Wednesday, November 14, 2012

We are not stupid

Let us review facts, now we are overlooking the spontaneous act of rage reaction to a video tape and susan rice is being protected by the president? Does the right hand not know what the left hand is doing? Generals are being exposed and a couple of women are involved in a cat fight? An FBI agent with shirtless photos? Who are these people? Who wrote this script? All I know is that this is a bad Hollywood movie? Let us just admit to this messy cover up and move on. We deserve to know the truth. These individuals work for us and owe us answers. Please do not pretend like these are pure coincidences, politics are a dirty game, very sad to see this exposed. Very sad.

Sucking behavior and different languages! BABIES ROCK




Bilingual Babies: The Roots of Bilingualism in Newborns

 — It may not be obvious, but hearing two languages regularly during pregnancy puts infants on the road to bilingualism by birth. According to new findings in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, infants born to bilingual mothers (who spoke both languages regularly during pregnancy) exhibit different language preferences than infants born to mothers speaking only one language.

ScienceDaily (Feb. 17, 2010)
Psychological scientists Krista Byers-Heinlein and Janet F. Werker from the University of British Columbia along with Tracey Burns of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in France wanted to investigate language preference and discrimination in newborns. Two groups of newborns were tested in these experiments: English monolinguals (whose mothers spoke only English during pregnancy) and Tagalog-English bilinguals (whose mothers spoke both Tagalog, a language spoken in the Philippines, and English regularly during pregnancy). The researchers employed a method known as "high-amplitude sucking-preference procedure" to study the infants' language preferences. This method capitalizes on the newborns' sucking reflex -- increased sucking indicates interest in a stimulus. In the first experiment, infants heard 10 minutes of speech, with every minute alternating between English and Tagalog.
Results showed that English monolingual infants were more interested in English than Tagalog -- they exhibited increased sucking behavior when they heard English than when they heard Tagalog being spoken. However, bilingual infants had an equal preference for both English and Tagalog. These results suggest that prenatal bilingual exposure may affect infants' language preferences, preparing bilingual infants to listen to and learn about both of their native languages.
To learn two languages, bilingual newborns must also be able to keep their languages apart. To test if bilingual infants are able to discriminate between their two languages, infants listened to sentences being spoken in one of the languages until they lost interest. Then, they either heard sentences in the other language or heard sentences in the same language, but spoken by a different person. Infants exhibited increased sucking when they heard the other language being spoken. Their sucking did not increase if they heard additional sentences in the same language. These results suggest that bilingual infants, along with monolingual infants, are able to discriminate between the two languages, providing a mechanism from the first moments of life that helps ensure bilingual infants do not confuse their two languages.
The researchers observe that, "Monolingual newborns' preference for their single native language directs listening attention to that language" and that, "Bilingual newborns' interest in both languages helps ensure attention to, and hence further learning about, each of their languages." Discrimination of the two languages helps prevent confusion. The results of these studies demonstrate that the roots of bilingualism run deeper than previously imagined, extending even to the prenatal period.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Love Hurts: Brain Chemistry Explains the Pangs of Separation

  
 
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN  SEPTEMBER 2012


Larry Young and Brian Alexander explain how heartache begins in the brain in
The Chemistry Between Us







 

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Editor's Note: Neurobiologist Larry Young studies a monogamous species of rodent, the prairie vole, to understand the behavior and chemistry behind relationships. In The Chemistry Between Us, Young teams up with science journalist Brian Alexander to describe science's progress in illuminating the neurochemistry behind our experience of love. In this excerpt, the authors describe the work of neurobiologist Oliver Bosch, a specialist in maternal behavior, who worked with Young's prairie voles to study the bitter price of bonding.

Excerpted from
The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex and the Science of Attraction, by Larry Young, PhD, and Brian Alexander, by arrangement with Current, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc., Copyright © Larry J. Young and Brian Alexander, 2012.

To investigate the rodent version of getting hugs, and what happens in the absence of hugs from a bonded partner, Bosch took virgin males and set them up in vole apartments with roommates—either a brother they hadn't seen in a long time or an unfamiliar virgin female. As males and females are wont to do, the boy-girl roommates mated and formed a bond. After five days, he split up half the brother pairs, and half the male-female pairs, creating what amounted to involuntary vole divorce. Then he put the voles through a series of behavioral tests.

The first is called the forced-swim test. Bosch likens it to an old Bavarian proverb about two mice who fall into a bucket of milk. One mouse does nothing and drowns. The other tries to swim so furiously the milk turns into butter and the mouse escapes. Paddling is typically what rodents will do if they find themselves in water; they'll swim like crazy because they think they'll drown if they don't. (Actually, they'll float but apparently no rodent floaters have ever returned to fill in the rest of the tribe.)

The voles that were separated from their brothers paddled manically. So did the voles who stayed with their brothers and the voles who stayed with their female mates. Only the males who'd gone through vole divorce floated listlessly as if they didn't care whether they drowned.
"It was amazing," Bosch recalls. "For minutes, they would just float. You can watch the video and without knowing which group they were in, you can easily tell if it's an animal separated from their partner, or still with their partner." Watching the videos of them bob limply, it's easy to imagine them moaning out "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone" with their tiny vole voices.
Next Bosch subjected the voles to a tail-suspension test. This test uses the highly sophisticated technique of duct taping the end of an animal's tail to a stick and suspending it. As in the swim test, a rodent thus suspended will usually flail and spin his legs like a cartoon character who's run off the edge of a cliff. Once again, though, while the other males did just that, the divorced males hung like wet laundry.
In a final behavior test, Bosch placed the voles on an elevated maze, like the ones we've already described that tested anxiety. On such a maze, the animal's desire to investigate fights with its fear of exposed areas. Compared to the other voles, the divorced males were significantly less likely to explore the open arms of the maze.
All these tests, commonly used to test lab animals for depression, showed that if you separate a pair-bonded male vole from his mate, you'll get a very mopey vole who uses what's called passive-stress coping to deal with the overwhelming anxiety of partner loss. "When the separation takes place, this is what causes the animals to feel so bad," Bosch explains. "We found this increased depressive behavior and that tells us the animal is not feeling well." He doesn't mean "under the weather," he means the divorced voles are emotionally miserable. "It is like when my wife went to the States for a post-doc for one year, so I knew I wouldn't see her for at least six months. Well, I was sitting at home, laying on the couch, not motivated to do anything, not to go out and meet friends like I usually would."
Koob and others have used drugs to create the very same behavior in other lab animals. When the drugs are taken away from rats and mice, they display the same passive responses to elevated mazes. They withdraw socially. They mope. Human addicts do the same, Koob points out, mentioning characters in movies like Leaving Las Vegas and Trainspotting as examples. To explain the physiology behind this passive depression state in the separated voles, Bosch checked their chemistry. The males separated from their mates had much higher levels of corticosterone, a stress chemical, in their blood than did any of the other groups, including voles separated from their brothers. Their HPA axis was working so hard, their adrenal glands weighed more. Bosch nailed CRF's role in driving both the HPA axis overdrive and the mopey behavior by blocking CRF receptors in the voles' brains. When he did, the divorced voles no longer hung limply from the sticks. They didn't float for as long in the water. They still remembered their mates, and were still bonded to them; they just didn't worry about it when they left them.
But here's the strange thing: both the voles who stayed with their female mates and the voles who were forced to split from the females had much more CRF in the BNST than did males who lived with, or were separated from, their brothers. In other words, loads of this stress-related hormone were being pumped in both the voles who got depressed after separation and voles who were still happily bonded and didn't show signs of passive-stress coping.
"Bonding itself produces high CRF," Bosch says. "But this does not mean the system is also firing." There is something fundamental about living with a mate that results in more CRF stress hormone in the brain, but that also prevents the engagement of the HPA stress axis as long as the mates stay together. Using an interesting metaphor for bonding, Bosch says "I compare it to a rifle. As soon as they form a pair-bond, the rifle is loaded with a bullet. But the trigger isn't pulled unless there is separation." He thinks that vasopressin serves as the chemical trigger to fire off the HPA axis during separation, though the exact roles of both oxytocin and vasopressin are still unclear.
Addicted drug users load the rifle, too. The gun won't fire unless they stop taking the drug. For the bonded voles, "it won't fire unless the partner leaves the nest," Bosch says.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Please remember CIA covert operations before you trust a president!

Just a few notes of reference to remind you who runs our country?


http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covert_United_States_foreign_regime_change_actions#section_3

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cairo, Syria and Libya

President Obama what are you doing about the problems in Egypt, Libya and Syria? Do you even know what is going on? Do you understand the history? I don't think so. So sad to see your lack of involvement. What will become of us. Do not repeat Carter's legacy, a very destructive one.

History is repeating! Keep your eyes open!

Egyptians are attacking the US embassy, the Libyans are following the lead. A carter administration story is replaying itself. This is a red flag during a presidency that is ignorant about international policy. A frightening prospect yet again and we are silent about it. Please review history. Reality is different than ideology. Foreign policy does not include idealistic standards, we have a real problem on our hands. Never forget Carter's ignorance changed the course of history. Please be aware of what is going on. Poor foreign policy can destroy the US yet again. You do the math.

Nightmare recreated! Is this another hostage crisis?

All we need is for Egypt to end up like Iran. Please do not allow this to happen!!!!! What are we doing about it?

[Updated at 3:27 p.m. ET] Angry protesters climbed the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Tuesday and hauled down the American flag, replacing it with a black standard with Islamic emblems, apparently in protest of the production of a film thought to insult the Prophet Mohammed.

The incident prompted a volley of warning shots to be fired as a large crowd gathered outside, said CNN producer Mohammed Fahmy, who was on the scene.

The replacement flag read, “There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his messenger.”

Others expressed more general grievances about U.S. policy, chanting anti-American slogans and holding up bits of a shredded American flag to television camera crews in front of the embassy.

An embassy operator told CNN that the facility had been cleared of diplomatic personnel earlier Tuesday, ahead of the apparent threat, while Egyptian riot police were called to help secure the area.

Psychopathic boldness tied to U.S. presidential success! FASCINATING.

Psychopathic boldness tied to U.S. presidential success

Monday, September 10, 2012

Practice makes Perfect! Combatting the fight or flight response.


Reduced Brain Connections Seen in People With Generalized Anxiety Disorder

The study was published today in the Archives of General Psychiatry, a journal of the American Medical Association.
Science Daily (Sep. 4, 2012) — A new University of Wisconsin-Madison imaging study shows the brains of people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) have weaker connections between a brain structure that controls emotional response and the amygdala, which suggests the brain's "panic button" may stay on due to lack of regulation. 
Anxiety disorders are the most common class of mental disorders and GAD, which is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable worry, affects nearly 6 percent of the population.
Lead author Dr. Jack Nitschke, associate professor of psychiatry in the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, says the findings support the theory that reduced communications between parts of the brain explains the intense anxiety felt by people with GAD.
In this case, two types of scans showed the amygdala, which alerts us to threat in our surroundings and initiates the "fight-or-flight" response, seems to have weaker "white matter" connections to the prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), the center of emotional regulation.
The researchers did two types of imaging -- diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) -- on the brains of 49 GAD patients and 39 healthy volunteers. Compared with the healthy volunteers, the imaging showed the brains of people with GAD had reduced connections between the prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortex and the amygdala via the uncinate fasciculus, a primary "white matter" tract that connects these brain regions. This reduced connectivity was not found in other white matter tracts elsewhere in their brains.
"We know that in the brain, if you use a circuit you build it up, the way you build muscle by exercise,'' says Nitschke, a clinical psychologist who treats patients with anxiety disorders and does research at the UW-Madison's Waisman Center.
Nitschke says that researchers wonder if this weak connection results in the intense anticipatory anxiety and worry that is the hallmark of GAD, because the ACC is unable to tell the amygdala to "chill out." It also suggests that behavioral therapy that teaches patients to consciously exercise this emotional regulation works to reduce anxiety by strengthening the connection.
"It's possible that this is exactly what we're doing when we teach patients to regulate their reactions to the negative events that come up in everyone's lives,'' Nitschke says. "We can help build people's tolerance to uncontrollable future events by teaching them to regulate their emotions to the uncertainty that surrounds those events.
Other UW-Madison members of the study team include Do Tromp, Daniel Grupe, Desmond Oathes, Daniel McFarlin, Paric Hernandez, Tammi Kral, Jee Eun Lee, Marie Adams, and Andrew Alexander.


The importance of Contextual Memory!


Key Molecules Involved in Forming Long-Term Memories Discovered

ScienceDaily (Sep. 10, 2012) — How does one's experience of an event get translated into a memory that can be accessed months, even years later? A team led by University of Pennsylvania scientists has come closer to answering that question, identifying key molecules that help convert short-term memories into long-term ones. These proteins may offer a target for drugs that can enhance memory, alleviating some of the cognitive symptoms that characterize conditions including schizophrenia, depression and Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.


Joshua Hawk, now a postdoctoral research fellow at Yale University, led the study, which was conducted as part of his Ph.D. work in the Neuroscience Graduate Group at Penn. He worked with Ted Abel, Penn's Brush Family Professor of Biology. Additional Penn team members were Shane Poplawski, Morgan Bridi, Allison Rao, Michael Sulewski and Brian Kroener. The Penn researchers collaborated with Angie Bookout and David Manglesdorf of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
"There are many drugs available to treat some of the symptoms of diseases like schizophrenia," Abel said, "but they don't treat the cognitive deficits that patients have, which can include difficulties with memory. This study looks for more specific targets to treat deficits in cognition."
Published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the study focused on a group of proteins called nuclear receptors, which have been implicated in the regulation of a variety of biological functions, including memory formation.
Nuclear receptors are a kind of transcription factor, proteins that can bind to DNA and regulate the activity of other genes. Their regulatory role may be significant in memory formation, as gene transcription is required to turn short-term memories into long-lasting ones by strengthening neuronal synapses in the brain.
To identify how this class of transcription factors figures in memory formation, the research team trained mice using a common method to create memories of a place and event, in which animals learn to associate a particular context or a certain tone with a specific experience. Associations with a place or context are believed to be encoded in the hippocampus, while memories associated with a cue such as a tone are believed to be encoded in the amygdala.
In the 24 hours after exposing mice to the initial training, the researchers examined expression patterns of all 49 nuclear receptor genes. They found 13 that increased in expression in the hippocampus in the first two hours after training. Included in this group were all three members of a class of nuclear receptors called Nr4a. Nr4a genes had previously been found to increase in expression upon use of a memory-enhancing class of drugs called histone deacetlylase inhibitors, or HDAC inhibitors.
The scientists next created a transgenic mouse in which they could selectively block the activity of the three Nr4a genes.
"Having the transgenic mouse is very useful," Hawk said. "We can manipulate it so that the Nr4a genes will only function in certain brain regions and then see how the mouse's memory-forming ability is affected."
When the researchers exposed the mice to the training context a second time, they found that the transgenic mice had reduced memory of the location where the training took place -- memories that are located in the hippocampus -- compared to normal mice. In contrast, the mutant mice's amygdala-associated memories of a cue -- the tone played during training -- remained intact.
"The mice had impairment for contextual memory, which means something in the hippocampus is affected," Abel said. "That is the type of memory that goes away in Alzheimer's and schizophrenia."
The research team also showed that the mutant mice's short-term memory was not impaired. When trained in short-term memory tasks, their performance ranked similarly to their normal siblings.
In addition, the scientists confirmed that Nr4a genes play a role in long-term memory storage by injecting the Nr4a-deficient mice with HDAC inhibitors, which have been shown to enhance memory in normal mice. The treatment did not enhance the memory-forming ability of the mutant mice, suggesting that the drug acts upon the Nr4a genes to boost long-term-memory storage.
Finally, the researchers screened mice for molecules that act "downstream" of Nr4a and could be part of the signaling cascade by which those nuclear receptors help create long-term memories. They found two genes, Fosl2 and Bdnf1, that appeared to be downstream targets of Nr4a genes and also increased in expression following treatment with an HDAC inhibitor.
"Finding these targets is promising in terms of new drug development," Abel said. "Most drugs for schizophrenia, depression and some other neurological disorders now target neurotransmitter systems and can have affects on many systems. In this case, we would change gene expression much more specifically."
"The more selective we can get for the pathway that's enhancing memory," Hawk said, "the more likely we can find effective drugs."
The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Robert A. Welch Foundation and the University of Pennsylvania.
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What is going on in politics? I am concerned. Are you?


Washington Post Monday September 10  2012

Why is Obama skipping more than half of his daily intelligence meetings?

President Obama is touting his foreign policy experience on the campaign trail, but startling new statistics suggest that national security has not necessarily been the personal priority the president makes it out to be. It turns out that more than half the time, the commander in chief does not attend his daily intelligence meeting.
The Government Accountability Institute, a new conservative investigative research organization, examined President Obama’s schedule from the day he took office until mid-June 2012, to see how often he attended his Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) — the meeting at which he is briefed on the most critical intelligence threats to the country. During his first 1,225 days in office, Obama attended his PDB just 536 times — or 43.8 percent of the time. During 2011 and the first half of 2012, his attendance became even less frequent — falling to just over 38 percent. By contrast, Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush almost never missed his daily intelligence meeting.
I asked National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor about the findings, and whether there were any instances where the president attended the intelligence meeting that were not on his public schedule. Vietor did not dispute the numbers, but said the fact that the president, during a time of war, does not attend his daily intelligence meeting on a daily basis is “not particularly interesting or useful.” He says that the president reads his PDB every day, and he disagreed with the suggestion that there is any difference whatsoever between simply reading the briefing book and having an interactive discussion of its contents with top national security and intelligence officials where the president can probe assumptions and ask questions. “I actually don’t agree at all,” Vietor told me in an e-mail, “The president gets the information he needs from the intelligence community each day.”
Yet Vietor also directed me to a Post story written this year in which Obama officials discuss the importance of the intelligence meeting and extol how brilliantly the president runs it. “Obama reads the PDB ahead of time and comes to the morning meeting with questions. Intelligence briefers are there to answer those questions, expand on a point or raise a new issue,” The Post reported. “One regular participant in the roughly 500 Oval Office sessions during Obama’s presidency said the meetings show a president consistently participating in an exploration of foreign policy and intelligence issues.”
Not so consistently, it seems. Since Obama officials have actively promoted the way the president runs his daily intelligence meeting as evidence of his national security leadership (even releasing a photo of him receiving the briefing on an iPad), it is fair to ask why he skips the daily meeting so often.
According to former officials who have detailed knowledge of the PDB process, having the daily meeting — and not just reading the briefing book — is enormously important both for the president and those who prepare the brief. For the president, the meeting is an opportunity to ask questions of the briefers, probe assumptions and request additional information. For those preparing the brief, meeting with the president on a daily basis gives them vital, direct feedback from the commander in chief about what is on his mind, how they can be more responsive to his needs, and what information he may have to feed back into the intelligence process. This process cannot be replicated on paper.
While the Bush records are not yet available electronically for analysis, officials tell me the former president held his intelligence meeting six days a week, no exceptions — usually with the vice president, the White House chief of staff, the national security adviser, the director of National Intelligence, or their deputies, and CIA briefers in attendance. Once a week, he held an expanded Homeland Security briefing that included the Homeland Security adviser, the FBI director and other homeland security officials. Bush also did more than 100 hour-long “deep dives” in which he invited intelligence analysts into the Oval Office to get their unvarnished and sometimes differing views. Such meetings deepened the president’s understanding of the issues and helped analysts better understand the problems with which he was wrestling.
When Obama forgoes this daily intelligence meeting, he is consciously placing other priorities ahead of national security. As The Post story that the Obama White House sent me put it, “Process tells you something about an administration. How a president structures his regular morning meeting on intelligence and national security is one way to measure his personal approach to foreign policy.”
Indeed it is. So is how often he holds it. With President Obama, it seems, the regular morning meeting on intelligence is not so regular.
Marc A. Thiessen, a fellow with the American Enterprise Institute, writes a weekly online column for The Post.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Dana Rohrabacher (R) Vs. Todd Akin? Which one more ignorant?

Dear Mr. Rohrabacher
With all due respect, you are as ignorant as Todd Akin, you have no idea of the subject unless your attempt is purely to create a massive civil war in Iran in order to get closer to Russia and may be provide ammunition for further destruction for votes and financial reasons. Please review history and clarify your motives before making public statements. Americans do not want the sacred power of the office to be abused any longer. Either by you nor by the Todd Akin types of individuals. Thank you

Washington, Jul 26 - Today, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) sent a letter to Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton urging the United States to back freedom for Azeris from Iran. Rohrabacher’s letter was prompted by recent news stories concerning a budding military cooperation between Israel and the Azerbaijan Republic.

“It would be wise for the United States to encourage such cooperation, as the aggressive dictatorship in Tehran is our enemy as well as theirs,” writes Rohrabacher. “The people of Azerbaijan are geographically divided and many are calling for the reunification of their homeland after nearly two centuries of foreign rule.”

Almost twice as many Azeri live in Iran as in the Azerbaijan Republic. Their homeland was divided by Russia and Persia in 1828, without their consent. “The Azerbaijan Republic won its independence in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed,” continues the letter. “Now it is time for the Azeris in Iran to win their freedom too.”

“Aiding the legitimate aspirations of the Azeri people for independence is a worthy cause in and of itself,” says Rohrabacher. “Yet, it also poses a greater danger to the Iranian tyrants than the threat of bombing its underground nuclear research bunkers.”

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Guns? $6 Billion? What a lucrative industry?



The US gun and ammunition manufacturing industry includes about 300 companies with combined annual revenue of about $6 billion. Major gun and ammunition manufacturers include Browning Arms; Freedom Group (which includes Remington Arms, Marlin Firearms, and Bushmaster Firearms); Olin; Alliant Techsystems; Sturm, Ruger & Company; and Smith & Wesson. The industry is highly concentrated.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Guns do kill people!

Columbine, Denver theater, Wisconsin Sikh temple, streets of Syria and Egypt! You do the math. Mental illness, fanaticism, and dictatorships always exist. But so many would not be dead if there were no fire arms. Stop the guns. The right to bear arms is an outdated ideology that was in reference to self protection not the fun of hunting nor ordering as many as one desires online nor one country selling them to another for a hefty profit. it is 2012, it is to time to reevaluate.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Darkest moments of the Olympics:Wajdon Shaherkani

Please stop and reflect on what is happening to a 16 year old wojdan?
I so understand and empathize with her terror, conflict, and pain during the longest 2 minutes of her life.

Women are being used as pawns even in 2012. Wojdan's Judo competition was another incident of a disgusting, self serving and publicly condoned female abuse & humiliation. She, a young innocent girl pays the price for men to seem tough and to resemble true leaders. To change history does not include play pretend. This is as bad to the female psyche as female gentile mutilation is to her body.

Has anyone stopped to think what has happened to Wojdan? How scared she must be? The Saudi national television is calling her a prostitute! She is not allowed to talk to any press, some man speaks for her, she is treated as a show horse, lips sealed, head covered, paraded, shamed and objectified.

She has never competed, never seen crowds, never left the country, never been to any games, never removed her hijab, never seen the Olympics???? Never seen a woman drive!

As a female, she was raised to please and to be hidden behind closed doors. She was branded as second class citizen, good only to serve her man while he is enjoying independence. She is now supposed to compete but be sweet and kind, worry about a strand of hair and be subservient to any aggression/ competition coming her way? Why would one throw an unprepared teen in such competitive arena? The terror of judgement of her hair showing from the ridiculous head cover, "hijab", was greater than her Olympic loss. My heart breaks for her.

Furthermore, using teenagers for the Al Sauds or other individuals to seem open minded is the most shameful form of child abuse I have ever encountered.

I hope this incredible young lady stays whole, turns out to be a fighter for women as a result of this experience and break all barriers of female oppression even if it is all sadly " in the name of GOD".

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Follow up on the FDA


THE NY TIMES
By ERIC LICHTBLAU and SCOTT SHANE
July 31, 2012

WASHINGTON — As he often did, Dr. Robert C. Smith was hammering away at his bosses at the Food and Drug Administration in the most caustic of terms at a meeting to address his concerns about the approval of medical devices.
With seven fellow scientists seated behind him in support, Dr. Smith charged that managers “are not following the law, not following the science, not following F.D.A. core values,” according to notes of the 2008 session. He glared at a supervisor, who sat fuming in front of him.
Dr. Smith — radiologist, lawyer, litigant and the man now at the center of a spying scandal at the F.D.A. — is in some ways typical of that peculiar Washington phenomenon known as the whistle-blower: He pressed charges of government abuse, battled with his bosses, and ultimately was shown the door amid lawsuits and investigations.
But he took his role to an extreme, according to former colleagues, scorning negotiations, making enemies of critics and papering Washington with complaints, which helped sow chaos at the agency. One co-worker compared his efforts to “a mutiny.”
This month, F.D.A. officials came under fire from Congress after disclosures that they had begun a surveillance operation monitoring the e-mail of Dr. Smith and four other employees as they wrote to their lawyers, lawmakers and even President Obama. Dr. Smith’s scorched-earth tactics had so unnerved managers that they, too, resorted to extreme measures, and the monitors ended up producing a sort of enemies list of 21 agency critics, including Congressional officials, academics and journalists.
Some 80,000 pages of documents intercepted in the spy operation — many of them e-mails from Dr. Smith seeking help from scientists, politicians, reporters, academics and others — detail his campaign to expose what he claimed were harmful practices at the F.D.A. The documents, accidentally posted online by an F.D.A. contractor, reveal a four-year process of estrangement between Dr. Smith and his bosses.

Cortisol and Infant Development? No more distressed infants PLEASE.


It is now a scientific fact that an infant left in distress for 45 seconds requires over 10 to 15 minutes of recovery from excess cortisol secretion. Infant brains & CNS is directly impacted by the levels of Cortisol,  induced by stress, during critical periods of the first 24 months of development . Whether Autism is a message of overdrive in-utero or post birth, it is still significant that a system on overdrive is always a system at risk. We can do something about the future now. 


Saliva and Pupil Size Differences in Autism 

Show System in Overdrive

ScienceDaily (July 12, 2012) — University of Kansas researchers have found larger resting pupil size and lower levels of a salivary enzyme associated with the neurotransmitter norepinephrine in children with autism spectrum disorder

"Norepinephrine (NE) has been found in the blood plasma levels of individuals with ASD but some researchers have questioned whether these levels were just related to the stress from blood draws.
The KU study addressed this by collecting salivary measures by simply placing a highly absorbent sponge swab under the child's tongue and confirmed that this method of collection did not stress the children by assessing their stress levels through cortisol, another hormone."


However, even though the levels of the enzyme, salivary alpha-amylase (sAA), were lower than those of typically-developing children in samples taken in the afternoon in the lab, samples taken at home throughout the day showed that sAA levels were higher in general across the day and much less variable for children with ASD.
"What this says is that the autonomic system of children with ASD is always on the same level," Christa Anderson, assistant research professor, said. "They are in overdrive."
The sAA levels of typically-developing children gradually rise and fall over the day, said Anderson, who co-directed the study with John Colombo, professor of psychology.

Collecting sAA levels has the potential for physicians to screen children for ASD much earlier, noninvasively and relatively inexpensively, said Anderson.
But Anderson and Colombo also see pupil size and sAA levels as biomarkers that could be the physiological signatures of a possible dysfunction in the autonomic nervous system.
"Many theories of autism propose that the disorder is due to deficits in higher-order brain areas," said Colombo. "Our findings, however, suggest that the core deficits may lie in areas of the brain typically associated with more fundamental, vital functions."
The study, published online in the May 29, 2012Developmental Psychobiology compared children between the ages of 20 and 72 months of age diagnosed with ASD to a group of typically developing children and a third group of children with Down Syndrome.
Both findings address the Centers for Disease Control's urgent public health priority goals for ASD: to find biological indicators that can both help screen children earlier and lead to better understanding of how the nervous system develops and functions in the disorder.
Colombo is the director and Anderson is research faculty member of the University of Kansas Life Span Institute that focuses on neurodevelopmental and translational research across the life span

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

For those who think infants do not know your intentions!


Infants Can Use Language to Learn About People's Intentions

ScienceDaily (July 23, 2012) — Infants are able to detect how speech communicates unobservable intentions, researchers at New York University and McGill University have found in a study that sheds new light on how early in life we can rely on language to acquire knowledge about matters that go beyond first-hand experiences.



Their findings appear in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
"Much of what we know about the world does not come from our own experiences, so we have to obtain this information indirectly -- from books, the news media, and conversation," explained Athena Vouloumanos, an assistant professor at NYU and one of the study's co-authors. "Our results show infants can acquire knowledge in much the same way -- through language, or, specifically, spoken descriptions of phenomena they haven't -- or that can't be -- directly observed."
The study's other co-authors were Kristine Onishi, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Canada's McGill University, and Amanda Pogue, a former research assistant at NYU who is now a graduate student at the University of Waterloo.
Previous scholarship has established that infants seem to understand that speech can be used to categorize and communicate about observable entities such as objects and people. But no study has directly examined whether infants recognize that speech can communicate about unobservable aspects.
In the PNAS study, the researchers sought to determine if one-year-old infants could recognize that speech can communicate about one unobservable phenomenon that is crucial for understanding social interactions: a person's intentions.
To explore this question, the researchers had adults act out short scenarios for the infants. Some scenes ended predictably (that is, with an ending that is congruent with our understanding of the world) while others ended unpredictably (that is, incongruently).
The researchers employed a commonly used method to measure infants' detection of incongruent scenes: looking longer at an incongruent scene.
Infants saw an adult actor (the communicator) attempt, but fail, to stack a ring on a funnel because the funnel was just out of reach. Previous research showed that infants would interpret the actor's failed behavior as signaling the actor's underlying intention to stack the ring. The experimenters then introduced a second actor (the recipient) who was able to reach all the objects. In the key test scene, the communicator turned to the recipient and uttered either a novel word unknown to infants ("koba") or coughed.
Although infants always knew the communicator's intention (through observing her prior failed stacking attempts), the recipient only sometimes had the requisite information to accomplish the communicator's intended action-specifically, when the communicator vocalized appropriately using speech, but not when she coughed.
If infants understood that speech -- but not non-speech -- could transfer information about an intention, when the communicator used speech and the recipient responded by stacking the ring on the funnel, infants should treat this as a congruent outcome. Results confirmed this prediction. The infants looked longer when the recipient performed a different action, such as imitating the communicators' prior failed movements or stacking the ring somewhere other than on the funnel, suggesting they treated these as incongruent, or surprising, outcomes.
Because coughing doesn't communicate intentions, infants looked equally no matter what the recipient's response was.
"As adults, when we hear people speaking, we have the intuition that they're providing information to one another, even when we don't understand the language being spoken. And it's the same for infants," Onishi said. "Even when they don't understand the meaning of the specific words they hear, they realize that words -- like our nonsense word 'koba' -- can provide information in a way that coughing cannot."
"What's significant about this is it tells us that infants have access to another channel of communication that we previously didn't know they had," added Vouloumanos.
"Understanding that speech can communicate about things that are unobservable gives infants a way to learn about the world beyond what they've experienced. Infants can use this tool to gain insight into other people, helping them develop into capable social beings."
The study was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation ADVANCE program and Canada's Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

FDA should worry about the public not their own needs!




A wide-ranging surveillance operation by the Food & Drug Administration against a group of its own scientists used an enemies list of sorts as it secretly captured thousands of e-mails that the disgruntled scientists sent privately to members of Congress, lawyers, labor officials, journalists and even President Obama, previously undisclosed records show.
Moving to quell what one memorandum called the “collaboration” of the F.D.A.’s opponents, the surveillance operation identified 21 agency employees, Congressional officials, outside medical researchers and journalists thought to be working together to put out negative and “defamatory” information about the agency.
F.D.A. officials defended the surveillance operation, saying that the computer monitoring was limited to the five scientists suspected of leaking confidential information about the safety and design of medical devices.
While they acknowledged that the surveillance tracked the communications that the scientists had with Congressional officials, journalists and others, they said it was never intended to impede those communications, but only to determine whether information was being improperly shared.
The agency, using so-called spy software designed to help employers monitor workers, captured screen images from the government laptops of the five scientists as they were being used at work or at home. The software tracked their keystrokes, intercepted their personal e-mails, copied the documents on their personal thumb drives and even followed their messages line by line as they were being drafted, the documents show.
The extraordinary surveillance effort grew out of a bitter dispute lasting years between the scientists and their bosses at the F.D.A. over the scientists’ claims that faulty review procedures at the agency had led to the approval of medical imaging devices for mammograms and colonoscopies that exposed patients to dangerous levels of radiation.
A confidential government review in May by the Office of Special Counsel, which deals with the grievances of government workers, found that the scientists’ medical claims were valid enough to warrant a full investigation into what it termed “a substantial and specific danger to public safety.”
The documents captured in the surveillance effort — including confidential letters to at least a half-dozen Congressional offices and oversight committees, drafts of legal filings and grievances, and personal e-mails — were posted on a public Web site, apparently by mistake, by a private document-handling contractor that works for the F.D.A. The New York Times reviewed the records and their day-by-day, sometimes hour-by-hour accounting of the scientists’ communications.
With the documents from the surveillance cataloged in 66 huge directories, many Congressional staff members regarded as sympathetic to the scientists each got their own files containing all their e-mails to or from the whistle-blowers. Drafts and final copies of letters the scientists sent to Mr. Obama about their safety concerns were also included.
Last year, the scientists found that a few dozen of their e-mails had been intercepted by the agency. They filed a lawsuit over the issue in September, after four of the scientists had been let go, and The Washington Post first disclosed the monitoring in January. But the wide scope of the F.D.A. surveillance operation, its broad range of targets across Washington, and the huge volume of computer information that it generated were not previously known, even to some of the targets.
F.D.A. officials said that in monitoring the communication of the five scientists, their e-mails “were collected without regard to the identity of the individuals with whom the user may have been corresponding.” While the F.D.A. memo described the Congressional officials and other “actors” as collaborating in the scientists’ effort to attract negative publicity, the F.D.A. said that those outside the agency were never targets of the surveillance operation, but were suspected of receiving confidential information.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Why Are There No Biological Tests in Psychiatry?

By Ingrid Wickelgren



  A question we have all been pondering for a while.! Our brain functions are so complex that after decades of scientific discovery,  still, developing a diagnostic psychiatric test seems very far away. 


May 11, 2012 |  Comments17  By Dr. Allen Frances*
*Allen Frances, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at Duke University, chaired the task force for the Diagnostic Manual, DSM-IV.         
"Sadly, progress has been much slower than anyone expected, with many exciting findings turning out to be no more than dead ends. The vast research funding has indeed provided a basic science revolution, but so far its discoveries have had no impact whatever on clinical diagnosis. Even the most promising candidates—biological tests for the accurate diagnosis of dementia—are several years away. And, for the rest of psychiatry, there is no immediate prospect that our rich basic science knowledge base and powerful investigative tools will contribute to clinical practice any time soon."


When the third edition of psychiatry’s manual of mental illness, the DSM-III, was published 30 years ago, there was great optimism it would soon be the willing victim of its own success, achieving a kind of planned obsolescence. Surely, the combining of a reasonably reliable system of descriptive diagnosis with the revolutionary new tools of neuroscience would quickly yield a deep and broad understanding of psychopathology. And just as surely this would translate into standardized biological tests that would replace the cookbook listing of subjective symptoms and subjectively evaluated behaviors that comprised the DSM-III criteria sets.We have learned a great deal in the past 30 years, but perhaps the most important lesson is that the brain is ineluctably complex and reveals its secrets only slowly and in very small packages. There has been no low hanging fruit. The expectation that there would be simple gene or neurotransmitter or circuitry explanations for schizophrenia or bipolar or obsessive-compulsive disorder has turned out to be na├»ve and illusory. The problem of teasing out heterogeneous clinical presentations in psychiatry is compounded by the fact that they also have heterogeneous underlying mechanisms. There will not be one pathway to schizophrenia; there may be dozens, perhaps hundreds. Biological tests that appear to be associated with schizophrenia are never useful for making the diagnosis because they always show more variability within the category than between categories. And seemingly intriguing findings usually don’t replicate.
Sadly, progress has been much slower than anyone expected, with many exciting findings turning out to be no more than dead ends. The vast research funding has indeed provided a basic science revolution, but so far its discoveries have had no impact whatever on clinical diagnosis. Even the most promising candidates—biological tests for the accurate diagnosis of dementia—are several years away. And, for the rest of psychiatry, there is no immediate prospect that our rich basic science knowledge base and powerful investigative tools will contribute to clinical practice any time soon.
That progress in psychiatric diagnosis is slow should perhaps occasion no surprise. In every branch of medicine, the translational step between basic to clinical science has been difficult. For example, the discovery of genetic correlates for breast cancer has been much more of a slog than originally anticipated, with each advance explaining only a very small portion of the variance. And psychiatry faces the most awesome of translational leaps: the brain is ever so much more complicated than any other body organ, wired with complex redundancies that will defy simple and sweeping explanations of how it generates symptoms and behaviors. For the foreseeable future, except for dementia, we must reconcile ourselves to the staying power of purely clinical diagnosis in psychiatry.
Fortunately, despite all its obvious limitations, the DSM system does the necessary everyday job of fostering clinical communication and providing the foundation for treatment planning and clinical research. Granted that psychiatric diagnosis and treatment are purely empirical rather than based on understanding of mechanism, but this is also true of almost all available medical treatments. The good news is that descriptive diagnosis, when done well, usually leads to psychiatric treatment that is effective and efficient.
 Most troubling is the fact that the overwhelming majority of prescriptions for psychotropic medicines are written by primary care physicians who often have little training in psychiatry; little time to perform an adequate diagnostic evaluation; a tendency to depend on tests rather than talking to patients; and too great a susceptibility to quick trigger diagnosis and poorly chosen pill solutions (fostered by aggressive and misleading drug company marketing). The lack of precise and easily available biological tests in psychiatry permits much loose diagnosing and cowboy prescribing..
And beyond this, a diagnostic system without objective tests is vulnerable to arbitrary changes that can do more harm than good. The furor over the draft of the upcoming edition of psychiatry’s diagnostic bible, the DSM-5, is caused by its radical expansion of the boundaries of psychiatry that will increase by tens of millions the number of people presumed to be suffering from mental disorders. This would be done based on fallible committee decisions, unsupported by solid scientific understanding. Seemingly small and weakly supported changes in the definition of mental disorders can have huge real world impacts, often with extremely harmful unintended consequences.
In clinical psychiatry, as in the rest of medicine, modesty is the best policy and “Do no harm” is the most important injunction. Descriptive psychiatry can serve us well if we don’t stretch it beyond its realistic limits.