Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania on October 30, 2002 · Page 10
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Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania · Page 10

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Wednesday, October 30, 2002
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Page 10 -.Wednesday, October 30, 2002 NATION u5iana (f&azeite Toddlers'memory develops over time, study says By RICK CALLAHAN Associated Press Writer Scientists have confirmed what many mothers know: that a 1-year-old child's absent-mindedness is replaced with robust memory-recall in the second year of life. The researchers said their findings add weight to the theory that year-old toddlers are forgetful because the regions of their brains that store and retrieve long-term memories are still forming. Other scientists said that while the new work confirms earlier research that toddlers' memories improve with age, it remains un- clear what causes the improvements. Harvard University researchers tested three different age groups of toddlers by encouraging them to imitate multi-step tasks such as wiping a table clean and placing a paper towel in a trash can. As they were spurred to imitate each task, the children were goaded along with verbal cues such as "clean-up time!" Four months later, researchers used the same verbal cues and props to see if the children could re-enact the tasks. They found that only 11 percent of 13-month-old toddlers successfully repeated at least 9ne of the multi-step tasks they performed'as nine- month-olds. But 91 percent of the 21-month-olds were able to repeat at least one of the tasks they imitated at 17 months, and all of the 28- month-olds replicated at least one of the tasks they performed at 24 months. The research appears in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature. Conor Listen, who led the Harvard study, said the research confirms and adds to findings published in the mid-1990s by researchers from the University of Washington and the University of Minnesota. Liston said his work is among the first to compare the long-term memory-recall abili- ties of nine-month-olds with those of 17- months-olds. : Previously, University of Washington research showed six-month-old babies can remember events for only about 24 hours, while scientists at the University of Minnesota found that the life span of toddlers' memories improves to up to a month by the time they are nine months old. "This indicates pretty strongly that there are some developments occurring in the brain between nine months and 17 months that enable the older children to encode memories at 17 months that can be recalled after a long period of time," said Liston, who was aided in his research by Jerome Kagan, a Harvard professor of psychology. Lise Eliot, an assistant professor of neuroscience at the Chicago Medical School, notes that the Harvard study did not look at changes in the test subjects' brains. Still, she agrees the findings add to the idea that the development of the brain's frontal lobe and hippocampus — areas tied to memory retention and retrieval — are key to the dramatic improvement in toddlers' memory-recall in their second year. "It's a gradual process. It's not like the hip- pocamus is off and it suddenly turns on. It gradually works its way up to full speed." Court: Doctors who suggest marijuana can't be suspended By DAVID KRAVETS Associated Press Writer SAN FRANCISCO — For the first time ever, a federal appeals court has ruled that the government cannot revoke the prescription drug licenses of doctors who recommend marijuana to sick patients. A three-judge panel also ruled unanimously Tuesday that the Justice Department cannot investigate doctors for merely recommending marijuana to patients, upholding a two-year-old court order that prohibited such federal action. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said such investigation would interfere with the free-speech rights of doctors and patients. "An integral component of the practice of medicine is the communication between doctor and a patient. Physicians must be able to speak frankly and openly to patients," Chief Circuit Judge Mary Schroeder said. Federal prosecutors argued that doctors who recommend marijuana use are interfering with the drug war and circumventing the government's judgment that the illegal drug has no medical benefit. But the San Francisco-based court, noting that doctors are not allowed to dispense marijuana themselves, said physicians had a constitutional right to speak candidly with their patients about marijuana without fear of government sanctions. Doctors who recommend marijuana in the eight states that have medical marijuana laws "will make it easier to obtain marijuana in violation of federal law," government attorney Michael Stern had said. The Justice Department had no immediate comment. In a concurring opinion, Judge Alex Kozinski wrote that there was a wealth of evidence that may support marijuana use for sick patients, and said the government attacked doctors as a means to paralyze California's medical marijuana laws. The case was brought by patients'- rights groups and doctors who said they,have been fearful of recommending marijuana, even if it's in a patient's best interest. U.S. District Judge William Alsup blocked the Justice Department from revoking doctors' Drug Enforcement Administration licenses to dispense medication "merely because the doctor recommends medical marijuana to a patient based on a sincere medical judgment." Alsup's order also prevented federal agents "from initiating any investigation solely on that ground." The case was an outgrowth of Proposition 215, which California voters approved in 1996. It allows patients to lawfully use marijuana with a doctor's recommendation. Following California, Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and Washington adopted laws allowing the sick to use marijuana NEIL FLYNN ... Plaintiff in the case ... with a doctor's recommendation. The Clinton administration said doctors who recommended, marijuana would lose their federal licenses to prescribe medicine, could be excluded from Medicare and Medicaid programs, and could face criminal charges. The Bush administration continued Clinton's fight. The government argued that doctors were aiding and abetting criminal activity for recommending marijuana because it's an illegal drug under federal narcotics laws. But the appellate court said doctors could be liable only if they actually assisted patients in acquiring marijuana. Merely recommending the drug "does not translate into aiding and abetting, or conspiracy," Schroeder wrote. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court said clubs that sell marijuana to the sick with a doctor's recommendation are breaking federal drug laws. Pot clubs continue to operate and dole out pot to those with a doctor recommendation as local authorities look the other way. Most parents rate themselves poorly By KAREN MATTHEWS Associated Press Writer NEW YORK — Sixty-one percent of parents rate their generation as "fair" or "poor" at raising children, according to a study that shows parents are struggling in instilling values in their kids. The findings are part of a nationwide survey of parents conducted by Public Agenda, a nonpartisan mink tank. The survey found big gaps between parents' efforts to teach good values to their children and their perceived success in doing so. While 83 percent said it is "absolutely essential" to. teach self- control and self-discipline, only 34 percent said they have succeeded in teaching those values. Ninety-one percent said it is essential to teach honesty, but only 55 percent said they have succeeded in doing so. The report also found that 53 percent of parents believe they are doing a worse job than their own parents did. "This study suggests that, despite the efforts parents are making, they're having trouble," said Deborah Wadsworth, the president of Public Agenda. "They have no difficulty laying out a vision of the values they think essential to impart to their child, but succeeding at the job is another matter." The study, titled 'A Lot Easier Said Than Done," was based on telephone interviews conducted between July 31 and Aug. 15 with a random sample of 1,607 parents or guardians of children aged 5 to 17. The margin of sampling error was 3 percentage points. (On the Net: Public Agenda: wwiv.publicagenda.org) Home equity loan at a bargain basement rate. Make your move now to get a low interest loan that lets you borrow up to 85% of the value of your home. It's just what you need to finance that college education, home addition or to pay off high interest debt. Interest may be tax deductible, consult your tax advisor. To take advantage of this bargain basement rate, simply visit any of our First National Bank branches or call 1-800-555-5455. First National Bank Relationships Built on Trust 1 " FNB< fnb-online.com (5l EQUAL HOUSING LENDER, MEMBER FDIC 'Home Equity Rate available on 85% loan to value, minimum loan amount o( S20.000. Maximum term is 60 months. Consult your ax advisor regarding the deducibility ol interest fate includes payment auto debit discount from a First National Dank deposit account. Refinancing ol an existing Rrsl National Bar* loan or line ol credit must include at least $5 000 in new following Loan approval is subject to credit qualification. Property insurance is required. Offer can be withdrawn at any lime and without notice Longer terms available at drtfcient rales Gunman widely thought to be depressed, prof says All three victims had tried to help suspect By BETH DEFALCO Associated Press Writer TUCSON, Ariz. — A year and a half before a University of Arizona nursing student killed three of his professors and then himself, an instructor told police the student had thought about "ending it all" and "might put something under the college." Instructor Melissa M. Goldsmith told police that Robert S. Flores Jr. said he was having problems with a paper but also had a lot of problems other than school, according to the university police department report filed on April 24, 2001. "He was depressed and thought about 'ending it all.' Flores then stated he 'might put something under the college,'" according to the report, which was provided to The Associated Press Tuesday by university police. The report said an officer called Flores and left a message. "I will follow up at a later date and contact Flores," the report said. It was not clear whether police followed up. University Police Chief Anthony Daykin said the department took no action after the report because an administrator and faculty member had talked with Flores and feh no other action was necessary. "That assessment I feel was appropriate," Daykin said. Sharon Ewing, a clinical professor at the College of Nursing, said it was common knowledge among the fac- ulty that Flores, a 41-year-old Gulf War veteran, was depressed. She said all three victims had tried to help Yam. Tuesday, the Arizona Daily Star received a letter written by Flores before FLORES the slaying. "Greetings from the dead," began Robert Flores' suicide note, which went on to describe Flores' failed marriage, poor health and perceived slights at a nursing school where he said male students were treated as "tokens." Flores, who had failed a pediatric nursing class and was struggling in a critical-care class this term, went to the nursing school Monday carrying five handguns and at least 200 rounds of ammunition. Police said Flores killed assistant professor Robin Rogers, 50, in her office on the second floor of the building, then went to the fourth floor arid walked into a classroom full of-students taking a test being given by two teachers. There, he confronted Cheryl McGaffic, a 44-year-old associate professor who studied death and dying and the relationship between health and spirituality in seriously ill patients. Witnesses said he told McGaffic "he was going to give her a lesson in spirituality," then fired two shots into her chest and, after she fell, two more into her head. Assistant professor Barbara Monroe, 45, was cowering behind a desk in the back of the room as Flores approached, witnesses said. "He asked her if she was ready to meet her maker. She said 'Yes,' and then he shot her once and then twice more," student Gena Johnson said. Flores then turned one of the guns on himself. A 9mm semiautomatic handgun was used to shoot the instructors, police said, while Flores took his own life with a Smith & Wesson .357-caliber revolver. Tucson police spokeswoman Sgt. Judy Altieri said homicide investigators have completed the bulk of the work that will be made public. "Because of the fact that the man . was dead, we may never know what his motive was," she said. Classmates said Flores had tangled with instructors and annoyed fellow students. One student said Flores bragged to pediatrics classmates last year that he had a concealed- weapons permit. Flores' former fiancee, Jessica Mathis, said she had a hard time reconciling Monday's shootings with the man she had known during their four-year relationship. "We shared a home. 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