Friday, September 30, 2005

"Liar, Liar, White Matter on Fire!" ?

I'm looking forward to reading this paper, to see how well the details mesh with this media account. For example, one has to look carefully are how subjects were labelled as "compulsive liars" and whether other behavioral characteristics might account for performance on the scale used to rate subjects. However, this is a curious association to ponder, to say the least.

From The Los Angeles Times:
Study: Adept Liars' Brains Are Built Differently
By Robert Lee Hotz, Times Staff Writer
The Los Angeles Times
30 September 2005

In the lexicon of lying, there are white lies and bare-faced lies. Facts can be fudged, forged or shaded. There are fibbers, fabricators and feckless fabulists. By whatever clinical term, the truth simply is not in some people.

Now scientists have an anatomical inkling why.

A new study from the University of Southern California, published in the October issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry, suggests that the talent for compulsive deception is embedded in the structure of the brain itself.

People who habitually lie and cheat — pathological liars — appear to have much more white matter, which speeds communication between neurons, in the prefrontal cortex than normal people, the researchers found. They also have fewer actual neurons.

The differences affect a portion of the brain, located just behind the forehead, that enables people to feel remorse, learn moral behavior and plan complex strategies.

The surplus of connections between neurons might enable these people to be more adept at the complex neural networking that underlies deceit.

Lying is hard work and these brains may be better equipped to handle it, the researchers said.

"Lying is cognitively complex," said USC psychologist Adrian Raine, the senior scientist on the research project. "It is not easy to lie. It is certainly more difficult than telling the truth. Some people have a biological advantage in lying. It gives them a slight edge."

The researchers recruited 108 volunteers, then sorted them into groups based on psychological tests designed to determine how often they lied. The volunteers were then scanned using magnetic structural imaging to obtain detailed anatomical images of their brain tissue.

The group of compulsive liars had 25.7% more white matter in the prefrontal cortex and 14.2% less gray matter than the normal control group.

"To our knowledge, it is the first imaging study on people who lie, cheat and deceive as a group," Raine said.
[ ... Read the full article ... ]-
Anthony H. Risser | |

Cognitive Analysis of Tagging

Neuropsychology Assessment of Elderly Persons

Psychometric data relevant to the use of common neuropsychological cognitive test instruments are presented and discussed in the current issue of the journal, The Clinical Neuropsychologist (Volume 19, Issue 3-4; September-December 2005). The issue deals with data collected as part of the Mayo's Older Americans Normative Studies (or "MOANS" for short). Specific attention is paid toward whether test performance is more closely related to general intellectual functioning than to years of formal education, an important concern in the use of this normative data set in understanding the performances by individuals.

Here are the paper titles and their DOIs:
Brett Steinberg and Linas Bieliauskas
Introduction to the Special Edition: IQ-Based MOANS Norms for Multiple Neuropsychological Instruments
pp. 277 - 279
DOI: 10.1080/13854040590948992

Brett A. Steinberg, Linas A. Bieliauskas, Glenn E. Smith, Christopher Langellotti, Robert J. Ivnik
Mayo's Older Americans Normative Studies: Age- and IQ-Adjusted Norms for the Boston Naming Test, the MAE Token Test, and the Judgment of Line Orientation Test
pp. 280 - 328
DOI: 10.1080/13854040590945229

Brett A. Steinberg, Linas A. Bieliauskas, Glenn E. Smith, Robert J. Ivnik
Mayo's Older Americans Normative Studies: Age- and IQ-Adjusted Norms for the Trail-Making Test, the Stroop Test, and MAE Controlled Oral Word Association Test
pp. 329 - 377
DOI: 10.1080/13854040590945210

Brett A. Steinberg, Linas A. Bieliauskas, Glenn E. Smith, Robert J. Ivnik
Mayo's Older Americans Normative Studies: Age- and IQ-Adjusted Norms for the Wechsler Memory Scale--Revised
pp. 378 - 463
DOI: 10.1080/13854040590945201

Brett A. Steinberg, Linas A. Bieliauskas, Glenn E. Smith, Robert J. Ivnik, James F. Malec
Mayo's Older Americans Normative Studies: Age- and IQ-Adjusted Norms for the Auditory Verbal Learning Test and the Visual Spatial Learning Test
pp. 464 - 523
DOI: 10.1080/13854040590945193
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Anthony H. Risser | |

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Strattera (Atomoxetine) and Attention Deficit Disorder

A press release from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
P05-65
September 29, 2005

Media Inquiries: Susan Cruzan, 301-827-6242
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

FDA Issues Public Health Advisory on Strattera (Atomoxetine) for Attention Deficit Disorder

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today is issuing a Public Health Advisory to alert physicians of reports of suicidal thinking in children and adolescents associated with Strattera, a drug approved to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). FDA has also directed Eli Lilly and Company, manufacturer of Strattera, to develop a Medication Guide for patients and caregivers.

FDA is advising health care providers and caregivers that children and adolescents being treated with Strattera should be closely monitored for clinical worsening, as well as agitation, irritability, suicidal thinking or behaviors, and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of therapy or when the dose is changed (either increased or decreased). Patients and caregivers who have concerns or questions about these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider.

[snip]

Today's actions follow a review and analysis of 12 clinical trials conducted in children with ADHD and one trial in children with enuresis (bedwetting) that identified an increased risk of suicidal thinking for Strattera. There was one suicide attempt by a patient who received Strattera among the approximately 2,200 patients in the trial. As part of a larger evaluation of psychiatric drugs and suicidality, FDA had requested that the manufacturer conduct a review of its database and clinical trials, which included more than 2200 patients--1350 patients receiving Strattera (atomoxetine) and 851 receiving a placebo. The analysis showed that 0.4% of children treated with Strattera reported suicidal thinking compared to no cases in children treated with the placebo.

Strattera, manufactured by Eli Lilly, has been on the market since 2002 and has been used in more than two million patients.

Health care professionals are encouraged to report any unexpected adverse events associated with Strattera directly to Eli Lilly, Indianapolis, Ind. at 1-800-LillyRx or to the FDA MedWatch program at 1-800-FDA-1088; by FAX at 1-800-FDA-0178; by mail to MedWatch, Food and Drug Administration, HFD-410, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD, 20857-9787; or online at www.fda.gov/medwatch/report.htm.
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Anthony H. Risser | |

More About H5N1

A daily read of the following blog has been, for me, one of several useful ways I have of keeing up with avian influenza events: H5N1.

Obvious additional resources include the World Health Organization (WHO) website section on the topic.
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Anthony H. Risser | |
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In The Weeklies: H5N1

Of potential interest to all, including the broad neuroscience medical and scientific communities:

The 29 September 2005 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine includes the full-text content of a review paper about Avian ("Bird Flu") Influenza [H5N1].

The Writing Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) Consultation on Human Influenza A/H5.
Avian Influenza A (H5N1) infection in humans.
The New England Journal of Medicine. 2005; 353: 1374-1385.

[ ... Access the full text ... ]

Abstract
An unprecedented epizootic avian influenza A (H5N1) virus that is highly pathogenic has crossed the species barrier in Asia to cause many human fatalities and poses an increasing pandemic threat. This summary describes the features of human infection with influenza A (H5N1) and reviews recommendations for prevention and clinical management presented in part at the recent World Health Organization (WHO) Meeting on Case Management and Research on Human Influenza A/H5, which was held in Hanoi, May 10 through 12, 2005. Because many critical questions remain, modifications of these recommendations are likely.

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Anthony H. Risser | |
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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Neuropsychology of Attention and Distraction in Older Adults

From The Daily Californian:
Distractions Cause Memory Loss
By OMEED ELBOUDWAREJ
Contributing Writer
Wednesday, September 28, 2005

UC Berkeley researchers have used brain imaging to confirm that, contrary to popular opinion, short-term memory loss common in older adults is not associated with a lack of focus on relevant information. Rather, short-term memory loss lies with an inability to filter out surrounding distractions.

Although previous studies have used neuropsychological tests to investigate how aging changes memory patterns, this study is the among the first of its kind to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to assess the impact of normal aging on the enhancement and suppression of sensory processing in the brain.

"The degree that older patients suppressed unnecessary information correlates with the degree that they remembered the relevant information," Adam Gazzaley, UC Berkeley professor of neuroscience, said.

"So what we are seeing is that they have a deficit in suppression and this seems to let in information that is irrelevant and cause interference with the information that they have to remember," Gazzaley said.

The findings suggest that drugs aimed at reducing the suppression deficit rather than trying to improve the memory may ultimately prove more effective.
[ ... Read the full article ... ]
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Anthony H. Risser | |

Monday, September 26, 2005

Dementia on Coronation Street

From The Scotsman:
Alzheimer's set to take centre stage in TV soap
LISA HAYNES
26 September 2005

HE'S always been the bolshy, confident character on the cobbles of Coronation Street, but this year Mike Baldwin's life is set to take a dramatic turn in the soap.

The character, played by 70-year-old Johnny Briggs, is showing the first signs of Alzheimer's disease. Millions of viewers will watch as the bubbly factory boss becomes increasingly forgetful and goes into a gradual decline from the condition.

While Mike puts his memory loss down to old age, in reality, dementia is a disease that affects more than 750,000 people in the UK - yet there is still a lot of ignorance about the symptoms and the help that can be offered.
[ ... Read the full article ...]
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Anthony H. Risser
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Neuropsychology Assessment of Dementia: Early Detection

From an American Psychological Association (APA) press release on 25 September 2005:
PSYCHOLOGISTS FIND MORE SENSITIVE TESTS FOR PREDICTING ALZHEIMER'S AS WELL AS SUBTLE CHANGES IN COGNITION
Implicit-memory tests are stronger predictors than the common Mini Mental [Status] exam[ination; i.e., MMSE]; Alzheimer's may hurt attention well before obvious memory loss

Washington — Two recent studies may help clinicians and researchers better predict and understand dementia of the Alzheimer's type early in its history.  Both studies appear in the September issue of Neuropsychology, which is published by the American Psychological Association (APA).  Psychologists focus on early detection in part because current medications are useful only when given very early in the course of the disease. 
[ ... Read the full press release ... ]

The papers are:

Pauline E.J. Spaan, PhD, Jeroen G.W. Raaijmakers, PhD, & Cees Jonker, PhD, MD. Early assessment of dementia:  The contribution of different memory  components. Neuropsychology, 2005, Vol. 19, No. 5.

Janet M. Duchek, PhD, & David A. Balota, PhD. Failure to control prepotent pathways in early stage Dementia of the Alzheimer's Type:  Evidence from dichotic listening. Neuropsychology, 2005, Vol. 19, No. 5. 

The press release provides links to access the full-text contents of both scientific papers in .pdf form.
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Anthony H. Risser
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Saturday, September 24, 2005

In The Weeklies: Status Epilepticus

This week's British Medical Journal includes a clinical review of status epilepticus:

Matthew Walker. Status epilepticus: An evidence based guide. British Medical Journal. 2005; 331: 673-677 (24 September). [doi:10.1136/bmj.331.7518.673]

[ ... Read the full article ... ]
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Anthony H. Risser | |

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Business World: Biogen Idec, Elan, Tysabri (Natalizumab), and Multiple Sclerosis

From Bloomberg via the New York Times:
Move to Reinstate Multiple Sclerosis Drug
Published: September 21, 2005
By Bloomberg News

Biogen Idec Inc. and the Elan Corporation said yesterday that they would seek federal regulatory approval to resume sales of the withdrawn Tysabri drug for multiple sclerosis.

A safety evaluation of the drug for use against Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis will be completed "in the coming weeks," the companies said in a joint statement.

They said that they completed a safety evaluation of the drug for use in multiple sclerosis patients in August.

Biogen, which is based in Cambridge, Mass., and Elan, which is based in Ireland, withdrew Tysabri from the market Feb. 28 after three patients developed a rare neurological disease.

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Anthony H. Risser | |

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Among the MacArthur Winners ......

From the AP

One of the 25 2005 MacArthur Foundation Fellows is
"--Lu Chen, 33, assistant professor of neurobiology at the University of California, Berkeley. Chen's work with the synapse sheds light on the biology of learning and memory."

[ ... Read the Full List ... ]

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Anthony H. Risser | |

Friday, September 16, 2005

Upcoming Events: Fall 2005, Philadelphia

Upcoming presentations at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience of the University of Pennsylvania:
Talks: Fall 2005
NEW LOCATION: Institute for Research in Cognitive Science, 3401 Walnut Street, Suite 400A

September 19, 2005, 12 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.
Zack Lynch, NeuroInsights
Our Emerging Neurosociety: How Neurotechnology is Shaping Business, Politics and Culture

October 17, 2005, 12 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.
Venkata S. Mattay, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH
Modulating Signal to Noise in Cognitive and Emotional Informational Processing

November 28, 2005, 12 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.
Michael J. Kahana, University of Pennsylvania
The Temporal Context Model of Episodic Memory

December 12, 2005, 12 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.
Jay McClelland, Carnegie Mellon University
Do Lexical and Semantic Information Share a Common Neural Substrate

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Anthony H. Risser | |

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Abstract of the Day: Neuropsychology Assessment of Preschoolers

Isquith PK, Crawford JS, Espy KA, & Gioia GA. Assessment of executive function in preschool-aged children. Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Review. 2005 Sep 13; 11(3): 209-215.

Department of Psychiatry, Dartmouth Medical School, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, New Hampshire.

Assessment of the overarching self-regulatory mechanisms, or executive functions, in any age group is challenging, in part due to the complexity of this domain, in part due to their dynamic essence, and in part due to the inextricable links between these central processes and the associated domain-specific processes, such as language, motor function, and attention, over which they preside. While much progress has been made in clinical assessment approaches for measuring executive functions in adults and to some extent in adolescents and school-aged children, the toolkit for the preschool evaluator remains sparse. The past decade, however, has seen a substantial increase in attention to executive functions in very young children from a developmental neuropsychological perspective. With this has come a necessity for better, more specific, and more internally valid performance measures, many of which are now described in the experimental literature. Few such tasks, however, have adequately demonstrated psychometric properties for clinical application. We present two performance tasks designed to tap selective aspects of executive function in preschoolers that are emerging from the experimental laboratory and hold promise of appropriate reliability and validity for the clinical laboratory. Performance tests alone, however, are insufficient to develop a comprehensive picture of a child's executive functioning. Thus, we present a rating scale of preschoolers' executive function in the everyday context, and advocate a model of executive function assessment that incorporates both controlled performance tasks that target specific aspects of executive function and parent/teacher ratings that target more global aspects of self-regulation in the everyday context. (c) 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc. MRDD Research Reviews 2005;11:209-215.

PMID: 16161093 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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Anthony H. Risser | |

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Katrina Displaced: Some Resources

Certainly not a comprehensive listing, however several resource webpages have become available:

Displaced Neuropsychologists
From an individual voluntary effort:
www.displacedpsychologists.org

Displaced Neurologists
I could not track down a specific resource for neurologists. As a default, here is the American Medical Association (AMA) resources page:
www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/15487.html

Displaced Neuroscientists
From the Society for Neuroscience (SfN):
198.6.70.41/archive/index.php/

Displaced Cancer Patients, Family Members, and Oncologists
From the National Cancer Institute (NCI):
www.cancer.gov/katrina

Displaced College Students
CampusRelief.org

Displaced Medical Students
From the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC):
www.aamc.org/katrina.htm

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Anthony H. Risser
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Friday, September 09, 2005

In The Weeklies: In Utero MRI Neuroimaging

From this week's British Medical Journal, the full-text of a clinical review concerning fetal MRI neuroimaging:

Paul D Griffiths, Martyn N J Paley, Elysa Widjaja, Chris Taylor & Elspeth H Whitby. In utero magnetic resonance imaging for brain and spinal abnormalities in fetuses. British Medical Journal; 2005, 331 (7516): 562-565.
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Anthony H. Risser | |

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Senator Jacob Javits Award in the Neurosciences

A press release from the National Institutes of Health (NIH):

NINDS Javits Award Goes to Six Inventive Neuroscientists
07 September 2005
[ ... Read the full release ... ]

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a part of the National Institutes of Health, has named six scientists to receive its prestigious Senator Jacob Javits Award in the Neurosciences. The award is given to individual investigators who have demonstrated exceptional scientific excellence and productivity in research supported by the NINDS and who are expected to conduct innovative research over the next 7 years.

Authorized by the Congress in 1983, the award honors the late U.S. Senator Jacob K. Javits (R-NY), who was a strong advocate for research on a variety of neurological disorders. Senator Javits suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the disabling neurodegenerative disease also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“The Javits award gives highly productive scientists, whose work is on the cutting edge in their field, an even greater opportunity to understand the interplay involved in the cause and, hopefully, treatment or even prevention of neurological diseases,” said Story Landis, Ph.D., NINDS Director.

The Award guarantees funding for 4 years, after which 3 additional years may be awarded pending receipt and approval of additional information. Investigators are nominated by either NINDS staff or members of the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council, from a pool of competing applicants during a grants cycle. The Council must approve each recommendation, with final selection being made by the NINDS Director.

Recipients of the Senator Jacob Javits Award in the Neurosciences are:

- Paul Brehm, Ph.D., Leading Professor of Neurobiology and Behavior, State University of New York at Stony Brook.

- Michael D. Cahalan, Ph.D., Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, University of California at Irvine.

- Liqun Luo, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University.

- Joshua R. Sanes, Ph.D., Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University.

- Ronald L. Schnaar, Ph.D., Professor, The Department of Pharmacology and Department of Neuroscience, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

-Steven M. Strittmatter, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Neurology and Neurobiology, Yale Medical School.
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Anthony H. Risser | |

Psychogenic Nonepileptic Seizures

The 01 September 2005 issue of the journal American Family Physician has an overview directed toward general practitioners, internists, and family-practice docs on the topic of psychogenic nonepileptic seizures, explaining what they are, how they can be distinguished from epileptic seizure disorders, and treatment options.

The paper is available in full-text content: Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures by Taoufik M. Alsaadi and Anna Vinter Marquez. (American Family Physician 2005; 72: 849-856.)

Here is the abstract:
Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures are episodes of movement, sensation, or behaviors that are similar to epileptic seizures but do not have a neurologic origin; rather, they are somatic manifestations of psychologic distress. Patients with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures frequently are misdiagnosed and treated for epilepsy. Video-electroencephalography monitoring is preferred for diagnosis. From 5 to 10 percent of outpatient epilepsy patients and 20 to 40 percent of inpatient epilepsy patients have psychogenic nonepileptic seizures. These patients inevitably have comorbid psychiatric illnesses, most commonly depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, other dissociative and somatoform disorders, and personality pathology, especially borderline personality type. Many patients have a history of sexual or physical abuse. Between 75 and 85 percent of patients with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures are women. Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures typically begin in young adulthood. Treatment involves discontinuation of antiepileptic drugs in patients without concurrent epilepsy and referral for appropriate psychiatric care. More studies are needed to determine the best treatment modalities.
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Anthony H. Risser | |

Functional Neuroimaging, Alzheimer Disease, Neuropsychology Function, and the Hippocampus

One of many recent news article over the past year about the application of functional neuroimaging technologies, this time in Wisconsin and with specific concern about the hippocampus and the hippocampal region and its relation to neuropsychological functioning:

Haunting images: UW using brain scans to search for hints of Alzheimer's
By JOHN FAUBER
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
Last Updated: Sep. 4, 2005

Read the article
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Anthony H. Risser | |

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Magnetoreception

If you are like me, then your knowledge of magnetoreception could fit on the head of a pin.

There is a way to deal with that however. The current September 2005 issue of Nature Reviews Neuroscience includes a full-text overview article on the topic: The Physics and Neurobiology of Magnetoreception by Drs. Sönke Johnsen and Kenneth J. Lohmann. 

Enjoy.
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Anthony H. Risser | |

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Shame on US: Deadly Hurricane, Pissant President (Political - Feel Free to Disregard)

I do not use BrainBlog for personal commentary about non-neuroscience issues. Please pardon me while I do so right now.

As a hurricane of this proportion approached a city so ill-configured to deal with it, we had a president more concerned with draining the last few days out of a five-week vacation, riding his wee wittle bicycle, and then spending the day of landfall to give a speech trashing the way Bill Clinton handled the first Word Trade Center bombing (ignoring the history and reality that Clinton succeeded in dealing with it in a way that puts the current "president" to shame).

Saturday and Sunday in New Orleans saw little actual on-the-ground planning that I could discern being out there on the streets. The only information anyone could get was to go to certain places where local buses would collect people to take them to regional shelters in advance of integration at the Superdome. The Mayor went on TV on Saturday evening to give an interview where he was honorably blunt at telling people to get out of town, but was dumbfoundingly silent on the hows and wheres. So was his Office of Emergency Preparedness when I contacted them - about the only word they seemed to know how to mouth was "Superdome" and we've all seen how well that worked out.

On an 18-hour exodus generally westward, northward, southwestward, and westward again and ending in Houston on some of the main routes out of (and, hence, into) New Orleans, the following was the only evidence we saw of pre-positioning of emergency resources heading toward the city:

- A total of two (count 'em, two) National Guard troops in one pre-hummer jeep, directing traffic under an overpass.

- One presurmed caravan of two (count 'em, two) medium-sized, unlabelled white trucks led by a car with whirling lights and trailed by same - I guessed the lack of identification probably meant it was a Fed thing like FEMA.

- A Salvation Army tent gathering point set up at the first highway visitors center across the Texas border. (Not moving, of course.)

- One FoxNews mobile camera truck.

- No heliocopter or air traffic at all.

- No rail traffic at all (e.g., those military trains you sometimes see carrying equipment)

Other than that, there were only police channeling traffic from closed exits. To say we were speechless whenever we tried to understand this as we continued outbound is an understatement.

And everything else since then, of course can be seen on television. People dying on the street for lack of oxygen and lack of water and a Bush administration that spends 10 minutes of a news conference spieling off on meaningless number after number of things they promise to get there sometime soon. "Magnificent," gushed the Director of Homeland Security. Bullshit. A tragedy on the ground - a vacuum of leadership in the offices of the government.

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Anthony H. Risser | |

In the Weeklies: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

This week's Morbidity and Mortaility Weekly Report (MMWR) includes an article about the prevelance and treatment of ADHD:

Mental Health in the United States: Prevalence of Diagnosis and Medication Treatment for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder --- United States, 2003

From the report's Editorial Note:
This report provides the most recent national and state-specific estimates of the prevalence of children aged 4--17 years ever diagnosed with ADHD. The findings indicate considerable variability in ADHD diagnosis by state of residence and certain sociodemographic characteristics. Certain state variation in ADHD diagnosis might be attributed to underlying state differences in diagnostic practice, sociodemographic characteristics, or both.

This report is also the first to document national and state-specific prevalence of medication treatment for ADHD using national survey data. Although ADHD is considered a chronic condition, to what extent the "ever" diagnosed rate reflects current levels of clinical symptomatology is unclear. However, because children with ADHD often are not treated with medication, current medication treatment prevalence can serve as a minimum estimate of overall ADHD prevalence.

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Anthony H. Risser | |

Friday, September 02, 2005

Memory Flexibility, Enhancement, Treatment

Back from my evacuation exodus from New Orleans.

The new September issue of the American Psychological Association Monitor has as its cover story a series of articles about just how modifiable memory functioning can be. The full contents of the Monitor is available online.

Articles include one by Sadie F. Dingfelder entitled, A workout for working memory: "New research suggests that mental exercises might enhance one of the brain's central components for reasoning and problem-solving. In addition, there is an article by Rachel Adelson, Mending memory:
"Brain injury, such as that from an accident or stroke, or a memory-draining disease such as Alzheimer's, can leave people struggling with everything from cooking dinner to knowing their own children. What's more, as the number of older adults in America grows, so will the number with age-related dementia, boosting the prevalence of this frustrating and usually invisible disability.

As the need for intervention grows, U.K. neuropsychologist Barbara Wilson, PhD, an authority on memory rehabilitation at the Medical Research Council's Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge and the Oliver Zangwill Centre for Neuropsychological Rehabilitation in Ely, says that due to lack of specialists and insurance barriers, few are being shown how best to keep their handicap from hurting everyday functioning. Yet much more is possible. "We can help people adapt to, understand, bypass and compensate for their memory difficulties," Wilson says.

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Anthony H. Risser | |