Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘children’ Category

BBC News (2/10, http://tinyurl.com/sweetteeth) reports that certain children are especially drawn to very sweet tastes.  These were children who had a close relative with an alcohol problem or who themselves had symptoms of depression.  But it is unclear if the preference for the very sweet is down to genuine chemical differences or environmental effects.  The researchers say sweet taste and alcohol trigger many of the same reward circuits in the brain.  Certain groups of children may be especially attracted to the intense sweetness due to their underlying biology.  In the latest study, the scientists at the Monell Chemical Senses Center asked 300 children aged five to 12, of whom half had a family member with alcohol dependency, to taste five sweet water drinks containing different amounts of sugar.  The children were asked to say which tasted the best and were also asked questions to check for depressive symptoms.  A quarter had symptoms that the researchers believed suggested they might be depressed.  Liking for intense sweetness was greatest in the 37 children who had both a family history of alcoholism and reported depressive symptoms.

Read Full Post »

HealthDay (2/2, http://tinyurl.com/lead-ADHD) reported lead may play a role in the development of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).   Genes are believed to account for as much as 70 percent of ADHD in children.  Researchers consider lead a prime suspect, among possible environmental causes, contributing to the other 30 percent .  Lead, a neurotoxin, is present in trace amounts in such things as soil, drinking water, children’s costume jewelry and imported candies.   In one of two recent studies examining the possible link between lead and ADHD, the researchers found that children with ADHD had slightly higher levels of lead in their blood than did children without ADHD.  The second study showed an association between elevated levels of lead in children’s blood and parent/teacher ratings of ADHD symptoms, including both hyperactivity and attention problems.  The findings strongly suggest that lead may be a cause of ADHD, according to Joel Nigg, a psychological scientist at Oregon Health & Science University.  He said that lead might disrupt brain activity in a way that leads to hyperactivity and attention problems. 

Read Full Post »

WebMD (2/1, DeNoon http://tinyurl.com/fishy-psychosis) reported that twelve weeks of fish oil pills made teens at high risk of psychosis much less likely to become psychotic for at least one year.   A year after entering the study, 11 of the 40 teens treated only with placebo pills developed a psychotic disorder.  This happened to only two of 41 teens who began the year with 12 weeks of fish oil capsules rich in omega-3 fatty acids.    “The finding that treatment with a natural substance may prevent or at least delay the onset of psychotic disorder gives hope that there may be alternatives to antipsychotics for the prodromal phase”, Amminger and colleagues suggest.    People with schizophrenia tend to have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids, suggesting that the mental illness could be linked to a defect in the ability to process fatty acids.  There’s also evidence that fatty acids interact with chemical signaling in the brain and that omega-3 fatty acids protect brain cells from oxidative stress.  The study appears in the February issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.

Read Full Post »

The UK’s Telegraph (1/25, Devlin http://tinyurl.com/ambi-ADD) reports that ambidextrous children are twice as likely to be hyperactive as their classmates.  They are also twice as likely to suffer from language problems, such as dyslexia.  Scientists believe that differences in how the children’s brains work compared to others could link the problems, but admit they do not yet understand how.  Dr Alina Rodriguez, from Imperial College London, who led the study, said: “Our results should not be taken to mean that all children who are mixed-handed will have problems at school or develop ADHD.  “We found that mixed-handed children and adolescents were at a higher risk of having certain problems, but we’d like to stress that most of the mixed-handed children we followed didn’t have any of these difficulties.”  The study looked at almost 8,000 children, 87 of whom used both hands to write.  The researchers found that by the ages of seven or eight those children were twice as likely as their right-handed peers to have difficulties with language and to perform badly in school.  By the time they reached the age of 15 or 16 the teenagers were also as likely to suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  Studies suggest that people who write with their right hand have a more dominant left half of their brain.  Some researchers believe that the chances of developing ADHD could be influenced by having a weaker functioning right hemisphere of the brain. 

Read Full Post »

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (January 8, 2010) – Mental illness remains one of Western society’s greatest taboos.  Those who suffer from various mental health disorders often suffer in silence, with very little support from society.  Family members and other loved ones of those afflicted also suffer and are often forced to understand and cope alone.  The loneliness, fear and frustration that this can cause is difficult for most people to understand.  And this isolation can be far worse when you’re a child of a bipolar, schizophrenic or otherwise mentally ill parent.  Von Allan, a Canadian graphic novelist, has attempted to shed some light on this subject with the publication of his first full-length graphic novel, titled “the road to god knows…”.  It can be purchased online at http://tinyurl.com/amazon-von-allan.  “My mom was diagnosed schizophrenic when I was quite young, maybe 11 or so,” said Allan.  “She suffered a number of nervous breakdowns as I was growing up, as she battled, often very much alone, a disease that was slowly taking bits of her away. ”   “I wrote and drew this book to shed some light on a very hush-hush topic and hopefully help others, especially kids but really people of all ages, realize that they aren’t alone and that they haven’t done anything wrong.  And neither has the person who is suffering from mental illness.”  “The road to god knows…” is the story of Marie, a teenage girl coming to grips with her Mom’s schizophrenia.  You can learn more about Von Allan at http://tinyurl.com/vonallan.

Read Full Post »

According to a study published in the Jorrnal Headache  (2010;50:32-41, http://tinyurl.com/HA-and-abuse) childhood abuse is highly prevalent and has been associated with recurrent headaches.  “Abuse is associated with many of the same risk factors for chronic migraines, including depression and anxiety, female sex, substance abuse, and obesity.  A total of 1348 migraineurs  were included.  Diagnosis of migraine with aura was recorded in 40% and chronic headache (≥15 days/month) was reported by 34%.  Prevalence of current depression was 28% and anxiety was 56%.  Childhood abuse was reported as follows: physical abuse 21%, sexual abuse 25%, emotional abuse 38%, physical neglect 22%, and emotional neglect 38%.  Physical abuse and emotional abuse and neglect were significantly associated with chronic migraines.  Emotional abuse was also associated with continuous daily headache, severe headache-related disability.  After adjusting for sociodemographic factors and current depression and anxiety, there remained an association between emotional abuse in childhood and both chronic  and  migraine headaches.  Childhood emotional abuse was also associated with younger median age of headache onset (16 years vs 19 years).  The study suggests that physical abuse, emotional abuse, and emotional neglect may be risk factors for development of chronic headache, including transformed migraine.  The association of abuse and headache frequency appears to be independent of depression and anxiety, which are related to both childhood abuse and chronic daily headache.  The finding that emotional abuse was associated with an earlier age of migraine onset may have implications for the role of stress responses in migraines.”

Read Full Post »

HealthDay (http://tinyurl.com/aspirin-in-pregnancy 12/22, Thomas) reported the children of women who take low-dose aspirin during pregnancy because they are at high risk for delivering prematurely might have fewer behavioral problems at age 5.  In the study, French researchers used data on 656 children born before 33 weeks of gestation to 584 women from nine regions in France.  About 21 percent of the women took low-dose aspirin during pregnancy.  At age 5, children whose mothers had taken aspirin were slightly less likely to have behavioral difficulties or hyperactivity, though the results were not statistically significant, according to the study.   Still, much remains unknown about the role of aspirin in pregnancy, including exactly how well or why aspirin works.  One theory is that fetal growth restriction might be caused by tiny blood clots in the placenta, and aspirin helps blood flow between the placenta and the fetus. 

Read Full Post »

bpThe UK’s Telegraph (http://tinyurl.com/child-bipolar-gene 11/12, Devlin) reported that, according to a study of nearly 300 children published in the journal BMC Psychiatry, researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine have discovered that “four different variants in” the RORB gene, which “disrupts the body’s natural internal clock,” were “strongly linked to” bipolar disorder. Study leader Alexander Niculescu, from Indiana University School of Medicine, in Indianapolis, said, “Our findings suggest that clock genes in general and RORB in particular may be important candidates for further investigation in the search for the molecular basis of bipolar disorder.”

Read Full Post »

suicideFollowing a CBS Evening News story, theLos Angeles Times (11/9,  http://tinyurl.com/contagious-suicide, Adams) reports that researchers are seeking “to understand how suicide spreads within communities.” The “term ‘suicide contagion'” is used by experts “to describe the spread of suicidal thoughts among a group of people that results in such copycat acts.” Experts say that “in suicide clusters,” people “already in crisis” are “moved to act by exposure to a peer committing suicide.” Currently, “the CDC provides guidlines ( http://tinyurl.com/youth-suicide-prevention) for schools or other communities about how to respond to one or more suicides, including identifying high-risk individuals and providing counseling,” as well as “reducing any predisposing risks in the school environment, such as bullying or social isolation.”

Read Full Post »

vitaminsMedscape (11/3, Cassels) reported that, according to research, “overall nutritional status in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) shows that this patient population is at risk for low trace mineral status, including deficiencies in zinc and copper.” Canadian found that, “among 44 children aged six to 12 years with AD/HD, rates of zinc and copper deficiency were 45% and 35%, respectively.” In addition, “40% of the children consumed less than the recommended levels of meat and meat alternatives and had low levels of related micronutrients that are essential cofactors for the body’s manufacture of dopamine, norepinephrine, and melatonin.”  Researchers associate low folate levels in pregnancy with increased odds for AD/HD in offspring.  Healthday(11/3, Preidt http://tinyurl.com/low-folate-ADD) reported that, according to a study published online Oct. 28 in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, “low folate levels during pregnancy are associated with higher odds for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) in offspring aged seven to nine.” Investigators also discovered that “children of mothers with low folate levels had notably smaller head circumference at birth, which may indicate a slower rate of prenatal brain growth.”

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »