Virginia Tech study: Common household chemicals lead to birth defects in mice, research finds

18 Jun

Moi wrote in Common household chemicals link to drop in child IQ:

The goal of this society should be to raise healthy and happy children who will grow into concerned and involved adults who care about their fellow citizens and environment. Science Daily reported in Prenatal exposure to common household chemicals linked with substantial drop in child IQ:
Children exposed during pregnancy to elevated levels of two common chemicals found in the home–di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP) and di-isobutyl phthalate (DiBP)–had an IQ score, on average, more than six points lower than children exposed at lower levels, according to researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. The study is the first to report a link between prenatal exposure to phthalates and IQ in school-age children. Results appear online in the journal PLOS ONE.
DnBP and DiBP are found in a wide variety of consumer products, from dryer sheets to vinyl fabrics to personal care products like lipstick, hairspray, and nail polish, even some soaps. Since 2009, several phthalates have been banned from children’s toys and other childcare articles in the United States. However, no steps have been taken to protect the developing fetus by alerting pregnant women to potential exposures. In the U.S., phthalates are rarely listed as ingredients on products in which they are used.
Researchers followed 328 New York City women and their children from low-income communities. They assessed the women’s exposure to four phthalates–DnBP, DiBP, di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate, and diethyl phthalate–in the third trimester of pregnancy by measuring levels of the chemicals’ metabolites in urine. Children were given IQ tests at age 7.
Children of mothers exposed during pregnancy to the highest 25 percent of concentrations of DnBP and DiBP had IQs 6.6 and 7.6 points lower, respectively, than children of mothers exposed to the lowest 25 percent of concentrations after controlling for factors like maternal IQ, maternal education, and quality of the home environment that are known to influence child IQ scores. The association was also seen for specific aspects of IQ, such as perceptual reasoning, working memory, and processing speed. The researchers found no associations between the other two phthalates and child IQ.
The range of phthalate metabolite exposures measured in the mothers was not unusual: it was within what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention observed in a national sample.
“Pregnant women across the United States are exposed to phthalates almost daily, many at levels similar to those that we found were associated with substantial reductions in the IQ of children,” says lead author Pam Factor-Litvak, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School.
“The magnitude of these IQ differences is troubling,” says senior author Robin Whyatt, DrPH, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and deputy director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health at the Mailman School. “A six- or seven-point decline in IQ may have substantial consequences for academic achievement and occupational potential.”
PSYBLOG lists common household items in 8 Household Items Newly Found to Lower Children’s IQ Significantly:
Avoiding phthalates
While it is impossible to avoid phthalates completely, they are found in these common products, amongst others:
• Hairspray.
• Plastic containers used for microwaving food.
• Lipstick.
• Air fresheners.
• Dryer sheets.
• Nail polish.
• Some soaps.
• Recycled plastics labelled 3,6 or 7.
http://www.spring.org.uk/2014/12/8-household-items-newly-found-to-lower-childrens-iq-significantly.php:

A Virginia Tech study involving mice is confirming this study.

Science Daily reported in Common household chemicals lead to birth defects in mice, research finds:

A new study at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech has found a connection between common household chemicals and birth defects.
Known as quaternary ammonium compounds or “quats,” the chemicals are often used as disinfectants and preservatives in household and personal products such as cleaners, laundry detergent, fabric softener, shampoo and conditioner, and eye drops. The research demonstrated a link between quats and neural tube birth defects in both mice and rats.
“These chemicals are regularly used in the home, hospital, public spaces, and swimming pools,” said Terry Hrubec, associate professor of anatomy at the VCOM-Virginia campus and research assistant professor in the veterinary college’s Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology. “Most people are exposed on a regular basis.”
Hrubec investigated the effect of two commonly used quats: alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride and didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride. These are often listed on ingredient lists as ADBAC and DDAC, respectively, and are valued for their antimicrobial and antistatic properties, as well as their ability to lower surface tension. Hrubec found that exposure to these chemicals resulted in neural tube birth defects — the same birth defect as spina bifida and anencephaly in humans.
“Birth defects were seen when both males and females were exposed, as well as when only one parent was exposed,” said Hrubec, who is first author on the study and holds both a doctor of veterinary medicine degree and Ph.D. from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. “The fact that birth defects could be seen when only the father was exposed means that we need to expand our scope of prenatal care to include the father.”
Hrubec found that mice and rats did not even need to be dosed with the chemicals to see the effect. Her research shows that simply using quat-based cleaners in the same room as the mice was enough to cause birth defects. “We also observed increased birth defects in rodents for two generations after stopping exposure,” Hrubec added…..https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170617073635.htm

Citation:

ommon household chemicals lead to birth defects in mice, research finds
Date: June 17, 2017
Source: Virginia Tech
Summary:
A connection between common household chemicals and birth defects has been uncovered by new research.

Journal Reference:
1. Terry C. Hrubec, Vanessa E. Melin, Caroline S. Shea, Elizabeth E. Ferguson, Craig Garofola, Claire M. Repine, Tyler W. Chapman, Hiral R. Patel, Reza M. Razvi, Jesse E. Sugrue, Haritha Potineni, Geraldine Magnin-Bissel, Patricia A. Hunt. Ambient and dosed exposure to quaternary ammonium disinfectants causes neural tube defects in rodents. Birth Defects Research, 2017; DOI: 10.1002/bdr2.1064

Here is the press release from Virginia Tech:

Public Release: 16-Jun-2017
Research finds common household chemicals lead to birth defects in mice
A new study at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech has found a connection between common household chemicals and birth defects.
A new study at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech has found a connection between common household chemicals and birth defects.
Known as quaternary ammonium compounds or “quats,” the chemicals are often used as disinfectants and preservatives in household and personal products such as cleaners, laundry detergent, fabric softener, shampoo and conditioner, and eye drops. The research demonstrated a link between quats and neural tube birth defects in both mice and rats.
“These chemicals are regularly used in the home, hospital, public spaces, and swimming pools,” said Terry Hrubec, associate professor of anatomy at the VCOM-Virginia campus and research assistant professor in the veterinary college’s Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology. “Most people are exposed on a regular basis.”
Hrubec investigated the effect of two commonly used quats: alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride and didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride. These are often listed on ingredient lists as ADBAC and DDAC, respectively, and are valued for their antimicrobial and antistatic properties, as well as their ability to lower surface tension. Hrubec found that exposure to these chemicals resulted in neural tube birth defects — the same birth defect as spina bifida and anencephaly in humans.
“Birth defects were seen when both males and females were exposed, as well as when only one parent was exposed,” said Hrubec, who is first author on the study and holds both a doctor of veterinary medicine degree and Ph.D. from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. “The fact that birth defects could be seen when only the father was exposed means that we need to expand our scope of prenatal care to include the father.”
Hrubec found that mice and rats did not even need to be dosed with the chemicals to see the effect. Her research shows that simply using quat-based cleaners in the same room as the mice was enough to cause birth defects. “We also observed increased birth defects in rodents for two generations after stopping exposure,” Hrubec added.
An earlier study in Hrubec’s laboratory found that these chemicals led to reproductive declines in mice. Follow-up research found that quats were decreasing sperm counts in males and ovulation in females. The research raises the possibility of quats contributing to human infertility, which has been on the rise in recent decades.
“We are asked all of the time, ‘You see your results in mice. How do you know that it’s toxic in humans?'” Hrubec said. “Our research on mice and rats shows that these chemicals affect the embryonic development of these animals. Since rodent research is the gold standard in the biomedical sciences, this raises a big red flag that these chemicals may be toxic to humans as well.”
Quaternary ammonium compounds were introduced in the 1950s and 1960s before the standardization of toxicity studies. Chemical manufacturers conducted some toxicity studies on the compounds during this period, but they were never published. Today, the chemicals are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Hrubec noted that an epidemiological study could determine whether people who have a high rate of exposure, such as healthcare workers or restaurant servers, have a more difficult time becoming pregnant or have a greater likelihood of having children with neural tube birth defects, but no such study has been conducted to date.
###
In addition to VCOM and the veterinary college, the study received funding from the Passport Foundation, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that sponsors research on product safety.
The paper, “Ambient and Dosed Exposure to Quaternary Ammonium Disinfectants Causes Neural Tube Defects in Rodents,” was published in the June 15 issue of Birth Defects Research and is available online.
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

Saundra Young of CNN wrote about toxic chemicals in ‘Putting the next generation of brains in danger.’

According to Young there are several types of chemicals which pose a danger:
The best example of this, he said, is cosmetics and phthalates. Phthalates are a group of chemicals used in hundreds of products from cosmetics, perfume, hair spray, soap and shampoos to plastic and vinyl toys, shower curtains, miniblinds, food containers and plastic wrap.
You can also find them in plastic plumbing pipes, medical tubing and fluid bags, vinyl flooring and other building materials. They are used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastic and vinyl.
In Europe, cosmetics don’t contain phthalates, but here in the United States some do.
Phthalates previously were used in pacifiers, soft rattles and teethers. But in 1999, after a push from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, American companies stopped using them in those products.
“We certainly have the capability, it’s a matter of political will,” Landrigan said. “We have tried in this country over the last decade to pass chemical safety legislation but the chemical industry and their supporters have successfully beat back the effort.”
However, the Food and Drug Administration said two of the most common phthalates, — dibutylphthalate, or DBP, used as a plasticizer in products such as nail polishes to reduce cracking by making them less brittle, and dimethylphthalate, or DMP used in hairsprays — are now rarely used in this country.
Diethylphthalate, or DEP, used in fragrances, is the only phthalate still used in cosmetics, the FDA said.
“It’s not clear what effect, if any, phthalates have on human health,” according to the FDA’s website. “An expert panel convened from 1998 to 2000 by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), part of the National Institute for Environmental Safety and Health, concluded that reproductive risks from exposure to phthalates were minimal to negligible in most cases….” http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/14/health/chemicals-children-brains/

See, Helping to protect children from the harmful effects of chemicals http://www.who.int/ipcs/highlights/children_chemicals/en/

Children will have the most success in school, if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of societies’ problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family.

Our goal as a society should be a healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood. ©

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Rice University study: Factors that lead to greater college success

30 May

Moi has written quite a bit about motivation in education. In Research papers: Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform:

Moi often says education is a partnership between the student, the teacher(s) and parent(s). All parties in the partnership must share the load. The student has to arrive at school ready to learn. The parent has to set boundaries, encourage, and provide support. Teachers must be knowledgeable in their subject area and proficient in transmitting that knowledge to students. All must participate and fulfill their role in the education process. https://drwilda.com/tag/student-achievement/

Science Daily reported in Factors that lead to greater college success:

Educational attainment is a national priority because it creates both economic and personal gains: higher incomes, better individual and family health and deeper civic engagement. U.S. college enrollments are increasing, suggesting greater educational attainment; however, national college completion rates are lagging behind other developed nations. Recent research suggests that U.S. college students could succeed if they are encouraged to develop a sense of belonging, a growth mindset and salient personal goals and values, according to a new national report co-authored by a Rice University psychology professor….https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170530115102.htm

Citation:

Factors that lead to greater college success
Date: May 30, 2017
Source: Rice University
Summary:
Researchers identify three competencies most frequently showed evidence of supporting students’ college persistence and success, as measured by grades, retention and graduation: A sense of belonging, a growth mindset and personal goals and values.

Here is the press release from Rice University:

Study identifies factors that lead to greater college success
Amy McCaig
– May 30, 2017Posted in: Current News
Educational attainment is a national priority because it creates both economic and personal gains: higher incomes, better individual and family health and deeper civic engagement. U.S. college enrollments are increasing, suggesting greater educational attainment; however, national college completion rates are lagging behind other developed nations. Recent research suggests that U.S. college students could succeed if they are encouraged to develop a sense of belonging, a growth mindset and salient personal goals and values, according to a new national report co-authored by a Rice University psychology professor.
Across these studies, three competencies most frequently showed evidence of supporting students’ college persistence and success, as measured by grades, retention and graduation:
• A sense of belonging, meaning that college students (particularly underrepresented minorities and first-generation college students) feel that they belong in college, fit in well and are socially integrated. Approximately 85 percent of the studies measuring students’ sense of belonging demonstrated a positive impact of belonging on students’ college GPAs.
• A growth mindset, referring to college students’ beliefs that their own intelligence is not a fixed entity, but rather a malleable quality that college can help improve. Seventy-five percent of the studies measuring students’ growth mindset showed this characteristic had a positive impact on students’ college GPAs.
• Personal goals and values that college students perceive to be directly linked to the achievement of a future, desired end. Approximately 83 percent of the studies measuring personal goals showed this characteristic as having a positive impact on students’ final course grades.
Oswald noted that this recent research reported some remarkable findings based on low-cost, brief writing exercises for improving these intra- and interpersonal competencies. One required students to write about the relevance of course topics to their own life or to the life of a family member or close friend. Another intervention aimed to lessen psychological perceptions of threat on campus by framing social adversity as common and transient, and used subtle attitude-change strategies to lead participants to self-generate the framing in their writing.
With these interventions, GPAs have been shown impressively to improve not only in the class where the intervention was given, but many semesters beyond, Oswald said. Furthermore, the interventions show the largest benefits accrue in student groups that are at greatest risk for academic failure. Oswald thus noted that these interventions have promise but deserve further intensive research to assure these interventions can impact student success in the future, in other college settings.
Oswald said measures of intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies should be held to rigorous development procedures and statistical standards, just like the SAT, ACT, MCAT, LSAT and other standardized tests of cognitive competencies.
“Many current assessments of these competencies fall short in providing solid statistical evidence supporting their reliability and validity,” Oswald said. “It is important to investigate these measures carefully, for example, because students can differ in how they interpret the meaning of rating scales, or sometimes they feel pressured to present themselves in the best light.”
He and his co-authors recommend further research in partnership with higher education institutions to build on the report’s findings and to find reliable ways to track these intra- and interpersonal characteristics that can lead to increased college completion.
The report was funded by the National Science Foundation and is available online at http://www.nap.edu/catalog/24697/supporting-students-college-success-the-role-of-assessment-of-intrapersonal. The study was sponsored by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
– See more at: http://news.rice.edu/2017/05/30/study-identifies-factors-that-lead-to-greater-college-success/#sthash.T0hY0O6N.dpuf

Moi wrote about “success cultures in HARD QUESTION: Do Black folk REALLY want to succeed in America?

All moi can say is really. One has a Constitutional right to be a MORON. One must ask what are these parents thinking and where do they want their children to go in THIS society and not some mythical Africa which most will never see and which probably does not exist. Remember, their children must live in THIS society, at THIS time and in THIS place.

Moi wrote in Black people MUST develop a culture of success: Michigan State revokes a football scholarship because of raunchy rap video:

The question must be asked, who is responsible for MY or YOUR life choices? Let’s get real, certain Asian cultures kick the collective butts of the rest of Americans. Why? It’s not rocket science. These cultures embrace success traits of hard work, respect for education, strong families, and a reverence for success and successful people. Contrast the culture of success with the norms of hip-hop and rap oppositional culture.
See, Hip-hop’s Dangerous Values
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1107107/posts and Hip-Hop and rap represent destructive life choices: How low can this genre sink? https://drwilda.com/2013/05/01/hip-hop-and-rap-represent-destructive-life-choices-how-low-can-this-genre-sink/
One person does not speak for a group, but members of a group can often provide useful insight about the group.

Here is Arthur Hu’s take on INTRODUCTION TO BASIC ASIAN VALUES:

One of the most central features of a culture are its values. Values are the standards by which one may judge the difference between good and bad, and the right and wrong things to do. Though some values are universally shared among all cultures, it is the contrast and differences in values of different cultures that can account for the interactions and perceptions that occur between different cultures.
Traditional values are a common thread among individuals in a culture. Stereotyping comes about because of common behavior patterns that are based on common values, and distortion and misperception can come about as a result of misunderstandings of those values. Stereotyping can also be dangerous because people are individuals with their own values which may vary a great deal from the traditional ideal. Values can vary quite a bit depending upon one’s generation, class, education, origin, among other factors. For example, there is considerable difference in what might be called “traditional” and “modern” American values.
Although each distinct Asian culture actually has its own set of values, they all share a common core, which is probably best documented in the Japanese and Chinese traditions, and by philosophers such as Confucius, whose writings had considerable influence throughout Asia. In the Asian American experience, these values interact with what might be called simply “western” or “Caucasian” values, but if one contrasts the values of America with those of Europe, it can be seen that these are really “Modern American” values that provide the best contrasts.
Asian values are very much inter-related. They all support the view of the individual as being a part of a much larger group or family, and place great importance on the well-being of the group, even at the expense of the individual. American values, on the other hand emphasize the importance of the well-being of the individual, and stresses independence and individual initiative. Although it may seem that values such as education, family, and hard work are shared between cultures, these values manifest themselves quite differently in the two cultures.
Some Asian values are so important that some of the cultures, especially the Japanese have given them names of their own, and are used commonly. Here is a list of some of the most outstanding values:
Ie (japanese) – The family as a basic unit of social organization, and as a pattern for the structure of society as a whole.
Education – The whole process of child rearing and education as a means of perpetuating society, and of attaining position within society.
Enyo (japanese) – The conscious use of silence, reserve in manner.
Han (chinese) Conformity, and the suppression of individual attriputes such as talen, anger, or wealth which might disrupt group harmony. (Chinese)
Amae (japanese) – To depend and presume upon the benevolence of others. A deep bonding in human relationships between one who is responsible for another, and one who must depend on another.
Giri (japanese) – Indebtedness, obligation and duty to others, reciprocity.
Gaman (japanese) – Endurance, sticking it out at all costs. Self-sacrifice for the sake of others.
Tui Lien (chinese) – Loss face, shame. The final standard as to how well one lives up to these values.
Family and Education
Probaly the most notable aspect of the modern “Asian Model Minority”¬stereotype is that of the academic overachiever. A number of asian students have done conspicuously well in terms of test scores, gifted student programs, admissions to prestigious schools, academic awards, and in classical music. Though obviously not all Asians fit this pattern, this trend can be attributed primarily to the basic notion of the family, and the central role that education plays in the family.
Great importance is placed on child rearing, and education is a funda¬mental aspect of this. Asian parents are more likely to spend much more time with their children, and drive them harder, sometimes even at the expense of their personal time and ambitions of the parents themselves. Though Americans might consider Asian parents to be dominating, parents in turn are expected to give children all the support they can.
While it would no be unusual for an American parent to hire a babysitter to watch the kids while they go out, or expect their children to put them¬selves through college lest the parents sacrifice their own stand of living, this is much less likely in an Asian family. Living in an extended family is not unusual, and filial piety, respect for parents is a very important principle.
Unlike the youth orientation in American culture, age and position are most highly respected. The Asian family has within it a heirarchy which is a mirror of the structure of society as whole. For example, the parent child relationship is carried further on to ruler and ruled, employer and employee. Education is the most valued way of achieving position, an success in education is viewed as an act of filial piety. In imperial times, examinations were the only way to achieve position in China. Even in America, education is seen as a key to social mobility, and economic opportunity. Education for their children was a major reason why many immigrants came to America from Asia. http://www.asianweek.com/2012/04/28/introduction-to-basic-asian-values/

There is no such thing as a “model minority” and getting rid of this myth will allow educators to focus on the needs of the individual student. Still, the choice of many parents to allow their children to make choices which may impact their success should have folk asking the question of what values are being transmitted and absorbed by Black children.

Resources:

Culture of Success
http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/culture-success

How Do Asian Students Get to the Top of the Class? http://www.greatschools.org/parenting/teaching-values/481-parenting-students-to-the-top.gs

Related:

Is there a model minority?
https://drwilda.com/2012/06/23/is-there-a-model-minority/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

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Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary study: Antibiotic-resistant microbes date back to 450 million years ago, well before the age of dinosaurs

14 May

Kathleen Doheny wrote the WebMD article, What You Should Know About ‘Superbug’ CRE:

Feb. 20, 2015 — The ”superbug” infection at the heart of an outbreak at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles is sometimes called “the nightmare bacteria” because it’s so resistant to antibiotics.
Two deaths at the California medical center are linked to the bacteria, known as CRE, or carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae. Five other patients are infected and nearly 200 may have been exposed, the center says. Exposure stemmed from two contaminated instruments used during procedures done over the past few months at the facility…
What is CRE and how does it spread?
CRE is in a family of bacteria that are normally found in the gut and have become resistant to antibiotics. They are resistant to most of the available antibiotics, says Stephen Calderwood, MD. He’s the president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and chief of the infectious disease division at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.
The devices linked with the UCLA outbreak, known as duodenoscopes, are used in more than 500,000 procedures a year in the U.S., according to the CDC.
The scope is inserted into the mouth and through the throat, stomach, and the top of the small intestine. It helps doctors diagnose and treat diseases of the liver, bile ducts and pancreas. The FDA warned that the scopes might still carry a risk of infection even after proper cleaning procedures.
The problems can start when the bacteria leave the intestine and live in other areas, such as the urinary tract, lungs, skin, and on medical equipment, Calderwood says. “They mainly cause infections when they get to a certain number and the ability of the body to fight off infection breaks down.”
Who is most at risk?
“Most healthy people don’t get these infections,” says Robert Glatter, MD. He’s an emergency medicine doctor at Lenox Hill Hospital, New York. “It’s the people living in long-term care facilities, nursing homes, or who have long hospital stays.”
Those who get infected often have other diseases, are on antibiotics, and have had a procedure involving a medical device, Calderwood says…. http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/news/20150220/superbug-cre-infections#1

Resources:

What is a Superbug? http://www.livescience.com/32370-what-is-a-superbug.html

Medical Definition of Superbug http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=38448

Superbug: What it is, how it spreads, what you can do http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-cre-outbreak-carbapenem-resistant-enterobacteriaceae-20150218-story.html

Science Daily reported in Antibiotic-resistant microbes date back to 450 million years ago, well before the age of dinosaurs:

Leading hospital “superbugs,” known as the enterococci, arose from an ancestor that dates back 450 million years — about the time when animals were first crawling onto land (and well before the age of dinosaurs), according to a new study led by researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear, the Harvard-wide Program on Antibiotic Resistance and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Published online today in Cell, the study authors shed light on the evolutionary history of these pathogens, which evolved nearly indestructible properties and have become leading causes of modern antibiotic-resistant infections in hospitals.
Antibiotic resistance is now a leading public health concern worldwide. Some microbes, often referred to as “superbugs,” are resistant to virtually all antibiotics. This is of special concern in hospitals, where about 5 percent of hospitalized patients will fight infections that arise during their stay. As researchers around the world are urgently seeking solutions for this problem, insight into the origin and evolution of antibiotic resistance will help inform their search.
“By analyzing the genomes and behaviors of today’s enterococci, we were able to rewind the clock back to their earliest existence and piece together a picture of how these organisms were shaped into what they are today” said co-corresponding author Ashlee M. Earl, Ph.D., group leader for the Bacterial Genomics Group at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. “Understanding how the environment in which microbes live leads to new properties could help us to predict how microbes will adapt to the use of antibiotics, antimicrobial hand soaps, disinfectants and other products intended to control their spread.”
The picture the researchers pieced together begins with the dawn of life. Bacteria arose nearly 4 billion years ago, and the planet has teemed with them ever since, including the sea. Animals first arose in the sea during the time known as the Cambrian Explosion, 542 million years ago. As animals emerged in a sea of bacteria, bacteria learned to live in and on them. Some bacteria protect and serve the animals, as the healthy microbes in our intestines do today; others live in the environment, and still others cause disease. As animals crawled onto land about 100 million years later, they took their microbes with them.
The authors of the Cell study found that all species of enterococci, including those that have never been found in hospitals, were naturally resistant to dryness, starvation, disinfectants and many antibiotics. Because enterococci normally live in the intestines of most (if not all) land animals, it seemed likely that they were also in the intestines of land animals that are now extinct, including dinosaurs and the first millipede-like organisms to crawl onto land. Comparison of the genomes of these bacteria provided evidence that this was indeed the case. In fact, the research team found that new species of enterococci appeared whenever new types of animals appeared. This includes when new types of animals arose right after they first crawled onto land, and when new types of animals arose right after mass extinctions, especially the greatest mass extinction, the End Permian Extinction (251 million years ago)…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170511142012.htm

Citation:

Antibiotic-resistant microbes date back to 450 million years ago, well before the age of dinosaurs
Survival of mass extinctions helps to explain near indestructible properties of hospital superbugs
Date: May 11, 2017
Source: Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Summary:
Leading hospital ‘superbugs,’ known as the enterococci, arose from an ancestor that dates back 450 million years — about the time when animals were first crawling onto land (and well before the age of dinosaurs), according to a new study.
Journal Reference:
1. François Lebreton, Abigail L. Manson, Jose T. Saavedra, Timothy J. Straub, Ashlee M. Earl, Michael S. Gilmore. Tracing the Enterococci from Paleozoic Origins to the Hospital. Cell, 2017; DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.04.027

Here is the press release from Massachusetts Eye and Ear:
The Prehistory of Antibiotic Resistance
Hospital “superbugs” evolved from an ancient ancestor

An artist’s rendering of what life may have looked 335 million years ago, well before the age of By Suzanne Day May 12, 2017
Leading hospital “superbugs” known as the enterococci arose from an ancestor that dates back 450 million years—about the time when animals were first crawling onto land (and well before the age of dinosaurs), according to a new study led by researchers from Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, the Harvard-wide Program on Antibiotic Resistance and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Published in Cell, the study authors shed light on the evolutionary history of these pathogens, which evolved nearly indestructible properties and have become leading causes of modern antibiotic-resistant infections in hospitals.
Antibiotic resistance is now a major public health concern worldwide. Some microbes, often referred to as “superbugs,” are resistant to virtually all antibiotics. This is of special concern in hospitals, where about 5 percent of hospitalized patients will fight infections that arise during their stay. As researchers around the world are urgently seeking solutions to this problem, insight into the origin and evolution of antibiotic resistance will help inform their search.
“By analyzing the genomes and behaviors of today’s enterococci, we were able to rewind the clock back to their earliest existence and piece together a picture of how these organisms were shaped into what they are today” said co-corresponding author Ashlee Earl, group leader for the Bacterial Genomics Group at the Broad. “Understanding how the environment in which microbes live leads to new properties could help us to predict how microbes will adapt to the use of antibiotics, antimicrobial hand soaps, disinfectants and other products intended to control their spread.”
The picture the researchers pieced together begins with the dawn of life. Bacteria arose nearly 4 billion years ago, and the planet has teemed with them ever since. Animals first arose in the sea during the period known as the Cambrian Explosion, around 542 million years ago. As animals emerged in a sea of bacteria, the bacteria learned to live in and on them. Some bacteria protect and serve the animals, as the healthy microbes in our intestines do today; others live in the environment and still others cause disease. As animals crawled onto land about 100 million years later, they brought their microbes with them.
“We now know what genes were gained by enterococci hundreds of millions of years ago, when they became resistant to drying out.” —Michael Gilmore
The authors of the Cell study found that all species of enterococci, including those that have never been found in hospitals, are naturally resistant to dryness, starvation, disinfectants and many antibiotics. Because enterococci normally live in the intestines of most (if not all) land animals, it seemed likely that they were also in the intestines of land animals that are now extinct, including dinosaurs and the first millipede-like organisms to crawl onto land. Comparisons of the genomes of these bacteria provided evidence that this is indeed the case. In fact, the research team found that new species of enterococci appeared whenever new types of animals appeared.
Sea animals excrete intestinal microbes into the ocean, which usually contains about 5,000 mostly harmless bacteria per drop of water. These organisms sink to the seafloor into microbe-rich sediments and are consumed by worms, shellfish and other sea scavengers. Those are then eaten by fish, and the microbes continue to circulate throughout the food chain. However, on land, intestinal microbes are excreted in feces, where most dry out and die over time.
Not the enterococci, however. These microbes are unusually hardy and can withstand drying out and starvation, which serves them well on land and in hospitals where disinfectants make survival difficult for a microbe.
“We now know what genes were gained by enterococci hundreds of millions of years ago, when they became resistant to drying out, and to disinfectants and antibiotics that attack their cell walls,” said principal investigator and co-corresponding author Michael Gilmore, the HMS Sir William Osler Professor of Ophthalmology at Mass. Eye and Ear and director of the Harvard Infectious Disease Institute.
“These are now targets for our research to design new types of antibiotics and disinfectants that specifically eliminate enterococci, to remove them as threats to hospitalized patients,” added Francois Lebreton, HMS instructor in ophthalmology, first author of the study and project leader for the Gilmore team.
This research study was supported by Department of Health and Human Services/National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (grants AI072360, AI083214, HHSN272200900018C and U19AI110818).
Adapted from a Mass. Eye and Ear news release. http://www.masseyeandear.org/news/press-releases/2017/05/antibiotic-resistant-microbes-date-back
https://hms.harvard.edu/news/prehistory-antibiotic-resistance

Appropriate use of antibiotics is crucial in limiting the danger of superbugs.

National Institutes of Health in the News reported in the 2014 article, Stop the Spread of Superbugs: Help Fight Drug-Resistant Bacteria:

Unfortunately, many antibiotics prescribed to people and to animals are unnecessary. And the overuse and misuse of antibiotics helps to create drug-resistant bacteria.
Here’s how that might happen. When used properly, antibiotics can help destroy disease-causing bacteria. But if you take an antibiotic when you have a viral infection like the flu, the drug won’t affect the viruses making you sick. Instead, it’ll destroy a wide variety of bacteria in your body, including some of the “good” bacteria that help you digest food, fight infection, and stay healthy. Bacteria that are tough enough to survive the drug will have a chance to grow and quickly multiply. These drug-resistant strains may even spread to other people.
Over time, if more and more people take antibiotics when not necessary, drug-resistant bacteria can continue to thrive and spread. They may even share their drug-resistant traits with other bacteria. Drugs may become less effective or not work at all against certain disease-causing bacteria.
“Bacterial infections that were treatable for decades are no longer responding to antibiotics, even the newer ones,” says Dr. Dennis Dixon, an NIH expert in bacterial and fungal diseases. Scientists have been trying to keep ahead of newly emerging drug-resistant bacteria by developing new drugs, but it’s a tough task.
“We need to make the best use of the drugs we have, as there aren’t many in the antibiotic development pipeline,” says Dr. Jane Knisely, who oversees studies of drug-resistant bacteria at NIH. “It’s important to understand the best way to use these drugs to increase their effectiveness and decrease the chances of resistance to emerge.”
You can help slow the spread of drug-resistant bacteria by taking antibiotics properly and only when needed. Don’t insist on an antibiotic if your health care provider advises otherwise. For example, many parents expect doctors to prescribe antibiotics for a child’s ear infection. But experts recommend delaying for a time in certain situations, as many ear infections get better without antibiotics.
NIH researchers have been looking at whether antibiotics are effective for treating certain conditions in the first place. One recent study showed that antibiotics may be less effective than previously thought for treating a common type of sinus infection. This kind of research can help prevent the misuse and overuse of antibiotics.
“Treating infections with antibiotics is something we want to preserve for generations to come, so we shouldn’t misuse them,” says Dr. Julie Segre, a senior investigator at NIH.
In the past, some of the most dangerous superbugs have been confined to health care settings. That’s because people who are sick or in a weakened state are more susceptible to picking up infections. But superbug infections aren’t limited to hospitals. Some strains are out in the community and anyone, even healthy people, can become infected.
One common superbug increasingly seen outside hospitals is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). These bacteria don’t respond to methicillin and related antibiotics. MRSA can cause skin infections and, in more serious cases, pneumonia or bloodstream infections.
A MRSA skin infection can appear as one or more pimples or boils that are swollen, painful, or hot to the touch. The infection can spread through even a tiny cut or scrape that comes into contact with these bacteria. Many people recover from MRSA infections, but some cases can be life-threatening. The CDC estimates that more than 80,000 aggressive MRSA infections and 11,000 related deaths occur each year in the United States.
When antibiotics are needed, doctors usually prescribe a mild one before trying something more aggressive like vancomycin. Such newer antibiotics can be more toxic and more expensive than older ones. Eventually, bacteria will develop resistance to even the new drugs. In recent years, some superbugs, such as vancomycin-resistant Enterococci bacteria, remain unaffected by even this antibiotic of last resort.
“We rely on antibiotics to deliver modern health care,” Segre says. But with the rise of drug-resistant bacteria, “we’re running out of new antibiotics to treat bacterial infections,” and some of the more potent ones aren’t working as well…. https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/feb2014/feature1

Like opioids, antibiotics must be carefully prescribed by a competent medical professional who is careful not to overprescribe.

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Queens University Belfast study: New research shows illegal levels of arsenic found in baby foods

7 May

The U.S. has a child obesity problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Child Obesity facts:

Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years.1, 2
The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2010. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period.1, 2
In 2010, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.1
Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors.3 Obesity is defined as having excess body fat.4
Overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance”—too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed—and are affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors.5,6
http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm

Moi discussed child nutrition in Dr. Wilda Reviews book: Super Baby Foods https://drwilda.com/tag/baby-food/

Science Daily reported in New research shows illegal levels of arsenic found in baby foods:

In January 2016, the EU imposed a maximum limit of inorganic arsenic on manufacturers in a bid to mitigate associated health risks. Researchers at the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s have found that little has changed since this law was passed and that 50 per cent of baby rice food products still contain an illegal level of inorganic arsenic.
Professor Meharg, lead author of the study and Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences at Queen’s, said: “This research has shown direct evidence that babies are exposed to illegal levels of arsenic despite the EU regulation to specifically address this health challenge. Babies are particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects of arsenic that can prevent the healthy development of a baby’s growth, IQ and immune system to name but a few.”
Rice has, typically, ten times more inorganic arsenic than other foods and chronic exposure can cause a range of health problems including developmental problems, heart disease, diabetes and nervous system damage.
As babies are rapidly growing they are at a sensitive stage of development and are known to be more susceptible to the damaging effects of arsenic, which can inhibit their development and cause long-term health problems. Babies and young children under the age of five also eat around three times more food on a body weight basis than adults, which means that, relatively, they have three times greater exposures to inorganic arsenic from the same food item.
The research findings, published in the PLOS ONE journal today, compared the level of arsenic in urine samples among infants who were breast-fed or formula-fed before and after weaning. A higher concentration of arsenic was found in formula-fed infants, particularly among those who were fed non-dairy formulas which includes rice-fortified formulas favoured for infants with dietary requirements such as wheat or dairy intolerance. The weaning process further increased infants’ exposure to arsenic, with babies five times more exposed to arsenic after the weaning process, highlighting the clear link between rice-based baby products and exposure to arsenic…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170504161538.htm

Citation:

New research shows illegal levels of arsenic found in baby foods
Date: May 4, 2017
Source: Queen’s University Belfast
Summary:
Almost half of baby rice food products contain illegal levels of inorganic arsenic despite new regulations set by the EU, new research concludes.
Journal Reference:
1. Antonio J. Signes-Pastor, Jayne V. Woodside, Paul McMullan, Karen Mullan, Manus Carey, Margaret R. Karagas, Andrew A. Meharg. Levels of infants’ urinary arsenic metabolites related to formula feeding and weaning with rice products exceeding the EU inorganic arsenic standard. PLOS ONE, 2017; 12 (5): e0176923 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0176923

Here is the press release from Queens University:

Queen’s Research Shows Illegal Levels of Arsenic Found in Baby Foods
4/05/2017

Researchers from Queen’s University Belfast have found that almost half of baby rice food products contain illegal levels of inorganic arsenic despite new regulations set by the EU
In January 2016, the EU imposed a maximum limit of inorganic arsenic on manufacturers in a bid to mitigate associated health risks. Researchers at the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s have found that little has changed since this law was passed and that 50 per cent of baby rice food products still contain an illegal level of inorganic arsenic.
Professor Meharg, lead author of the study and Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences at Queen’s, said: “This research has shown direct evidence that babies are exposed to illegal levels of arsenic despite the EU regulation to specifically address this health challenge. Babies are particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects of arsenic that can prevent the healthy development of a baby’s growth, IQ and immune system to name but a few.”
Rice has, typically, ten times more inorganic arsenic than other foods and chronic exposure can cause a range of health problems including developmental problems, heart disease, diabetes and nervous system damage.
As babies are rapidly growing they are at a sensitive stage of development and are known to be more susceptible to the damaging effects of arsenic, which can inhibit their development and cause long-term health problems. Babies and young children under the age of five also eat around three times more food on a body weight basis than adults, which means that, relatively, they have three times greater exposures to inorganic arsenic from the same food item.
The research findings, published in the PLOS ONE journal today, compared the level of arsenic in urine samples among infants who were breast-fed or formula-fed before and after weaning. A higher concentration of arsenic was found in formula-fed infants, particularly among those who were fed non-dairy formulas which includes rice-fortified formulas favoured for infants with dietary requirements such as wheat or dairy intolerance. The weaning process further increased infants’ exposure to arsenic, with babies five times more exposed to arsenic after the weaning process, highlighting the clear link between rice-based baby products and exposure to arsenic.
In this new study, researchers at Queen’s also compared baby food products containing rice before and after the law was passed and discovered that higher levels of arsenic were in fact found in the products since the new regulations were implemented. Nearly 75 per cent of the rice-based products specifically marketed for infants and young children contained more than the standard level of arsenic stipulated by the EU law.
Rice and rice-based products are a popular choice for parents, widely used during weaning, and to feed young children, due to its availability, nutritional value and relatively low allergic potential.
Professor Meharg explained: “Products such as rice-cakes and rice cereals are common in babies’ diets. This study found that almost three-quarters of baby crackers, specifically marketed for children exceeded the maximum amount of arsenic.”
Previous research led by Professor Meharg highlighted how a simple process of percolating rice could remove up to 85 per cent of arsenic. Professor Meharg adds: “Simple measures can be taken to dramatically reduce the arsenic in these products so there is no excuse for manufacturers to be selling baby food products with such harmful levels of this carcinogenic substance.
“Manufacturers should be held accountable for selling products that are not meeting the required EU standard. Companies should publish the levels of arsenic in their products to prevent those with illegal amounts from being sold. This will enable consumers to make an informed decision, aware of any risks associated before consuming products containing arsenic.”
Find out more about the ground-breaking research taking place at the The Institute for Global Food Security.
Media inquiries to Suzanne Lagan, Communications Office at Queen’s University Belfast on Tel: 028 90 97 5292 or email suzanne.lagan@qub.ac.uk

Parents may wish to consider making their own baby food.

WebMD offers advice on preparing baby food in Starter Guide to Baby Food & Nutrition http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/baby-food-nutrition-9/making-baby-food?page=3

Parenting offers the following advice in 10 Best Ways to Feed Your Baby:

Here are 10 strategies that, from that first spoonful of solids, will help you to raise a child who will learn to eat—and love—everything.

1 Time those first bites right “The best time to feed your baby solids for the first time is when he’s feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed—in the morning or right after a nap,” says Karen Ansel R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (ADA) in Long Island, New York, and co-author of the upcoming book The Baby and Toddler Cookbook: Fresh, Homemade Foods for a Healthy Start….
2 Bombard her with variety After your baby has gotten used to the act of eating, introduce new foods rapidly, suggests Dr. Greene. Be creative….
3 Try, try again The carrots were a bust—so try again in a couple of days. Repeat as necessary. Studies say about three out of four moms throw in the towel after their baby refuses a new food five or fewer times. The problem is, research shows it can take up to 15 tries before a child will accept a new food….
4 Spice things up “There’s no research that says we have to give babies a bland diet,” says Jeannette Bessinger, co-founder of realfoodmoms.com and author of Great Expectations: Best Food for Your Baby & Toddler. “Once they’re enjoying a food plain, introduce it with mild herbs and spices.” Blend cilantro into avocado, nutmeg into sweet potatoes, cinnamon into apples, suggests Tracy…..
5 Help him connect to food Hand your baby an avocado and say “avocado.” If learning and using any signs with your baby, also make the sign for it. “Naming foods—and signing them—helps kids recognize those foods really early on,” says Dr. Greene….
6 Keep her close in the kitchen If you’ve ever felt guilty for parking your baby in an exersaucer while you made dinner, hear this: It may make her a better eater. She sees your relationship with food; she smells the garlic roasting, the soup simmering, which helps build that familiarity with foods. Get your child involved in cooking early…..
7 Sit down together Bringing your baby to the dinner table allows him to see you enjoying food. Plus, research links regular family meals with a slew of benefits for kids, including higher self-esteem and better academic performance. If eating together Monday through Friday is impossible, do it on the weekends…..
8 Be a supermodel Research shows clearly that when it comes to encouraging your child to eat something, it’s what you do—not what you say—that matters. So what if you are a picky eater? Don’t call attention to it, advises Ansel….
9 Make meals enticing When you’re dealing with a “discriminating” toddler, it’s tempting to push her to eat some broccoli or even to bribe her with dessert. Instead, encourage her to eat things by making them look delicious—and fun. Serve foods in colorful bowls. Offer dips—try hummus, yogurt and cottage cheese. Make faces on pancakes and sandwiches with cut-up fruits and vegetables….
10 Relax So what if your neighbor’s toddler eats sushi? This is not a competition. “All kids are different, and that includes their taste preferences,” notes Johnson….
Superfoods to make part of your menu:

One of the main reasons we want our kids to love eating everything is that a varied diet delivers a range of healthful nutrients. Here are three nutritious foods your kid should eat—but might be resistant to trying—and delicious serving suggestions from chef Geoff Tracy, co-author of Baby Love: Healthy, Easy, Delicious Meals for Your Baby and Toddler.

Fish is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for babies’ growing brains….
Lentils provide fiber, protein and iron, an important nutrient for infants and toddlers….
Green vegetables deliver a variety of nutrients, including beta carotene (important for a healthy immune system) and folate (a B vitamin that supports the healthy growth of new cells)….
http://www.parenting.com/article/best-ways-to-feed-baby

Many hospitals offer free or low-cost parenting classes. Love-to-know offers this advice in Parenting Classes in My Area:

How to Find Parenting Classes in Your Area
The approach you take to finding nearby courses may be dictated somewhat by the area in which you live; the denser the population, the more classes will be available.
Hospital Outreach Programs
Many hospitals cultivate partnerships with the community by offering a variety of outreach and educational programs. Parenting classes are sometimes offered. Many of these courses focus on how to parent newborns and how to help children adjust to a new baby in the home. In addition, parenting classes that are held at hospitals often include CPR classes and other first aid instruction. For more information, or to find out if the hospital or hospitals in your area offer any type of parenting class, contact the hospital and keep an eye on your local newspaper. Hospitals typically promote outreach and educational programs in the newspapers and online; check the hospital’s website as well.
Doctor’s Advice
In many cases, pediatricians and family physicians are quite knowledgeable regarding family programs in the area. Contact your doctor and your child’s pediatrician to find out if any classes or programs currently exist. In addition, sometimes several doctors who run a practice together may promote community seminars that focus on a variety of topics, including family related subjects.
Health Departments
People often overlook the wide variety of resources available at their local health departments. From free and reduced-fee vaccinations to physical exams and educational seminars, the health department’s goal is to serve the public. Contact your local health department to find out if it offers any parenting classes. In addition, ask to be placed on the health department’s mailing list, if available, to learn about all of the programs that offered throughout the year.
YMCA and Other Health Clubs
The YMCA, as well as other health clubs in the area, is often an excellent source for family activities. While these classes will probably charge a fee, there may be financial help available for those who can’t afford to pay but are in need of a parenting class in the area.
School Guidance Programs
Many schools reach out to the community through a variety of programs, including free parenting classes. These classes are typically led by local psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors and social workers. Contact your local school system’s central office for more information.
PTA, PTO, and Other Organizations
In addition to parenting programs that are promoted by a local school system, parent-teacher organizations, like a PTA or PTO, as well as other civic organizations in the area may offer parenting classes. These will typically be well advertised through the newspaper, radio stations, local marquees, and online, but if you still aren’t sure, contact your local school or chamber of commerce for more information.
http://kids.lovetoknow.com/child-behavior-development-parenting/parenting-classes-my-area

Our goal as a society should be a healthy child living in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood.

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

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http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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University of Wisconsin – Madison study: Gender differences in depression appear at age 12

30 Apr

Both the culture and the economy are experiencing turmoil. For some communities, the unsettled environment is a new phenomenon, for other communities, children have been stressed for generations. According to the article, Understanding Depression which was posted at the Kids Health site:

Depression is the most common mental health problem in the United States. Each year it affects 17 million people of all age groups, races, and economic backgrounds.
As many as 1 in every 33 children may have depression; in teens, that number may be as high as 1 in 8.
http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/understanding_depression.html

It is important to diagnose and intervene early when an individual exhibits signs of depression.

Science Daily reported in Gender differences in depression appear at age 12:

An analysis just published online has broken new ground by finding gender differences in both symptoms and diagnoses of depression appearing at age 12.
The analysis, based on existing studies that looked at more than 3.5 million people in more than 90 countries, confirmed that depression affects far more females than males.
The study, published by the journal Psychological Bulletin, should convince doubters that depression largely, but not entirely, affects females, says co-author Janet Hyde, a professor of psychology and gender and women’s studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“We found that twice as many women as men were affected. Although this has been known for a couple of decades, it was based on evidence far less compelling than what we used in this meta-analysis. We want to stress that although twice as many women are affected, we don’t want to stereotype this as a women’s disorder. One-third of those affected are men.”
The gender gap was evident in the earliest data studied by co-authors Hyde; Rachel Salk, now a postdoctoral fellow in psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; and Lyn Abramson, a professor of psychology at UW-Madison. “The gap was already present at age 12, which is earlier than previous studies have found,” says Hyde. We used to think that the gender difference emerged at 13 to 15 years but the better data we examined has pushed that down to age 12.”
The gender difference tapers off somewhat after adolescence, “which has never been identified, but the depression rate is still close to twice as high for women,” Hyde says.
Puberty, which occurs around age 12 in girls, could explain the onset, Hyde says. “Hormonal changes may have something to do with it, but it’s also true that the social environment changes for girls at that age. As they develop in puberty, they face more sexual harassment, but we can’t tell which of these might be responsible.”
Although the data did not cover people younger than 12, “there are processes going on at 11 or 12 that are worth thinking about, and that matters in terms of intervening,” Hyde says. “We need to start before age 12 if we want to prevent girls from sliding into depression. Depression is often quite treatable. People don’t have to suffer and face increased risk for the many related health problems.”
The results described averages across the nations covered in the study, Hyde says, but similar results emerged from the studies focusing on the United States….. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170427130629.htm

Citation:

Gender differences in depression appear at age 12
Date: April 27, 2017
Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Summary:
A new analysis has broken new ground by finding gender differences in both symptoms and diagnoses of depression appearing at age 12.
Journal Reference:
1. Rachel H. Salk, Janet S. Hyde, Lyn Y. Abramson. Gender Differences in Depression in Representative National Samples: Meta-Analyses of Diagnoses and Symptoms.. Psychological Bulletin, 2017; DOI: 10.1037/bul0000102

Here is the press release from University of Wisconsin – Madison:

Analysis: Gender differences in depression appear at age 12

April 27, 2017 By David Tenenbaum
– See more at: http://news.wisc.edu/analysis-gender-differences-in-depression-appear-at-age-12/#sthash.LW4qASXy.dpuf

An analysis just published online has broken new ground by finding gender differences in both symptoms and diagnoses of depression appearing at age 12.
The analysis, based on existing studies that looked at more than 3.5 million people in more than 90 countries, confirmed that depression affects far more females than males.

The study, published by the journal Psychological Bulletin, should convince doubters that depression largely, but not entirely, affects females, says co-author Janet Hyde, a professor of psychology and gender and women’s studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

“We found that twice as many women as men were affected. Although this has been known for a couple of decades, it was basd on evidence far less compelling than what we used in this meta-analysis. We want to stress that although twice as many women are affected, we don’t want to stereotype this as a women’s disorder. One-third of those affected are men.”

The gender gap was evident in the earliest data studied by co-authors Hyde; Rachel Salk, now a postdoctoral fellow in psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; and Lyn Abramson, a professor of psychology at UW–Madison. “The gap was already present at age 12, which is earlier than previous studies have found,” says Hyde. We used to think that the gender difference emerged at 13 to 15 years but the better data we examined has pushed that down to age 12.”

The gender difference tapers off somewhat after adolescence, “which has never been identified, but the depression rate is still close to twice as high for women,” Hyde says.

Puberty, which occurs around age 12 in girls, could explain the onset, Hyde says. “Hormonal changes may have something to do with it, but it’s also true that the social environment changes for girls at that age. As they develop in puberty, they face more sexual harassment, but we can’t tell which of these might be responsible.”
Although the data did not cover people younger than 12, “there are processes going on at 11 or 12 that are worth thinking about, and that matters in terms of intervening,” Hyde says. “We need to start before age 12 if we want to prevent girls from sliding into depression. Depression is often quite treatable. People don’t have to suffer and face increased risk for the many related health problems.”
The results described averages across the nations covered in the study, Hyde says, but similar results emerged from the studies focusing on the United States.
The UW–Madison researchers looked at both diagnoses of major depression, and at symptom measure of depression, Hyde says. “Symptoms are based on self-reported measures — for example, ‘I feel blue most of the time’ — that do not necessarily meet the standard for a diagnosis of major depression. To meet the criteria for major depression, the condition must be evaluated much more rigorously.”
The researchers looked at the relationship between depression and gender equity in income. Surprisingly, nations with greater gender equity had larger gender differences — meaning women were disproportionately diagnosed with major depression. “This was something of the opposite of what was expected,” says Hyde. “It may occur because, in more gender-equitable nations, women have more contact with men, and therefore compare themselves to men, who don’t express feelings of depression because it doesn’t fit with the masculine role.”

Curiously, no relationship in either direction appeared for depression symptoms.
Despite the prevalence of and growing concern about depression, “this was the first meta-analysis on gender differences in depression,” Hyde says. “For a long while, I wondered why nobody had done this, but once I got into it, I realized it’s because there is too much data, and nobody had the courage to plow through it all. We did, and it took two years.”
– See more at: http://news.wisc.edu/analysis-gender-differences-in-depression-appear-at-age-12/#sthash.LW4qASXy.dpuf

See, School psychologists are needed to treat troubled children https://drwilda.com/2012/02/27/school-psychologists-are-needed-to-treat-troubled-children/
Our goal as a society should be:

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

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Virginia Tech study: Does social media reduce corruption?

24 Apr

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace described by corruption in government is important:

Corruption is decried across cultures and throughout history. It has existed as long as government has; but, like other crimes, it has grown increasingly sophisticated over the last several decades, with devastating effects on the wellbeing and dignity of countless innocent citizens.
For starters, corruption cripples prospects for development. When, say, public-procurement fraud is rampant, or royalties for natural resources are stolen at the source, or the private sector is monopolized by a narrow network of cronies, populations are unable to realize their potential.
But corruption also has another, less-recognized impact. As citizens watch their leaders enrich themselves at the expense of the population, they become increasingly frustrated and angry – sentiments that can lead to civil unrest and violent conflict.
Many current international security crises are rooted in this dynamic. Indignation at the highhanded behavior of a corrupt police officer helped to drive a Tunisian fruit seller to set himself on fire in 2010, touching off revolutions across the Arab world. Protesters demanded that specific ministers be arrested and put on trial, and they called for the return of pilfered assets – demands that were rarely met…. http://carnegieendowment.org/2016/05/06/why-corruption-matters-pub-63527
See, Transparency International: http://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2016

Science Daily reported in Facebook plays vital role in reducing government corruption, researchers find:

A Virginia Tech College of Science economics researcher says the popular social media website Facebook — and its open sharing of information — is a vital and often a significant tool against government corruption in countries where press freedom is curbed or banned.
In new research recently published in the journal Information Economics and Policy, Sudipta Sarangi of the Virginia Tech Department of Economics said his cross-country analysis using data from more than 150 countries shows the more Facebook penetrates public usage, the higher the likelihood of government corruption meeting protest. In short, Sarangi said social media serves as peer of the press.
“This study underscores the importance of freedom on the internet that is under threat in many countries of the world,” Sarangi said, adding that social media is negatively correlated with corruption regardless of the status of the freedom of the press. In other words, Facebook likewise helps reduce and/or lessen corruption in governments where press freedom is low…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170422101714.htm

Open Data Charter wrote in Tackling Corruption Together: How Open Data Can Help Fight Corruption:

When information on government activities is limited, there are opportunities for the corrupt to take advantage of public resources for private gain. To build transparency, accountability and integrity in government, an international shift towards openness is vital. The core principles of the Open Data Charter provide governments with guidance to become ‘Open By Default’ and to ensure shared data is in line with best practices. Building on the principles of open data, new technologies, such as blockchain, present additional opportunities to enhance transparency.
The use of data, especially open data, in law enforcement is a recent development but has the potential to be of great impact. Many questions still need to be answered around the mechanisms in which data can be utilized by law enforcement for anti-corruption efforts, including how to effectively communicate what is done with the data. Open data can only be unlocked when citizens are confident that openness will not compromise their right to privacy and law enforcement must protect personal data while ensuring that privacy and security do not become arguments for opacity. As seen in the Panama Papers release, mechanisms such as bank secrecy laws have been being used as loopholes by companies and individuals to engage in tax evasion…. http://opendatacharter.net/tackling-corruption-together-open-data-can-help-fight-corruption/

Citation:

Facebook plays vital role in reducing government corruption, researchers find

Date: April 22, 2017
Source: Virginia Tech
Summary:
An economics researcher says the popular social media website – and its open sharing of information – is a vital and often a significant tool against government corruption in countries where press freedom is curbed or banned.
Journal Reference:
1. Chandan Kumar Jha, Sudipta Sarangi. Does social media reduce corruption? Information Economics and Policy, 2017; DOI: 10.1016/j.infoecopol.2017.04.001

Here is the press release from Virginia Tech:

Virginia Tech researchers: Facebook plays vital role in reducing government corruption
April 23, 2017
A Virginia Tech College of Science economics researcher says the popular social media website Facebook – and its open sharing of information – is a vital and often a significant tool against government corruption in countries where press freedom is curbed or banned.
In new research recently published in the journal Information Economics and Policy, Sudipta Sarangi of the Virginia Tech Department of Economics said his cross-country analysis using data from more than 150 countries shows the more Facebook penetrates public usage, the higher the likelihood of government corruption meeting protest. In short, Sarangi said social media serves as peer of the press.
“This study underscores the importance of freedom on the internet that is under threat in many countries of the world,” Sarangi said, adding that social media is negatively correlated with corruption regardless of the status of the freedom of the press. In other words, Facebook likewise helps reduce and/or lessen corruption in governments where press freedom is low.
“By showing that social media can negatively impact corruption, we provide yet another reason in favor of the freedom on the net,” he said.
The study took into account a number of control variables including other economic, democratic, and cultural factors, said Sarangi. It also comes on the heels of a volatile American election in which Facebook and other social media platforms were seen as culprits in the spread of “fake news,” especially tied to politics.
Sarangi began the study in 2012 while at Louisiana State University, with co-author Chandan Kumar Jha, now an assistant professor at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York. At the time, Sarangi said social media was being used to organize anti-corruption protests in his and Jha’s home country of India. It also followed the 2011 rise of Arab Spring across the Middle East where large protests toppled governments.
“Our initial results were encouraging in that we found a significant, negative correlation between Facebook penetration and corruption across a small sample of countries,” Sarangi said.
Several qualitative studies have touched on the use of social media to oust corruption before, and many other studies have focused on internet or e-government and its impact on corruption. Sarangi said, however, that few quantitative studies have looked specifically looked at social media and its impact on corruption because country specific data is hard to acquire.
Sarangi and Jha’s study is the first of its kind to establish a link between social media and corruption across more than 150 countries, showing the complimentary role of social media along with the press in open countries, and its greater impact in countries that are oppressive. The study features a falsification test which checked whether the results would be true for a pre-Facebook era in the same countries.
Findings showed that this was not the case. Also considered were government-sanctioned social media platforms.
“Establishing causality is a difficult thing in the corruption literature, simply because corrupt governments might also control social media,” Sarangi said.
He added that much of the anti-corruption content posted on Facebook is user-created and shared individually, its audience growing with each share or repost.
In other words, Sarangi and Jha report that social media as an information and communication technology tool allows multi-way communication as opposed to traditional media such as TV and print media that allow for only one-way communication. The back and forth of communication is harder to control by government censors.
“Indeed, the role of social media and the internet in providing unbiased and independent news in several countries such as China, Russia, and Malaysia has widely been recognized by scholars,” added Sarangi.
“Social media provides cheap and quick means of sharing information and reaching a larger audience to organize public protests against the corrupt activities of government officials and politicians. It is therefore not a surprise that despotic governments favor controlling social media.”
Additionally, interaction in social media platforms typically is shared among friends and family, thus adding a personal connection and therefore more perceived credibility to shared information. Sarangi said individuals may feel compelled to act on such information to show solidarity with family or friends.
As of February 2017, Facebook was estimated to have 2 billion users worldwide, according to CNN. Among the countries studied by Sarangi and Jha: Denmark, the least corrupt; and Somalia, the most.
“As social media evolves to be an increasingly important part of our daily lives, it is important for continued research to help us understand how these tools are impacting our lives,” said Brandi Watkins, an associate professor in the Department of Communication, part of the Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Watkins was not involved in this study but researches the use of social media.
“Related to this study, it is important to look at how platforms like Facebook can be used to improve societal issues, especially in the area of corruption,” Watkins said. “This study highlights the need for information, whether from traditional media or social media, in reducing corruption.”
Contacts:
• Jordan Fifer
540-231-6997
• Steven Mackay
540-231-4787

Corruption costs the population ruled by a corrupt government economic growth, Rule of Law, safety and security and denied individual aspirations.

There is no compromise when it comes to corruption. You have to fight it.
A. K. Antony

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New York University study: Low-income children missing out on language learning both at home and at school: A double dose of disadvantage

16 Apr

Educators have long recognized the importance of vocabulary in reading and learning. Francie Alexander wrote in the Scholastic article, Understanding Vocabulary:

Why is vocabulary s-o-o important?
Vocabulary is critical to reading success for three reasons:
1. Comprehension improves when you know what the words mean. Since comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading, you cannot overestimate the importance of vocabulary development.
2. Words are the currency of communication. A robust vocabulary improves all areas of communication — listening, speaking, reading and writing.
3. How many times have you asked your students or your own children to “use your words”? When children and adolescents improve their vocabulary, their academic and social confidence and competence improve, too.http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/understanding-vocabulary

A University of Chicago study, “Quality of early parent input predicts child vocabulary three years later,” published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences highlights the importance of parental involvement at an early stage of learning. See more at: http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2013/06/24/giving-children-non-verbal-clues-about-words-boosts-vocabularies#sthash.V4f1L1Vb.dpuf

Science Daily reported in Low-income children missing out on language learning both at home and at school: A double dose of disadvantage:

Children from poor neighborhoods are less likely to have complex language building opportunities both in home and at school, putting them at a disadvantage in their kindergarten year, finds a new study led by NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.
The findings, published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, suggest that language learning should involve both families and teachers in order to overcome these early disadvantages and ensure learning opportunities for vulnerable students.
“Children may go from a home with limited physical and psychological resources for learning and language to a school with similar constraints, resulting in a double dose of disadvantage,” said Susan B. Neuman, professor of childhood and literacy education at NYU Steinhardt and the study’s lead author. “Our study suggests that neighborhoods matter and can have a powerful influence on nurturing success or failure.”
Research shows that children’s academic achievement is predicted not only by their family’s socioeconomic status, but also by the socioeconomic status of their school. These two factors together have an impact on children’s access to learning resources, including adults who create language-rich opportunities when they speak with children.
“Children’s early exposure to a rich set of language practices can set in motion the processes that they use for learning to read, including the vocabulary and background knowledge necessary for language and reading comprehension,” Neuman said. “Consequently, children who have limited experience with these kinds of linguistic interactions may have fewer opportunities to engage in the higher-order exchanges valued in school….” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170414105818.htm

Citation:

Low-income children missing out on language learning both at home and at school
A double dose of disadvantage
Date: April 14, 2017
Source: New York University
Summary:
Children from poor neighborhoods are less likely to have complex language building opportunities both in home and at school, putting them at a disadvantage in their kindergarten year, finds a new study.
Journal Reference:
1. Susan B. Neuman, Tanya Kaefer, Ashley M. Pinkham. A Double Dose of Disadvantage: Language Experiences for Low-Income Children in Home and School.. Journal of Educational Psychology, 2017; DOI: 10.1037/edu0000201

Here is the press release from NYU:

News Release
A Double Dose of Disadvantage: Low-income Children Missing Out on Language Learning Both at Home and at School

Apr 14, 2017

Education and Social Sciences Research Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
New York City
Children from poor neighborhoods are less likely to have complex language building opportunities both in home and at school, putting them at a disadvantage in their kindergarten year, finds a new study led by NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.
The findings, published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, suggest that language learning should involve both families and teachers in order to overcome these early disadvantages and ensure learning opportunities for vulnerable students.
“Children may go from a home with limited physical and psychological resources for learning and language to a school with similar constraints, resulting in a double dose of disadvantage,” said Susan B. Neuman, professor of childhood and literacy education at NYU Steinhardt and the study’s lead author. “Our study suggests that neighborhoods matter and can have a powerful influence on nurturing success or failure.”
Research shows that children’s academic achievement is predicted not only by their family’s socioeconomic status, but also by the socioeconomic status of their school. These two factors together have an impact on children’s access to learning resources, including adults who create language-rich opportunities when they speak with children.
“Children’s early exposure to a rich set of language practices can set in motion the processes that they use for learning to read, including the vocabulary and background knowledge necessary for language and reading comprehension,” Neuman said. “Consequently, children who have limited experience with these kinds of linguistic interactions may have fewer opportunities to engage in the higher-order exchanges valued in school.”
In this study, Neuman and her colleagues examined language-advancing resources in both the homes and schools of 70 children who recently made the transition from preschool to kindergarten. Half of the families lived in poor neighborhoods in Detroit, while the other half lived in more demographically diverse Michigan communities that were largely working class.
The researchers followed the children through their kindergarten year, conducting targeted observations in both home and school settings. During four hour-long home visits, the researchers observed the engagement between parents and their children to understand the degree of cognitive stimulation in the home and the quality of the interactions. They also conducted four half-day observations in kindergarten classrooms during which the teachers’ speaking was recorded. The researchers analyzed the language spoken by parents and teachers for both quantity (number of words spoken) and quality (using varied vocabulary and complex sentences).
These observations were combined with assessments of the children’s school readiness skills, including vocabulary knowledge and letter and word identification.
The researchers found that children in low-income neighborhoods had fewer supports for language and early literacy developments than did those in working class communities. In both settings, there were significant differences in the quality of language directed at children, but there was no difference in the quantity of language overall.
At home, parents in low-income neighborhoods used shorter sentences, fewer different words, and had lower reading comprehension than did parents from working class neighborhoods. In the classroom, children from the low-income communities attended kindergartens characterized by more limited language opportunities. Teachers used simpler sentences, less varied vocabulary, and fewer unique word types, potentially oversimplifying their language for students.
Children in all neighborhoods experienced learning across their kindergarten year, but children in the working class communities outpaced their counterparts from low-income communities, particularly in expressive vocabulary.
“We found that the quality of one’s educational opportunities is highly dependent on the streets where you live. Tragically, the children who need the greater opportunity to learn appear to be the least likely to get it,” Neuman said.
The results suggest that no matter the strength of the early boost children receive in preschool, differences in later environmental influences can either support or undermine this early advantage.
“Too often we have focused on what happens within early childhood programs instead of the environmental supports that surround them. We need to account for the multiple contexts of home and school in our understanding of children’s early development,” Neuman said.
Tanya Kaefer of Lakehead University and Ashley M. Pinkham of West Texas A&M University coauthored
the study. The research was funded by the Institute for Education Sciences, US Department of Education (R305A110038).
About the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development (@nyusteinhardt)
Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development prepares students for careers in the arts, education, health, media, and psychology. Since its founding in 1890, the Steinhardt School’s mission has been to expand human capacity through public service, global collaboration, research, scholarship, and practice. To learn more about NYU Steinhardt, visit steinhardt.nyu.edu.
Press Contact
Rachel Harrison
Rachel Harrison
(212) 998-6797

The goal of parents, teachers, students, and society should be that all children succeed in obtaining a good basic education. In order to achieve this goal, children must come to school ready to learn. See, Illiteracy in America https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/illiteracy-in-america/

Related:

The importance of the skill of handwriting in the school curriculum https://drwilda.com/2012/01/24/the-importance-of-the-skill-of-handwriting-in-the-school-curriculum/

The slow reading movement
https://drwilda.com/2012/01/31/the-slow-reading-movement/

Why libraries in K-12 schools are important
https://drwilda.com/2012/12/26/why-libraries-in-k-12-schools-are-important/

University of Iowa study: Variation in words may help early learners read better https://drwilda.com/2013/01/16/university-of-iowa-study-variation-in-words-may-help-early-learners-read-better/

Baby Sign Language: Does It Work?
http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/baby-sign-language-does-it-work

Teaching Your Baby Sign Language Can Benefit Both of You http://psychcentral.com/lib/teaching-your-baby-sign-language-can-benefit-both-of-you/0002423

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com
Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
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