Adolescence/Teens5

CBT Improves Quality of Life in Children With Asthma and Anxiety

November 26, 2012

Science Daily/RCN Publishing Company

Researchers have found that a programme of cognitive behaviour therapy delivered by nurses to children who had asthma and anxiety improved the children's quality of life scores and reduced the risk of escalation of treatment.

 

The therapy included techniques such as mindfulness, where children were encouraged to concentrate on the present moment, rather than worry about what might happen or what has happened before.

 

'The programme seems to be a cost-effective, rapid access service providing a psychological intervention for all children showing a clinical need,' the researchers said. 'The study also highlights the need for all nursing staff to be aware of the detrimental effects of anxiety on asthma control, so early symptoms can be identified and addressed quickly,' they added.

 

Sessions also included education about anxiety, for example, an explanation of dysfunctional breathing and the physiological effects it can produce, such as symptoms of hyperventilation. Children were subsequently taught rescue breathing exercises and a variety of general relaxation exercises

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121126110530.htm

Blue Light Could Help Teenagers Combat Stress

October 22, 2012

Science Daily/Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

A new study shows that exposure to morning short-wavelength “blue” light has the potential to help sleep-deprived adolescents prepare for the challenges of the day and deal with stress, more so than dim light.

 

Adolescents can be chronically sleep deprived because of their inability to fall asleep early in combination with fixed wakeup times on school days. According to the CDC, almost 70 percent of school children get insufficient sleep -- less than 8 hours on school nights. This type of restricted sleep schedule has been linked with depression, behavior problems, poor performance at school, drug use, and automobile accidents.

 

A new study from the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute shows that exposure to morning short-wavelength "blue" light has the potential to help sleep-deprived adolescents prepare for the challenges of the day and deal with stress, more so than dim light.

 

Levels of cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal gland, follow a daily 24-hour rhythm. Cortisol concentrations are low throughout the day reaching a broad minimum in the evening before rising slowly again throughout the night. In addition to this gradual elevation of cortisol at night, cortisol levels rise sharply within the first 30 to 60 minutes after waking.

 

This is known as the cortisol awakening response (CAR). In nocturnal animals, the cortisol spike occurs at night, at the start of activity. It appears to be associated with the time of transition from rest to activity, upon waking. A high CAR has been associated with better preparedness for stressful and challenging activities.

 

"The present results are the first to show that low levels of short-wavelength light enhance CAR in adolescents who were restricted from sleep," said Figueiro. "Morning light exposure may help to wake up the body when it is time to be active, thus preparing individuals for any environmental stress they might experience."

 

Short-wavelength light has been shown to maximally suppress production of nocturnal melatonin and phase shift the timing of the biological clock. The effect of short-wavelength light on other biomarkers has not been widely studied.

 

The study included three overnight sessions, at least one week apart. All participants wore a Dimesimeter on a wrist band to measure light exposure and to verify the regularity of their activity/rest periods during the three-week study. The Dimesimeter is a small calibrated light meter device developed by the LRC that continuously records circadian light and activity levels.

 

During the study, adolescents aged 12 to 17 years went to sleep at 1:30 a.m. and woke up at 6:00 a.m., a 4.5-hour sleep opportunity. Each week, participants either experienced morning short-wavelength blue light (40 lux of 470-nanometer light) or remained in dim light.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022112847.htm

Study Evaluates Treating Mothers with ADHD to Improve Outcomes in Kids

October 17, 2012

Science Daily/University of Illinois at Chicago

University of Illinois at Chicago researchers are conducting a study to determine if treating mothers with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder -- either with medication or parent training -- will help children at risk for ADHD.

 

"About 25 percent of the time, when a child has ADHD, there's a parent that has ADHD," said Mark Stein, UIC professor of pediatrics and psychiatry and principal investigator of the study. "We realize this is a weakness in our service delivery models, because often clinicians focus on just treating the child and ignore the fact that another family member has ADHD."

 

ADHD is often misdiagnosed as depression or anxiety in women, and it often contributes to marital, parenting, sleep and medical problems, Stein said. Many health care providers have not been trained in diagnosing and treating adult ADHD.

 

"When a mom complains about how bad her life is, she's given a prescription for Prozac versus understanding that she's always had issues with inattention, distractibility, or impulsivity, and that's why she's having problems," Stein says.

 

"When you think of ADHD, you think of a 7-year-old boy, not a mom who says 'I am overwhelmed, easily distracted, and just can't get things done,'" he said.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121017131544.htm

Early Childhood Trauma Takes Visible Toll On Brain

October 16, 2012

Science Daily/Society for Neuroscience

Trauma in infancy and childhood shapes the brain, learning, and behavior, and fuels changes that can last a lifetime, according to new human and animal research released today. The studies delve into the effects of early physical abuse, socioeconomic status (SES), and maternal treatment. Documenting the impact of early trauma on brain circuitry and volume, the activation of genes, and working memory, researchers suggest it increases the risk of mental disorders, as well as heart disease and stress-related conditions in adulthood.

 

Findings show:

·      Physical abuse in early childhood may realign communication between key "body-control" brain areas, possibly predisposing adults to cardiovascular disease and mental health problems (Layla Banihashemi, PhD, abstract 691.12).

 

·      Rodent studies provide insight into brain changes that allow tolerance of pain within mother-pup attachment (Regina Sullivan, PhD, abstract 399.19).

 

·      Childhood poverty is associated with changes in working memory and attention years later in adults; yet training in childhood is associated with improved cognitive functions (Eric Pakulak, PhD, abstract 908.04).

 

·      Chronic stress experienced by infant primates leads to fearful and aggressive behaviors; these are associated with changes in stress hormone production and in the development of the amygdala (Mar Sanchez, PhD, abstract 691.10).

 

Another recent finding discussed shows that:

·      Parent education and income is associated with children's brain size, including structures important for memory and emotion (Suzanne Houston, MA).

 

"While we are becoming fully aware, in general, of the devastating impact that early life adversity has on the developing brain, today's findings reveal specific changes in targeted brain regions and the long-lasting nature of these alterations," said press conference moderator Bruce McEwen, PhD, from The Rockefeller University, an expert on stress and its effects on early brain development.

 

"In doing so, this research points not only to new directions for the improved detection and treatment of resulting cognitive impairment, mental health disorders, and chronic diseases, but also emphasizes the importance of preventing early life abuse and neglect in the first place."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121016132113.htm

Poor Sleep in Adolescents May Increase Risk of Heart Disease

October 1, 2012

Science Daily/Canadian Medical Association Journal

Adolescents who sleep poorly may be at risk of cardiovascular disease in later life, according to a study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

 

"We found an association between sleep disturbance and cardiovascular risk in adolescents, as determined by high cholesterol levels, increased BMI [body mass index] and hypertension," writes lead author Dr. Indra Narang, respirologist and director of sleep medicine at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), Toronto, Ontario, with coauthors. "These findings are important, given that sleep disturbance is highly prevalent in adolescence and that cardiovascular disease risk factors track from childhood into adulthood."

 

Approximately 20% of adolescents have significant sleep problems, such as sleep disturbances or sleep deprivation. Sleep disturbances include frequent waking up during the night, early wakening, inability to fall asleep within 30 minutes, restlessness and bad dreams.

 

Students who consumed more fried foods, soft drinks, sweets and caffeinated drinks exercised less and had more screen time had higher sleep disturbance scores. A higher sleep disturbance score was associated with a higher cholesterol level, higher BMI, larger waist size, higher blood pressure and increased risk of hypertension. Shorter sleep duration was also associated with higher BMI and waist size but not increased cholesterol levels or blood pressure.

 

"In addition to these health risks, previous studies have shown that poor sleep also negatively impacts school performance. Parents should monitor caffeine intake, bedtimes and bedrooms overloaded with media," says Dr. Brian McCrindle, senior author and cardiologist at SickKids.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121001124753.htm

Lack of Sleep Leads to Insulin Resistance in Teens

September 29, 2012

Science Daily/American Academy of Sleep Medicine

A new study suggests that increasing the amount of sleep that teenagers get could improve their insulin resistance and prevent the future onset of diabetes.

 

"High levels of insulin resistance can lead to the development of diabetes," said lead author Karen Matthews, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychiatry. "We found that if teens that normally get six hours of sleep per night get one extra hour of sleep, they would improve insulin resistance by 9 percent."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120929140234.htm

Researchers Investigate Aggression Among Kindergartners

September 27, 2012

Science Daily/Penn State

Not all aggressive children are aggressive for the same reasons, according to Penn State researchers, who found that some kindergartners who are aggressive show low verbal abilities while others are more easily physiologically aroused. The findings suggest that different types of treatments may be needed to help kids with different underlying causes for problem behavior.

 

"Aggressive responses to being frustrated are a normal part of early childhood, but children are increasingly expected to manage their emotions and control their behavior when they enter school," said Lisa Gatzke-Kopp, assistant professor of human development and family studies. "Kids who don't do this well, who hit their classmates when they are frustrated or cause other types of disturbances in the classroom, are at especially high risk for long-term consequences including delinquency, violence, dropping out of school, abusing substances and even suicide. Research tells us that the earlier we can intervene, the better the chances of getting these children back on track."

 

"This group of kids may be functioning at a cognitive level that is more akin to a preschooler than a kindergartner," Gatzke-Kopp said. "They have a harder time extracting what other people are feeling. They don't have a nuanced sense of emotions; everything is either happy or sad to them. So they might not be as good at recognizing how their behavior is making another child feel. They may literally have a hard time 'using their words,' so hitting becomes an easier solution when they are frustrated."

 

The second group of kids had good verbal and cognitive functioning, but they were more physiologically aroused. They were more emotionally reactive, and tended to have more stressors in their lives.

 

"These children may be able to tell you that if somebody pushed them on the playground they would go get a teacher, but the push happens and they kind of lose it and it doesn't matter what they should do, they just act on impulse," Greenberg said. "One possibility is that the threshold for managing frustration is quite low for these kids. So what we might consider a minor annoyance to them is a major threat. When they are calm they function very well, but when they lose control of their emotions, they can't control their behavior."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120927174914.htm

Monitoring Brain Activity During Study Can Help Predict Test Performance

September 19, 2012

Science Daily/Sandia National Laboratories

Research at Sandia National Laboratories has shown that it's possible to predict how well people will remember information by monitoring their brain activity while they study.

 

The team monitored test subjects' brain activity while they studied word lists, then used the EEG to predict who would remember the most information. Because researchers knew the average percentage of correct answers under various conditions, they had a baseline of what brain activity looked like for good and poor memory performance. The computer model predicted five of 23 people tested would perform best. The model was correct: They remembered 72 percent of the words on average, compared to 45 percent for everyone else.

 

While the imagery group did better overall, they made more mistakes than the other groups when tested on "lures" that were similar, but not the same, as items they had memorized.

 

"They study things like 'strong adhesive' and 'secret password,' and then I might test them on 'strong password,' which they didn't see, but they saw both parts of it," Matzen said. "The people who have done the imagery training make many more mistakes on the recombinations that keep the same concept. If something kind of fits with their mental image they'll say yes to it even if it's not quite what they saw before."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120919103144.htm

Sleep Researchers Study Value of Preschool Naps

September 14, 2012

Science Daily/University of Massachusetts Amherst

Parents may feel it's clear that missing a nap means their young children will be grumpy and out-of-sorts, but scientists who study sleep say almost nothing is known about how daytime sleep affects children's coping skills and learning.

 

Now neuroscientist Rebecca Spencer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has received a five-year, $2 million grant from NIH's Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to significantly advance knowledge about how napping and sleep affect memory, behavior and emotions in preschoolers.

 

"Right now, there's nothing to support teachers who feel that naps can really help young children, there's no concrete science behind that," the neuroscientist says. "But if sleep is going to enhance all these benefits of attending preschool, we need to know it."

 

Over the next five years, Spencer and her graduate students hope to study about 480 preschoolers between 3 and 5 years old, boys and girls in diverse communities across western Massachusetts. The research will include fact-based and emotional memory studies with and without napping, measures of physical activity levels and parent reports of their children's' nighttime sleep, to find out how classroom experience interacts with sleep and physical activity and whether daytime sleep enhances learning. The research will also explore the relationship between sleep and behavior disorders.

 

"I think we'll have a rich data set for examining sleep, physical activity and the child's behavior," says Spencer. "We think that the nap benefit is going to be especially useful for kids who don't get optimal overnight sleep. Culture plays a role in how late you stay up, and some kids live in noisy inner city neighborhoods. If we can help them with a nap, we want to know that."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120914123808.htm

Sacrificing Sleep to Study Can Lead to Academic Problems

August 21, 2012

Science Daily/Society for Research in Child Development

Regardless of how much a high school student generally studies each day, if that student sacrifices sleep in order to study more than usual, he or she is more likely to have academic problems the following day. Because students tend to increasingly sacrifice sleep time for studying in the latter years of high school, this negative dynamic becomes more and more prevalent over time.

 

Although the researchers expected that extra hours of studying that ate into sleep time might create problems in terms of students' understanding of what they were taught in class, they were surprised to find that diminishing sleep in order to study was actually associated with doing more poorly on a test, quiz, or homework (the opposite of the students' intent).

 

"As other studies have found, our results indicated that extra time spent studying cuts into adolescents' sleep on a daily basis, and it is this reduced sleep that accounts for the increase in academic problems that occurs after days of increased studying," Fuligni explained. "Although these nights of extra studying may seem necessary, they can come at a cost."

 

Fuligni said the study's findings do not suggest that teens should spend less time studying overall, but that those teens who give up sleep to study more than usual are more likely to have academic problems the following day.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120821094350.htm

Brain Development Delayed in ADHD

July 30, 2012

Science Daily/Elsevier

Is attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) due to a delay in brain development or the result of complete deviation from typical development? In the current issue of Biological Psychiatry, Dr. Philip Shaw and colleagues present evidence for delay based on a study by the National Institutes of Health

 

They recruited 234 children with ADHD and 231 typically developing children and scanned each up to 4 times. The first scan was taken at about age 10, and the final scan was around age 17. Using advanced neuroimaging technology, they were able to map the trajectories of surface area development at over 80,000 points across the brain.

 

They found that the development of the cortical surface is delayed in frontal brain regions in children with ADHD. For example, the typically developing children attained 50% peak area in the right prefrontal cortex at a mean age of 12.7 years, whereas the ADHD children didn't reach this peak until 14.6 years of age.

 

"As other components of cortical development are also delayed, this suggests there is a global delay in ADHD in brain regions important for the control of action and attention," said Dr. Shaw, a clinician studying ADHD at the National Institute of Mental Health and first author of this study.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120730094822.htm

Day Dreaming Good for You? Reflection Is Critical for Development and Well-Being

July 2, 2012

Science Daily/Association for Psychological Science

As each day passes, the pace of life seems to accelerate -- demands on productivity continue ever upward and there is hardly ever a moment when we aren't, in some way, in touch with our family, friends, or coworkers. While moments for reflection may be hard to come by, a new article suggests that the long-lost art of introspection -- even daydreaming -- may be an increasingly valuable part of life

 

"Balance is needed between outward and inward attention, since time spent mind wandering, reflecting and imagining may also improve the quality of outward attention that kids can sustain," says Immordino-Yang.

 

She and her colleagues argue that mindful introspection can become an effective part of the classroom curriculum, providing students with the skills they need to engage in constructive internal processing and productive reflection. Research indicates that when children are given the time and skills necessary for reflecting, they often become more motivated, less anxious, perform better on tests, and plan more effectively for the future.

 

And mindful reflection is not just important in an academic context -- it's also essential to our ability to make meaning of the world around us. Inward attention is an important contributor to the development of moral thinking and reasoning and is linked with overall socioemotional well-being.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120702184027.htm

Stimulation During Sleep Can Enhance Skill Learning

June 24, 2012

 

Science Daily/Northwestern University

Want to nail that tune that you've practiced and practiced? Maybe you should take a nap with the same melody playing during your sleep, new provocative Northwestern University research suggests. "Our results extend prior research by showing that external stimulation during sleep can influence a complex skill," said Ken A. Paller, professor of psychology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern and senior author of the study.

 

"Our results extend prior research by showing that external stimulation during sleep can influence a complex skill," said Ken A. Paller, professor of psychology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern and senior author of the study.

 

By using EEG methods to record the brain's electrical activity, the researchers ensured that the soft musical "cues" were presented during slow-wave sleep, a stage of sleep previously linked to cementing memories. Participants made fewer errors when pressing the keys to produce the melody that had been presented while they slept, compared to the melody not presented.

 

"We also found that electrophysiological signals during sleep correlated with the extent to which memory improved," said lead author James Antony of the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program at Northwestern. "These signals may thus be measuring the brain events that produce memory improvement during sleep."

 

The age-old myth that you can learn a foreign language while you sleep is sure to come to mind, said Paul J. Reber, associate professor of psychology at Northwestern and a co-author of the study.

 

"The critical difference is that our research shows that memory is strengthened for something you've already learned," Reber said. "Rather than learning something new in your sleep, we're talking about enhancing an existing memory by re-activating information recently acquired."

The researchers, he said, are now thinking about how their findings could apply to many other types of learning.

 

"If you were learning how to speak in a foreign language during the day, for example, and then tried to reactivate those memories during sleep, perhaps you might enhance your learning."

 

Paller said he hopes the study will help them learn more about the basic brain mechanisms that transpire during sleep to help preserve memory storage.

 

"These same mechanisms may not only allow an abundance of memories to be maintained throughout a lifetime, but they may also allow memory storage to be enriched through the generation of novel connections among memories," he said.

 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120624135013.htm

Real-Life Exposure to Violence Disrupts a Child's Sleep Habits

June 13, 2012

Science Daily/American Academy of Sleep Medicine

When violence shatters a child's world, the torment can continue into their sleep, according to researchers in Cleveland. The impact is measurable and affected by the severity of the violence, and the effects can last over time.

 

The study, being presented June 12 at SLEEP 2012, shows how the severity of a violent event affects a child's quality and quantity of sleep. The more severe the violence, the more sleep is impacted. Trouble with nightmares and insomnia have long been associated with exposure to violence, but the Cleveland study found that characteristics of the violent act touch different aspects of the child's sleep.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120613091043.htm

Intensive Mobile Phone Use Affects Young People's Sleep

June 11, 2012

Science Daily/University of Gothenburg

Young adults who make particularly heavy use of mobile phones and computers run a greater risk of sleep disturbances, stress and symptoms of mental health. "Public health advice should therefore include information on the healthy use of this technology," says researcher Sara Thomée from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

 

The studies reveal, for example, that heavy mobile use is linked to an increase in sleeping problems in men and an increase in depressive symptoms in both men and women.

 

"Those who find the constant accessibility via mobile phones to be stressful are most likely to report mental symptoms," says Thomée

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120611134233.htm

Stress May Delay Brain Development in Early Years

June 6, 2012

Science Daily/University of Wisconsin-Madison

Stress may affect brain development in children, altering growth of a specific piece of the brain and abilities associated with it, according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

 

"There has been a lot of work in animals linking both acute and chronic stress to changes in a part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in complex cognitive abilities like holding on to important information for quick recall and use," says Jamie Hanson, a UW-Madison psychology graduate student. "We have now found similar associations in humans, and found that more exposure to stress is related to more issues with certain kinds of cognitive processes."

 

Children who had experienced more intense and lasting stressful events in their lives posted lower scores on tests of what the researchers refer to as spatial working memory. They had more trouble navigating tests of short-term memory such as finding a token in a series of boxes, according to the study, which will be published in the June 6 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

 

Brain scans revealed that the anterior cingulate, a portion of the prefrontal cortex believed to play key roles in spatial working memory, takes up less space in children with greater exposure to very stressful situations.

 

"We're not trying to argue that stress permanently scars your brain. We don't know if and how it is that stress affects the brain," Hanson says. "We only have a snapshot -- one MRI scan of each subject -- and at this point we don't understand whether this is just a delay in development or a lasting difference. It could be that, because the brains is very plastic, very able to change, that children who have experienced a great deal of stress catch up in these areas."

 

The researchers determined stress levels through interviews with children ages 9 to 14 and their parents. The research team, which included UW-Madison psychology professors Richard Davidson and Seth Pollak and their labs, collected expansive biographies of stressful events from slight to severe.

 

"Instead of focusing in on one specific type of stress, we tried to look at a range of stressors," Hanson says. "We wanted to know as much as we could, and then use all this information to later to get an idea of how challenging and chronic and intense each experience was for the child."

 

Interestingly, there was little correlation between cumulative life stress and age. That is, children who had several more years of life in which to experience stressful episodes were no more likely than their younger peers to have accumulated a length stress resume. Puberty, on the other hand, typically went hand-in-hand with heavier doses of stress.

 

The researchers, whose work was funded by the National Institutes of Health, also took note of changes in brain tissue known as white matter and gray matter. In the important brain areas that varied in volume with stress, the white and gray matter volumes were lower in tandem.

 

White matter, Hanson explained, is like the long-distance wiring of the brain. It connects separated parts of the brain so that they can share information. Gray matter "does the math," Hanson says. "It takes care of the processing, using the information that gets shared along the white matter connections."

 

Gray matter early in development appears to enable flexibility; children can play and excel at many different activities. But as kids age and specialize, gray matter thins. It begins to be "pruned" after puberty, while the amount of white matter grows into adulthood.

 

"For both gray and white matter, we actually see smaller volumes associated with high stress," Hanson says. "Those kinds of effects across different kinds of tissue, those are the things we would like to study over longer periods of time. Understanding how these areas change can give you a better picture of whether this is just a delay in development or more lasting."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120606164936.htm

Memory Training Unlikely to Help in Treating ADHD, Boosting IQ

May 31, 2012

Science Daily/American Psychological Association (APA)

Working memory training is unlikely to be an effective treatment for children suffering from disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity or dyslexia, according to a research analysis published by the American Psychological Association. In addition, memory training tasks appear to have limited effect on healthy adults and children looking to do better in school or improve their cognitive skills.

 

"The success of working memory training programs is often based on the idea that you can train your brain to perform better, using repetitive memory trials, much like lifting weights builds muscle mass," said the study's lead author, Monica Melby-Lervåg, PhD, of the University of Oslo. "However, this analysis shows that simply loading up the brain with training exercises will not lead to better performance outside of the tasks presented within these tests." The article was published online in Developmental Psychology.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120531101706.htm

Excessive Sleepiness May Be Cause of Learning, Attention and School Problems

May 1, 2012

Science Daily/American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Children who have learning, attention and behavior problems may be suffering from excessive daytime sleepiness, even though clinical tests show them sleeping long enough at night, a new study reports.

 

Penn State researchers studied 508 children and found that those whose parents reported excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) -- despite little indication of short sleep from traditional measurements -- were more likely to experience learning, attention/hyperactivity and conduct problems than children without EDS.

 

The culprits? Obesity, symptoms of inattention, depression and anxiety, asthma and parent-reported trouble falling asleep have been found to contribute to EDS even among children with no signs of diminished sleep time or sleep apnea.

 

"Impairment due to EDS in cognitive and behavioral functioning can have a serious impact on a child's development," said Susan Calhoun, PhD, the study's lead author. "When children are referred for neurobehavioral problems, they should be assessed for potential risk factors for EDS. Recognizing and treating EDS can offer new strategies to address some of the most common neurobehavioral challenges in young school-age children."

 

Calhoun said researchers were surprised that most of the children studied showed few signs of short sleep when tested, nor was short sleep associated with any of the learning, attention and behavior problems. She said parents and educators are good resources for determining if a child seems excessively sleepy in the daytime and the complaint should be taken seriously. Previous research found EDS prevalent in 15 percent of children from a general population sample.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120501085700.htm

Body Clocks May Hold Key for Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

March 13, 2012

Science Daily/Manchester University

Scientists have gained insight into why lithium salts are effective at treating bipolar disorder in what could lead to more targeted therapies with fewer side-effects.

 

Bipolar disorder is characterised by alternating states of elevated mood, or mania, and depression. It affects between 1% and 3% of the general population.

 

The extreme 'mood swings' in bipolar disorder have been strongly associated with disruptions in circadian rhythms -- the 24-hourly rhythms controlled by our body clocks that govern our day and night activity.

 

"Our findings are important for two reasons: firstly, they offer a novel explanation as to how lithium may be able to stabilise mood swings in bipolar patients; secondly, they open up opportunities to develop new drugs for bipolar disorder that mimic and even enhance the effect lithium has on GSK3 without the side-effects lithium salts can cause."

 

These side-effects include nausea, acne, thirstiness, muscle weakness, tremor, sedation and/or confusion. Promisingly, GSK3 inhibiting drugs are already in development, as they have been shown to be important in other diseases, including diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.

 

Dr Meng added: "Lithium salt has a wide spectrum of targets within cells, in addition to GSK3; drugs which only block the actions of GSK3 would therefore have the major advantage of reduced 'off-target' effects of lithium.

 

"Our study has identified the robust rhythm-enhancing effect of GSK3 inhibition, which has potential to be developed as a new pharmacological approach to regulate body clocks. The implications of our study are that there may also be beneficial effects leading to new treatments for bipolar disorder, and this now needs to be tested."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120313103922.htm

High School Students Test Best With 7 Hours of Sleep at Night

February 10, 2012

Science Daily/Brigham Young University

Whether or not you know any high school students that actually get nine hours of sleep each night, that's what U.S. federal guidelines currently prescribe.

As they report in the Eastern Economics Journal, the right amount of sleep decreases with age:

·      The optimal for 10-year-olds is 9 -- 9.5 hours

·      The optimal for 12-year-olds is 8 -- 8.5 hours

·      The optimal for 16-year-olds is 7 hours

 

"We don't look at it just from a 'your kid might be sleeping too much' perspective," Eide said. "From the other end, if a kid is only getting 5.5 hours of sleep a night because he's overscheduled, he would perform better if he got 90 minutes more each night."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120210110510.htm

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