Category: Autism

COVID-19 and the power of music

Music can help regulate emotion, make us feel connected

COLUMBUS, Ohio – In Italy, people isolated by the COVID-19 pandemic stood on apartment balconies, singing “Bella Ciao” – “goodnight, beautiful” – together into the night. Musicians in a Dutch symphony filmed themselves playing Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” individually – then assembled a compilation video titled “From Us, For You.” In Columbus, children played their cellos from their porch so an elderly neighbor could hear. 

On Twitter, people shared so many of their “Songs of Comfort” – prompted by the virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma – that the hashtag started trending. 

The virus might be keeping people apart; music is bringing them together.

“Music is a very effective, easy and cheap way of distracting yourself,” said Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, a professor of communication at The Ohio State University who has studied the connections between people and the music they listen to.

 “I think oftentimes we think of other people when we listen to music – it might remind us of other people and just help us feel connected. And that is a buffer against stress – human connectedness helps you to feel less stress.”

That includes the kind of in-person connections made in Italy and Columbus. But it also includes playing a song that reminds you of a happy moment – maybe one from a concert you enjoyed with friends, or a song that reminds you of your partner.

Music can help our bodies manage the physiological response to stress, research shows.

“Listening to music positively affects cortisol levels in the saliva, and it can lower a person’s heart rate,” Knobloch-Westerwick said.   

So if you’re feeling stressed or anxious, what kind of music should you listen to? 

Research shows it depends on the person, said Lindsay Warrenburg, who finished her PhD at Ohio State in December, and whose dissertation focused on music and emotion. She specifically studied how music affects feelings of sorrow. 

“The research on regulation of emotion shows that there are different ways to regulate your mood,” she said, “but right now, during times of stress like we’re living in now, being distracted and actively seeking out something that will make you feel more positive are probably two of the best strategies.” 

That could mean listening to upbeat music that makes you feel happy, she said. Or, it could mean returning to music that reminds you of specific moments or broader times in your life that brought you joy. 

“There’s a critical period of music listening called the reminiscence, which is from around age 12 to around age 22 – it’s when most of our musical tastes are formed,” Warrenburg said. “I would suggest going back to music that reminds people of that time period.” 

Music often prompts memories: We remember where we were and who we were with the first time we saw our favorite musician perform. A cheesy slow jam might take us back to our high school prom. A happy singalong might remind us of favorite friends. 

“Just thinking about your loved ones, about good relationships, about the good times in your life has a reassuring effect,” Knobloch-Westerwick said. 

People often learn to love music because of their families or broader cultures, she said. That’s one reason listening to music helps us feel connected. 

“Maybe you’ve seen your parents enjoy a certain type of music, or maybe you’ve been in a school band,” Knobloch-Westerwick said. “Part of this is cultural. And there are also the physiological responses.” 

There is some research that shows the tempo of the music might matter, too: “The beat could help you sort of bring your body back to a normal beat,” she said.

Music, like so many art forms, can also help us process our emotions and feel like we are not alone in them – it’s the reason breakup songs are so powerful when relationships end. 

And, ultimately, even though we’re connecting remotely, understanding that we aren’t alone might be one of the things that helps us get through this time, Knobloch-Westerwick said. 

“Music is a great way of reminding us that we are all in this together,” she said. “What everybody does counts. So, we all have to really hang in there and support each other. We will see through this. Everything will be better eventually.”

4 tips for business survival … but I put 5

While CEOs and executives are struggling to cope with the fallout of Covid-19, an expert on business internationally renowned growth, Jana Matthews Professor of UniSA is encouraging companies to take a step back and carefully consider their activity before making any decision radical about their future.

“The fact that a company survive in uncertain times – and is positioned for growth on the other side – will depend largely on how the CEO and currently lead the leaders,” says prof. Matthews.

“We all have to do with unprecedented uncertainty. And while it is impossible to predict which companies will do all this, there are things you can do to increase their chances.

(Yes, finally there are 5 🙂

1.Balance dollars with sense Look at your accounts and project your cash flow over the next few months – do you need to collect receivables or delay expenditures? Are you in a position to lend your business personal funds? Can you ask some of your employees to take vacation days now or drop down to 80 per cent, if necessary? Remember, there are government grants Also available, so check These too. If there’s still a shortfall, go to the bank to discuss a loan.

2.Double your winners This year not all companies will do their best: if the products are hand sanitizers, soaps, toilet paper or fans, you can have your best year ever. Study which of your products or services they sold and focus your associates on those. If you identify customers who have purchased them, you can also target your marketing.

3.Think laterally Find out what people are buying and look for openings – can you make the straps secure That facemasks or key components in ventilators? If so, let the manufacturers know your capabilities, or alternatively, make the product yourself. If manufacturers need the product in a different way, look for alternatives, Now is the time to be flexible and adaptable.

4.Look critically at your company ‘Strong Eye’ your company, people and products as if you were an outside investor. Are there any gaps, oversights or weak spots? Ask your employees to help scan, as These are the people on the ground, in the thick of it. What can you do better, more efficiently? Where are the double-ups? Be open and ready to listen, then take action. Also, think about what changes you, as the leader, may need to make.

5.Have the courage, brains and heart to lead It’s not easy to lead through chaos at this velocity of change. It takes brains to analyse and develop strategies to keep the company alive. It takes courage to stop doing what used to work and move into unchartered territory. And without question, it takes heart. Empathise with your employees who are worried about their jobs and their futures and remember to provide them with frequent updates – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Weed out any misfits, or non-performers, and do everything you can to keep your great people on board; you will need them to help you grow once we’re on the other side.

“This is a time for smart decisions. The leadership that is shown now, the culture that follows and the decisions that are made will path the way for the future.”

Love Notes…

In these days of world suffering, a touch of love notes to cheer the heart.
Published by Hoffmann & Hoffmann with the contribution of Blurb, a new edition of “In vino Veritart” The art book by Roberto Sironi and Mariagrazia Pia.

The novelty lies not only in the usual beauty of Sironi’s painting and in Mariagrazia Pia’s verses but also in the brilliance of the colors highlighted by Blurb‘s print. The visionary strategies of the two artists find the relief of a careful graphic geometry made of colors, poems and anecdotes linked to the artistic union of the two authors.


A series of poetic reflections around wine, wine in all its states, love for wine, submission to wine, moods and amorous stunts next to a glass of wine, the magic of wine, his numbness, falling in love and disappointment.
The life that turns with surprises and its magic, linked to a glass of wine like the reader to its pages and lovers to its fumes.


Roberto Sironi is a multifaceted artist, his interests range from music, theater, painting, up to cinema and writing.
Mariagrazia Pia, writer and poetess with numerous books and literary works.

The limited edition book is sold exclusively on Amazon and Blurb channels as well as at Hoffmann & Hoffmann Publisher.

https://www.amazon.com/vino-veritart-R-Sironi-Pia/dp/1714572684/b2b/info/amazon-business?layout=landing?ref_=b2b_reg_US_BOOKS_ILM_EN_200318

Mental Well-being During Social Distancing

Managing mental well being is critical in times of uncertainty and unpredictability. One common coping mechanism is to connect in-person with friends or family because isolation can negatively impact those experiencing depression and anxiety.

Amid concerns over COVID-19, however, that recommendation conflicts with health and safety instructions on social distancing. Dr. Tonya Hansel and Dr. Maurya Glaude, licensed clinicians and researchers at the Tulane University School of Work, have the following suggestions to prevent increased at-home time from negatively affecting a person’s mental health.

  • Set up a routine and workspace dedicated to work. Use sticky notes, calendars, journals or other office supplies to help you stay organized and remember what you need to accomplish.
  • Email, message or call your colleagues or classmates. This will not only allow you to connect for mental well-being but also allow you to gain clarity and understanding about a particular assignment.
  • Recharge with fresh air, exercise and entertainment. This could include taking a midday walk or bike ride around your neighborhood, going on a nature hike or enjoying a snack on your porch. Allow more sunlight into your work space.
  • Maintain running, walking or cycling routines but bring your own water, avoid drinking out of public fountains and keep approximately 6 feet from others as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
  • Use the time you save from commuting to do extra things around your house, such as spring cleaning, cooking or gardening. Or create a piece of art or do craft projects with your children.
  • Feel free to allow small indulgences. Giving yourself or your children a little extra screen time is a way of practicing self-care.
  • Use technology — Facetime, Google Hangouts, Zoom or the phone — to keep up with friends and family and support one another. 
  • Access mental health resources such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. You can also call the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Hotline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.

To schedule an interview with Hansel or Glaude, contact Carrie Moulder at cmoulder@tulane.edu or Barri Bronston at bbronst@tulane.edu.

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

Equal parenting rights for same-sex couples

Same-sex marriage may have been given the green (or rainbow) light in many countries around the world, but it appears there are still some entrenched attitudes in society when it comes to same-sex parenting. 

Misconceptions about the impact on children raised by same-sex parents are harmful both in a social and legal sense, says University of South Australia psychologist Dr Stephanie Webb

Same-sex couples are still struggling to gain equal rights to biological parents – particularly in the event of separation – and on a social level they want to address the fallacies about the impact of children growing up with parents of the same gender.

 “The most common myths are that children will be confused about their own sexuality, be less resilient, experience conflict, and suffer other issues as a result of growing up in a same-sex family,” Dr Webb says. 

“The reality is, children raised in a same-sex family environment are no different to children raised by heterosexual couples. In some cases, they are far more resilient, tolerant and open-minded because they have seen their parents’ own struggle for acceptance and equality.” 

To counter the misconceptions, Dr Webb and colleagues from the University of Canberra and Boise State University in the United States carried out an online survey to assess the impact of an educational campaign on people’s attitudes. 

A total of 629 people – including 74 per cent who identified as heterosexual and 23 per cent bisexual or homosexual – were split into two groups and presented with fact sheets about smoking (control group) and same-sex parenting. 

Before completing the survey, they were asked about their attitudes to same-sex marriage and same-sex parenting. 

The fact sheets dispelled many of the concerns that people had over the perceived negative developmental impacts on children with same-sex parents. 

“Our study showed a significant reduction in prejudices held after reading the fact sheets,” Dr Webb says. 

However, the sticking point is that many people believe the central purpose of marriage is to procreate. Since biological children cannot be produced by a same-sex couple, the role of marital equality is not seen as important by some. 

This creates legal issues for same-sex couples in the event of separation involving children, where a third party (a biological parent) has legal rights that supersede that of the parent whose genes are not involved.

 “Legal rights for same-sex parents are ignored by policymakers and the public alike,” Dr Webb says. “By making marriage policies inclusive, regardless of sexuality, it would validate same-sex families and protect them against discrimination.” 

Dr Webb says education is a crucial step towards achieving legal equality for same-sex families. 

Her findings have recently been published in the Australian Journal of Psychology. The survey is a follow up to a 2018 paper which examined the connection between gender role beliefs and support for same-gender family rights. 

Notes for Editors

“Attitudes toward same-sex family rights: Education facilitating progressive attitude change” was authored by Dr Stephanie Webb from the University of South Australia, Associate Professor Phil Kavanagh from the University of Canberra and Associate Professor Jill Chonody from Boise State University.

What does self-quarantine mean?

As people wrestle with spring travel, many may choose – or be asked – to self-quarantine for a period of time to help deter the spread of COVID-19.

Isolation requires sick people to be separated from those who are not sick, while quarantine restricts the movement of people who are exposed to a contagious disease to monitor if they become sick, according to Luis Ostrosky, MD, professor of infectious diseases at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

So, what does self-quarantine look like? Susan Wootton, MD, an infectious disease pediatrician at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, explains.

Wash your hands
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
  • Stay home except to get medical care
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor
  • Wear a face mask if you are sick
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid sharing personal household items
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces daily
  • Monitor your symptoms
  • Receive a green light from health care providers before discontinuing quarantine

Household members, intimate partners, and caregivers who may have close contact with a person exposed to or symptomatic with COVID-19 should monitor their health closely. Call your health care provider right away if you develop symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 including fever, cough, and trouble breathing.

For those who have been to an affected area or exposed to someone who is sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you may have some limitations on your movement or activity. If you develop symptoms during that period, seek medical advice immediately. Call the office of your health care provider before you go, and tell them about your recent travel history and your symptoms. They will give you instructions on how to get care without exposing other people to your illness.

“Infection control and prevention efforts by patients with COVID-19, their household members, and their health care providers, in combination with contact tracing activities, are key to limiting the community spread of disease,” Wootton said.

Stay informed by following updates on Harris County Public HealthTexas Department of State Health ServicesCDC, and World Health Organization.

Autistic Children and BORDERLINE MOTHER, ANY CONNECTION?

In my personal experience as the father of an autistic child, I have met many parents of autistic children. I have lived with my baby’s mother for ten years and have learned over time to recognize borderline traits in people in a relatively short time.

Parents of autistic children are separated or with a partner from the submissive personality. All (or at least those met by me) had strong characteristics of ‘Borderline Narcissist personality’ “and in general they were female relatives


Now, I don’t think I discovered salt water but I wonder why nobody talks about it? we all agree on the genetic factor but it seems clear to me that even the “Borderline” condition is to be considered a form of female autism directly linked to the autism spectrum and in my opinion an almost regularly repeated condition.

In the past few years there have been references to connections with the mother regarding the autistic spectrum, these theories have been swept away in a recent period to avoid unnecessary emotional affectation in women. What do you think about it? Does my thought make sense?

Children in the Holocaust

The new issue of I’M Italian magazine available from March 10, dedicated to the children of the Holocaust.

the testimony of the few survivors remind us of what is capable human beings in the name of an ideology. Dedicated to Liliana Segre who a few months ago shook and moved us in her speech to the European Parliament.

We wrote about Fascist plague in Italy showing no signs of disappearing, we wrote political and Matteo Renzi, sports psychology and life, when Italians people were the dirty and bad immigrants.
“I’M Italian” and all books Hoffmann & Hoffmann, are now also available in “Hoffmann bookstore” by Autism20.

https://amp.issuu.com/visual-stories/IY1CyK9fGj5

Subscriptions to the magazine are available at www.imitalian.press or from http://www.amazon.com.
Interactive version by ISSUU.com ebook in all online stores from March 10th.

The running factor

Millions of runners around the world lace up they’re running shoes, spurred on by the psychological, health and social benefits that running delivers.

Photo by Jenny Hill on Unsplash

The birth of Parkrun in 2004 – now an international activity with more than 20 countries involved — is credited with a sharp rise in the popularity of running in the past decade, but with benefits like downsides.

Research paper by University of South Australia Adjunct Professor Jan de Jonge and his team reveals the price that runners (and society) pay when the sport becomes an obsession.

Prof de Jonge, based in the Netherlands at Eindhoven University of Technology and Utrecht University, surveyed 246 recreational runners aged 19 to 77 years to investigate how a person’s mental outlook (mental recovery and passion for running) affects their risk of running-related injuries.

Not surprisingly, the more “obsessively passionate” runners – where the sport fully controlled their life to the detriment of partners, friends and relatives – reported far more running-related injuries than those who were more “harmoniously passionate” and laid back in their approach to running.

The latter group, who are in full control of their running and integrate the sport into their life and other activities, reported faster mental recovery after a run and sustained fewer running-related injuries. They were more likely to heed the early warning signs of injuries and take both physical and mental breaks from running whenever necessary. 

Obsessively passionate runners disregarded the need to recover after training and failed to mentally detach from the sport, even when running became harmful. Their approach to running delivered short-term gains such as faster times but resulted in more running-related injuries. 

Age and gender played a part. The older runners were able to mentally detach and recover a lot faster after a run than those in the 20-34 age group – especially females – who were more prone to running-related injuries. 

“Most running-related injuries are sustained as a result of overtraining and overuse or failing to adequately recover, merely due to an obsessive passion for running,” Prof de Jonge says. 

“The majority of research focuses on the physical aspects of overtraining and lack of recovery time, but the mental aspects of running-related injuries have been ignored to date. 

“When running becomes obsessive, it leads to problems. It controls the person’s life at the expense of other people and activities and leads to more running-related injuries. This behaviour has also been reported in other sports, including professional dancing and cycling.” 

In the Netherlands, where the study was undertaken, running-related injuries costs the economy approximately €10 million a year (A$16 million) in medical costs, work absences and reduced productivity. Next to soccer, running is the Dutch sport with the highest number of injuries. 

While there are no comparative figures available for Australia, a study by Medibank Private lists running as the 4th most injury-prone sport in Australia after Aussie Rules, basketball and netball, with sporting injuries overall costing the economy more than $2 billion a year. 

Does smoking increase your risk for dementia and cognitive decline?

Photo by Abhishek Koli on Unsplash

Scientists from the Uniformed Services University (USU), Emory University and the University of Vermont have found that cigarette smoking is linked to increased lesions in the brain’s white matter, called white matter hyperintensities.  White matter hyperintensities, detected by MRI scan, are associated with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. These findings may help explain the link between smoking and increased rates of dementia and other forms of cognitive decline.

The study, “Associations of cigarette smoking with gray and white matter in the UK Biobank” was published online in the journal, Neuropsychopharmacology, https://rdcu.be/b1jPS

In June 2019, the Surgeons General of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and United States, released an open letter stating that tobacco use is a threat to the health and fitness of U.S. military forces and compromises readiness. This burden also extends to care provided by the Veterans Health Administration, which spends more than $2.5 billion annually on smoking-related care.  In response, Dr. Joshua Gray, assistant professor of Medical and Clinical Psychology and Neuroscience at USU, and colleagues, examined the association between cigarette smoking and brain structure. Cigarette smoking is associated with increased risk for myriad health consequences including increased risk for neuropsychiatric conditions, but research on the link between smoking and brain structure is limited.

Their study was the largest of its kind, including MRI brain scans from more than 17,000 individuals from the UK Biobank, a large cohort of volunteers from across the United Kingdom. They found that smoking was associated with smaller total gray and white matter volume, increased white matter lesions, and variation in specific gray matter regions and white matter tracts. By controlling for important variables that often co-occur with smoking, such as alcohol use, this study identified distinct associations between smoking and brain structure, highlighting potential mechanisms of risk for common neuropsychiatric consequences of smoking such as depression and dementia.

“Cigarette smoking is known to elevate risk for neuropsychiatric conditions such as depression and dementia. We found that smoking is associated with multiple aspects of brain structure, in particular with increased white matter lesions. White matter lesions are linked to many of the same neuropsychiatric diseases as smoking,” said Gray.  “Although further research is needed to understand to what extent smoking is a cause or consequence of these aspects of brain structure, our findings suggest a mechanism that links smoking to increased risk for dementia, depression, and other brain diseases.”

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