Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Closely spaced births associated with autism; anyone can single out anyone else as "mentally ill" in Arizona

Having babies in short time spans may increase the risk that children after the first born (when conceived shortly after a previous birth) may develop autism, especially male children. That’s a story provided by HealthDay reporter Jennifer Goodwin to many outlets, such as Business Week, link here.

It’s easy to imagine how this might influence “pro-natalist” thinking in the culture wars.

There’s something interesting about the HealthDay site ), the idea of “licensing health news”. Their syndicated stories appear on other media sites (not their own) but their site conveys the idea that they “own” the news itself, which is not a valid copyright idea. I’ll probably return to this on my main blog later.

Here’s another public health anomaly coming out of the Arizona tragedy. In Arizona (and not many other states, any other person can complain that a particular individual may be mentally ill. Brigid Schulte had a typical story on p A7 of the Tuesday Washington Post. “Any person in Arizona can petition the court for a psychiatric evaluation solely because a person appears to be mentally ill and doesn’t know it.” The link is here

This sounds dangerous. Anyone who seems odd or unsociable could be targeted for attention from the courts. And psychiatrists are becoming increasingly suspicious of people who “live in their own worlds”. The “lucid dreaming” (or “Inception” syndrome) seems much more relevant to Loughner’s actions than did political vitriol. The dangers (to individual freedom) have shifted a lot in 48 hours.

Arizona is one of four states (the others are Utah, Idaho and Montana) that make a person "guilty but insane" finish a prison sentence after treatment for mental illness.

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