Amber Alert

New Study Links Fibromyalgia to Reduced Brain Dopamine

ORANGE, Calif -- 4 January 2007 -- The National Fibromyalgia Association today announced that a new study published in the January issue of The Journal of Pain provides new scientific evidence demonstrating for the first time that there is a fundamental difference between the brains of fibromyalgia patients and healthy individuals not afflicted with the disorder.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Patrick Wood, is a nationally recognized researcher and authority on the cause and treatment of fibromyalgia. This groundbreaking study supports Dr Wood’s “Dopamine Theory of Fibromyalgia,” which proposes that people with fibromyalgia produce less dopamine—a natural chemical in the body that functions as a neurotransmitter—in the very areas of the brain where dopamine is needed to process painful bodily sensations.

The reduction in the activity of dopamine neurons, believed to result from a combination of environmental factors, including chronic stress, as well as genetic factors, serves as the strongest evidence yet that dopamine-related issues may be the root cause of fibromyalgia.

“This study provides a whole new perspective on the pathology of fibromyalgia symptoms,” says Wood.

The research study used positron emission tomography (PET) to compare the capacity of fibromyalgia patients to synthesize brain dopamine in comparison with healthy controls. A total of seven female fibromyalgia patients and eight healthy controls were recruited for the study at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, where Dr. Wood serves as assistant professor and directs both the Fibromyalgia Research Program and the Fibromyalgia Care Clinic. The results of the study demonstrate that patients with fibromyalgia have significantly reduced dopamine synthesis in multiple brain regions.

“It’s all in your head!”

For years, people with fibromyalgia have been told that their illness and symptoms were imaginary, or “all in their heads!” Indeed, fibromyalgia has divided the medical community on the subject of its legitimacy due in large part to the lack of a known cause or genetic markers,.

According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, an estimated 10 million Americans are affected by the disorder. Genetic factors and exposure to chronic stress have been increasingly suspected as key factors associated with fibromyalgia. Treatment typically focuses on addressing fibromyalgia symptoms, which include widespread pain, fatigue and sleep disturbance.

“One of the reasons fibromyalgia is considered so controversial is because we simply don’t know the cause,” explained Dr. Wood. “Our treatment of the symptoms has been sort of a ‘shot in the dark’ because we don’t really understand what it is we are treating.” However, based in the results of this study, there is reason to bring more emphasis on those treatments that may affect brain dopamine activity. “In effect,” Wood said, “we may begin to treat the source of the disorder, and not just its symptoms.”

“Fibromyalgia: Show Me Where It Hurts”

Dr. Wood’s research involving the Dopamine Theory of Fibromyalgia is featured in a recently released film entitled “Fibromyalgia: Show Me Where It Hurts,” which premiered at the National Fibromyalgia Association's 2006 National Patient Conference in March.

A trailer of the film can be viewed on the National Fibromyalgia Association’s website:

In light of the latest results and the small initial sample size, Dr. Wood and the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) are urging further studies to determine the extent to which the lack of dopamine might be associated with the pain and other symptoms that characterize fibromyalgia.

"Further research on Dr. Wood’s Dopamine Theory could help answer questions that could directly benefit people with fibromyalgia,” said Lynne Matallana, founder and president of the National Fibromyalgia Association, the largest nonprofit association serving people with fibromyalgia and other chronic pain illnesses. Matallana, who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1995, appears in “Fibromyalgia: Show Me Where It Hurts.”

For the complete text of the study, visit:

Inspiration Practice

Here are five ways to live each day 'in Spirit.' These daily practices will help you move toward spirituality/inspiration in your daily thoughts and actions.

1. Commit to at least one daily experience where you share something of yourself with no expectation of being acknowledged or thanked. For example, before I begin my daily routine of exercise, meditation, or writing, I go to my desk and choose my gift for that day. Sometimes it’s just a phone call to a friend, or perhaps I send some chocolate to someone I know that needs a "pick me up," or maybe I sent a book to someone who has helped me in a local store. It doesn't matter if this activity is big or small — it’s a way to begin the day "in Spirit."

2. Become conscious of all thoughts that aren’t aligned with your Source. The moment you catch yourself excluding someone or having a judgmental thought, say the words “in Spirit” to yourself. Then make a silent effort to shift that thought to a more positive thought.

3. In the morning before you’re fully awake, and again as you’re going to sleep, take one or two minutes of what I call “quiet time with God.” Be in a state of appreciation and say aloud, “I want to feel good.”

4. Remind yourself of this statement: My life is bigger than I am. Print it out and post it strategically in your home, car, &/or workplace.

5. Dedicate your life to something that reflects an awareness of your Divinity. You are greatness personified, a resident genius, and a creative master — regardless of anyone’s opinion. Make a silent dedication to encourage and express your Divine nature.

Family Minute

What are your priorities?

It’s been said that we can know a lot about a persons priorities by looking at two things: their checkbook and their calendar. If our children were to look at our calendars, what would they see? A schedule filled with dinner meetings, parties and golf outings? Or little league, dance rehearsals and school plays? We need to think about how we’re spending our time. Then on our calendars mark specific blocks of time that we will spend with our children, one on one, doing what they want to do.

Remember, your family first.

Any Time Is A Good Time For Healthy Changes

Each year, many people make resolutions for change, and each year, most of those resolutions go… unresolved. This isn’t due to people’s lack of desire for a better life; it’s just a byproduct of the reality that change is difficult. Our habits become ingrained and automatic; changing them requires constant effort until a new habit is formed. This resource can help you to make necessary alterations in your expectations, attitudes, and methods of change so that you can experience real results that last. The following ideas can help:

Think in Terms of “Goals”, Rather Than “Resolutions”
While most people make resolutions that they’re determined to keep, a better tactic would be to create goals. What’s the difference, you may ask? With traditional resolutions, people generally approach change with the attitude, “From now on, I will no longer [name a given behavior you’d like to change]”.

The problem with this is, after one or two slip-ups, people feel like failures and tend to drop the whole effort, falling easily back into familiar patterns. By setting goals, one instead aims to work toward a desired behavior. The key difference is that people working toward goals expect that they won’t be perfect at first, and are pleased with any progress they make. Rather than letting perfectionism work against them, they allow motivation and pride to do their magic. The following ideas can help you with meeting your ‘New Year Goals:

  • Remember That It’s A Process: Expect to work your way up, rather than maintaining perfection and feeling let-down if you don’t achieve it immediately.
  • Work Your Way Up: In setting goals for new behavior, aim for once or twice a week, rather than everyday. For example, instead of saying, “I’ll go to the gym everyday”, plan for “every Wednesday” or, better yet, sign up for a fun exercise class, and you can work your way up to more often.
  • Set Yourself Up To Succeed: Set small, attainable goals, and add more steps as you complete each one. This way you gradually work your way toward the life you want and the necessary changes, but you experience much more ‘success’ along the way, rather than feeling like a failure if you don’t experience ultimate change overnight.
Have A Goal Each Month
If you’re like most people, you may have several changes you’d like to make in your life; if so, it may be a good idea to tackle one each month. This way, 1) you can focus more, as you won’t be trying to make several sweeping changes at once; 2) you can re-commit yourself each month to a new idea, so you keep growing all year and self-improvement becomes a way of life; and 3) you can build on each success, so you can first free up time before you take on a new hobby or get involved in an important cause, for example. Also, habits generally take 21 days to form. This setup enables you to devote energy to forming new habits more easily before moving on to the next, so you’re not relying solely on will-power.

Reward Your Progress
While many of your resolutions carry their own reward, changing your habits can be challenging, and it’s sometimes easier to do so if you have a little extra help. (Remember how positive reinforcement from a supportive teacher helped you learn, even though the knowledge itself was its own reward?) Providing extra rewards for yourself can help you to stay on track and maintain your motivation, even if you sometimes don’t feel like making the effort solely for the sake of the benefit the change itself will create. The following are ways you can create rewards for yourself:
  • Team Up: Have a buddy who knows your goals, and encourage each other, even if you’re working on separate goals. This will provide you with someone who can give you a high-five when you deserve one, and a little encouragement when you need it.
  • Reward Small Successes: Divide your goal into bite-sized steps and have a reward waiting at the completion of each.
  • Align Rewards With Goals: Have rewards that are in line with your achievements (like new workout clothes for every 5 gym visits, or a beautiful new pen if you stick with your journaling habit for two weeks).

Adapted from article written by Elizabeth Scott.

Journaling Prompts

This list is a huge compilation from various sources… from friends, my magazines, from the Internet, from notes.

If any of these ideas inspire you to create a layout or a card - or an entire album - please do share with us and let us enjoy your creation.

General Journaling Prompts
• What books and magazines are you reading right now?
• What’s the last TV show you watched and why?
• If you could have a free plane ticket to go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
• What’s one important value in your life at this moment?
• Who was your second grade teacher and what did she/he teach you?
• Name a character in a movie, TV show or book that you admire.
• List five things about yourself that most people don’t know
• What’s your favorite color and what does it say about you?
• How do the people in your life show you they love you?
• Have you ever wanted to change your name? If so, to what and why?
• What do you think about technology like cells phones and the Internet?
• What was the last conversation you had?
• List three dreams for your future.
• Describe your best and worst personality traits.
• How did you meet your best friend or significant other?
• What do you do for fun?
• What’s the best gift you’ve ever given?
• How did you spend your last $10.00?
• What’s your dream car?
• Have you ever had a dream come true and then wished it hadn’t?
• What’s the last song you listened to and why?
• How old were you when you got your drier’s license?
• How has your personality changed in the last 10 years?
• How many times have you moved in your life?
• Do you like to cook?
• Where do you shop?
• Do you ever feel bored and why?
• What’s your housework strategy?
• Have you ever owned a pet?
• What’s the last website you visited and why?
• How many times a day do you smile?
• Who are the most influential people in your life right now?
• If you could change anything about your life today, what would it be?
• Describe how your daily routine has changed from the time you were a teenager to your life as it is today?
• What’s your favorite sport to participate in or watch?
• Do you have a tattoo? Would you ever get one?
• What was on your last grocery list?
• Describe the contents of your purse at this moment.
• What’s your favorite scrapbook supply?
• What’s something you’ve always wanted to try on a scrapbook page but never have?
• Describe something unexpected that made you happy, worried or sad.
• How did you start scrapbooking?
• If you could be on one makeover show, which would you choose and why?
• Do you watch the network news? Why or why not?
• What newspaper headlines disturb you the most today?
• What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done?
• What’s something your parents taught you that you’ve never forgotten?
• If you could write your own fortune cookie fortune, what would it say?
• What song lyrics best describe your life at this very moment?
• What’s in your fridge right now?
• Describe an “average week” in your life.
• Who is someone in your life you would like to make a scrapbook page about?
• What – or who - inspires your creativity?
• Do you or your children have special attachments to a particular stuffed animal?
• Which teachers have influenced you most in your life?
• Describe your relationship with yourself.
• How do you feel about your office space or work area?
• What room in your home are you “closest” to and why?
• Have you developed important relationships through your spiritual beliefs?
• How do you generally act around strangers? Has your life been blessed by their kind actions over the years?
• Are you a major fan of a particular sports team? How do you show your support and enthusiasm for the players?
• Are you engrossed in a book series? How do you feel as you wait for the next volume to be published?
• When you feel stressed or saddened, do you play a particular type of music to help calm you down? Why do you think listening to that particular type of music affects you?
• Think about the contents of your purse. Are you attached to a particular brand of gum or do you always carry your cell phone? How have these items become something you “can’t live without?”
• Do you surround yourself in the splendor of nature when you need a moment to yourself? When did that relationship start? Or, is there another place where you always go when you need to regroup? Why is that spot meaningful?
• Describe your beloved pastimes (scrapbooking, cooking, reading, knitting, etc.).
• Write about a season, month, or holiday you look forward to all year.
• Describe the most-welcomed time of day or day of the week.
• Describe an accessory you wear every day.
• Describe your neighborhood, city or country.
• Make a list of the objects you can’t help but stockpile.
• Describe an item you cannot leave home without.
• Make a list of the foods &/or treats you can’t resist.
• Make a list of the movies you watch repeatedly.
• List the lyrics of a song you can’t stop singing.
• Describe a sight that always touches your soul.
• Describe a personal trait that makes you proud.
• Describe your career choice or path in life.
• Describe your most guilty indulgence.
• Make a list of oft-uttered expressions.
• Describe a way you love to relax.
• Describe a trinket you cherish.

Valentine Journaling Prompts
• I knew you were the one for me when…
• When I am with you, I love the way you make me feel…
• You have helped me to become a better person because…
• When we are apart, the things I miss most about you are…
• I never dreamed I would fall in love with someone who…
• My favorite moments with you are when…
• You complement me in so many ways…
• The top 10 reasons I love you are…
• I admire most in you the ability to…
• My first impression of you was…
• I am grateful for the way you…
• I will never forget the time you…
• I love to hear you say…
• I love to tell you…

Belief Journaling Prompts
• What qualities or characteristics to you admire in others? In yourself?
• What are your personal convictions? Do they provide a glimpse into your personality or soul?
• Do you have a personal mission statement? What is it?
• How did your parents live out their beliefs when you were growing up? Do you still follow those same beliefs or have they changed over time?
• Is there a belief you stand by, despite the fact that it flies in the face of reason?
• How do your beliefs affect your perceptions of people or places?
• Has there ever been a time when your beliefs were questioned?
• Are your values and beliefs based on your heritage or ancestry?
• How do you illustrate your religious faith?
• What drives you to create?

The Power of One

I look at the enormity of the problem and I can't help but think, 'What can one person do?'" It's occurred to me that I used to think that way but I don't anymore. One person can do much.

One person can pray with all she's got, begging God to intervene in any situation, to pour out His power, to give her wisdom to know what she can and should do. One person can give of her time in a way that will be a sacrifice to her and of great benefit to others. One person can give money -- even a little bit of money -- and that money can be added to what others have given and then multiplied when God steps in.

One person can call attention to an issue that is usually talked about in hushed tones -- making people aware of something they may have had no idea about. One person can enter into the darkness, carrying her little bit of light, and shed great illumination where only dim shadows used to dwell. One person can touch another person's life in small ways -- with a kind word, a gentle touch, a moment of time to listen and hold and cry with. One person can take her gifts and pour them out into someone else's life, knowing that freely has she received and freely should she give.

One person can take her hurt and ask Christ to turn it into a blessing as she connects with the pain of another hurting heart. One person can move into another person's life in large ways -- with a shout against injustice, a rallying of a group to do something of meaning, a hand reaching out to draw someone out of her circumstances permanently.

Moms, we're told time and again that we as women have the ability to set the tone of our home. That our daughters will learn how to be women and mothers by watching and modeling after us, and that our sons will grow up to look for wives that mirror their mothers. We have been given not just the ability, but the responsibility, to do great good.

One life at a time. In our home. And in our world.

This year can be the year that we allow our "one life" to do a world of good for someone else's life. What can one person do in comparison to the vastness of our world's problems? Each one of us can do much! We each have so much to give! And we are called to do just that.

Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for those in their distress. -- James 1:27

Adapted from article written by Elisabeth Corcoran.

My challenge to myself and to each one of you is this: go be a light in the dark in this new year.

Parental Rights Case

Supreme Court to Hear Oral Argument in Parental Rights Case

The U. S. Supreme Court agreed to resolve the question of whether non-lawyer parents may represent their children in federal court. Oral argument is scheduled for February 27, 2007.

This case generated intense interest after the Cleveland Bar Association launched an investigation of these and other parents for the Unauthorized Practice of Law after the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued an adverse decision in their case.

We built the Winkelman v. Parma page at that includes:
* Question presented
* Background information about Jacob Winkelman and his case
* Links to pleadings
* Links to amicus briefs including the Brief of the United States as Amicus Curiae
* Links to cases about non-lawyer parental representation
* Articles about the case, including the Cleveland Bar Association investigation

Jacob Winkelman v. Parma City Schools:

Special Education Caselaw:

Can You Represent Your Child's Rights Under IDEA? by Pete Wright and Pam Wright at

Autism, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), Asperger Syndrome (AS) at

Be an Advocate For Your Child!

Good special education services are intensive and expensive. Resources are limited. If you have a child with special needs, you may wind up battling the school district for the services your child needs. To prevail, you need information, skills, and tools. These articles will help.

* Getting Started *

In "Advocating for Your Child: Getting Started" at you will learn about different types of advocates and what advocates do.

You'll find that advocacy is not a mysterious process. The article includes a quick overview of advocacy skills. Many of these skills will be familiar to you.

* Planning *

If you are like many parents, you are confused about your role.

In "Planning is the Key to Success" at we give you an overview of what you need to learn and how to ensure that the school provides your child with quality, appropriate special education services. Learn about long-range planning, your role as project manager, and a recommended program of self-study.

* Tips for Taking Care of Yourself *

Because advocating for your child can be difficult and frustrating, we offer some tips for taking care of yourself at

Learn more about effective parent advocacy at

For more resources, check out the From Emotions to Advocacy website at

The Teacher Movie

This should be shown to all first year teachers in their first in-service meeting and periodically reviewed over the years by ALL teachers. This will bring a tear to your eye, so get out teh Kleenex. For all of us in education, this is why we do what we do. I so miss teaching children.

Thought of the Day

An optimist stays up til midnight to see the New Year in; a pessimist stays up til midnight to make sure the old year leaves.

~~ Author Unknown ~~

Southern Cross

I LOVE TO READ!!! As I finish each book, I'll be adding the details and my score (from 1 to 5) to the blog.

Southern Cross by Patricia Cornwell

"Cornwell takes us close to the sometimes zany, but always threatening experiences of big-city police, in a story of corruption, scandal, and robberies that escalate to murder. The setting is Richmond, Virginia, where former Charlotte police chief Judy Hammer has been brought to clean up the police force. Reeling from the recent death of her husband and resented by the Richmond police force, city manager, and mayor, Hammer is joined by her deputy chief, Virginia West, and rookie Andy Brazil on the most difficult assignment of her career. In the face of overwhelming public scrutiny, the trio must find the link between the desecration of Confederate president Jefferson Davis's statue and the brutal murder of an elderly woman."

I am a BIG Cornwell fan and love the Kay Scarpetta series. This book was not part of the Scarpetta series and I was a little disappointed with the flow of the book. It took me about 1/3 of way into the book before I was really engrossed in the characters (which is unusual for Cornwell).

My score from a scale where 1 is lowest and 5 is highest: 3.5

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