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MUHC psychologist Michael Spevack was prominently featured in the Montreal Gazette's lengthy report on agoraphobia — part of its coverage during National Mental Health Week. The numbers cited in the article are a tad disturbing, some would say a little scary, even. The good doctor says that just about one third of the population will have at least one panic attack this year. Repeated panic attacks that occur unexpectedly and with no apparent cause are signs of a panic disorder. Approximately one third of people with panic disorder will develop agoraphobia, a fear of public places. Some sufferers are so fearful that they rarely leave their homes, dropping out of school, work and, effectively, society. Ironically, Spevack says one common trigger for panic disorders is the relentless fear of having a panic attack.
Maybe I'm just bitter, but when I ran across the list of Canada's Top 40 Under 40, in the Globe and Mail, it didn't make me feel all warm and fuzzy - even with five McGillians making the cut. I mean young AND successful? My middle-aged inferiority complex is bloating along just fine by itself, thank you very much. Pyschology prof Karim Nader leads the McGill charge with his groundbreaking research into erasing or modifying traumatic memories through chemistry. (For story see the March 2, 2006, Reporter "When Memory Lane Takes a Wrong Turn.") Rounding out the exclusive list are alumni Lorne Abony, Christopher Alexander, Philip Zelazo, Jean-Francois Courville and Dov Bercovici.
Anyone looking to take a shot at Stephen Harper's decision to ban media coverage of the repatriation of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan will have to line up behind Desmond Morton. Recently heard on CBC Radio's Cross Country Check-Up and quoted in the Montreal Gazette, the National Post and the Globe and Mail, Morton didn't mince his words when asked about the PM's stance. "I hope the people make this an issue and not be impressed by the terror of the prime minister," he said. Morton 1, Harper 0.