Disability News Weekly Roundup – Monday, May 25 – Friday, May 29

Human Interest:
Blind mother-to-be gets the chance to ‘see’ her unborn son for the very first time after doctors surprise her with a 3D printout of his ultrasound (VIDEO) (Daily Mail – UK)
Thanks to 3-D printing technology, a blind mother-to-be was able to experience the emotional moment of “seeing” her child for the first time during an ultrasound. The ultrasound image was sent to a 3-D printing mobile station and physically realized in a sculpture, showing the unborn baby’s face and arms. The video shows the expectant mother running her fingertips over the image, laughing and crying as she reads an accompanying Braille phrase aloud: “I am your son.”

More people with Alzheimer’s are becoming activists – which brings its own challenges (The Washington Post)
When Michael Ellenbogen calls for a more aggressive fight against Alzheimer’s disease, he speaks with a passion that comes from experience. As someone who was diagnosed with early-onset dementia, Ellenbogen can convey firsthand the pain and frustration at what he sees as insufficient government support for research to find a cure or better treatments. He has built up a global network of 6,500 fellow advocates on LinkedIn, appeared before forums such as the World Health Organization, and is one of a few people with dementia who attend meetings of the national Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care and Services. He spends hours preparing speeches for the council and making plans to attend, driving there with the aid of a GPS.

Do touch the artwork at Prado’s exhibit for the blind (NPR)
It’s a warning sign at art museums around the world: “Don’t touch the artwork.” But at Spain’s famous Prado Museum, there is an exhibit where visitors are encouraged to touch the paintings. The Prado has made 3-D copies of some of the most renowned works in its collection, including those by Francisco Goya, Diego Velazquez, and El Greco, to allow blind people to feel them. While a tour guide describes a painting’s layout, a visitor can run his or her fingers over the surface.

Anxious students strain college mental health centers (The New York Times)
Anxiety has surpassed depression as the most common mental-health diagnosis among college students. More than half of students visiting campus clinics cite anxiety as a health concern, according to a recent Penn State study of more than 100,000 students. Causes range widely from mounting academic pressure to overprotective parents to compulsive engagement with social media. The counseling center at the University of Central Florida, in response to mounting anxiety during midterm and final exam weeks, is offering its most popular event, “Paws-a-tively Stress Free,” when students are invited to visit and interact with Bodhi, a 14-pound Havanese who is a certified therapy dog.

Google putting up millions for disability initiative (Disability Scoop)
Internet search giant Google has announced that Google.org, the company’s charitable arm, is offering up to $20 million to nonprofits “using emergency technologies to increase independence for people living with disabilities.” As part of the initiative, “The Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities,” the company is also asking people with disabilities to suggest problems that they would like to see addressed with the grant money. Alongside the monetary commitment, Google said it will work to ensure accessibility of its own products and add new offerings that benefit people with disabilities.

Are antidepressants more effective than usually assumed? (Science Daily)
Many have recently questioned the efficacy of the most common antidepressant medications, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The conclusion that these drugs are ineffective is, however, partly based on a misinterpretation of the outcome of the clinical trials once conducted to demonstrate their efficacy, according to a study from the Sahlgrenska Academy in Gothenburg, Sweden. Researchers analyzed the data from all major company-sponsored placebo-controlled studies on the effect of SSRIs citalopram, sertraline, and paroxetine for major depression in adults. When they focused their analysis on the effect of treatment on depressed mood, rather than assessing the reduction in the sum score for a large number of symptoms listed on a rating scale, researchers found a significant superiority of the SSRIs over placebos.

Torches to travel nation ahead of Special Olympics (Disability Scoop)
Three torches will make their way across the country in the coming weeks, reaching every state on foot or by bicycle before converging at the Special Olympics World Games this summer. The torch, known as The Flame of Hope, was initially lit May 14th in Athens, Greece. Subsequently, torches set out from Miami, Washington, DC, and Augusta, ME on three separate routes. Over the next 46 days, the torches are expected to travel through communities in all 50 states, ultimately uniting on July 10th in Los Angeles ahead of the Special Olympics World Games, which will take place July 25th to August 2nd.

Magstim’s Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy System FDA cleared to fight major depression (Medgadget)
The Food and Drug Administration has awarded Welsh firm Magstim clearance to bring to market the company’s Magstim Rapid2 rTMS (repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) Therapy System. The system is indicated to treat drug-resistant major depressive disorder in an outpatient setting. It is intended to target the dorsolateral left pre-frontal cortex (DLPFC), a region of the brain that sees reduced blood flow in patients with serious depression. When magnetically stimulated, blood flow tends to increase, improving mood and reducing symptoms of the depression.

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