Nightmares in Veterans Tied to Heart Disease

by Judy George: For Entire Post, Go Here…

Links persist in relatively young veterans, even after controlling for PTSD.

Nightmares that occurred twice a week or more were linked with cardiovascular disease in relatively young military veterans, even after controlling for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a cross-sectional study showed.

After also adjusting for PTSD, depression, and current smoking, severely distressing dreams continued to be associated with heart problems, hypertension, and other heart trouble,” Ulmer said in a presentation at virtual SLEEP 2020, a joint meeting of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and the Sleep Research Society.

“Research on heart rate variability supports the likelihood of abnormal autonomic function during sleep among those with PTSD. However, we haven’t taken a look at what role nightmares specifically might play in contributing to increased risk in this population,” Ulmer noted.

“While some have suggested that the association between PTSD and cardiovascular disease is solely due to poor health behaviors among those with PTSD, our findings suggest an important role for sleep and that there may be an independent role for nightmares, in particular for conferring cardiovascular disease,” she said.

Human Trafficking Awareness Campaigns Are Feeding A Dangerous Myth

By Michael Hobbes: For Entire Post, Go Here…

Kids are not being smuggled through airports and no one is trying to kidnap you at the grocery store.

You see the posters in airports, bus stations and rest stops around the country. A child, always female, often white, sometimes bound. An alarming headline: “Someone in your state was just sold” or “Human trafficking: It could happen to anyone.” 

Underneath the picture is a worrying statistic, a list of warning signs, a hotline number or all three. And always, at the end, the same plea to travelers: If you see something, say something.

Over the last two decades, human trafficking has become one of the most prominent social issues in America. Airlines, hotels and ride-hailing companies train their employees on how to spot victims. Nonprofits enlist celebrities to spread awareness campaigns on social media. Last week, just after the close of Human Trafficking Awareness Month, President Trump held an anti-trafficking summit and created a White House position dedicated to the issue.

Whether from lawmakers, nonprofits or celebrities, nearly all of these efforts send the same message: Trafficking is everywhere, it’s getting worse and ordinary Americans have the power to stop it. 

There’s just one problem. None of the lawmakers or nonprofits behind these campaigns can provide any evidence that “raising awareness” of human trafficking is doing anything to address it. 

For years now, experts have pointed out that the reality of sex trafficking bears little resemblance to the sensationalized version depicted in public-awareness campaigns. Shoppers are not being snatched from grocery store parking lots. Victims are rarely moved against their will and seldom exhibit any of the “warning signs” that would make their abuse visible to members of the public. Despite the persistent myth that human trafficking “could happen to anyone,” most victims are undocumented, homeless, in foster care or otherwise marginalized. 

“Most sex trafficking happens to a relatively small group of high-risk young people,” said David Finkelhor, the director of the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center. “We could do a lot more to prevent trafficking by addressing those vulnerabilities — like family abuse, neglect or foster care placement — directly.” 

Ep 84: Anthologies

From the Disability Visibility Project: For Entire Post, Go Here…

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Today’s episode is all about anthologies with Kelly Jensen, a writer and editor who has a new anthology out now titled, Body Talk: 37 Voices Explore Our Radical AnatomyI also have a new anthology out this summer titled Disability Visibility and so excited to have this conversation with Kelly as two disabled editors. You’ll hear about the unique aspects of anthologies, Kelly’s approach to finding contributors and editing their writing, and wondrous radicalness of bodies. And full disclosure, I have an essay in Body Talk about saliva and you can read a short excerpt here


[Google doc]     [PDF]

Emails show businesses held sway over state reopening plans

By DAVID A. LIEB: For Entire Post, Go Here…

As South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster prepared to announce the end of a coronavirus stay-at-home order, his top staff received an email from the state health department.

The message, highlighted in bold, was clear: Wait longer before allowing customers back inside restaurants, hair salons and other businesses where people will be in close contact.

Instead, McMaster pressed ahead with a plan written by the state restaurant association to resume inside dining on May 11. The guidelines made masks optional for employees and allowed more customers inside than the health agency had advised.

A few days later, the Republican governor opened the doors to salons, fitness centers and swimming pools. He did not wait to gauge the effect of the restaurant reopening on the virus, as public health officials had suggested. Like many states, South Carolina later experienced a surge in infections that forced McMaster to dial back his reopening plan.

He was hardly alone. Thousands of pages of emails provided to The Associated Press under open-records laws show that governors across the U.S. were inundated with reopening advice from a wide range of industries — from campgrounds in New Hampshire to car washes in Washington. Some governors put economic interests ahead of public health guidance, and certain businesses were allowed to write the rules that would govern their own operations.

As job losses accelerated, the pressure to reopen intensified.

“Attraction folks are on me like white on rice,” McMaster’s tourism director wrote to the head of the governor’s reopening task force, describing lobbying from amusement parks, bingo halls and other entertainment venues.

Though governors often work with business leaders to craft policy, the emails offer a new window into their decisions during a critical early juncture in the nation’s battle against the pandemic. Many governors chose to reopen before their states met all the nationally recommended health guidelines, which include a sustained downward rate of infection and robust testing and contact tracing.

“The interest in trying to reopen and restart economic activity had a much greater pull at the time … than did public health concerns or question marks about how it would go,” said Anita Cicero, deputy director of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security.

Many states were forced to halt or roll back their reopening plans as COVID-19 cases spiked across the country this summer, and the number of infections and deaths in the U.S. far outpaced those of any other country.

Covid Reminds Us That Web Accessibility Helps All Users, Not Just The Disabled

By Gus Alexiou: For the Entire Post, Go Here…

Back in the early days of the internet, when having a computer at home usually meant a single room with a bulky desktop tower, web accessibility was barely a thought for those in the IT industry, let alone an afterthought.

As the early 2000s wore on, third party software manufacturers began to develop bespoke desktop access solutions, often at a hefty mark-up.

The “Mobile First” digital landscape, which was to emerge a decade or so later, changed the game forever.

Suddenly, using their smartphones out and about, “ordinary” able-bodied folks found themselves plunged into situations that temporarily mirrored those routinely experienced by disabled people.

The classic example usually offered up is that of a sighted person viewing their smartphone screen on a bright sunny day. Mobile website and app developers were compelled to start thinking about high contrast fonts and size adjustments, not as something limited to the requirements of those with low vision, but as a core aspect of usability and universal design.

Chronic Illness Helped Me Justify Keeping Trauma a Secret

By Britanny Foster: For the Entire Post, Go Here…

Trigger warning: This column discusses sexual assault and rape. If you need assistance, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

I left a procedure last week feeling shaky, unwell, anxious, and upset. The procedure, draining an ovarian cyst, unfortunately was unsuccessful. I found out shortly after waking up from sedation that it was impossible to drain it because of the density.

Getting a procedure done is always physically and mentally exhausting. The physical discomfort of my procedure slowly improved after a few days of rest. The emotional difficulty, however, is something I am still working through. It triggered thoughts of a trauma I have kept hidden.

Chronic illness has taught me to hope for the best but prepare for the worst, especially when it comes to surgeries. It always seems as if preparing for the worst lessens the blow when something goes wrong. In my mind, I have gotten good at convincing myself I “knew” the negative outcome would happen. This mindset works for a short time because it allows me to hide my feelings of emotional upset and anger.

Having OB-GYN procedures is upsetting and emotional for a number of reasons. Often, it takes time for me to recover my mental strength in the following weeks. After losing my fertility when I was 20 due to the removal of fallopian tubes damaged by scarring and endometriosis, seeing an empty space on ultrasounds where my ovaries and tubes once were is never easy. Knowing that I will never be able to have a child is a pain I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

These types of procedures and surgeries also are difficult due to a history of sexual trauma and sexual assault, which is what I’d kept inside me for so long.

Exploring Your Child’s Individualized Education Program IEP Course

From Michigan Alliance for Families: For the Entire Post, Go Here…

Participants commit to attend all 4 virtual sessions.
Space is limited. After registering, a Parent Mentor will contact you to confirm your participation.

Register by September 1, 2020:

American Sign Language

From NIDCD Information Clearinghouse: For the Entire Post, Go Here…

American Sign Language

On this page:

What is American Sign Language?
Is sign language the same in other countries?
Where did ASL originate?
How does ASL compare with spoken language?
How do most children learn ASL?
Why emphasize early language learning?
What research does the NIDCD support on ASL and other sign languages?
Where can I find additional information about American Sign Language?

A Preface to Advocacy

From the Disability Visibility Project: For the Entire Post, Go Here…

Below is an excerpt from A Preface to Advocacy: What You Should Know as an Advocate, a guide by Erin Gilmer. You can read the entire document here as a Google doc. Many thanks to Erin for sharing this resource with the Disability Visibility Project!

A Preface to Advocacy: What You Should Know as an Advocate

Erin Gilmer

There are a lot of amazing advocacy toolkits out there that teach people how to advocate. They include tools to help you form your advocacy goals, advice on how to contact legislators and convey your story, tips on how to testify, and more. But there isn’t a lot of guidance on what it really means to be an advocate – the challenges you’ll face, the ups and downs you’ll experience, the realities of the commitment involved, the people skills that will impact your work, and the toll it advocacy can take.

What follows are insights from advocates from every walk of life who shared what they wish they knew going into advocacy and what advice they’d give to other advocates. They are based on responses to a tweet I sent out on August 18, 2019 asking:

“What is something you wish you knew before getting into advocacy? And what is a tip you’d give to someone who wants to start advocating?”

Over 100 people responded and I’ve done my best to include all voices. Please note that including the responses here are not an endorsement of any person or their advocacy. Additionally, know that I purposefully am identifying people by their Twitter handles with any “name” put in parentheses. This is how people self-identify and I felt it was the most important way to convey their experiences.

This preface to advocacy has been divided into sections including:

Committing to Advocacy
Before you Decide to Commit
Seeing the Bigger Picture
Coming Prepared
Committing to Those You Work With and Following Through
Advocacy Takes Time

Hundreds of Thousands of Nursing Home Residents May Not Be Able to Vote in November Because of the Pandemic

by Ryan McCarthy and Jack Gillum: For the Entire Post, Go Here…

Renowned inventor Walter Hutchins has voted in every presidential election since 1952. This year, as many states stopped sending teams to help seniors vote, his nursing home was on coronavirus lockdown and his streak was in jeopardy.

Walter Hutchins cast his first vote for president for Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952, and he has voted in every election since. The last thing he wants is for his “68-year streak,” as he proudly calls it, to end in November.

An industrial engineer, Hutchins helped design the M16, the weapon of choice for American soldiers during the Vietnam War, and he invented several tools that may be currently sitting in your garage. He and his wife, Margaret, a teacher and ordained Episcopal minister whom he married the year after he voted for Ike, were “executive gypsies,” she said. They followed his jobs from Connecticut to Florida, New York and Wisconsin, until they retired to North Carolina. Wherever they were, they always voted — in fire stations, churches, their retirement community. When Walter became blind and hard of hearing, Margaret helped him in the voting booth.

This year, what stumped Hutchins, despite all his resourcefulness, was how he was going to exercise his basic constitutional right to vote during a pandemic. The Davis Community nursing home in Wilmington, North Carolina, where Hutchins has lived for two years, has barred visitors since March. Margaret, still in the retirement community nearby, can’t help him, nor can their four kids and eight grandchildren.

Neither can the nursing home staff. A 2013 state law prohibits staff at hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and rest homes from helping residents with their ballots. Some North Carolina counties, including New Hanover, where Wilmington is located, send teams into nursing homes to assist voters or bring them to polling places, but the threat of the coronavirus has limited that service as well.