Adolescence/Teens4

Contact in sports may lead to differences in the brains of young, healthy athletes

August 22, 2017

Science Daily/St. Michael's Hospital

People who play contact sports show changes to their brain structure and function, with sports that have greater risk of body contact showing greater effects on the brain, a new study has found.

 

Researchers at St. Michael's Hospital performed preseason brain scans of 65 varsity athletes -- 23 from collision sports (with routine, purposeful body-to-body contact), 22 from contact sports (where contact is allowed, but is not an integral part of the game) and 20 from non-contact sports.

 

They found that the athletes in collision and contact sports had differences in brain structure, function and chemical markers typically associated with brain injury, compared to athletes in non-contact sports.

 

Their findings were published online today in the journal Frontiers of Neurology.

 

Lead author Dr. Nathan Churchill, a post-doctoral fellow in St. Michael's Neuroscience Research Program, said there was growing concern about how participation in contact sports may affect the brain.

 

Most of the research in this area has focused on the long-term effects for athletes in collision sports, such as football and ice hockey, where players may be exposed to hundreds of impacts in a single season. Less is known about the consequences of participating in contact sports where body-to-body contact is permitted, but is not purposeful, such as soccer, basketball and field hockey.

 

This study looked at both men and women from a variety of sports, and found progressive differences between the brains of athletes in non-contact, contact and collision sports.

 

This included differences in the structure of the brain's white matter -- the fibre tracts that connect different parts of the brain and allow them to communicate with one another. Athletes in sports with higher levels of contact also showed signs of reduced communication between brain areas and decreased activity, particularly within areas involved in vision and motor function, compared to those in non-contact sports, such as volleyball.

 

However, these differences do not reflect significantly impaired day-to-day functioning, said Dr. Tom Schweizer, head of the Neuroscience Research Program and a co-author of the paper, noting that the athletes in this study did not report significant health problems and were all active varsity athletes.

 

He said this study fills an important gap in understanding how contact affects healthy brains, as a step toward better understanding why a small number of athletes in contact sports show negative long-term health consequences.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170822092215.htm

 

Brain injury researchers find retrieval practice improves memory in youth with TBI

December 3, 2014

Science Daily/Kessler Foundation

Brain injury researchers have identified retrieval practice as a useful strategy for improving memory among children and adolescents with traumatic brain injury, researchers have found. Difficulties with memory and learning are common after TBI in childhood. To improve academic achievement and long-term outcomes such as employment, effective neurorehabilitative strategies need to be identified, they note.

 

Difficulties with memory and learning are common after TBI in childhood. To improve academic achievement and long-term outcomes such as employment, effective neurorehabilitative strategies need to be identified.

 

The researchers studied 15 patients with TBI and impaired memory, aged 8 to 16 years. They compared results of three memory strategies: massed restudy (cramming), spaced restudy (restudying of material at timed intervals), and retrieval practice (quizzing during the learning stage). Participants were tested on verbal-paired associates and face-name pairs.

 

"We found that retrieval practice resulted in better recall," said Dr. Coyne. "Overall, retrieval practice was the best learning strategy for each of the participants, indicating that this method can improve learning and memory in this age group with TBI. There's a need for randomized controlled trials to confirm this finding, and look at the impact of retrieval practice on academic achievement."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141203161136.htm

Can Breakfast Make Kids Smarter?

February 5, 2013

Science Daily/University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

New research from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing has found that children who regularly have breakfast on a near-daily basis had significantly higher full scale, verbal, and performance IQ test scores.

 

In one of the first studies to examine IQ and breakfast consumption, researchers examined data from 1,269 children six years old in China, where breakfast is highly valued, and concluded that children who did not eat breakfast regularly had 5.58 points lower verbal, 2.50 points lower performance, and 4.6 points lower total IQ scores than children who often or always ate breakfast after adjusting for seven sociodemographic confounders.

 

The researchers suggest that schools play a role in stressing the importance of eating breakfast by delaying start times and/or providing breakfast to allow students to profit from the cognitive benefits of eating before a morning curriculum.

 

"Because adequate nutrition in early childhood has been linked to increased IQ through childhood, which is related to decreased childhood behavioral disorders, better career satisfaction, and socioeconomic success in adults, breakfast consumption could ultimately benefit long-term physical and mental health outcomes as well a quality of life," said Dr. Liu.

 

"These findings may reflect nutritional as well as social benefits of breakfast consumption on children and hold important public health implications regarding regular breakfast consumption in early young children.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130205143334.htm

Childhood Diagnosis of ADHD Increased Dramatically Over 9-Year Period

January 21, 2013

Science Daily/Kaiser Permanente

The rate of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder rose dramatically between 2001 and 2010, with non-Hispanic white children having the highest diagnosis rates, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics (formerly Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine). The study also showed there was a 90 percent increase in the diagnosis of ADHD among non-Hispanic black girls during the same nine-year period.

 

The study examined the electronic health records of nearly 850,000 ethnically diverse children, aged 5 to 11 years, who received care at Kaiser Permanente Southern California between 2001 and 2010.

 

It found that among these children, 4.9 percent, or 39,200, had a diagnosis of ADHD, with white and black children more likely to be diagnosed with the neurobehavioral disorder than Hispanics and Asian/Pacific Islander children. For instance, in 2010, 5.6 percent of white children in the study had an ADHD diagnosis; 4.1 percent of blacks; 2.5 percent of Hispanics; and 1.2 percent of Asian/Pacific Islanders.

 

"While the reasons for increasing ADHD rates are not well understood, contributing factors may include heightened awareness of ADHD among parents and physicians, which could have led to increased screening and treatment," said Dr. Getahun. "This variability may indicate the need for different allocation of resources for ADHD prevention programs, and may point to new risk factors or inequalities in care."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130121161923.htm

Adolescent Stress Linked to Severe Adult Mental Illness

January 17, 2013

Science Daily/Johns Hopkins Medicine

Working with mice, Johns Hopkins researchers have established a link between elevated levels of a stress hormone in adolescence -- a critical time for brain development -- and genetic changes that, in young adulthood, cause severe mental illness in those predisposed to it.

 

The findings, reported in the journal Science, could have wide-reaching implications in both the prevention and treatment of schizophrenia, severe depression and other mental illnesses.

 

"We have discovered a mechanism for how environmental factors, such as stress hormones, can affect the brain's physiology and bring about mental illness," says study leader Akira Sawa, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

 

"We've shown in mice that stress in adolescence can affect the expression of a gene that codes for a key neurotransmitter related to mental function and psychiatric illness. While many genes are believed to be involved in the development of mental illness, my gut feeling is environmental factors are critically important to the process."

 

Sawa says the new study points to the need to think about better preventive care in teenagers who have mental illness in their families, including efforts to protect them from social stressors, such as neglect. Meanwhile, by understanding the cascade of events that occurs when cortisol levels are elevated, researchers may be able to develop new compounds to target tough-to-treat psychiatric disorders with fewer side effects than RU486 has.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130117142504.htm

Study Supports Notion of Leaving Infants to Cry Themselves Back to Sleep

January 2, 2013

Science Daily/Temple University

Today, mothers of newborns find themselves confronting a common dilemma: Should they let their babies "cry it out" when they wake up at night? Or should they rush to comfort their crying little one?

 

"By six months of age, most babies sleep through the night, awakening their mothers only about once per week. However, not all children follow this pattern of development," said Weinraub, an expert on child development and parent-child relationships.

 

Of the babies that awoke, the majority were boys. These transitional sleepers also tended to score higher on an assessment of difficult temperament which identified traits such as irritability and distractibility. And, these babies were more likely to be breastfed. Mothers of these babies were more likely to be depressed and have greater maternal sensitivity.

 

The findings suggest a couple of things, said Weinraub. One is that genetic or constitutional factors such as those that might be reflected in difficult temperaments appear implicated in early sleep problems. "Families who are seeing sleep problems persist past 18 months should seek advice," Weinraub said.

 

Another takeaway is that it is important for babies to learn how to fall asleep on their own. "When mothers tune in to these night time awakenings and/or if a baby is in the habit of falling asleep during breastfeeding, then he or she may not be learning to how to self-soothe, something that is critical for regular sleep," she said.

 

According to Weinraub, the mechanism by which maternal depression is connected to infant awakenings is an area that would benefit from further research. On the one hand, Weinraub said, it's possible that mothers who are depressed at six and 36 months may have been depressed during pregnancy and that this prenatal depression could have affected neural development and sleep awakenings. At the same time, it's important to recognize that sleep deprivation can, of course, exacerbate maternal depression, she said.

 

"Because the mothers in our study described infants with many awakenings per week as creating problems for themselves and other family members, parents might be encouraged to establish more nuanced and carefully targeted routines to help babies with self-soothing and to seek occasional respite," said Weinraub.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130102161811.htm

 

One in ten 6- to 8-year-olds has sleep-disordered breathing

December 14, 2012

Science Daily/University of Eastern Finland

Approximately ten per cent of 6-8 year olds have sleep-disordered breathing, according to a recent Finnish study. The risk is increased among children with enlarged tonsils, crossbite and convex facial profile. Unlike in adults, excess body fat is not associated with sleep-disordered breathing in this age group.

 

The symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing vary from mild snoring to obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. In addition to nocturnal pauses in breathing, the syndrome can be manifested as a variety of other symptoms in children, such as daytime hyperactivity, behavioural and learning difficulties as well as compromised growth.

 

"If a child has symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing, his or her craniofacial status and dental occlusion need to be examined. On the other hand, children with tonsillar hypertrophy, crossbite and convex facial profile should be examined to assess the quality of their sleep," concludes Ms Tiina Ikävalko, Orthodontic Specialist and Clinical Lecturer at the University of Eastern Finland.

 

Recognising the risk for sleep-disordered breathing at an early age allows an early intervention to prevent the progression of the disease. The diagnosis and treatment of children's sleep-disordered breathing is best carried out in cooperation involving dentists, paediatricians and otorhinolaryngologists as well as the parents.

 

In adults, the most important risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea syndrome are overweight and certain craniofacial morphology traits, such as a small and retruded lower jaw. Altogether 70 per cent of adults with sleep apnea are overweight. Deviations in craniofacial morphology and dental occlusion are significantly more common among sleep apnea patients who have normal weight than among those who are overweight. According to the researchers, these observations indicate that there could be two different types of pathogenesis.

 

The results of the present study indicate that some of those at risk for obstructive sleep apnea syndrome as adults could be identified already in childhood. Adenotonsillectomy remains the main treatment of sleep-disordered breathing symptoms in children. ® ®

 

Orthodontic treatment may also be useful, offering ways to control the development of the jaws and to prevent the development of craniofacial traits predisposing to sleep apnea, in addition to shaping the dental arch and occlusion. The role of obesity is likely to increase with age, and the prevention of excess weight gain is vital in the prevention of sleep apnea and other diseases associated with obesity.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121214085851.htm

Kids' Sleep-Related Breathing Problems

December 6, 2012

Science Daily/Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Children

December 6, 2012

Science Daily/Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Children with sleep-related breathing problems (such as snoring or apnea) frequently have concurrent behavioral sleep problems (such as waking repeatedly) -- and vice versa, according to research led by a scientist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. However, children with one type of sleep problem are not routinely evaluated and treated for the other. The findings suggest that pediatricians, respiratory specialists and sleep medicine specialists should work together whenever a sleep problem is suspected.

 

The prevalence of behavioral sleep problems over the 18 to 57-month age reporting period ranged from 15 to 27 percent with a peak at 30 months of age. Among children with behavioral sleep problems, 26 to 40 percent had habitual SDB, again peaking at 30 months. Among children who had habitual SDB, 25 to 37 percent also had a behavioral sleep problem, peaking at 30 months

 

"It's important that we pay attention to how our children are sleeping," said Dr. Bonuck. "There's ample evidence that anything that interrupts sleep can negatively affect a child's emotional, cognitive, behavioral and academic development. Fortunately, snoring and apnea are highly treatable, and there are many effective interventions for behavioral sleep problems."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121206122400.htm

with sleep-related breathing problems (such as snoring or apnea) frequently have concurrent behavioral sleep problems (such as waking repeatedly) -- and vice versa, according to research led by a scientist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. However, children with one type of sleep problem are not routinely evaluated and treated for the other. The findings suggest that pediatricians, respiratory specialists and sleep medicine specialists should work together whenever a sleep problem is suspected.

 

The prevalence of behavioral sleep problems over the 18 to 57-month age reporting period ranged from 15 to 27 percent with a peak at 30 months of age. Among children with behavioral sleep problems, 26 to 40 percent had habitual SDB, again peaking at 30 months. Among children who had habitual SDB, 25 to 37 percent also had a behavioral sleep problem, peaking at 30 months

 

"It's important that we pay attention to how our children are sleeping," said Dr. Bonuck. "There's ample evidence that anything that interrupts sleep can negatively affect a child's emotional, cognitive, behavioral and academic development. Fortunately, snoring and apnea are highly treatable, and there are many effective interventions for behavioral sleep problems."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121206122400.htm

Childhood depression may increase risk of heart disease by teen years

January 30, 2014

Science Daily/University of South Florida (USF Health)

Children with depression are more likely to be obese, smoke and be inactive, and can show the effects of heart disease as early as their teen years, according to a newly published.

 

The research, by Rottenberg and his colleagues at Washington University and the University of Pittsburgh, suggests that depression may increase the risk of heart problems later in life. The researchers also observed higher rates of heart disease in the parents of adolescents that had been depressed as children. The research is published online in Psychosomatic Medicineand will be included in the medical journal's February 2014 issue.

 

"Given that the parents in this sample were relatively young, we were quite surprised to find that the parents of the affected adolescents were reporting a history of heart attacks and other serious events," Rottenberg explained.

 

Cardiologists and mental health professionals have long known a link exists between depression and heart disease. Depressed adults are more likely to suffer a heart attack, and if they do have a heart attack, it's more likely to be fatal.

 

However it was unclear when the association between clinical depression and cardiac risk develops, or how early in life the association can be detected. These findings suggest improved prevention and treatment of childhood depression could reduce adult cardiovascular disease.

 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women- accounting for one in every four deaths in the United States every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

During the study, Rottenberg and his colleagues followed up on Hungarian children who had participated in a 2004 study of the genetics of depression. The researchers compared heart disease risk factors -- such as smoking, obesity, physical activity level, and parental history -- across three categories of adolescents.

 

The investigators surveyed more than 200 children with a history of clinical depression, as well as about 200 of their siblings who have never suffered from depression. They also gathered information from more than 150 unrelated children of the same age and gender with no history of depression.

 

Rottenberg plans to conduct additional research in order to understand why depression early in life may put people at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Further studies planned with the Hungarian group will also examine whether any early warning signs of heart disease are present as these adolescents move into young adulthood.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140130164454.htm

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