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February 14, 2011, 7:16 AM CT

Children with ADHD and substance abuse

Children with ADHD and substance abuse
Children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are two to three times more likely than children without the disorder to develop serious substance abuse problems in adolescence and adulthood, as per a research studyby UCLA psychology experts and his colleagues at the University of South Carolina.

"This greater risk for children with ADHD applies to boys and girls, it applies across race and ethnicity � the findings were very consistent," said Steve S. Lee, a UCLA assistant professor of psychology and main author of the study. "The greater risk for developing significant substance problems in adolescence and adulthood applies across substances, including nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and other drugs." .

Lee and colleagues analyzed 27 long-term studies that followed approximately 4,100 children with ADHD and 6,800 children without the disorder into adolescence and young adulthood � in some cases for more than 10 years. These carefully designed, rigorous and lengthy studies, Lee said, are the "gold standard" in the field.

The research by Lee and colleagues, the first large-scale comprehensive analysis on this issue, is published online this week in the journal Clinical Psychology Review and will appear in a print edition later this year.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 8, 2011, 6:36 AM CT

Language May Play Important Role in Learning

Language May Play Important Role in Learning
New research conducted with deaf people in Nicaragua shows that language may play an important role in learning the meanings of numbers.

Field studies by University of Chicago psychology expert Susan Goldin-Meadow and a team of scientists found deaf people in Nicaragua, who had not learned formal sign language, do not have a complete understanding of numbers greater than three.

Scientists surmised the lack of large number comprehension was because the deaf Nicaraguans were not being taught numbers or number words.  Instead they learned to communicate using self-developed gestures called "homesigns," a language developed in the absence of formal education and exposure to formal sign language.

"The research doesn't determine which aspects of language are doing the work, but it does suggest that language is an important player in number acquisition," said Betty Tuller, a program director in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, which funded the research.

"The finding may help narrow down the range of experiences that play a role in learning number concepts," she said.

Research results are published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in a paper titled, "Number Without a Language Model.".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 7, 2011, 3:54 PM CT

Women Are More Attracted To Men Whose Feelings Are Unclear

Women Are More Attracted To Men Whose Feelings Are Unclear
Are you still looking for a date for Valentine's Day? Here's some dating advice straight from the laboratory: It turns out there appears to be something to "playing hard to get." A study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that a woman is more attracted to a man when she is uncertain about how much he likes her.

On the one hand, a lot of psychological research has observed that person A commonly likes person B about as much as they think person B likes them. "If we want to know how much Sarah likes Bob, a good predictor is how much she thinks Bob likes her," write the authors of the paper, Erin R. Whitchurch and Timothy D. Wilson of the University of Virginia and Daniel T. Gilbert of Harvard University. "But what if Sarah is not sure how much Bob likes her?" This might lead Sarah to spend a lot of time thinking about Bob, wondering how he feels, and she might find him more attractive the more she dwells on him.

Forty-seven female undergraduates at the University of Virginia took part in the study. Each student, who believed that the experiment was designed to study whether Facebook could work as an online dating site, was told that male students from two other universities had viewed her profile and those of 15 to 20 other females. Then the women were shown four men's Facebook profiles that they thought were real, but were actually fictitious. Some of the women were told they'd seen the four men who liked them the most; others were told these were four men who rated them about average. A third group were told the men could be either the ones who liked them most or the ones who liked them about average-so those women didn't know about the level of the men's interest in them.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 7, 2011, 8:04 AM CT

Rural underage binge drinkers put their health at risk

Rural underage binge drinkers put their health at risk
Binge drinking is often considered to be a problem of towns and cities but new research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Public Health shows that binge drinking in rural areas is more of a problem than previously thought.

Dr Carolin Donath, from the Psychiatric University Clinic Erlangen, looked at the drinking patterns of over 44,000 15 and 16 year olds in Gera number of and observed that more than 93% of the young people from the countryside and over 86% of those from urban areas had tried alcohol. Of the adolescents who had drunk alcohol in the last month, 78% from rural areas and 74% from cities admitted to binge drinking (5 or more drinks at one time).

Dr Carolin Donath says that, "Whilst there is awareness of the problems of binge drinking in towns and cities, this study demonstrates that both drinking and binge drinking are as much of a problem for rural teenagers".

Binge drinking in school children has social ramifications as well as increasing health risks. Not only does alcohol abuse affect school work, and hence job prospects, but being drunk increases the likelihood of accidents among traffic and of unsafe sexual behaviour. This pattern of drinking also causes long term damage to the brain resulting in permanent brain damage, including memory problems and cognitive defects, and increasing risk of heart disease and cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 5, 2011, 7:08 AM CT

ParentCorps helps children do better in school

ParentCorps helps children do better in school
Scientists at the NYU Child Study Center demonstrated that a brief program for families of Pre-Kindergarten students attending schools in disadvantaged urban communities improved children's behavior at school. The study, called "Promoting effective parenting practices and preventing child behavior problems in school among ethnically diverse families from underserved, urban communities," was reported in the February 2011 issue of Child Development. .

Dr. Laurie Miller Brotman and her colleagues spent several years developing ParentCorps, a program for families of young children as they transition to school. ParentCorps includes a series of 13 group sessions for parents and children held at the school during early evening hours, facilitated by trained school staff and mental health professionals. The program is unique by reaching parents through public schools in underserved communities to help them learn a set of parenting strategies. For example, parents can learn ways to establish routines and rules for the family, reinforce positive behavior and provide effective consequences for misbehavior. ParentCorps helps each parent to select from a portfolio of scientifically-proven strategies that will work for them based on their own family goals, values and culture. By bringing families and early childhood educators together to support and learn from each other, the ParentCorps program helps young children succeed.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 2, 2011, 10:33 PM CT

Search for better drug-addiction treatments

Search for better drug-addiction treatments
UT Southwestern Medical Center psychiatry scientists are leading the Texas arm of a national network that conducts clinical trials aimed at finding effective therapys for drug addiction.

More than 100 community therapy providers and academic medical centers throughout the country are funded in part through the National Institute on Drug Abuse's Clinical Trials Network (CTN). The Texas component includes partnerships between academic and community therapy providers in Dallas, El Paso, Austin and Houston. It is led by Dr. Madhukar Trivedi, professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern.

"The effects of drugs on the brain are very clear, but we still need long-term answers that cure people who abuse drugs and prevent them from relapse," Dr. Trivedi said. "I applaud NIDA for funding the infrastructure at academic institutions to research therapies in real-world therapy centers that will lead to ready-to-launch cures. Drug abuse affects not just the person, but families and society as a whole."

Each CTN study is conducted in multiple community therapy provider sites across the country, led by a CTN substance abuse researcher and supported by the scientists in the CTN academic institutions affiliated with each participating site.

"It is critical to find new therapys in the substance abuse field where current therapys result in only modest improvements. Finding effective interventions really requires larger, multicenter therapy trials like those occurring in the CTN," Dr. Trivedi said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 1, 2011, 7:44 AM CT

Video games are good for girls

Video games are good for girls
Dads who still haven't given up video games now have some justification to keep on playing � if they have a daughter.

Scientists from Brigham Young University's School of Family Life conducted a study on video games and children between 11 and 16 years old. They observed that girls who played video games with a parent enjoyed many advantages. Those girls behaved better, felt more connected to their families and had stronger mental health. Professor Sarah Coyne is the main author of the study, which appears Feb. 1 in the Journal of Adolescent Health

"The surprising part about this for me is that girls don't play video games as much as boys," Coyne said. "But they did spend about the same amount of time co-playing with a parent as boys did".

The findings come with one important caveat: The games had to be age-appropriate. If the game was rated M for mature, it weakened the statistical relationship between co-playing and family connectedness.

The study involved 287 families with an adolescent child. Mario Kart, Mario Brothers, Wii Sports, Rock Band and Guitar Hero topped the list of games played most often by girls. Call of Duty, Wii Sports and Halo ranked 1, 2 and 3 among boys.

For boys, playing with a parent was not a statistically significant factor for any of the outcomes the scientists measured (positive behavior, aggression, family connection, mental health). Yet for girls, playing with a parent accounted for as much as 20 percent of the variation on those measured outcomes.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 28, 2011, 7:31 PM CT

Pre-surgical stress management

Pre-surgical stress management
Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D., is a professor in MD Anderson's Departments of General Oncology and Behavioral Science.

Credit: MD Anderson

Practicing stress management techniques before prostate cancer surgery may help activate the body's immune response leading to quicker recovery, as well as aid in lowering mood disturbance, as per a newly released study by scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The study is reported in the February/March edition of the journal Psychosomatic Medicine It's the first to examine the effects pre-surgery stress management training has on immune outcomes in men with prostate cancer undergoing radical prostatectomy (surgical removal of the prostate). The scientists previously reported that men who received this training before surgery had significantly less mood disturbance and improved quality of life one year later.



Two levels of stress accompany surgery


"Men who face prostatectomy as therapy for prostate cancer often have high stress levels about the procedure and the potential effects on their quality of life," said Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D., the study's senior author and professor in MD Anderson's Departments of General Oncology and Behavioral Science. "Both the physical and psychological stress of surgery can be harmful to the immune system. Even brief pre-surgery sessions of stress management positively impact on the recovery process, both in terms of psychological and immunological outcomes," he said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 28, 2011, 7:39 AM CT

Memory training for addiction treatment

Memory training for addiction treatment
Warren K. Bickel is a professor and director of the Center for Substance Abuse at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute in Roanoke, Va.

Credit: Virginia Tech photo

People with addictions to stimulants tend to choose instant gratification or a smaller but sooner reward over a future benefit, even if the future reward is greater. Reduced value of a future reward, called "delay discounting" by neuroscientists, is the major challenge for therapy of addiction. A newly released study in the February 2011 (Vol. 69, Issue 3) Biological Psychiatry appears to present a strategy for increasing the value of future rewards in the minds of addicts.

"The hope is for a new intervention to help addicts," said Warren K. Bickel, professor and director of the Center for Substance Abuse at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute effective Feb 1. 2011. Bickel will also be a professor in the Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech.

Bickel did the research when he was the Wilbur D. Mills Chair of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Prevention and director of the Center for Addiction Research and the Center for the Study of Tobacco Addiction at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

"It is a major coup for us to be able to attract Dr. Bickel to the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and Roanoke. He is a renowned research leader in understanding the strategies used by the human brain during addiction and his latest work is providing valuable new insights into potential therapeutic strategies for rehabilitating the addicted human brain," said Michael Friedlander, executive director of the research institute.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 28, 2011, 7:28 AM CT

Infants understand social dominance

Infants understand social dominance
ocial DominanceNew research from the University of Copenhagen and Harvard University has observed that infants less than one year old understand social dominance and use relative size to predict who will prevail when two individuals' goals conflict. The findings are presented this week in the journal Science.

Lotte Thomsen, assistant professor at the University of Copenhagen's Department of Psychology and research fellow in Harvard's Department of Psychology, is the main author of the article "Big and Mighty: Preverbal Infants Mentally Represent Social Dominance", which is being reported in the well-respected scientific journal Science this week.

Thomsen's work suggests we appears to be born with - or develop at a very early age - some understanding of social dominance and how it relates to relative size.

Big and mighty.



"As we have tried to communicate with the title of our paper "Big & Mighty", what we have shown is that even pre-verbal infants understand social dominance and use relative size as a cue for it. To put it simply, if a big and a small guy have goals that conflict, preverbal infants expect the big guy to win over the little guy," Thomsen says.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Too little evidence exists to recommend or rule out estrogen as a treatment for schizophrenia in women, a new review of studies finds.People diagnosed with schizophrenia suffer distorted perceptions of reality and hallucinations. Today, estrogen is strictly an experimental therapy for the psychotic symptoms associated with the mental illness.

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