Interview with BBC Creative Archive project leader

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Creative Archive project is a BBC led initiative which aims to make archive audio and video footage available to be freely downloaded, distributed, and ‘remixed’. The project is still in a pilot stage, and is only available to UK residents, but the long-term future of the project could have a major impact on the way audiences interact with BBC content.

The project is partly inspired by the Creative Commons movements, and also by a general move within the BBC to be more open with its assets. Additionally, educational audiences such as schools have expressed an interest in using BBC content within the classroom, both to watch and to create multimedia content from.

So far, clips made available under the licence have included archive news footage, nature documentary footage, and video clips content designed for educational uses. “It’s done very well with the audiences we’ve directed them towards – heavy BBC users,” says Paul Gerhardt, project leader. Users downloading the clips are also prompted to fill in a questionnaire, and so far 10-15% of people seem to be doing something with the material, although the BBC can’t be sure what exactly that is.

One of the biggest limitations within the licence as it currently stands during the pilot scheme is that the material is only available for use by people resident in the UK. The BBC’s Creative Archive sites use ‘geo-IP filtering’ to limit downloads to the UK, but there is some confusion over whether people who create their own content using the material can upload their creations to their own websites. A question within the FAQs for one of the more recent selections of clips suggests that this isn’t possible, saying “during this pilot phase material released under the terms of the Creative Archive Licence cannot be used outside the UK – therefore, unless a website has its use restricted to the UK only, content from the ‘Regions on Film’ archive cannot be published on it.”

“We want people to make full use of this content, whether they cut and paste it or whether they share it, and we completely accept that we’ve got a bit of a contradiction at the moment by saying UK-only and yet encouraging people to put it on their sites to share it with others, because you can’t expect people to have geo-IP restriction technology,” admits Mr Gerhardt. “We’re thinking hard about how to deal with this after the pilot – at the moment it’s quite likely that we’re probably going to need to find a distribution partner outside of the UK, so that if you’re outside of the UK you’ve got roughly the same experience as in the UK, but the content could be surrounded by sponsorship messages or advertising or whatever. Once we’ve done that then leakage from one to the other won’t really matter very much.”

The Creative Archive project has not been without critics from the commercial sector, worried that the BBC giving away their content for free would make it difficult for them to be able to make money from their own content. The BBC has explained to some of the commercial players that the content would be limited during the pilot, would not be available in broadcast quality, and that watermarking technologies would be trialled so that content could be recognised when it crops up elsewhere. The BBC is also investigating a business model for the future where there would be a “close relationship between public access to low-resolution content and a click through to monetising that content if you want to buy a high-resolution version”. People who want to play around with the material might discover they have a talent and then find they need to get a commercial license to use it properly, Mr Gerhardt explains, and the project wants to make it easy for this to happen.

Before the project can go ahead with the full scale launch, it will have to go through a ‘public value test’ to assess its overall impact on the marketplace, and commercial media companies will have a chance to input at this point.

For ease in clearing the rights, all of the content available under the pilot project is factual, but in the future the project could include drama and entertainment content. The BBC may also, in the future, work the Creative Archive licences into the commissioning process for new programmes. “This raises some really interesting ideas – if you have a documentary series, you could use the Creative Archive to release the longer form footage, for instance – that would create a digital legacy of that documentary series,” Mr Gerhardt explains. “The other interesting thought in the longer term would be for the BBC, or another broadcaster, to contribute to a digital pool of archive material on a theme, and then invite people to assemble their own content out of that. We could end up broadcasting both the BBC professionally produced programme accompanied by other programmes that other people had made out of the same material.”

One of the ways that the Creative Archive licence differs from the other ‘copyleft’ licences like Creative Commons, aside from the UK-only limitation, is that the licence currently allows the BBC to update and modify the licence, which may worry those using the licence that their rights could suddenly become more restricted. “The licence at the moment is a draft, and we’ve given warning that we may well improve it, but we wouldn’t do that more than once or twice. The ambition is that by the time we scale up to the full service we would have a fixed licence that everyone was comfortable with, and it wouldn’t change after that.”

“The ambition is to think about creating a single portal where people can search and see what stuff is out there under the same licence terms, from a range of different suppliers. The idea is that if we can create something compelling like that, we will attract other archives in the UK to contribute their material, so we’d be aggregating quite a large quantity.”

The Creative Archive project has captured the interest of many Internet users, who are growing increasingly, used the idea of being able to ‘remix’ technologies and content. Some groups have been frustrated with the speed at which the project is developing though, and with some of the restrictions imposed in the licence. An open letter to the BBC urges the dropping of the UK-only limitation, the use of ‘open formats’, and to allow the material to be usable commercially.

Mr Gerhardt has publicly welcomed debate of the licence, but makes it clear to me that the whole BBC archive will never all be available under the Creative Archive terms. “We will make all our archive available, under different terms, over the next five to ten years, at a pace to be determined. There would be three modes in which people access it – some of the content would only be available commercially, for the first five year or so after broadcast, say. The second route is through a ‘view again’ strategy where you can view the programmes, but they’d be DRM-restricted. And the third mode is Creative Archive. Over time, programmes would move from one mode to another, with some programmes going straight to the Creative Archive after broadcast.”

Others who disagree with the ‘UK-only’ restriction within the licence include Suw Charman, from the Open Rights Group, who has said “it doesn’t make sense in a world where information moves between continents in seconds, and where it is difficult for the average user to exclude visitors based on geography.” On the project generally, though, she said “I think that it is a good step along the way to a more open attitude towards content. It is a toe in the water, which is far preferable to the attitude of most of the industry players, who are simply burying their heads in the sand and hoping that lawsuits and lobbying for new legislation will bolster their out-dated business plan.”

Other organisations currently participating in the Creative Archive scheme include the British Film Institute, the Open University and Teachers’ TV. Two artists have been awarded scholarships to create artworks using BBC archive material, and BBC Radio 1 has held a competition asking people to use the footage in creative ways as backing visuals to music. The process of making the BBC’s archive material fully available may be a long one, but it could end up changing the way that people interact with the UK’s public service broadcaster.

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Derby Crown Court

Derby Crown Court



Derby County Court Morledge

The Derby County Court, Morledge, is actually part of the Derby Combined Court Centre HMCS (Her Majesty\’s Court Service). The centre was built in 1989, and is so named because the building contains both the Derby Crown Court and the Derby County Court in one handy place.

What Cases are held here?

The Derby Court covers both civil and criminal cases including; divorce, personal injury, bankruptcy and small claims. The building also has a Family Hearing Centre, Care Centre, and holds the District Registry.

There have also been a number of high-profile cases held at Derby County court over the years, details of which are available to the public. For people wishing to follow Derby County court cases you can do so by visiting

Pay your fines online:

If you are fined as a result of a conviction at Derby County Court You can now quickly, securely and easily pay them online; just click on the web link below. You need to have your Final Notice or Court Order to hand, along with your bankcard. The Final Notice or order has the numbers on it that you need to fill in the online form.

Derby County Court Contact Details:


Derby Combined Court Centre HMSC


Derby Derbyshire


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Postcode: DE1 2XE

DX 724060 Derby 21

How to contact us:

Useful Phone Numbers For Derby County Court:

Switch board – 01332 622600

Urgent Court Business – 01332 622590 (4 July to 30 September)

Civil Court Fax – 01332 622543

Crown Court Fax – 01332 622540

Small Claims Mediation Service – 01782 200193

Jury Officer – 01332 622556

Witness Service – 01332 622536

Bailiff Manager – 01332 622592

Email us:



County Court enquiries:


County Court hearings:

Small Claims Mediation Service

Criminal Court case progression

Crown Court enquiries

Crown Court listing

Crown Court results

Derby Combined Court HMCS Opening Times:

Our Court building opens the doors at 8.30 and closes at 6pm. The court reception counter is open for enquires from 10 am and closes at 4pm.

Get directions to the court

Arriving by car:

Take the J25 exit from the M1 then travel on the A52 until you reach Derby. You will see signposts marked for the city centre at the roundabout. You need to turn off at the second exit, heading to the city centre. When you reach a fork in the road, take the road on the left. You should move over into the outside lane on the carriageway. Turn right at the traffic lights and head to the Westfield Riverside Car Park then drive round to the back exit of the car park. The Derby Court is a short walk from here, just follow the signs.

Cost for parking is: 1.60 for an hour or less than an hour and 11.40 for parking for 8hrs to 11hrs

Get here by train or bus:

You can travel to the court on a regular train service to Derby; via the London line. When you arrive at Derby station, turn right and walk down Siddals Road. It will take you approximately 10 – 15 minutes to walk to the court buildings. Head to the Westfield Car Park and pass by the Eagle Market; you will see the court building next to the taxi rank. You can use either the No 44 or No 45 bus to get to the Derby Combined Court.

Court listings:

If you want to check out current or past Derby County Court or Derby Crown Court listings you can view them on The Law Pages website. The court listings are useful as they tell you what number of court a case is being held in; the case number and the person\’s name attending the court. This information is available free at:

Court records:

If you need any information about your court records please contact your solicitor or call the court\’s customer service line on: Derby 01332 622600


The Derby court centre building has all the usual amenities such as toilets, vending machine, fax and photocopying service and information desk. Nearby you can buy snacks, meals and refreshments.

If this is not what you were looking for, see our page on

Derby Magistrates Court

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NHL: Vancouver Canucks showcase new uniform

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Vancouver Canucks, hockey team to Vancouver, British Columbia, unveiled it’s new home and away uniforms today. Keeping the trade-mark Orca, the jersey has remixed the colors as well as adding a green stripe for both the home and away uniforms. This is the 5th jersey the team has gone through since 1970 when the team was founded.

The redesign has been met with some criticisms. John Carter a graphics arts instructor at a local college was quoted as calling the redesign an “utter disappointment.”

The design uses the same core colors in the original design, and on the back it also has their original jersey’s hockey stick symbol. The president and CEO of the Canucks, Chris Zimmerman, recognizes this saying, “Our goal when we set out was to celebrate our heritage and to design a sweater that reflects our extraordinary city and province. “We wanted to unveil a sweater that reflects our past and our future.” Zimmerman also went on to say the design represents, “who we are and the connection to the community.”

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Multifaith council commends Malaysian politician’s comments on conversion to Islam

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism issued a statement Friday praising comments made Wednesday by Malaysian politician Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan on conversion to Islam. Malaysian Consultative Council president Datuk A. Vaithilingam said that Ong’s views are shared by Malaysians from all religious faiths in the country.

“Conversion to Islam should not be abused as a means to evade one’s legal obligations to one’s family. A person’s conversion to another religion should not cause pain and suffering for other members of the family,” said Vaithilingam. He asked state and federal government authorities to take necessary steps to fix loopholes in the law, so that Malaysians could freely practice religion in the country.

Conversion to Islam should not be abused as a means to evade one’s legal obligations to one’s family.

Ong is the current Minister of Housing and Local Government in the Malaysian cabinet, and also serves as the secretary-general of the {{w|Malaysian Chinese Association]] (MCA) and Perak MCA chairman. In his Wednesday statement, he said that individuals who convert to Islam through the marriage process should be permitted to renounce the religion if they leave the marriage. Ong also stated that the religion of a minor child with one Muslim parent should be determined by both parents, or remain the same until the child turns 18.

Ong said that issues involving divorce, custody of children and inheritance in matters of constitutional rights of non-Muslims had increased dramatically in the last three years. Ong emphasized the importance of civil law as related to non-Muslims in the country, as opposed to that of Syariah (Sharia), Islamic religious law.

We urge the Government to be transparent in this process.

“Non-Muslims are not to be subjected to any form of Syariah laws and for any disputes or overlapping areas involving the jurisdiction of civil and Syariah courts, civil laws must prevail. […] We urge the Government to be transparent in this process,” said Ong.

Ong’s comments were made as part of an 11-page motion of thanks on the royal address. His motion was seconded by Bintulu Minister of Parliament Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing. Ong also spoke about the corruption, education, crime and security and the economy in his two-hour speech.

Of the 27 million people in Malaysia, 60 percent are Muslim Malaysian Malays, 25 percent are Chinese and mainly Buddhists or Christians, and 7.8 percent are ethnic Indians and mainly Hindus.

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Africans keep the leading position at 2008 Mumbai Marathon

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Standard Chartered Marathon, nicknamed “The Greatest Race on Earth“, held its third stage in Mumbai, India today. Because of the scorching hot weather in India, marathon runners had to adapt to the weather to overcome the challenge.

More than 30,000 runners participated in this race, joined by local NGOs and disabled who participated in a special charity short-distance running including 6km dream run, 4.3 km senior, and 2.5km wheel-chair classes. Gabriela Szabo, former Romanian Olympic Gold Medalist, named as charity ambassador of the race, was pleased by the participation from experts and NGOs.

An hour into the race, former champion Daniel Rono and Joseph Kimisi took the lead, but then Tariku Jifar from Ethiopia and defending champion John Ekiru Kelai took over Rono and Kimisi. After 40 kilometres, Kelai took a decisive lead and finally retained his champion title in 2 hours 12 minutes 22 seconds.

In the Women’s Group, Mulu Seboka from Ethiopia won the champion with 2H30m03s. Local runners Surendra Singh & Kavita Raut won the Men’s and Women’s Champions in the half-marathon class.

Division & Groups Men’s Group Women’s Group
South East Asia Dang Duc Bao Nguyen (Vietnam) 2:30’57” Pacharee Chaitongsri (Thailand) 2:55’29”
North East Asia Chin-chi Chiang (Chinese Taipei) 2:33’33” Xin Zhang (China) 2:53’59”
South Asia and Middle East Ajith Bandara Adikari Mudiyanselage (Sri Lanka) 2:24’07” Lakmini Anuradhi Bogahawatta (Sri Lanka) 3:04’21”
Africa John Ekiru Kelai (Kenya B) 2:12’22” Irene Kemunto Mogaka (Kenya B) 2:32’50”
Europe and Oceania Oleg Kharitonov (Russia) 2:30’55” Helen Stanton (Australia) 2:52’33”
America Paulino Canchanya Canchanya (Peru) 2:28’13” Rosangela Figueredo Silva (Brazil) 2:58’16”

Division & Groups Men’s Group Women’s Group
South East Asia Vietnam Thailand
North East Asia Chinese Taipei China
South Asia & Middle East India Sri Lanka
Africa Kenya B Kenya B
Europe & Oceania Russia Finland
America Peru United States
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A Brief Study About Caterpillar Inc.

A Brief Study about Caterpillar Inc.


Chris Cornell

Caterpillar Inc is normally known as CAT and they are famous for their equipment features. Products of Caterpillar range from engineering vehicles to bulldozers. They are the one of the thirty concerns where Dow Jones Industrial average is tracked. The history of Caterpillar Inc starts in the late 19th century with the production of steam tractors for farming.

By the birth of modern tractors, Caterpillars became famous for its Caterpillar 30and 60 tractors. Caterpillar s products and components are designed in 51 plants in USA, 58 Plants in other countries. Caterpillar possesses the license to manufacture clothing, hats, footwear, and other consumer products in its brand name.

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This company has a list of around 400 products in their purchase list. The vehicle ranges from hydraulic excavators to tracked tractors, backhoe, loaders, motors, graders, off-highway trucks, wheels loaders, and agricultural tractors. These equipments are used for transportation, road-building, mining, and other purposes.

In manufacturing wheel loaders, they are the largest manufactures. The current historic vehicles are engines. Diesel and natural gas engines and gas turbines are also manufactured in their plant. In addition to their own vehicles, diesel and natural gas engines are used as prime movers in locomotives, ships and semi trucks, while acting as the power source for peak-load power plants and generators.

Caterpillar defense products are diesel engines, automatic transmissions, Titan armored bridge layer, Terrior combat engineering vehicle, Trojan combat engineering tank and tank transporters. These products are manufactured at the defense product subsidiary in Shrewsbury and Shropshire. The presently manufactured Romanian MLI-84 armored personal carriers and the Swiss Piranha III light armored vehicles are used by the American army. CV90 and infantry fighting vehicles are also manufactured by the company.

Caterpillar electronics business has introduced a business unit named as Trimble Control Technologies LLC. It is a joint venture with Trimble navigation to develop advanced products for earthmoving machines in mining waste industries and construction.

Chris is the writer of this article , you can visit us for more information on

manufacturing products

. Visit for more details.

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Pre-election call in Canada, Conservatives start ads, including during kids TV

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Canadian Federal Elections 2008

Stories from the 2008 Canadian Federal Elections
  • 13 October 2008: CanadaVOTES: Libertarian John Kittridge in St. Paul’s
  • 13 October 2008: Canadian scientists protest Harper’s attacks on science
  • 10 October 2008: CanadaVOTES: NDP candidate Paul Arbour in Carleton—Mississippi Mills
  • 10 October 2008: CanadaVOTES: NDP candidate Jo-Anne Boulding in Parry Sound—Muskoka
  • 10 October 2008: CanadaVOTES: NDP candidate David Sparrow in Don Valley West
National Parties

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper may not have dropped the writ for an election yet, but his party is airing advertisements on both television and radio.

Because the election is not yet official — though it is scheduled for October 19, 2009 and could be held as soon as October of this year — the ads do not count against the Conservative Party’s campaign spending limit. They have been airing since Thursday.

The advertisement includes various Canadians making statements about Harper, as opposed to the Conservative platform. One woman shown in a parking lot says that she likes “the idea that he’s a family man with young children.”

The Canadian Press notes that all four major party leaders are married and have children.

Other statements include “[h]e’s doing a good job,” “I’ve never been so proud to be Canadian,” “[h]e’s on the right track” and “I like him.”

Political communication expert Jonathan Rose of Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Ontario told the Canadian Press: “By relying on typical Canadians in the ads, the Conservatives are hoping that the voter will find the connection powerful. Unfortunately, these kind of ads are based on assertions, not arguments. There is no evidence given to support the claims made in them.”

A writer for {{w|The Gazette (Montreal)|The Montreal Gazette]] comments that, “at the end, it’s hard to tell whether Stephen Harper is trying to smile or grimacing with the effort to convey warmth.”

The Conservative Party ads are airing during children’s programming, amongst other air times, presumed to be an attempt to reach parents.

Gazette writer Elizabeth Thompson noted that her daughter had seen one of the ads during an airing of SpongeBob SquarePants on television station YTV. Thompson criticized the choice to air the ads in the time slot, after her daughter repeated the ad claims “matter-of-factly”.

SpongeBob SquarePants was shown in a recent poll to be watched by 24 percent of parents with their child. About 41 percent of YTV’s audience is above the age of majority, and 68 percent of its reach composition, according to fall 2007 statistics by BBM Nielsen Media Research.

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Ireland votes to overturn 35-year-old constitutional ban on abortion

Sunday, May 27, 2018

In the official result of Friday’s Irish referendum over the legality of abortion, referendum officer Barry Ryan announced yesterday 66.4% of voters favoured overturning the eighth amendment of the constitution. Introduced in 1983, the eighth amendment made abortion constitutionally illegal. Irish Taoiseach — Prime Minister — Leo Varadkar said supporting legislation, to be framed following the result of this referendum, is to be “enacted before the end of this year”.

More than 2.1 million people voted on the referendum on Friday. With a 64.1% turnout, 1,429,981 voted in favour of eliminating the abortion ban while 723,632 voted to keep it. The results were announced at Dublin Castle. About 6000 voters spoiled their votes. Calling it “an historic day”, Prime Minister Varadkar said it was “a great act of democracy.” Ministers said they would form laws allowing medical termination of pregnancy in the first trimester, twelve weeks, of pregnancy, and under special cases until the 24th week. The legislation is to be formed after discussion with medical experts.

Since the amendment, Article 40.3.3 of the Irish constitution, in 1983, which gave an unborn child equal rights to life as the mother, hundreds of thousands of women traveled to different countries for the medical termination of pregnancy, while some used medical drugs illegal in Ireland to terminate the pregnancy.

“Savita Matters, Women Matter” was one of the slogans used by the supporters who wanted to repeal the amendment. In October 2012, a 31-year-old dentist of Indian origin, Savita Halappanavar, died from sepsis at a Galway hospital after she was denied abortion for a protracted miscarriage. She was told by a midwife that termination of pregnancy would not be possible since Ireland was a “Catholic country”. Halappanavar’s photo was used for posters by supporters who wanted the 35-year-old amendment repealed. In 2016, the current Roman Catholic Pope, Pope Francis, described abortion as a “very grave sin” and a “horrendous crime”.

Halappanavar’s father Andanappa Yalagi told Hindustan Times, “We’ve got justice for Savita. What happened to her will not happen to any other family. I have no words to express my gratitude to the people of Ireland at this historic moment.” 39 of 40 Irish constituencies voted in favour of repealing the law, while voters in only one constituency, Donegal, voted against — 51.87% opting to keep the anti-abortion laws. After the result was announced, the crowd were chanting Savita’s name in front of Dublin Castle.

Cora Sherlock, an anti-abortion activist, said, “what we voted on today is the ending of human life.” “I will accept the will of the Irish people, at the same time I will make it very clear what I feel of the campaign that has taken place. We will now regroup and find out what our next move is”, she added. Another activist, David Quinn, said, “The result today is basically a reversal of the 1983 result. On that occasion the defeated side did not simply slip away.”

“The people have said that we want a modern constitution for a modern country”, Prime Minister Varadkar said. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau later congratulated Varadkar on Twitter, saying: “What a moment for democracy and women’s rights.”

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Common Palm Beach Car Crash Injuries

Submitted by: Johny Chris

A Palm Beach car crash can leave you with devastating injuries. If you have already been the victim of a Palm Beach car wreck., don’t let yourself become a victim of the insurance companies as well.

Before you sign any paperwork, agree to any settlements, or give any statements to the insurance companies, order your FREE copy of Evan Fetterman’s book Smart Lawyers, Smart Clients Wear Clean Underwear.

The injuries that are often sustained in a Palm Beach car wreck can range from very minor (as in the case of a small scrape) to very severe (as in a traumatic brain injury, or even death).

Some common Palm Beach auto accident injuries are:

Psychological Trauma The psychological trauma from a car crash is something that may never completely go away. Fear of driving, panic attacks, and nightmares are all common following a Palm Beach auto accident, and may require counseling to manage.

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Whiplash Whiplash is the most common reported injury in Palm Beach car crashes. Although whiplash cannot be seen, it can be quite painful and cause lasting symptoms; in fact, nearly 45 percent of whiplash victims report that they still suffer from symptoms two years after the accident.

Cuts and Scrapes Cuts and scrapes can occur in many different places and for a number of different reasons. A doctor should always be seen after a car crash to examine any cuts and scrapes you may have sustained.

Burns Burns are commonly caused by the quick, forceful inflation of the airbag. They appear quickly and are very painful but they are not normally very serious, and a quick recovery is usually expected.

Broken Bones Due to the extreme forces acting on a body during a car crash, broken bones and serious fractures occur frequently. Common injuries include broken arms, wrists, legs, ankles, pelvis, and jaw bones.

Broken Ribs Car crashes are the most common cause of broken ribs. Broken ribs can be life-threatening and may puncture lungs or damage other organs or tissues.

Knee Damage Knee damage is very common and usually results from the knees being forced into the dashboard. These injuries can be extremely painful and debilitating and may require surgery and a long recovery period.

Back Injury Back injuries can be life-changing, and they frequently cause lifelong aches and pains. If you have suffered a back injury due to another party’s negligence, you need to consult with an attorney.

Neck Injury Neck injuries can cause chronic pain and disability that can change your life forever. These injuries are very serious and often require extensive treatments and therapies.

Internal Organ Injuries Internal injuries are very serious and should not be taken lightly. If left untreated they can cause life-threatening internal bleeding. Some commonly injured organs are the spleen, liver, heart, lungs, bowels, and kidneys.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Traumatic brain injuries, also referred to as TBIs, can range from mild to severe. Symptoms range from a slight change in mental state to extended periods of unconsciousness or amnesia. Some symptoms of TBI are immediately evident, while others may not surface until days or even weeks after the injury. You should always seek medical attention following a TBI.

Wrongful Death Sometimes the negligence of others can cause serious harm or even death.

About the Author: If you or someone you love has suffered a serious or debilitating injury in a Palm Beach auto accident, you need to speak with an attorney (

). You should not try to settle a case like this yourself. No matter how nice the insurance adjusters may seem, they are not on your side. Their job is to pay you the least amount possible to settle your claim, even if it means leaving you with a lifetime of pain and suffering, as well as piles of medical bills.


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Large study provides new insights in autism’s genetic code

Thursday, February 22, 2007

In the largest study of its kind, a genetic analysis of 1,168 families with multiple cases of autism has identified genetic links to autism. A previously overlooked stretch of DNA on chromosome 11 implicates a gene called neurexin 1 and increases the evidence for the involvement of neurexins and genes related to glutamate transmission in the brain.

Genetic studies of autism have previously been undertaken; however the new study involves the collaboration of more than 120 scientists from more than 50 institutions representing 19 countries who pooled their data as part of the Autism Genome Project. The findings were published in the Feb. 18 issue of Nature Genetics.

Bob Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of autism, said: “The identification of susceptibility genes will provide profound new insight into the basis of autism offering a route to breakthroughs in new treatments in support of families.” Autism Speaks funded this project in conjunction with the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Joachim Hallmayer, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at Stanford and chair of the collaboration’s executive committee, explains what is next: “While promising, these results need to be followed up with more refined genetic maps to home in on other specific candidate genes. We also need to look more closely at chromosomal anomalies in large samples of children with autism.” In the paper, researchers caution that the genetic foundation of autism probably involves multiple genes and chromosomal abnormalities.

Autism affects about one in every 150 children, and the CDC has called it an “urgent health concern”. Autism is a developmental disorder which impairs social interaction, communication and features restricted and repetitive interests and activities. Twin studies and other research clearly suggest a genetic basis for the condition. Currently there is no cure for autism, but both behavioral or sensory interventions and drugs can influence the symptoms.

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