Adolescence/ Teens 2

Parental depression associated with worse school performance by children

February 3, 2016
Science Daily/The JAMA Network Journals
Having parents diagnosed with depression during a child's life was associated with worse school performance at age 16 a new study of children born in Sweden reports.

Depression is a leading cause of morbidity and disability worldwide with adverse consequences for those affected by depression and their families. Poor school performance is a powerful predictor of future health outcomes and subsequent occupation and income. Therefore, it is relevant to examine student performance for the effect of parental depression.

Brian K. Lee, Ph.D., M.H.S., of the Drexel University School of Public Health, Philadelphia, and coauthors looked at associations of parental depression with child school performance at the end of compulsory education in Sweden at about age 16.

The authors used parental depression diagnoses from inpatient and outpatient records and school grades for all children born from 1984 to 1994 in Sweden. The final analytic sample had more than 1.1 million children and authors examined the associations of parental depression during different time periods including from before a child's birth and any time before the child's final year of compulsory schooling. In the national sample, 33,906 mothers (3 percent) and 23,724 fathers (2.1 percent) had depression before the final year of a child's compulsory education.

The authors report worse school performance was associated with maternal and paternal depression at any time before the final compulsory school year, but the association decreased when adjusting for other factors. In general, both maternal and paternal depression in all periods of a child's life were associated with worse school performance, although paternal depression during the postnatal period did not reach statistical significance. Maternal depression was associated with a larger negative effect on school performance for girls compared with boys, according to the results.

The authors note study limitations that include the underdiagnosis of depression and that authors could not identify if the children were living with birth parents during the duration of the study.

"Our results suggest that diagnoses of parental depression may have a far-reaching effect on child development. Because parental depression may be more amendable to improvement compared with other influences, such as socioeconomic status, it is worth verifying the present results in independent cohorts. If the associations observed are causal, the results strengthen the case even further for intervention and support among children of affected parents," the study concludes.
 

Editorial: Children of Depressed Parents -- A Public Health Opportunity

"The study by Shen et al concludes that 'diagnoses of parental depression may have a far-reaching effect on child development.' We extend that conclusion to state that effective treatment of the diagnosed parents may also have far-reaching effects. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 promised to significantly expand access to high-quality intervention for mental health and substance use disorders for the American people. Until the promise of a more personalized understanding of a common disease, such as depression, becomes reality, access to treatments that are vigorous, substantiated and evidence-based is a public health opportunity for improving the lives of both depressed parents and their children," writes Myrna M. Weissman, Ph.D., of Columbia University, New York.

Science Daily/SOURCE :http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160203134449.htm

Incarceration of a parent during childhood may later add to men's heart attack risk

Researchers find association for men, none for women

February 4, 2016
Science Daily/Virginia Tech
Men who as children experienced a family member’s incarceration are approximately twice as likely to have a heart attack in later adulthood in comparison with men who were not exposed to such a childhood trauma, according to a new study.

A parent's incarceration has immediate, devastating effects on a family. Now, Virginia Tech and University of Toronto researchers say there may be a longer term risk: Men who as children experienced a family member's incarceration are approximately twice as likely to have a heart attack in later adulthood in comparison with men who were not exposed to such a childhood trauma.

The study, completed by Bradley White, an assistant professor with the Virginia Tech Department of Psychology, and Esme Fuller-Thomson at the University of Toronto's Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, was published in the March issue of the Journal of Criminal Justice.

"The strong association we found between incarceration of family members during childhood and later heart attack among men aged 50 and older remained even after adjustments for many known risk factors for heart attack such as age, race, income, education, smoking, physical activity, obesity, high alcohol consumption, diabetes and depression," said White, lead author on the study, and a faculty member with the Virginia Tech College of Science.

The investigators were so surprised at the magnitude of the association for men from the first data set they analyzed that they later replicated the analyses using a second large survey.

Data came from two national surveys headed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in conjunction with various state and local health agencies: A 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System sample with approximately 15,000 adults, and a 2012 BRFSS sample with more than 22,000 respondents.

Senior co-author Fuller-Thomson, who holds the Sandra Rotman Endowed Chair at the University of Toronto, reported "the findings were very consistent in the two samples indicating a strong association for men and no association for women."

Instances of a family member's incarceration during a study participant's childhood was relatively rare, with only about one in every 50 older adults in either survey reporting this adverse childhood experience.

Because of limitations in the survey, this research was unable to determine exactly which family member was incarcerated. However, based on prior studies, White said the vast majority of U.S. prison inmates are men, most of whom are fathers to children under 18. Further, crime details -- violent or non-violent -- and length of the prison sentences were not available in the survey.

"Such factors might impact the relationship between exposure to family member incarceration and later heart attack risk," he added.

"Previous studies have indicated that the incarceration of a parent plays havoc with the stability of housing, employment, and parental marital relationships, and result in considerable social and familial stigma," White said. "Parental incarceration also is associated with psychosocial maladjustment and mental disorders in children, including delinquency and conduct problems. However, less attention has been paid to the long-term physical health outcomes of the children as they grow up."

"Potential explanations warranting future research include the role of cortisol -- the 'flight or fight' hormone," Fuller-Thomson said. "Some earlier research suggests childhood adversities may change the ways individuals react to stress across the life course and this can impact the production of cortisol."

Cortisol also has been linked to the development of cardiovascular disease in separate medical studies.

The study was not designed to differentiate why men, but not women, experienced higher odds of heart attack later in life. However, results suggest -- but not yet confirm -- reaction and life alterations may be gender-specific, said Fuller-Thomson.

Fuller-Thomson said that boys appear to be particularly sensitive to adverse childhood experiences.

She reported, "In my earlier research on the long-term consequences of childhood maltreatment, we found childhood sexual abuse was linked to heart attack for men but not women."

She added that the psychosocial impact on boys whose fathers are incarcerated may be greater than for girls because boys and men are less likely to seek counseling following psychological traumas, and thus may have more difficulty coping.

White and Fuller-Thomson were joined in the study by Lydia Cordie-Garcia, a University of Toronto graduate student. They hope future surveys will gather more information -- which family member is incarcerated, nature of the crime, and approximate timing of incarceration -- to better understand the potential role of these factors in long-term health outcomes of children impacted by family member incarceration.
Science Daily/SOURCE :http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160204112226.htm

Association among childhood ADHD, sex and obesity

February 4, 2016
Science Daily/Mayo Clinic
The incidence of childhood and adult obesity has increased significantly over the past three decades. New research shows that there is an association between obesity development during adulthood and childhood attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Although various studies propose a connection between childhood ADHD and obesity, "this is the first population-based longitudinal study to examine the association between ADHD and development of obesity using ADHD cases and controls of both sexes derived from the same birth cohort," says lead author Seema Kumar, M.D., pediatrician and researcher at Mayo Clinic Children's Research Center.

The study included 336 individuals with childhood ADHD born from 1976 to 1982 and matched with 665 non-ADHD controls of the same age and sex. Weight, height and stimulant treatment measurements were gathered from medical records detailing care provided from Jan. 1, 1976, through Aug. 31, 2010. Cox models were used to assess the link between ADHD and obesity.

The researchers found that females with childhood ADHD were at a two-fold greater risk of developing obesity during childhood and adulthood compared to females without ADHD. Obesity was not associated with stimulant treatment among childhood ADHD cases. "Females with ADHD are at risk of developing obesity during adulthood, and stimulant medications used to treat ADHD do not appear to alter that risk," Dr. Kumar says.

There is a need for greater awareness regarding the association between ADHD and obesity in females among patients, caregivers and health care providers, Dr. Kumar adds.

This study encourages all patients with ADHD to engage in preventive measures, specifically healthy eating and an active lifestyle, as part of routine care to prevent obesity.

As a result of this study, Dr. Kumar and her team are researching the effect of specific psychiatric comorbidities commonly seen in individuals with ADHD on the development of obesity.
Science Daily/SOURCE :http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160204084951.htm

Early bedtime, better school performance

February 8, 2016
Science Daily/Uni Research
There is a strong relationship between sleep problems and poor academic performances among adolescents, a new study demonstrates. Results show that high school students going to bed between 10 and 11 p.m. on weekdays get better grades.

The study is published in Journal of Sleep Research, and shows that the less the adolescent sleep -- the worse the grades get on average.

"Our findings suggests that going to bed earlier, and encouraging similar bed- and sleeping times during the week, are important for academic performance," says psychology specialist and first author Mari Hysing at Uni Research in Bergen, Norway.

Hysing and colleagues analysed data from a large population based study conducted in Norway in 2012, including 7798 adolescents from Hordaland county. This survey is called youth@hordaland -- a large and representative sample.

School performance was measured by Grade point average (GPA), and obtained from official administrative registries. The adolescents (aged 16-19) who went to bed between 10 and 11 p.m. had the best grades on average.

Going to bed much later during weekends than weekdays, were also associated with lower GPA.

The new study is a collaboration between researchers from Uni Research, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Ørebro University and University of California, Berkeley.

The results underscore the importance of sleep for academic functioning, the researchers point out:

"Academic performance is an important marker for future work affiliation and health. Future studies should investigate further how the association between sleep and school impacts upon future educational status and work affiliation," they write.

After adjusting for sociodemographic information, short sleep duration and sleep deficit were the sleep measures with highest odds of poor performance at school.

Hysing and colleagues only investigated the association between sleep and school performance. When adjusting for non-attendance in school, associations were somewhat reduced, but the link between sleep and GPA was still significant.
Science Daily/SOURCE :http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160208092220.htm

Videogame addiction linked to ADHD

April 25, 2016
Science Daily/University of Bergen
Young and single men are at risk of being addicted to video games. The addiction indicates an escape from ADHD and psychiatric disorder, suggests a new study.

"Video game addiction is more prevalent among younger men, and among those not being in a current relationship, than others," says, Cecilie Schou Andreassen, doctor of psychology and clinical psychologist specialist at Department of Psychosocial Science, University of Bergen (UiB).

Schou Andreassen has carried out a study with more than 20 000 participants who answered questions related to videogame addiction. The study is published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, of the American Psychological Association.
 

Escape from psychiatric disorders

The study showed that video game addiction appears to be associated with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression.

"Excessively engaging in gaming may function as an escape mechanism for, or coping with, underlying psychiatric disorders in attempt to alleviate unpleasant feelings, and to calm restless bodies," Doctor Andreassen says.

According to Doctor Andreassen, the large study shows some clear tendencies as to which people develop addictive use of social media.

"The study implies that younger with some of these characteristics could be targeted regarding preventing development of an unhealthy gaming pattern."
 

Sex difference in addiction

The study also showed that addiction related to videogames and computer activities shows sex differences.

"Men seem generally more likely to become addicted to online gaming, gambling, and cyber-pornography, while women to social media, texting, and online shopping," Schou Andreassen says.
 

Seven Warning Signs

The study uses seven criteria to identify video game addiction (developed by Lemmens et al., 2009), where gaming experiences last six months are scored on a scale from "never" to "very often":

*You think about playing a game all day long

*You spend increasing amounts of time on games

*You play games to forget about real life

*Others have unsuccessfully tried to reduce your game use

*You feel bad when you are unable to play

*You have fights with others (e.g., family, friends) over your time spent on games

*You neglect other important activities (e.g., school, work, sports) to play games

Scoring high on at least four of the seven items may suggest that you are addicted to video gaming associated with impaired health, work, school and/or social relations.

"However, most people have a relaxed relationship to video games and fairly good control," Doctor Cecilie Schou Andreassen highlights.

Science Daily/SOURCE :https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160425095529.htm

Music improves baby brain responses to music and speech

April 25, 2016
Science Daily/University of Washington
New research shows that play sessions with music improved babies' brain processing of both music and new speech sounds.
https://images.sciencedaily.com/2016/04/160425161148_1_540x360.jpg
Engaging musical experiences can help babies develop cognitive skills.
Credit: © highwaystarz / Fotolia

A new study by scientists at the University of Washington's Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) shows that a series of play sessions with music improved 9-month-old babies' brain processing of both music and new speech sounds.

"Our study is the first in young babies to suggest that experiencing a rhythmic pattern in music can also improve the ability to detect and make predictions about rhythmic patterns in speech," said lead author Christina Zhao, a postdoctoral researcher at I-LABS.

"This means that early, engaging musical experiences can have a more global effect on cognitive skills," Zhao said.

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published the study this week.

"Infants experience a complex world in which sounds, lights and sensations vary constantly," said co-author Patricia Kuhl, co-director of I-LABS. "The baby's job is to recognize the patterns of activity and predict what's going to happen next. Pattern perception is an important cognitive skill, and improving that ability early may have long-lasting effects on learning."

Like music, language has strong rhythmic patterns. The timing of syllables helps listeners define one speech sound from another and understand what someone is saying. And it's the ability to identify differences in speech sounds that helps babies to learn to speak.

The I-LABS researchers designed a randomized-controlled experiment to see if teaching babies a musical rhythm would help the babies with speech rhythms.

Over the course of a month, 39 babies attended 12 15-minute play sessions in the lab with their parents. In groups of about two or three, the babies sat with their parents, who guided them through the activities.

In the 20 babies assigned to the music group, recordings of children's music played while an experimenter led the babies and their parents through tapping out the beats in time with the music.

All the songs were in triple meter -- like in a waltz -- which the researchers chose for being relatively difficult for babies to learn.

Watch a short video demo of what a music session looked like: https://youtu.be/whzxMNvHBD4

The 19 babies in the control group attended play sessions that did not involve music. Instead, they played with toy cars, blocks and other objects that required coordinated movements without music.

"In both the music and control groups, we gave babies experiences that were social, required their active involvement and included body movements -- these are all characteristics that we know help people learn," Zhao said. "The key difference between the play groups was whether the babies were moving to learn a musical rhythm."

Within a week after the play sessions ended, the families came back to the lab so the babies' brain responses could be measured. The researchers used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to see the precise location and timing of brain activity.

While sitting in the brain scanner, the babies listened to a series of music and speech sounds, each played out in a rhythm that was occasionally disrupted. The babies' brains would show a particular response to indicate they could detect the disruption.

The researchers focused their analyses on two brain regions, the auditory cortex and the prefrontal cortex, which is important for cognitive skills such as controlling attention and detecting patterns.

Babies in the music group had stronger brain responses to the disruption in both music and speech rhythm in both the auditory and the prefrontal cortex, compared with babies in the control group.

This suggests that participation in the play sessions with music improved the infants' ability to detect patterns in sounds.

"Schools across our nation are decreasing music experiences for our children, saying they are too expensive," Kuhl said. "This research reminds us that the effects of engaging in music go beyond music itself. Music experience has the potential to boost broader cognitive skills that enhance children's abilities to detect, expect and react quickly to patterns in the world, which is highly relevant in today's complex world."
Science Daily/SOURCE :https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160425161148.htm

Nurturing during preschool years boosts child's brain growth

Mothers' support linked to robust growth of brain area involved in learning, memory, stress response

April 25, 2016
Science Daily/Washington University School of Medicine
Children whose mothers were nurturing during the preschool years, as opposed to later in childhood, have more robust growth in brain structures associated with learning, memory and stress response than children with less supportive moms.
https://images.sciencedaily.com/2016/04/160425192812_1_540x360.jpg
New research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates children with supportive mothers during preschool experience a more significant increase in the volume of the hippocampus during the period from school age to adolescence. In contrast, kids whose mothers were less supportive during the preschool years had a less steep growth trajectory, even if their mothers became more supportive later. The researchers measured support and nurturing by monitoring and scoring videotaped interactions between mothers and their children.
Credit: Washington University School of Medicine

"This study suggests there's a sensitive period when the brain responds more to maternal support," said first author Joan L. Luby, MD, a Washington University child psychiatrist at St. Louis Children's Hospital.

The study is published online April 25 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

The researchers studied a series of brain scans of children from preschool through early adolescence, finding a sharper rise in the volume of the hippocampus in the kids whose mothers supported and nurtured them during the preschool years. That region of the brain is critical to learning, memory and regulating emotions. In contrast, the hippocampus appeared smaller in adolescents whose mothers were less supportive during the preschool period, even if their mothers became more supportive in elementary or middle school.

The new research builds on previous findings by the same investigators that showed a link between maternal nurturing and a larger hippocampus observed in brain scans conducted at the time the children reached school age. In the new study, the researchers were able to observe steady growth in the hippocampus of children with supportive mothers across multiple brain scans taken at different time periods, with 127 children receiving three MRI scans each from the time they first started school through early adolescence.

"The parent-child relationship during the preschool period is vital, even more important than when the child gets older," Luby said. "We think that's due to greater plasticity in the brain when kids are younger, meaning that the brain is affected more by experiences very early in life. That suggests it's vital that kids receive support and nurturing during those early years."

The researchers also found that the growth trajectory in the hippocampus was associated with healthier emotional functioning when the children entered their teen years. When parental nurturing didn't begin until later in childhood, such support didn't provide the same benefits in brain growth, the researchers noted.

"This finding highlights the critical importance of caregiving in sculpting aspects of brain development that are important to how children function as they mature," said co-author Deanna M. Barch, PhD, a Washington University Psychologist and chair of the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences.

The researchers measured nurturing in mothers by closely observing and scoring videotaped interactions between mothers and their children. The investigators observed mothers and children under moderately stressful conditions, explained Luby, the Samuel and Mae S. Ludwig Professor of Child Psychiatry and director of Washington University's Early Emotional Development Program.

"The mother is asked to complete a task while we give the child an attractive gift to open, but we don't allow it to be opened right away," she said. "It's a stressful condition like those that happen multiple times each day in any given family, like when you're cooking dinner and a child wants attention. The child needs something, but you have something else to do, so it challenges your parenting skills."

Parents who are able to maintain their composure and complete assigned tasks while still offering emotional support to their children are rated as more nurturing and supportive. Parents who dismiss their children, or behave in punitive ways during the test, receive lower marks for support.

Small changes in support indicated big differences in outcomes, Luby said. In examining the brain scans, the researchers found that children whose mothers were more supportive than average had increases in growth of the hippocampus that were more than two times greater than in those whose mothers were slightly below average on the nurturing scale.

Luby believes the findings suggest it may be possible to help children do better in school, cope better in life and develop emotionally by helping parents learn to provide more support and nurturing early in the lives of their children.

"Early maternal support affects the child's brain development," she said. "We also know that providing support to parents can have a positive impact on other behavioral and adaptive outcomes in children. So we have a very logical reason to encourage policies that help parents become more supportive."
Science Daily/SOURCE :https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160425192812.htm

Breast milk linked to significant early brain growth in preemies

Preemies fed mostly breast milk had larger brains by their due dates than those who consumed small amounts or none

April 30, 2016
Science Daily/Washington University School of Medicine
Feeding premature babies mostly breast milk during the first month of life appears to spur more robust brain growth. Those preemies whose daily diets were at least 50 percent breast milk had more brain tissue and cortical-surface area by their due dates than premature babies who consumed significantly less breast milk.

Studying preterm infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at St. Louis Children's Hospital, the researchers found that preemies whose daily diets were at least 50 percent breast milk had more brain tissue and cortical-surface area by their due dates than premature babies who consumed significantly less breast milk.

The researchers present their findings May 3 at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, in Baltimore.

"The brains of babies born before their due dates usually are not fully developed," said senior investigator Cynthia Rogers, MD, an assistant professor of child psychiatry who treats patients at St. Louis Children's Hospital. "But breast milk has been shown to be helpful in other areas of development, so we looked to see what effect it might have on the brain. With MRI scans, we found that babies fed more breast milk had larger brain volumes. This is important because several other studies have shown a correlation between brain volume and cognitive development."

The study included 77 preterm infants. The researchers retrospectively looked to see how much breast milk those babies had received while being cared for in the NICU. Then, the researchers conducted brain scans on those infants at about the time each would have been born had the babies not arrived early. All of the babies were born at least 10 weeks early, with an average gestation of 26 weeks, or about 14 weeks premature. Because they are still developing, preemies typically have smaller brains than full-term infants.

First author Erin Reynolds, a research technician in Rogers' laboratory, said in gauging the effects of breast milk on the babies' brains, the researchers didn't distinguish between milk that came from the babies' own mothers and breast milk donated by other women. Rather, they focused on the influence of breast milk in general.

"As the amount of breast milk increased, so did a baby's chances of having a larger cortical surface area," Reynolds said. "The cortex is the part of the brain associated with cognition, so we assume that more cortex will help improve cognition as the babies grow and develop."

Preterm birth is a leading cause of neurologic problems in children and has been linked to psychiatric disorders later in childhood. Rogers and her team plan to follow the babies in the study through their first several years of life to see how they grow, focusing on their motor, cognitive and social development. As the babies get older, the researchers believe they will be able to determine the effects of early exposure to breast milk on later developmental outcomes.

"We want to see whether this difference in brain size has an effect on any of those developmental milestones," Rogers said. "Neonatologists already believe breast milk is the best nutrition for preterm infants. We wanted to see whether it was possible to detect the impact of breast milk on the brain this early in life and whether the benefits appeared quickly or developed over time."

Rogers said further investigation is needed to determine specifically how breast milk affects the brain and what is present in the milk that seems to promote brain development. She explained that because all of the babies in the study were born early it isn't clear whether breast milk would provide similar benefits for babies born at full term.
Science Daily/SOURCE :https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160430100552.htm

Children react physically to stress from their social networks

A 28-year study reveals that the social relationships nurtured in childhood may have physiological consequences

May 2, 2016
Science Daily/University of Missouri-Columbia
Research has shown the significance of social relationships in influencing adult human behavior and health; however, little is known about how children's perception of their social networks correlates with stress and how it may influence development. Now, a research team has determined that children and adolescents physically react to their social networks and the stress those networks may cause.
https://images.sciencedaily.com/2016/05/160502215713_1_540x360.jpg
Mark Flinn, seen here on one of his many trips to Dominica, determined that children and adolescents physically react to their social networks and the stress those networks may cause.
Credit: Mark V. Flinn

Cortisol and salivary alpha-amylase are secreted in response to outside pressure or tension. A part of the autonomic nervous system, release of cortisol in the system is quick, unconscious and can be measured in saliva; therefore, measuring cortisol is a good indicator of stress in the body, said Mark V. Flinn, professor of biomedical anthropology and chair of the Department of Anthropology in the MU College of Arts and Science.

"The typical physiological response to stress is the release of hormones like cortisol into the system," Flinn said. "In this study, we wanted to explore the association between children's personal social networks, as well as perceived social network size and density with biomarkers like cortisol and alpha-amylase that can indicate levels of stress in youth. Our goal was to determine if children experience stress because they perceive their networks to be inferior compared to their peers. Determining if social relationships cause stress in children is important because stress can influence human behavior and health later in life."

Flinn and his team, including Davide Ponzi, a post-doctoral fellow who is now with the University of Utah, have been conducting a one-of-a-kind project on an island in the Caribbean. For the study, the team has been using data collected over more than two decades from a small village on the east coast of Dominica. For years, Flinn has integrated himself within the culture, documenting socioeconomic, demographic, and health data as well as relationship data within a small community of about 500 residents.

"Over the years, we've collected data on grandparents, parents and their children; I've observed real kids in their communities, not in a controlled laboratory setting, so the data is unique and highly useful," Flinn said. "Using this wealth of knowledge, we were interested in learning how the kids physically responded to the social networks they cultivate."

For this focused study, Ponzi and Flinn chose a sample of 40 children ranging in ages from 5 to 12 and who represented about 80 percent of the total children in the village. Each child was asked a series of questions about their friends to measure their perceived density and closeness of their social networks. Three samples of saliva were collected before, during and after the interview and cortisol and alpha-amylase levels were measured.

"We found that, using the data we collected from the one-on-one interviews, children who were stressed about the size and density of their perceived social networks had elevated anticipatory cortisol levels, and responded by secreting more alpha-amylase," Flinn said. "Our study was in line with past research on stress, loneliness and social support in adults, but we strengthened past research by applying it to children. Future research should consider a multi-system approach like this one to study cognitive and biological mechanisms underlying children's perception."
Science Daily/SOURCE :https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160502215713.htm

Children with ADHD sleep both poorly and less

May 4, 2016
Science Daily/Aarhus University
There is some truth to the claim by parents of children with ADHD that their children have more difficulty falling asleep and that they sleep more poorly than other children, new research indicates.

Studies have shown that up to seventy per cent of parents of children with ADHD report that the children have difficulty falling asleep and that they spend a long time putting them to bed. However, scientific studies that measure sleep quality using electrodes have so far failed to demonstrate a correlation between sleep quality and ADHD. But a new Danish study now shows that children with ADHD actually do sleep worse than other children:

"Our study will confirm what many parents have experienced, which is that children with ADHD take longer to fall asleep at night. With our measurements we can also see that these children experience more disturbed sleep including less deep sleep. If you only look at length of sleep, children in the ADHD group sleep for 45 minutes less than children in the control group," says PhD from Aarhus University and medical doctor at the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Hospital, Risskov, Anne Virring Sørensen, who is behind the PhD study.

Two out of three children with ADHD have one or more additional psychiatric diagnoses in addition to ADHD, which probably increases the risk of sleep disturbance. But even when the researchers look at the children who have only been diagnosed with ADHD, they see a big difference in the sleep patterns of the control group and the ADHD group.
 

Opposite sleep patterns during the day


The researchers also studied sleep patterns during the day. The findings surprised the researchers.

"Unlike in the evening we could see that there was a tendency for the children with ADHD to fall asleep faster during the day than the children in the control group. This is somewhat surprising when you take into account that ADHD is associated with characteristics such as hyperactivity. But this hyperactivity could be compensatory behaviour for not being able to doze off during the day" says Anne Virring Sørensen.

The fact that researchers have not previously been able to demonstrate a correlation between ADHD and poorer sleep could be due to different measuring methods.

"In our study the children had electrodes attached to their heads for what is known as a polysomnography at the hospital in the afternoon, but they slept in their familiar home surroundings. In previous studies children have been admitted to specialist sleep centres at hospital to measure sleep via a polysomnographic study," says Anne Virring Sørensen.

Many children with ADHD are currently given medicine to help them fall asleep. Anne Virring Sørensen emphasises that none of the children received medicine while taking part in the study.


Important study

 

She believes that the study is important in both the short and long term:

"I think many parents and clinicians are very pleased to receive confirmation that poor sleep patterns can now be demonstrated and that there is probably a correlation with the ADHD diagnosis. The next step is, of course, to find out where this correlation lies so we can develop better treatments in the long term. Our survey is an important foundation for further studies," she says.

The study was recently published in the Journal of Sleep Research.


Facts about the study

·         A total of 76 children with ADHD and an average age of 9.6 years participated in the study.

·         The control group consisted of 25 healthy children.

·         Two different types of study were carried out:

·         Outpatient sleep examinations with electrodes during the night (polysomnography).

·         Multiple sleep latency tests which measured how quickly the children fell asleep (four times twenty minutes on the same day).

·         The study is the largest so far to include both research methods and to include both children with and without an ADHD diagnosis.

·         The study was carried out by researchers from Aarhus University, Aarhus University Hospital Risskov, Rigshospitalet and the University of Copenhagen.

Science Daily/SOURCE :https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160504121641.htm

Where you are is who you are: How enclosed and open spaces affect cognition

Good built environments are fundamental for our well-being

May 9, 2016
Science Daily/Frontiers
https://images.sciencedaily.com/2016/05/160509105546_1_540x360.jpg
New research raises the question whether raising children in enclosed spaces versus open spaces will result in differences in spatial and social cognition.
Credit: © Wollwerth Imagery / Fotolia

A recent study suggests that who we are might be more integrated with where we are than previously thought. Demonstrating how architects and urban planners might take guidance from disciplines like neuroscience, philosophy and psychology, a paper published in Frontiers in Psychology, reveals that a good built environment might promote well-being and effect our decisions.

Contrary to the idea that we are separate from what we experience, the study claims that we ought to think about how the environment we create might, in turn, be used to create us. With this in mind, the scientists investigated how the way we interact with space defines how we identify ourselves and our capabilities.

"The built environment can restrict or promote spatial cognition, which can influence one's self-hood," the researchers explain. "Our spatial coordinates and our 'selves' are intertwined."

According to the researchers, we understand our environment differently depending on our experience of it. For example, learning your way through a space using a map gives a different understanding than through learning your own route. In a mapped environment, the tendency is to think of objects in relation to one another, whereas finding your own way might lead to thinking about the space in terms of its relation to you.

"The greater familiarity one has with a place increases the knowledge one has of different perspectives and orientations," they said. Similarly, the amount of time we are in our environments can change our understanding. This also suggests that having unrestricted movement in the space can over time allow us to experience multiple paths and perspectives.

The researchers say social perspectives also change spatial perspectives. An example of this is language. "Our language reveals how social relationships are mapped onto spatial ones -- for example a close friend versus a distant relation. This reveals that spatial reference frames are the fundamental way that the locations of objects, people and oneself are understood," they explain.

Envisioning a more inclusive future, the scientists explain that well-built environments are important for well-being. A relationship to the space we're in is a fundamental human experience and so it is evident that built environments need to address everyone's needs.

"Recently, architects and urban planners have started to consider the abilities and reference frames of those using the space to optimize the design of the built environment," they said.

But it goes beyond creating a building space. The fact that experience can shape individual differences, which in turn can affect the quality of spatial and social cognition a person, suggests that growing up in certain built environments can have detrimental or beneficial effects on their cognitive ability. This brings up questions such as whether raising children in enclosed spaces versus open spaces will result in differences in spatial and social cognition.

More research also needs to be performed on how spaces might affect decision making in town halls and parliaments, and the extent to which these spaces, in interaction with individual differences, can help foster more effective policy making. "Where we are, might mould who we are, but given our ability to shape the environment, we can play an active role in the development of the self," they said.
Science Daily/SOURCE :https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160509105546.htm

ADHD may emerge after childhood for some people

May 18, 2016
Science Daily/King's College London
https://images.sciencedaily.com/2016/05/160518120107_1_540x360.jpg
New research findings have important implications for our understanding of ADHD, as ADHD that onsets in adulthood could have different causes to childhood ADHD.
Credit: © ibreakstock / Fotolia

While it is well established that childhood ADHD may continue into adulthood, new research by King's College London suggests that for some people the disorder does not emerge until after childhood.

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a developmental disorder marked by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity and is one of the most common behavioural disorders in children. It is widely believed that adult ADHD is the continuation of the disorder from childhood.

However, researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King's found that nearly 70 per cent of the young adults with ADHD in their study did not meet criteria for the disorder at any of the childhood assessments. Adults with this 'late-onset' ADHD had high levels of symptoms, impairment and other mental health disorders.

Published in JAMA Psychiatry, these findings have important implications for our understanding of ADHD, as ADHD that onsets in adulthood could have different causes to childhood ADHD.

Findings from this UK cohort are confirmed by evidence for adult-onset ADHD world-wide: a study from Brazil will be published by JAMA Psychiatry alongside this research, which also identified a large proportion of adults with ADHD as not having the disorder in childhood. Both the UK and Brazilian studies support previous findings from a New Zealand cohort.

The research sample in the King's College London study included more than 2,200 British twins from the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study. Symptoms of childhood ADHD were measured at the ages of 5, 7, 10 and 12 through mother and teacher reports. Young adults were interviewed at the age of 18 to assess ADHD symptoms and any associated impairments, as well as the existence of other mental health disorders.

As the study was a cohort of twins, the researchers were also able to examine the genetic basis of ADHD. They found that adult ADHD was less heritable than childhood ADHD, and that having a twin with childhood ADHD did not place individuals at a higher risk of developing late-onset ADHD.

Dr Jessica Agnew-Blais from the IoPPN at King's College London said: 'We were very interested by this large 'late-onset' ADHD group, as ADHD is generally seen as a childhood-onset neurodevelopmental disorder. We speculated about the nature of late-onset ADHD: the disorder could have been masked in childhood due to protective factors, such as a supportive family environment. Or it could be entirely explained by other mental health problems. Alternatively, late-onset ADHD could be a distinct disorder altogether. We think it is important that we continue to investigate the underlying causes of late-onset ADHD.

'Although ADHD occurs in approximately 4 per cent of adults, relatively few adults receive a diagnosis or treatment for the disorder. It is crucial that we take a developmental approach to understanding ADHD, and that the absence of a childhood diagnosis should not prevent adults with ADHD from receiving clinical attention.'

Professor Louise Arseneault, also from the IoPPN at King's College London, said: 'Our research sheds new light on the development and onset of ADHD, but it also brings up many questions about ADHD that arises after childhood. How similar or different is 'late-onset' ADHD compared with ADHD that begins in childhood? How and why does late-onset ADHD arise? What treatments are most effective for late-onset ADHD? These are the questions we should now be seeking to answer.'
Science Daily/SOURCE :https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160518120107.htm

Many with migraines have vitamin deficiencies

Researchers uncertain whether supplementation would help prevent migraines

June 10, 2016
Science Daily/Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
A high percentage of children, teens and young adults with migraines appear to have mild deficiencies in vitamin D, riboflavin and coenzyme Q10 -- a vitamin-like substance found in every cell of the body that is used to produce energy for cell growth and maintenance.
https://images.sciencedaily.com/2016/06/160610140645_1_540x360.jpg
A high percentage of children, teens and young adults with migraines appear to have mild deficiencies in vitamin D, riboflavin and coenzyme Q10, say researchers.
Credit: © Adiano / Fotolia

These deficiencies may be involved in patients who experience migraines, but that is unclear based on existing studies.

"Further studies are needed to elucidate whether vitamin supplementation is effective in migraine patients in general, and whether patients with mild deficiency are more likely to benefit from supplementation," says Suzanne Hagler, MD, a Headache Medicine fellow in the division of Neurology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and lead author of the study.

Dr. Hagler and colleagues at Cincinnati Children's conducted the study among patients at the Cincinnati Children's Headache Center. She will present her findings at 9:55 am Pacific time June 10, 2016 at the 58th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society in San Diego.

Dr. Hagler's study drew from a database that included patients with migraines who, according to Headache Center practice, had baseline blood levels checked for vitamin D, riboflavin, coenzyme Q10 and folate, all of which were implicated in migraines, to some degree, by previous and sometimes conflicting studies. Many were put on preventive migraine medications and received vitamin supplementation, if levels were low. Because few received vitamins alone, the researchers were unable to determine vitamin effectiveness in preventing migraines.

She found that girls and young woman were more likely than boys and young men to have coenzyme Q10 deficiencies at baseline. Boys and young men were more likely to have vitamin D deficiency. It was unclear whether there were folate deficiencies. Patients with chronic migraines were more likely to have coenzyme Q10 and riboflavin deficiencies than those with episodic migraines.

Previous studies have indicated that certain vitamins and vitamin deficiencies may be important in the migraine process. Studies using vitamins to prevent migraines, however, have had conflicting success.
Science Daily/SOURCE :https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160610140645.htm

Recharge with sleep: Pediatric sleep recommendations promoting optimal health

June 13, 2016
Science Daily/American Academy of Sleep Medicine
For the first time, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has released official consensus recommendations for the amount of sleep needed to promote optimal health in children and teenagers to avoid the health risks of insufficient sleep.

The recommendations in the consensus statement are as follows:

•    Infants four to 12 months should sleep 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
•    Children one to two years of age should sleep 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
•    Children three to five years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
•    Children six to 12 years of age should sleep nine to 12 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
•    Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep eight to 10 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health.

The AASM consensus statement is published in the June issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine and will be discussed this week during SLEEP 2016, the 30th Anniversary Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS) in Denver.

"Sleep is essential for a healthy life, and it is important to promote healthy sleep habits in early childhood," said Dr. Shalini Paruthi, Pediatric Consensus Panel moderator and fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "It is especially important as children reach adolescence to continue to ensure that teens are able to get sufficient sleep."

The recommendations follow a 10-month project conducted by a Pediatric Consensus Panel of 13 of the nation's foremost sleep experts, and are endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Sleep Research Society and the American Association of Sleep Technologists. The expert panel reviewed 864 published scientific articles addressing the relationship between sleep duration and health in children, evaluated the evidence using a formal grading system, and arrived at the final recommendations after multiple rounds of voting.

The Pediatric Consensus Panel found that sleeping the number of recommended hours on a regular basis is associated with overall better health outcomes including: improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, emotional regulation, quality of life, and mental and physical health.

The panel found that sleeping fewer than the recommended hours is associated with attention, behavior and learning problems. Insufficient sleep also increases the risk of accidents, injuries, hypertension, obesity, diabetes and depression. The panel also found that insufficient sleep in teenagers is associated with increased risk of self-harm, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts.

"More than a third of the U.S. population is not getting enough sleep, and for children who are in the critical years of early development, sleep is even more crucial," said Dr. Nathaniel Watson, 2015 -- 2016 president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Making sure there is ample time for sleep is one of the best ways to promote a healthy lifestyle for a child."

Additionally, the panel found that regularly sleeping more than the recommended hours may be associated with adverse health outcomes such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity and mental health problems.
Science Daily/SOURCE :https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160613122419.htm

Consistent links between capacity to delay gratification, ADHD, obesity

June 14, 2016
Science Daily/McMaster University
Individuals diagnosed with ADHD or obesity are more likely to choose smaller immediate rewards over larger future rewards. These new studies found a highly consistent reduction in capacity to delay gratification. Immediate reward orientation is robustly elevated in both ADHD and obesity.

This reduced capacity to delay gratification in many individuals diagnosed with ADHD or obesity may lead to new approaches for the clinical treatment of these conditions.

The studies, led by Drs. James MacKillop and Michael Amlung of the Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research at McMaster University and St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, have been published in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging and Psychological Medicine.

The findings from these new studies parallel a 2011 study conducted by the authors that found that the ability to delay gratification was reduced in individuals diagnosed with addictive disorders.

"In the context of addictions, there is an increasing appreciation that we need to improve treatment that we provide for patients who substantially devalue future rewards," said MacKillop. "These studies suggest that a simple assessment that measures this phenomenon may also help clinicians to better understand some of their patients that have been diagnosed with ADHD and obesity."

The studies were meta-analyses, or studies that combine the findings across many previous investigations to detect consistent or inconsistent patterns of findings. In the case of the ADHD study, the meta-analysis combined the findings from 21 previous studies including almost 4,000 participants. In the case of the obesity study, the meta-analysis combined the findings from almost 39 studies including over 10,000 participants.

Although the results of prior research appeared to be mixed, these new studies found a highly consistent reduction in capacity to delay gratification in relation to both clinical conditions.

"While not all individuals diagnosed with ADHD and obesity display this pattern of reduced capacity to delay gratification, the connection between this phenomenon and addictions as well as these clinical conditions is clear," said Amlung.

"In the context of obesity specifically, these findings may help inform clinical approaches to weight management that increase individuals' focus toward the longer-term rewards of weight loss."

A second important finding in both studies was that, although the methods varied considerably across the previous studies, reanalyzing the data based on different methods did not appreciably alter the overall findings.

"These studies suggest that, despite different experimental tasks, ages and study designs, immediate reward orientation is robustly elevated in both ADHD and obesity," said Dr. MacKillop.
Science Daily/SOURCE :https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160614214415.htm

‘Map’ of teenage brain provides strong evidence of link between serious antisocial behavior and brain development

June 15, 2016
Science Daily/University of Cambridge
The brains of teenagers with serious antisocial behavior problems differ significantly in structure to those of their peers, providing the clearest evidence to date that their behavior stems from changes in brain development in early life, according to new research.
https://images.sciencedaily.com/2016/06/160615203122_1_540x360.jpg
These two regions of the brain (orbitofrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex) were more similar in terms of thickness in youths with Conduct Disorder than in typically-developing youths. This suggests that the normal pattern of brain development is disrupted in youths with Conduct Disorder.
Credit: Nicola Toschi

In a study published today in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods to look at the brain structure of male adolescents and young adults who had been diagnosed with conduct disorder -- persistent behavioural problems including aggressive and destructive behaviour, lying and stealing, and for older children, weapon use or staying out all night.

In particular, the researchers looked at the coordinated development of different brain regions by studying whether they were similar or different in terms of thickness. Regions that develop at similar rates would be expected to show similar patterns of cortical thickness, for example.

"There's evidence already of differences in the brains of individuals with serious behavioural problems, but this is often simplistic and only focused on regions such as the amygdala, which we know is important for emotional behaviour," explains Dr Luca Passamonti from the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Cambridge. "But conduct disorder is a complex behavioural disorder, so likewise we would expect the changes to be more complex in nature and to potentially involve other brain regions."

In a study funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council, researchers at the University of Cambridge recruited 58 male adolescents and young adults with conduct disorder and 25 typically-developing controls, all aged between 16 and 21 years. The researchers divided the individuals with conduct disorder according to whether they displayed childhood-onset conduct disorder or adolescent-onset conduct disorder.

The team found that youths with childhood-onset conduct disorder (sometimes termed 'early-starters') showed a strikingly higher number of significant correlations in thickness between regions relative to the controls. They believe this may reflect disruptions in the normal pattern of brain development in childhood or adolescence.

On the other hand, youths with adolescent-onset conduct disorder ('late starters') displayed fewer such correlations than the healthy individuals. The researchers believe this may reflect specific disruptions in the development of the brain during adolescence, for example to the 'pruning' of nerve cells or the connections (synapses) between them.

As the findings were particularly striking, the researchers sought to replicate their findings in an independent sample of 37 individuals with conduct disorder and 32 healthy controls, all male and aged 13-18 years, recruited at the University of Southampton; they were able to confirm their findings, adding to the robustness of the study.

"The differences that we see between healthy teenagers and those with both forms of conduct disorders show that most of the brain is involved, but particularly the frontal and temporal regions of the brain," says Dr Graeme Fairchild, who is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Southampton. "This provides extremely compelling evidence that conduct disorder is a real psychiatric disorder and not, as some experts maintain, just an exaggerated form of teenage rebellion.

"These findings also show that there are important differences in the brain between those who develop problems early in childhood compared with those who only show behavioural problems in their teenage years. More research is now needed to investigate how to use these results to help these young people clinically and to examine the factors leading to this abnormal pattern of brain development, such as exposure to early adversity."

"There's never been any doubt that conditions such as Alzheimer's disease are diseases of the brain because imaging allows us to see clearly how it eats away at the brain," adds Professor Nicola Toschi from the University "Tor Vergata" of Rome, "but until now we haven't been able to see the clear -- and widespread -- structural differences in the brains of youths with conduct disorder."

Although the findings point to the importance of the brain in explaining the development of conduct disorder, it is not clear how the structural differences arise and whether, for example, it is a mixture of an individual's genetic make-up and the environment in which they are raised that causes the changes. However, the researchers say their findings may make it possible to monitor objectively the effectiveness of interventions.

"Now that we have a way of imaging the whole brain and providing a 'map' of conduct disorder, we may in future be able to see whether the changes we have observed in this study are reversible if early interventions or psychological therapies are provided," says Professor Ian Goodyer from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge.
Science Daily/SOURCE :https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160615203122.htm

Researchers link childhood hunger, violence later in life

June 20, 2016
Science Daily/niversity of Texas at Dallas
Children who often go hungry have a greater risk of developing impulse control problems and engaging in violence, according to new research.

The study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, found that people who experienced frequent hunger as kids were more than twice as likely to exhibit impulsivity and injure others intentionally as adolescents and adults.

Thirty-seven percent of the study's participants who had frequent hunger as children reported that they had been involved in interpersonal violence. Of those who experienced little to no childhood hunger, 15 percent said they were involved in interpersonal violence. The findings were strongest among whites, Hispanics and males.

Previous research has shown that childhood hunger contributes to a variety of other negative outcomes, including poor academic performance. The study is among the first to find a correlation between childhood hunger, low self-control and interpersonal violence.

"Good nutrition is not only critical for academic success, but now we're showing that it links to behavioral patterns. When kids start to fail in school, they start to fail in other domains of life," said Dr. Alex Piquero, Ashbel Smith Professor of Criminology and associate dean for graduate programs in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.

Researchers used data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions to examine the relationship between childhood hunger, impulsivity and interpersonal violence. Participants in that study responded to a variety of questions including how often they went hungry as a child, whether they have problems controlling their temper, and if they had physically injured another person on purpose.

More than 15 million U.S. children face food insecurity -- not having regular access to adequate nutrition, according to the study. Piquero said the results highlight the importance of addressing communities known as food deserts that have little access to grocery stores with healthy food choices.

The findings suggest that strategies aimed at alleviating hunger may also help reduce violence, Piquero said.

"At the very least, we need to get children the nutritional food they need," Piquero said. "It's not a very difficult problem to address, and we can envision lots of gains."

Piquero also has co-authored other recent studies related to the role that self-control plays in delinquency and violence. 
Science Daily/SOURCE :https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160620161140.htm

Relationship quality tied to good health for young adults

June 24, 2016
Science Daily/University at Buffalo
For young people entering adulthood, high-quality relationships are associated with better physical and mental health, according to the results of a new study.

"Health benefits begin to accrue relatively quickly with high-quality relationships and supportive contexts," says Ashley Barr, assistant professor in UB's Department of Sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences. "And then we see detrimental effects from low-quality relationships -- particularly, those low-quality relationships that last a long time."

Over the last few decades, the transition into adulthood has been extended, according to Barr. Younger people today are waiting longer to get married than those in previous generations, and they're waiting longer to finish school. During this period, they're moving in and out of relationships.

"Much of the research literature focuses on relationships and health in the context of marriage," says Barr. "The majority of our respondents were not married, but these relationships are still impactful to health, for better or for worse."

This is Barr's second study to look at how the quality of relationships during the transition into adulthood affects health. The findings were recently published in the Journal of Family Psychology.

She previously conducted research with an all-African-American sample that suggested patterns of instability in relationships mattered when it came to depressive symptoms, alcohol problems and how people reported their general health.

Given those findings, the researchers wanted to see if the same patterns held true in a very different sample.

And they did.

Using the Iowa Youth and Families Project, a sample of all-white youth coming from two-parent, married families in rural Iowa, Barr says about one-third of the sample experienced relatively large changes in their relationships over a two-year period.

"We took into account satisfaction, partner hostility, questions about criticism, support, kindness, affection and commitment," says Barr. "We also asked about how partners behave outside of the relationship. Do they engage in deviant behaviors? Is there general anti-sociality?"

Barr says the longer people are in high-quality relationships, or the faster they get out of low-quality relationships, the better their health.

"It's not being in a relationship that matters; it's being in a long-term, high-quality relationship that's beneficial," she says. "Low-quality relationships are detrimental to health. The findings suggest that it's better for health to be single than to be in a low-quality relationship."

Barr says the attention to changes in these relationships is important, particularly in the context of the extended transition to adulthood.

"It's rare today for young adults to enter a romantic relationship and stay in that relationship without ever changing partners or relationship characteristics," she says. "We now have two studies that found similar patterns and similar implications for those changes."
Science Daily/SOURCE :https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160624135858.htm

Stress contagion possible amongst students, teachers

June 27, 2016
Science Daily/University of British Columbia
Teacher burnout and student stress may be linked, according to a new study. The work is the first of its kind to examine the connection between teacher burnout and students' cortisol levels, which are a biological indicator of stress.
https://images.sciencedaily.com/2016/06/160627124928_1_540x360.jpg
UBC researchers have found a potential link between student stress and teacher burnout. (stock image)
Credit: © petunyia / Fotolia

The study is the first of its kind to examine the connection between teacher burnout and students' cortisol levels, which are a biological indicator of stress.

Researchers collected saliva samples from over 400 elementary school children and tested their cortisol levels. They found that in classrooms in which teachers experienced more burnout, or feelings of emotional exhaustion, students' cortisol levels were elevated. Higher cortisol levels in elementary school children have been linked to learning difficulties as well as mental health problems.

"This suggests that stress contagion might be taking place in the classroom among students and their teachers," said Eva Oberle, the study's lead author and newly appointed assistant professor with the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) at UBC's school of population and public health. "It is unknown what came first -- elevated cortisol or teacher burnout. We consider the connection between student and teacher stress a cyclical problem in the classroom."

Oberle said a stressful classroom climate could be a result of inadequate support for teachers, which may impact teachers' ability to effectively manage their students. A poorly managed classroom can contribute to students' needs not being met and increasing stress. This could be reflected in elevated cortisol levels in students.

Alternatively, stress could originate from students, who may be more challenging to teach because of increases in anxiety, behavioural problems, or special needs. In this scenario, teachers could feel overwhelmed and report higher levels of burnout.

"Our study is a reminder of the systemic issues facing teachers and educators as classroom sizes increase and supports for teachers are cut," said Oberle.

"It is clear from a number of recent research studies that teaching is one of the most stressful professions, and that teachers need adequate resources and support in their jobs in order to battle burnout and alleviate stress in the classroom," said UBC education professor Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, the study's co-author and director of HELP. "If we do not support teachers, we risk the collateral damage of students."
Science Daily/SOURCE :https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160627124928.htm

Thinking 'I can do better' really can improve performance

June 30, 2016
Science Daily/Frontiers
Telling yourself 'I can do better,' can make you do better at a given task, a study has found. Over 44,000 people took part in an experiment to discover what motivational techniques really worked. The researchers tested which physiological skills would help people improve their scores in an online game.
https://images.sciencedaily.com/2016/06/160630102038_1_540x360.jpg
Telling yourself I can do better, can really make you do better at a given task, say researchers.
Credit: © dima_sidelnikov / Fotolia

Over 44,000 people took part in an experiment to discover what motivational techniques really worked. In conjunction with BBC Lab UK, Professor Andrew Lane and his colleagues tested which physiological skills would help people improve their scores in an online game.

This complex study examined if one motivational method would be more effective for any specific aspect of a task. The methods tested were self-talk, imagery, and if-then planning. Each of these psychological skills was applied to one of four parts of a competitive task: process, outcome, arousal-control, and instruction.

People using self-talk, for example telling yourself "I can do better next time" -- performed better than the control group in every portion of the task.

The greatest improvements were seen in self-talk-outcome (telling yourself, "I can beat my best score"), self-talk-process (telling yourself, "I can react quicker this time"), imagery-outcome (imagining yourself playing the game and beating your best score), and imagery-process (imagining yourself playing and reacting quicker than last time).

They also found a short motivational video could improve performance. Participants watched a short video before playing the online game. The coach for these videos was, none other than, four-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson, an athlete known for advocating mental preparedness in addition to physical training.

If-then planning was found to be one of the least successful of this study, despite being an effective tool in weight management and other real life challenges.

Professor Lane said: "Working on, 'Can You Compete?' was inspirational and educational; since we have been developing online interventions to help people manage their emotions and doing this across a range of specific contexts from delivering a speech to fighting in a boxing ring, from taking an exam to going into dangerous places."

Over 44,000 people participated in the study, an astounding number considering that the majority of psychological experiments have fewer than 300 participants. The participants were divided into 12 experimental groups and one control group, also impressive, because most studies have two or three experimental groups.
Science Daily/SOURCE :https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160630102038.htm

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