Recent News Items

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.”

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.”

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