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 Posted July 23, 2003 

(March, 2003) Discover Magazine, April, 2003, reports two recent studies by James McGaugh of the University of California at Irvine that show memories of traumatic experience cause emotional excitement, which triggers the memory-enhancing cycle all over again, making the traumatic memory even stronger. By preventing the autonomic reaction, beta-blockers keep the memory from forming deeper grooves in the brain, making post-traumatic stress symptoms less severe.”

(April, 2003) Dr. Andrew Weil’s Self Healing newsletter, in its discussion of National Autism Awareness Month, suggests a variety of approaches that make a difference, beyond “intensive educational and behavior modification programs which can offer great improvement in symptoms, especially when begun in early childhood.” Approaches that have anecdotal evidence are described in various web sites including: ANDI, a gluten-free/casein-free diet, Omega-3 supplements, vitamins and minerals, hippotherapy (horse therapy), or 800-369-7433, and music therapy, write to the American Music Therapy Association, 8455 Colesville Rd., Suite 1000, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

(June 20, 2003) On Friday, June 20, the PBS public affairs series, NOW with Bill Moyers, presented a profile of California native, former addict, and prison reformer David Lewis. Lewis was hooked on heroin at 15. By age 18, he was in prison where he ran drugs and made people pay for protection to stay alive. A personal search for dignity has led to Lewis’ extraordinary transformation, and today he is president of an innovative treatment program aimed at breaking the cycle of addiction and incarceration. For show information about the issues related to prison reform, visit.

(June 20, 2003) Associated Press reports “Nearly 10.6 million children were being raised by full-time stay-at-home moms last year, up 13 percent in a little less than a decade...Of the 41.8 million kids under 15 who lived with two parents last year, more than 25 percent had mothers who did not work and stayed home, accocrding to a Census Bureau report. That is up from 23 percent, or 9.4 million children in such situations in 1994,” according to the Census Bureau.

(June 25, 2003) The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), in a report on US declining birthrates, reported the greatest decline was among teenage school age women. The birthrate for girls ages 15 to 17 was 23.2 births per 1,000, a 6 percent drop from 2001 and a 38 percent decline from 1990.

(June 25, 2003) The US Dept. of Education reports that in the year 2000, women received 133 bachelor’s degrees for every 100 awarded to men, and the National Center for Education Statistics predicts that by 2010 women will receive 142 bachelor’s degrees for every 100 awarded to men. Also, researchers Andrew Sum of Northeastern University’s Center for Labor Market Studies and Tom Mortenson, publisher of the Postsecondary Education Opportunity newsletter report that between 1970 and 1998 male suicide rates for 15- to 24-year-olds increased by 37 percent, compared with a 21 percent reduction for females.

(July 3, 2003) The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) Report, “School Experience and Substance Use Among Youths” shows that students who had positive school experiences were less likely to have used alcohol or illicit drugs in the past year than students who did not have these positive school experiences. Adolescent females were more likely than adolescent males to have a positive attitude toward school.

(July 3, 2003) Yale University School of Medicine researchers say teens are more vulnerable to developing nicotine, alcohol and other drug addictions than any other age group. Since the region of the brain that governs impulse and motivation is not yet fully formed, experimenting with drugs during adolescence has more of an impact on the brain. An analysis of more than 140 studies led researchers to conclude that substance-use disorders constitute neurodevelopment disorders. The study was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. [More...]

Inmate Sought Pen Pals Online After Plea in Internet Sex Case

(July 8, 2003) A Greenwich man who used the Internet to lure a 13-year-old girl, Christina Long, 12 years his junior, into a sexual tryst that led to her death, has been seeking pen pals over the Net while in federal custody. The man, Saul Dos Reis Jr., who pled guilty to first-degree manslaughter and second-degree sexual assault, was sentenced to 30 years and faces additional penalties for two counts of traveling across state lines to have sex with minors. Mr. Dos Reis met Ms. Long on the Internet, according to prosecutors, who said he strangled her during a sexual encounter in his car and dumped her body in Greenwich in a panic. Hours after the encounter, prosecutors say, he sent her an e-mail message expressing regret that he had not been able to meet her. The Greenwich Times reported he called himself “The Right One,” when he ran an unusual personal ad - on a commercial Web site for inmates seeking pen pals and love interests. He wrote that he was “romantic, always funny,” and enjoyed “music and dancing. I always have a positive attitude and have many hidden things as well,” he wrote, and he assured prospective pen pals that he was “very good at telling stories which can and will have you shiver.” Mr. Dos Reis promised to send “drawings, pictures and gifts.” “That’s a predator’s tactic to attract children and young teenagers,” said Ms. Long’s aunt and guardian, Shelley Riling, “And that’s exactly whom he’s targeting.” [More...]

Florida Court Voids a Law on Abortion
(July 7, 2003) The Florida Supreme Court yesterday struck down a law requiring minors seeking abortions to notify their parents first, in a 5-to-1 decision, that held that the law violated the minors’ right to privacy. The Florida law, enacted in 1999 but never enforced, required minors to give parents 48 hours’ notice of their decisions. In the alternative, minors could try to convince a judge that they were mature enough to decide for themselves or, if that failed, that the abortion was nevertheless in their best interest. The court decided the case under Florida’s Constitution, one of the handful of state constitutions with an explicit right-to-privacy clause. Applying the federal Constitution, the United States Supreme Court has upheld similar notification requirements. [More...]

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