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May 2, 2006, 0:03 AM CT

Teenagers Who Cut Or Burn Themselves Find Support

Teenagers Who Cut Or Burn Themselves Find Support Some typical postings and images on self-injury message boards, which are bringing youths who self-injure together in unprecedented numbers.
Some 500 Internet message boards are bringing together adolescents who injure themselves -- with cuts, carvings, scratches or burns. It is a world that is invisible to adults but of increasing importance to teenage social lives.

A new Cornell University study finds that the message boards give a number of isolated teenagers a safe place to share this intimate secret.

But eventhough the majority of the postings are supportive in nature, some reinforce self-injury behaviors and could create a "social contagion" effect, the scientists warned.

"Internet message boards provide a powerful vehicle for bringing self-injurious adolescents together, and to a great extent, they provide a safe forum and a source of valuable support for teens who might otherwise feel marginalized and who may be struggling with shame," said Janis Whitlock, director of the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injurious Behaviors and the first author of the study, which is reported in the May 2006 special issue of Development Psychology on use of the Internet by children and adolescents.

In an analysis of more than 3,200 postings on 10 message boards with a focus on self-injury (there were 406 such boards at the time of the study, and now there are more than 500), the Cornell scientists found that the leading type of posting was supportive (28 percent), followed by discussions of triggers and motivations (almost 20 percent) and concealment (9 percent). About 6 percent of postings asked for or shared techniques. Most board postings were from females describing themselves as between 14.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


May 1, 2006, 11:52 PM CT

Perfectionist Fathers Can Reinforce Tendencies

Perfectionist Fathers Can Reinforce Tendencies
Perfectionist fathers can reinforce disordered eating among college-age young people already preoccupied over their physical looks and subject to the demanding expectations of peers and media, as per a Penn State study.

A survey of 424 college students revealed that, with sons and daughters alike, the father, not the mother, is more likely to create pressures leading college-age children to indulge in erratic eating habits that in turn can lead to anorexia, bulimia and other clinical illnesses, says Dr. Michelle Miller-Day, associate professor of communication arts and sciences.

"Another finding was that food itself was not the issue with students who reported disordered eating behaviors," Miller-Day notes. "Personal perfectionism, reinforced by peer and parental expectations of perfection in combination with the allure of advertising, may cause a number of young people to feel that they are not in control of their own lives and bodies. Eating then becomes an area in which they DO have a sense of personal control."

"These findings make clear that therapy for maladaptive eating must extend to a patient's relational network and not just focus on the individual patient," she adds. "A specific focus on the patient's history of communication with parents might provide insights into the development of negative eating behaviors. Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa have a very high mortality rate. The mortality rate associated with anorexia is 12 times higher than the death rate of other causes of death for females 15-24 years old."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


April 30, 2006, 11:35 PM CT

Mothers Have Inaccurate Perceptions Of Children's Body Weight

Mothers  Have Inaccurate Perceptions Of Children's Body Weight
Latina mothers of preschool-aged children frequently have inaccurate perceptions of their children's body mass index and believe they are healthy when they are overweight, as per a new study from the University of California, San Francisco.

"A significant number of women believed that their children were normal weight when they were, in fact, overweight," said lead study author Elena Fuentes-Afflick, MD, MPH, UCSF associate professor of pediatrics and a pediatrician at San Francisco General Hospital. "However, if the mother described her child as overweight, she was commonly correct, but it is concerning that a number of mothers did not perceive their overweight children as being overweight."

The study findings were presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting today (April 29) in San Francisco. Fuentes-Afflick said the study has implications for the effort to stem the tide of pediatric obesity, which has reached epidemic proportions in the United States.

"It's not just Latino parents. As a pediatrician, when you start to talk to parents about their child's weight or body mass, you have to ask: How much and what are children eating? How much TV are they watching? It's particularly challenging to talk about these issues with respect to young children because parents are largely responsible for their children's dietary habits.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


April 30, 2006, 11:31 PM CT

Environmental Tobacco Smoke Linked To Behavior Problems In Children

Environmental Tobacco Smoke Linked To Behavior Problems In Children
A new Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center study shows that exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, even at extremely low levels, is associated with behavior problems in children and pre-teens.

While the study examined 5 to 11 year olds with asthma, the findings most likely could be extrapolated to include children without asthma who "act out" or experience depression and anxiety, as per Kimberly Yolton, Ph.D., a researcher at the Children's Environmental Health Center at Cincinnati Children's and the study's main author.

The study will be presented at 8:30 a.m. Pacific time Sunday, April 30, at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in San Francisco.

"This study provides further incentive for states to set public health standards to protect children from exposure to environmental tobacco smoke," says Dr. Yolton.

Dr. Yolton examined 225 children and pre-teens exposed to at least five cigarettes a day. On average, the children were exposed to approximately 14 cigarettes a day. The children were enrolled in an asthma intervention study. Dr. Yolton included additional measures to assess child behaviors.

To measure exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, Dr. Yolton measured levels of cotinine in the children's blood. Cotinine is a substance produced when nicotine is broken down by the body and can be measured in blood, urine, saliva and hair. It is considered the best available marker of environmental tobacco smoke exposure.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


April 30, 2006, 11:28 PM CT

Pros And Cons Of Internet Use

Pros And Cons Of Internet Use
Between 75 and 90 percent of teenagers in the United States use the Internet to email, instant message (IM), visit chat rooms and explore other sites on the World Wide Web. As per the latest research presented in a special issue of Developmental Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association (APA), spending a lot of time on the Web can have both negative and positive effects on young people, i.e., the sharing of self-injury practices by some and the improvement of academic performance and health awareness by others.

"A major goal for this cumulation of research is to show the good and bad sides of the Internet as it relates to children," said coeditors of the special issue Patricia Greenfield, PhD, of the Children's Digital Media Center, University of California at Los Angeles and Zheng Yan, PhD, of the State University of New York at Albany.

In a series of six articles, leading scientists examine normal behavior in chat rooms and the use of message boards by adolescents who self-injure, uses of the Internet to improve academic achievement among low-income youth and ways to provide health information to youth living in developing countries. Researcher Yan examines the importance of age in understanding the social and technical aspects of the Internet; Subraha number ofam and his colleagues look at why adolescents reveal their identities and sexuality online differently when in monitored versus nonmonitored virtual environments; while Cassell and his colleagues investigate how language use and linguistic styles of adolescents in an online community can predict leaders.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


April 27, 2006, 11:48 PM CT

Researchers Identify Intelligence Gene

Researchers Identify Intelligence Gene Caption: Anil Malhotra, MD, and Katherine Burdick, PhD Credit: Adam Cooper, RBP North Shore-LIJ Studios
Psychiatric scientists at The Zucker Hillside Hospital campus of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have uncovered evidence of a gene that appears to influence intelligence. Working in conjunction with scientists at Harvard Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics in Boston, the Zucker Hillside team examined the genetic blueprints of individuals with schizophrenia, a neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by cognitive impairment, and compared them with healthy volunteers. They discovered that the dysbindin-1 gene (DTNBP1), which they previously demonstrated to be associated with schizophrenia, may also be linked to general cognitive ability. The study is reported in the May 15 print issue of Human Molecular Genetics, available online today, April 27.

"A robust body of evidence suggests that cognitive abilities, especially intelligence, are significantly influenced by genetic factors. Existing data already suggests that dysbindin may influence cognition," said Katherine Burdick, PhD, the study's primary author. "We looked at several DNA sequence variations within the dysbindin gene and found one of them to be significantly associated with lower general cognitive ability in carriers of the risk variant compared with non-carriers in two independent groups."

The study involved 213 unrelated Caucasian patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and 126 unrelated healthy Caucasian volunteers. The scientists measured cognitive performance in all subjects. They then analyzed participants' DNA samples. The scientists specifically examined six DNA sequence variations, also known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), in the dysbindin gene and found that one specific pattern of SNPs, known as a haplotype, was associated with general cognitive ability: Cognition was significantly impaired in carriers of the risk variant in both the schizophrenia group and the healthy volunteers as compared with the non-carriers.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


April 26, 2006, 7:38 PM CT

Mothers' Drinking Shrinks Fetal Brain

Mothers' Drinking Shrinks Fetal Brain
Routine ultrasounds show that heavy drinkers who continue to imbibe after learning they are pregnant may carry fetuses with reduced skull and brain growth compared to those of abstainers or quitters, says a new study.

Eventhough the alcohol-exposed babies' growth remained within normal range, the findings reveal effects of drinking on the developing human brain. The study will appear in the recent issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

"What this tells us is that the earlier you abstain in a pregnancy, the better the outcome," said lead author Nancy Handmaker, a University of New Mexico clinical psychology expert with expertise in maternal-fetal health.

Alcohol use during pregnancy is a leading preventable cause of birth defects and developmental disabilities in the United States, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder -- which includes a range of cognitive, emotional and behavioral problems -- may be present in as a number of as one of every 100 births.

The study authors obtained routine ultrasound data from 167 pregnant women who had reported a history of hazardous drinking before pregnancy. Of these, 97 were classified as heavy drinkers. The study compared the fetal growth measures among drinkers who quit after learning of their impending motherhood to those among women who continued to drink.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 25, 2006, 7:49 PM CT

Girls Better Than Boys On Timed Tests

Girls Better Than Boys On Timed Tests
New research attempting to shed light on the evergreen question--just how do male and female brains differ?--has found that timing is everything.

In a study involving over 8,000 males and females ranging in age from 2 to 90 from the across the United States, Vanderbilt University scientists Stephen Camarata and Richard Woodcock discovered that females have a significant advantage over males on timed tests and tasks. Camarata and Woodcock found the differences were especially significant among pre-teens and teens.

"We found very minor differences in overall intelligence. But if you look at the ability of someone to perform well in a timed situation, females have a big advantage," Camarata said. "It is very important for teachers to understand this difference in males and females when it comes to assigning work and structuring tests. To truly understand a person's overall ability, it is important to also look at performance in un-timed situations. For males, this means presenting them with material that is challenging and interesting, but is presented in smaller chunks without strict time limits."

The findings are especially timely, with more attention being paid by parents, educators and the media to the troubling achievement gap between males and females in U.S. schools.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 25, 2006, 7:31 PM CT

New Hope For People Trying To Quit Smoking

New Hope For People Trying To Quit Smoking
In the first study of its kind, University of Pittsburgh psychology expert and professor Saul Shiffman has discovered that people who are trying to quit smoking by wearing the nicotine patch are less likely to spiral into a total relapse if they keep wearing the patch, even if they've "cheated" and smoked a cigarette. The groundbreaking study, titled Analyzing Milestones in Smoking Cessation: Illustration in a Nicotine Patch Trial in Adult Smokers, will be published May 2 in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

Shiffman and his associates not only examined the therapy's final outcome-the question of whether the patch worked-but also measured therapy milestones, such as momentary lapses, to try to find out more about why and how a nicotine patch works. Smokers in the study were using either a high-dose NicoDerm CQ nicotine patch (35 mg, 2/3 stronger than the currently marketed 21 mg patches) or a placebo patch. Using hand-held computers as electronic diaries, the 324 participants recorded exactly when they were craving a cigarette and if and when they lapsed and smoked one. The resulting data showed that people who wore the active patch after lapsing were 4 to 6 times less likely to "cheat" again and again. The nicotine patch not only helped prevent slips, but also was more effective in preventing the slip from turning into a full relapse. Previous to this, people who slipped while trying to quit were considered "failures," and no therapy was considered effective in helping ward off relapse. And, Shiffman calls the notion that a person who smokes while wearing a patch is risking a heart attack a "myth".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 23, 2006, 10:52 PM CT

Family History Of Alcoholism

Family History Of Alcoholism
Prior research has shown that individuals with a family history of alcoholism (FH+) have a greater risk of developing alcoholism themselves than do persons with no such history (FH-). A study in the recent issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research has found that FH+ individuals who are male and have behavioral disinhibition have the greatest risk of developing alcoholism. However, a higher risk does not equate certainty.

"The development of alcoholism among individuals with a family history of alcoholism is about four to eight times more common than it is among individuals with no such family history," said William R. Lovallo, Director of the Behavioral Sciences Laboratories at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Oklahoma City and corresponding author for the study. "Eventhough the definition of 'family history' is different as per different researchers, we define it as when either or both of the person's parents have had an alcohol problem."

"Previous research has shown that male gender and behavioral disinhibition are strong predictors of alcohol problems," added Peter R. Finn, professor of psychology at Indiana University, Bloomington. "Behavioral disinhibition reflects a general disposition characterized by an apparent insensitivity to punishment, an increased sensitivity to immediate rewards, a tendency to prefer immediate smaller rewards as opposed to larger long-term rewards, and a failure to consider and inhibit behavior when aversive consequences are likely. Those high in behavioral disinhibition are probably more likely to experiment with substance use earlier, because they are less inhibited by the prospect of negative consequences and less likely to learn to moderate their consumption once they have initiated use. Some research suggests that the presence of a family history of alcoholism amplifies this risk."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         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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