People who have cataracts removed are 30 percent less likely to develop dementia

By Linda Searing: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Older people who have cataracts removed may be gaining more than better vision. Research published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that they are nearly 30 percent less likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, than are people with cataracts who do not have the surgery.

The researchers noted that visual impairment has been identified as a dementia risk factor, in part because it can lead to social isolation and decreased cognitive stimulation. But by restoring vision, they wrote, cataract surgery may help delay or prevent the development of dementia.

Disability Rights Advocates Condemn CDC Director’s ‘Abhorrent’ Comments on Covid-19 Deaths

By JULIA CONLEY: For Complete Post, Click Here…

“Messages from the head of the CDC must convey that all lives are valuable, and the loss of any life from Covid-19, whether it is the life of a person with a disability, an older adult, or a 32-year-old with no known disabilities, is a tragedy.”

Disability rights groups on Sunday were among those expressing horror at comments by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Rochelle Walensky regarding who is most likely to die from the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

On “Good Morning America” Friday, Walensky shared what she said was “encouraging news” about the variant which is driving case numbers to record highs in the U.S., saying, “The overwhelming number of deaths, over 75%, occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities.”

“So really these are people who were unwell to begin with,” she added.

COVID-19 and Youth Substance Use Prevention: New Advocacy Resource

From Substance Use Prevention Resources: For Complete Post, Click Here…

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the vast shortcomings of our nation’s health system, exacerbating pre-existing health disparities across race, class, ability, and other social demographics. States are struggling to adequately respond to all COVID-related needs, raising concerns about the limitations of their budgets. However, COVID-19 is harming the health and well-being of youth and young adults, and we need more mental health and substance use services to support them. We urge young people and their advocates to raise their voices to make sure these needs are not forgotten.

FDA Approves Quviviq

From For Complete Post, Click Here…

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Quviviq (daridorexant) 25 mg and 50 mg for the treatment of adult patients with insomnia, characterized by difficulties with sleep onset and/or sleep maintenance.

Quviviq is a dual orexin receptor antagonist, which blocks the binding of the wake-promoting neuropeptides orexins and is thought to turn down overactive wakefulness, as opposed to treatments that generally sedate the brain.

My wife had long Covid and killed herself. We must help others who are suffering

By Nick Güthe: For Complete Post, Click Here…

My wife, Heidi, took her own life after a 13-month battle with long Covid that started as a mostly asymptomatic coronavirus infection. Long Covid took her from one of the healthiest, most vibrant people I’ve ever known to a person so debilitated that she could not bear another day on this planet.

I came home one day last May to find that she’d decided to end her pain. As our 13-year-old son waited outside for the paramedics, I tried desperately to revive her. I did a good enough job that by the time we got her to the hospital they could restart her heart, but she was brain dead on arrival. The emergency room doctor assumed that she died from depression. When I told him, “She wasn’t depressed, it was long Covid,” he looked at me with bewilderment and asked, “What’s long Covid?”

Adapting VR Games for People with Disabilities | Accessibility VR Meetup Recap

From A11Y: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Beat Saber, Job Simulator, AudioShield, BoxVR, and many more games are engaging and very immersive. But they haven’t been accessible for everyone… until now. Players with disabilities can play the best VR games with WalkinVR Driver .

Greg Bednarski  presented adaptation methods that make virtual reality more accessible.

He demonstrated adaptation methods provided via WalkinVR that allow people with disabilities to play in virtual reality:

  • Play with another person’s assistance
  • Allow people with limited motion to move with controllers
  • Use controllers to move virtually (also called space drag)
  • Engage without using controllers

Greg Bednarski is a big fan of VR who has a mission to help everyone to join the virtual world, regardless of their disabilities. He designed and created WalkinVR, the first software that adapts virtual reality for people with disabilities. VR opens a world without boundaries, where physical limitations don’t stop them from discovering all that VR has to offer.

Here are some of the highlights from this presentation:

Here’s the transcript [PDF] .

Love can fuel the deep empathy needed to understand psychosis

By Zoë Boden-Stuart: For Complete Post, Click Here…

In his book Trauma and Existence (2007), the American psychoanalyst Robert Stolorow suggested that when we meet someone whose experiential horizons don’t cross with our own, a gulf opens up that can feel difficult to bridge. If the other person’s views seem so alien that we can’t employ the template of our own experiences, then trying to understand might seem like too much hard work. The easiest response may be to turn away. But what if that person is someone you love, someone you care for? What if turning away is not an option?

This is the situation for people who are caring for a loved one with psychosis – an umbrella term that refers to the experience of perceiving things that other people don’t (‘hallucinating’, to use psychiatric terminology) and/or being convinced of things that seem implausible or untrue to others (ie, holding ‘delusional beliefs’). These experiences can be profoundly strange, frightening or confusing for both the person with psychosis and those around them, as revealed in the interviews my graduate student Ana Luderowski carried out a few years ago.

For example, consider Laurel (all our interviewees’ names have been changed to protect their privacy), a 40-something woman who spoke to us about her partner’s psychosis:

Q&A With Lainey Feingold, Disability Rights Lawyer

From Lainey Feingold: For Complete Post, Click Here…

How did you get your start in accessibility?

I got my start by getting lucky and by listening to blind people. In 1992, I was unexpectedly fired from a job and landed a four-month stint at the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF). Those four months turned into four years, and it was during that time I began working on accessible technology issues.

My book tells this story in more depth, but bottom line, blind people came to DREDF seeking access to ATMs. Instead of filing lawsuits, we wrote to Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citibank asking if they would negotiate about the need for Talking ATMs. They said yes!

In 1998, toward the end of three very fruitful negotiations with these banks, our blind clients told us about their need for accessible banking websites – something I had never heard of. We asked Bank of America if they’d keep talking to us about their website, and in 2000 the bank and our clients signed the very first web accessibility agreement in the United States. Because our strategy of negotiating instead of suing worked so well, we decided to name it and use it in other cases. Structured Negotiation was born, and it is how I’ve been practicing law ever since.

The Soldiers Came Home Sick. The Government Denied It Was Responsible.

By Megan K. Stack: For Complete Post, Click Here…

The soldiers with inexplicable breathing complaints started appearing in Dr. Robert F. Miller’s pulmonology clinic in 2004, the year after Baghdad fell to invading United States forces. These new patients were active-duty troops from nearby Fort Campbell, men and women who came home from war with mysterious respiratory ailments. The base asked Miller, an unassuming and soft-spoken lung specialist at Vanderbilt University, to take a look.

Miller was baffled to see formerly healthy soldiers gasping for air after mild exertion. Some of them had been close to the fire at the Mishraq sulfur mine outside Mosul, thought to be the largest release of sulfur dioxide ever caused by humans. But others had never gone anywhere near the burning mine. Some of them could no longer run or climb stairs, and yet their X-rays and pulmonary-function tests looked normal.

Confounded, Miller decided to try something radical: He began ordering lung biopsies under general anesthesia to look for more subtle damage known as small-airways disease. Sure enough, the tissue revealed toxic lung injury, which Miller diagnosed as constrictive bronchiolitis. To the doctor, this meant two things: First, the soldiers were not exaggerating their symptoms. And more important, noninvasive screenings couldn’t be trusted to detect these new post-deployment ailments.

Eager to share his discovery, Miller contacted doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. This led, at first, to what Miller recalls as an enthusiastic collaboration. Army doctors flew to Tennessee to review Miller’s biopsies, and together they went to Fort Campbell to develop a protocol for evaluating patients.

Researchers Doubt That Certain Mental Disorders Are Disorders At All

By Alison Escalante: For Complete Post, Click Here…

What if mental disorders like anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder aren’t mental disorders at all? In a compelling new paper, biological anthropologists call on the scientific community to rethink mental illness. With a thorough review of the evidence, they show good reasons to think of depression or PTSD as responses to adversity rather than chemical imbalances. And ADHD could be a way of functioning that evolved in an ancestral environment, but doesn’t match the way we live today.

Adaptive responses to adversity

Mental disorders are routinely treated by medication under the medical model. So why are the anthropologists who wrote this study claiming that these disorders might not be medical at all? They point to a few key points. First, that medical science has never been able to prove that anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are inherited conditions.

Second, the study authors note that despite widespread and increasing use of antidepressants, rates of anxiety and depression do not seem to be improving. From 1990-2010 the global prevalence of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders held at 4.4% and 4%. At the same time, evidence has continued to show that antidepressants perform no better than placebo.

Third, worldwide rates of these disorders remain stable at 1 in 14 people. Yet “in conflict‐affected countries, an estimated one in five people suffers from depression, PTSD, anxiety disorders, and other disorders,” they write.

Taken together, the authors posit that anxiety, depression and PTSD may be adaptive responses to adversity. “Defense systems are adaptations that reliably activate in fitness‐threatening situations in order to minimize fitness loss,” they write. It’s not hard to see how that could be true for anxiety; worry helps us avoid danger. But how can that be true for depression? They argue that the “psychic pain” of depression helps us “focus attention on adverse events… so as to mitigate the current adversity and avoid future such adversities.”