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Hogg Foundation for Mental Health News
Hogg Foundation for Mental Health

August, 2011

Today's Clips - August 17, 2011


This summary of recent news and research articles on mental health topics was prepared as a public service by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. Stories from other media sources do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of the foundation and its staff. Media sites may require a one-time free registration and academic and science journal sites may require a paid subscription to access articles.


Subscribe to more Hogg Foundation news and updates -- click on the link at the bottom of the page to manage your subscription.




New law changing health care, costs for many Texans

Dallas Morning News

August 15, 2011


AUSTIN - While state GOP leaders rail against it, the federal health insurance law signed by President Barack Obama last year is increasingly changing care and costs for many Texans. ... Through May, about 1,800 Texans with chronic illnesses and conditions had bought coverage through a high-risk pool that the federal government started last year. About 15 percent of the state's nearly 1.1 million people between ages 19 and 25 have gained coverage, federal health officials estimated last week. The law requires that young adults up to age 26 be able to stay on their parents' policies. And 1.6 million Texas children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied private coverage, though neither state nor federal agencies could estimate how many have gained from the provision. 



An Unprecedented Health Challenge Working with Border Communities

Grantmakers In Health

August 15, 2011


The Paso del Norte region is experiencing an unprecedented public health challenge-- over the past three years, more than 8,000 individuals were murdered in Ciudad Juarez. ... Paso del Norte Health Foundation staff have conducted multiple interviews with community members, grantees, and other partners in Ciudad Juárez in order to better understand the broader implications of the cartel violence and to formulate a foundation strategy. Stakeholders identified three primary concerns: long-term consequences of violence upon the current generation of youth; mental health needs of trauma survivors; and the climate of fear in Ciudad Juárez. 



Is Houston 'the emerging hub of the global health universe'?

Houston Chronicle

August 15, 2011


Houston is rising as the next great global health hot spot, according to a journalist for the UN Dispatch - a United Nations Foundation blog. Just as Geneva has the World Health Organization and Seattle has the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's emphasis on international health, Houston's Texas Medical Center of 49 institutions is drawing more attention from the global health community, Washington, D.C., area journalist Jaclyn Schiff writes in this recent story. 



Dallas County, hospital board officials meet privately on Parkland

Dallas Morning News

August 16, 2011


... The private meeting again left unanswered public questions about the extent of the problems detailed in the 200-plus page inspection report, which cited as many as nine violations of federal patient-care standards. Parkland has until Saturday to submit a plan to federal health officials on how it will remedy the problems. The secrecy surprised two concerned residents who hoped to attend the meeting. "I just wanted to know what's going on, and the extent of the problems," said Janie Metzinger, public policy director for the Mental Health America of Greater Dallas, who said she was worried about breakdowns in psychiatric care at the public hospital. 



Army suicides see a spike

San Antonio Express-news

August 17, 2011


... There was reason to hope things were improving, particularly at Fort Hood. Its seven suicides are down from 22 in 2010, but demographic data underscore a crucial part of the trend - suicides among lower-ranking enlistees from privates to corporals. So far in 2011, 56 of them on active-duty have killed themselves, with 90 and 91, respectively, dying in 2010 and 2009. The Army logged 155 active-duty suicides among all ranks in 2010 and 162 the previous year. 



Lessons from a legend: Football star Herschel Walker comes to El Paso to encourage youth, soldiers

El Paso Times

August 17, 2011


... Herschel Walker -- high school football hero and valedictorian of his senior class, Heisman Trophy winner and one of the greatest college football players of all time, NFL star and former Dallas Cowboy hero -- will visit El Paso, hoping to inspire young people and to speak to the troops at Fort Bliss. Walker, you see, became something akin to Superman. But, by becoming that character, he smothered an illness - an illness that began coming to the fore after he retired from a 15-year professional football career. Walker has dissociative identity disorder, a mental illness formerly known as multiple personality disorder. 



Nueces County proposes keeping tax rate; revenue would increase

Corpus Christi Caller

August 16, 2011   


CORPUS CHRISTI - Nueces County commissioners will hold the final public hearing Thursday on proposed tax revenue increases for the county and hospital district ...That decline in the housing market resulted in about $3 million in lost revenue, he said. And officials are bracing for impacts from the recent legislative session in the form of unfunded mandates and reductions to programs such as mental health and juvenile justice.



Sculley's 2012 At-A-Glance Budget   

San Antonio Current
August 17, 2011  


Even as the City loses $24 million from its general fund, there is no planned tax increase, no terminations of city employees, and a substantial boost for Animal Care Services. ...Anticipates loss of $4.65 million in state funding. Center for Health Care Services and the Bexar County Mental Health Agency expected to lose $1.9 million from state budget cuts.

Defense claims insanity in case of suspected Twilight Rapist

Victoria Advocate
August 16, 2011


EDNA - Attorneys for Billy Joe Harris will assert that Harris suffers from insanity when the trial for the suspect in the so-called Twilight Rapist case begins in September. ..."Right from the inception of the case, I knew there were issues dealing with, not his mental competency, but his thought processes dealing with very abstract thinking and very bizarre thinking," Cohen said.



Galveston Burglar Claims to be Vampire

WTAW - Brazos Valley

August 17, 2011  


GALVESTON, Texas (AP) - Galveston police say a 19-year-old man claiming to be a vampire is being held on $40,000 bond and awaiting a mental health examination after he broke into an apartment and attacked a woman.


Son arrested Tuesday in father's stabbing death, Gregg County officials say   

Longview News Journal
August 16, 2011


A 30-year-old Gregg County man has been arrested for the early Tuesday morning stabbing death of his father....According to the arrest affidavit, the younger Phelan was considered a mental subject.





SAMHSA to Honor Giffords' Aide and Tucson Mayor at the 2011 Voice Awards


August 16, 2011


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will honor Ron Barber, district director for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and survivor of the January 8 Tucson shooting, with a Special Recognition Award at the 2011 Voice Awards on August 24 for his work to promote mental health awareness and understanding. In addition to Barber, SAMHSA will recognize Tucson Mayor Robert E. Walkup and his wife Beth for their ongoing efforts to help Tucson and the nation heal from the traumatic events of the shooting. 



DOJ officials to meet with community leaders

San Antonio Express-News

August 17, 2011


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - ... The DOJ is currently studying whether it should launch a civil rights probe of the Albuquerque police department for shootings that have killed 13 people since January 2010. Most of the victims were young Hispanic men, some unarmed and many mentally ill. 



Calif prisons expect to meet long-term inmate goal

San Antonio Express-News

August 16, 2011


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California prison officials said Tuesday they expect to meet a federal court's mandate to reduce the state's inmate population by 33,000, or 23 percent, over the next two years, a goal that could eventually end court challenges that have largely driven prison operations for years. ... Michael Bien, a lawyer representing mentally ill inmates in a major court case, said attorneys want to run their own numbers before projecting whether the state can meet its deadlines. 



Salem board approves "Stephanie's Law" rally for slain Peabody woman

Boston Globe

August 17, 2011


Last night the Salem Park and Recreation Commission approved a rally scheduled for Aug. 27 at Salem Willows in support of "Stephanie's Law." The law was filed on Beacon Hill yesterday in response to the January murder of a 25-year-old mental-health case worker, Stephanie Moulton of Peabody. ...The bill calls for "panic buttons" in mental health facilities that would alert police when pushed. 



Man who climbed Okla. TV tower comes down

Beaumont Enterprise

August 16, 2011


TULSA, Okla. (AP) - A man with a history of mental illness who scaled an Oklahoma TV tower and resisted attempts to coax him down for nearly a week voluntarily surrendered to authorities Tuesday night, police said. The 25-year-old man was taken to a hospital to be treated for dehydration and was expected to be transferred to a mental health facility for observation, Tulsa police spokesman Leland Ashley said.   



Lawyers for Defendant in Giffords Shooting Seem to Be Searching for Illness

The New York Times

August 17, 2011


PHOENIX - Jared L. Loughner's grandparents and great-grandparents died years ago, but lawyers defending Mr. Loughner in connection with a Jan. 8 shooting spree outside Tucson are delving into their lives and those of numerous other Loughner ancestors in an apparent effort to show that mental illness runs in the family. 





Covering Children Under the Affordable Care Act: Minding the Gaps

Grantmakers In Health

August 15, 2011


While millions of children and their families stand to gain access to affordable coverage through the ACA, a significant subset of children is vulnerable to being excluded. Nearly 20 million children live in nontraditional family arrangements that potentially create barriers to accessing health coverage. 



How The Merger Of Two Health Care Giants May Affect Your Wallet

National Public Radio

August 17, 2011


You probably haven't heard of either Express Scripts or Medco Health Services, but their plans to merge in a $29 billion deal, announced last month, may have an impact on your pocketbook. ...They're what's called pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs: They manage the prescription drug coverage that health insurance companies offer to large organizations like corporations and unions. The companies say the merger will help them control health care costs for consumers. 



Health-Plan Buyers Get a Look Under the Hood

The Wall Street Journal

August 17, 2011


Consumers shopping for health insurance will soon get a peek at a new standard form-akin to the nutrition label on food products-that will lay out the details of each policy, from deductibles to how much it might cost to have a baby. Federal regulators are expected to unveil the proposed summary form, part of the health-care overhaul law, on Wednesday, and the requirement is supposed to take effect next March. 



Election Looms in Health-Law Review

The Wall Street Journal

August 17, 2011


The Supreme Court is likely to decide by January whether a ruling on the constitutionality of the Obama administration's health law will come before or after the November 2012 election. A federal appeals court in Atlanta struck down last week the law's requirement for most Americans to carry health insurance. It conflicted with another appellate ruling upholding the law, and makes it a virtual certainty the Supreme Court will step in to resolve the dispute. 





Life-saving innovation emerging in S.A.: Sustained funding needed to continue biomedical activity

San Antonio Express-News

August 17, 2011


... While our nation needs to make difficult decisions on debt reduction, the NIH is key to economic development and clinical innovation, at the local and national levels. Without sustained NIH funding, talented scientists, doctors and entrepreneurs may give up on promising research and development projects and the health advances that will help people everywhere. San Antonio relies on NIH and so do we all. 



Assumptions about violence show bias against mentally ill

Boston Globe

August 17, 2011


As an attorney, professor, and author whose life has been spent fighting prejudice against people with mental illness, I was dismayed to see the Globe editorial board descend to policy by anecdote in its paired Aug. 12 editorials "In fining mental-health provider, OSHA sends a strong message'' and ". . . and protect safety of elderly, too.'' ...There is no evidence that all mentally ill people, simply because of their mental illness, are more violent. 





Scientists Show How Gene Variant Linked to ADHD Could Operate; Study Offers Potential New Target for Treatment of ADHD

Science Daily News

August 16, 2011


A study using mice provides insight into how a specific receptor subtype in the brain could play a role in increasing a person's risk for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The research, conducted by the Intramural Research Program (IRP) at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, could also help explain how stimulants work to treat symptoms of ADHD. 



New PTSD Test Successfully Predicts Who Will Develop Condition

Medical News Today

August 16, 2011


A new post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) prediction tool, developed by Geisinger Health System researchers, is simple to administer and appears to outperform other screening methods, according to new findings published electronically in the August issue of the journal General Hospital Psychiatry. 



Reduced Recognition Of Fear And Sadness In Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Medical News Today

August 17, 2011


Facial expressions convey strong cues for someone's emotional state and the ability to interpret these cues is crucial in social interaction. This ability is known to be compromised in many psychiatric and neurological disorders, such as social anxiety or Korsakoff's syndrome. New research has now revealed evidence that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is also characterized by changes in the way the brain processes specific emotions and that certain aspects of this disorder could be understood as a consequence of the altered processing of emotional cues. 



Trauma and PTSD common in schizophrenia patients with substance abuse

Med Wire News

August 17, 2011


Trauma and comorbid post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are common in patients with schizophrenia who are substance abusers, UK research shows. "Exposure to traumatic events in the general population is high, with estimates from community samples ranging from 40% to 80% [and] there is some evidence that exposure to trauma in those suffering schizophrenia and severe mental illness may be even higher," explain Nicholas Tarrier and Alicia Picken from the University of Manchester. 



Antipsychotics Best for Controlling Mania: Study

Health Day News

August 16, 2011


The manic episodes experienced by those with bipolar disorder are better controlled by antipsychotic drugs than mood stabilizers, a new, large study suggests. 





Philanthropist Mary Ware dies

Amarillo Globe News

August 17, 2011


...Mrs. Ware was known as a longtime champion of youth and an advocate for the development of the Harrington Regional Medical Center. ...She served on the Texas Panhandle Mental Health and Mental Retardation board of trustees and the Potter-Randall Citizens Committee that originally planned the city's medical center.



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