Friday, August 15, 2008

Husband-Killer Mary Winkler Gets Her Kids Back

"Winkler walked away a free woman last year after serving a farcically brief "sentence" for her crimes ..."

Tennessee mother Mary Winkler--who shot her husband Matthew in the back and then refused to aid him or call 911 as he slowly bled to death for 20 minutes--has just received custody of her three daughters, barely over two years since the homicide. Winkler walked away a free woman last year after serving a farcically brief "sentence" for her crimes. Her claims that her husband abused her were largely uncorroborated during the trial. According to testimony from Matthew Winkler's oldest daughter, Patricia, the dead father--who as he lay dying looked at his wife and asked, "Why?"--was a good man and did not abuse her mother.

Mary Winkler has been in a custody battle with Matthew Winkler's parents, who have been raising their three granddaughters since the murder. Dan and Diane Winkler sought to terminate Mary Winkler's parental rights and adopt the girls, a position Fathers & Families has supported. Domestic violence advocacy groups have been silent about this case.

Mary Winkler was granted supervised visits with her daughters last year. Now, sadly, she has gained back custody of the three girls, which is clearly not in the girls' best interests. Last year Dan Winkler said, "These young ladies have not expressed any desire to be with their mother or her family," but he and wife Diane have now ceded custody, knowing that continuing their legal battle to protect the girls would in the end be unsuccessful. A judge has approved the custody transfer.

"That a woman can kill her husband in cold blood and still gain custody of their children underscores the bias and prejudice divorced fathers face in the family courts," according to Dr. Ned Holstein, MD, MS, Executive Director of Fathers & Families.

Dr. Holstein said, "The courts have failed Winkler's daughters by placing them in the care of a mother who has shown no remorse for the cold-blooded murder of their father. Domestic violence groups have also failed these girls by their silence in this case, giving the appearance that they oppose domestic violence only when it is perpetrated by men."

Dr. Holstein lays out the case against child custody for Winkler in his co-authored column No child custody for husband-killer Mary Winkler (World Net Daily, 9/14/07).


Woman arrested for lying to police about rape

Feminists say it never happens

Police arrested a Pocono Pines woman after they say she admitted lying to investigators when she accused her ex-boyfriend of assault and rape. Elissa Easterling, 27, is accused of lying to Pocono Mountain Regional Police by falsely accusing a man of beating and raping her. After originally telling police and court officials that she was assaulted on two occasions and raped once by her ex-boyfriend, she later said she "has problems" and that she had not had any contact with the man in months.

During the course of a month-long investigation after she told police she had been assaulted, police corroborated the man's alibi and determined that Easterling had fabricated her reports. She also testified in order to get a protective order against the man, under oath at Monroe County Court, that she had been raped. The protective order was granted.

When police confronted her with the evidence that she was lying, police say she admitted to making up the assaults. Easterling said the man did not harm her in any way. She was taken to Monroe County Correctional Facility where she will be charged with perjury and making false reports.


Nature or nurture -- Are you who your brain chemistry says you are?

The Leftist "blank slate" theory takes another hit

Researchers using positron emission tomography (PET) have validated a long-held theory that individual personality traits-particularly reward dependency-are connected to brain chemistry, a finding that has implications for better understanding and treating substance abuse and other addictive behaviors.

In a study to identify biochemical correlates of personality traits in healthy humans, researchers focused their investigation for the first time on the role of the brain's opioidergic (or endorphine) system-specifically, the connection between an individual's level of reward expectancy and the brain's ability to transmit naturally occurring opiates. The study included 23 males with no history of substance abuse who were administered Fluoro-ethyl-diprenorphine-a radiolabeled chemical that binds readily to the brain's naturally occurring opiate system- and then underwent a PET scan.

The scans were compared to the results of each participant's Cloninger temperament and character inventory, a questionnaire that assesses human personality based on four dimensions: novelty seeking, harm avoidance, reward dependence and persistence. The comparison revealed that the binding to opiate receptors in the ventral striatum-an area of the brain known to be a central part of the reward system-correlated narrowly to the individual degree of reward dependence. The participants who skewed toward a high need to feel rewarded by approval were also those with the highest uptake of opiates, or endorphins, in the reward system.

"Our main finding was that reward dependence is the only personality dimension correlated with opiate receptor binding, and that positive correlation was restricted to the ventral striatum, which is considered the key area of the human reward system and of the development of addictive behavior," said Peter Bartenstein, M.D., professor of nuclear medicine, Ludwig Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany. "This correlation means that people with high reward dependence have a high concentration of opiate receptors available in that area, while people with low dependence have fewer opiate receptors."

According to the researchers, the biological purpose of the human reward system is to initiate behavior essential for the maintenance of the individual-for example, food intake-or the species-for example, reproduction. Therefore, food or sexual stimuli lead to an opioid-modulated dopamine release in core structures of the reward system and subsequently induce the sensation of craving. Modern addiction research maintains that genetic or acquired abuses of the reward system are the central basis for the development of addictive behavior. This latest finding suggests that individuals suffering from a relative endorphine deficit in their reward system show increased reward dependence and are probably more at risk for developing addictions.

"This is a novel finding and will provide a deeper understanding of the functional relation between human personality, neurobiology and addictive behavior," said Mathias Schreckenberger, M.D., professor of nuclear medicine, Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz, Germany. "Understanding the central role of neurotransmission processes in certain brain structures for the expression of psychologically defined constructs such as personality will make a great difference in the future of medicine."

The researchers foresee PET becoming the preferred imaging method for individualized therapy in a range of disorders caused by addictive behaviour-such as drug abuse or pathological gambling-because it is the only method able to show specific local changes in different neurotransmitter systems (opiate, dopamine and serotonine) involved in addiction. These changes are different in different people and different types of addiction.

The researchers further suggest that PET could be used to predict a favorable response to treatment with drugs that block agents such as morphine, heroin or alcohol from binding to opiate receptors and may one day aid in determining treatment of other psychiatric diseases, such as personality disorders. PET may also play a central role in the development and preclinical evaluation of new anti-craving drugs since it enables researchers to investigate noninvasively the in vivo pharmacological effects of these drugs on the reward system.

The group's next study will delve deeper into the description of the neurochemistry of human personality and expand study sample sizes, according to Gerhard Gr_nder, M.D., professor of psychiatry and psychotherapy, Aachen University, Aachen, Germany. "One of the more interesting aspects of this study," he added, "is that it shows that PET technology is capable of detecting subtle biochemical differences in the brain in healthy persons, which may ultimately be responsible for what we consider the individual personality. This has far-reaching implications-not only for choosing the best individual treatments, but also in discussions of an individual's free will."


Your genes even tell where your ancestors came from

Tracing your ancestry via DNA is becoming a popular pastime, thanks to a growing number of consumer tests available over the Internet. At least two-dozen companies sell tests ranging in price from $100 to $900, and public interest is thriving. Most of these tests, however, paint a very rough picture of an individual's ancestral origins: they're limited to the direct maternal or paternal line. But that is beginning to change.

New technologies are allowing scientists to search for markers across the genome that can more precisely predict ancestry. Much of that data is being poured into public databases, supplying much more accurate and detailed information to genetic-testing companies and new consumer tests.

The basics of genetic ancestry testing are this: scientists search for genetic markers that appear more frequently in one population than in another. By combining the information gleaned from a number of markers--anywhere from tens to thousands--researchers can estimate the percentage of an individual's ancestry from different parent populations.

Most genetic ancestry testing to date has focused on genetic markers in the mitochondria, which everyone inherits from their mothers, and on the Y chromosome, which males inherit from their fathers. Commercial tests using these markers have sparked harsh criticism from the genomics community, which contends that the public doesn't adequately understand the limited view of an individual's origins that the tests provide.

Now, both the scope and resolution of genomic ancestry studies are growing dramatically, thanks to specially designed microchips that allow scientists to quickly scan hundreds of thousands of spots on an individual's genome. That means that researchers can gather genetic information from more people in more places, generating better ancestry markers. In addition, the ability to find markers across the entire genome, rather than just within mitochondrial or Y-chromosome DNA, generates a more complete picture of one's ancestry.

One recent effort has focused on distinguishing subsets of the European population, a challenge because, as a historically young population group, Europe has a comparatively low level of genetic variability. (Africa, on the other hand, has more genetic diversity than the rest of the world combined.) "We can easily determine the difference between northern and southern [European] populations and a number of different groups within either," says Michael Seldin, a geneticist at the University of California, Davis. "However, in some cases, it's difficult. There are lots of Italian individuals we can't separate from Greeks, and Northern Italians we can't separate from the Spanish."

In a study published last year, Mark Shriver and his team at Pennsylvania State University analyzed 10,000 genetic markers in nearly 300 people of Armenian, Jewish, Greek, Spanish, Basque, French, Italian, German, English, Irish, Polish, and Finnish descent. They found that genetic profiles differed from north to south and east to west. "Genetic displays seem to fit with geographic features of a map," says Shriver, who is also a consultant for DNAprint, a genetic-testing company in Sarasota, FL. For example, the Iberian Peninsula, isolated from the rest of Europe by the Pyrenees, seems to harbor a distinct genetic profile.And areas in the middle of Europe have a profile somewhere between that of the north and the south.

Two companies have already condensed those findings into commercial tests: DNAprint and 23andMe, a personal-genomics startup based in Mountain View, CA. DNAprint's European service uses a subset of 1,349 genetic variations from the original 10,000 to classify an individual's ancestry according to five groups: southeastern European, Iberian, Basque, continental European, and northeastern European. 23andMe, which offers ancestry analysis as part of a broader genetic screening service, estimates users' genetic similarity to 14 different populations around the world, including northern and southern Europeans.

Consumer ancestry testing, however, remains far from exact. All genetic ancestry tests are probabilistic: while individual markers might be more likely to appear in certain populations, that is not always the case, meaning that not everyone who carries that variation has ancestors in that group.

And the profile that a particular service spits out depends on the database used to calculate it. DNAprint offers a $240 global ancestry test, AncestryByDNA 2.5, that analyzes 176 markers derived mainly from studies of four groups: Native Americans, East Asians, West Africans, and Europeans. Because those groups have contributed most heavily to the current U.S. population, the test works best for people in the States.

It may generate false results for people in other parts of the world. For example, some Europeans who took the test were deemed to have Native American ancestry. "That's ludicrous," says Mark Stoneking, a geneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, in Germany. "It's most likely picking up central Asian ancestry, because there is no central Asian ancestry in the databases."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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