Recent News Items

That's Not Fair! Crime And Punishment In A Preschooler's Mind, by Nadia Whitehead. NPR, June 24, 2015.  “Toddlers can throw their fair share of tantrums, especially when you don't yield to their will. But by age 3, it turns out, the little rug rats actually have a burgeoning sense of fairness and are inclined to right a wrong. When they see someone being mistreated, children as young as 3 years old will intervene on behalf of others nearly as often as for themselves, a study published this month in Current Biology suggests. Just don't ask them to punish the perpetrator.”

Alzheimer’s May Begin 20 Years Before Symptoms Appear, by Alice Park. Time, June 24, 2015.  “The latest breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s research focus on the time well before patients even know they might have the neurodegenerative condition. Studies so far have found evidence that the biological processes that cause the mental decline may begin 10 to 12 years before people first notice signs of cognitive decline. But in the most recent report published Wednesday in the journal Neurology, experts say that the disease may actually begin even earlier — 18 years earlier, in fact — than they expected.”

Signs of Postpartum Depression May Appear Months After Initial Screening, by The Wall Street Journal. The Wall St. Journal, June 22, 2015.  “Screening women for symptoms of depression shortly after giving birth may fail to identify those at high risk to develop postpartum depression in later months, says a study in the Annals of Family Medicine. For many women, the first signs of depression appeared months later, the study found. Surprisingly, women who appeared least likely to develop depression after giving birth were later found to be at greatest risk. Currently, women aren’t routinely screened for postpartum depression in the U.S.”

What Babies Understand About Adult Sadness, by Maanvi Singh. NPR, June 12, 2015.  “Babies tend to wear their hearts on their tiny little sleeves. They cry because you took away that thing they picked up off the floor and then put in their mouths. They cry because they're tired. Sometimes, they cry just because. But by the middle of their second year of life, it turns out, babies do understand that a stiff upper lip can be appropriate in certain situations. Children this age show more concern for adults who overtly express sadness, according to a study published this week, but they're also understanding of people who are more emotionally reserved.”

Bullied kids are more likely to be depressed years later, by Kathryn Doyle. Reuters, June 12, 2015.  “Being bullied in adolescence may make kids more vulnerable to depression in early adulthood and explain almost a third of depression burden at that age, according to a new study in the U.K. Among nearly 4,000 children in southwest England followed from birth, kids who were frequently bullied at age 13 were more than twice as likely to be depressed at age 18 as those who were not bullied – even after accounting for other factors that could contribute to depression risk.”

Study: Rape prevention training works, cuts sex assault risk, by The Associated Press. Aljazeera America, June 11, 2015.  “A program that taught college women ways to prevent sexual assault cut in half the chances they would be raped over the next year, a Canadian study found. It was the first large, scientific test of resistance training, and the strong results should spur more universities to offer it, experts say. Five percent of freshman women who went through the four-session program said they had been raped during the following year, compared to 10 percent of others who were just given brochures on assault prevention. Attempted rapes also were lower — about 3 percent in the training group versus more than 9 percent of the others.”

The Truth Behind The Suicide Statistic For Older Teen Girls, by Susan Brink. NPR, June 02, 2015.  “For years, Suzanne Petroni, senior director at the International Center for Research on Women, would speak — backed by mountains of evidence she studies — about the number one cause of death among women around the world: maternal mortality. Then, in September, 2014, the World Health Organization released its report on "Health for the World's Adolescents: A Second Chance in the Second Decade." "I read the report, and there was one line tucked away," says Petroni. The line addressed females age 15 to 19. "The number one cause of death had changed," she says. "It was suicide."”

Depression Treatments Inspired By Club Drug Move Ahead In Tests, by Jon Hamilton. NPR, May 28, 2015.  “Antidepressant drugs that work in hours instead of weeks could be on the market within three years, researchers say. The new drugs are based on the anesthetic ketamine, which is also a popular club drug known as Special K. Unlike current antidepressants, which can take weeks to work, ketamine-like drugs have an immediate effect. They also have helped people with depression who didn't respond to other medications. The drug that is furthest along is esketamine, a chemical variant of ketamine that has been designated a potential breakthrough by the Food and Drug Administration. Esketamine is poised to begin Phase 3 trials, and the drug's maker, Johnson & Johnson, plans to seek FDA approval in 2018.”

Anxious Students Strain College Mental Health Centers, by Jan Hoffman. New York Times, May 27, 2015.  “Anxiety has now surpassed depression as the most common mental health diagnosis among college students, though depression, too, is on the rise. More than half of students visiting campus clinics cite anxiety as a health concern, according to a recent study of more than 100,000 students nationwide by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State. Nearly one in six college students has been diagnosed with or treated for anxiety within the last 12 months, according to the annual national survey by the American College Health Association.”

Rise in Suicide by Black Children Surprises Researchers, by Sabrina Tavernise. New York Times, May 18, 2015.  “The suicide rate among black children has nearly doubled since the early 1990s, while the rate for white children has declined, a new study has found, an unusual pattern that seemed to suggest something troubling was happening among some of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens. Suicide among children ages 5 to 11, the age range the study measured, is rare, and researchers had to blend several years of data to get reliable results. The findings, which measured the period from 1993 to 2012, were so surprising that researchers waited for an additional year of data to check them. The trend did not change.”

People Have Misconceptions About Miscarriage, And That Can Hurt, by Katherine Hobson. NPR, May 08, 2015.  “Most people think a miscarriage is rare, and many believe that if a woman loses a pregnancy that she brought it upon herself. Neither of those things is true, but the enduring beliefs cause great pain to women and their partners. In fact, almost half of people who have experienced a miscarriage or whose partner has had one feel guilty, according to a survey to be published Monday in Obstetrics & Gynecology. More than a quarter of them felt shame. Many felt they'd lost a child.”

Gay, lesbian kids more likely to be bullied — even before sexual awareness, by Wire Services. Aljazeera America, May 07, 2015.  “Gay and bisexual children are more likely to be bullied as they are growing up, and a new study suggests that victimization may occur at an early age, before some of those targeted are aware of their sexual orientation. In the first large U.S. study to look at the problem, public school students in three cities were asked about bullying in the 5th, 7th and 10th grades. When they reached high school, they were asked if they identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual. The researchers then looked back at what those kids had said through the years about their experiences being hit, threatened, called names, or excluded. Overall, many of the nearly 4,300 students surveyed said they were bullied, especially at younger ages, according to the study, which was published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine. But the 630 gay and bisexual children suffered it more.”

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.”

Disclaimer: Material on the William James INTERFACE Referral Service website is intended as general information. It is not a recommendation for treatment, nor should it be considered medical or mental health advice. The William James INTERFACE Referral Service urges families to discuss all information and questions related to medical or mental health care with a health care professional.