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Monday, 31 October 2011

Former patient John Rooney 'haunted' by Lissue House abuse - FIDDAMAN blog

Former patient John Rooney 'haunted' by Lissue House abuse

A former patient at Lissue House Children's Hospital in Lisburn has said his memories of the abuse that took place there are frightening.

John Rooney, now a boxing promoter in London, said he is particularly haunted by what happened to a friend of his who suffered from anorexia.

The boy, named Eamon, was weighed every morning and made to stay in bed if he had not gained any weight.

He was also frequently beaten by one male nurse.

"I saw this guy lifting him off the floor and throwing him against the wall," Mr Rooney said.

"The beatings were not a smack or a cuff around the ear, they were physical beatings.

"Eamon was like a little doll... for a grown man to beat him the way he did. The treatment of that kid was totally barbaric."

He said his friend, who was not allowed to speak to his parents if he did not gain weight, later died at the age of 18.

Mr Rooney, originally from west Belfast, was admitted to Lissue after his parents split up in 1978 when he was nine.

He said that while he was no angel, he was not suffering from any illness and should not have been put there.

Lissue and another hospital, Forster Green in Belfast, were the subject of a report in 2009 on allegations of abuse in the 1980s and 90s.

In a statement, police said they had carried out a number of investigations into alleged abuse over a number of years and would carry out a review of all available information.

The abuse took place at Lissue Children's Hospital near Lisburn Mr Rooney said his experience of the hospital was of humiliation and beatings.

"They just need to bring these things out into the open and the people who are guilty should be brought to justice," he said.

"It happened everywhere, but what I wonder is how they got away with it.

"It's an outrage that ordinary people with wives and kids of their own can do the things that they did and then sweep them under the carpet."

He said he had not talked about what happened in Lissue for 30 years, until he contacted the Irish News newspaper after recent stories about the report into the abuse.

"The day I spoke to the reporter I was in pieces all day," he said.

"It's something that really tears me apart and I think it should be investigated thoroughly."

Jimmy Savile gags SUN over Haut de la Garenne !

Leeds-based firm Fox Hayes has commenced legal action against The Sun newspaper on behalf of TV personality Jimmy Savile.

Savile, the star of children’s television favourite Jim’ll Fix It, decided to start proceedings against the Rupert Murdoch paper after a series of articles linked the former Radio One DJ with Jersey children’s home Haut de la Garenne

The police are currently investigating the care home after human remains were found at the residence where children were allegedly tortured and sexually abused.

On 1 March, Savile’s solicitors said, The Sun carried a photograph of the former Top of the Pops presenter allegedly visiting the Jersey home.

This was followed with a series of articles. One asserted that Savile was unwilling to assist with the police investigation and another that he admitted having visited the home. The Sun also criticised Savile for being unprepared to “go some way to fixing it for the victims”.

Last week (14 March), Savile said the entire coverage linking him with the events at the children’s home was repugnant.

“I feel as though I have been subjected to a long and drawn out mugging by The Sun newspaper. The only difference is that its journalists do not wear hoodies,” said Savile.

Fox Hayes, which has instructed barrister Jonathan Crystal of Cloisters, added that Savile has no connection to the events that have taken place at the Jersey children’s home and has no information that might assist the authorities.

A spokesman for the firm said: “He has no recollection of visiting the home over 30 years ago and any such visit would have been unexceptional. Connecting Sir James to events at the home has caused him severe embarrassment and upset.

“The reported events are the antithesis of everything Sir James has worked tirelessly to prevent.”

Jimmy Savile the fake hero - video of him groping 14 year old Coleen Nolan - FIDDAMAN counterpoint blog

watch from 3:30 for the Counterpoint of Jimmy Savile

From Sunday Mirror :

THIS is the moment when a normally mild-mannered Nolan sister almost turned nasty.

Coleen Nolan revealed the horror she felt when she was intimately cuddled by TV presenter Jimmy Savile as a young teenager on Top Of The Pops.

Now aged 43 and a panelist on ITV1′s Loose Women, Coleen says Maureen, Anne, Bernie and Linda – performing as The Nolan Sisters – glowered at the then 53-year old Savile as he held Coleen tightly under her right breast. Footage of the incident was shown on a BBC2 documentary We Are Family, which was broadcast on Saturday, December 6.

Coleen, who had been an audience guest on that 1979 edition of TOTP, a year before joining her family’s group, said: “I stood next to Jimmy.

“I was 14, and he was all over me.

“I could see my sisters glaring: ‘You touch her and we’ll kill you!’ “And they would have.”

New Blog - Occult Leeds

Jim fixed it for Ripper to grip Bruno - The Sun 25 Feb 2009

A MAN with a familiar neatly-trimmed beard reaches out to shake the hand of boxing hero Frank Bruno.

It is a unique and amazing picture... for the man in the gaudy tracksuit is Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe.

He was introduced to Bruno in Broadmoor by cigar-chomping TV star Sir Jimmy Savile, who became friends with the mass murderer while doing voluntary work at the top-security hospital.

Scoop ... Sun story

The photo is the only informal snap of Sutcliffe taken since he was locked up in 1981. It shows him relaxed and smiling as he grabs Bruno's giant fist.

The encounter happened when Bruno opened a new gym at Broadmoor as a favour for a pal.

He met gangland villain Ronnie Kray, a boxing fan, on Henley Ward, where the most dangerous and notorious patients were housed. Then Sir Jimmy introduced him to Sutcliffe. A Broadmoor source said:

After chatting to Ronnie, Big Frank spotted the Yorkshire Ripper leaning back on a window ledge.

He went over and was introduced. They shook hands and Peter said he was a big fan. Frank asked Peter if he would be using the new gym and fitness machines and joked that he could lose a few pounds.

But Peter said he had never been a fitness fan and they both had a bit of a laugh.

Frank asked Peter what it was like in Broadmoor and he said he had no complaints. When they finished chatting Frank shook his hand and wished Peter all the best with his treatment.

Fiend ... as he is best known

The source added: "Looking at Peter in this picture, it shows exactly how he is. He is a nice guy with a good nature. He is easy to chat to and could be the bloke standing next to you in the pub.

"You would have no idea what his evil past is — and that is perhaps the most chilling thing about him."

The meeting took place in 1991 during Bruno's yo-yo ring career.

He had recently been beaten by Tim Witherspoon and Mike Tyson but went on to take the WBC world heavyweight title in 1995.

Bruno, now 47, later had to battle his own mental health problems, fuelled by cocaine abuse. He recovered and lives in Bedfordshire with a son.

The source said: "It was just incredible seeing Big Frank shaking the Yorkshire Ripper's hand. There are probably more than a few people out there who would rather they met in the ring.

"Obviously Frank knew what Peter had done to those women. He was there to do a job and acted very politely. But when he turned round he raised his eyebrows as if to say, 'My God, that was the Yorkshire Ripper'."

Bradford lorry driver Sutcliffe butchered 13 women — mainly prostitutes — using a ball pein hammer, a sharpened screwdriver and a knife.

The Sun revealed last week that the 62-year-old fiend is now considered low risk by Broadmoor's doctors, who have recommended that he be moved to a medium-secure unit.

He could then begin a rehabilitation process by being let out on the streets for shopping trips.

Sutcliffe's lawyers are trying to have him declared sane and are seeking a definite date for his total freedom.

Halloween scary picture of the day thanks to links from Mark Williams -Thomas twitter

image above from -!/Workplace_Prof/media/slideshow?

source twitter -!/Workplace_Prof

via twitter -!/mwilliamsthomas

Sunday, 30 October 2011

FIDDAMAN supports CABBS CABBYME - The Evidence is Clear

CAABS is a much needed organisation whereupon children can reach out and seek advice regarding bullying. From the school yard to online social networks, children need protecting from harassment and abhorrent behaviour, be it from other children or, in rare circumstances, adults.

I thank CAABS for helping me out regarding an online predator, who takes great delight in mocking dead teenagers and their grieving families. Your advice has been noted. Keep up the great work. Our children need you.

Bob Fiddaman Author of The evidence, however, is clear, the Seroxat scandal Winner of two human rights awards.

CABBYME CAABS allows 5 year old children to self report their own DEPRESSION - well done FIDDAMAN just what psychiatrists need !

CEO LexiconP Ltd

November 2010 – Present (1 year) This software allows school children (5yrs plus) to report many forms of Child Abuse, Bullying and other Social Issues such as Substance Misuse, Teenage Pregnancy and Depression to the schools welfare officer using the school computers. Takes just a few seconds and 3 clicks. No reading, no talking, no writing.

Sukhdev Gill signs own petition - CABBS CABBYME

CAABS, CABBYME, Datchet Hotel, Defence Experts & Dr Sukhdev Gill of LexiconP Ltd

Current •CEO at Defence Experts Ltd

•CEO at LexiconP Ltd

Past •MD Trusted Experts at QinetiQ

•MD Trusted Experts (MSP) at QinetiQ

•Director at Defence Evaluation & Research Agency

•Assistant Director Defence Research Agency at DERA (MoD Agency)

•Principal Scientific Offcicer at DRA (MoD Agency)

•Senior Scientific Officer at RSRE (MoD)

•Academic Staff at Surrey University

•Research Student at Surrey University

Dr Sukhdev Gill MBA FIET's Summary

Dr Sukhdev Gill is a Senior manager with significant business experience in the Aerospace & Defence, engineering and government sectors. He has a strong track record in business strategy and planning, business development, customer relationship management, government relations, programme management and management of R&D.

From 2001 to 2010 he ran QinetiQ Trusted Experts. His early work was research in semiconductors, microwaves and RF.

In 2010 he was invited to be CEO of LexiconP, Developer of Software products. In January 2011 he also took up the role of CEO Defence Experts Ltd

SpecialtiesSpecialist in Strategic measurements, Change Management, Recruitment of highly qualified and experienced Experts

Business Strategy & Planning, Business Development, Programme Management, Client Relationship Management, Technology Exploitation

CAABS, CABBYME, Datchet Mead Hotel & now Defence Experts Ltd all at 145a Slough Road


Defence Experts Ltd  
145a Slough Road
Windsor, Bucks SL3 9AE


Administrative Contact:
Singh, Jaspal
145a Slough Road
Windsor, Bucks SL3 9AE
Technical Contact:
Singh, Jaspal
145a Slough Road
Windsor, Bucks SL3 9AE

Registration Service Provider:,
08709126612 (fax)

This company may be contacted for domain login/passwords,

DNS/Nameserver changes, and general domain support questions

CAABS CABBYME - shout out to your location Datchet Mead Hotel


145 Slough Road  
Telephone: 01753 541 070
Fax: 01753 580 192


The Datchet Mead Hotel is a small, 20 bedroom establishment offering guests a friendly and personal welcome at all times.

Child Abuse - Anti Bullying System - who is

Domain search for

Domain name:

jaspal gill

Registrant type:
UK Individual

Registrant's address:

145 Slough Road
United Kingdom

Webfusion Ltd t/a 123-reg [Tag = 123-REG]

Relevant dates:
Registered on: 08-Dec-2010
Renewal date: 08-Dec-2012
Last updated: 27-May-2011

Registration status:
Registered until renewal date.

Name servers:

Is Scientology Trying to Take Over Self-Publishing? - remember FIDDAMAN is a self publicist

L. Ron Hubbard, self-published for 60+ years.

Recently, I was pleased to learn that producer Paula Wagner - a former long-time production partner of Tom Cruise - had optioned a self-published novel to turn into a major motion picture. The book was Internet Dates From Hell by Trisha Ventker.

As I read about the book, I knew that once again Wagner had shown excellent judgment in material, as she had when partnered with Cruise, whose post-Wagner creative selections have not been so sharp. Ventker's story has everything a Hollywood hit needs: a young beautiful woman in New York City who is a kindergarten teacher, hilarious crazy online dating stories, and a happy ending resulting in marriage and relocation to a beautiful former mining town in Colorado. But what caught my eye was the following paragraph:

"The book was published through iUniverse, a self-publishing imprint of Author Solutions, and the deal came out of the author taking part in Author Solutions’ first Book-to-Screen PitchFest. After Ventker got good reaction, the book was brought to Wagner by Author Solutions director of new media Marcus Chait."

I have a best-selling book (for 20 years) about making it in writing and I keep up with new developments. In the latest edition I provide a good deal of information on self-publishing. In addition, I helped start the Hollywood Film Festival and have been a person "fielding pitches" at many a pitchfest. So there were numerous reasons the article caught my eye, but what made me wonder was the name Author Solutions and the name Chait.

As a former Scientologist who helped the church-run Author Services when it started in the 1980s, I wondered if Author Solutions was connected. Author Services started out as a group that would represent Scientologist writers, then when that didn't seem profitable, it turned into an organization promoting the science-fiction novels that L. Ron Hubbard came up with like the infamous Battlefield Earth which was transformed into a bomb of a movie by none other than John Travolta.

If you'll note on the Author Solutions link provided, at the top of the page it states:

Author Services

Every author wants to be published, but everyone has unique needs based on previous publishing experience, reason for writing, personal goals, and available resources. We're here to help.

I wondered if Marcus Chait was related to prominent Scientology financial contributor Izzy Chait, who owns the Chait Gallery in Beverly Hills. Not being able to determine a yes or no on that, I looked at the LinkedIn profile of Marcus Chait (don't blame me if it's gone when you read this) and discovered something very interesting. From May 2008 to August 2008, he was a "Creative Consultant to CEO" of United Artists in Los Angeles. That CEO was Tom Cruise, who split from Paula Wagner that August.

The profile also states that Chait studied psychology at the University of Santa Barbara from 1991 to 1993, so that made me doubt he could be a Scientologist, as Hubbard claimed that all the problems of Mankind stem from psychiatrists and psychologists. So hmm, I thought, was there some kind of oddity going on here, or not? Then I remembered a video I'd seen about a huge new "Dissemination and Distribution Center" for Scientology in Los Angeles - all 185,000 square feet of it.

As I looked at the photoshopped photo of the building it was supposedly housed in and studied the massive facilities depicted in the video (maybe $50 million of equipment), I knew that there was no way Scientology had a need for that much printing of Scientology materials, because the demand just wasn't there. The church already had a publications and audiovisual production facility on Olympic Boulevard in East Los Angeles. Why did they need this one? The building on Badini Boulevard in Commerce, California was where the church had supposedly moved its uniforms facility from Vernon some time back, but looking it up on Google Earth I could see it was indeed huge.

How huge? Well, big enough to have their own U.S. Post Office person working on-site, with the facility "hard-wired" into the government entity, if you believe the video.

I did a bit more investigation and found out there are special padded floors inside, so workers can stay on their feet all day long without getting so exhausted. Since I knew the church was under attack in many countries - Australia, France, Germany, etc. - and that the church facilities in Los Angeles looked relatively abandoned compared to my time in Scientology, what in the world could they be doing to keep those presses going?

Then I took another look at the Author Solutions site and the list of self-publishing houses they'd bought up: AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Trafford, and XLibris among others. Hmmm. I remembered something Tony Ortega of The Village Voice said about tell-all books published by former Scientologists, when writing about Jefferson Hawkins' Counterfeit Dreams:

"Regular publishers won't touch these books -- even though some of them are actually very well written -- so the authors have had to go the self-published route."

True, indeed. Unlike Janet Reitman's attempt at being fair and objective about Scientology (something the church has never done in my experience), dissenters' books like Nancy Many's My Billion-Year Contract, Amy Scobee's Abuse at the Top, and Marc Headley's Blown For Good tell hair-raising, horrible tales about the abuses of many years in Hubbard's pseudo-navy "Sea Organization" supposedly set on saving the world by "Clearing the Planet."

And those current hard-working Scientology staff members, like Owen Varrall (pictured from the video), they'd never defect, would they? After all, Owen completed the False Purpose Rundown a few years ago, Scientology counseling designed to strip away any "evil intentions" a person might have toward Scientology. Heck, with super-clean facilities and comfortable floors, surely those staff will stick around.

I wondered, would he be working on publications other than for Scientology in that huge facility?

Okay, so Author Solutions' funding seems to come by way of Bertram Capital, but who invests in Bertram? Does Tom Cruise or other Scientology celebrity millionaires? How about the massive fortunes amassed by Scientology itself, all tax-free? Where is all that money invested, other than in media real estate they've been buying up lately?

Not being funded by Rolling Stone magazine like Reitman, or The New Yorker like Lawrence Wright, I didn't continue investigating. It just seemed highly curious to me, and a fascinating possible scenario.

- Book company gets a major Hollywood hit movie out of a book they publish, resulting in lots of publicity.

- As a result of the hoopla, aspiring writers all over the world default to said book company for self-publishing.

- Former Scientologists who want to tell their tales find their options highly limited if said book company is prejudiced toward Scientology due to its personnel and/or connections.

- And just maybe, a multi-million dollar investment by a church having tax-exempt status gets earned out when they lease their equipment and/or personnel (working long hours on comfortable floors) to print all those self-published books.

Why, gee, that couldn't happen, could it? Sounds like something out of science-fiction.

I'll be waiting for - as the late great Paul Harvey would say - the rest of the story.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

SERTRALINE is the problem SSRI in Australia - yeah the one Janice Simmons husband John takes - FIDDAMAN

Antidepressant utilisation by age group and drug type, Australia, 2003–2005

GSK SEROXAT - Aropax - paroxetine was NEVER a problen in Australia - why does FIDDAMAN bang on about it?

Utilisation of top-selling* antidepressants in the Australian population, 1990–2002

©The Medical Journal of Australia 2004 ISSN: 0025-729X

Friday, 28 October 2011

Police to review child abuse files - LISSUE & FORSTER GREEN

THERE will be a full review of all matters relating to alleged child abuse at the Lissue Hospital near Lisburn, according to the PSNI.

A number of police investigations have already been carried out over a number of years with files sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions and Public Prosecution Service.

The promised review comes as health minister Edwin Poots spoke out in defence of the man he appointed as a child safety chief.

Hugh Connor, who at the time was director of social services at the then Eastern Health Board, appeared to suggest in a 2009 email leaked yesterday that a report into allegations of abuse at children’s hospitals should not be given to police in its entirety.

The latest investigation will focus on allegations relating to both Lissue House and Forster Green in Belfast during the 1980s and 1990s.

According to the PSNI, in July this year they received a copy of reviews carried out by various trusts and boards and an initial assessment and review was carried out by police.

A PSNI spokesman said: “When an allegation of criminality is identified, an investigation will be duly conducted by police.

“We would strongly urge any victims of abuse to contact their local team of specially-trained detectives from the Public Protection Unit. All allegations and any new information will be thoroughly investigated.”

In Hugh Connor’s controversial email, sent on his last day in post and published in yesterday’s Irish News, the man recently appointed by Mr Poots as head of the child safeguarding board, said that anything relevant to the police probe should be passed to the PSNI.

However, he added that “some discrimination” should be used in what parts of a report into the allegations of abuse at Lissue Hospital in Lisburn and Forster Green in Belfast in the 1980s and 1990s was given to police as not all may be relevant.

That prompted the Sinn Fein chairman of Stormont’s health committee, Michelle Gildernew, to say that it should have been left up to the police to decide whether the information was relevant.

But Mr Poots made clear that he did not believe Mr Connor had done anything wrong.

The DUP minister said the email was in the context of Mr Connor seeking to only give police relevant information.

“There is no indication whatsoever in his career that he has done anything other than give the best possible support to children,” he said.

“He has made great efforts to ensure that children are well looked after, and that is why he has got a job in the safeguarding board.

“In terms of the letter [email], it is very clear if you read it within its context and the words ‘with some discrimination on the information being given to the police’ – it relates to information which isn’t relevant.

“Therefore whenever people are trawling through mountains of papers on these issues, the information which does not add anything to the case, that they should use some discrimination about passing that to the police and if they have any doubt, take legal advice on it.”

l If you have suffered sexual abuse, the Nexus Institute offers counselling and can be contacted on 028 9032 6803 or by emailing

Tears on press bench as Jennifer Cardy's mother hugs lawyer who had defended killer Robert Black

Tears on press bench as Jennifer Cardy's mother hugs lawyer who had defended killer Robert Black

It was a simple yet moving gesture that encapsulated the remarkable qualities of the family of murdered Northern Ireland girl Jennifer Cardy.

Jennifer Cardy's mother Patricia walked over to the lawyer who had defended the man found guilty of her daughter's kidnap and murder and embraced him warmly.

That hug with David Spens QC in a quiet corner of Armagh Crown Court demonstrated the generosity and kindness of spirit the entire Cardy family retained throughout a trial which exposed them to an ordeal second only to the horror of losing Jennifer.

For the Cardys, this verdict was not about winners or losers, it was about justice.

Jennifer's father, Andy, had made a point of shaking hands with all members of Robert Black's defence team moments earlier.

"We would not have been happy if he had been convicted without a proper defence and we believe he had the best defence that could ever have been provided for a murderer," Mr Cardy said afterwards.

Around midday, he and his wife had held each other tight as the guilty verdicts were read to a courtroom choked with emotion.

Mrs Cardy sobbed into her husband's shoulder. Close by, their children, Mark, Philip and Victoria, absorbed the outcome with typically understated dignity.

Few had failed to be impacted by the evidence heard over the course of the previous five weeks as Black's sordid crimes against little girls were outlined in gruesome detail.

As the forewoman of the jury revealed the outcome of their two day deliberation, a number of her fellow jurors wept openly. They had shared embraces before they entered the court for the final time.

Tears flowed on the press benches as well, with journalists hardened through years of covering violence in Northern Ireland overcome by the moment.

On the other side of the court, detectives who had spent almost a decade building the case against the predatory paedophile exchanged glances of unspoken satisfaction.

One lawyer later said he had never experienced a day like it in 20 years in a courtroom.

Contrast this to the reaction of Black.

There was simply no reaction from the depraved killer.

Not even a shrug of the shoulders.

But as he was led from the dock, finally out of sight of the Cardy family and the jurors, there was a palpable wave of relief.

Judge Ronald Weatherup thanked the jury for enduring what he conceded had been a most traumatic experience and told them counselling was available if they felt they needed it.

Outside Court No 1 and after they had shared a quiet moment together, the Cardys made a point of thanking everyone who had been involved.

They had presents for Crown counsel Toby Hedworth QC and Donna McColgan QC and for all the detectives involved in bringing Black to justice, especially detective constable Yvonne Younger who had been at their side throughout in her role as family liaison officer.

"We have seen two sides of humanity over the last weeks," Mr Cardy reflected later.

"We have seen the side of Robert Black, we have also seen the side of the lovely people that we have met."

The detective who reopened the investigation in June 2002, Raymond Murray said it was not a day to think about Black - a man he described as "a lost cause to humanity".

Instead he said he wanted to focus on Jennifer and her family.

"They have had to sit through very harrowing material for six weeks," he said.

"They've done it with the incredible dignity that I've come to know that family has over the past nine and half years of this investigation.

"My thoughts are with Jennifer - the fantastic little girl as she has been described to me and no doubt the fabulous woman she would have grown up to be.

"That opportunity was denied her and it was denied her because she was cruelly murdered and taken from her family."

Read more:

Victim recalls Lissue Hospital 'beatings' - shame of N Ireland child psychiatric unit

A man who says he was abused at Lissue Children's Hospital in Lisburn has given the BBC a harrowing account of suffering at the hands of staff.

The hospital was the subject of a 2009 report into allegations of abuse in the 1980s and 90s.

"The main memories of it were that the staff were terrible. They were always hitting people", said the man, who wished to remain anonymous.

"Personally, I got beat a lot because I didn't eat any dinner," he added.

"Or if I did something stupid, I got the beatings or thrown against the wall or thrown across a table."

Lissue and another hospital, Forster Green in Belfast, were the subject of a report by Bob Stinson, believed to be a former police officer, in 2009.

It was never published but a copy was leaked to the Irish News which has reported extensive details of its contents.

The report was commissioned following allegations that girls aged between eight and 13 were abused in both hospitals.

"There was maybe four or five of us that were treated bad," the victim said.

"Any time, there was a window broken, or say, someone drew along the walls with a felt-tip pen, one of us five would have been the ones dragged out and punished for it."

In a statement, police said that they had carried number of investigations into alleged abuse over a number of years.

"In July this year, police received a copy of reviews carried out by various trusts and boards and an intitial assessment and review was carried out by police," the statement said.

"Police are fully committed to carrying out a full and thorough review of all material and have requested further information to assist in this."

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Minister Edwin Poots denies cover-up over Lissue & Forster Green abuse report - well we know what that means

Poots denies cover-up over abuse report

Filed under: an príomhbhóthar -

original source - News Letter

Thursday 27 October 2011

HEALTH minister Edwin Poots has denied that his department covered up a report into allegations of widespread child abuse at two former hospitals for mentally ill children.

The report, which was leaked yesterday, was carried out in 2008 on the orders of the Eastern Health Board after allegations of sexual, mental, and physical abuse against children while they were being cared for at Lissue Children’s Hospital in Lisburn and Forster Green Hospital in south Belfast.

However, it has never been published and only came to light yesterday after being leaked to the Irish News.

At a meeting of the Stormont health committee yesterday, health department officials insisted that there was “no deliberate withholding” of information about the allegations of abuse which relate to cases during the 1980s and 1990s.

But the DUP’s Jim Wells, who is to take over as health minister in two years, said that MLAs should have been told about the report without having to wait for the media to publish it.

However, Mr Poots, who was not minister at the time, told his party colleague: “I agree to a large extent with what you say but there’s not a smidgen of a cover-up.”

Mr Poots told MLAs that he was “appalled” by the revelations but added that he wanted to “reassure the committee that times have very much changed and child protection and adult safeguarding have come a very long way in the last 20 years”.

In a statement yesterday Mr Wells said that he was horrified by what had emerged.

He said: “The revelations which have been uncovered today relating to the former Lissue Children’s Hospital and Forster Green during the 1980s and early 90s are deeply disturbing.

“The extent of the sickening abuse which appears to have been detailed in a report into the two hospitals will appal people across Northern Ireland.

“It is very important that we find out the full details as to how this report could have been compiled in 2009 but has only come to light now.

“It would appear that only certain civil servants were aware of its existence and obviously questions must be answered not only about why this report was not made public, but as to what if any action has been taken in light of its contents.”

Health committee chairman Michelle Gildernew said: “This report makes disturbing reading and questions need to be asked of the minister and the health department.

“Vulnerable children within our society were abused and possibly scarred for life by those who had been entrusted with their welfare.”

One man's experience as child in Lissue House - but what did CCRH do to prevent Ireland child psychiatric abuse

The partner of a man who spent time as a child in Lissue Hospital in Lisburn has said he still suffers as a result of his time there.

The woman, who did not want to give her name, told BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback programme that her partner spent two to three years there.

"He was taken off his parents at the age of about four and was put into this care home/hospital," she said.

"His experiences basically were he was getting beat up daily by this staff member and he was nearly hung by some of the patients.

"Other things that happened to him were that he was constantly being drugged up so if his parents were to come in, he wouldn't know his parents.

"It was basically so he couldn't say anything to his parents to let them know what was happening."


Although he was still young when he left, the experience has stayed with him.

"He can remember it so vividly and whenever he first heard it mentioned this morning on Radio Ulster, he actually burst into tears and I've never seen my partner crying so severely," she said.

"He was sobbing his heart out.

"I was aware of part of it but he kind of had blocked a lot of it away and I think he is scared to open up now in case he can't handle what all comes out."

He was transferred to another home after three years but his partner said the effects of his time there had stayed with him into his adult life.

"He finds it very difficult to communicate with other people," she said.

"For instance, he was in his mid-30s before he had his first girlfriend.

"He just wanted to lock himself away in his own house. When he is depressed, he just stays in bed, he didn't want to deal with life."

She said her partner had never received any support or treatment.

"He hasn't had any form of help," she said.

"After the state he was in earlier on Thursday, I definitely think some sort of support would be required.

"It is horrendous, he was just saying to me that the worst thing that he found was being thrown into a locked dark room with no water or food for three to four days at a time.

"That's hard to deal with as a child."


The Irish News revealed details on Wednesday about a report into abuse at Lissue Hospital and Forster Green in Belfast in the 1980s and 90s.

The paper found that a 2009 review into the abuse allegations was never published.

Three allegations were made against members of staff over claims that girls aged between eight and 13 were abused.

It was compiled by independent health consultant Bob Stinson and completed in January 2009.

It said that two of the allegations of abuse were referred to police but a third was not because it was made some years after the alleged incident took place and, in the view of the report's author, was not corroborated.

The report also detailed concerns about children being asked to undress in front of staff.

In 14 cases, children were alleged to have sexually abused other children while staff also allegedly used humiliation to discipline children.

The 11 such cases of humiliation in the report were described by Mr Stinson as "one of the most disturbing elements of the review".

The review was instigated by the Belfast Trust and the Eastern Health Board after one former patient made a complaint to police.

PSNI - N Ireland Police to review Lissue House child abuse allegations

Police to review Lissue House child abuse allegations

The police have said they will carry out a full review into all matters relating to allegations of child abuse at Lissue House near Lisburn.

On Wednesday, the Irish News published details about a report into abuse at the children's hospital and at Forster Green in Belfast in the 1980s and 90s.

The 2009 review, by an independent health consultant, was never published.

Three allegations were made against members of staff over claims that girls aged between eight and 13 were abused.

It said that two of the allegations of abuse were referred to police but a third was not because it was made some years after the alleged incident took place and, in the view of the report's author, was not corroborated.

The report also detailed concerns about children being asked to undress in front of staff.

In 14 cases, children were alleged to have sexually abused other children while staff also allegedly used humiliation to discipline children.

The 11 such cases of humiliation in the report were described by the consultant who compiled it, Bob Stinson, as "one of the most disturbing elements of the review".

The review was instigated by the Belfast Trust and the Eastern Health Board after one former patient made a complaint to police.

The Belfast Health Trust said it reported allegations to the Eastern Board and to the Department of Health.

"We participated fully in the board investigation which followed and carried out all its recommendations to ensure the protection of vulnerable people," it said.

"Where allegations related to people who were working for the trust at that time, these were thoroughly investigated in line with normal disciplinary procedures.

"No formal disciplinary action was taken so no referral was made to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in that regard, but the NMC were alerted to an individual who left the trust."

Chairman defended

Earlier, Health Minister Edwin Poots defended the chairman of a new child safeguarding board.

The Irish News reported that Hugh Connor suggested that "some discrimination" should be used when providing police with information from a trust report into allegations of historic child abuse.

Mr Poots said Mr Connor's remarks had been taken out of context.

He said it related only to information which was not relevant.

The Irish News was given a confidential email which was written by Mr Connor, who was then director of social services at the former Eastern Health and Social Services Board.

Mr Connor was appointed chair of the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland in July 2011.

The board's role is to protect the welfare of vulnerable children.

The health minister said it was "somewhat unfortunate" that Mr Connor was being impugned in any way.

"Mr Connor has a very strong record in child care," he said.

"There is no indication whatsoever in his career that he has done anything other than give the best possible support to children.

"He has made great efforts to ensure that children are well looked after, and that is why he has got a job in the safeguarding board.

"In terms of the letter (email), it is very clear if you read it within its context and the words 'with some discrimination on the information being given to the police' - it relates to information which isn't relevant.

"Therefore whenever people are trawling through mountains of papers on these issues, if information does not add anything to the case they should use some discrimination about passing that to the police and if they have any doubt, take legal advice on it.

"It wasn't about withholding information from police, it was about ensuring that the information that the police got was relevant information therefore not to waste the police's time and ensure that they could more quickly come to the case."

He insisted that there was no cover-up because health officials had followed the correct procedures by liaising with the police about the allegations.

The PSNI has said it carried out a number of investigations into alleged abuse over a number of years and "where appropriate" files were sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions or in subsequent years to the Public Prosecution Service.

Cardy family prayed for killer Black - dignity in utmost loss

The parents of nine-year-old Jennifer Cardy, who was abducted and murdered by Robert Black thirty years ago, have spoken of how they prayed for the serial killer during his trial.

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UK's worst serial child killer

Family prayers

In Armagh

Dark past

In an emotional statement, made in front of waiting press outside Armagh Courthouse, Andrew and Patricia Cardy said they had no hate for Black - only pity.

"Robert Black stole the life of our daughter Jennifer, but Robert Black didn't steal the lives of me and my family - we've lived a happy, prosperous life, but we miss Jennifer each and every day," Jennifer's dad said.

The little girl's mum added: "Robert Black has done this awful deed, but I join with my lovely husband and say that he will not destroy us.

"I will say this - murder and death and trial and trauma are no match for the grace of God."

Earlier, Mrs Cardy had broken down in tears inside the court, as the jury delivered its unanimous guilty verdict and the judge ordered 64-year-old Black to be taken down.

Just before he was taken away, Mr Justice Weatherup told the Scotsman: "You have been convicted by a jury of murder.

"There is only one sentence that will be imposed by law - that's the sentence of life imprisonment. Accordingly, I sentence you to life imprisonment."

We have had to endure and listen to how Robert Black kidnapped, sexually abused and murdered our daughter - it has been absolutely horrendous. We heard things that, in all honesty, were not even in our imagination.

Andrew Cardy, Jennifer’s dad

The jury of nine women and three men sat through weeks of harrowing evidence before deliberating and delivering their decision.

It had taken six days to find Jennifer's body, 30 years to find her killer and just four hours and 15 minutes over two days to deliver justice.

On August 12, 1981, Jennifer's body was found in McKee's dam in Hillsborough, Co Down.

It was 15 miles from her home in the quiet village of Ballinderry, where she had set out from to cycle to her friend's house on her brand new bicycle.

Before she left, the thoughtful little girl had asked her mum to wind up her watch so she would be home for Jackanory.

When she didn't arrive on time, her mum knew something was wrong.

It transpired Jennifer had never reached her friend's house and searches that united the whole community began.

After her body was found, the poignant image of her little red bike left lying in a ditch shocked the whole of Northern Ireland.

During Robert Black's trial, the Crown held that he - as a London-based dispatch driver - was in Northern Ireland on the day of Jennifer's disappearance doing delivery runs.

It further held that the kidnap and murder of Jennifer bore the hallmarks and signature of his past crimes against young girls, but Black had denied the charges.

The now 64-year-old was finally caught in Scotland in 1990, when police stopped his van in the village of Stow and found a six-year-old girl bound and gagged in a sleeping bag.

She was alive but had been sexually abused moments earlier.

Black later described that date - Saturday July 14, 1990 - as the day "the roof fell in".

Four years later, he was convicted and jailed for the murders of three young girls all carried out in the 1980s.

None of us can imagine what the Cardy family have suffered over the past 30 years or, more recently, during the past weeks of this trial when the horrific events of August 1981 were re-visited.

Detective Superintendent Raymond Murray

The van driver had been connected to the scenes of his crimes by petrol receipts, so detectives investigating Jennifer's murder trawled through 560,000 of them in a bid to secure a conviction.

Finally, they found the one piece of paper that proved crucial - a docket signed by Black at a filling station in Coventry, in a van primarily used to deliver posters in Northern Ireland.

That, prosecutors argued, could only mean one thing - he was on the way back to base after disembarking from the overnight ferry from Belfast at Liverpool docks and therefore had been in Northern Ireland at the time of Jennifer's murder.

"In the end, it was good, old-fashioned police work which brought this case to trial and secured a conviction," Detective Superintendent Raymond Murray said.

"It was attention to detail."

The senior police officer said his thoughts, and those of everyone involved in the case, were with the Cardy family - Jennifer's parents, her sister Victoria and brothers Philip and Mark.

"The Cardy family have displayed both dignity and patience which most of us would find impossible to match," he said.

"They have stayed the course of this investigation over the past three decades and now I hope they feel they've got the justice they deserve."

The investigation into Jennifer's murder has been one of the longest ever conducted in Northern Ireland, but it ends with her killer behind bars.

Northern Ireland’s most infamous cyber pervert caught again returning from Bangkok, Thailand

One of Northern Ireland’s most infamous cyber perverts, who once paid a Thai mother for photographs of her children, has been jailed again for almost three years.

Ian Magill (63), from Ballyhornan Road, Downpatrick, was yesterday sentenced to two years and eight months after being convicted for breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) at Downpatrick Crown Court.

Magill, a graphic designer who once worked at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, may also face charges in England after he was arrested at Heathrow Airport last November returning from a secret trip to Thailand with a laptop computer containing graphic images of child pornography.

Prosecution barrister Stephanie Boyd told the court that Magill, who was required to inform police of any travel arrangements, had obtained permission to travel to Dublin but, when he entered the Republic, used an internet cafe to book flights to London, Bangkok and Hong Kong despite being banned from owning a computer and going online.

Magill was identified and arrested as he passed through Heathrow. A laptop which he had bought in Thailand was seized and he admitted that police would find indecent images if they looked on the hard drive.

In 2007 Magill was handed a two-year jail term for making 50 indecent images of children including categories four and five — the most serious categories.

Describing his latest SOPO breaches as “really quite appalling”, Judge David Smyth said: “What does trouble the court is that this was a devious, premeditated and calculated way to get round exactly what a SOPO is supposed to do, and that is to reduce the risk of repetition.

“He didn’t genuinely tell the police or people who were monitoring him that he was going to Thailand.”

Magill's defence barrister, Chris Holmes, described it as an “unusual and unique case” because his client had been candid “about his difficulties, the things which have got him into trouble”.

“The evil here is really taking himself off to Bangkok in a devious fashion,” Mr Holmes told the court. “He has a lesson learned. He has had nine months to think about it. He fully accepts that it was a foolish thing to do. He could have approached his manager and said ‘this is what I am going to do’.”

However, the prosecution interjected: “Mr Magill is well aware that the police would never have given him permission to fly to Bangkok.”

Magill's double life can be traced back as far as 1991 when he was convicted of taking indecent images of a child.

He was caught smuggling child pornography from Amsterdam in 1995, and admitted in a previous court hearing that he has had a perverted interest in female children from the age of 12, when he was at boarding school in Dublin.

Magill, whose SOPO still remains indefinitely enforced, will serve half of his sentence in custody while the other half will be under supervised parole.

He was given credit by the court for his early guilty plea.

Mr Holmes said Magill had told police that he did not think he could be cured, and that “I am going to have to control myself”.

Proceedings in Downpatrick had to be temporarily adjourned yesterday after a disturbance

broke out in the foyer of the courthouse.

As he was led into the dock yesterday morning handcuffed to a prison guard, Magill appeared dishevelled, dressed in a wrinkled blue shirt with long, greying, unkempt hair.

His faced looked haggard and drawn.

Handing down the sentence, Judge Smyth added: “The connection with Thailand makes this more worrying. You deviously sought to avoid the prohibition of travelling without permission.

“It’s hard, given the record and connection of Thailand and the rationale of a SOPO, to contemplate a worse case.”

Proceedings in Downpatrick had to be temporarily adjourned yesterday after a row broke out in the foyer of Downpatrick court house.

As he was led into the dock yesterday morning handcuffed to a prison guard, Magill appeared dishevelled, dressed in a wrinkled blue shirt with long, greying unkempt hair. His faced looked haggard and drawn.

Handing down the sentence, Judge Smyth added: “The connection with Thailand make this more worrying. You obviously and deviously sought to avoid the prohibition of travelling without permission.”

“It’s hard given the record and connection of Thailand and the rationale of a SOPO to contemplate a worse case.”


Ian Magill, a 63-year-old graphic designer, has a string of convictions. His sordid history can be traced to 1991 when he was convicted of taking indecent images of a child. In 1995 he was caught smuggling child pornography from Amsterdam, and in 2007 Magill was jailed for two years for making indecent images of children.

Read more:

Birmingham in the House! Another Jaw-Dropping Scientology Video - FIDDAMAN

Anonymous has found another nugget of pure gold. Yesterday, a remarkable song and set of photos were leaked to the Anonymous website that were apparently from the Scientology organization in Birmingham, England. Now, Anonymous has put together the photos and the song in this quite entertaining video.

As we've reported here many times before, Scientology is currently in a period of decline and it's getting increasingly desperate to find ways to get money out of its diminishing membership -- even as it pushes to purchase new buildings for "Ideal Orgs."

The Birmingham group is apparently trying to push for their own building, and in order to whip up their members into a fundraising fervor, put together this song and tropical event.

To inspire them, they were shown a video testimonial by a man who has apparently pledged 20,000 pounds, but as we can see from some of the photos, these poor put-upon "publics" (Scientology's word for regular members who are not on staff) appear to be giving donations of only 10 to 50 pounds each.

This also appears to be the same "org" that put out a mailer urging its members to capitalize on the recent riots as a fundraising opportunity.

I can't tell from the photos whether this event happened before or after that period. But what a song. Please watch it and enjoy.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Thalidomide in clinical trial for Alzheimer's patients ...BoB FIDDAMAN counterpoint blog

Thalidomide in clinical trial for Alzheimer's patients . by Brandy Aguilar, Special Projects -

Posted on October 10, 2011 at 9:50 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 11 at 9:23 AM

PHOENIX -- Alzheimer's disease affects more than 5 million Americans. While there's no cure, the medical world is working hard to find one and a drug that caused severe birth defects more than 50 years ago is now being looked at as a sign of hope.

“It's a lonely disease for the caregivers,” Carol McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin's husband, Tom, has Alzheimer's.

“He had no problems finding a job, but he couldn't keep it and I thought that's not right,” McLaughlin said.

She knew something was wrong when her husband couldn't remember basic tasks as a forklift driver.

“I would get on the Jeep and get the stack over there and I didn't know where they said to put it,” Tom McLaughlin said. “I knew it wasn't me.”

He has battled the disease for 10 years and medications had been helping "until the last visit about two weeks ago, where there was noticeable decline in his memory, he couldn't do anything,” Carol McLaughlin said.

“They're intended to improve people's symptoms for a period of time,” Dr. Marwan Sabbagh said. “They don't work in all people and they have not been able to show that they slow the rate of decline. So we're really looking for a drug that will stop the progression.”

Sabbagh is director of Banner Sun Health Research Institute in Sun City. The drug he's hoping to stop memory loss with is called Thalidomide. It caused serious birth defects back in the late 1950s.

“FDA did not have any problem with our science,” Sabbagh said. “They said you have to ensure the safety of the participants because Thalidomide has a checkered history.”

Sabbagh said, “We noticed that it blocked another enzyme, key enzyme, in the brain called Beta-secretase and Beta-secretase has been an enzyme which is responsible, one of the two enzymes, responsible for the creation of amyloid, which is ultimately what leads to the Alzheimer's.”

A clinical trial is under way at the institute to determine if the pill can benefit those battling Alzheimer's in the mild to moderate stage.

“What we're looking for are participants who would be willing to take the medication or matching placebo,” Sabbagh said. ”Spinal tap is elective, encouraged but elective, and we're going to measure their memory scores, blood tests, if their interested spinal fluid, and look at whether Thalidomide changes them before and after in a six-month study.”

As for the McLaughlins, knowing that this type of clinical trial is right here in Arizona is worth checking out.

“I thought it was great and I kept thinking, well, if it doesn't help him at least maybe it will help somebody down the line,” Carol McLaughlin said.

If the drug shows promising results, Sabbagh plans to propose a national clinical trial. The institute is still looking for participants. For more information log onto

Child sex abuse at two N Ireland childrens psychiatric hospitals

Concern at Lissue, Forster Green abuse report 'secrecy'

The Irish News broke the story about the abuse inquiry on Wednesday Stormont health committee chair Michelle Gildernew has raised concerns about the "secrecy" around a report into abuse at two children's hospitals.

The 2009 review, which was never published, detailed abuse at Lissue hospital in Lisburn and Forster Green in Belfast in the 1980s and 90s.

Three allegations were made against members of staff over claims that girls aged between eight and 13 were abused.

The Irish News broke the story after obtaining a copy of the report.


It was compiled by independent health consultant Bob Stinson and completed in January 2009.

It said that two of the allegations of abuse were referred to police but a third was not because it was made some years after the alleged incident took place and, in the view of the report's author, was not corroborated.

The report also detailed concerns about children being asked to undress in front of staff.

In 14 cases, children were alleged to have sexually abused other children while staff also allegedly used humiliation to discipline children.

The 11 such cases of humiliation in the report were described by Mr Stinson as "one of the most disturbing elements of the review."

The review was instigated by the Belfast Trust and the Eastern Health Board after one former patient made a complaint to police.

After a meeting of the health committee on Wednesday afternoon, Michelle Gildernew said the report had "raised more questions than answers".


Michelle Gildernew has said she will be seeking a meeting with health officials "I think we will certainly want to speak to senior officials within the department (of health) to see why there was such secrecy about this report.

"I think in the current climate of transparency and accountability, the secrecy around this is very disturbing.

"It will be interesting to see just at what level of the department decisions were taken to keep this so quiet.

"If it was done in the best interests of children, that's one thing. If it was done in the interests of staff, that's another thing entirely

Addleshaw Goddard can't get enough of the original & best BoB Fiddaman blog

Stalking: false claims of victimisation - more about FIDDAMAN illness

Stalking: false claims of victimisation.

M Pathé, P E Mullen and R Purcell

+ Author Affiliations

Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health, Rosanna, Australia.


BACKGROUND False allegations of victimisation although uncommon are important to recognise. This paper examines those who falsely claim to have been the victims of stalking.

AIMS To highlight the phenomenon of false victims of stalking.

METHOD Twelve individuals who falsely claimed to be victims of stalking were compared with a group of 100 true stalking victims.

RESULTS False stalking victims presented for help earlier than real victims and were less likely to claim harassment via letters. They reported equivalent levels of violence directed at themselves but seldom claimed others were attacked. Five types of false claimants were recognisable. False victims consumed more medical services than genuine stalking victims and they were more likely to be embroiled in legal action. They reported similar levels of distress with suicidal ruminations in over 40%.

CONCLUSIONS The current interest in stalking is promoting false claims of being stalked. Early identification of these cases and appropriate intervention are essential to both minimising abuses of resources available to true victims and equally to ensure appropriate care for those who express their own disordered state in false claims of victimisation.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Perinatal antidepressant stunts brain development - FIDDAMAN counterpoint blog EXCLUSIVE **

Perinatal antidepressant stunts brain development

October 24th, 2011 in Research

Cross-sections of the part of the rat brain that connects the left and right hemisphere (corpus collosum) show stunted development of neuronal wiring, called axons, in an animal that received an antidepressant (right) during a critical period around the time of birth. A protective sheath, called myelin (visible in normal animal at left), that normally wraps the axons and boosts their efficiency, failed to develop normally in the treated animal. The resultant inefficient neuronal communications could underlie the pattern of deficits seen in autism. Credit: Rick C.S. Lin, Ph.D., University of Mississippi Medical Center

Rats exposed to an antidepressant just before and after birth showed substantial brain abnormalities and behaviors, in a study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

After receiving citalopram, a serotonin-selective reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), during this critical period, long-distance connections between the two hemispheres of the brain showed stunted growth and degeneration. The animals also became excessively fearful when faced with new situations and failed to play normally with peers – behaviors reminiscent of novelty avoidance and social impairments seen in autism. The abnormalities were more pronounced in male than female rats, just as autism affects 3-4 times more boys than girls.

"Our findings underscore the importance of balanced serotonin levels – not too high or low -- for proper brain maturation," explained Rick Lin, Ph.D., of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, a Eureka Award grantee of the NIH's National Institute of Mental Health.

Lin and colleagues report on their discovery online during the week of Oct. 24, 2011, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Last July, a study reported an association between mothers taking antidepressants and increased autism risk in their children. It found that children of mothers who took SSRI's during the year prior to giving birth ran twice the normal risk of developing autism – with treatment during the first trimester of pregnancy showing the strongest effect. A study published last month linked the duration of a pregnant mother's exposure to SSRIs to modest lags in coordination of movement – but within the normal range – in their newborns.

"While one must always be cautious extrapolating from medication effects in rats to medication effects in people, these new results suggest an opportunity to study the mechanisms by which antidepressants influence brain and behavioral development," said NIMH Director Thomas R. Insel, M.D. "These studies will help to balance the mental health needs of pregnant mothers with possible increased risk to their offspring."

Earlier studies had hinted that serotonin plays an important role in shaping the still-forming brain in the days just after a rat is born, which corresponds to the end of the third trimester of fetal development in humans. Experimental manipulations of the chemical messenger during this period interfered with formation of sensory-processing regions of the cortex, or outer mantle, and triggered aggressive and anxiety-related behaviors in rodents.

There is also recent evidence in humans that serotonin from the placenta helps shape development of the fetal brain early in pregnancy. Disrupted serotonin has been linked to mood and anxiety disorders. SSRIs, the mainstay medication treatment for these disorders, boost serotonin activity. ,

Lin and colleagues gave citalopram to male and female rat pups prenatally and postnatally and examined their brains and behavior as they grew up. Male, but not female, SSRI exposed rat pups abnormally froze when they heard an unfamiliar tone and balked at exploring their environment in the presence of unfamiliar objects or scents. These behaviors persisted into adulthood. The male pups especially also shunned normal juvenile play behavior – mimicking traits often seen in children

A key brain serotonin circuit, the raphe system, known to shape the developing brain during the critical period when the animals were exposed to the drug, showed dramatic reductions in density of neuronal fibers. Evidence of stunted development in the circuit coursed through much of the cortex and other regions important for thinking and emotion, such as the hippocampus.

The researchers also discovered miswiring in the structure responsible for communications between the brain's left and right hemispheres, called the corpus collosum. Extensions of neurons, called axons, through which such long-distance communications are conducted, were deformed. A protective sheath, called myelin, that normally wraps and boosts axons' efficiency-- like insulation on an electrical wire – was reduced by one-third in the treated animals. This damage was three times worse in male than in female pups and would likely result in abnormal communication between the two hemispheres, say the researchers.

Moreover, the perinatally exposed animals showed evidence of neurons firing out of sync and other electrophysiological abnormalities, suggesting faulty organization of neuronal networks in the cortex.

Provided by National Institutes of Health

"Perinatal antidepressant stunts brain development." October 24th, 2011.

Monday, 24 October 2011

EMROY psychiatrist Accutane - PET Study Discredited in Court Opinion - FIDDAMAN mate Bremner BOUGHT !

Accutane-PET Study Discredited in Court Opinion

It's one thing for a physician to serve as a medical expert for plaintiffs in court cases. It's very much another when plaintiffs actually commission a physician to conduct a study—the results of which are intended to support their litigation. (Think Andrew Wakefield and the associated antivaccination mess.)

Now, according to a newly released court opinion (courtesy of Jim Beck at the Drug and Device Law blog), it is revealed that plaintiffs in the Accutane litigation* specifically commissioned Emory psychiatrist J. Douglas Bremner to conduct a PET study, which led to the conclusion that Accutane reduces metabolism in "a brain area known to mediate symptoms of depression." The results of the uncontrolled study were published in a 2005 issue of the peer-reviewed American Journal of Psychiatry,** and for the purposes of the court case, "Bremner issued an expert report opining that Accutane can cause depression and suicide."

If this conflict of interest isn't sufficiently disturbing, the court opinion reveals further that Bremner's commissioned data were highly suspect.

During a lengthy pretrial hearing, in which Bremner was questioned about the PET study by defendant's counsel,

Bremner was repeatedly confronted with problems in the PET study, including missing data, inaccurate data, and deviations from the methodology he claimed to have followed. As a result...the court permitted Bremner to re-work his study data and issue a supplemental expert report and allowed defendant to re-depose him. When the hearing resumed, Bremner admitted that certain underlying data, known as "Bmax numbers" which had been used to make critical calculations in the study, [were] not retrievable from its computerized format, and some of the data concerning individual study subjects [were] still inaccurate.

(I could be wrong here, but Bmax, in this context, appears to be a maximum basal metabolic rate of the brain area in question—a necessary reference standard from which to calculate any metabolic changes.)

The opinion goes on to state,

[T]hat Bremner did not actually use the methodology he claimed to have used. Although his PET scan article was peer-reviewed, he admitted that he did not in fact follow the steps described in the article.

Significantly, contrary to representation made in the article, [Bremner] did not get before-and-after Skindex questionnaires from many of the subjects. Those questionnaires were designed to elicit the extent to which the subjects might be worried about their acne. This was relevant because some scientists were of the view that worrying, as well as depression, could affect activity in the orbital frontal cortex.

Note: The orbitofrontal cortex is the brain area in question. Reduced volume of the orbitofrontal cortex has been implicated in major depressive disorder. According to Bremner's published article, the Skindex questionnaire was "administered before and after treatment." The implication is that it was administered to all participating subjects.

The opinion continues,

Bremner also could not document much of the data on which his published results were based. Further, he admitted that some of the statistical analysis was inaccurate. For example, in the October 2, 2006 hearing session, Bremner admitted that, for each study participant, comparing the activity in the orbital frontal cortex with the activity in the whole brain revealed no difference between the subject who took Accutane and those who took antibiotics.

Retreating from the results claimed in his 2005 article, he testified at the hearing that the "absolute metabolic rates" for the two groups was significantly different, and contended that was the key finding of the PET study. However, Bremner claimed that he could not produce the source data for that analysis because the "Bmax" numbers used to calculate those metabolic rates was on an optical computer drive that could not be opened.

Further, while he admitted that some of the Bmax numbers he used in his calculations were inaccurate, he could not check the accuracy of the remaining numbers because the original data could not be retrieved.

An expert's scientific peers cannot fairly judge the expert's written work, including whether it is worthy of publication, if his article does not accurately represent either the underlying data or what the author did to produce his results. We agree with the trial judge that, in essence, Bremner's study was not "soundly and reliably generated."

While this information indicates that Bremner and his coauthors should have retracted the PET study from publication in the AJP, the shaken peer-review process is sustained by a mere notice of correction. At the end of the Letters to the Editor section in a 2008 issue of the AJP is this short paragraph in reduced type:


In the article "Functional Brain Imaging Alterations in Acne Patients Treated With Isotretinoin," by J. Douglas Bremner et al. (Am J Psychiatry 2005; 162:983-991), only seven subjects in each treatment group completed the Skindex posttreatment. The secondary analysis that included whole brain metabolism before and after treatment did not reach significance on re-analysis.

In the meantime, the authors of at least 42 articles, according to a Google search, have cited Bremner's PET study. These authors include Bremner himself, who wrote in 2008, "Administration of [Accutane] (but not antibiotic) was associated with a 16% decrease in brain metabolism in the orbitofrontal cortex after four months of treatment."

Also a blogger, Bremner, in an ironic turn, charged conflicts of interest among Roche's key opinion leaders who believe that Accutane does not cause depression.

PET = positron emission tomography.

* Specifically Palazzolo v Hoffman-LaRoche, in which a mother argued that Accutane caused the suicide of her teenage son. Since July 2009, Roche's trade name for the drug is Roaccutane.

** Published disclosures do reveal that the PET study was "[s]upported by funding from Liam Grant, director of the Roaccutane Action Group (80%), and by lawyers involved in Accutane litigation (20%)." The amount of money that Grant provided is not clear; however, information provided by Bremner here indicates that Grant, whose son committed suicide while taking Accutane, contacted Bremner directly and gave an "unrestricted grant" to Emory for the PET study. A 2005 article in USA Today indicates that Grant spent about $1 million to fund the Emory PET study and a rodent study at the University of Massachusetts.

Unrelated, generic PET image from Wikipedia.

02/06/10 addendum: At his blog, Bremner responded today to Jim Beck's post and this post. Bremner harshly and wrongly, in my opinion, describes our discussions of the court opinion as "an outpouring of hate." (I think "criticism" is a better descriptor.) He also casts aspersions at Beck's and my respective alliances with the pharmaceutical industry. (Beck makes it no secret that he represents drug companies in related litigation. I make it no secret that I have worked in pharmaceutical marketing.* While this information is important to know, it doesn't make our criticisms or concerns about plaintiff-sponsored research necessarily baseless.)

Bremner continues by denying that his PET study was "commissioned for the litigation," despite the fact that the court opinion states, on page 3, "There is no dispute that the study was commissioned specifically for use in this litigation." This statement clearly indicates that opposing parties in the litigation did not contest this point, despite the fact that Bremner disagrees with it.

Bremner then fails to support his disagreement. He merely affirms that 80% of the PET study was funded by an Accutane plaintiff (Liam Grant) and writes that Roche wouldn't perform a study (presumably a PET study) or supply medication for a study. Bremner's allegation that Roche wouldn't participate in an Accutane-PET study hardly refutes the statement that Bremner's PET study was commissioned by the plaintiffs. And the fact that the drug industry supports a lot of clinical research, much of it under FDA scrutiny as Jim Beck stresses, doesn't mean that a) a physician is justified in accepting plaintiff money to perform research (whether intended for use in their litigation); b) a physician who accepts plaintiff money for research is immune to plaintiff bias; or c) accepting plaintiff money somehow makes up for any potential bias in pharma-funded research.

Bremner then addresses the study's missing data (which he says were erroneously labeled "Bmax" by the court). According to Bremner, these data were eventually retrieved, albeit after "a court deadline had passed"; however, Bremner does not address the court's disturbing statement, "some of the data concerning individual study subjects [were] still inaccurate."

Bremner minimizes the court's allegation that he did not follow the study's described methodology with respect to the use of the Skindex questionnaire, by stating that "[i]t was by no means the primary outcome of the study" and that "there was no correlation between this item and brain function." He alleges that the questionnaire was added "late" to the study protocol at the request of a "dermatologist who was later found to be a paid consultant to Roche." The implication is that Roche, through this dermatologist, somehow tried to manipulate Bremner's PET study. (It should be noted that the authors of the study do not include a dermatologist, as far as I can tell; so if a dermatologist had significant input into the study protocol, this should have been revealed in the study article.)

The Skindex questionnaire (if a PubMed search is any indication) appears to be a widely used, quality-of-life measure in dermatologic studies. The court wrote that the consistent use of the Skindex questionnaire "was relevant because some scientists were of the view that worrying, as well as depression, could affect activity in the orbital frontal cortex." The article by Bremner et al indicates that the Skindex questionnaire was 1 of 3 components of the study's behavioral assessment (the other 2 being the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and a clinician-administered acne questionnaire).

In any event, Bremner et al wrote that the Skindex questionnaire was "administered before and after treatment" in his 28-person PET study. This information, it turns out, was misleading, if not outrightly false. The questionnaire was administered to only half of the enrollees before and after treatment, according to the 2008 correction.

Bremner does acknowledge that "some data entry errors were found" in his study but that a "re-analysis of the study resulted in no change in the conclusion." This latter statement doesn't appear to be entirely true, at least according to the court opinion and to the 2008 correction.

In their 2005 AJP article, Bremner et al wrote,

Administration of [Accutane] but not antibiotic was associated with decreased brain metabolism in the orbitofrontal cortex after 4 months of treatment...This effect was seen for both absolute metabolism...and for the ratio of orbitofrontal to whole brain metabolism (F=4.64, df=1, 110, p<0.05). A secondary analysis included pretreatment whole brain metabolism in the model and also showed greater reductions in orbitofrontal metabolism after treatment in the isotretinoin group than in the antibiotic group (F=9.66, df=1, 104, p=0.002).

But the court wrote,

[I]n the October 2, 2006 hearing session, Bremner admitted that, for each study participant, comparing the activity in the orbital frontal cortex with the activity in the whole brain revealed no difference between the subject who took Accutane and those who took antibiotics.

And the 2008 correction states,

The secondary analysis that included whole brain metabolism before and after treatment did not reach significance on re-analysis.

Bremner concludes his rebuttal by stating that "it doesn't matter" and provides a link to a 2008 review article he cowrote. In this article, Bremner proposes how retinoids (like Accutane) may be involved in the neurobiology of affective disorders and cites 2 suggestive mice studies. Among the clinical studies described by Bremner, none of which is well-controlled, the results are mixed. Some suggest a link between Accutane use and depression, and others do not.

I have no vested interest in whether Accutane causes depression or suicide; however, the data, as they currently exist and as Bremner presents them, are not abundantly compelling.** Furthermore, I maintain that plaintiff-sponsored research is disturbing and represents a potentially significant conflict of interest for the investigator who accepts plaintiff funds to perform related studies—particularly studies that may be used to the advantage of the plaintiff in ongoing litigation.

Whether the results of Bremner's PET study, which the court found problematic, are valid can only be determined by their reproducibility—ideally in a randomized, double-blind trial.

* However, during the last 6 years, I've worked in continuing medical education (CME); during the last 2 years, this has been in a freelance capacity. I'm most certainly not paid by anyone to blog.

** Which is why plaintiffs are interested in funding research.