Archive for May 2007
what I read, and what I don’t – Thu. 31 May 2007: inhuman treatment endorsed by members of U.S. government
On Thursday, 13 May 2004, I read in an AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE (AI Index: AMR 51/081/2004 (Public) News Service No: 123) that interrogation techniques and coercive interrogation methods endorsed by members of the US government amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and violate international law and the USA’s treaty obligations. Amnesty International called on the USA to end its practice of holding detainees incommunicado and in secret detention.
On the same date, citing current and former officials, I read claims in the New York Times that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, an alleged leading member of al-Qa’ida held in an undisclosed location for more than a year, has been subjected to interrogation techniques including “water boarding” in which the prisoner is forcibly pushed under water to the point that he believes he will drown.
“This would be a clear case of torture”, Amnesty International said, adding that water submersion is a technique that has been used by countries notorious for their use of torture.
I read that hat the techniques used against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed were among a set of secret rules approved by the administration for use against “high value” detainees in the so-called “war on terror”.
Separately I read, that Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld told a Senate committee yesterday that Pentagon lawyers had approved methods of interrogation in Iraq such as “sleep management”, “dietary manipulation” and “stress positions”. Such so-called “stress and duress” techniques have been widely alleged by former detainees held in US custody in Afghanistan some of whom were subsequently transferred to Guantánamo Bay.
I read, that under questioning by the committee, Secretary Rumsfeld said that: “Any instructions that have been issued or anything that’s been authorized by the Department have been checked by the lawyers” and “deemed to be consistent with the Geneva Conventions”.
“These techniques of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment are grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention, amounting to war crimes, and violate the Convention Against Torture to which the USA is a state party,” I read at Amnesty International again.
I read further that the Committee Against Torture, the expert body established by the Convention Against Torture to oversee its implementation, has expressly held that restraining detainees in painful positions, hooding, threats, and prolonged sleep deprivation are methods of interrogation which violate the prohibition on torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. (For latest human rights news view http://news.amnesty.org)
On Tuesday, Jan. 2 2007, I read that an FBI report detailed brutality by guards at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo seen by FBI employees, including detainees chained for 18 hours or more.
The report was posted on the FBI Web site. The agency said in a survey of 493 employees it had found 26 who said they had seen incidents of mistreatment and several more that were “not purely negative.” An investigation determined that no FBI personnel were involved in aggressive interrogations and mistreatment.
FBI witnesses described inmates chained in a fetal position and forced to urinate and defecate on themselves, the use of dogs to terrorize prisoners and sleep deprivation techniques including playing loud heavy metal music for as long as 24 hours. There were also instances of female guards harassing prisoners — in one case wiping menstrual blood on an inmate — and of a guard squatting on a Koran.
In the introduction, I read that most of the material made public in the report would have come out already during litigation over the facility at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo, Cuba.
On Sunday, Jan. 21 2007, I read that a powerful British Parliament committee demanded the closing of the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A report from the Foreign Affairs Select Committee called on Prime Minister Tony Blair to work with the United States to find an alternative to the military facility, The Independent reported.
I read that the committee report, based on members’ visit there in September, did not say there was any abuse of detainees occurring now at Guantanamo Bay, which houses terrorism suspects. But it said abuse had “almost certainly” happened at Guantanamo in the past, the newspaper said.
On Wednesday, Feb. 7 2007, I thead that the U.S. military said, there were no evidence of prisoner mistreatment at Guantanamo Bay despite bragging by some guards that they beat detainees.
In a statement issued to United Press International by the U.S. Southern Command, I read that investigating officer Army Col. Richard Bassett said that “insufficient evidence exists to substantiate” allegations filed by a civilian employee at the facility.
I read that investigators reportedly interviewed 20 suspects and witnesses, including detainee medical providers, and searched Guantanamo records to determine if there was any validity to the overheard boasting of soldiers who said they beat and tortured terror suspects.
On Thursday, April 26 2007 I read that former CIA Director George Tenet defended the U.S. agency’s “High Value Detainee” program and said its interrogations of terror suspects have saved lives.
“Here’s what I would say to you, to the Congress, to the American people, to the president of the United States: I know that this program has saved lives. I know we’ve disrupted plots,” Tenet told CBS’ “60 Minutes.” “I know this program alone is worth more than the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency put together, have been able to tell us.”
The program for terror suspects uses “enhanced interrogation” techniques that “60 Minutes” reported are said to include sleep deprivation, extreme temperature exposure and “water boarding,” in which restrained suspects have water poured on their faces, causing gagging and drowning fears.
Tenet denied that suspects are tortured.
When asked why “enhanced interrogation” techniques were necessary, Tenet said, “Because these are people who will never, ever, ever tell you a thing. These are people who know who’s responsible for the next terrorist attack … (who) wouldn’t blink an eyelash about killing you, your family, me and my family and everybody in this town,” CBS reported.
On the same day, April 26 2007, I read that the Bush administration asked a federal court in Washington to set new limits on lawyers for detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The New York Times reported that a U.S. Court of Appeals filing from the Justice Department said detainees’ lawyers are causing unrest and serve as intermediaries between detainees and the news media.
I read the government claiming in the filing that visits by civilian lawyers and mail between them and their clients have caused “intractable problems and threats to security at Guantanamo.”
I read that the Justice Department proposed limiting lawyers to three visits with an existing client, following a single visit in which a detainee could authorize a lawyer to handle a case. Also, intelligence officers and military lawyers not involved in the case would be authorized to read mail sent to a detainee by a lawyer, the Times reported.
Lawyers said the proposal would make it impossible for them to adequately defend their clients.
“These rules are an effort to restore Guantanamo to its prior status as a legal black hole,” Jonathan Hafetz of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, told the Times.
On Friday, April 27 2007, I read I read that U.S. Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., said on the floor of the Senate that he knew the American public was being misled in the run-up to the war in Iraq.
Durbin said he kept quiet because of his position on the Senate Intelligence Committee, The Washington Times reported.
“The information we had in the Intelligence Committee was not the same information being given to the American people. I couldn’t believe it,” Durbin said Wednesday.
“I was angry about it. (But) frankly, I couldn’t do much about it because, in the Intelligence Committee, we are sworn to secrecy. We can’t walk outside the door and say the statement made yesterday by the White House is in direct contradiction to classified information that is being given to this Congress.”
The White House said the Congress voted to go to war based on the same intelligence the president had.
“We all understand today that there were intelligence failures but there was no effort to mislead either members of Congress or the American people,” White House spokesman Tony Fratto told the Times reporter.
A congressional official familiar with Iraq intelligence presented to the committee said it was no different than what was said publicly, the Times said.
On Wednesday, May 30 2007, I read in The New York Times that psychologists advising U.S. intelligence agencies are suggesting that the harsh interrogation techniques used on terrorist suspects need to be changed.
A panel commissioned by the Intelligence Science Board says interrogation should be restructured using “tricks of veteran homicide detectives, the persuasive techniques of sophisticated marketing and models from American history.”
The researchers say there is little evidence harsh methods get the best results.
“There’s an assumption that often passes for common sense that the more pain imposed on someone, the more likely they are to comply,” said Randy Borum, a psychologist at the University of South Florida who contributed to the study.
The newspaper said new rules for interrogations by the Central Intelligence Agency are expected to ban the harshest techniques used in the past but authorize some methods that go beyond those currently allowed.
I read that Borum is authoring articles like the following:
Borum R, Gelles M. Al-Qaeda’s operational evolution: behavioral and organizational perspectives. Behav Sci Law. 2005;23(4):467-83. PMID: 16094630 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Hiday VA, Swartz MS, Swanson JW, Borum R, Wagner HR. Impact of outpatient commitment on victimization of people with severe mental illness. Am J Psychiatry. 2002 Aug;159(8):1403-11. PMID: 12153835 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
I don’t read that any ethical reserve entered the quoted psychologist’s line of argument.
On the same day, May 30 2007, I read that military officials said a Guantanamo Bay detention facility prisoner found dead in his cell Wednesday apparently committed suicide.
Authorities didn’t release the Saudi man’s name or details of his death, The Washington Post reported.
“The detainee was found unresponsive and not breathing in his cell by guards,” military officials said in a news release. “The detainee was pronounced dead by a physician after all lifesaving measures had been exhausted.”
He would be the fourth detainee suicide at the facility in the past year, the newspaper said.
Attorneys with the Center for Constitutional Rights, a New York-based group representing many Guantanamo detainees, said they had obtained no details and had no independent confirmation the death was a suicide.
I read that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service were investigating, and a cultural were assisting base officials to ensure the detainee’s body is handled in a “culturally sensitive and religiously appropriate manner.”
Brain Activity Reflects Differences In Types Of Anxiety
All anxiety is not created equal, and a research team at the University of Illinois now has found the most compelling evidence yet of differing patterns of brain activity associated with each of two types of anxiety: anxious apprehension (verbal rumination, worry) and anxious arousal (intense fear, panic, or both).
“This study looks at two facets of anxiety that often are not distinguished,” said U. of I. psychology professor Gregory A. Miller, co-principal investigator on the study with psychology professor Wendy Heller. “We had reason to think there were different brain mechanisms, different parts of the brain active at different times, depending on what type of anxiety one is facing.”
According to a recent national survey, anxiety disorders are the most commonly reported psychiatric disorders in the U.S. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders classifies nearly a dozen different anxiety disorders, from acute stress disorder to obsessive-compulsive disorder to panic attack and PTSD. But those who study and treat patients with anxiety disorders do not always differentiate the patients who worry, fret and ruminate from those who experience the panic, rapid heartbeat or bouts of sweating that characterize anxious arousal. These two kinds of anxiety may occur alone or in combination, with potentially important implications for treatment.
To test whether neural activation patterns supported the hypothesis that these two categories of anxiety are distinct, the researchers selected 42 subjects from a pool of 1,099 undergraduate college students, using psychological tests to categorize them as “high anxious apprehension,” “high anxious arousal,” or neither.
Other psychological assessments standardized the pool of participants by removing those with mood disorders or other complicating factors.
The researchers used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to map the brain areas with heightened neural activity during a variety of psychological probes.
As the researchers had predicted, the anxious apprehension group exhibited enhanced left-brain activity and the anxious arousal group had heightened activity in the right brain. The anxious apprehension group showed increased activity in a region of the left inferior frontal lobe that is associated with speech production. The anxious arousal group had more activity in a region of the right-hemisphere inferior temporal lobe that is believed to be involved in tracking and responding to information signaling danger.
Other studies using electroencephalographic (EEG) methods had found that patients diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder had heightened activity in the left brain, whereas patients with panic disorder, panic symptoms or those subjected to high stress situations exhibited enhanced activity in the right hemisphere.
This is the first study, however, to localize the affected regions to identify areas within each hemisphere that seem to matter.
Miller stressed the importance of a related finding: The researchers distinguished the left-brain region involved in anxious apprehension from a nearby structure that is associated with positive emotional processing.
“Left and right is not the only distinction we made,” Miller said. “We did left/right comparisons with groups, but we also did comparisons within the left hemisphere to show that these different areas are doing different things.”
“This is biological validation of the proposal of the psychological differentiation of types of anxiety,” Miller said. “Whether you want to treat anxiety psychologically or biologically – and we know that either type of intervention affects both the psychology and the biology of the person – these findings are a reminder that you might want to assess people carefully before you embark on a particular type of treatment.”
This research is based on a master’s thesis submitted by graduate student Anna S. Engels to the U. of I. The work appears this month online in Psychophysiology. The work was supported primarily by the National Institute of Mental Health and also by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, both at the National Institutes of Health. Support also was provided by the Beckman Institute, the department of psychology and the Intercampus Research Initiative on Biotechnology at the U. of I.
Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
New research conducted at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) suggests that it may be possible to develop a vaccine that protects against the myriad strains of the HIV virus. HIV is extremely variable, so an effective vaccine may need to stimulate the body to produce cross-reactive antibodies that will neutralize multiple viral strains.
These results demonstrate that induction of truly broad-spectrum neutralizing antibodies may be an achievable goal.
To be effective, an HIV vaccine must induce the body to produce cross-reactive antibodies that can neutralize multiple strains. USU Professors CAPT Gerald Quinnan, Jr., M.D., USPHS, and Christopher Broder, Ph.D., and their colleagues at USU attempted to elicit these broad-range antibodies in an animal model by immunizing with a particular HIV-1 surface protein, designated R2 gp140, and an immune response-boosting component.
The researchers tested antibodies generated by the immunizations to determine their effectiveness in neutralizing the infectivity of a variety of HIV-1 strains. Antibodies produced as a result of immunization neutralized all 48 strains of HIV-1 tested. The results are encouraging for vaccine development, because they showed that it is possible to elicit a broad-spectrum antibody response.
This research was supported by a grant from a number of collaborators including the National Institutes of Health/NIAID and The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc.
Crosslinked HIV-1 envelope-CD4 receptor complexes elicit broadly cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies in rhesus macaques (gp120|gp140|gp120-CD4 complex|vaccine)
Timothy Fouts*, Karla Godfrey*, Kathryn Bobb*, David Montefiori, Carl V. Hanson, V. S. Kalyanaraman§, Anthony DeVico*,¶, and Ranajit Pal§
* Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, 725 West Lombard Street, Baltimore, MD 21201; § Advanced BioScience Laboratories, Inc., 5510 Nicholson Lane, Kensington, MD 20895; California Department of Health Services, 850 Marina Bay Parkway, Richmond, CA 94804; and Department of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Box 2926, Durham, NC 27710
Communicated by Maurice R. Hilleman, Merck Institute for Vaccinology, West Point, PA, July 10, 2002 (received for review May 14, 2002)
The identification of HIV envelope structures that generate broadly cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies is a major goal for HIV-vaccine development. In this study, we evaluated one such structure, expressed as either a gp120-CD4 or a gp140-CD4 complex, for its ability to elicit a neutralizing antibody response. In rhesus macaques, covalently crosslinked complexes of soluble human CD4 (shCD4) and HIV-1IIIB envelope glycoproteins (gp120 or gp140) generated antibodies that neutralized a wide range of primary HIV-1 isolates regardless of the coreceptor usage or genetic subtype. Ig with cross-reactive neutralizing activity was recovered by affinity chromatography with a chimeric single-chain polypeptide containing sequences for HIVBaL gp120 and a mimetic peptide that induces a CD4-triggered envelope structure. These results suggest that covalently crosslinked complexes of the HIV-1 surface envelope glycoprotein and CD4 elicit broadly neutralizing humoral responses that, in part, may be directed against a novel epitope(s) found on the HIV-1 envelope.
Another article: “Extensively Cross-Reactive Anti-HIV-1 Neutralizing Antibodies Induced by gp140 Immunization” appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences http://www.pnas.org/papbyrecent.shtml.
Tibet – Klöster öffnen ihre Schatzkammern, Sonderausstellungshalle der Museen Berlin-Dahlem, Lansstraße 8
Avalokitesvara hört alles, sieht alles. Und hilft. Ein Strahlenbüschel von tausend Armen wächst aus der elfköpfigen Goldfigur. Anonyme Künstler haben den Heiligen mit Liebe zum Detail geschaffen, bis in die Fingerspitzen hinein. „Oh Juwel und Lotos Haltender, schaue nach mir“ lautet das Mantra der Gläubigen an den Schutzpatron Tibets, der Tatkraft und Hilfe für alle Lebewesen verkörpert.
Rund 200 000 Besucher strömten letztes Jahr in die Ausstellung „Tibet – Klöster öffnen ihre Schatzkammern“ in der Essener Villa Hügel. Die weltweit erste Großausstellung sakraler Objekte aus Tibet ist jetzt in der Sonderausstellungshalle der Museen Dahlem zu sehen. Eine prächtige wie anspruchsvolle Schau: denn die rein ästhetische Betrachtung greift hier zu kurz. Als Symbol einer geistigen Welt müssen die 150 Skulpturen, Kultobjekte, Mandalas und Handschriften gelesen werden. Tibetische Klöster wie Sakya, Tashi Lhünpo, Gyantse Palkhor Chöde oder Shalu gaben erstmals Werke frei.
Der größte Trumpf wird gleich im Entrée ausgespielt: Zehn vergoldete Lehrmeister sind lebensgroß im Lotossitz versammelt. Sie stammen aus dem Kloster Mindröl Ling und haben Tibet bisher nie verlassen. Geballte Weisheit, die für das Meditationssystem des „Lamdre“ steht, das seinen Schülern den Weg zur Erleuchtung in nur einem Leben weisen soll. Der Eingang ins Nirvana ist das höchste Ziel auch im tibetischen Buddhismus. Die Ausstellung präsentiert rund 150 Exponate – von lebensgroßen Skulpturen über Gemälde, Rollbilder und vielgestaltige Mandalas bis hin zu Schreinen, Tempeldekor und Altargerät. Sie zeigen in vielfältigen Formen und Symbolen Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Lehrmeister, Meditations- und Schutzgottheiten sowie Himmelswandlerinnen. Auch wenn den Betrachter vor allem ihre Schönheit und Pracht beeindruckt, sind es keine autonomen Kunstwerke nach westlichem Verständnis, sondern Kult- und Ritualobjekte, die Einblick in das Selbstverständnis buddhistischer Kultur gewähren und von einer gelebten Religiosität zeugen. Sie wurden zwischen dem 5. und dem frühen 20. Jahrhundert von meist anonymen Künstlern in Tibet, Indien, Nepal, Burma, Kaschmir und China geschaffen und werden bis heute in den Klöstern verehrt.
Einen weiteren Schwerpunkt bildete die Vielzahl buddhistischer Gottheiten und Lehrmeister. Glanzpunkte in dieser Gruppe sind eine große Skulptur des Tausendarmigen Avalokitesvara, ein außergewöhnlich gut erhaltenes indisches illuminiertes Manuskript aus dem 11. Jahrhundert sowie die zum Teil uralten, kunstvoll gemalten, gestickten oder gewebten Rollbilder, so genannte Thangkas.
Ein drittes Ausstellungskapitel widmete sich dem Mandala – dem heiligen Kreis des tantrischen Buddhismus, der den Makrokosmos des Universums mit dem Mikrokosmos der menschlichen Erfahrungen verbindet.
Einblicke in den religiösen Alltag gab der vierte Block: eine Zusammenstellung von Insignien und Gebrauchsgegenständen religiöser Herrscher, Schreinen und Altargerät, Ritual- und Weihegegenständen, Tempeldekor sowie Musikinstrumenten und Tanzmasken.
Der fünfte Bereich befasste sich mit tibetischer Medizin, die in ihrem ganzheitlichen Ansatz in einem engen Zusammenhang mit der Kultur und der Religion des Landes steht.
Die ausgestellten Gegenstände erwiesen sich als Amalgam von Stilen benachbarter Regionen. So haben sich in einem mit Wasserfarben gemalten Rollbild (Thangka) bengalische und nepalesische Merkmale eingeschrieben. Zu sehen ist der historische Buddha auf dem Erleuchtungsthron, umgeben von Szenen aus seinem Leben, wie sie auch Hermann Hesse in „Siddharta“ beschreibt.
In den faszinierenden Mandalas der Ausstellung kreist der gesamte Kosmos um den Heiligen im Zentrum.
Das jüngste Ausstellungsstück, eine kurios-allegorische Landkarte von 1941, präsentiert das Land als Dämonenfrau, die besänftigt wurde, weil Klöster aus ihren Organen und Gelenken aufragen.
Ältestes Exponat ist ein kleiner sitzender Buddha, den eine chinesische Prinzessin in den Himalaya mitgebracht haben soll, im fünften nachchristlichen Jahrhundert. Erst zweihundert Jahre später schlug der Buddhismus in Tibet feste Wurzeln.
Dass „Schneeland“ bis 1950 theokratisch regiert wurde, deutet ein Abschnitt an, der Besitzgüter des Dalai Lama präsentiert. Neben einem abgenutzten Sattel finden sich Gebetsmühle, Glocke, rituelle Wasserkanne und ein goldglänzendes, mit Otterpelz verziertes Brokatgewand. Es stammt aus der früheren Residenz des Herrschers in Potala, Lhasa. Vermutlich hat es dem dreizehnten Dalai-Lama gehört. Wie so häufig sind die Kunsthistoriker hier auf Vermutungen angewiesen – die klösterlichen Leihgeber halten sich bedeckt. Aus dem Besitz des jetzigen Dalai Lama, der nur einen Teil seiner Schätze ins indische Exil mitnahm, darf nichts die Region verlassen, berichtet die Kuratorin. Die klug gegliederte Schau hat auch in Berlin Diskussionen ausgelöst.
Als “unerträgliche Ausblendung historischer Wahrheit” haben deutsche Tibetorganisationen die Ausstellung kritisiert. In einer gemeinsamen Erklärung fordern der Verein der Tibeter in Deutschland, die International Campaign for Tibet Deutschland und die Tibet Initiative Deutschland e.V. die Ausstellungsmacher auf, ihr Schweigen über Gewalt und Zerstörung in Tibet nach 1949 zu brechen. “In fast jeder tibetischen Familie finden sich Opfer von Kulturrevolution und chinesischer Besatzung. Es ist entwürdigend, wenn nun so getan wird, als sei all dies nicht geschehen”, erinnert Dalha Agyitsang vom Verein der Tibeter in Deutschland und fordert Bundespräsident Köhler als Schirmherr der Ausstellung auf, “öffentlich zu Religionsunterdrückung, politischer Verfolgung und systematischer Benachteiligung in Tibet Stellung zu beziehen”.
Die Organisationen begrüßten grundsätzlich, dass die tibetische Kultur durch die Ausstellung einem breiten Publikum in Deutschland nähergebracht werde. Sie ziehe sich aber leider inhaltlich völlig auf den kunsthistorischen Anspruch zurück. Aus Anlass der Ausstellungseröffnung fand eine Protestaktion vor dem Museum für Asiatische Kunst in Berlin-Dahlem statt.
Lassen sich Kultur und politische Realität Tibets trennen?
Nachdem die chinesische Volksarmee 1950 in einen Teil Tibets eingedrungen war, annektierte die Volksrepublik 1959 das Land. Der 14. Dalai Lama floh damals nach Indien und bildete eine Exilregierung. Bis heute ist der Status Tibets umstritten. In der Essener Ausstellung bleibt unerwähnt, in welchem Ausmaß China vor und während der Kulturrevolution den tibetischen Buddhismus in seiner äußeren Form vernichtete. Ein Großteil der Klöster und Tempel wurde ausgeplündert und zerstört. Über 90 Prozent der Mönche und Nonnen konnten ihre Religion nicht mehr ausüben. Etwa 1,2 Millionen Tibeter wurden ermordet. Erst nach Maos Tod 1976 setzte eine langsame Liberalisierung ein.
Jenseits dieser Debatte entsteht in der Ausstellung leicht das Bild, als sei Tibet ein buddhistisches Land. Dabei gerät leicht in Vergessenheit, dass die Auseinandersetzung des Buddhismus mit der traditionellen tibetischen Religion des Bon keinesfalls alle Zeit friedfertig verlief. Auch auf den Bon selbst fehlt jeglicher Hinweis.
Die Alternative wäre vermutlich gewesen: gar keine Ausstellung. Aber dafür habe ich meinen ahnungslosen westlichen Blick in einen fremden Kosmos zu sehr genossen.
Dakini Nada Kechari
Das Rad der Lehre
Modell des Mahabodhi-Tempels in Bodh Gaya
CRAWFORD, Texas, May 29 (UPI) — Cindy Sheehan, who became the most visible leader of the anti-war movement after her son died in Iraq, said she is giving up peace activism.
Sheehan, who camped outside U.S. President George Bush’s Crawford, Texas, ranch when he refused to meet with her about the death of her 24-year-old son, Casey, posted her thoughts in an online letter entitled “Good Riddance Attention Whore,” CNN reported.
Bush met with the Sheehan family in June, about two months after Casey Sheehan died but didn’t agree to further meetings.
“I have tried ever since he died to make his sacrifice meaningful,” she wrote. “Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives.”
Sheehan, a California resident and founder of the group Gold Star Families for Peace, posted her letter on Monday on the liberal Web site the Daily Kos.
She said her anti-war work had left her with no money, a ruined marriage and disillusioned with Democratic politicians who have not ended the war, CNN reported.
“I am going to go home and be a mother to my surviving children and try to regain some of what I have lost,” Sheehan wrote.
Science Daily — Researchers at Boston Medical Center (BMC) and Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) have found that persons infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), who also have alcohol problems, were negatively affected by co-infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV).
Co-infection of HIV and HCV is a significant medical and public health concern due to its increasing prevalence and complex patient management. An estimated 15 to 30 percent of HIV infected persons in the United States and Europe are co-infected with HCV. According to previous research, alcohol use may worsen HCV-related liver disease and interfere with adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) and medical care.
The researchers studied 396 HIV–infected persons with alcohol problems. Fifty percent (199) were also co-infected with HCV. CD4 cell counts and HIV RNA levels were assessed at baseline and then again every six months for up to 42 months. Analyses of this data found a significant association between co-infection with HCV and lower CD4 cell counts among patients taking antiretroviral therapy.
“Determining whether HCV co-infection affects HIV disease progression is important for understanding the optimal timing and sequencing of therapies for these infections,” said lead author Debbie Cheng, ScD, an associate professor in the department of Biostatistics at BUSPH.
According to senior author Jeffrey Samet, MD, professor of medicine at BUSM and chief of General Internal Medicine at Boston Medical Center (BMC), this study has important implications for understanding the optimal management approach for co-infected patients. “Our results suggest that HCV infection may adversely impact HIV-related immune reconstitution.” “If this is true, additional improvement in HIV outcomes may be achieved by effective treatment of HCV infection in patients who are adherent to ART.”
These findings appear in the June issue of Alcoholism: Clinical Experimental Research.
“What are you doing here?” “I live here.” “But not now, at this hour!”
Treating longtime partners as a stranger is to be the quickest way for longtime couples to rekindle romance – at least so, , according to a University of British Columbia psychology study.
By acting as if they’re on a first date, they’ll likely put their best face forward and end up having a better time, says investigator Elizabeth Dunn, an assistant professor at the UBC Dept. of Psychology.
“We make an extra effort when meeting strangers because we want them to like us,” says Dunn. “And by trying to be more pleasant, we end up actually feeling better – but we tend to overlook this benefit.”
The researchers asked 31 couples to interact with either their romantic partner or a stranger of the opposite sex and asked them how they felt about this. They found that the volunteers significantly underestimated how good they would feel after meeting a stranger, compared to interacting with their romantic partner.
In a subsequent study, the researchers asked long-term couples to interact with their partners as though they had never met, and found that the participants’ sense of well-being rose significantly.
Dunn says when people interact with close friends, family or romantic partners, they know they can get away with acting unpleasant, blasé or bored. But by making an effort to seem pleasant — as people typically do when interacting with strangers or acquaintances — their mood will naturally elevate.
The study also recommends meeting new people to elevate mood.
Dunn’s co-investigators are UBC Psychology Asst. Prof. Jeremy Biesanz and former University of Virginia students Stephanie Finn and Lauren Human. Human is now a graduate student at UBC.
Last month, their research won second prize and $4,000 at the largest international contest for pioneering psychology research, sponsored by the London-based Mind Gym, a consulting and publishing company that uses psychological research to help corporations and individuals function better.
The study, Misunderstanding the Affective Consequences of Everyday Social Interactions: The Hidden Benefits of Putting One’s Best Face Forward, will be published in the June 4, 2007 issue of Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by University Of British Columbia.