Wikipedia plans to introduce new editing restrictions on articles

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The English version of Wikipedia, the self-described free, online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, has planned to install new restrictions on its editing system on articles regarding biographies of living people.

Has Wikipedia done the right thing? What is your opinion on this new editorial process?
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Under the new plan, anyone can edit the affected articles, but the changes would have to be approved by a more experienced user before they could be registered. The move is part of an effort to prevent vandalism and unconstructive edits being made to high-profile pages and increase content quality. The system is called “flagged revisions”.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said that there would be a “very, very low threshold to entry” for those who desired editorial rights. “We’re looking at anybody who has been around a very short period of time and hasn’t been blocked [banned],” he said.

Canada’s Toronto—Danforth (Ward 30) city council candidates speak

Saturday, November 4, 2006

On November 13, Toronto residents will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward’s councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto’s ridings is Toronto Centre (Ward 28). One candidate responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include Edward Chin, Paula Fletcher (incumbent), Patrick Kraemer, Suzanne McCormick, Daniel Nicastro, and Michael Zubiak.

For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.

Companies In Gift City Premium 1/2/2.5/3 Bedroom Apts. By Grade A Builder}

Submitted by: Gift City

At the present time, this state has shown enormous advancements in different sectors, right from housing, education and the commercial Companies in Gift City to tourism and entertainment. Apart from that, the basic amenities such as better water and electric supply and better sanitary conditions and well-organized transportation system have offered the right background for the expansion of the realty sector in Gujarat.

The thing what is driving the property market of Gujarat is that this city includes everything to attract the buyers. First and foremost, the capital value of real-estate in Gujarat and the cities of this state is more affordable in terms of residential properties than many tier-II cities in India. The next thing is that the presence of the strategic location of the residential properties and the superior infrastructural facilities are as well as driving the investors towards the real-estate market of Gujarat.

Gujarat is well connected both internally and externally through the intricate transit system and this thing adds to the commercial value of this state. The key projects of this state in the form of hotels, SEZs, gated communities, Gift city townships and specialty townships such as IT corridors and financial products townships have come up a really big way. Apart from that the favourable FDI policies have as well as confirmed to be really beneficial for the Gujarat realty sector.

An enormous growth pace has been witnessed in this industrial sector in the recent time combined with a perceivable increase in the population has lead to an enhanced demand for the housing requirements in Gujarat. As a result, numerous prestigious property developers are really making it big with some big investments in the luxurious projects in Ahmedabad. All these new townships are styled in the new-age lavishness with plenty of new facilities. Besides, the main focus of these townships is building a self-reliant housing facility with own post office, petrol pump, multiplex and shopping malls.A real-estate tycoon and his associates were allegedly attacked by his rival over a property deal gone sour. According to the complaint filed at Satellite Police Station on Tuesday, owner of HN Safal Construction Dhiren Vora, his chartered accountant R K Patel and their chauffeur were on their way to a construction site near Novotel Hotel on SG Highway when they were attacked by Yogesh Patel, one of the directors of Shayona Builddown and three others. Police suspect that the attack was the fallout of pending payment over a land deal involving the two parties was behind the attack.

Apart from Ahmedabad, Surat and Vadodara as well as rank high in the states real-estate sweepstakes as Gujarats second largest city, Surat is all set to become an international diamond trading hub. It is located on the Golden Quadrilateral highway and is well connected to Mumbai and Delhi. These are major market drivers. Vesu, Piplod, Pal, Adajan and Varachha Road are the traditional residential destinations, and suburban locations such as Bamroli, Khajod, Palsana and Puna Kumbharia Road are coming up.

About the Author: Property Mart is Leading Real estate Consultant in Bangalore Companies in Gift City,Gift city from past couple of years offering to Book Prestige New Projects in Bangalore Visit Our official site


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Right-to-die activists reveal euthanasia for Dutch patient with severe dementia

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Yesterday, it was revealed that a 64-year-old Dutch woman with severe dementia has become the first patient in the country to be euthanized after she became unable to consent. In the Netherlands, patients can request assisted dying if they are of sound mind. In this case, the woman — who is known to have been a long-time political supporter of assisted dying — signed a request for assisted dying while she was capable of doing so.

The woman was assisted to die in March according to Walburg de Jong, a spokesman for Right to Die-NL, a group that supports assisted dying. De Jong noted that it is an “important step” for euthanasia activists: “before, patients dying by euthanasia were at really very early stages of dementia, which was not the case with this woman”.

The Netherlands has had legal voluntary euthanasia since a change in the law which came into force in April 2002.

Australian water polo players Zagame and Rippon whooping it up

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Earlier today, the Australian Institute of Sport and Swimming Australia cancelled a team meeting for the Australian Stingers and a Swimming Australia Grand Prix event scheduled for this weekend after two Olympic bound water polo players, Melissa Rippon and Nicola Zagame, were diagnosed with whooping cough.

Both players are receiving treatment administered by the Australian Institute of Sport. Meanwhile, their teammates are in quarantine. In a statement issued by Water Polo Australia, they said “Water Polo Australia is taking this very seriously and will continue to work closely with AIS health professionals to provide the best care for those players diagnosed and to reduce any potential further risk”.

For Australia’s Olympic bound swimmers, their coaches are expected to arrange alternative training ahead of their leaving for Europe. In a statement released by Olympic swimming head coach Leigh Nugent, he said, “Originally we’d planned to have this camp as an opportunity to come together for some further relay preparation and the chance for some of the athletes to race and time trial, a month or so out from the Games. From a relay perspective we are confident we’re on track with our preparations and will fine-tune things when we get to Manchester in July.”

Rippon and Zagame are expected to be recovered next week and should be ready for London.

Video of man tasered at Vancouver airport released

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A video showing a man being tasered by police and subsequently dying at the Vancouver International Airport has been released to the media. The cause of his death has not yet been determined.

Robert Dziekanski, 40, was immigrating from Pieszyce, Poland to live with his mother, Zofia Cisowski, in Kamloops, British Columbia. He did not clear customs at the airport for over eight hours and his mother was unable to locate him when she went to meet him at the airport. Since Dziekanski did not speak English airport security guards were unable to properly communicate with him. He started yelling at the airport staff because of this. He used chairs to prop open a door between a customs clearing area and a public lounge, he then threw a computer and threw a small table at a luggage section window.

He had calmed down and was standing with his hands at his side in the customs room until four Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers arrived and tasered the man, at least twice. Dziekanski began to convulse and was tasered a second time after falling to the ground, where the four officers pinned him down and handcuffed him. He screamed before he stopped moving. Paramedics arrived at the scene, but were unable to revive him and pronounced him dead.

Dziekanski’s mother had told him to wait in the luggage area where she would meet him, not realizing that this was inside the airport’s security zone, which was inaccessible to her. Arriving international passengers need to pass through customs first, before being able to meet people waiting to pick them up. His mother had tried in vain to get a message to him and eventually left the airport when told by airport staff that he wasn’t there.

Paul Pritchard, who had just arrived from China back to Victoria, shot a video of the incident and gave it to police. The police promised they would return the video within 48 hours. They gave him back his camera without the video.

Pritchard immediately hired a lawyer, held his own news conference, and threatened that he would take them to court to get it back.

CBC, CTV and Global television paid Pritchard several thousand dollars for the video, and he says he will use the money to take care of his father.

“It was against his [Pritchard’s father] wishes completely and my lawyer’s wishes as well. Profit is such an ugly word, and I hope people realize that it’s not a personal profit,” said Pritchard.

“I extend my heartfelt condolences to Mr. Dziekanski’s family, knowing that I could not hope to speak to the loss that they have suffered. I would also like to express my concerns for those people who were in any way touched by this extraordinary and tragic occurrence – our employees working that night, the various agencies involved, the emergency responders and the passengers who may have come across the scene,” Larry Berg, President and CEO of the Vancouver Airport Authority said on November 1.

According to a RCMP spokesman in Vancouver, the four officers involved in the case will testify in court under the coroners request, but it is expected to happen sometime next year.

Polish ambassador to Canada, Piotr Ogrodzinski, said “Mr. Dziekanski (was) a person who was agitated, frustrated, I think terrified, but not aggressive. He was not making a gesture that he intended to fight anybody” and “he didn’t know what to do. In fact, he was in search (of) help. That is why it is a really very sad and deeply moving film to watch.”

The incident is being investigated by the RCMP, the British Columbia Coroner’s Service, the Vancouver International Airport Authority, and the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP.

Fire Pit Accessories Make The Outdoor Firepit Experience Exemplary

By Kirk Mathews

Nowadays, your backyard space is considered another room on the house, and adding a patio firepit with the latest fire pit accessories can create an intimate outdoor living room. You don’t need to head inside the house after dark! Instead, why don’t you pull up a chair and get a fire going?

I bet it will bring back some wonderful memories of time spent around a campfire when you were a child. If you don’t have any memories of time spent at a cottage or a summer camp, then you can use your outdoor firepit to make some new ones of your own.

The wonderful thing about installing a patio fire pit is that you have many choices as far as styles go. You may decide that a fire pit that looks like a basin will fit in with your overall decorating scheme. Maybe a ball of fire is more to your liking, or a unit that is enhanced with a personalized image is just your cup of tea!

You may feel more comfortable with a fire pit that looks like a fireplace or a wood stove. You can even find custom made models personalized with your name, palm trees, or almost any other shape your mind can imagine.

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Patio Fire Pit Accessories

Any time that you are around an open fire, flying sparks may be a concern. Add a fire pit spark screen to your fire pit to enjoy the experience of the fire without having to worry about getting a nasty (and very hot) surprise if a spark decides to jump out at you.

Instead of placing the fire pit directly onto your patio or deck, you may want to place it on a fire pit stand. Choose the height that fits in with your decor and your personal preference. When the patio fire pit is not in use, cover it up by placing a fire pit cover over top of it.

If you enjoy the idea of having your own “camp” fire on your patio, you may want to pick up a grill for your fire pit. This accessory will allow you to grill hot dogs and other items right in your back yard. Use a log grabber to pick up and place more wood in your fire pit without having to get too close. Safety needs to come first.

Patio heaters also have a place in your plan for enjoying outdoor living. When the weather starts getting cooler, you don’t need to head back into the house. Instead, install an electric or propane heater. Some models look very much like an electric lamp, which adds to the overall idea of your patio being another room in your house.

If you are interested in a patio heater that will heat up an area quickly without taking up a lot of space, do consider a table top unit. Once you have your fire pit accessories in place, you can concentrate on enjoying your outdoor living space until winter sets in.

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Warhol’s photo legacy spread by university exhibits

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Evansville, Indiana, United States — This past week marked the opening night of an Andy Warhol exhibit at the University of Southern Indiana. USI’s art gallery, like 189 other educational galleries and museums around the country, is a recipient of a major Warhol donor program, and this program is cultivating new interest in Warhol’s photographic legacy. Wikinews reporters attended the opening and spoke to donors, exhibit organizers and patrons.

The USI art gallery celebrated the Thursday opening with its display of Warhol’s Polaroids, gelatin silver prints and several colored screen prints. USI’s exhibit, which is located in Evansville, Indiana, is to run from January 23 through March 9.

The McCutchan Art Center/Pace Galleries at USI bases its exhibit around roughly 100 Polaroids selected from its collection. The Polaroids were all donated by the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program, according to Kristen Wilkins, assistant professor of photography and curator of the exhibit. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts made two donations to USI Art Collections, in 2007 and a second recently.

Kathryn Waters, director of the gallery, expressed interest in further donations from the foundation in the future.

Since 2007 the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program has seeded university art galleries throughout the United States with over 28,000 Andy Warhol photographs and other artifacts. The program takes a decentralized approach to Warhol’s photography collection and encourages university art galleries to regularly disseminate and educate audiences about Warhol’s artistic vision, especially in the area of photography.


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Wikinews provides additional video, audio and photographs so our readers may learn more.

Wilkins observed that the 2007 starting date of the donation program, which is part of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, coincided with the 20th anniversary of Andy Warhol’s death in 1987. USI was not alone in receiving a donation.

K.C. Maurer, chief financial officer and treasurer at the Andy Warhol Foundation, said 500 institutions received the initial invitation and currently 190 universities have accepted one or more donations. Institutional recipients, said Mauer, are required to exhibit their donated Warhol photographs every ten years as one stipulation.

While USI is holding its exhibit, there are also Warhol Polaroid exhibits at the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York and an Edward Steichen and Andy Warhol exhibit at the Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. All have received Polaroids from the foundation.

University exhibits can reach out and attract large audiences. For example, the Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro saw attendance levels reach 11,000 visitors when it exhibited its Warhol collection in 2010, according to curator Elaine Gustafon. That exhibit was part of a collaboration combining the collections from Duke University, located in Durham, North Carolina, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which also were recipients of donated items from the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program.

Each collection donated by the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program holds Polaroids of well-known celebrities. The successful UNC Greensboro exhibit included Polaroids of author Truman Capote and singer-songwriter Carly Simon.

“I think America’s obsession with celebrity culture is as strong today as it was when Warhol was living”, said Gustafon. “People are still intrigued by how stars live, dress and socialize, since it is so different from most people’s every day lives.”

Wilkins explained Warhol’s obsession with celebrities began when he first collected head shots as a kid and continued as a passion throughout his life. “He’s hanging out with the celebrities, and has kind of become the same sort of celebrity he was interested in documenting earlier in his career”, Wilkins said.

The exhibit at USI includes Polaroids of actor Dennis Hopper; musician Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran; publishers Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone Magazine and Carlo De Benedetti of Italy’s la Repubblica; disco club owner Steve Rubell of Studio 54; photographers Nat Finkelstein, Christopher Makos and Felice Quinto; and athletes Vitas Gerulaitis (tennis) and Jack Nicklaus (golf).

Wikinews observed the USI exhibit identifies and features Polaroids of fashion designer Halston, a former resident of Evansville.

University collections across the United States also include Polaroids of “unknowns” who have not yet had their fifteen minutes of fame. Cynthia Thompson, curator and director of exhibits at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, said, “These images serve as documentation of people in his every day life and art — one which many of us enjoy a glimpse into.”

Warhol was close to important touchstones of the 1960s, including art, music, consumer culture, fashion, and celebrity worship, which were all buzzwords and images Wikinews observed at USI’s opening exhibit.

He was also an influential figure in the pop art movement. “Pop art was about what popular American culture really thought was important”, Kathryn Waters said. “That’s why he did the Campbell Soup cans or the Marilyn pictures, these iconic products of American culture whether they be in film, video or actually products we consumed. So even back in the sixties, he was very aware of this part of our culture. Which as we all know in 2014, has only increased probably a thousand fold.”

“I think everybody knows Andy Warhol’s name, even non-art people, that’s a name they might know because he was such a personality”, Water said.

Hilary Braysmith, USI associate professor of art history, said, “I think his photography is equally influential as his graphic works, his more famous pictures of Marilyn. In terms of the evolution of photography and experimentation, like painting on them or the celebrity fascination, I think he was really ground-breaking in that regard.”

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The Polaroid format is not what made Warhol famous, however, he is in the company of other well-known photographers who used the camera, such as Ansel Adams, Chuck Close, Walker Evans, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Helmut Newton.

Wilkins said, “[Warhol] liked the way photo booths and the Polaroid’s front flash looked”. She explained how Warhol’s adoption of the Polaroid camera revealed his process. According to Wilkins, Warhol was able to reproduce the Polaroid photograph and create an enlargement of it, which he then could use to commit the image to the silk screen medium by applying paint or manipulating them further. One of the silk screens exhibited at USI this time was the Annie Oakley screen print called “Cowboys and Indians” from 1987.

Wilkins also said Warhol was both an artist and a businessperson. “As a way to commercialize his work, he would make a blue Marilyn and a pink Marilyn and a yellow Marilyn, and then you could pick your favorite color and buy that. It was a very practical salesman approach to his work. He was very prolific but very business minded about that.”

“He wanted to be rich and famous and he made lots of choices to go that way”, Wilkins said.

It’s Warhol. He is a legend.

Kiara Perkins, a second year USI art major, admitted she was willing to skip class Thursday night to attend the opening exhibit but then circumstances allowed for her to attend the exhibit. Why did she so badly want to attend? “It’s Warhol. He is a legend.”

For Kevin Allton, a USI instructor in English, Warhol was also a legend. He said, “Andy Warhol was the center of the Zeitgeist for the 20th century and everything since. He is a post-modern diety.”

Allton said he had only seen the Silver Clouds installation before in film. The Silver Clouds installation were silver balloons blown up with helium, and those balloons filled one of the smaller rooms in the gallery. “I thought that in real life it was really kind of magical,” Allton said. “I smacked them around.”

Elements of the Zeitgeist were also playfully recreated on USI’s opening night. In her opening remarks for attendees, Waters pointed out those features to attendees, noting the touches of the Warhol Factory, or the studio where he worked, that were present around them. She pointed to the refreshment table with Campbell’s Soup served with “electric” Kool Aid and tables adorned with colorful gumball “pills”. The music in the background was from such bands as The Velvet Underground.

The big hit of the evening, Wikinews observed from the long line, was the Polaroid-room where attendees could wear a Warhol-like wig or don crazy glasses and have their own Polaroid taken. The Polaroids were ready in an instant and immediately displayed at the entry of the exhibit. Exhibit goers then became part of the very exhibit they had wanted to attend. In fact, many people Wikinews observed took out their mobiles as they left for the evening and used their own phone cameras to make one further record of the moment — a photo of a photo. Perhaps they had learned an important lesson from the Warhol exhibit that cultural events like these were ripe for use and reuse. We might even call these exit instant snap shots, the self selfie.

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Children enjoy interacting with the “Silver Clouds” at the Andy Warhol exhibit.Image: Snbehnke.

Kathryn Waters opens the Andy Warhol exhibit at USI.Image: Snbehnke.

At the Andy Warhol exhibit, hosts document all the names of attendees who have a sitting at the Polaroid booth.Image: Snbehnke.

Curator Kristin Wilkins shares with attendees the story behind his famous Polaroids.Image: Snbehnke.

A table decoration at the exhibit where the “pills” were represented by bubble gum.Image: Snbehnke.

Two women pose to get their picture taken with a Polaroid camera. Their instant pics will be hung on the wall.Image: Snbehnke.

Even adults enjoyed the “Silver Clouds” installation at the Andy Warhol exhibit at USI.Image: Snbehnke.

Many people from the area enjoyed Andy Warhol’s famous works at the exhibit at USI.Image: Snbehnke.

Katie Waters talks with a couple in the Silver Clouds area.Image: Snbehnke.

Many people showed up to the new Andy Warhol exhibit, which opened at USI.Image: Snbehnke.

At the exhibit there was food and beverages inspired to look like the 1960s.Image: Snbehnke.

A woman has the giggles while getting her Polaroid taken.Image: Snbehnke.

A man poses to get his picture taken by a Polaroid camera, with a white wig and a pair of sunglasses.Image: Snbehnke.

Finished product of the Polaroid camera film of many people wanting to dress up and celebrate Andy Warhol.Image: Snbehnke.

House approves Senate amended economic stimulus package

Friday, February 8, 2008

The United States House of Representatives has passed the bipartisan US$152 billion economic stimulus package that gives one-time rebates to United States citizens, US$600 for individuals or US$1,200 for couples plus US$300 for each child. US$300 checks would be sent to people on low-income including retirees on Social Security which was not included in the original bill backed by President George W. Bush. The plan would begin to decrease rebates for citizens with taxable incomes of US$75,000 for individuals and US$150,000 for couples. The checks would go out to more than a 130 million Americans according to Treasury secretary Henry Paulson.

The House overwhelmingly approved the more broad Senate amended bill which included the low-income portion mentioned above along with provisions that would keep illegal aliens from receiving a rebate check. Despite some opposition from some Congressmen, such as John B. T. Campbell III of California’s 48th congressional district, the plan passed overwhelmingly 380–34.

Campbell called the plan “wealth redistribution” and noted it did not have safeguards to prevent illegals from receiving these rebates and also claimed that stimulus plan would increase the deficit more and noted the cause of the looming recession was because of “credit problems.”

The United States Senate voted hours earlier on the bill which passed in the Senate, 81–16. after having to shed some incentives included by Senate Democrats which caused the bill to fail. Some of the incentives that were left out of the plan in a compromise to gain Republican support were demands for benefits for long-term unemployed workers and stipulation that would allow low-income citizens to pay off heating bills and let home builders pay off losses off the current year against previous tax years.

President Bush approved of the package, noting in a statement, “This plan is robust, broad-based, timely, and it will be effective, this bill will help to stimulate consumer spending and accelerate needed business investment.”

‘Fascinating’ and ‘provocative’ research examines genetic elements of bipolar, schizophrenia

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Last week, Nature Genetics carried twin studies into the genetics of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. This special report examines the month’s research into the illnesses in detail, with Wikinews obtaining comment from experts based in Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom ahead of the U.S. Mental Illness Awareness Week, which starts tomorrow.

Eleven genetic regions were identified; seven of these were for schizophrenia and five of those were hitherto undiscovered. The parallel studies, conducted separately, examined more than 50,000 people worldwide and identified two genetic loci associated with both diseases.

Little is known about the two illnesses, each of which affects around 1% of people and is treated with strong medication. Bipolar sufferers experience extremes of mood – depression and mania, hence the previous name “manic depression” for the illness. Schizophrenia is associated with hearing voices, chaotic thoughts, and paranoia. There is no known cure.

The latest research examined both the healthy and the afflicted, using computers to scan genomes. Inheritance was thought to be a factor from prior knowledge of the diseases as a familial trait, but the original desire had been to isolate a single faulty gene. Instead it has become apparent that the genetic factors are many; in the case of schizophrenia, at most around 30% of the genetic components are thought to have been identified.

If any single centre tried to undertake such a study, it would require millions of pounds.

The University of Chicago’s Pablo Gejman, a lead researcher on the schizophrenia study, explained to Wikinews in a telephone interview from Buenos Aires, Argentina that “One of the goals of genetic research is to find druggable targets” – to “find treatments at the root of the problem”.

Whilst noting that there is no guarantee the genetic code identified is druggable, Gejman named calcium-activated neurochemical channels in the brain as candidates for new drugs. The channels were linked to schizophrenia in the study.

Gejman explained that a genetic locus called mir137 “suggests an abnormality of gene regulation.” The diseases are so poorly understood that it is uncertain if they are in fact two components of a single spectrum, or even each comprised of multiple illnesses.

The new and “provocative data” gathered showed the significant loci identified were “not part of the pre-existent hypothesis.” Calling this “interesting”, Gejman added that the team found no evidence that dopamine receptors are involved; current drug treatments target dopamine receptors. The findings are “not related to anything we thought we knew [about schizophrenia],” he told our correspondent.

Quizzed about the possibility variations in the genetic factors involved in expressing the diseases explained the variation seen in symptoms, Gejman was uncertain. “We will have the answer, probably, only when we sequence the whole [human] genome.” He notes that the relationship between genotype and phenotype is unclear, and that “We know very little of the genetic architecture of schizophrenia and” other disorders. At the time the results were published, participating scientist Professor Rodney Scott from the University of Newcastle in Australia said “The strength of this research is in the numbers. The findings are robust and give us a lot of statistical power to identify the genetic determinants of schizophrenia.” Scott told Wikinews that “If any single centre tried to undertake such a study, it would require millions of pounds. Since it was a collection of data from across the world the costs were spread. In this era of financial difficulty it will become increasingly difficult to secure funding for this type of project even though the pay-offs will be significant.”

Gejman expressed similar sentiment. “The research budget is not growing, which makes [funding] difficult,” he said, though he felt the cost “is not prohibitive because of the benefits.” “I think that it was money well invested” and “very well spent for the future,” he said, adding that organisations in Europe and the US were aware of the importance of such research.

Gejman also agreed on reliability – the study is “Very reliable because of the sample size; that should provide robust results… [we] have worked with a much larger sample than before.” Scott told us it was “a highly reliable study” that has the potential to lead to new treatments “in the long run”.

Another point was the two genetic loci identified as common to both – how much support do they lend to the notion the diseases are linked? “Until more information is available it is really only suggestive,” says Scott. “Strong enough to say there may be potentially a common pathway that bifurcates to give rise to two diseases.”

The provision of specialist services for bipolar is very limited in the UK and the demand for our services is unprecedented.

“It is an excellent demonstration,” said Gejman “because you have the same chains that are common to both disorders, in fact not just the same chains but also the same alleles.” He stressed uncertainty in how strong the relationship was, however.

Scott said examining how the variation of genetic factors may translate into varied symptoms being expressed “certainly is a good target for future research”; “It is not known how many genetic factors contribute to either of these diseases but it is likely that not all are necessary to trigger disease.” “New questions will always arise from any major study,” he told our reporter. “Certainly, new questions about bipolar and schizophrenia are now able to be formulated on the basis of the results presented in the two reports.”

These weren’t the only studies to look at the two diseases together in September. The British Medical Journal carried research by a team from the University of Oxford and King’s College London that examined mortality rates in England for schizophrenia and bipolar sufferers. They found both groups continued to suffer higher mortality rates than the general population – whilst these included suicides, three quarters of deaths were down to ailments such a s heart conditions. General death rates dropped from 1999 to 2006, but sufferers below 65 saw their death rate remain stable – and the over-65 saw theirs increase.

“By 2006, the excess risk in these groups had risk to twice the rate of the general population, whereas prior to that it had only been 1.6 times the risk, so it increased by almost 40%,” said Dr Uy Hoang of Oxford. The study looked at every discharged inpatient with a diagnosis of either condition in England in the relevant time.

Hoang said at the time of the research’s release that doctors should devote attention to predicting and preventing physical illness associated with mental disorders. His study comes at a time when the UK has launched a “no health without mental health” strategy which does attempt to screen for physical illnesses coinciding with mental illnesses. The government aims to reduce the death rate of those with mental disorders.

Rodney Scott described this research result to Wikinews as “Possibly” connected to genetic association with other hereditary ailments, such as cardiovascular disease; he told us another possibility is that “The continued raised mortality rates may be associated with the diseases themselves.”

“We believe the NHS [National Health Service] and Department of Health need to do more to support research and service development for people with bipolar disorder,” Wikinews was told by Suzanne Hudson, Chief Executive of London-based British charity MDF The Bipolar Organisation. “The provision of specialist services for bipolar is very limited in the UK and the demand for our services is unprecedented.”

“A genetic test for bipolar would be a useful tool but the science and ethics are very complex,” Hudson told us, referring to the Nature Genetics genetic study. “Just because someone has ‘bipolar genes’ does not mean they might go on to develop it. Family studies of bipolar show that this is a likely outcome of genetics research in this area. Even if it were possible to accurately predict bipolar in this way, questions about how you treat that person are difficult. For example do you start medication that is not necessary at that point in time?”

“Current treatment is not satisfactory” because it does not always work and has “side effects,” Gejman told us. Robert Whitaker, a US medical journalist and book author, told an audience in New Zealand at the end of August that evidence suggests antidepressant drugs may make children and teenagers worse – “You see many become worse and end up with a more severe diagnosis, like bipolar illness,” and the suicide risk may increase.

Whitaker blames commercial interests. “The adult market appeared saturated, and so they began eying children and teenagers. Prior to this, few children and youth were seen as suffering from major depression, and so few were prescribed anti-depressants.”

One possible alternative, raised by a connection between depressive illness and inflammation, is aspirin and similar compounds. “The link between inflammation and mood disorders has been known for sometime and the use of aspirin and other drugs in depression is now becoming more common in the literature,” Hudson says. “Any new treatments for bipolar, which is a very complex and co-morbid illness, has to be a good thing.”

Professor Dr. Michael Berk, chairman of psychiatry at Australia’s Deakin University, recently gave a talk to just this effect. Speaking at this year’s Congress of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, held this past month, he also highlighted statins as a treatment. Recognising the link to physical ailments, he told an interviewer “The brain does not exist in isolation, and we need to understand that pathways similar to those that underpin risks for cardiovascular disorders, stroke, and osteoporosis might also underpin the risk for psychiatric disorders, and that other treatments might be helpful.”

Berk also touched upon speed of diagnosis and treatment; “Early interventions can potentially improve the outcome” of bipolar sufferers, he told his audience. MDF The Bipolar Organisation claim an average of ten years is possible before a person is diagnosed. “This clearly is an issue, if we believe that earlier diagnosis and treatment facilitate better outcomes,” Berk told Wikinews. Though he questions the effectiveness of currently-used drugs on advanced bipolar cases, he does not go so far as to say drugs are actively harmful. He told us “it appears that our best treatments work best earlier in the illness course; and that seems to apply to psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy.”

Berk has already performed research using statins which suggests they can form a treatment. He now seeks funding for research involving aspirin. On funding, he tells Wikinews “psychiatric disorders comprise between 16% and 22% of the burden of disability (depending on who measures it), attracts[sic] just over 6% of the clinical budget at least in Australia and 3% of the research budget. Research as a discretionary spending item is at great risk.”

Berk’s research, in the past, has been funded by companies including GlaxoSmithKline. Hudson told Wikinews this did not concern her charity; in fact, they welcomed it. “We believe it is important pharmaceutical companies continue to invest in the development of new medications for bipolar. This is how it works in all other health specialities and mental health should be no different.”

“There is a need for greater education for mental health professionals and GPs [general practitioners] about bipolar [in the UK],” she told us. “As the national bipolar charity we receive many, many calls and requests from GPs and other health professionals for our leaflets and information sheets which is fantastic. We very much welcome opportunities to work together for the benefit of individuals affected by bipolar.”

Wikinews contacted the UK’s National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) to discuss issues raised in this article, including future treatments, genetic screening, and mortality rates. NICE did not respond.

Might statins and/or aspirin improve treatment – might they be cheaper, perhaps, or safer? “This is an area of research promise,” says Berk, “however it is too early to make any clinical treatment claims; [all] we can say is that this needs to be studied in properly designed trials capable of giving a more definitive answer.” And what of possible explanations for the increased mortality rate observed in England? Should researchers look at whether bipolar influences more than just the brain, or if it is linked to other genetic conditions?

“For sure,” he told us. “There is new evidence that similar pathways contribute to the risk for both medical and psychiatric illness, both in terms of lifestyle factors, and biomarkers of risk.”

MDF The Bipolar Organisation provide support to those with bipolar and their friends and family: 020 7931 6480