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Mental Retardation

Twenty-nine years ago, a doctor at a Denver mental hospital sat a sickly, slightly retarded boy named Tim Baley down at a piano and watched him run his fingers across the ledges and valleys of the keyboard. The puzzled doctor began jotting down notes. Baley had undergone hundreds of tests, but medical minds were still having a hard time coming up with a diagnosis for the boy's developmental problems and poor health. The piano test only deepened the mystery.
February 25, 2014 | By Marc J. Tassé
Shortly after his birth in 1945, Freddie Hall's family knew that something was different about him. And later, he was slow to learn, to walk and to talk, and it was challenging for his family to understand his speech. He was raised under difficult circumstances in an impoverished and abusive home, the 16th of 17 children, and showed early signs of serious intellectual and developmental delays. Hall's elementary school teachers also noticed his problems with learning and recommended a special education teacher, as shown in school records dating from the 1950s.
April 6, 1990 | From Associated Press
A Gerber research plant is retooling to resume production for a market of one: a profoundly allergic 15-year-old boy who cannot live without a special baby formula the company stopped making five years ago. For a few days this month, one quarter of the production space at the Gerber Products Co. research center in Fremont, Mich., will be devoted to making MBF, a formula that only Raymond Dunn Jr. needs and which Gerber is providing free.
October 21, 2013 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court said Monday it would consider taking another step toward limiting the use of the death penalty, this time by trying to clarify the legal standard for who is ineligible for the ultimate punishment because of mental disability. At issue is whether states such as Florida may disqualify anyone who scores above 70 on an IQ test. A score below 70 generally indicates mental disability. The justices agreed to hear the case of Freddie Hall, a Florida death row inmate who killed two people in 1978, but who was described as mentally disabled when he was a child and was deemed to be mentally retarded by the judge who sentenced him to die. Three years ago, Florida prosecutors said Hall had scored a 71 on a Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale test and therefore could be executed for his crimes.
January 3, 1990
Concern was mounting Tuesday about the welfare of a mentally retarded Los Angeles resident, as authorities began the second week of their search for the missing elderly man. James Robinson, 70, has been missing since Christmas Eve, when he attended services at the Pico-Arlington Christian Church on the 3400 block of West Pico Boulevard. Robinson is described as white, 5 feet, 6 inches tall and 180 pounds, with gray hair combed straight back and cut to just below his ears.
November 19, 2002 | From Times Wire Reports
A state appeals court halted this week's scheduled execution of a convicted killer after his attorneys argued that he is mentally retarded. James Lee Clark, 34, was scheduled to die by injection Thursday for the 1993 shooting, rape, robbery and murder of a 17-year-old Denton high school student. Another teenager was slain in the same incident. Clark's lawyers invoked a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling barring execution of the mentally retarded.
May 21, 1990 | Associated Press
China's first province to approve a mandatory sterilization law for the mentally retarded has performed 5,500 operations in the 14 months since the law took effect. Officials in the northwestern province of Gansu said their goal is to sterilize most of Gansu's 260,000 mentally retarded by the end of next year, the People's Daily said Sunday.
May 27, 2001 | From Times Wire Reports
Texas lawmakers passed a bill that would ban the execution of murderers who are found to be mentally retarded. "This legislation is a major step forward that proves we can be tough on crime and still have compassionate justice, even in the wild, wild West," said Senate sponsor Rodney Ellis, a Democrat. Gov. Rick Perry, George W. Bush's Republican successor, has not said whether he would sign the measure into law. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the issue is pending.
The Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether the Constitution bars a state from forcibly confining mentally retarded adults in state homes without giving each a full hearing. The decision will come in a widely watched Kentucky case, which could clarify the rights of the nation's retarded persons. Until 1988, Kentucky officials had kept retarded adults in state facilities based on a request from their parents. These confinements were deemed "voluntary."
May 28, 2013 | By Jack Leonard
A teenager charged with murdering his girlfriend's mother and stepfather at their Compton mobile home has an "extremely low" IQ that is consistent with being mentally retarded, an expert testified Tuesday. Giovanni Gallardo, now 18, had an IQ of 57 when he was evaluated after the killings, placing him within the range of mild to moderate retardation, Dr. Deborah S. Miora, a clinical and forensic neuropsychologist, told the court. She said his score fell within the range of people who have mild to moderate retardation.
December 7, 2012
WASHINGTON -- Congress has voted to strike any reference to the word "lunatic" in federal law. The measure, which is headed to President Obama for his expected signature, is intended to reduce the stigma of mental illness. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) said during consideration of the bill this week that the term holds "a place in antiquity and should no longer have a prominent place in our U.S. Code. " The 21st Century Language Act, he added, "follows the precedence of Congress to study semantics and continuously improves the status and appropriateness of our nation's laws by addressing pejorative terms.
September 20, 2012 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
A former Dallas-area car wash employee who was convicted of killing two co-workers a week after he was fired in 2000 appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday to stay his execution. Robert Wayne Harris, 40, was due to be executed as of 6 p.m. Central time. Harris had originally confessed to fatally shooting five people at the Mi-T-Fine car wash in Irving, Texas, was charged in connection with all five but tried in two of the deaths. His attorneys argue Harris should not be executed because he is mentally retarded and did not receive a fair trial.
October 25, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Despite Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann's recent charge that the HPV vaccine can cause "mental retardation," ongoing safety studies on the vaccine reveal no surprises, health officials said Tuesday. "We have no evidence" that HPV vaccination causes mental retardation, said Dr. Eileen Dunne, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at a hearing of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a panel that advises the CDC. The committee voted 13-0 to recommend routine human papillomavirus vaccination for boys ages 11 and 12. The vote included a review of the safety of the vaccine, which has been in use among girls in the United States since 2006.
September 17, 2011 | Robin Abcarian and Seema Mehta
Republican presidential contender Michele Bachmann, whose gaffes have made her a favorite punching bag for Jay Leno and other late-night comedians, paid Leno a visit Friday. In her first appearance on "The Tonight Show," Bachmann tried to show her lighter side -- even making a joke about Christian anti-gay therapy, but Leno challenged her on gay rights, the HPV vaccine, her opposition to raising the federal debt ceiling and other conservative positions. The comedian's gentle persistence could not budge Bachmann from her talking points.
September 15, 2011 | By James Oliphant, Washington Bureau
Add Michele Bachmann's former campaign manager to those who believe the presidential candidate went too far in linking a cervical cancer vaccine to mental retardation. Ed Rollins, in an interview Wednesday evening on MSNBC, said Bachmann's attacks on Texas Gov. Rick Perry's mandatory vaccination program for young girls in Texas had been effective -- until she brought up the possibility of “dangerous side effects” in television interviews. “She'd had been better if she stayed on issue,” Rollins told Chris Matthews on “Hardball,” the issue was the governor's executive orders, and whether he made a mistake.
September 13, 2011 | By Paul West, Washington Bureau
A 2007 executive order by Texas Gov. Rick Perry has become the latest post-debate headache for the Republican presidential front-runner, who was accused of "crony capitalism" Tuesday by Rep. Michele Bachmann. The fight over requiring vaccinations for young girls — which surfaced in Monday's Florida debate — involved government prerogatives and cancer. But it also had a strong moral subtext: Bachmann and other social conservatives objected to forcible inoculations against a disease spread by sexual activity, while Perry defended himself with the language of the antiabortion movement.
February 18, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
Understanding how certain genes function is a key to finding treatments that could reverse disease processes and abnormalities including, perhaps, mental retardation. In a study published Tuesday, researchers detailed the workings of a single gene that is linked to severe mental retardation and several other brain disorders. The gene is called WRP. Previous research revealed that when WRP is disrupted, severe mental retardation could occur. In the new study, researchers conducted experiments with brain cells and found that cells enriched with WRP developed the fingerlike protrusions that nerve cells use to make connections in the brain.
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