Tuesday, 18 October 2016
BOSTON, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- A sleep abnormality likely plays a role in the onset of schizophrenia, researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center suggest in a new study.
In the study, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, investigators sought to develop a better understanding of the genetics that regulate individual sleep patterns, and how they relate to psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. The research team says the mental ailment can be traced to sleep spindle activity in the brain.
"One of the most exciting advances in sleep research over the last decade has been the growing understanding of sleep's causal relationship to psychiatric disorders," senior author Robert Stickgold said in a press release. "Here, we reviewed the evidence that reduced sleep spindle activity predates the onset of schizophrenia and contributes to its cognitive deficits and other symptoms."
To test their hypothesis, Stickgold and his team examined a host of studies which linked spindle activity with cognitive functions associated with schizophrenia, which includes poor motor memory and learning in addition to lower IQ. Healthy people, the researchers found, have higher spindle activity, suggesting a lull in their performance may be linked to psychiatric disorders.
"It makes sense that if you have a deficit in these spindles, you'll also have a deficit in these cognitive functions," Stickgold explained. "But it wasn't known if reduced sleep spindle activity was a basic feature of schizophrenia or a side effect of living with it and taking medications for a decade or longer."
Stickgold went on to add that while individuals with depressed sleep spindle activity may not have schizophrenia themselves, they share half of their genes with someone who does. The research team says their findings may link spindle activity to a broader range of mental ailments.
"t's becoming increasingly clear that sleep not only controls memory and emotional processing in all of us, but that deficits in sleep probably contribute to a wide range of psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, ADHD, bipolar disorder, PTSD and depression," Stickgold added. "Now we can begin tracing it all the way from the genes to the disorders themselves."
Monday, 17 October 2016
Did Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) put a Jewish eatery out of business in Germany?
The Jewish owner of Munich’s Schmock Israeli restaurant announced he’s closing after 16 years because of rising anti-Semitism — and strong anti-Israel sentiment — in the Bavarian capital.
Florian Gleibs even placed a large sign in Schmock’s window reading: “We are not involved with politics.” But the hostility toward him and his restaurant continued, according to The Jerusalem Post.
“The BDS campaign disguises the socially unacceptable,” Charlotte Knobloch, the head of Munich’s Jewish community and a Holocaust survivor, told The Post. “It has modernized the Nazi slogan ‘Don’t buy from Jews!’ by demanding, ‘Don’t buy from the Jewish state.’”
BDS has held anti-Israel events in Munich municipal facilities for years, the Post reported.
Gleibs owns two other Munich restaurants, including the Jewish-themed Meschugge. He plans to reopen Schmock as a Laotian eatery.
Michael Kaminer is a contributing editor at the Forward.
Thursday, 13 October 2016
By Daniel Sugarman, October 13, 2016
The Western Wall, with the Temple Mount behind (Credit: Flickr/Desired)
A Unesco resolution denying the historic connection of the Jewish people to Temple Mount has drawn harsh criticism from Israelis on Thursday.
Although the resolution acknowledges the importance of Jerusalem to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, a specific portion referring to the Temple Mount only discusses its importance to Muslims, and not to Jews.
The site is named only by its Arabic name, Haram al-Sharif, rather than in Hebrew or English.
The Western Wall plaza is initially only given its Islamic name, al-Buraq plaza. The site’s Hebrew name, Hakotel Hama'aravi, is only mentioned later, in quotation marks.
Twenty-four nations voted for the resolution, 26 nations abstained and two were completely absent, while six – the United States, Great Britain, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Germany and Estonia – voted against.
MK Isaac Herzog, the Leader of Israel’s Opposition, said: "Unesco betray their mission, and give a bad name to diplomacy and the international institutions.
“Whoever wants to rewrite history, to distort facts, and to completely invent the fantasy that the Western Wall and Temple Mount have no connection to the Jewish people, is telling a terrible lie that only serves to increase hatred."
Reuven Rivlin, President of Israel, said: “No forum or body in the world can come and deny the connection between the Jewish people, the Land of Israel and Jerusalem; and any such body that does so simply embarrasses itself.
“We can understand criticism, but you cannot change history."
Speaking in a House of Lords debate on Israel on Thursday afternoon, Lord Rabbi Sacks described the Unesco vote as "an outrage, and will achieve nothing but to further damage trust and set back prospects for peace."