Every week, KHN reporter Shefali S. Kulkarni selects interesting reading from around the Web.
The Oregonian: Native Americans Strive For Health Against Alcohol, Chaos And Trauma Pearl Scott lifts the baby from the crib and balances the child on her hip, just as someone did with her when she was a baby 20 years ago. Her mom went through addiction treatment here in the Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest’s residential center. Now Scott works for NARA, operated by and for Native Americans. She helps care for the 10 children, all 5 years old and younger, of parents in treatment. … NARA opened in 1970 solely to address alcoholism, but today provides an array of mental, social and medical services. Residents cite the cultural connection more often than any other factor as the service that helped them most in their recovery (Bill Graves, 6/26).
New York Times Magazine: When My Crazy Father Actually Lost His Mind We were playing our card game at the Psychiatric Emergency Screening Services, or PESS, a small locked-down unit in the community hospital near my parents’ apartment in Somerville, N.J. Harsh fluorescent lighting fell on cracked and faded yellow walls. A disheveled, rail-thin woman paced and wept in the room across the way. Down the hall, a police officer guarded locked double doors. It was early December 2010. That August, my father, who was 69, became abruptly and deeply paranoid. Convinced that nameless people were trying to kill him, he slept no more than an hour or two a night and started drinking after five years of sobriety. When his suspicions grew to include his immediate family, he became violent and threatened suicide. … In rare moments of lucidity, he would cry and apologize, confessing that he was terrified. He didn’t know what was happening to him. But we did. He was given a diagnosis of bipolar syndrome (Jeneen Interlandi, 6/22).
The Daily Beast: Home Birth: Increasingly Popular, But Dangerous A few decades ago, home birth in the United States was mostly limited to insular religious communities like the Amish and to dedicated members of the counterculture like (Ina May) Gaskin, whose husband founded The Farm as a commune in the 1970s. In recent years, though, it’s moved toward the mainstream, spurred by the rise of attachment parenting, a reaction against a dysfunctional medical system, and pro-midwife documentaries like The Business of Being Born, which featured producer Ricki Lake giving birth in her bathtub. Though still quite small, the number of home births is increasing — according to the Centers for Disease Control, it grew 29 percent between 2004 and 2009, to 29,650. … Yet as the number of such births grows, so does the number of tragedies (Michelle Goldberg, 6/25).
The Atlantic: Make Some Noise: Treating Mental Disorders With The Power Of Music The term “music therapy” first appeared in The Columbia Magazine back in 1789, but it wasn’t until the 1940s that music therapy began to emerge as a clinical profession when hospitals used music to treat World War II soldiers suffering from shell shock. Using music as a therapeutic medium has been shown to facilitate motivation, communication skills and social interaction, and it improves attention spans among children with autism. … In his music therapy session, Jaden switched from his piano to a percussion set, moving swiftly between drums and cymbals. Asch accompanied him on the guitar at a languid pace, trying to slow Jaden down. Oblivious to Asch’s bluesy guitar tune, the child continued his rapid drum solo (Nikhita Venugopal, 6/26).
NPR: Dementia Complicates Romance In Nursing Homes Relationships are never easy. If the partners in love happen to be living in a nursing home, there are even more challenges. And if they’re showing signs of dementia, then things get really tricky. Although no law forbids intimate relationships between people with dementia in nursing homes, staff and family members often discourage residents from expressing their sexuality, says a recent report in the Journal of Medical Ethics. Sexuality might be an uncomfortable topic for some families to discuss, but sex is a matter of dignity for many older people, says Dr. Laura Tarzia, lead author of the report and a researcher at the Australian Centre for Evidence Based Aged Care. Older people who live on their own continue to enjoy romantic relationships, even if they are in the early stages of dementia; the trouble begins when they move into a facility for care (Jessica Stroller-Conrad, 6/26).
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