Schizophrenia library to help patients

A virtual library on schizophrenia full of accurate and reliable information is now available to Australians impacted by the mental illness.

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The Schizophrenia Library developed by scientists at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) contains 2,000 downloadable fact sheets and evidence reports, as well as videos, podcasts and interviews with leading scientific researchers in the mental health sector.

Topics cover symptoms, treatments, diagnosis, risk factors, outcomes, co-occurring and the physical features of schizophrenia which occurs in about one per cent of the population, with onset usually in late adolescence or early adulthood.

The psychiatric condition is most often a life-long illness that can cause a sufferer to have delusions and hallucinations, but other symptoms include disorganised speech or behaviour, and significant social or occupational dysfunction.

The idea of the schizophrenia library was birthed by Professor Vaughn Carr from Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital who has been a practising psychiatrist for more than 40 years, and was developed by NeuRA scientist Dr Sandy Matheson.

Professor Carr says schizophrenia is one of the most difficult conditions to treat but in the long run one of the most rewarding.

“In spite of the difficulties in the early stages and degrees and distress and suffering that is experienced, we know that with the sound application of good treatment in the context of a very positive therapeutic relationship, good outcomes can occur with some hard work and the correct combination of medications and psychological treatments,” he said.

However because of an “explosion” of information on schizophrenia it has been hard to discern what is reliable or accurate.

“There is plenty of information out there, you only have to tap into Google and you’ll find a huge array of information about schizophrenia,” Prof Carr told AAP.

He says all the information found within the NeuRA library can be trusted because it has gone through “meticulous” analysis.

“The evidence has been sifted in a very systematic and thorough manner so that we can give people some idea as to what is true about schizophrenia,” he said.

Prof Carr warns that at first it may cause some people anxiety to learn that they’re receiving sub-standard treatment or “missing out” on a better alternative, however, they can be confident of getting the best available therapies through the improved knowledge the library offers.

“We need well-informed people with schizophrenia, well informed families to make accurate appraisals of the quality of treatment they are actually receiving by comparing it to the best-available evidence that is available on this particular website.”

A further two virtual libraries are being developed by NeuRA over the next two years for bipolar disorder and dementia.

Sufferers and their families can go to 长沙桑拿,library.neura.edu长沙夜网, for more information.

Government-linked Venezuelans abroad are targeted with harassment

Opposition critics accuse these individuals — known as Chavistas — and their relatives of enjoying the fruits of living abroad as their home country spirals into crisis mode, with anti-Maduro protests leaving 42 people dead and hundreds more wounded and arrested since they began April 1.

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The anger is intensifying on an international scale: in Miami, Florida last Sunday former Venezuelan minister Eugenio Vasquez Orellana and his partner were booed at a bakery and ultimately forced to leave.

Similar episodes have hit Chavistas and their relatives in Madrid, Spain and Sydney, Australia.

The public shaming “crosses the line,” according to Eduardo Gamarra, a Latin American politics expert at Florida International University.

“If they have not violated any law in the United States and are here legally, they have every right to be where they want,” he told AFP. “Bullying and reprisals are harassment and can have legal penalties.”

But Jose Colina, who founded and directs the Organization of Venezuelans in Exile, said the public humiliations are a form of “justice.”

Huge protest in Caracas, Venezuela

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“It is not tolerable that these individuals, after they destroyed the country, and are responsible for the chaos that Venezuela is experiencing, seek to exonerate themselves,” he said.

“In Venezuela there is no justice — the victims must do justice in our own way — and these acts of repudiation are one of them,” he said.

The phenomenon is not new but recently has gained visibility as tensions flare in Venezuela.

Renewed protests and clashes in Venezuela

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Protests at the homes and businesses of officials or ex-officials with links to Chavismo — the left-wing ideology created by Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez — are broadcast on social media via accounts dedicated to promoting the harassment of those individuals living abroad.

On Wednesday, Maduro denounced the fascist escalation” against his supporters, whom he called the “Jews of the 21st century.”

Senior opposition lawmaker Freddy Guevara meanwhile took to Twitter to speak out against the harassment, writing “it is not right, morally or politically, to harass the children of government officials.”

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PM flags ‘issues’ with Cross River Rail

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has agreed to work on a number of “issues” with the Cross River Rail project, following a meeting with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

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The premier and prime minister sat down together in Brisbane on Thursday following weeks of sniping about funding for the project.

Ms Palaszczuk described the meeting as “positive”, but said the state government had agreed to address several issues with the project identified by Infrastructure Australia.

“The prime minister has conveyed to me that Infrastructure Australia has a couple of issues (on which) they would like some more work done and I have said that I will progress that work as quickly as possible,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“I would hope in the future it would be possible to have more discussions like the one we had today.”

Speaking at a later press conference, Mr Turnbull also described the meeting as “constructive” and “cordial” but also repeated his view that the business case presented by Queensland “needs more work”.

“The submission or the proposal is inadequate in a number of respects; this is Infrastructure Australia’s view,” Mr Turnbull told reporters.

“It needs more work. I am not making a criticism of it, I am just stating a fact.”

“We certainly want to bring the assessment process to a conclusion but at this stage it is still ongoing.”

Mr Turnbull said issues including Cross River Rail’s integration with other transport systems, notably the Brisbane Metro proposed by Brisbane City Council, as well as land use opportunities, had been identified by Infrastructure Australia.

The premier wouldn’t say how long it will take to work through the issues, but said she will be meeting with Deputy Premier and Transport Minister Jackie Trad, and her director-general to discuss how to move forward.

She says she and Mr Turnbull also talked about category D funding for people affected by Cyclone Debbie, as well as the national energy policy, as she spruiked her policy of a hydro-electric plant in North Queensland.

Two very different choirs, cultural traditions: one shared love

Created 500 years ago, today’s Vienna Boys Choir travels the world performing music by the great western composers.

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But on this day, they’re sharing the stage with a choir on its first-ever overseas trip, performing songs from an ancient culture: Australia’s Gondwana National Indigenous Children’s choir.

The tour has taken the children from their homes in North Queensland and the Torres Strait Islands to Germany, Slovenia and now to the home concert hall of the Vienna Boys Choir.

Lyn Williams is the founder.

“Well they came over with the distinct idea that they were going to share their culture, and I think they’ve realised the great richness of culture all over the world and that to share means that you’re taking in other people’s culture and giving yours back. So I think it’s this sense of this incredible cultural heritage on both sides.”

The concert series aims to bring two rich cultures together says Professor Gerald Wirth, artistic director of the Vienna Boys Choir.

“And for our children it’s great for them to listen to music they have never sung before in their life and even have a chance to learn it. It’s a great experience. It makes them aware, especially our children in Vienna, what else there is in the world – so it’s very good – and the greatest reason actually to talk about the culture of Aboriginal people in Australia and the Torres Strait people.”

The choirs gave separate performances before the Vienna boys joined the Gondwana children for song and dance.

Lyn Williams says rehearsals were a hoot.

“Oh they thought it was great fun. We have these fun island songs and of course island songs on the whole can’t be done without dance and so they had to learn the dance. And I have to say, like boys anywhere in the world – 9, 10, 11, 12 year old boys – coordinating your hands and your mouth and your feet can sometimes be a challenge. But it was fun!”

Lyn says later this year the Vienna Boys will come to Australia, performing in Sydney and travelling to Cairns – renewing friendships; singing and dancing in the tropical north.

Gerald Wirth admits this is not an easy act to pull off.

“I guess the biggest difficulty is the distance – it’s far away and it takes a lot of money and I think this is one of the reasons why there is not a lot of interaction between Australian Indigenous people and European people so this is very rare and we feel very special to be involved in such an endeavour.”

Gondwana’s Georgiana talks about the music culture of the Vienna Boys choir: “It’s very professional I guess. We have a more islander voice I guess and theirs are more… opera, sort of.”

Reporter: “And what’s the impression that you want to leave behind from the Gondwana choir?”

“That we’re proud to share our culture with others.”

Siena says she was a bit nervous ahead of this concert, but in the end…

“We sang our hearts out because it’s the end of it and like, we might as well give it our all since it’s the end and since all these lovely people came to see us perform and dance and do our island songs and perform with the boys. Might as well give it all we’ve got!”

 

 

Pick Oates not Holmes for Origin: Bennett

Speculation that Test winger Valentine Holmes will replace incumbent Corey Oates in the Queensland side has left Wayne Bennett scratching his head.

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Brisbane speedster Oates will get a final chance to impress Maroons selectors before they name their team for the May 31 series opener when he runs out against Wests Tigers in Friday night’s NRL clash.

Oates made his Origin debut last year, playing all three games as Queensland claimed their 10th series win in 11 years.

However, there is talk Holmes has leapfrogged Oates in Maroons coach Kevin Walters’ pecking order after featuring in the trans-Tasman Test after impressive form at fullback for second placed Cronulla.

Much to Brisbane coach Bennett’s surprise.

“I can’t get my head around that if that is the way they are going to go,” he said.

“He (Oates) is the best carrier in the game in traffic of anyone on the wing.

“Queensland have got him so I don’t know why they would want to substitute him.”

Bennett believes Oates is more important than ever for Queensland with prop Matt Scott (knee) and retired lock Corey Parker unavailable this year.

“Holmes is a very talented player but he doesn’t carry the ball (like Oates),” he said.

“In Origin when yards are hard to come by, and they have lost Matt Scott, a guy like Corey Oates is ideal for them.”

Bennett hoped the Maroons maintained their successful loyalty policy and stuck with Oates when they named their team on Monday.

“It (incumbency) does mean a bit in Queensland’s history,” he said.

“And I believe he has played his best footy he has played for us this year.

“I am not disappointed with the way he is playing.

“Everyone in the game knows he is hard to tackle when he carries the ball.

“There is so much upside to him I can’t get my head around why they wouldn’t pick him.”

Meanwhile, Bennett said Anthony Milford would travel with the Broncos for their next round clash with the Warriors even if the playmaker was named on Queensland’s game one extended bench.

Milford is expected to be named as 19th man as cover for recovering pivot Johnathan Thurston (shoulder).

Bennett said Milford would only enter Queensland’s camp if named in the 17.

“If he is not in the 17 he is coming with us to New Zealand, absolutely,” he said.