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Life's A Twitch! Celebrating 15 years.
1998 - 2018
Life's A Twitch! Celebrating 15 years.


That can of Spam has been on the Titanic, and has been photographed with over 200 celebrities around the world. But I bet it had never been ticced at before.... :)

Taken at the 18th Annual Gemini Awards (2003, Toronto, ON)

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) as a new potential treatment for Tourette Syndrome.

  • The original press release from the University Hospitals of Cleveland is available here.

  • Dr. McKinlay explains more about what DBS is, what all the hype is about, and what to think about these new exciting results here.

  • Read the official press release of the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada and Tourette Syndrome Association here.

Life's a Twitch is making waves across the world! We have just been awarded the Second Prize in the category "Education à la santé" (Health Education) at this year's Le Festival International du Film de Santé (International Health Film Festival) in Liege, Belgium. The festival ran from March 9 to 13, 2004. More information on the festival is available at

Dr. McKinlay registered: On December 3rd, 2003 at 1:30 p.m. Dr. McKinlay underwent an oral examination by 3 members of the the College of Psychologists of Ontario. Having spent 1500 hours in supervised practice (meaning two registered psychologists regularly met with Dr. McKinlay to discuss clinical and ethical issues, and to co-sign his reports) and having already written a major factual exam and a jurisprudence exam, this was the final step in becoming fully registered as a autonomous practitioner. Dr. McKinlay's oral examination committee unanimously recommended a "Pass" to 'unleash' (their words!) Dr. McKinlay upon the profession.

Hence, Dr. McKinlay is now a fully registered Psychologist working with children and adolescents in the areas of school and clinical psychology. While Dr. McKinlay doesn't plan to begin a private practice immediately, he will be seeing clients and consulting through the Child and Parent Resource Institute (CPRI) in London, Ontario. He will also continue his presentations, has plans to teach at the University of Western Ontario, and can be available for scheduling consultations.

Reader's Digest: The November 2003 edition of Reader's Digest Canada was released on October 16th -- one of the feature articles (page 90) is on Tourette Syndrome, using a profile of my life to help increase awareness. Shelley Greer (the author) put a tremendous amount of effort into this piece, and deserves many, many kudos for her care and diligence. The website ( has subscription information, but does not display the articles.

Ann Landers book: On Friday October 17th I received in the mail a 1st print hardcover copy of a new book commemorating Ann Lander's life. Written by her editor at the Chicago Tribune (Rick Kogan) and entitled America's Mom, it is a beautiful salute to this fine woman.

Mr. Kogan contacted me about a year ago for an interview; he had learned my story about being diagnosed with TS through one of Ann Landers' columns. I was thrilled to participate in the project, and now things have come 'full circle' as there is a section in the book about TS and Ann Lander's impact on myself and the TS world. I couldn't be happier to contribute in some small way to her remembrance, and suggest that, TS coverage or not, this is a fabulous book to have.

Life's A Twitch: The Documentary goes to the Gemini's: The Gemini Awards (Canada's equivalent to the Academy Awards) are presented by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. Life's A Twitch has been nominated in two categories for the 18th Annual awards show:

  • Best Science, Technology, Nature, Environment or Adventure Documentary Program
  • Best Picture Editing in a Documentary Program or Series

The Gemini Documentary, News and Sports Gala will take place on October 18, 2003. Awards will be handed out at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. "This year marks the first year [the Academy] will be presenting the Gemini Documentary, News and Sports Awards Gala evening, showcasing awards that reflect the changes in Canada's television community and highlighting the remarkable achievements made is these areas". The event will not be televised.

Visit the Academy's website and learn more about the Geminis by clicking on

On March 11, 2003 the College of Psychologists of Ontario issued a Certificate of Registration Authorizing Supervised Practice as a Psychologist to B. Duncan McKinlay (backdated to December 11, 2002). This certification means that Dr. McKinlay can now officially be recognized as a Psychologist (under supervision) in the province of Ontario. It also permits Dr. McKinlay to now study for and take a number of examinations that, if passed, license him to independently practice as a Psychologist in the province of Ontario as of December 10th, 2003. Only at that time can Dr. McKinlay then consider taking private clients. The 9 month countdown begins!!

On June 6th and 7th, McMaster University's president and Alumni Association will honour Dr. B. Duncan McKinlay with a 2003 McMaster Arch Award. As one of 5 inaugural recipients, Dr. McKinlay is to be recognized for his academic success and for turning his personal struggle with Tourette Syndrome into a message of hope and understanding for others. A dinner on June 6th for the recipients will be hosted by the president of the university, and an official ceremony will be held on the 7th in coordination with McMaster's 2003 Alumni
Weekend. Dr. McKinlay can invite as many friends, relatives, classmates and colleagues as he would like to the ceremony, to be held in Convocation Hall at 3:00 p.m. after a 2:00 p.m. reception.

Ann Landers Obituary

Esther Pauline Lederer, known to the world as Ann Landers, died Saturday, June 22, 2002. We at Creators Syndicate are deeply saddened by this loss to us individually and to newspaper readers around the world. When Eppie Lederer took over the Ann Landers column in 1955, no one, including her, realized the tremendous impact she would have on all of us. Ann Landers was someone people could confide in, when they had nowhere else to turn. She was someone people could rely on for straightforward advice -- no nonsense came from her pen. She was a faithful friend to those in need. And she changed newspapers forever, becoming an intrinsic part of the American culture: Everyone knows Ann Landers.

Richard S. Newcombe, president of Creators Syndicate, said he was personally saddened more than anything else.

"Over the last 18 years, Eppie was one of my closest personal friends," he said. "During many stretches of time, we would talk every day. I was in the enviable position of being able to ask Ann Landers for advice whenever I wanted -- and she always gave great advice. She was a fount of common sense and had an incredibly positive attitude. She always offered encouragement, whether it was about how to bring up my children or what kind of house we should buy -- and of course she was instrumental in my decision to found Creators Syndicate. As the first columnist to join us, she made this company possible.

"We had several conversations about whether the column should continue after her death, and we agreed that the Ann Landers column would end when her life ended. The last column she wrote will be released on July 27. That will be the last column with Ann Landers' byline."

Creators Syndicate will offer a farewell column written by Ann Landers' daughter, Margo Howard. A moving tribute to her mother, it will be for release Monday, June 24. Since Ann Landers wrote her column through the release of July 27, these columns will be run through that date.

With the blessing of Ann Landers' daughter, Creators Syndicate will be providing two advice columns: one written by the two people who have worked most closely with Ann Landers for the past 30 years and the other written by Margo Howard.

For the last several years, Margo has been writing an advice column called Dear Prudence for Slate, the online magazine. Newcombe says, "Eppie repeatedly told me how proud she was of her daughter for writing this column."

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, who have been editing Ann Landers' column for 30 and 20 years respectively, will write a column called Annie's Mailbox seven days a week in the same style as Ann Landers. We have entrusted them with this column because of their close and long-term relationship with Ann Landers.

Margo Howard says, "Combining the generational difference and their breadth of experience working with my mother, Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar will meld the Ann Landers approach with a new-century, modern spin. They are the perfect pair to continue the tradition of sound, sparkling, tell-it-like-it-is advice."

The world is a lot less bright now that Eppie Lederer is gone, but it is also so much better because she lived. We thank you, Ann Landers, and we thank you, Eppie, for sharing your words of wisdom, common sense and good cheer. They will remain in our hearts forever.

-- CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC. (310/337-7003)




Dear Readers: I write to you today in my mother's stead. She had wanted to write her farewell column herself, but things did not work out that way. We talked about it, though, and she was quite clear about what she would have said. So I shall say it for her. She felt profoundly privileged to have been able to shed some light and offer guidance for 46 years ... more than half her life. This column was her mission, her raison d'etre, and she worked on it, daily, until the end.

She believed she got as much sustenance from you, her readers, as you got from her. The chance to come into your homes and into your lives meant the world to her. And she was convinced that if any one thing could serve as a solution to all manner of problems, it was kindness.

The more senior among you might remember when she announced that she and my father were parting after many years. In that shorter-than-usual column, she asked her editors to leave a white space at the bottom, as a memorial to quite a good marriage that didn't make it to the finish line. I would ask her editors again, today, to leave a white space ... this time in honor of a gutsy, old-school newspaper dame who believed there was no better job in all the world and who would, if she could have, wished you a fond and grateful farewell herself. And she wanted you to know that hers had been "a simply wonderful ride." -- Margo Howard


October 4, 2001
Donald Cohen, 61, Noted Child Psychiatrist, Dies

R. Donald J. Cohen, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who as the director of Yale University's renowned Child Study Center reshaped the field of child psychiatry, died in New Haven on Tuesday. He was 61.

The cause was ocular melanoma, a rare form of cancer, his colleagues at Yale said.

Dr. Cohen was known for his scientific work, including fundamental contributions to the understanding of autism, Tourette's syndrome and other illnesses, and for his leadership in bringing together the biological and the psychological approaches to understanding psychiatric disorders in childhood.

His research included work on the roots of personality development, the interaction of biological and environmental factors in psychiatric illnesses, the effects of acute and long-term stresses on child development and new drug treatments for Tourette's syndrome.

But he also offered a thoughtful voice at times when the nation was troubled and perplexed by its children, when teenagers went on shooting rampages or 6-year-olds turned guns on their classmates.

"You can blame a parent only until you've become a parent," Dr. Cohen said after the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999. He said the challenge was to distinguish the normal experimentation and idiosyncrasy of adolescence from the signs of more serious emotional difficulty.

Unflagging in his efforts to persuade policy makers to devote more money to research and clinical services for children, Dr. Cohen commented at the time: "This country doesn't think as much about its children and their future as it does about how to clean up streams."

Dr. David A. Kessler, dean of Yale's School of Medicine and a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said, "Donald Cohen really moved child psychiatry into the biological era, but he continued to put emphasis on the psychological and social aspects affecting child development."

Dr. Cohen was also widely known for the programs he helped establish in the United States and abroad to help children affected by violence and disaster.

The Child Study Center, where Dr. Cohen had been director since 1983, was designated by the Department of Justice as the site of the National Center for Children Exposed to Violence.

With colleagues, Dr. Cohen established the International Working Group on Children and War, a coalition of researchers and clinicians.

"He fostered the development of the next generation of academic child psychiatrists from many countries, in Europe, Korea, China, as well as Israel," said Dr. James F. Leckman, a professor of psychiatry at Yale, who worked closely with Dr. Cohen.

Dr. Leckman and other colleagues cited Dr. Cohen's ability to put children and adults at ease in clinical interviews.

"With kids, he was just magical," said Dr. Joseph L. Woolston, also a professor of psychiatry at Yale.

For example, Dr. Leckman said, Dr. Cohen might chat with a 6-year- old boy about his pet fish or his baseball cards and then show the child his own rock collection.

"To be a good child psychiatrist, you have to be a child at heart," Dr. Leckman said, "and Donald was always willing to be sort of down there on the floor with the kids."

Donald Jay Cohen was born on Sept. 5, 1940, in Chicago, the son of a businessman. He once told a colleague that as a student he honed his fund-raising skills working as a copy writer for a mail order catalog, extolling the virtues of women's hats and other merchandise.

Graduating from Brandeis University in 1961, he received a Fulbright fellowship to study philosophy at Cambridge University. In 1966, he graduated from Yale's School of Medicine and completed his training in psychiatry at Massachusetts Mental Health Center and Children's Hospital in Boston.

Dr. Cohen wrote more than 400 books and professional articles. Among many other positions, he was president of the International Association of
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions and vice president of Yale's board of governors.

Last year, he was named the Sterling Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Psychology. At the time of his death, he was also a training and supervising analyst at the Western New England Institute of Psychoanalysis and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Cohen, a Jew, blended a profound spirituality with a broad understanding of science and clinical work, his colleagues and friends said.

"His scholarship centered on the deepest questions of the interface between biology and psychology," Dr. Kessler wrote in a memorandum to the Yale faculty.

In recognition of his contributions, the Cohen-Harris Center for the Study of Trauma was recently established by Tel Aviv University and the Tel Aviv Mental Health Center.

Dr. Cohen is survived by his wife, Phyllis Cohen, also a psychoanalyst on the faculty of the Child Study Center; four children, Matthew, of Glasgow, Scotland, Rebecca Martin of New Haven, Rachel Goldstein of Manhattan and Joseph, a senior at Yale; his mother, Rose Cohen of Woodbridge, Conn.; and five grandchildren.

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