covered in electrodes, strapped to tables.


But electroconvulsive therapy(ECT) treatment has developed considerably since the days depicted in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”  A current study at JAMA Psychiatryexamines a treatment called transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS).


Could this fairly new form of electrical treatment for depressionreally be effective — and without the negative side effects of ECT?


This new treatment, which involves stimulating the brain with a weak electrical current, is starting to be considered as an alternative — and potentially effective — treatment for depression.  tDCS, unlike traditional ECT, passes only a weak electrical current into the front of the brain through electrodes on the scalp.


Patients receive the treatment once a day for 30 minutes and remain awake and alert during the entire procedure.


Why is New Treatment for Depression So Essential?


Depression in adulthood remains a common and often under-treated condition.


Depression can occur at any age, but it typically emerges in the mid-20s. Women experience depression twice as frequently as men, and symptoms can vary from mild to severe. Major depressive disorder, which may be diagnosed when depressive symptoms last for 2 weeks or more, is understood to occur in 15 to 17 percent of the population.


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Diabetes + Depression = Increased Risk of Death, Review Finds


Feb. 20, 2013 — People living with diabetes who also have untreated depression are at increased risk of death, according to a new evidence review in General Hospital Psychiatry.


More than 42,000 patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and depression were analyzed in the review. The reviewers discovered that depression was associated with a 1.5 fold increase in the risk of dying. In four of the studies reviewed, co-morbid depression was linked to about a 20 percent higher risk of cardiovascular death for people with diabetes.


Diabetes affects 25.8 million people in the U.S., according to the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet, and about 30 percent of these people also experience symptoms of depression.


Read in Full:


Recalling Good Times May Reduce Depression


By  Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on February 26, 2013

A new strategy to improve mood may help people who suffer from depression. The approach calls on the recollection of positive day-to-day experiences.


Researchers have learned that remembering or recalling concrete, detailed memories that are positive or self-affirming can help to improve the mood of people with a history of depression.


Unfortunately, it’s this kind of vivid memory for everyday events that seems to be dampened for people who suffer from depression.


In the new study, Tim Dalgleish, Ph.D., of the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit and colleagues hypothesized that a well-known method used to enhance memory — known as the “method-of-loci” strategy — might help depressed patients to recall positive memories with greater ease.


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Untreated Depression Linked to Less Effectiveness of Shingles Vaccine


By  Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on February 17, 2013

A new study has found a link between untreated depression in older adults and decreased effectiveness of the herpes zoster, or shingles, vaccine.


Older adults are known to be at risk for shingles, a painful condition caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, researchers said, noting more than 1 million new cases occur each year in the U.S. The vaccine boosts immunity to the virus and can decrease the incidence and severity of the condition.


In a two-year study, led by Dr. Michael Irwin at the University of California-Los Angeles, researchers measured the immune responses to the shingles vaccination among 40 subjects aged 60 or older with a major depressive disorder and compared their responses to similar levels in 52 control patients matched by age and gender. Measurements were taken at baseline, then at six weeks, one year, and two years after the patients received the shingles vaccine or a placebo.


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Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Feb 15th 2013


There is a natural tendency to think of abuse as physical or verbal violence against another person, either a child, wife or husband. Generally, most people think in terms of violence against women. Yet, there is another type of abuse that might be considered violence even though it is somewhat different. Specifically, I am referring to “reproductive coercion.” Reproductive coercion comes in many forms. Sometimes a man will poke holes in a condom unbeknownst to his lover, resulting in pregnancy. Sometimes the lover will use violence or the threat of violence to force his partner into pregnancy. There have even been cases in which the man pulls the IUD out of the woman’s vagina before having unprotected sex. By the way, this is certainly a violent and dangerous thing to do. Sometimes, reproductive coercion involves pressuring a lover into having a baby they do not wish to have. In fact, in all of these cases, the lover is very specific in not wanting a child. One of the motivations for doing this is to keep a relationship going by having a baby. In other words, it’s a kind of entrapment whereby the presence of a baby allows a lover to keep control over his partner. This can and does result in multiple pregnancies. The fact is that, by sabotaging birth control, not only is pregnancy being forced upon a woman, but she is exposed to the possibility of sexually transmitted disease. In effect, reproductive coercion is an example of violence against women.

Read in Full:
Article Date: 17 Feb 2013 – 0:00 PST


An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and the University of Houston has found a new way to influence the vital serotonin signaling system – possibly leading to more effective medications with fewer side effects. 


Scientists have linked malfunctions in serotonin signaling to a wide range of health issues, everything from depression and addictions to epilepsy and obesity and eating disorders. Much of their attention has focused on complex proteins called serotonin receptors, which are located in the cell membrane. Each receptor has a so-called “active site” specially suited to bond with a serotonin molecule; when that bond is formed, the receptor changes shape, transmitting a signal to the cell’s interior.


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Abstinence Can Lift Drinking-Induced Depression


By  Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on February 13, 2013

A new study clarifies that heavy drinking can lead to mood problems that often result in depression.
Although experts have long known that heavy drinking can spur temporary episodes of depression — what’s known as “substance-induced depression” — the new research shows the prevalence and clinical importance of the phenomenon.
The study is found in the March issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
“I don’t know that the average person realizes that heavy drinking can induce mood problems,” said lead researcher Marc A. Schuckit, M.D., of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

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Avatars Reduce Depression Rates in Young Adults


By  Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on February 12, 2013

Mental health problems in young adulthood are often ignored or neglected, a function of reluctance to seek treatment because of the stigma, inadequate insurance coverage, or a difficulty in finding a mental health care provider.


New research at Case Western Reserve University suggests depression symptoms may be significantly reduced when 18- to 25-year-olds interact with computerized avatars.


The avatars are virtual 3D images of a healthcare provider like a nurse practitioner or physician. The interaction provides young adults a way to rehearse office visits ahead of time and learn self-management skills.

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Yoga Helps Relieve Depression, Sleep Problems


By  Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on January 26, 2013

Practicing yoga may help relieve the symptoms of several types of mental disorders, according to a new review.
Researchers compiled the findings of 16 significant studies that examined the effects of yoga on mental illness. 
The results conclude that yoga may offer positive effects for people withdepression and sleep problems even if they don’t take medication, as well as for individuals with schizophreniaand attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who are taking medication.
No benefit was found, however, for people with eating or cognitive disorders.
Yoga research has suggested that the practice positively influences chemical messengers in the brain, inflammation in the body, and other biological factors in much the same way as antidepressants andpsychotherapy, said study researcher Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, a professor of psychiatry and medicine at Duke University Medical Center.


The Link Between Schizophrenia and Heart Disease


By  Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on February 2, 2013

A new study further confirms the biological and genetic links between heart (or cardiovascular) disease and schizophrenia.


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of premature death in schizophrenia patients, who die from heart and blood vessel disorders at twice the rate of people without the mental disorder.


“These results have important clinical implications, adding to our growing awareness that cardiovascular disease is under-recognized and under-treated in mentally ill individuals,” said study first author Ole Andreassen, M.D., Ph.D., an adjunct professor at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and professor of psychiatry at the University of Oslo.

“Its presence in schizophrenia is not solely due to lifestyle or medication side effects. Clinicians must recognize that individuals with schizophrenia are at risk for cardiovascular disease independent of these factors.”


For the study, an international team of researchers used a novel statistical model to magnify the powers of genome-wide association studies (GWAS).


These are studies in which differing bits of sequential DNA — called single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs — in persons and groups are compared to find common genetic variants that might be linked to a trait or disease.


The researchers further enhanced the power of GWAS by adding information based on genetic pleiotropy — the concept that at least some genes influence multiple traits, instead of a single trait.


“Our approach is different in that we use all available genetic information for multiple traits and diseases, not just SNPs below a given statistical threshold,” said principal investigator Anders M. Dale, Ph.D.
Read in Full:

Age-Related Decline in IQ Linked to Schizophrenia Risk


By  Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on February 23, 2013

A person who is at greater risk for developing schizophrenia is more likely to experience a decline in IQ with age. 


This may happen even if the person does not go on to develop the disorder, say scientists at the University of Edinburgh.


Schizophrenia is a rare but serious psychiatric disorder, usually beginning in late adolescence, and is characterized by hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, cognitive impairment, social withdrawal, self-neglect and loss of motivation and initiative.


It has been shown that genetic factors influence the development of the disorder.


“Retaining our thinking skills as we grow older is important for living well and independently. If nature has loaded a person’s genes towards schizophrenia, then there is a slight but detectable worsening in cognitive functions between childhood and old age,” said Professor Ian Deary, director of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Cognitive Aging and Cognitive Epidemiology.


Using genetic analysis techniques, the researchers compared the IQ scores of more than 1,000 people from Edinburgh.  The participants were tested for general cognitive functions in 1947, at age 11, and again when they were about 70 years old.


Read in Full:



Giving a Voice to Kids With Down Syndrome


Feb. 25, 2013 — Researchers from the University of Alberta are helping children with Down syndrome who stutter find their voice and speak with ease.


Stuttering is a common problem that affects almost half of all children with Down syndrome, yet despite the scope of the problem, little research exists about preferred treatment options — or even whether to treat at all. Researchers with the U of A’s Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research (ISTAR) point to a new case study that shows fluency shaping can indeed improve a child’s speech.

“People who stutter, whether they have a developmental delay or not, can do very well with treatment,” said study co-author Jessica Harasym, a speech-language pathologist and Elks clinician with ISTAR in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine. “There is no difference between the way the child in our case study responded compared with other children and families we’ve worked with who don’t have Down syndrome.”


Read in Full:


Birdsong & Child Speech

Linguistics And Biology Researchers Propose A New Theory On The Deep Roots Of Human Speech


Article Date: 25 Feb 2013 – 1:00 PST


“The sounds uttered by birds offer in several respects the nearest analogy to language,” Charles Darwin wrote in “The Descent of Man” (1871), while contemplating how humans learned to speak. Language, he speculated, might have had its origins in singing, which “might have given rise to words expressive of various complex emotions.” 


Now researchers from MIT, along with a scholar from the University of Tokyo, say that Darwin was on the right path. The balance of evidence, they believe, suggests that human language is a grafting of two communication forms found elsewhere in the animal kingdom: first, the elaborate songs of birds, and second, the more utilitarian, information-bearing types of expression seen in a diversity of other animals. 


“It’s this adventitious combination that triggered human language,” says Shigeru Miyagawa, a professor of linguistics in MIT’s Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, and co-author of a new paper published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology. 


The idea builds upon Miyagawa’s conclusion, detailed in his previous work, that there are two “layers” in all human languages: an “expression” layer, which involves the changeable organization of sentences, and a “lexical” layer, which relates to the core content of a sentence. His conclusion is based on earlier work by linguists including Noam Chomsky, Kenneth Hale and Samuel Jay Keyser.


Read in Full:



Dear friends,


In collaboration with Not Dead Yet and the National Council on Independent Living, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network will be hosting vigils in cities across the country in memory of disabled people murdered by family members or caregivers. A complete list of all cities with specific times and locations has been posted to our website, along with contact information for each of the vigil coordinators. Click here to see the list.


We encourage you to join us on Friday, March 1st, to honor the lives of people with disabilities who were victims of domestic violence.We are holding vigils in Sacramento (CA), San Francisco (CA), Washington DC, Chicago (IL), Lincoln (NE), Woodbridge (NJ), New York (NY), Rochester (NY), Portland (OR), and Seattle (WA).


Our voices and the presence of our community are needed now more than ever.


In solidarity,


The Autistic Self Advocacy Network


Dear friends,

Last year, the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, along with Not Dead Yet and the National Council on Independent Living, held a Day of Mourning for people with disabilities killed by their relatives and caregivers. 

Day of Mourning began as a response to the murder of George Hodgins, a 22-year-old autistic man from California, and to the way people were talking about his death. Far too often, when a disabled person is murdered by a caregiver, journalists write as though it is the disabled victim who has perpetrated a crime simply by existing. In discussing the killing, people say that we should feel sorry for the murderer, because they had to live with a disabled relative. When a disabled person is murdered, many people act as though the murder victim’s life, not their death, was a tragedy.

On March 30th, 2012, we held vigils in 18 cities to remember those we have lost, and to remind the world that their lives had value.

On March 31st, 2012, a 4-year-old autistic boy named Daniel Corby was drowned in a bathtub by his mother. 

There is so much work to be done to change public perceptions about the worth and the quality of our lives. That is why the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network will be holding Day of Mourning again this year on Friday, March 1st. And I need your help to organize vigils across the country.

The first time I organized a vigil, I was very scared to do it, but it was not as hard as I feared. If you are interested in leading a vigil in your area, you begin by finding a good spot for it, making sure you can gather a group of people there, and spreading the word to your local community. If you want to organize a vigil, contact me at  zgross@autisticadvocacy.org for instructions and support. I will help you find a location and to plan and publicize your event. 

On March 1st, we will remember our dead and take a stand against the violence facing our community. I hope to see you there.


In solidarity,

Zoe Gross

Autistic Self Advocacy Network



Throughout February there are lots of ways you can get involved with National Heart Month and raise funds to support our life-saving work. How will you get involved?



Write a Love Note


For a suggested donation of just £1, you can post a heartfelt Love Note in your local BHF shop window for all to see this Valentine’s Day. Find out how to get your Love Note



Love Installations



This year we have created some amazing Love Installations in London. You can find them in Covent Garden and in Camden Lock Market. Come along and take part in the installation.



Find out about Love Installations



You can help us fill the installations. For a donation of just £3, you can add your personalised BHF designed lock and message.

Order your fundraising kit:






These Four Things Happen Right Before a Heart Attack

By Katrina Turner


Every year, approximately 785,00 Americans suffer a first heart attack. And 470,000 who’ve already had one or more heart attacks have another one. The scary thing is that 25 percent of All heart attacks happen “silently:, without clear or obvious symptoms.


Even when symptoms occur, they can be so mild or vague, most people don’t even realize it’s heart-related (unless they are made aware). Four things in particular are the most sinister signs of a silent heart attack.


These four things are the focus of a recent video presentation by renowned cardiovascular expert Dr. Chauncey


Crandall: Silent Heart Attacks: A Special Newsmax Heart Health Report. According to Dr. Crandall, the reason silent heart attacks go untreated is because people don’t even notice the symptoms, so he created a special video presentation to show the four things to look for that may be a silent warning — before it’s too late to intervene and survive the damage.


Timing is the most critical factor for survival. Statistics show a clear link between delay in treatment and disability or death — the amount of time that elapses between the first sign of symptoms and receiving care.


That’s why knowing what to look for in terms of symptoms is critical, especially when they’re the kind that most people don’t think to associate with a heart attack — like the four things in Dr. Crandall’s video,Silent Heart Attacks: A Special Newsmax Heart Health Report.


Read in Full:





Further Heart Related Articles


The Greater the Satisfaction You Feel with the Components

of Everyday Life, the Greater the Protection Against Heart Disease:



Marker Predicts Heart Disease In People With Schizophrenia:

Saved By a Punch: Playground Knockout Leads to Rare Heart Condition Discovery:
Heart Health: Why High Blood Pressure Really is a Silent Killer:
Study Suggests a Relationship Between Migraine Headaches in Children and a Common Heart Defect:
Heart Health: Increased Cardiac Risk Linked to Occasional Exertion, Sex:
Doors Set to Close on Child Heart Op Units, 8 Year Old Autistic Boy Set For Lifesaving Op Amid Relocation Fears:
Heart Health: It’s National Heart Month!/ Scientists Look to Stem Cells to Mend Broken Hearts/ Heart Attack Symptoms in Men & Women:
Eat Berries for Brain Health:
Link Between Childhood Physical Abuse and Heart Disease:
Heart Patients with Anxiety Disorder Experience More Cardiac Events, Deaths:
Links Between Hypertension, Bipolar Disorders Identified:
Side Effects of Depression Meds Improve Heart Health:
Cardiac Health and Creative Engagement:
Heart Health: February is National Heart Month:
John Hopkins Health Alert: Blood Pressure Basics/ Cardiac Risk From Chronic Stress:
Heart Health: Garlic For a Healthy Heart? Go Fresh, Study Says:
Depression, Anxiety Bad For the Heart:
Gene Linked to Depression in Cardiovascular Patients:
Depression Lowers Blood Pressure But [Some] Antidepressants Increase It:
Depression, Women & Heart Health:
Heart Health: More Reasons to Eat Dark Chocolate/ Another Reason To Go Easy on the Salt Shaker:
Psychological Stress & Unexplained Chest Pain/ Heart Health: CPR to the Rescue:
Clinical Review: Blood Pressure Self Monitoring Q & A From National Conference:
Study: Teasing Apart Links Between Depression & Heart Disease/ Do You Know What To Do For A Stroke?:
Poor Lifestyle Choices Not Stress Accounts For Most Anxiety, Depression Linked Heart Disease:
Anxiety Disorders Linked To High Blood Pressure/How High Blood Pressure Can Affect Your Memory:

British Heart Foundation:


Mother Seeks Treatment, Awareness For Angelman Syndrome

Individuals often misdiagnosed; Melissa Winger wants education

Will Norris is a precocious 3-year-old boy born Nov. 8, 2009.
He is a happy child with a positive demeanor, his mother reports, and he has a lovely smile.
That is one of the traits of Angelman syndrome (AS), but other traits are less agreeable, such as life-threatening seizures (if not properly treated), significant developmental delays and lack of speech, including cooing or babbling as an infant.
“When Will wasn’t hitting the usual milestones, we didn’t stop visiting doctor after doctor until finally one knew about Angelman syndrome,” his mother, Melissa Winger, said. “But that process took too long, and my heart goes out to families across the country that may right now be experiencing this same anguish.” 

Angelman syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder similar to autism. There is no cure for the syndrome, which is genetic, but currently there are human clinical trials being run in Florida to see if minocycline, an antibiotic, will help alleviate systems. 


Will was diagnosed in October 2011 with UPD Angelman syndrome. He lives with his mother and sister in Avon Lake and although he is non-verbal, he has no problem of letting you know when he is happy or sad or what he wants.


“He crawls like nobody’s business, and there isn’t a piece of furniture he is afraid to climb,” Melissa said.


“His favorite shows are Sesame Street and Lazy Town and will never, ever turn down chocolate.”

Will remains non-verbal and does not walk, but luckily, he remains seizure free.
“He gets therapy speech and physical therapy,” Melissa said. “We’re hoping  he will walk at some point. He tends to more high functioning than many with the syndrome.”
Education, treatment are key
Melissa said she is looking forward to the day he runs down the street and yells for her. Whether that happens remains to be seen. Currently, there is no cure for Angelman syndrome, named after Dr. Harry Angelman, who discovered the syndrome in 1965.
Only one third of infants who exhibit developmental delays were referred to early intervention specialists, indicating that the optimal or appropriate form of healthcare is not always provided or available. Statistics are more daunting for individuals with Angelman syndrome, a frustration for Melissa. 

Prior to obtaining proper diagnosis, nearly 50 percent of individuals with Angelman syndrome were incorrectly diagnosed with another disorder, sometimes more than once, according to the Angelman Syndrome Foundation. Of those individuals, more than 70 percent had to wait at least a year to receive a proper diagnosis—and during that time, individuals are not receiving the essential treatments their condition requires. 
“As a loved one of an individual with Angelman syndrome, these statistics are unacceptable—and I believe many would feel the same way I do,” Melissa said. “


“The agony that my family experienced on our journey to obtain the proper diagnosis for Will was, to say the least, the most challenging and heart-wrenching time of my life.”

Melissa said it’s important educate parents of children with a “general developmental delay” (as some doctors diagnose) as well as educating medical professionals who are unaware of this disorder.
“(Then) we can hopefully reduce these staggering misdiagnosis statistics. It will ensure that our children get the crucial treatments they need, as early as possible,” she said.
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