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November 11, 2005
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Children of Bipolar Parents Score Higher on Creativity Test, Stanford Study Finds.
Business Wire Business Wire; 11/8/2005
STANFORD, Calif. -- Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have shown for the first time that a sample of children who either have or are at high risk for bipolar disorder score higher on a creativity index than healthy children. The findings add to existing evidence that a link exists between mood disorders and creativity.
The small study, published in the November issue of the Journal of Psychiatric Research, compared creativity test scores of children of healthy parents with the scores of children of bipolar parents. Children with the bipolar parents--even those who were not bipolar themselves--scored higher than the healthy children.
"I think it's fascinating," said Kiki Chang, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and co-author of the paper. "There is a reason that many people who have bipolar disorder become very successful, and these findings address the positive.phpects of having this illness."
Many scientists believe that a relationship exists between creativity and bipolar disorder, which was formerly called manic-depressive illness and is marked by dramatic shifts in a person's mood, energy and ability to function. Numerous studies have examined this link; several have shown that artists and writers may have two to three times more incidences of psychosis, mood disorders or suicide when compared with people in less creative professions.
Terence Ketter, MD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and a study co-author, said he became interested in the link between mental illness and creativity after noticing that patients who came through the bipolar clinic, despite having problems, were extraordinarily bright, motivated people who "tended to lead interesting lives." He began a scholarly pursuit of this link and in 2002 published a study that showed healthy artists were more similar in personality to individuals with bipolar disorder (the majority of whom were on medication) than to healthy people in the general population.
Some researchers believe that bipolar disorder or mania, a defining symptom of the disease, causes creative activity. Ketter said he believes that bipolar patients' creativity stems from their mobilizing energy that results from negative emotion to initiate some sort of solution to their problems. "In this case, discontent is the mother of invention," he said.
The researchers point out that creativity and bipolar may have important genetic components that are transmitted together inter-generationally. There have only been limited studies investigating this; the Stanford study is the first to specifically examine creativity in the offspring of bipolar parents.
During the study, the researchers looked at creative characteristics in 40 bipolar patients and 40 offspring, comparing them with 18 healthy adults and 18 healthy offspring. The children in the study ranged in age from 10 to 18. Half of the children of bipolar patients also had bipolar disorder; the other half had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD, which appears to be an early sign of bipolar disorder in offspring of parents with the condition. The majority of participants with bipolar or ADHD were on medication.
The researchers included children with ADHD so they could study creativity before the onset of full bipolar disorder. "We wanted to see whether having a manic episode is necessary for this sort of creativity," said Chang, who also directs the Pediatric Bipolar Disorders Program at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.
Study participants were given psychiatric evaluations and then completed the Barron-Welsh Art Scale, or BWAS, a test that seeks to provide an objective measure of creativity. The scoring is based on "like" and "dislike" responses to figures of varying complexity and symmetry; past studies suggest that creative people tend to dislike the simple and symmetric symbols.
The researchers found that the bipolar parents had 120 percent higher BWAS "dislike" scores than the healthy parents. The children with bipolar and the children with ADHD had, respectively, 107 and 91 percent higher BWAS dislike scores than the healthy children.
"The results of this study support an association between bipolar disease and creativity and contribute to a better understanding of possible mechanisms of transmission of creativity in families with genetic susceptibility for bipolar disease," the researchers wrote in their paper.
The researchers had hypothesized that the scores of children with ADHD would differ significantly from the scores of bipolar children so they were surprised when the scores did not. Chang said this indicates that mania is not what is fueling the creativity. "The kids with ADHD who hadn't been manic yet still had very high levels of creativity," he said.
The researchers also found a link between the length of a bipolar child's illness and creativity: the longer a child was sick or manic, the lower the BWAS dislike score. It makes sense, Chang said, that this illness could, over time, erode one's creativity. "After awhile you aren't able to function and you can't access your creativity," he explained.
BWAS dislike scores tend to decrease with age even in healthy individuals, so more research is needed, Ketter said. Further studies are also needed to assess the role of genetic and environmental factors in creativity and bipolar, he added. The team plans to next examine whether the degree of creativity in parents correlates with the degree of creativity in their children.
This study was funded by the Heinz C. Prechter Fund for Manic Depression, a NAR-SAD Young Investigators Award, a Klingenstein Third Generation Foundation Fellowship and the National Institutes of Health.
Stanford University Medical Center integrates research, medical education and patient care at its three institutions -- Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. For more information, please visit the Web site of the medical center's Office of Communication & Public Affairs at http://mednews.stanford.edu.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Business Wire
Anything can happen with mental illness ( at times I thought I was God. I also tried to end my life.
Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England); 11/7/2005
Byline: By Mitya Underwood
Every year one in four people will experience some sort of mental health problem in the UK, but despite that those suffering from it feel stigmatised. Mitya Underwood reports
Neil Tinning's life story is almost unbelievable. He's toured with a famous rock band, developed an obsession with Jimi Hendrix and attempted to commit suicide.
Having started his career on tour with The Jam, Neil has now replaced comedian Spike Milligan as the patron of the Manic Depression Fellowship, (MDF), a charity which aims to enable people affected by bipolar disorder to take control of their lives.
Gosforth-born Neil has struggled almost all his life with mental health issues, often finding himself in the grip of depression and even suicidal.
It took six years for doctors to diagnose Neil with bipolar disorder, otherwise known as manic depression.
"I think I've had bipolar for most of my life but because I was always busy I didn't realise until it was too late," says Neil, otherwise known as Twink.
"At 21 I was working with The Jam going all around the country as their official photographer. I think that's a lot for anyone to so young to do," he explains.
"I was never aware of my mental health status until I actually became ill.
"It's not something you're necessarily born with. It can be triggered by something stressful like a divorce or a death in the family."
The word bipolar is used because the symptoms are so wide-ranging.
One minute someone can be in a deep, deep depression, and the next they can be on a real high.
And it's often hard to find a level in between.
And this is exactly what might happen to Neil, who now lives in Seaton Sluice, if he doesn't take care of his mental health.
If Neil isn't careful, he can easily slip into a manic episode, which is not only dangerous for himself but also incredibly worrying for his wife, Liz, and children Alex, 20, Richard, 17, and Victoria, 14.
During one of his manic episodes, Neil's respect for legend Jimi Hendrix turned into an obsession.
He ended up flying to Seattle to visit the grave of the American rock guitarist.
"Anything can happen when you suffer from mental illness.
"I've had times when I've thought I was God and others when I've tried to end my life.
"I lose all responsibility for money and safety and things."
In 1995, Neil's mental health suffered a massive blow when his boss at a car sales company increased his targets by 52%.
To some, this might seem a bit tough, but achievable.
This is not how it seemed to Neil.
The increase in pressure led to a mental breakdown and an attempted suicide, despite having a family to look after.
He took a month's supply of anti-depressants and ended up fighting for his life in intensive care
"The thing that tips the balance can be the straw that breaks the camel's back.
"It doesn't have to be anything life-altering, that's the worrying thing," he says, quietly.
"You need to create a level of activity in your life that suits you, nothing too hard but nothing too easy which might leave you susceptible to a breakdown."
As patron of the MDF, Neil often speaks out about life with a mental illness in an effort to rid it of any stigma and misconceptions.
"People with mental illnesses often get a lot of unnecessary stick from people who don't understand. The thing people should remember is it can affect everybody, not just the odd person."
To find out more about the MDF visit www.mdf.org.uk
COPYRIGHT 2005 MGN Ltd.
Our juvenile justice system. Opinion & Editorial)
Manila Bulletin; 11/11/2005
Byline: JUSTICE REYNATO S. PUNO
(Keynote address of acting Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno at the 4th Annual Conference of the Child Protection Unit Network held on Nov. 7, 2005, at Traders Hotel, Manila.)
ALL over the world, the juvenile justice system is being given a fresh lookover. Among the areas of concern undergoing reexamination are the philosophy of punishment involving juvenile offenders and the process of bringing them to our system of justice. In our country, all three branches of government are in relentless search on how to improve our juvenile system of justice. On the pipeline in the Senate is Senate Bill No. 1402 which will radical change our hardened concept on the age of criminal liability of juveniles and ways of dealing with their delinquencies. The Executive department, thru the Department of Social Welfare, has been strengthening the community infrastructures to help the victims and offenders reintegrate themselves to the mainstream of society. On the part of the Judiciary, the Supreme Court has promulgated various rules dealing with juveniles caught in crimes. The High Court has issued the rule on examination of a child witness, the rule on juveniles in conflict with the law and the rule on violence against children. In all these rules, the High Court has adopted the philosophy of restorative justice and applied the doctrine of the best interest of the child.
This is as it ought to be. The number of children in conflict with the law is skyrocketing. According to the Juvenile Justice Network, 10,515 Filipino children are being arrested and detained each year. The Philippine Bar Association has reported that there are 20,000 children in jails mixed with hardened criminals. The Save the Children Foundation also has statistics showing that in 2002, more than half of the children in Southern Mindanao prisons had been sexually abused and were suffering from psychological harm. Some girls had been raped and some boys had been sodomized.
As we seek to further improve our system of Juvenile Justice System, perhaps we should pause and take a brief look at the path we have trodden before. We have crossed the 20th century but we are still governed by the Revised Penal Code approved on December 8, 1930. The Revised Penal Code repealed the old Penal Code which was a modified version of the Spanish Penal Code of 1870. In turn, the Spanish Penal Code was based on the French Penal Code of 1810. The French and the Spanish Penal Codes adopted the classical or juristic school of criminal law. They stressed on the crime and were essentially retributive and punitive. They assumed that every criminal has freewill and knowledge of the penal law. Punishment was standardized and measured according to the gravity of the offense. Becarria, the leading light of classical penology in the 18th century, advised judges on how to decide cases, in the following wise: "In every criminal case, the judge should decide synogistically. The major premise should be the general law; the minor premise should be the conformity of the action or its opposition to the laws; the conclusion, liberty or punishment." According to then Congressman Quintin Paredes, who sponsored the bill which became the Revised Penal Code, "the Code Committee did not undertake the codification of all penal laws nor produce a modern code or one conforming to advanced theories." Paredes emphasized that the Revised Penal Code "xxx does not embody the latest progress of criminal science because the results of the application of advanced and radical theories still remain to be seen. The 1930 Revised Penal Code continues to govern us and is one of the legal dinosaurs still stalking our land.
But this is not to disparage our lawmakers who enacted the Revised Penal Code of 1930. Indeed, the world of juvenile delinquents prior to 1800 was a totally different world. At that time, both the English common law and American law looked at adults and juveniles as alike and treated them alike. Only one class of juvenile offenders was treated differently a" youths under age 7 were considered unable to comprehend the consequences of their action and, hence, were exempted from criminal responsibility. Juveniles above age 7 were regarded as "miniature adults" or in the words of Charles Friel as "little people in big peopleas clothing." Resultantly, they were dealt with as adults when they ran afoul of the law.
By the late 1800as, however, the legal perspective of juvenile crimes started to change due to advances in social work, psychiatry, psychology and sociology. These experts in the social sciences developed the idea of "adolescence," or the period between childhood and adulthood. They refused to consider juveniles as miniature adults but as "developing" persons requiring a different treatment. By the early 1900, the concept of a juvenile court was born. This was a milestone and we were among the first in Asia to create juvenile courts. The juvenile court was based on the parens patriae doctrine. Pursuant to this doctrine, it is the duty of the State to intervene in a childas life when it would be to his best interest. The juvenile court judge acted as sort of "superparent." For about 7 decades, the juvenile courts received little critical reviews.
Starting from the 1950s, however, the juvenile courts underwent radical reforms especially in the US. To a great degree, the reform movement was influenced by the shocking crimes of violence committed by juveniles. The role of the courts as parens patrias was found as ineffective. In the famous 1967 case of In re Gault, no less than the US Supreme Court made the harsh observation that juvenile courts had failed to fulfill the promise of rehabilitation nor did they offer juveniles the protections that adults received even though they faced the same consequences. Thus, the US Supreme Court granted due process rights to juveniles similar to adult rights at trial. With this development that blurred the once bright line between the juvenile and adult justice systems, the juvenile justice process entered another stage it became "adultified."
Other.phpects of the juvenile courts came under the scalpel of scrutiny of critics. Valid questions were raised why juveniles who who committed minor crimes are incarcerated with juveniles involved in major offenses. The end result is that some states decentralized the juvenile court process by transforming juvenile courts from entities with one jurisdiction in all cases involving children, into several courts with limited or special jurisdiction. Thus, one juvenile court would handle delinquent youths only while another kind of juvenile court (i.e., family or domestic courts) would handle non-delinquent juveniles. Professor R. del Carmen of Texas well observed that the system wrote a new line that put delinquents on one side and non-delinquents on the other. Punishment and responsibility were the buzzwords for delinquents; assistance and supervision for non-delinquents, he concluded.
There are other ideas on reforming the juvenile justice system worth our serious thought and I mention them only because our quest for a better system ought to be unending. For instance, one proposal is to establish adult courts with juvenile jurisdiction. The adult courts, they suggest, would use juvenile-specific procedure and program in deciding all delinquency cases. Another proposal is to establish specialty or alternative courts such as gun, drug, misdemeanor and felony courts. They contend that these specialty courts will tailor remedies that are matched to specific offenders and their circumstances. This will disallow a juvenile court from dealing with all types of delinquency. Thus a 12-year old shoplifter will be handled by one juvenile court while a 17-year-old drug dealer will be tried by another juvenile court. The system, they surmise, will ensure that different juveniles with different needs are dealt with in different ways. It also recognizes the increasing diversity of offenders in the juvenile justice system.
There is also a call for different treatment of female adolescents. Studies reveal that their number is fast rising. They are breaking the law at an earlier age, and their crimes are getting graver. Again, it is easily demonstrable that circumstances involving female delinquents are different from male delinquents. For instance, it has been established that most girls in the juvenile justice system have a history of victimization; it has also been shown that while in the juvenile justice system, girls are more vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse than male delinquents; and stastisticcs wise, most of female delinquents are charged with minor offenses. The current thought, therefore, is that our juvenile justice system which is male-based and male-oriented must evolve programs and policies that fit the peculiar characteristics of female offenders.
Similarly, there is an urgent call to look at the management of juvenile sexual offenders from a new lens. The need is urgent for again facts and figures show that sexual assault is one of the fastest growing violent crimes. In the US for instance, the FBI reports that approximately 20% of all people charged with a sexual offense are juveniles with approximately 60% of all sexual assaults committed against children under the age of 12. The situation is aggravated by the fact that the legal literature on juvenile sexual offenders is still scant. Craig Latham, a forensic psychologist, says that these offenders do not belong to the one-size-fits-all mold. Sex offenses by juveniles, he said, may be due to compulsive disorders, bipolar disease, head inquiries or other health related reasons. In these instances, he concluded, the juveniles need more medical intervention and less penalties. Despite these realities, Dr. Howard Zenana, a Yale psychiatrist, noted that society views sex offending as particularly deviant and has zero tolerance for it. The problem of juvenile sex offenders therefore also presents a different challenges and we cannot overly stress the need to study more deeply its tentative theoretical underpinnings.
In any event, the establishment of child protection unit network is a move in the right direction. This network is an important component of restorative justice, the philosophy that underlies our juvenile justice system today. The literature on restorative justice is vast and I do not want to further encumber you with its esoterics. But let me just stress one outstanding .phpect of restorative justice as developed by Charles Barton, a professional philosopher and conflict resolution specialist. His thesis is that the chief strength of restorative justice interventions does not lie in their rejection of punishment and retribution, but in the empowerment of communities of care that respond to the causes and the consequences of criminal acts. These communities, he said, perform an important function for they take care of the imbalances of power created by differences in age, gender, culture, social status, institutional affiliations and other factors." Your network forms part of these important communities of concern. With your indispensable care and concern, victims will not feel that he or she is a mere witness of the crime committed against the State. Come to think of it but we still prosecute crimes in the name o the People of the Philippines or in the name of the State. This practice has its origin at the time of the Norman conquest when feudalism was in vogue and vassals swore fealty to their King. It is for this reason that any criminal offense became a crime against the State, and not a crime against another person. Restorative justice rejects this primitive notion of crime. One of its abiding principles is that crime is not merely an act of breaching the laws of the State. It is the violation of the sanctity of one human being by another. It is the destruction of the social fabric. With your network, we can anticipate the more effective empowerment of one of the principal stakeholders in the juvenile justice system a" the victim. It is self-evidence that crime control will never succeed without repairing the damage done to the victim and without his or her active participation, the healing process in the community will never take off.
Let me conclude by referring to an article entitled "A Juvenile Justice System for the 21st century." It states that an effective juvenile justice system must meet 3 objectives: 1) hold the juvenile offenders accountable; 2) enable the juvenile to become a capable, productive and responsible citizen; and 3) ensure the safety of the community. It adds that these objectives are best met when the community key leaders jointly engaged in the planning, development and operation of the juvenile justice system. You are the community leaders and I doff my hat to your effort to establish a network of child protection units.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp.
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The Warning Signs Of An Impending Bipolar Disorder Manic Episode
Bipolar disorder - as the name implies - involves two distinct set of symptoms. One set throws the individual down into the depths of a massive depression. The other places the individual who suffers with bipolar disorder at the top of a peak manic episode.
Most everyone can eventually recognize the warning signs of an impending depressive episode related to bipolar disorder. More likely than not, individuals with bipolar disorder try very hard to avoid it.
However, for many individuals with bipolar disorder, it's more difficult to recognize the signs of an impending manic episode. After all, a manic episode of bipolar disorder can be mistaken in some cases - especially in the very early formation -- for the lifting of the corresponding mood swing of the depression.
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