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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

HealthDay (3/24, Preidt) reported that, according to a study published Mar. 31 in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, “exposure to certain chemicals during the 1991 Gulf War appears to have triggered abnormal responses in the brains of some US veterans.” For the study, researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas examined “21 chronically ill Gulf War veterans and 17 healthy veterans” who “were given small doses of physostigmine, a substance that briefly stimulates cholinergic receptors on brain cells.” Next, the team “used brain scans to observe levels of cell response in different areas of the brain.” They discovered that areas “in the basal ganglia, hippocampus, thalamus,” and amygdala “responded abnormally to the cholinergic challenge.” The study authors theorized that “changes in functioning of these brain structures” may “cause problems with concentration and memory, body pain, fatigue, abnormal emotional responses and personality changes” often seen “in ill Gulf War veterans.”

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The Chicago Tribune (1/29, Black) reported that recently, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) “has been branded as sociopathic, delusional, narcissistic, grandiose, and psychotic, as well as cuckoo, crazy, wacko, and off his rocker. And, mental health advocates are upset about it.” They say that the “language offends many and blames mental illness for alleged criminal behavior.” In fact, according to Fran McClain, program director for the Josselyn Center for Mental Health in Northfield, IL, “statistics show that people suffering from mental illness are more likely to be victims of crime than they are to be perpetrators.” Barb Maier, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness chapter in northern Cook County, IL, added that “a true diagnosis should be left to a professional,” saying, “No one should be slinging around pejorative terms, let alone diagnosing someone they have never met.”

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USA Today (1/19, Vergano) reported that, with the inauguration of President Barack Obama, “the politics of science” now “heads for uncharted waters.” Now, “scientists are hopeful that Obama, who has called for increased research spending, will bring a new dawn.” Obama once stated, “My administration will value science. We will make decisions based on the facts, and we understand that facts demand bold action.” Two areas in which change may happen are “in the White House’s attitude toward global warming,” and in “research involving human embryonic stem cells,” in which “Obama has pledged to reverse Bush’s funding limits.” The Obama administration will also appoint members of the “roughly 1,000 scientific advisory committees, called the ‘fifth arm of government’ by Harvard science policy expert Sheila Jasanoff.” These committee members “can exert tremendous influence on government decisions,” such as “the ones advising the Food and Drug Administration on whether new drugs are safe for approval to the market.”

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NBC Nightly News (1/8, story 8, 0:35, Williams) reported that “this week, the Pentagon said no” to the idea of awarding “the Purple Heart…for the mental scars of war.” The Purple Heart “has been given out only to those wounded or killed in action.” Lately, however, “some have argued” that veterans “with post-traumatic combat stress should also qualify.” In their announcement, Defense Department officials “were careful to say” that “they take combat stress seriously, but…said it is not the same as a physical wound.”

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This study found that 78% of Americans would prefer to be able to customize their healthcare plan rather than have to deal with prepackaged options.

That’s one reason many people are choosing self-pay as an option in order to see a psychiatrist.

http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2008/06/19/7_percent_ready_for_healthcare_costs/UPI-69981213906967/

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