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January 23, 2005

Chronic fatigue syndrome

Study shows link to inactive children
[US News] By Elizabeth Querna

Imagine having a hangover that never went away, or feeling exhausted even after the simplest errand. Chronic fatigue syndrome has been described as an "incapacitating tiredness" and afflicts more than half a million Americans. Still, little is known about what causes the disease–doctors usually diagnose it only when other conditions are ruled out. Now, scientists from the Royal Free and University College Medical School in London say there might be a link between childhood activity level and chronic fatigue syndrome as an adult.

What the researchers wanted to know: What childhood habits might cause adult chronic fatigue syndrome?

What they did: The researchers used data from a large, multisubject survey that is currently following more than 10,000 British people born at the beginning of April 1970. When the participants were 5, 10, 16, and 29 years old, the researchers checked in on them with a variety of surveys about their healthand physical and educational development. When the children were 10 years old, parents and teachers were interviewed about things including parental illnesses, parents' mental health, students' educational achievement, and the amount of physical activity children had in school. At 29, the participants were asked whether or not they had chronic fatigue syndrome.

What they found: The people who told the researchers they had chronic fatigue syndrome were more likely to be from a high socioeconomic background and not to have regularly played a sport when they were 10 years old. This result is at odds with an earlier study, which concluded that children who exercised a lot had a higher risk of developing chronic fatigue. Previous research has shown that children whose parents have had a long illness or a mental illness are more likely to develop chronic fatigue; this study found no link between to those parental issues. Overall, fewer than 1 percent of the study participants reported having chronic fatigue syndrome.

What it means to you: Chronic fatigue syndrome remains a mystery, but each study that chips away at the causes and mechanisms of the disease helps. This study, in contrast to others, supports the idea that having an active lifestyle, even as a child, helps to prevent later health problems–including chronic fatigue.

Caveats: Chronic fatigue syndrome is notoriously hard to diagnose, and many people go for years without knowing that they have it. This study asked people if they had chronic fatigue syndrome but not if they had been medically diagnosed with it. The study likely missed some people that do actually have it but aren't aware that they do, and may have picked up a few people who are often tired (either from stress or from another condition) but do not have chronic fatigue syndrome.

Find out more: Several organizations support chronic fatigue syndrome research and patients. One is the American Association for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome http://www.aacfs.org and another is The CFIDS Association of America. http://www.cfids.org There is also a good description of the condition on the National Institutes of Health website. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/factsheets/cfs.htm

If you want to learn more about the study that is giving researchers this trove of information, check it out at: www.cls.ioe.ac.uk

Read the article: Viner, R. and Hotopf, M. "Childhood Predictors of Self Reported Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis in Adults: National Birth Cohort Study." British Medical Journal. Oct. 23, 2004, Vol. 329, No. 7472.

tract online: http://bmj.bmjjournals.com

Posted by Nancy at 07:31 PM | Comments (0)

Fibromyalgia Support Group

January 2005

A new fibromyalgia support group is forming at Florida Hospital Heartland in Sebring. This group is for those with fibromyalgia and/or their caregivers. This support group is also suggested as the next step after attending the Fibromyalgia Self-Care class, offered by the Arthritis Foundation, through Florida Hospital Heartland Division. For support group dates, call 386-6468. Leave a name and number, and staff will return the call.

Posted by Nancy at 07:21 PM | Comments (0)

San Jose man sentenced to 102 years in prison for kidnapping and rape

January 23, 2005
San Jose, CA [Associated Press]

San Jose, Calif. A San Jose man who was convicted of kidnapping and raping a 9-year-old girl has been sentenced to 102 years in prison.

Daniel Montiel Cruz was sentenced Friday by Santa Clara County Judge Rene Navarro for the three-day abduction in 2003, when the girl was kidnapped from her San Jose home after she returned from school.

In September, a jury found Cruz guilty of 10 felonies for an assortment of crimes, including burglarizing the house, binding and raping the girl, and assaulting the girl's mother and teen brother.

The victim, now 11, was not in court, but she wrote a letter telling the judge she would feel safer if Cruz was jailed for the rest of his life.

Cruz's attorney vowed to appeal the conviction and sentence. He maintains that Cruz was incapable of knowing right from wrong, and suffered post-traumatic stress disorder from childhood abuse.

Posted by Nancy at 07:16 PM | Comments (0)

Violence hinders brain development

January 23, 2005 [Kansas City Star]
By Mará Rose Williams

Witnessing violence can make anyone feel bad, but it especially hurts children because their immature brains are more vulnerable to stress.

So says Linda Chamberlain, a research scientist who spoke Thursday about the effects of childhood exposure to violence on brain development.

Chamberlain, an epidemiologist who founded the Alaska Family Violence Prevention Project, was the keynote speaker at a workshop organized by the Maternal and Child Health Coalition of Greater Kansas City.

She discussed the still-maturing brain of adolescents and the often-traumatic effect that violence, including domestic violence, can have. She said trauma experienced by a child might not show up in destructive behaviors until the teen years.

Chamberlain suggested that when teachers, school counselors or social workers work with children who are abusing alcohol and drugs, having sex, experiencing eating disorders or threatening suicide, the adults should look closely for violence in the home.

“It doesn't matter if the child has seen it, heard it or just sensed the violence in the home — it will have an effect on them,” she said.

Several workers from a battered women's shelter said that Chamberlain's association of the developing brain, violence and teen behavior made sense, saying that it explained outbursts they witnessed in children of their shelter clients.

Chamberlain described each area of the brain and its role in human development. Many changes in the brain, she said, occur during adolescence. For some, adolescence extends until age 20; for others, as late as 26.

Because the young brain is not fully developed, especially the prefrontal lobe, which determines judgment, organization and self-control, that area is more vulnerable to stress brought on by exposure to violence.

The younger a child's age, the more development of the brain is compromised and the longer lasting the effects.

“By age 12, children exposed to violence are more likely to be diagnosed with depression, anxiety and defiance disorders associated with post-traumatic stress disorder,” Chamberlain said.

All types of violence are culprits, including television and video-game violence in which consequences for actions are not clear.

“Parents, cut the cable, save a brain,” Chamberlain said.

But the worst violence for children and adolescents, she said, is family violence.

“Seeing parents or other adults fight can feel as bad to a teen as being hit themselves,” she said.

Posted by Nancy at 07:05 PM | Comments (0)

180 people with post-traumatic stress disorder needed for UW study

January 2005 {University of Washington] uwnews.org

Approximately 70 percent of people in the United States experience a traumatic event during their lifetime and a significant number of these people later develop post-traumatic stress disorder, a chronic and debilitating condition that can persist for months or even years.

While there are several tested treatments for the disorder, very little is known about their comparable effectiveness. That's why University of Washington researchers are looking for 180 Puget Sound men and women who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder to participate in a new study that will compare the effectiveness of state-of-the-art medication and psychotherapy treatments.

Between 8 and 14 percent of the people who experience such events develop persistent symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder that can impair their lives, according to Lori Zoellner, a UW associate psychology professor. These symptoms include recurrent thoughts of the trauma; intense feelings of fear and anxiety when reminded of the event; nightmares; avoiding situations, people or thoughts associated with the trauma; feeling numb or having difficulty experiencing strong emotions; sweating, racing heart or hot or cold flashes when reminded of the trauma; and jumpiness or a tendency to be easily startled.

Participants in the study will receive free treatment for 10 weeks and follow-up assessments over a 24-month period, said Zoellner. In addition to the treatment, participants can earn up to $300 for completing follow-up assessments. At the UW, Zoellner is directing the $2.6 million multi-site study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

To be eligible for the study, men and women must be between the ages of 18 and 65 and have chronic post-traumatic stress disorder after experiencing a traumatic event such as sexual assault, robbery, automobile accident, assault with a weapon, combat or a natural disaster.

People in the study will receive at least 10 weeks of treatment -- either the medication sertraline (Zoloft) or a form of cognitive behavioral therapy called prolonged exposure. Both treatment options are well established and have previously been shown to be effective in treating post-traumatic stress disorder in large-scale randomized controlled trials. One of the main goals of the study is to directly compare these two treatments. Following the 10 weeks of treatment, participants may continue on the medication or receive booster therapy sessions, as needed, for 24 months. Those people who do not respond to the treatment they receive can switch to the other treatment option.

The study also is designed to look at the role of choice in treatment compliance and outcome. Half of the participants will select the treatment of their choice while the others will be randomly assigned to medication or therapy.

"In the real world people pick their treatment. Our study will let us look at the role of choice in treatment outcomes, " Zoellner said.

In addition, the study also is designed to measure long-term treatment effectiveness through the 24-month follow-up and to assess relapse.

Through this process, the researchers hope to better understand what treatments work better for particular patients both in the short term and long term for the disorder, according to Zoellner.

People who would like to participate in the study or have questions about it should contact Helen Miller, a research assistant at the UW's Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress, at (206) 685-3617

Posted by Nancy at 06:54 PM | Comments (0)

First Lady of Tennessee Takes Action

January 2005

Andrea Conte, first lady of Tennessee is walking across the state of Tennesee to raise awareness and funds to help abused children in Tennessee.

First Lady Andrea Conte is a long time victim advocate and has been involved for many years with Child Advocacy Centers in Tennessee. The fund raising goal for this walk across the state of Tennessee is $1 Million Dollars. (Let's hope she raises more)

In her walk across the state she is inviting others to walk short segments with her. This walk spans several months and is raising awareness of child abuse. The walk is also raising much needed funds for 27 different organizations that provide counseling for child victims, awareness programs or professional training.

To contribute to her project, to walk with her, or to read more, visit Andrea Walks

Statistics from AndreaWalks.com website:

Staggering Statistics on Child Abuse In Tennessee
   In 2003, 11,801 children were victims of some type of abuse.
   2,229 of those children were victims of sexual abuse
   and 1,529 were victims of physical abuse
   9 children died as a result of physical abuse.

The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services offers a 24 hour hotline for reporting suspected child abuse: 1-877-237-0004

You may also report suspected child abuse to your local law enforcement officials.

AndreaWalks comes to East Tennessee in February through April 2005 To view the entire AndreaWalks schedule, click here

Posted by Nancy at 06:22 PM | Comments (0)

Child abuse still matters to many as progress is being made

January 23, 2005 [Grand Island Independant] By Mike Bockoven

Around six months ago, Dori Bush and other members of the Association for Child Abuse Prevention set up a Walk for Child Abuse Prevention aimed at raising funds for agencies working to protect children.

The response wasn't what they expected.

"We had just a bad response," said Bush, a longtime child advocate. "We had thought, with the Molina situation, we'd have a lot of walkers. We didn't."

Of course, one event isn't enough to discourage those interested in children's issues nor enough to paint an accurate picture of volunteerism in the community. However, it's not hard to look around the state and see that child abuse is still a big problem, and many are still not aware of the situation.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services reported last week that the number of reported child abuse and neglect cases increased from 2,316 cases where evidence was found in 2002 to 2,423 in 2003. Numbers for 2004 were not yet available.

In addition, this week saw a man sentenced to between 50 and 60 years in prison for beating his 3-year-old stepdaughter to death in Omaha. It's a case that mirrors that of Diana N. Molina, a 2-year-old Grand Island girl who was beaten to death by her father in July 2003.

Months after the Molina case was made public, hundreds of volunteer hours and thousands of dollars had poured into efforts to help educate and curb child abuse. Bush said that, at the time, the response was overwhelming. But since, as with anything, interest has declined after the horrors inflicted on the Grand Island girl faded from memory.

The problem, Bush said, is that child abuse is still a problem that needs champions.

"The problem isn't getting any better, and it's frustrating for us who are advocates," she said. "All of us are frustrated. Nothing is going to change if people don't get involved. Volunteerism is so important. It can't be stressed enough."

That's not to say there are no efforts in the area making a difference. Aside from advocates such as ACAP, Heartland Court Appointed Special Advocate and many others, the Little Diana Task Force, named after the slain child, has a grant program that continues to fund child abuse prevention efforts.

Karen Rathke, who helped form the task force, said there should be no mistake that progress has been made and awareness has been raised. But now that there is no high-profile case to grab people's attention, it's harder to elicit the same level of enthusiasm.

"I think people got involved and continue to be involved at the level they need to be," Rathke said. "Now that we're in the update mode and report mode, it's not as visible as it was before."

Rathke also said there is a heightened sense of awareness that many still feel after Molina, and the effects of that are hard to quantify. Who knows how many people have called authorities because they suspected child abuse or stepped in and provided aid to a battered mother and family, she asked?

Kathy Moore, director of Voices for Children Nebraska, a statewide organization dedicated to children's issues, said she has no doubt many people were touched by the Molina case or whenever a high-profile child abuse case comes down the media pipeline.

The problem is that many feel as if there's nothing they can do because the problem is so widespread. More disturbing to her, she said, is how few people act upon their feelings of disgust and indignation.

"One element is desensitization, and the other is a moment of concern followed by hopelessness," she said. "During the Molina trial, I ran into many people who said they couldn't read a report in the newspaper or watch it on TV. That troubles me. If they don't see what's happening with our children, how can they ever hope to make a difference?"

Not just in Grand Island, but across the state, feelings of skepticism and frustration with the issue are becoming more prevalent, she said.

Dianne Muhlbach, director of Heartland CASA in Grand Island, said she feels there are many people in this area that care very deeply about child abuse issues and will continue to whether there's a high-profile case or not. That being said, she needs volunteers to serve in the program as a voice for children when they enter the court system.

"There are a lot of people who care very much. I see it every day," she said. "If something needs to change, people get worked up."

Many of the advocates are aware that child abuse will never be something that is solved. Many, however, speak of "breaking the cycle" with the next generation, letting them know that, whatever their background, child abuse isn't acceptable.

Volunteers are needed, but so is a shift in thinking, Bush said.

"The bottom line is I am so tired of the response being, 'Let's provide more services,'" she said. "When are people going to realize you need prevention efforts? If we can do a huge job of educating, we might break the cycle."

Posted by Nancy at 06:10 PM | Comments (0)

Education cited for child abuse reporting rise

An Australian cultural studies expert says better community education is behind an increase in reported cases of child abuse.
January 2005

An Australian cultural studies expert says better community education is behind an increase in reported cases of child abuse.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found reports of suspected child abuse, harm or neglect rose by more than 21,000 across Australia in 2003 to 2004, compared to the previous year.

It also found notifications have more than doubled in the last four years.

Professor Karen Brooks from Queensland's University of the Sunshine Coast says better education means more people are filing complaints.

"Per capita, per head the incidence of sexual abuse is probably pretty much the same because even now as indeed 10, 20, 100 years ago, there are still people not coming forward and reporting what's happened to them," she said.

"This is proving that we still need to go further with this education."

Posted by Nancy at 06:04 PM | Comments (0)

Man charged with sex abuse

January 23, 2005 [Central Kentucky News-Journal] By James Roberts

A Campbellsville man already serving 21 years for rape has been indicted on a charge of first-degree sex abuse.

Michael Earl Gaskins, 41, who is currently serving time at the Kentucky State Reformatory, was indicted in Taylor Circuit Court on Tuesday.

According to the indictment, Gaskins subjected a minor to sexual contact in the fall of 1999.

Campbellsville Police Department Detective Pat Skeens said the child, who was 8 years old at the time, was too afraid to come forward when the abuse occurred. As the child grew older, it was more difficult to keep the abuse a secret. The child reported the incident to a sibling, who told the children's mother.

Police arrested Gaskins in September 2001 when he kidnapped a 14-year-old girl at knife point and held her hostage at his home for more than eight hours while he raped and sodomized her.

In November 2002, Gaskins was sentenced to 21 years in prison for second-degree burglary, attempted kidnapping, five counts of third-degree rape, five counts of third-degree sodomy and one count of intimidation of a witness.

No bond was set for the sex abuse charge. If convicted , Gaskins could be sentenced to as much as five years in prison.

Posted by Nancy at 05:56 PM | Comments (0)

New allegation in abuse case

Former Olympic judge allegedly confronted in '92 about claims of child molestation
January 22, 2005 [Fort Worth Star-telegram] By Max B. Baker

National diving coaches confronted Wirt Norris, a former Olympic diving judge from Texas, more than a decade ago about child molestation allegations, according to two former divers.

The divers said two coaches challenged Norris at a 1992 diving competition after being told that one of the divers had been molested by Norris years earlier in Fort Worth.

That diver, Pat Harrington, now 45 and a psychologist in California, is among more than 15 men scheduled to testify against Norris at a pretrial hearing Jan. 31.

Norris, 77, a prominent Fort Worth real estate agent, has repeatedly denied molesting anyone. His lawyer said he would have to investigate the latest allegations.

Accusations against Norris surfaced publicly in 2002, when a Fort Worth family began to pursue a civil lawsuit against him. He has since been charged in Tarrant County with molesting one youth in 1995 and attempting to molest another in 1987.

Plan for trip spurred action

Harrington studied diving with Norris at the Panther Boys Club in Fort Worth and went on to become a member of the U.S. diving team in 1980 and 1984.

He said he stepped forward in 1992 to thwart Norris' plans to take young divers on a postseason trip to Hawaii.

"When I heard what was about to happen, that he was going to go to Hawaii with these young boys, I thought, 'We can't let this happen,' " Harrington told the Star-Telegram.

A friend, Mark Virts, said he alerted Vince Panzano, now coach at Ohio State University, and Randy Ableman, now a University of Miami coach, about the allegations.

Neither Panzano nor Ableman returned repeated telephone calls from the Star-Telegram.

Virts said he witnessed the confrontation between Panzano and Norris and that he later discussed it with Ableman.

Virts said the Hawaii trip never happened and that Norris was ostracized by the national diving community after the 1992 incident.

The Star-Telegram typically does not name victims of sexual abuse, but Harrington agreed to be identified after reading about the criminal allegations against Norris.

Curb on testimony sought

Alan Levy, a Tarrant County assistant district attorney, said Harrington's decision to speak out is a "significant breakthrough" in the criminal case against Norris.

Levy encouraged others who may have been molested by Norris to contact authorities.

Mike Ware, Norris' attorney in the criminal case, is fighting to keep testimony from Harrington and the other men out of Norris' trial.

"As far as we are concerned, this is a brand-new allegation, and it will have to be investigated," Ware said.

The Hallman family of Fort Worth was the first to go public with complaints against Norris. The Hallmans filed civil court documents in 2002, accusing Norris of molesting Will Hallman at Norris' Eagle Mountain Lake home in 1995, when Hallman was 12. Hallman is now 21.

In 2003, a Tarrant County grand jury indicted Norris on charges of indecency/fondling and indecent exposure in the Hallman case.

Second indictment in 2004

A year later, Norris was indicted on charges of attempted sexual assault and attempted indecency in a second case in which the accuser, now 28, said Norris had tried to molest him at the lake house in 1987. More than a dozen other men have since come forward with similar allegations dating to at least 1956, according to a list of prospective witnesses filed in the criminal case by the district attorney's office.

Those cases are too old for charges to be filed. Under state law, charges must be filed within 10 years of the accuser's 18th birthday.

But the men tell similar stories: that as youths they became sexually involved with Norris. In a few instances the men allege that Norris drew them into sexual acts with another man or with other youths. The men said the encounters occurred in Fort Worth, Arkansas, California, Maryland and Michigan, court records show.

State District Judge Wayne Salvant will decide if the men will be allowed to testify at Norris' trial in the Hallman case, set for May.

Posted by Nancy at 05:49 PM | Comments (0)

Woman suing for abuse comes face to face with accused priest

THE REV. JAMES POOLE: After she filed against him, two others followed her lead.
January 23, 2005 [Anchorage Daily News] By Nicole Tsong

When the woman known as Jane Doe 1 entered the room for the deposition of the Rev. James Poole, the Jesuit priest she has accused of molesting her as a child in Nome, she hadn't seen him in more than a decade.

He looked smaller than she remembered. He spoke almost like a little kid about their interaction. But his scent, the intimate smell of someone that rekindles memories, hadn't changed.

"It was the same smell," she recalled in a recent interview, before taking a break to compose herself.

Jane Doe sued Poole, the Diocese of Fairbanks, the Society of Jesus, Oregon Province and Alaska Jesuits in March last year, accusing the priest who founded Catholic radio station KNOM of molesting her as a child. Two other women subsequently filed similar molestation claims against the priest, who is 81 and lives in a Jesuit home in Spokane, Wash.

Poole has called some of the allegations against him "highly inflammatory and highly exaggerated" and has denied others.

Jane Doe, 37 and originally from the Bethel area, has accused Poole of molesting her more than 100 times, starting in 1978 in Nome during summer visits when she was 10 and lasting until she was 16. The abuse included kissing, heavy petting and having her lie on top of him, the suit says. She said he had her sit on his lap and they kissed for hours.

Jane Doe, who has remained anonymous since she filed the lawsuit, said she didn't intend to sue the church when she first reported Poole to church officials.

She initially approached the church after she heard about another lawsuit filed by men claiming sexual abuse by the Rev. Jules Convert. Still a practicing Catholic, she wanted to see how the church would respond. After she had trouble contacting Fairbanks' then-chancellor, the Rev. Richard Case, over the phone and grew increasingly anxious and emotional, she wrote Fairbanks Bishop Donald Kettler a letter dated Sept. 20 outlining her complaints.

An interview in person with the bishop in September didn't help, she said. She said he continually referred to the legal issues involved, when she wanted him to be compassionate, listen to her and tell her it was OK to feel the way she did.

Kettler said recently that he went into that interview without much information about Jane Doe or Poole.

"My intention was not to somehow frustrate her, but my intention was to offer counseling," he said. "I don't think I had any preconceived intentions. I just wanted to work with her the best I could."

But she was troubled by subsequent discussions about counseling, she said. She felt the bishop made it difficult by putting parameters on paying for a counselor. She decided then to discuss suing with attorney Ken Roosa.

"I've never had a client less eager to see me," Roosa said. But "she wanted to be treated in a pastoral fashion, to be treated as a human being and a Catholic."

The Jesuits now pay for her counseling, she said.

Jane Doe said she always knew the relationship with Poole was wrong and told friends about it in the past. But only recently, with the help of a counselor, did she realize it was sexual abuse, she said.

Poole was a close family friend, and she has come to regard the relationship as incestuous, Jane Doe said. He took advantage of her vulnerability, she said, telling her he loved her and that she was special.

"I can see now it was a sick relationship," she said. "How could I kiss a priest? It just seems so absurd."

Jane Doe said she also feels that the church does not want to take responsibility for what happened. Most recently, attorneys for Poole and the diocese have asked the judge to dismiss the case based on the statute of limitations, arguing the claims were too old to consider under the law. The Alaska Supreme Court already is considering that argument in the Convert case, which has plaintiffs with claims reaching as far back as the 1950s.

Jane Doe still carries the letter she wrote Kettler in her purse, its edges now worn. She said she hopes to settle the case but is ready to go to trial if she has to.

"It's just appalling to me," she said. "They know the truth."

Posted by Nancy at 05:32 PM | Comments (0)