Recent News Items

Helping college students suffering from depression, anxiety and stress, by Springer Science+Business Media. Reuters, April 22, 2015.  “Is it possible to prevent mental health problems in higher education students? The answer is "yes" according to a team of psychologists who conducted a careful, systematic review of 103 universal interventions involving over 10,000 students enrolled in 2- and 4-year colleges and universities and graduate programs. They conclude that effective programs to prevent emotional distress and promote psychosocial assets warrant more widespread use.”

Kids with ADHD must squirm to learn, study says, by University of Central Florida. ScienceDaily, April 17, 2015.  “For decades, frustrated parents and teachers have barked at fidgety children with ADHD to "Sit still and concentrate!" But new research conducted at UCF shows that if you want ADHD kids to learn, you have to let them squirm. The foot-tapping, leg-swinging and chair-scooting movements of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder are actually vital to how they remember information and work out complex cognitive tasks, according to a study published in an early online release of the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.”

Divorcees 'have more heart attacks', by James Gallagher. BBC, April 15, 2015.  “Divorcees are more likely to have a heart attack than their peers who stay married, US research suggests. An analysis of 15,827 people showed women were worst affected, and barely reduced the risk if they remarried. The study, published in the journal Circulation, argued that chronic stress, linked to divorce, had a long-term impact on the body.”

Bullying by students with disabilities reduced by social-emotional learning, by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. ScienceDaily, March 31, 2015.  “Peer victimization -- bullying -- declined 20 percent among students with disabilities who participated in Second Step social-emotional learning curricula, authors of a new study report. More than 120 students with disabilities at two school districts in the Midwest United States participated in the research, which was part of a larger three-year clinical trial of the widely used social-emotional learning curricula Second Step.”

History of depression puts women at risk for diabetes during pregnancy, study finds, by Loyola University Health System. ScienceDaily, March 31, 2015.  “A history of depression may put women at risk for developing diabetes during pregnancy, according to research published in the latest issue of the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing by researchers from Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing (MNSON). This study also pointed to how common depression is during pregnancy and the need for screening and education. "Women with a history of depression should be aware of their risk for gestational diabetes during pregnancy and raise the issue with their doctor," said Mary Byrn, PhD, RN, study co-author and assistant professor, MNSON. "Health-care providers also should know and understand the prevalence and symptoms of prenatal depression and gestational diabetes and screen and manage these women appropriately."”

Experts caution against random drug testing in schools, by Kathryn Doyle. Reuters, March 30, 2015.  “Schools should not be using random drug tests to catch or deter drug abusers, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises in an updated policy statement. The Academy recommends against school-based “suspicionless” drug testing in the new issue of the journal Pediatrics. Identifying kids who use drugs and entering them into treatment programs should be a top priority, but there is little evidence that random drug testing helps accomplish this, said Dr. Sharon Levy, director of the adolescent substance abuse program at Boston Children’s Hospital and lead author of the new policy statement.”

Suicide Prevention Campaign Approaches Men ‘On Their Own Terms’, by Lynn Jolicoeur. WBUR, March 26, 2015.

Childhood trauma linked to early psychosis later in life, by Medical Xpress. Medical Xpress, March 18, 2015.  “Research showing that patients with early psychosis report high rates of childhood trauma has important implications for clinicians, a University of Queensland psychologist has found. UQ Centre for Clinical Research and Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research psychologist Mr Michael Duhig said more than three-quarters of early psychosis patients reported exposure to childhood trauma, including one or a combination of emotional, physical or sexual abuse or physical neglect.”

Teenage Dreams: Parents can help their teens succeed in school, by Bari Walsh. Harvard Graduate School of Education, March 16, 2015.  “When children reach adolescence, everything that’s joyful, challenging, and surprising — or sanity-sapping — about being a parent seems suddenly to multiply. But hang in there. Just when it may feel like your kids are beginning to pull away, your involvement — and support — matters profoundly. A body of research has already shown that parenting practices in early adolescence are predictive of later educational achievement. Now, some new findings by Professor Nancy Hill of the Harvard Graduate School of Education are showing the importance of one particular practice: helping teens set goals and explore interests.”

Study: New Mothers May Suffer From Postpartum OCD, by Brian Krans. Healthline News, March 06, 2015.  “A new mother has plenty to worry about, but some mothers’ fretting may go beyond natural protective instincts and into the realm of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). A recent study from Northwestern University found that new mothers are five times more likely than their peers to experience OCD as long as six months after their child is born. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that about three percent of the general population has OCD, an anxiety disorder marked by uncontrollable thoughts and fears and repetitive behaviors. The Northwestern researchers found that 11 percent of new mothers experience significant OCD symptoms, including fear of injuring the baby and worry about proper hygiene and germs. Some of these are normal feelings a woman experiences with a newborn, but researchers said that if the compulsions interfere with a mother’s duties it could indicate a serious mental health issue.”

Boys Become Criminals by Talking About It First, by Anthony Biglan. New York Magazine, February 25, 2015.  “Tom Dishion and his colleagues were trying to learn more about why some kids become delinquent. He and many other behavioral scientists knew that most adolescents who get in trouble do so with other adolescents. Delinquency is a group enterprise. But Dishion took the research a step further. He wanted to see if he could actually observe the social influence processes that motivate kids to defy adult expectations and engage in criminal acts.”

Skin may help spot Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, by Michelle Roberts. BBC, February 25, 2015.  “Scientists have proposed a new idea for detecting brain conditions including Alzheimer's - a skin test. Their work, which is at an early stage, found the same abnormal proteins that accumulate in the brain in such disorders can also be found in skin. Early diagnosis is key to preventing the loss of brain tissue in dementia, which can go undetected for years. But experts said even more advanced tests, including ones of spinal fluid, were still not ready for clinic.”

Phone support can help ease postpartum depression, by Lisa Rapaport. Reuters, February 24, 2015.  “Phone support can help ease postpartum depression, a small study suggests, offering an option for mothers who are unable or unwilling to seek therapy in person. In the study, women with postpartum depression received telephone counseling from other women who had previously suffered from the disorder and recovered. The new moms found that the conversations helped relieve symptoms.”

Chronic stress may put TBI caregivers at risk for illness, by Janice Neumann. Reuters, February 12, 2015.  “Women caring for partners with traumatic brain injury (TBI) experience enough grief and stress to put their own health at risk, according to a small study of U.S. veterans’ wives and girlfriends. Anger, blame and grief for the loss of the man they once knew were linked to elevated inflammation levels that raise the women’s risk for chronic disease, researchers say, and not being able to turn to their loved one for support only makes things worse.”

A Half-Century of Conflict Over Attempts to ‘Cure’ Gay People, by Stephen Vider and David S. Byers. Time, February 12, 2015.  “The history of treatment of homosexuality shows that psychiatry may need a cure of its own.”

Elementary teachers' depression symptoms related to students' learning, by Society for Research in Child Development. ScienceDaily, February 11, 2015.  “A new study has found that teachers who report having more symptoms of depression had classrooms that were of lesser quality, and that students in these classrooms had fewer performance gains. Researchers looked at 27 teachers and their 523 third-grade students in a Florida school district. Teachers reported the frequency of their symptoms of clinical depression, and students' basic reading and math skills were assessed throughout the year.”

Institutional neglect changes kids’ brain structure, by Reuters. Fox News, January 27, 2015.  “Kids who were raised in a Romanian institution for abandoned children have smaller heads, smaller brains, and different white matter structure than similar kids who were moved into high-quality foster care at an early age. Even those who were moved into foster care by age two have noticeably different brains from children raised in biological families. The findings show that the brain's wiring "is profoundly interrupted and perturbed and changed by neglect,” said senior author Charles A. Nelson of Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.”

Psychopathic violent offenders’ brains can’t understand punishment, by University of Montreal. ScienceDaily, January 27, 2015.  “Psychopathic violent offenders have abnormalities in the parts of the brain related to learning from punishment, according to an MRI study led by Sheilagh Hodgins and Nigel Blackwood. "One in five violent offenders is a psychopath. They have higher rates of recidivism and don't benefit from rehabilitation programmes. Our research reveals why this is and can hopefully improve childhood interventions to prevent violence and behavioural therapies to reduce recidivism," explained Professor Hodgins of the University of Montreal and Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal. "Psychopathic offenders are different from regular criminals in many ways. Regular criminals are hyper-responsive to threat, quick-tempered and aggressive, while psychopaths have a very low response to threats, are cold, and their [aggression] is premeditated," added Dr. Nigel Blackwood, who is affiliated with King's College London. "Evidence is now accumulating to show that both types of offenders present abnormal, but distinctive, brain development from a young age."”

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