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Category Archives: Forensic Psychiatry

Mom Knows You’re Lying

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Remember how it seemed that your Mom always knew when you were lying? 

No, I swear, I didn’t do it. 

And then she’d give you that look. The one that melted all your protestations of innocence. Seems to be a universal thing.

In a recent article in Psychology Today, titled “A 9-Item Test to Find Out Who’s Lying to You,” Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne discusses the clues that reveal deception.

I’m sure my Mom knew all of these. Heck, she probably could have written this article.

 

Visine and Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy

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Visine is a useful medication. I use it all the time. When the Santa Ana’s blow in SoCal and the temperature rises, the humidity falls, and eyes dry out, Visine works very well. When used properly it is very safe and effective—-but, if used improperly, it can be a deadly poison.

Actually, anything can be deadly. The difference between a drug and a poison is simply a matter of dose. What can cure, can harm; what can harm, can kill. It’s really that simple.

The active, and dangerous, ingredient in Visine is tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride. If ingested in sufficient amounts, it can cause an elevation in blood pressure, a drop in heart rate, a reduction in body temperature, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, blurred vision, seizures, coma, and death, to name a few effects.

The case of Samantha Elizabeth Unger underlines this danger. Seems she poisoned her two children by adding the medication to their juice. And may have done so multiple times—-which could indicate that this is a case of Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy—a psychiatric disorder in which parents harm children in order to garner attention and sympathy. Odd, but not rare.

Recently on Crime and Science Radio, Jan Burke and I interviewed Beatrice Yorker, the Dean of the College of Health and Human Services at California State University, Los Angeles and a renowned expert in Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy. Take a listen and check out some of the links for more info on the fascinating topic.

 

 

Crime and Science Radio: The Art and Science of Law Enforcement: An Interview with Robin Burcell

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Saturday 6-14-14 at 10 a.m. PDT, join DP Lyle and Jan Burke in conversation with Robin Burcell, who is the author of award-winning crime fiction — including this year’s The Kill Order, featuring FBI Agent Sydney Fitzpatrick.  Robin also spent nearly three decades working in law enforcement: she has worked as a police officer, a forensic artist, a hostage negotiator, and a detective.

 

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LISTEN: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/suspensemagazine/2014/05/09/crime-and-science-radio-with-robin-burcell

LINKS:

Robin Burcell’s Website: http://www.robinburcell.com

HOSTAGE NEGOTIATION:

How Stuff Works: Hostage Negotiation: http://people.howstuffworks.com/hostage-negotiation.htm

PoliceOne.com: Hostage negotiations: Psychological Strategies For Resolving Crises: http://www.policeone.com/standoff/articles/1247470-Hostage-negotiations-Psychological-strategies-for-resolving-crises/

International Association of Hostage Negotiators: http://www.hostagenegotiation.com

Time: 6 Hostage Negotiation Techniques That Will Get You What You Want: http://time.com/38796/6-hostage-negotiation-techniques-that-will-get-you-what-you-want/

Hostage Negotiation: Psychological Principles and Practices: https://www.psychceu.com/miller/Miller_Hostage_Neg.pdf

Psychology Today: Active Listening Techniques of Hostage & Crisis Negotiators: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/beyond-words/201311/active-listening-techniques-hostage-crisis-negotiators

FORENSIC ART:

International Association for Identification: https://theiai.org

ForensicArtist.com: http://www.forensicartist.com

Crime Library: Forensic Art: http://www.crimelibrary.com/criminal_mind/forensics/art/1.html

History of Forensic Art: http://www.forensicartist.com/history/

You Tube: Forensic Art: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4T_2YCpZMyA

Forensic Faces Institute: http://forensicfaces.weebly.com/index.html

 

 

Crime and Science Radio: Deadly Doctors, Killer Nurses and other Medical Miscreants

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Join Jan Burke and I for a lively interview with Bea Yorker. We will delve into the very odd and not all that rare Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome as well as healthcare professionals who commit serial murders.

 

BIO: Beatrice Crofts Yorker is the Dean of the College of Health and Human Services at California State University, Los Angeles where CSULA’s forensic science program is located. She is renowned for her own research into Munchausen By Proxy, her landmark study of medical serial killers, and her publications on other topics that bring law, psychology, medicine, and ethics together.

 

LISTEN: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/suspensemagazine/2014/03/09/crime-and-science-radio-with-special-guest-bea-yorker

 

LINKS:

Medicine Net: Munchausen Syndrome: http://www.medicinenet.com/munchausen_syndrome/article.htm

Munchausen Syndrome, Cleveland Clinic: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/factitious_disorders/hic_munchausen_syndrome.aspx

Munchausen By Proxy: Cleveland Clinic: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/factitious_disorders/hic_munchausen_syndrome_by_proxy.aspx

Kid’s Health: Munchausen By Proxy Syndrome: http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/sick/munchausen.html

Medicine Net: Munchausen By Proxy: http://www.medicinenet.com/munchausen_syndrome_by_proxy/article.htm

Angels of Death: The Doctors: Crime Library: http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial_killers/weird/doctors/index_1.html

Angels of Death: The Female Nurses: Crime Library: http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/angels/female_nurses/index.html

Angels of Death: The Male Nurses: Crime Library: http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/angels/male_nurses/index.html

Serial Murder By Healthcare Professionals by BC Yorker, et al: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17199622

Serial Murder By Healthcare Professionals by BC Yorker, et al: As PDF File: http://www.chem.sc.edu/analytical/chem107/tox/chem107_toxarticle.pdf

Psychology Today: The Medical Murder Club: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-human-equation/201206/the-medical-murder-club

 

 

Crime and Science Radio: Sex, Lies, and Crime: An Interview With Sex Crimes Expert and Best-Selling Author Linda Fairstein

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Join Jan Burke and I as we discuss sex crimes with best-selling author Linda Fairstein.

Linda Fairstein is an honors graduate of Vassar College and the University of Virginia School of Law, a former prosecutor, and one of America’s foremost legal experts on crimes of violence against women and children. For three decades, she served in the office of the New York County District Attorney, where she was Chief of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit for twenty-five years. She was the lead attorney in the famous the Robert Chambers “Preppy Murder” case. She is an internationally bestselling author of a series of crime novels, which feature Manhattan prosecutor Alexandra Cooper. Linda is also the author of a non-fiction work. Sexual Violence: Our War Against Rape, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. She is a sought-after media consultant on the issue of the criminal justice system and crimes of violence against women for major networks such as CNN, MSNBC, and cable affiliates. She continues to practice law as a pro bono representative of victims of violence. She and her husband Justin Feldman live in Manhattan and on Martha’s Vineyard.

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LISTEN: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/suspensemagazine/2014/02/21/crime-and-science-radio-with-linda-fairstein

LINKS:

Linda Fairstein Website: http://www.lindafairstein.com

Linda Fairstein Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/LindaFairstein

Linda on Twitter: @lindafairstein

Alex Cooper Series on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/series/43692-alexandra-cooper

USA Today Interview (2013): http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/books/2013/08/16/linda-fairstein-central-park-sex-crimes/2656599/

Sex-assault Case Puts Focus on Police Unit, Not Quite as Seen on TV: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/19/nyregion/strauss-kahn-case-puts-focus-on-real-special-victims-squad.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Inside the NYPD’s Special Victims Division: http://www.newsweek.com/inside-nypds-special-victims-division-67761

New York’s DA’s Office Trial Division: http://manhattanda.org/trial-division

Crime Library: A Killing in Central Park: The Preppy Murder Case: http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/not_guilty/park/4.html

Jennifer Levin’s Mother Remembers “Preppy Murder” Case: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/09/02/jennifer-levins-mother-remembers-preppy-murder-case/

Murderpedia: Robert Chambers: http://murderpedia.org/male.C/c/chambers-robert.htm

Children Of The Night: http://childrenofthenight.org

Sex Slaves: The Psychology of Mastery: http://www.crimelibrary.com/criminal_mind/sexual_assault/sex_slaves/1_index.html

Joyful Heart Foundation

RAINN: Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network

Cleveland Plain Dealer Series on Ohio’s sexual assault kit backlog investigations

Houston Chronicle article re Houston elimination sexual assault kit backlog

The Guardian’s story on Detroit Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s fight to investigate 11,000 abandoned sexual assault kits

Contra Costa Times: “California bill calls for evidence in unsolved, neglected rape cases to get attention”

Inside the Lives of American Sex Slaves: National Geographic

Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking

 

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Does a PTSD Vaccine Exist?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an increasingly recognized disorder not only among returning military personnel but in others who have suffered ongoing highly stressful situations. The various forms of psychotherapy that have been used for this disorder have led to mixed results and the numerous medications available have side effects that often prevent their use. Not to mention that they don’t always work.

But what if there was a vaccine that eliminated or reduced the effects of PTSD? One that lessened the fight or flight response these memories often illicit?

A group at MIT believes they might have developed just such a treatment. They discovered that a stomach hormone called ghrelin, which has been implicated in helping generate anxiety responses, is released during highly stressful situations, and the more stressful the situation, the more hormone released. The new “vaccine” tends to block the receptors for this hormone and therefore lessen its effects. It is important to note, that the goal of this treatment is not to alter the person’s personality or memories but rather to blunt the psychological and physiological responses to these stress and panic-producing memories. Hopefully with further study this new form of treatment will pan out.

 

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Stress Fracture, the first in my Dub Walker thriller series, dealt with PTSD and new drugs for its treatment. Not vaccines but rather spinoffs of current forms of treatment. Of course the drug in my fictional story is itself fictional but new drugs are continually being produced for this disorder. If this “vaccine” does indeed prove to be effective and with acceptable side effects, the need for developing new drugs would be decreased. We’ll see.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2014 in Forensic Psychiatry, Medical Issues

 

The Writers Forensics Blog: 100 Top Websites to Bookmark

The crew over at FornesicScienceDegrees.org have listed The Writers Forensics Blog as one of their Top 100 Websites to Bookmark, which they describe as a “list of great sites to present practical, real-world information on the subject.” Many great sources here.

Thanks. I’m flattered.

 

 
 
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