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Alexithymia (difficulties in identifying and describing emotion) is a transdiagnostic trait implicated in social–emotional and mental health problems in the general population. Many autistic individuals experience significant social-communication difficulties and elevated anxiety/depression and alexithymia. Nevertheless, the role of alexithymia in explaining individual variability in the quality/severity of social-communication difficulties and/or anxiety and depression symptoms in autism remains poorly understood.
In total, 337 adolescents and adults (autism N = 179) were assessed for alexithymia on the Toronto Alexithymia Scale and for social-communication difficulties, anxiety and depression symptoms. A total of 135 individuals (autism N = 76) were followed up 12–24 months later. We used regression models to establish cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between alexithymia, social-communication difficulties, anxiety and depression symptoms.
Autistic individuals reported significantly higher alexithymia than comparison individuals (p < 0.001, r effect size = 0.48), with 47.3% of autistic females and 21.0% of autistic males meeting cut-off for clinically relevant alexithymia (score ⩾61). Difficulties in describing feelings were particularly associated with current self-reported social-communication difficulties [p < 0.001, β = 0.57, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.44–0.67] and predicted later social-communication difficulties (p = 0.02, β = 0.43, 95% CI 0.07–0.82). Difficulties in identifying feelings were particularly associated with current anxiety symptom severity (p < 0.001, β = 0.54, 95% CI 0.41–0.77) and predicted later anxiety (p = 0.01; β = 0.31, 95% CI 0.08–0.62).
Our findings suggest that difficulties in identifying v. describing emotion are associated with differential clinical outcomes in autism. Psychological therapies targeting emotional awareness may improve social-communication and anxiety symptoms in autism, potentially conferring long-term benefits.
This essay examines from an artist-researcher perspective the durational solo dance work Likely Terpsichore? (Fragments), created for and performed at the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology (UK) in 2018. It asks how dance's presence in the archaeological museum might allow an alternative visibility for ancient female bodies previously rendered only partially visible by history. It makes a claim for dance in the archaeological museum as a subversive act of radical archaeology, in terms of how, by playing on notions of dismembering/remembering histories, it seeks to disrupt received notions of how we view and understand ancient history and culture.
Family caregivers of people with dementia can experience loss and grief before death. We hypothesized that modifiable factors indicating preparation for end of life are associated with lower pre-death grief in caregivers.
Caregivers of people with dementia living at home or in a care home.
In total, 150 caregivers, 77% female, mean age 63.0 (SD = 12.1). Participants cared for people with mild (25%), moderate (43%), or severe dementia (32%).
Primary outcome: Marwit-Meuser Caregiver Grief Inventory Short Form (MMCGI-SF). We included five factors reflecting preparation for end of life: (1) knowledge of dementia, (2) social support, (3) feeling supported by healthcare providers, (4) formalized end of life documents, and (5) end-of-life discussions with the person with dementia. We used multiple regression to assess associations between pre-death grief and preparation for end of life while controlling for confounders. We repeated this analysis with MMCGI-SF subscales (“personal sacrifice burden”; “heartfelt sadness”; “worry and felt isolation”).
Only one hypothesized factor (reduced social support) was strongly associated with higher grief intensity along with the confounders of female gender, spouse, or adult child relationship type and reduced relationship closeness. In exploratory analyses of MMCGI-SF subscales, one additional hypothesized factor was statistically significant; higher dementia knowledge was associated with lower “heartfelt sadness.”
We found limited support for our hypothesis. Future research may benefit from exploring strategies for enhancing caregivers’ social support and networks as well as the effectiveness of educational interventions about the progression of dementia (ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT03332979).
Recent investigations now suggest that cerebrovascular reactivity (CVR) is impaired in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and may underpin part of the disease’s neurovascular component. However, our understanding of the relationship between the magnitude of CVR, the speed of cerebrovascular response, and the progression of AD is still limited. This is especially true in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which is recognized as an intermediate stage between normal aging and dementia. The purpose of this study was to investigate AD and MCI patients by mapping repeatable and accurate measures of cerebrovascular function, namely the magnitude and speed of cerebrovascular response (τ) to a vasoactive stimulus in key predilection sites for vascular dysfunction in AD.
Thirty-three subjects (age range: 52–83 years, 20 males) were prospectively recruited. CVR and τ were assessed using blood oxygen level-dependent MRI during a standardized carbon dioxide stimulus. Temporal and parietal cortical regions of interest (ROIs) were generated from anatomical images using the FreeSurfer image analysis suite.
Of 33 subjects recruited, 3 individuals were excluded, leaving 30 subjects for analysis, consisting of 6 individuals with early AD, 11 individuals with MCI, and 13 older healthy controls (HCs). τ was found to be significantly higher in the AD group compared to the HC group in both the temporal (p = 0.03) and parietal cortex (p = 0.01) following a one-way ANCOVA correcting for age and microangiopathy scoring and a Bonferroni post-hoc correction.
The study findings suggest that AD is associated with a slowing of the cerebrovascular response in the temporal and parietal cortices.
Many endorse the Bad-Difference View (BDV) of disability which says that disability makes one likely to be worse off even in the absence of discrimination against the disabled. Others defend the Mere-Difference View (MDV) of disability which says that, discounting discrimination, disability does not make one likely to be worse (or better) off. A common motivation for the BDV is the Options Argument which identifies reduction in valuable options as a harm of disability. Some reject this argument, arguing that disabled people's prospects aren't hindered by having fewer options. In this article, I defend the Options Argument by arguing that, in disability cases, possessing a greater number of valuable options seems to overall improve well-being prospects. As such, the Options Argument appears to be sound and – although it doesn't establish the BDV – it lends plausibility to the BDV by identifying a potentially significant cost of disability.
The dispute between India and Pakistan over the State of Jammu and Kashmir is the United Nations’ longest running and among its most intractable problems, beginning in 1947 and still continuing more than 70 years later. Australia was involved in trying to resolve this dispute for almost half this time. As a fellow member of the Commonwealth, Australia had an early interest in contributing to diplomatic negotiations, and an Australian, Owen Dixon, was the first UN mediator. Another Australian, Major General Robert Nimmo, was appointed Chief Military Observer in 1950 and remained in the job for a further 15 years. Meanwhile, Australian military observers served in Kashmir (as Jammu and Kashmir were often described) for some 35 years until the Australian Government withdrew them in 1985. Also, between 1975 and 1979, Australia provided an aircraft with crew to support the UN observer mission. This chapter describes the early diplomatic efforts; later chapters are devoted to the observer mission and the Air Force contribution.
On 3 December 1971, for the third time since the partition of British India in 1947, Pakistan and India went to war. In the words of the political scientist Sumit Ganguly, Pakistan’s pre-emptive air strikes on Indian air bases ‘failed miserably on all counts’. India retaliated with a combination of its own air strikes, naval bombardments, and land operations using tanks, artillery, paratroopers and six infantry divisions. The fighting, most of which took place in East Pakistan (present-day Bangladesh), showcased India’s military superiority over its neighbour and continued until 17 December when the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ordered a ceasefire. Pakistan’s President, Yahya Khan, recognising the resounding defeat of his forces, accepted the ceasefire, and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 ended.
Lieutenant Jim Truscott, a 23-year-old officer from the Royal Australian Engineers, vividly recalled his introduction to his task of monitoring the activities of the Rhodesian Security Forces (RSF). The day after their arrival in Salisbury, he and Sergeant Peter King were deployed by British helicopter. ‘The pilot was positively nervous as he furtively looked for low-strung wires’, but Truscott and King were blissfully ignorant of the danger and enjoyed the ride until they found themselves ‘dumped in a paddock beside the little country town of Marandellas’. There was nothing more they could do but squat on their packs and wait until the Rhodesian unit they were responsible for monitoring arrived about an hour later. In the meantime, they mused as to whether they should load their weapons, despite orders to the contrary. When they were finally picked up, the vehicles practised their counter-ambush drills just before leaving the town. As Truscott wrote: ‘We simply looked at each other and our magazines never left our weapons for the next two months.’
On the heights of Tiberias in northern Israel, in October 1973 Joan Howard looked out of her lounge-room window and had a grandstand view of a war. Spread out far below her was Lake Tiberias, known in Israel as the Kinneret, the biblical Sea of Galilee. Close across the lake rose the equal heights of the Golan escarpment, the southern end of the Syrian territory that Israel had captured in 1967. At night she could see the flashes of artillery. During the day, ignoring the sirens that warned her to take shelter, she stood at the window watching air battles as Israeli jets flew low over her house to keep under the Syrian radar, fighting dogfights above the lake before swooping down over the Golan. She was close enough to see Syrian tank formations come over the ridge and fight their way down towards the lake before being halted by Israeli armour.
The eleven months between the passing of UN Security Council Resolution 67 on 28 January 1949 and the formal transfer of sovereignty to the United States of Indonesia on 27 December 1949 presented the UN observers with new challenges. Ungoc had changed its name to Unci but, although there was no break in operations nor any change in organisation, clearly the situation was different now.
In 2006, three decades after the partition of Cyprus in 1974, and the subsequent concentration from its dispersed locations across the island to the buffer zone in 1975, the role and responsibilities of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (Unficyp) continued largely unchanged. Interposed between two former warring factions – the Turkish military in the north and the Cypriot National Guard in the south – continuous rotations of Unficyp soldiers have monitored the ceasefire lines, and successive contingents of United Nations civilian police (Uncivpol) have patrolled the buffer zone. Together they have performed humanitarian roles and overseen the security of the minority Greek Cypriot population in the north and Turkish Cypriot population in the south.
Until the Middle East descended into its fourth major war in a quarter of a century, 1973 had been more or less like any other year for Australia’s observers with the UN Truce Supervision Organization (Untso). On Anzac Day, they conducted a dawn service at the Mount Scopus war cemetery, overlooking the ‘misty orange-coloured’ Old City of Jerusalem. Beside the wreaths they laid a sheaf of oats for the horses of the 10th Light Horse Regiment, which the senior Australian, Lieutenant Colonel Keith Howard, had once commanded. Observers and their families often found the petty hardships and shortages of life in the Middle East frustrating, but for many they were outweighed by the heady mix of history, archaeology, culture and politics that the region offered.
War, sadly, has always been part of human affairs, however much poets and ordinary people from antiquity onwards have longed for the blessings of peace. From earliest times states have allied with each other, promising not to make war on each other and, often, to defend the other from attack. The subject of this volume, however, is not peace but peacekeeping: the use of members of armed forces (as well as police and other civilians), working in a multinational environment in the wake of conflict, helping bring about conditions that will allow the parties to the conflict to build a more peaceable future. The cardinal qualities of peacekeepers, as against those engaged in fighting wars, are that they should use the minimum level of violence necessary to achieve their goals and that at some level they should be impartial in the disputes between the parties. Importantly, they are representatives of the international community, not of their own country’s government and their own national interests. That is why peacekeeping is conducted by multinational forces, and unilateral efforts by one state to conduct ‘peacekeeping’ are liable to be regarded with suspicion.
On the morning of Monday, 25 May 1964, following a ‘very pleasant, well organised and enjoyable’ flight, 38 Australian police stepped from their specially chartered Qantas Boeing 707, City of Brisbane, onto the tarmac at Nicosia International Airport, in the capital of Cyprus. It had been a long flight, ‘the longest [day] of my life’, wrote First Constable John Owens. Their landing had been delayed while the pilot ‘flew the length of the island several times’ waiting for the mist to lift. Finally on the ground at 7am, Owens recalled, ‘the Cyprus air was noticeably hot and moist – a marked contrast to the early morning frosts of Canberra, which we had left 24 hours before’.