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June 13, 2007, 7:54 AM CT

Poor sleep hygiene in children

Poor sleep hygiene in children
A research abstract that will be presented Wednesday at SLEEP 2007, the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS) finds that a snoring child's poor sleep hygiene habits can have a negative influence on his or her daytime behavior.

Lisa Witcher of the University of Louisville, who authored the study, interviewed the parents of 52 children between the ages of five and eight who were reported to snore "frequently" to "almost always". The children underwent an overnight polysomnography, and parents were asked to complete the Children's Sleep Hygiene Scale (CSHS) and the Conners' Parent Rating Scales-Revised (CPRS-R).

The results showed strong negative correlations between the CSHS overall sleep hygiene score and CPRS-R total externalizing behaviors. The CSHS total was also negatively correlated with the CPRS-R cognitive/inattention problems, hyperactivity, perfectionism, ADHD index, and restless and impulsivity total scores among others. Further, the CSHS physiological, cognitive, emotional, environmental, and bedtime routine subscales were also significantly negatively correlated with externalizing behaviors on the CPRS-R.

"The parental reports indicate poorer sleep hygiene is linked to both internalizing and externalizing behavior problems, specifically those linked to ADHD symptoms," said Witcher. "While no causation can be inferred, an overlap between daytime behavior problems, poor sleep hygiene, and potentially problematic bedtime behaviors in snoring children may exist and deserves further study".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

June 13, 2007, 7:48 AM CT

College students who pull 'all-nighters' get lower GPA

College students who pull 'all-nighters' get lower GPA
A common practice among a number of college students involves "pulling all-nighters", or a single night of total sleep deprivation, a practice linked to lower grade-point averages in comparison to those who make time for sleep, as per a research abstract that will be presented Wednesday at SLEEP 2007, the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).

"Sleep in college students is generally inadequate, irregular and of poor quality. As sleep quality and quantity decrease, academic performance worsens. The data collected in this study indicate that the use of a single night of total sleep deprivation is not an effective practice for achieving academic goals," said Pamela Thacher, PhD, of St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, who authored the study.

The findings are based on interviews with 111 students at St. Lawrence University.

The amount of sleep a person gets affects his or her physical health, emotional well-being, mental abilities, productivity and performance. Recent studies associate lack of sleep with serious health problems such as an increased risk of depression, obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

June 12, 2007, 5:07 AM CT

Distress-prone people and memory problems

Distress-prone people and memory problems
People who are easily distressed and have more negative emotions are more likely to develop memory problems than more easygoing people, as per a research studyreported in the June 12, 2007, issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

In the study, those who most often experience negative emotions such as depression and anxiety were 40 percent more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment than those who were least prone to negative emotions. Mild cognitive impairment is a transitional stage between normal aging and dementia. People with mild cognitive impairment have mild memory or cognitive problems, but have no significant disability.

Scientists analyzed the results from two larger studies, the Religious Orders Study and the Memory and Aging Project, which involved 1,256 people with no cognitive impairment. During up to 12 years of follow-up, 482 people developed mild cognitive impairment. Participants were reviewed on their level of proneness to distress and negative emotions by rating their level of agreement with statements such as I am not a worrier, I often feel tense and jittery, and I often get angry at the way people treat me.

People differ in how they tend to experience and deal with negative emotions and psychological distress, and the way people respond tends to stay the same throughout their adult lives, said study author Robert S. Wilson, PhD, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL. These findings suggest that, over a lifetime, chronic experience of stress affects the area of the brain that governs stress response. Unfortunately, that part of the brain also regulates memory.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

June 10, 2007, 7:25 PM CT

Simple test predicts 6-year risk of dementia

Simple test predicts 6-year risk of dementia
A simple test that can be given by any doctor predicts a persons risk for developing dementia within six years with 87 percent accuracy, as per a research studyled by scientists at San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC).

The test, developed in the study by the researchers, is a 14-point index combining medical history, cognitive testing, and physical examination. It requires no special equipment and can be given in a clinical setting such as a doctors office or at a patients bedside.

The new index is the bedside version of a longer, more technically comprehensive best test, also developed during the study, that is 88 percent accurate.

These are the first tools to accurately predict dementia, as per lead author Deborah E. Barnes, PhD, a mental health researcher at SFVAMC. Barnes described the tests in a presentation at the 2007 International Conference on Prevention of Dementia, in Washington, DC, sponsored by the Alzheimers Association.

There are tests that accurately predict an individuals chances of developing cardiovascular disease and other maladies, but, until now, no one has developed similar scales for dementia, says Barnes, who also is an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

As measured by the bedside index, the risk factors for developing dementia are an age of 70 or older, poor scores on two simple cognitive tests, slow physical functioning on everyday tasks such as buttoning a shirt or walking 15 feet, a history of coronary artery bypass surgery, a body mass index of less than 18, and current non-consumption of alcohol.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

June 7, 2007, 7:11 PM CT

Growth in ADHD medications

Growth in ADHD medications
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been traditionally viewed as a childhood disorder, while ADHD in adults has been underdiagnosed and undertreated. A recent study shows that therapy rates have been increasing in all age groups, and improved identification has contributed to rapidly growing therapy rates for adults. Female patients show the greatest increase of all.

The study, published by SAGE in the recent issue of the Journal of Attention Disorders, revealed rapid growth of ADHD medicine use in all demographic groups except seniors, with some groups showing markedly faster rates than others. Between 2000 and 2005, therapy rates grew more rapidly for adults than for children, more rapidly for women than for men, and more rapidly for girls than for boys.

Improved diagnosis of ADHD in adult and female patients contributed to the rapid growth in ADHD medicine use. The study observed that there were a number of changes in the types of medications used, as well. Scientists observed that methylphenidate and dextroamphetamine use declined for both children and adults, the use of amphetamine mixtures increased for adults, atomoxetine use (introduced in 2002) grew rapidly across both groups, use of extended-release products increased in children more dramatically than adults, and generic ADHD medicine use declined significantly in pediatric patients while remaining relatively stable in adults.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

June 6, 2007, 9:29 PM CT

The Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein

The Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein
Image courtesy of Fragile X Foundation
Scientists in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at Yale School of Medicine have identified a new regulatory target for the Fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP), laying the groundwork for possible new therapys for Fragile X syndrome(FXS), the leading inherited form of mental retardation.

The findings, reported in the early online edition of the June Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also have implications for autism, which shares a common physiological pathway with FXS.

Fragile X syndrome is mainly caused by a mutation in the FMR1 gene on the X chromosome, leading to the loss of FMRP, which is abundantly expressed in the brain and testes. Without this protein, brain development is hampered and nerve cells cannot communicate with each other appropriately, resulting in the reduced ability to learn and memorize. Fragile X syndrome affects about one in 4,000 males and one in 8,000 females. About 20 percent of children with FXS have autism and about five percent of autistic children have FXS.

The research team led by Yingqun Huang, M.D., assistant professor in Yale Ob/Gyn, previously observed that FMRP interacts with a nuclear mRNA export protein NXF2, in the mouse brain and testes. In this study, the team used mouse neuronal cells to explore the functional characteristics of this interaction.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

June 5, 2007, 0:31 AM CT

Old memory traces in brain may trigger chronic pain

Old memory traces in brain may trigger chronic pain
Why do so a number of people continue to suffer from life-altering, chronic pain long after their injuries have actually healed".

The definitive answer -- and an effective therapy -- has long eluded scientists. Traditional analgesic drugs, such as aspirin and morphine derivatives, havent worked very well.

A Northwestern University researcher has found a key source of chronic pain appears to be an old memory trace that essentially gets stuck in the prefrontal cortex, the site of emotion and learning. The brain seems to remember the injury as if it were fresh and cant forget it.

With new understanding of the pain source, Vania Apkarian, professor of physiology, and of anesthesiology, at Northwesterns Feinberg School of Medicine, has identified a drug that controls persistent nerve pain by targeting the part of the brain that experiences the emotional suffering of pain. The drug is D-Cycloserine, which has been used to treat phobic behavior over the past decade.

In animal studies, D-Cycloserine appeared to significantly diminish the emotional suffering from pain as well as reduce the sensitivity of the formerly injured site. It also controlled nerve pain resulting from chemotherapy, noted Apkarian, who is a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

June 5, 2007, 0:29 AM CT

Divorce increases risk of Ritalin use

Divorce increases risk of Ritalin use
Divorce puts children at higher risk of Ritalin use in comparison to kids whose parents stay together, says new research by a University of Alberta sociologist, who cautions that this doesnt necessarily mean that divorce is harmful to a child. The study appears in this weeks issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Dr. Lisa Strohschein observed that there is a significantly higher risk of Ritalin usenearly twice as highfor children whose parents divorce in comparison to children whose parents remain together. It is the first study to follow children over time and evaluate whether experiencing parental divorce increases the risk for subsequent Ritalin use, a drug usually prescribed for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Prior studies have only compared the proportion of children taking Ritalin in two- biological parent homes versus single parent households. While such studies showed that living in a single parent household was a risk factor for Ritalin use, Strohschein suggests that a snapshot comparison across different family types provides an incomplete picture. There are many other ways--including being born to a never-married motherthat a child can come to live in a single-parent household.

So the question was, is it possible that divorce acts a stressful life event that creates adjustment problems for children, which might increase acting out behaviour, leading to a prescription for Ritalin" said Strohschein.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

June 5, 2007, 0:11 AM CT

Low libido in menopause linked to trouble sleeping

Low libido in menopause linked to trouble sleeping
Women whose sexual desire diminishes during menopause are more likely to report disturbed sleep, depression symptoms, and night sweats, as per Group Health research in the June American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

To the best of the research teams knowledge, this marks the first time that sleep disturbance has been independently linked to diminished sexual desire during or after menopause.

The paper is based on data from Group Health's Herbal Alternatives for Treatment of Menopause Symptoms (HALT) study. Other results from this study, showing that the herbal supplement black cohosh did not relieve menopausal hot flashes or night sweats (hot flashes during sleep), were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2006.

All 341 of the women were chosen to be in the study because they were age 45 to 55 and had hot flashes, night sweats, or both. Of them, 64 percent reported diminished sexual desire, 43 percent slept poorly, and 18 percent had major depression.

It seems reasonable that night sweats can disturb sleep, said Susan D. Reed, MD, MPH, the papers lead author. Dr. Reed is an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and epidemiology at the University of Washington and an affiliate investigator at Group Health Center for Health Studies. And poor sleep can reduce energy for everything, including sex.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

June 5, 2007, 0:10 AM CT

Children innately prepared to learn language

Children innately prepared to learn language
To learn a language is to learn a set of all-purpose rules that can be used in an infinite number of ways. A new study shows that by the age of seven months, human infants are on the lookout for abstract rules and that they know the best place to look for such abstractions is in human speech.

In a series of experiments appearing in the recent issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, Gary Marcus and co-authors Keith Fernandes and Scott Johnson at New York University exposed infants to algebraically structured sequences that consisted of either speech syllables or non-speech sounds.

Once infants became familiar with these sequences, scientists presented the infants four new unique sequences: Two of these new sequences were consistent with the familiarization grammar, while two were inconsistent. (For example, given familiarization with la ta ta, ge lai lai, consistent test sentences would include wo fe fe and de ko ko (ABB), while inconsistent sentences would include wo wo fe and de de ko (AAB). Marcus and colleagues then measured how long infants attended to each sequence in order to determine whether they recognized the previously learned grammar.

In the first two experiments, the scientists examined infants rule learning using sequences of tones, sung syllables, musical instruments of varying timbres and animal noises.........

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. Archives of psychology news blog

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