Archive | February, 2018

University of Melbourne study: Securing a child’s future needs to start during parents’ teen years

26 Feb

The Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services explained why healthy babies are important. “Healthy babies are more likely to develop into healthy children, and healthy children are more likely to grow up to be healthy teenagers and healthy adults.” http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/topics/earlychildhood/health/index.aspx

Science Daily reported in Women, particularly minorities, do not meet nutrition guidelines shortly before pregnancy:

Black, Hispanic and less-educated women consume a less nutritious diet than their well-educated, white counterparts in the weeks leading up to their first pregnancy, according to the only large-scale analysis of preconception adherence to national dietary guidelines.
The study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and led by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, also found that, while inequalities exist, none of the women in any racial and socioeconomic group evaluated achieved recommendations set forth by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Healthy maternal diets have been linked to reduced risks of preterm birth, fetal growth restriction, preeclampsia and maternal obesity.
“Unlike many other pregnancy and birth risk factors, diet is something we can improve,” said lead author Lisa Bodnar, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., associate professor and vice chair of research in Pitt Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology. “While attention should be given to improving nutritional counseling at doctor appointments, overarching societal and policy changes that help women to make healthy dietary choices may be more effective and efficient.”
Bodnar and her colleagues analyzed the results of questionnaires completed by 7,511 women who were between six and 14 weeks pregnant and enrolled in The Nulliparous Pregnancy Outcomes Study: Monitoring Mothers to Be, which followed women who enrolled in the study at one of eight U.S. medical centers. The women reported on their dietary habits during the three months around conception.
The diets were assessed using the Healthy Eating Index-2010, which measures 12 key aspects of diet quality, including adequacy of intake for key food groups, as well as intake of refined grains, salt and empty calories (all calories from solid fats and sugars, plus calories from alcohol beyond a moderate level).
Nearly a quarter of the white women surveyed had scores that fell into the highest scoring fifth of those surveyed, compared with 14 percent of the Hispanic women and 4.6 percent of the black women. Almost half — 44 percent — of black mothers had a score in the lowest scoring fifth…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170317082514.htm

See, https://drwilda.com/tag/pregnancy/

Science Daily reported in Securing a child’s future needs to start during parents’ teen years:

The article in the latest edition of Nature argues that tackling health problems including obesity, mental health, poor nutrition and substance abuse in young people before they become parents is essential for the best possible start to life for their future children.
Researchers from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) and the University of Melbourne said that taking action once a woman knows she is pregnant is often starting too late.
Young women and men often carry lifestyle and health risks from adolescence into pregnancy, they added, even if this happens in their 20s or 30s.
Lead author Professor George Patton said: “The first 1000 days of a child’s life are crucially important, but that is too late to be taking action. Current policies to promote the best possible start to life in Australia along with most other countries are starting too late.
“Health and lifestyle in the months immediately before pregnancy matters for both young mothers and fathers-to-be,” Professor Patton said.
“The health system now only kicks into action with a woman’s first antenatal visit, most often eight to 14 weeks into a pregnancy. We need the health service system to be engaged before pregnancy — and it should go beyond its current focus on contraception to tackle broader health risks and emotional well-being in both young women and men….
The paper brought together data from around 200 countries and from more than 140 recent research papers.
It considered mechanisms other than genes for how health and growth was transmitted between generations, including changes in a father’s sperm or a mother’s ovum, maternal influences around the time of conception and in later pregnancy, and parenting in the first two years after birth.
In high and middle income countries, the paper highlighted three main areas for action in adolescence: mental health, obesity and substance abuse.
Professor Patton said: “Maternal depression during pregnancy may affect a baby’s development before birth and the mother-child bond after birth. Both depression in pregnancy and after birth are generally a continuation of pre-pregnancy mental health problems that date back to adolescence….” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180221131932.htm

Citation:

Securing a child’s future needs to start during parents’ teen years
Date: February 21, 2018
Source: University of Melbourne
Summary:
A child’s growth and development is affected by the health and lifestyles of their parents before pregnancy — even going back to adolescence — according to a new paper.

Journal Reference:
1. George C. Patton, Craig A. Olsson, Vegard Skirbekk, Richard Saffery, Mary E. Wlodek, Peter S. Azzopardi, Marcin Stonawski, Bruce Rasmussen, Elizabeth Spry, Kate Francis, Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Nicholas J. Kassebaum, Ali H. Mokdad, Christopher J. L. Murray, Andrew M. Prentice, Nicola Reavley, Peter Sheehan, Kim Sweeny, Russell M. Viner, Susan M. Sawyer. Adolescence and the next generation. Nature, 2018; 554 (7693): 458 DOI: 10.1038/nature25759

Here is the press release from the University of Melbourne:

Securing a child’s future needs to start during parents’ teen years
22 February 2018
A child’s growth and development is affected by the health and lifestyles of their parents before pregnancy – even going back to adolescence – according to a new paper.
The article in the latest edition of Nature argues that tackling health problems including obesity, mental health, poor nutrition and substance abuse in young people before they become parents is essential for the best possible start to life for their future children.
Researchers from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) and the University of Melbourne said that taking action once a woman knows she is pregnant is often starting too late.
Young women and men often carry lifestyle and health risks from adolescence into pregnancy, they added, even if this happens in their 20s or 30s.
Lead author Professor George Patton said: “The first 1000 days of a child’s life are crucially important, but that is too late to be taking action. Current policies to promote the best possible start to life in Australia along with most other countries are starting too late.
“Health and lifestyle in the months immediately before pregnancy matters for both young mothers and fathers-to-be,” Professor Patton said.
“The health system now only kicks into action with a woman’s first antenatal visit, most often eight to 14 weeks into a pregnancy. We need the health service system to be engaged before pregnancy – and it should go beyond its current focus on contraception to tackle broader health risks and emotional well-being in both young women and men.
“Today’s adolescents will be the largest generation to become parents in human history. We need to invest in their physical, social and emotional development to guarantee not only their own future health but that of their children.”
The paper brought together data from around 200 countries and from more than 140 recent research papers.
It considered mechanisms other than genes for how health and growth was transmitted between generations, including changes in a father’s sperm or a mother’s ovum, maternal influences around the time of conception and in later pregnancy, and parenting in the first two years after birth.
In high and middle income countries, the paper highlighted three main areas for action in adolescence: mental health, obesity and substance abuse.
Professor Patton said: “Maternal depression during pregnancy may affect a baby’s development before birth and the mother-child bond after birth. Both depression in pregnancy and after birth are generally a continuation of pre-pregnancy mental health problems that date back to adolescence.”
There is a rapid increase in obesity across adolescence and young adulthood, according to the authors. Maternal obesity during pregnancy predicts later childhood obesity, poorer cognitive skills and greater childhood behavioural problems.
Smoking, alcohol and drug use rise steeply in adolescence, the researchers said. They found consistent and clear evidence that persisting maternal tobacco, alcohol, cannabis and other illicit drug use in pregnancy adversely affects offspring growth
and development. Stopping use when a woman recognises she is pregnant may be too late to address the early effects on a baby.
“Some risks for children like parental obesity and depression need a long-term approach. At a time when obesity, mental health problems and heavy substance use have become common in young adults, prevention beginning in adolescence will be essential,” Professor Patton said.
For many lower income countries, the paper recommended major actions around ending child marriage, delaying first pregnancy through contraception and girls staying in school, and tackling under-nutrition.
“We need health services to go beyond a traditional focus on reproductive health, to a more comprehensive and integrated engagement with adolescent and young adult health; and we need to create health-promoting environments in the families, schools, workplaces and communities where adolescents are growing up,” Professor Patton said.
The authors also questioned the age range of adolescence. Current research suggests that physical and neurological growth continues into the 20s. The paper said this, combined with social changes such as the later adoption of adult roles, meant adolescence was better considered to range between 10 and 24.
University of Melbourne and MCRI researcher and paper author Professor Susan Sawyer said: “From this perspective, adolescence occupies a greater proportion of the life-course with greater relevance for human development than ever before. An extended adolescence creates an opportunity for this generation to acquire greater assets and capabilities and that will make a huge difference not only for themselves but for their children.” http://newsroom.melbourne.edu/news/securing-child%E2%80%99s-future-needs-start-during-parents%E2%80%99-teen-years

Humans have free will and are allowed to choose how they want to live. What you do not have the right to do is to inflict your lifestyle on a child. So, the responsible thing for you to do is to get birth control for yourself and the society which will have to live with your poor choices. Many religious folks are shocked because moi is mentioning birth control, but most sluts have few religious inklings or they wouldn’t be sluts. A better option for both sexes, if this lifestyle is a permanent option, is permanent birth control to lessen a contraception failure. People absolutely have the right to choose their particular lifestyle. You simply have no right to bring a child into your mess of a life. I observe people all the time and I have yet to observe a really happy slut. Seems that the lifestyle is devoid of true emotional connection and is empty. If you do find yourself pregnant, please consider adoption.

Let’s continue the discussion. Some folks may be great friends, homies, girlfriends, and dudes, but they make lousy parents. Could be they are at a point in their life where they are too selfish to think of anyone other than themselves, they could be busy with school, work, or whatever. No matter the reason, they are not ready and should not be parents. Birth control methods are not 100% effective, but the available options are 100% ineffective in people who are sexually active and not using birth control. So, if you are sexually active and you have not paid a visit to some agency, then you are not only irresponsible, you are Eeeevil. Why do I say that, you are playing Russian Roulette with the life of another human being, the child. You should not ever put yourself in the position of bringing a child into the world that you are unprepared to parent, emotionally, financially, and with a commitment of time. So, if you find yourself in a what do I do moment and are pregnant, you should consider adoption.

Children need stability and predictability to have the best chance of growing up healthy. 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 society’s problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family.
Unless there was a rape or some forcible intercourse, the answer to the question is a woman who gets preggers with a “deadbeat dad” a moron – is yes.

Learn more about prenatal and preconception care.
http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/preconceptioncare/Pages/default.aspx
http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/pregnancy/conditioninfo/Pages/prenatal-care.aspx

See, Prenatal care fact sheet http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/prenatal-care.html

Our goal as a society should be a healthy child 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:

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

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
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University of Liege study: The Australian government’s plan for the biocontrol of the common carp presents several risks

25 Feb

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) defines genetic modication of animals:

Genetically modified animals
Genetic modification of an animal involves altering its genetic material by adding, changing or removing certain DNA sequences in a way that does not occur naturally. It aims to modify specific characteristics of an animal or introduce a new trait, such as disease resistance or enhanced growth. DNA is the genetic material of an organism and carries the instructions for all the characteristics that an organism inherits. Changes introduced in an animal’s genetic make-up can therefore be transmitted to the next generation.
While this technology has so far been used in plants for agriculture and in micro-organisms to produce enzymes, the potential application of genetic modification techniques to animals is also being researched. Several international organisations, including FAO/WHO and the United States Food and Drug Administration, have already published guidelines for the safety assessment of these animals and their derived products…. https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/topics/topic/genetically-modified-animals

See, We need to talk about genetically modifying animals https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/theworldpost/wp/2017/12/11/gmo-animals/?utm_term=.85b888a3c038

Science Daily reported in The Australian government’s plan for the biocontrol of the common carp presents several risks:

Belgian, English and Australian scientists are calling on the Australian authorities to review their decision to introduce the carp herpes virus as a way to combat the common carp having colonised the country’s rivers. In a letter published in the journal Science, they not only believe that this measure will be ineffective but that it also represents a risk to ecosystems.
On a global scale, the common carp (Cyprinus carpio) is one of the most important fish species in fish farming. Its annual production ranges between 4 and 5 million tonnes. Initially introduced to Australia for production in fish farms, the species has gradually colonised the rivers to the point of dominating the indigenous species. One of the methods proposed by the Australian government to reduce the number of carp is to release a virus which is deadly to this species, the cyprinid herpesvirus 3 (CyHV-3, also called the Koi herpesvirus or KHV) in rivers. However, scientists note that data currently available on the carp’s biology, the pathogeny of the virus and the ecology of Australian rivers suggests that this tactic will not be effective and could even represent a risk to ecosystems.
Before the large-scale release of the CyHV-3, which will be costly (the plan proposed has a budget of 18 million Dollars) and irreversible, assessments must be carried out on the virus’ actual capacity to sustainably reduce Australian carp populations living freely without harming the indigenous ecosystems.
The authors advocate for the introduction of limited testing to safely assess if the virus can effectively control carp populations without harming ecosystems.
The opinion of the scientists is notably based on work carried out for over a decade by Professor Alain Vanderplasschen from the Immunology and Vaccination Laboratory at the University of Liège who is behind the development of the first vaccine against CyHV-3…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180222145048.htm

Citation:

The Australian government’s plan for the biocontrol of the common carp presents several risks
Date: February 22, 2018
Source: University of Liege
Summary:
Scientists are calling on the Australian authorities to review their decision to introduce the carp herpes virus as a way to combat the common carp having colonized the country’s rivers. They not only believe that this measure will be ineffective but that it also represents a risk to ecosystems.

Journal References:
1. Jonathan Marshall, Andrew J. Davison, R. Keller Kopf, Maxime Boutier, Philip Stevenson, Alain Vanderplasschen. Biocontrol of invasive carp: Risks abound. Science, 2018; 359 (6378): 877.1 DOI: 10.1126/science.aar7827
2. Krzysztof Rakus, Maygane Ronsmans, Maria Forlenza, Maxime Boutier, M. Carla Piazzon, Joanna Jazowiecka-Rakus, Derek Gatherer, Alekos Athanasiadis, Frédéric Farnir, Andrew J. Davison, Pierre Boudinot, Thomas Michiels, Geert F. Wiegertjes, Alain Vanderplasschen. Conserved Fever Pathways across Vertebrates: A Herpesvirus Expressed Decoy TNF-α Receptor Delays Behavioral Fever in Fish. Cell Host & Microbe, 2017; 21 (2): 244 DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2017.01.010

Here is the press release from the University of Liege:

The Australian government’s plan for the biocontrol of the common carp presents several risks
________________________________________
22 February 2018
In Research Press releases
________________________________________
Belgian, English and Australian scientists are calling on the Australian authorities to review their decision to introduce the carp herpes virus as a way to combat the common carp having colonised the country’s rivers. In a letter published in the journal Science, they not only believe that this measure will be ineffective but that it also represents a risk to ecosystems.
On a global scale, the common carp (Cyprinus carpio) is one of the most important fish species in fish farming. Its annual production ranges between 4 and 5 million tonnes. Initially introduced to Australia for production in fish farms, the species has gradually colonised the rivers to the point of dominating the indigenous species. One of the methods proposed by the Australian government to reduce the number of carp is to release a virus which is deadly to this species, the cyprinid herpesvirus 3 (CyHV-3, also called the Koi herpesvirus or KHV) in rivers. However, scientists note that data currently available on the carp’s biology, the pathogeny of the virus and the ecology of Australian rivers suggests that this tactic will not be effective and could even represent a risk to ecosystems. It is thanks to Professor Alain Vanderplasschen (FARAH research center) from the University of Liège that the prestigious scientific review Science asked to issue a scientific opinion on the Australian biocontrol plan (1).
Before the large-scale release of the CyHV-3, which will be costly (the plan proposed has a budget of 18 million Dollars) and irreversible, assessments must be carried out on the virus’ actual capacity to sustainably reduce Australian carp populations living freely without harming the indigenous ecosystems.
The authors advocate for the introduction of limited testing to safely assess if the virus can effectively control carp populations without harming ecosystems.
The opinion of the scientists is notably based on work carried out for over a decade by Professor Alain Vanderplasschen from the Immunology and Vaccination Laboratory at the University of Liège who is behind the development of the first vaccine against CyHV-3.
“The discovery in our laboratory of the beneficial role of the behavioural fever expressed by carp as well as other recent results indicate that the Australian government’s biocontrol plan will not meet its objectives. This may even cause serious damage to the ecosystems”, explains Professor Alain Vanderplasschen.
“By discussing this in Science, one of the world’s most respected scientific journals, we hope that the warning will not be ignored by the Australian authorities”, notes Professor Alain Vanderplasschen.
About Professor Alain Vanderplasschen
Professor Alain Vanderplasschen is the Director of the Immunology and Vaccinology Laboratory at the University of Liège’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. He has been Director of Research at the Belgian National Scientific Research Foundation. His research concerns host-pathogen relationships in the animal world. In 2016, he was the first veterinary doctor to receive the GSK Vaccines award for his work on the carp herpes virus. This work lead to the development of original veterinary vaccines. Meeting considerable challenges, the carp is one of the main fish reared for human consumption in Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. It’s a real economic and nutritional pillar for millions of people worldwide. At present, the laboratory is also working on eels, a new research axis comprising many scientific and economic challenges.
Scientific reference
Biocontrol of invasive carp: Risks abound, Science, 23 February 2018, doi 10.1126/science.aar7827
Other reference
(1) Conserved Fever Pathways across Vertebrates: A Herpesvirus Expressed Decoy TNF-α Receptor Delays Behavioural Fever in Fish, Cell Host & Microbe, 8 February 2017, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2017.01.010
Read the Press release https://www.news.uliege.be/cms/c_9148637/fr/les-poissons-expriment-une-forme-de-fievre-apparentee-a-celle-de-l-homme
Contacts
Pr Alain Vanderplasschen, Immunology & Vaccinology – Faculty of Veterinay Medicine – FARAH Research Center
+32 (0)486 45 15 53 – a.vdplasschen@uliege.be
ULiège Press Department – +32 (0)494 57 25 30 – dmoreau@uliege.be

There are several ethical issues regarding genetic modification of species.

Linda MacDonald Glenn wrote in Ethical Issues in Genetic Engineering and Transgenics:

Ethical Issues
Transgenic biotechnology presents an exciting range of possibilities, from feeding the hungry to preventing and treating diseases; however, these promises are not without potential peril. Some of the issues that need to be considered are the following:
Social Concerns
• If the blending of animal and human DNA results, intentionally or not, in chimeric entities possessing degrees of intelligence or sentience never before seen in nonhuman animals, should these entities be given rights and special protections?
• What, if any, social and legal controls or reviews should be placed on such research?
• What unintended personal, social, and cultural consequences could result?
• Who will have access to these technologies and how will scarce resources—such as medical advances and novel treatments—be allocated?
Extrinsic Concerns
• What, if any, health risks are associated with transgenics and genetically modified foods?13
• Are there long-term effects on the environment when transgenic or genetically modified organized are released in the field?
• Should research be limited and, if so, how should the limits be decided? How should the limits be enforced nationally and internationally?
Intrinsic Concerns
• Are there fundamental issues with creating new species?
• Are species boundaries “hard” or should they be viewed as a continuum? What, if any, consequences are there of blurring species boundaries?
• Are chimeras and transgenics more likely to suffer than “traditional” organisms?
• Will transgenic interventions in humans create physical or behavioral traits that may or may not be readily distinguished from what is usually perceived to be “human”?
• What, if any, research in genetic engineering should be considered morally impermissible and banned (e.g., research undertaken for purely offensive military purposes)?14
• Will these interventions redefine what it means to be “normal”? http://www.actionbioscience.org/biotechnology/glenn.html

There are religious concerns regarding genetic modification as well.

The Church of Scotland discussed the religious issues in Moral and Ethical Issues in Gene Therapy:

Is it acceptable for human beings to manipulate human genes?
Are we Playing God?
What is a Human Being?
Hubris and Humanity
Back to Contents
Are we Playing God?
It is often asked whether it is right for human beings to manipulate human genes at all, as if this were in some sense “playing God” by altering fundamental aspects of human makeup (and also that of plants and animals) which are God’s prerogative only, or simply that it is a dangerous “tampering with nature” in a way which we have neither the right nor the skill to do? Christians have long viewed scientific research as a proper response to God’s commands to “fill the earth and subdue it” and to “work and take care of” the garden, illustrated in the touching and highly significant picture of Adam naming the animals. In relationship to God, humans are, as it were, invited to explore what he has created, in order to glorify him, to become better stewards of what he has made, to care better for our fellow humans and the other creatures we share the earth with, and to keep back the “thorns and thistles”.
If science is therefore a proper human activity, reflecting in some small part God’s own wisdom and creativity, and if technology is today its practical application, then it seems arbitrary to draw a line at the level of genetics, rather than, say, chemistry, nuclear physics or metallurgy, or at the level of gene therapy rather than pharmacology, radiation therapy or surgery. Some would go further and say that as a matter of very principle, technology can and must never be limited, as an expression of “the human spirit”, or in more Christian terminology, as the expression of the openness of God’s gift of human creativity. I would argue that Scripture, history and prudence all indicate the need to limit our creativity – that “can” does not imply “ought”. Key concepts within which to frame a biblical view in this area are the nature of human being, and the constraints on what is permissible in the context of relationship…. http://www.srtp.org.uk/srtp/view_article/moral_and_ethical_issues_gene_therapy

Genetic modification is truly a “Brave New World.”

Resources:

Genetic engineering of animals: Ethical issues, including welfare concerns https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3078015/

Brief Summary of Genetic Engineering and Animals https://www.animallaw.info/article/brief-summary-genetic-engineering-and-animals

What are the animal welfare issues of genetic modification of farm animals? http://kb.rspca.org.au/what-are-the-animal-welfare-issues-of-genetic-modification-of-farm-animals_90.html

Genetic engineering of animals: Ethical issues, including welfare concerns https://www.researchgate.net/publication/51760394_Genetic_engineering_of_animals_Ethical_issues_including_welfare_concerns

Genetic engineering: Moral aspects and control of practice https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3454796/

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/

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https://drwilda.com/

Leeds Beckett University and University of Missouri study: Countries with greater gender equality have a lower percentage of female STEM graduates

18 Feb

Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity, one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well.

A few years back, the New York Times did a series about social class in America. That series is still relevant. Janny Scott and David Leonhardt’s overview, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide describes the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Social Class http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/national/class/OVERVIEW-FINAL.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 and http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/national/class/OVERVIEW-FINAL.html Jason DeParle reported in the New York Times article, For Poor Strivers, Leap to College Often Ends in a Hard Fall http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/education/poor-students-struggle-as-class-plays-a-greater-role-in-success.html?hpw&_r=0

Social class and background may not only affect an individual student’s choice of major, but their completion of college in that major. Nick De Santis reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, Report Examines College Students’ Attrition From STEM Majors:

Twenty-eight percent of bachelor’s-degree students who began their postsecondary education in the 2003-4 academic year chose a major in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics at some point within six years, but 48 percent of students who entered those fields during that period had left them by the spring of 2009, according to a report released on Tuesday by the National Center for Education Statistics, the U.S. Education Department’s statistical arm.
The report, which addresses attrition from the so-called STEM fields, also includes information on students pursuing associate degrees. It says that 20 percent of such students had chosen a STEM major within that six-year period and notes that 69 percent of them had left the STEM fields by the spring of 2009.
Of the students who left STEM fields, the report says, roughly half switched their major to a non-STEM field, and the rest left college without earning a degree or certificate. The report notes that fields such as the humanities and education experienced higher levels of attrition than did the STEM disciplines.
The report identifies several factors associated with a higher probability of switching out of STEM majors, such as taking lighter STEM course loads or less-challenging math classes in the first year, and earning lower grades in STEM courses than in others….
http://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/report-examines-college-students-attrition-from-stem-majors/69705?cid=pm&utm_source=pm&utm_medium=en

A Cornell University study found that should women remain in STEM programs they might be preferred for tenure-track faculty positions. http://www.usnews.com/news/stem-solutions/articles/2015/04/13/report-faculty-prefer-women-for-tenure-track-stem-positions

Science Daily reported in Countries with greater gender equality have a lower percentage of female STEM graduates:

Countries with greater gender equality see a smaller proportion of women taking degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), a new study has found. Policymakers could use the findings to reconsider initiatives to increase women’s participation in STEM, say the researchers.
Dubbed the ‘gender equality paradox’, the research found that countries such as Albania and Algeria have a greater percentage of women amongst their STEM graduates than countries lauded for their high levels of gender equality, such as Finland, Norway or Sweden.
The researchers, from Leeds Beckett University in the UK and the University of Missouri in the USA, believe this might be because countries with less gender equality often have little welfare support, making the choice of a relatively highly-paid STEM career more attractive.
The study, published in Psychological Science, also looked at what might motivate girls and boys to choose to study STEM subjects, including overall ability, interest or enjoyment in the subject and whether science subjects were a personal academic strength.
Using data on 475,000 adolescents across 67 countries or regions, the researchers found that while boys’ and girls’ achievement in STEM subjects was broadly similar, science was more likely to be boys’ best subject. Girls, even when their ability in science equalled or excelled that of boys, were often likely to be better overall in reading comprehension, which relates to higher ability in non-STEM subjects. Girls also tended to register a lower interest in science subjects. These differences were near-universal across all the countries and regions studied.
This could explain some of the gender disparity in STEM participation, as Gijsbert Stoet, Professor in Psychology from Leeds Beckett University explains:
“The further you get in secondary and then higher education, the more subjects you need to drop until you end with just one. We are inclined to choose what we are best at and also enjoy. This makes sense and matches common school advice.” he said. “So, even though girls can match boys in terms of how well they do at science and mathematics in school, if those aren’t their best subjects and they are less interested in them, then they’re likely to choose to study something else.”
The researchers also looked at how many girls might be expected to choose further study in STEM based on these criteria. They took the number of girls in each country who had the necessary ability in STEM and for whom it was also their best subject and compared this to the number of women graduating in STEM. They found there was a disparity in all countries, but with the gap once again larger in more gender equal countries. In the UK, 29% of STEM graduates are female, whereas 48% of UK girls might be expected to take those subjects based on science ability alone. This drops to 39% when both science ability and interest in the subject are taken into account…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180214150132.htm

Citation:

Countries with greater gender equality have a lower percentage of female STEM graduates
Findings could help refine education efforts and policies geared toward girls and science, technology, engineering and mathematics
Date:
February 14, 2018
Source:
Leeds Beckett University
Summary:
Countries with greater gender equality see a smaller proportion of women taking degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), a new study has found. Policymakers could use the findings to reconsider initiatives to increase women’s participation in STEM, say the researchers.

Journal Reference:
1. Gijsbert Stoet, David C. Geary. The Gender-Equality Paradox in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education. Psychological Science, 2018; 095679761774171 DOI: 10.1177/0956797617741719

Here is the press release from University of Missouri:

Countries with greater gender equality have lower percentage of female STEM graduates
Findings could help refine education efforts and policies geared toward girls and STEM
University of Missouri-Columbia
The underrepresentation of girls and women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields occurs globally. Although women currently are well represented in life sciences, they continue to be underrepresented in inorganic sciences, such as computer science and physics. Now, researchers from the University of Missouri and Leeds Beckett University in the United Kingdom have found that as societies become wealthier and more gender equal, women are less likely to obtain degrees in STEM. The researchers call this a “gender-equality paradox.” Researchers also discovered a near-universal sex difference in academic strengths and weaknesses that contributes to the STEM gap. Findings from the study could help refine education efforts and policies geared toward encouraging girls and women with strengths in science or math to participate in STEM fields.
The researchers found that, throughout the world, boys’ academic strengths tend to be in science or mathematics, while girls’ strengths are in reading. Students who have personal strengths in science or math are more likely to enter STEM fields, whereas students with reading as a personal strength are more likely to enter non-STEM fields, according to David Geary, Curators Professor of Psychological Sciences in the MU College of Arts and Science. These sex differences in academic strengths, as well as interest in science, may explain why the sex differences in STEM fields has been stable for decades, and why current approaches to address them have failed.
“We analyzed data on 475,000 adolescents across 67 countries or regions and found that while boys’ and girls’ achievements in STEM subjects were broadly similar in all countries, science was more likely to be boys’ best subject,” Geary said. “Girls, even when their abilities in science equaled or excelled that of boys, often were likely to be better overall in reading comprehension, which relates to higher ability in non-STEM subjects. As a result, these girls tended to seek out other professions unrelated to STEM fields.”
Surprisingly, this trend was larger for girls and women living in countries with greater gender equality. The authors call this a “gender-equality paradox,” because countries lauded for their high levels of gender equality, such as Finland, Norway or Sweden, have relatively few women among their STEM graduates. In contrast, more socially conservative countries such as Turkey or Algeria have a much larger percentage of women among their STEM graduates.
“In countries with greater gender equality, women are actively encouraged to participate in STEM; yet, they lose more girls because of personal academic strengths,” Geary said. “In more liberal and wealthy countries, personal preferences are more strongly expressed. One consequence is that sex differences in academic strengths and interests become larger and have a stronger influence college and career choices than in more conservative and less wealthy countries, creating the gender-equality paradox.”
The combination of personal academic strengths in reading, lower interest in science, and broader financial security explains why so few women choose a STEM career in highly developed nations.
“STEM careers are generally secure and well-paid but the risks of not following such a path can vary,” said Gijsbert Stoet, Professor in Psychology at Leeds Beckett University. “In more affluent countries where any choice of career feels relatively safe, women may feel able to make choices based on non-economic factors. Conversely, in countries with fewer economic opportunities, or where employment might be precarious, a well-paid and relatively secure STEM career can be more attractive to women.”
Findings from this study could help target interventions to make them more effective, say the researchers. Policymakers should reconsider failing national policies focusing on decreasing the gender imbalance in STEM, the researchers add.
###
The study, “The gender-equality paradox in STEM education,” was published in Psychological Science.
For more on the story, please see: https://vimeo.com/255624281
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. https://eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uom-cwg021418.php

How classes are taught and how girls and woman are encouraged makes a huge difference in the fields women choose for their education and work.

Phoebe Parke of CNN wrote in the article, Ask the experts: How do we get girls into STEM?

1. “The toys and games that young girls play with mold their educational and career interests; they create dreams of future careers.” says Andrea Guendelman, co-founder of Developher…
2. “Introduce girls early to role models of other women In STEM” suggests Regina Agyare, founder of Soronko Solutions….
3. “It’s important to engage girls in STEM at an early age and keep them interested.” adds Patty L. Fagin, PhD, Head of School at Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart.…
4. “There’s no magic recipe for getting girls into STEM, but we know early and positive exposure makes an impact.” Karen Horting, CEO and Executive Director at the Society of Women Engineers told CNN….
5. “Start them young.” is Michelle Sun, Founder and CEO of First Code Academy‘s advice….
6. “I believe one on one mentoring programs with accomplished female STEM professionals will help bring girls in to the STEM field.” says Adeola Shasanya who recently co-founded Afro-Tech Girls and works at the Lagos State Electricity Board as an Electrical Engineering and Renewables Consultant….
7. Haiyan Zhang, Innovation Director at Lift London, Microsoft Studios believes confidence is key; “Insatiable curiosity and the self confidence to make change in the world — two qualities that are key to instil in the female innovators of the future….
8. “Women are the future of technology and today’s technology is fun and cool.” says Weili Dai, President and Co-founder of Marvell Technology Group…
9. “Time and again, I hear from women who chose their STEM career because they were inspired by a successful woman who proved it could be done.” adds Suw Charman-Anderson, Founder of Ada Lovelace Day….
10. “To get more girls in STEM let’s go for collective action…” says Julie Kantor, Chief Partnership Officer at Million Women Mentors…
http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/27/world/europe/how-to-get-girls/

It is going to take a variety of strategies which include mentoring, exposure to what is now considered nontraditional fields and encouragement of girls and women not only entering nontraditional fields, but staying the course.

Related:

Girls and math phobia
https://drwilda.com/2012/01/20/girls-and-math-phobia/

Study: Gender behavior differences lead to higher grades for girls
https://drwilda.com/2013/01/07/study-gender-behavior-differences-lead-to-higher-grades-for-girls/

University of Missouri study: Counting ability predicts future math ability of preschoolers
https://drwilda.com/2012/11/15/university-of-missouri-study-counting-ability-predicts-future-math-ability-of-preschoolers/

Is an individualized program more effective in math learning? https://drwilda.com/2012/10/10/is-an-individualized-program-more-effective-in-math-learning/

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http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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Rand Corporation study: Study questions link between medical marijuana and fewer opioid deaths

11 Feb

Often children who evidence signs of a substance abuse problem come from homes where there is a substance abuse problem. That problem may be generational. eMedicineHealth lists some of the causes of substance abuse:

Substance Abuse Causes
Use and abuse of substances such as cigarettes, alcohol, and illegal drugs may begin in childhood or the teen years. Certain risk factors may increase someone’s likelihood to abuse substances.
Factors within a family that influence a child’s early development have been shown to be related to increased risk of drug abuse.
o Chaotic home environment
o Ineffective parenting
o Lack of nurturing and parental attachment
Factors related to a child’s socialization outside the family may also increase risk of drug abuse.
o Inappropriately aggressive or shy behavior in the classroom
o Poor social coping skills
o Poor school performance
o Association with a deviant peer group
o Perception of approval of drug use behavior
http://www.emedicinehealth.com/substance_abuse/article_em.htm

Substance abuse is often a manifestation of other problems that child has either at home or poor social relations including low self-esteem. Dr. Alan Leshner summarizes the reasons children use drugs in why do Sally and Johnny use drugs? http://archives.drugabuse.gov/Published_Articles/Sally.html

Science Daily reported in: Depression among young teens linked to cannabis use at 18:

A study looking at the cumulative effects of depression in youth, found that young people with chronic or severe forms of depression were at elevated risk for developing a problem with cannabis in later adolescence.
The study led by UW Medicine researchers interviewed 521 students recruited from four Seattle public middle schools. Researchers used data from annual assessments when students were ages 12-15 and then again when they were 18. The results were published in the journal Addiction.
“The findings suggest that if we can prevent or reduce chronic depression during early adolescence, we may reduce the prevalence of cannabis use disorder,” said lead author Isaac Rhew, research assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
What researchers called “a 1 standard deviation increase” in cumulative depression during early adolescence was associated with a 50 percent higher likelihood of cannabis-use disorder.
According to researchers, during the past decade cannabis has surpassed tobacco with respect to prevalence of use among adolescents. Cannabis and alcohol are the two most commonly used substances among youth in the United States. They pointed to one national study showing increases in prevalence of cannabis use disorder and alcohol use disorder in the United States, especially among young adults.
Longitudinal studies looking at the link between depression and later use of alcohol and cannabis, however, have been mixed. Some show a link. Others don’t. But most studies have assessed adolescent depression at a single point in time — not cumulatively, said the researchers. Further, there have been differences in how substance use has been measured ranging from the initiation of any use to heavier problematic forms of use.
The study oversampled for students with depressive and/or conduct problems. The researchers were surprised to see that the prevalence of cannabis and alcohol use disorder in this study was notably higher than national estimates with 21 percent meeting criteria for cannabis use disorder and 20 percent meeting criteria for alcohol use disorder at age 18.

What effect the easing of marijuana laws in Washington state had on the youth is unclear. Researchers said it would be informative to conduct a similar study in a state with more strict marijuana laws to understand whether the relationship between depression and cannabis misuse would still hold in areas where marijuana may be less accessible…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170717151031.htm

Citation:

Depression among young teens linked to cannabis use at 18
Seattle-focused study suggests earlier intervention with depressed youths could reduce rate of cannabis-use disorder
Date: July 17, 2017
Source: University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine
Summary:
Young people with chronic or severe forms of depression were at elevated risk for developing a problem with cannabis in later adolescence, found a study looking at the cumulative effects of depression in youth.

Journal Reference:
1. Isaac C. Rhew, Charles B. Fleming, Ann Vander Stoep, Semret Nicodimos, Cheng Zheng, Elizabeth McCauley. Examination of cumulative effects of early adolescent depression on cannabis and alcohol use disorder in late adolescence in a community-based cohort. Addiction, 2017; DOI: 10.1111/add.13907

Science Daily reported in Study questions link between medical marijuana and fewer opioid deaths:

The association between medical marijuana and lower levels of opioid overdose deaths — identified previously in several studies — is more complex than previously described and appears to be changing as both medical marijuana laws and the opioid crisis evolve, according to a new RAND Corporation study.
The report — the most-detailed examination of medical marijuana and opioid deaths conducted to date — found that legalizing medical marijuana was associated with lower levels of opioid deaths only in states that had provisions for dispensaries that made medical marijuana easily available to patients. Opioid death rates were not lower in states that just provided legal protections to patients and caregivers, allowing them to grow their own marijuana.
In addition, the association between medical marijuana dispensaries and fewer opioid deaths appears to have declined sharply after 2010, when states began to tighten requirements on sales by dispensaries.
“Our findings are consistent with previous studies showing an association between the legalization of medical marijuana and lower deaths from overdoses of opioids,” said Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, co-author of the study and co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center.
“However, our findings show that the mechanism for this was loosely regulated medical marijuana dispensaries, and that the association between these laws and opioid mortality has declined over time as state laws have more tightly regulated medical dispensaries and the opioid crisis shifted from prescription opioids to heroin and fentanyl,” Pacula said. “This is a sign that medical marijuana, by itself, will not be the solution to the nation’s opioid crisis today….”
When the researchers narrowly focused on the time period from 1999 to 2010 and replicated a model used by other researchers, they obtained results similar to those previously published, showing an approximately 20 percent decline in opioid overdose deaths associated with the passage of any state medical marijuana law. However, these general findings were driven by states that had laws allowing for loosely regulated marijuana dispensary systems.
When researchers extended their analysis through 2013, they found that the association between having any medical marijuana law and lower rates of opioid deaths completely disappeared. Moreover, the association between states with medical marijuana dispensaries and opioid mortality fell substantially as well.
The researchers provide two explanations for the decline in the association between medical marijuana dispensaries and opioid harm. First, states that more recently adopted laws with medical marijuana dispensaries more tightly regulated them, in response to a U.S. Justice Department memo saying it would not challenge state-level medical marijuana laws so long as dispensary sales were in full compliance with state regulations. Second, beginning in 2010, the primary driver of the opioid crisis and related deaths became illicit opioids, mainly heroin and then fentanyl, not prescription opioids…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180207090111.htm

Citation:

Study questions link between medical marijuana and fewer opioid deaths
Association appears to be changing as medical marijuana laws and opioid epidemic change
Date: February 7, 2018
Source: RAND Corporation
Summary:
Several studies have shown an association between legalizing medical marijuana and lower death rates from opioids. A new study finds that link is more complex than previously described and appears to be changing as both medical marijuana laws and the opioid crisis evolve.
Journal Reference:
1. David Powell, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, Mireille Jacobson. Do medical marijuana laws reduce addictions and deaths related to pain killers? Journal of Health Economics, 2018; 58: 29 DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2017.12.007

Here is the press release from RAND:

Do Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Addictions and Deaths Related to Pain Killers?
Published in: Journal of Health Economics Volume 58 (March 2018), Pages 29-42. doi: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2017.12.007
Posted on RAND.org on February 08, 2018
by David Powell, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, Mireille Jacobson
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• Drug Markets and Supply,
• Marijuana,
• Substance Use Harm Reduction
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Read More
Access further information on this document at Journal of Health Economics Volume 58 (March 2018)
This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.
Recent work finds that medical marijuana laws reduce the daily doses filled for opioid analgesics among Medicare Part-D and Medicaid enrollees, as well as population-wide opioid overdose deaths. We replicate the result for opioid overdose deaths and explore the potential mechanism. The key feature of a medical marijuana law that facilitates a reduction in overdose death rates is a relatively liberal allowance for dispensaries. As states have become more stringent in their regulation of dispensaries, the protective value generally has fallen. These findings suggest that broader access to medical marijuana facilitates substitution of marijuana for powerful and addictive opioids.
Access further information on this document at Journal of Health Economics Volume 58 (March 2018)
Link Between Medical Marijuana and Fewer Opioid Deaths Is More Complex Than Previously Reported
FOR RELEASE
Tuesday
February 6, 2018
The association between medical marijuana and lower levels of opioid overdose deaths—identified previously in several studies—is more complex than previously described and appears to be changing as both medical marijuana laws and the opioid crisis evolve, according to a new RAND Corporation study.
The report—the most-detailed examination of medical marijuana and opioid deaths conducted to date—found that legalizing medical marijuana was associated with lower levels of opioid deaths only in states that had provisions for dispensaries that made medical marijuana easily available to patients. Opioid death rates were not lower in states that just provided legal protections to patients and caregivers, allowing them to grow their own marijuana.
In addition, the association between medical marijuana dispensaries and fewer opioid deaths appears to have declined sharply after 2010, when states began to tighten requirements on sales by dispensaries.
“Our findings are consistent with previous studies showing an association between the legalization of medical marijuana and lower deaths from overdoses of opioids,” said Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, co-author of the study and co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center.
“However, our findings show that the mechanism for this was loosely regulated medical marijuana dispensaries, and that the association between these laws and opioid mortality has declined over time as state laws have more tightly regulated medical dispensaries and the opioid crisis shifted from prescription opioids to heroin and fentanyl,” Pacula said. “This is a sign that medical marijuana, by itself, will not be the solution to the nation’s opioid crisis today.”
The study was published online by the Journal of Health Economics.
Researchers from RAND and the University of California, Irvine, analyzed information about treatment admissions for addiction to pain medications from 1999 to 2012 and state-level overdose deaths from opioids from 1999 to 2013. They also identified state laws legalizing medical marijuana, examining provisions such as whether the regulations made marijuana easily accessible to patients by allowing dispensaries.
When the researchers narrowly focused on the time period from 1999 to 2010 and replicated a model used by other researchers, they obtained results similar to those previously published, showing an approximately 20 percent decline in opioid overdose deaths associated with the passage of any state medical marijuana law. However, these general findings were driven by states that had laws allowing for loosely regulated marijuana dispensary systems.
When researchers extended their analysis through 2013, they found that the association between having any medical marijuana law and lower rates of opioid deaths completely disappeared. Moreover, the association between states with medical marijuana dispensaries and opioid mortality fell substantially as well.
The researchers provide two explanations for the decline in the association between medical marijuana dispensaries and opioid harm. First, states that more recently adopted laws with medical marijuana dispensaries more tightly regulated them, in response to a U.S. Justice Department memo saying it would not challenge state-level medical marijuana laws so long as dispensary sales were in full compliance with state regulations. Second, beginning in 2010, the primary driver of the opioid crisis and related deaths became illicit opioids, mainly heroin and then fentanyl, not prescription opioids.
The study also found no evidence that states with medical marijuana laws experience reductions in the volume of legally distributed opioid analgesics used to treat pain. Even if medical marijuana patients were substituting medical marijuana for opioids in medical marijuana states, these patients did not represent a measurable part of the medical opioid analgesic market.
“While our study finds that medical marijuana dispensaries reduce some of the harms associated with the misuse of opioids, there is little evidence that this is happening because a large number of patients suffering from pain are using marijuana instead of opioid medications,” Pacula said. “Either the patients are continuing to use their opioid pain medications in addition to marijuana, or this patient group represents a small share of the overall medical opioid using population.”
The RAND study was conducted before any any states had begun to allow retail sales of recreational marijuana.
“Our research suggests that the overall story between medical marijuana and opioid deaths is complicated,” Pacula said. “Before we embrace marijuana as a strategy to combat the opioid epidemic, we need to fully understand the mechanism through which these laws may be helping and see if that mechanism still matters in today’s changing opioid crisis.”
Support for the study was provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Other authors of the study are David Powell of RAND and Mireille Jacobson of UC Irvine.
RAND Health is the nation’s largest independent health policy research program, with a broad research portfolio that focuses on health care costs, quality and public health preparedness, among other topics.
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About the RAND Corporation
The RAND Corporation is a research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to help make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous.
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Researcher Spotlight
• Rosalie Liccardo Pacula
Director, Bing Center for Health Economics
Rosalie Liccardo Pacula is a senior economist at the RAND Corporation and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. She serves as director of RAND’s BING Center for Health Economics, co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center, and associate director of the data core for RAND’s new…
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has a series of questions parents should ask http://www.getsmartaboutdrugs.com/content/default.aspx?pud=a8bcb6ee-523a-4909-9d76-928d956f3f91

If you suspect that your child has a substance abuse problem, you will have to seek help of some type. You will need a plan of action. The Partnership for a Drug Free America lists 7 Steps to Take and each step is explained at the site. http://www.drugfree.org/intervene

If your child has a substance abuse problem, both you and your child will need help. “One day at a time” is a famous recovery affirmation which you and your child will live the meaning. The road to recovery may be long or short, it will have twists and turns with one step forward and two steps back. In order to reach the goal of recovery, both parent and child must persevere.

Related:

University of Washington study: Heroin use among young suburban and rural non-traditional users on the
https://drwilda.com/2013/10/13/university-of-washington-study-heroin-use-among-young-suburban-and-rural-non-traditional-users-on-the-increase/

Resources

Adolescent Substance Abuse Knowledge Base
http://www.crchealth.com/troubled-teenagers/teenage-substance-abuse/adolescent-substance-abuse/signs-drug-use/

Warning Signs of Teen Drug Abuse
http://parentingteens.about.com/cs/drugsofabuse/a/driug_abuse20.htm?r=et

Is Your Teen Using?
http://www.drugfree.org/intervene

Al-Anon and Alateen
http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/

WEBMD: Parenting and Teen Substance Abuse
http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/tc/teen-substance-abuse-choosing-a-treatment-program-topic-overview

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a very good booklet for families What is Substance Abuse Treatment?
http://store.samhsa.gov/home

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has a web site for teens and parents that teaches about drug abuse NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse
http://teens.drugabuse.gov/

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 ©
https://drwilda.com/

Kings College London study: Falling IQ scores in childhood may signal psychotic disorders in later life

5 Feb

Human Intelligence has a very good summary of the Bell Curve book:

The Bell Curve, published in 1994, was written by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray as a work designed to explain, using empirical statistical analysis, the variations in intelligence in American Society, raise some warnings regarding the consequences of this intelligence gap, and propose national social policy with the goal of mitigating the worst of the consequences attributed to this intelligence gap. Many of the assertions put forth and conclusions reached by the authors are very controversial, ranging from the relationships between low measured intelligence and anti-social behavior, to the observed relationship between low African-American test scores (compared to whites and Asians) and genetic factors in intelligence abilities. The book was released and received with a large public response. In the first several months of its release, 400,000 copies of the book were sold around the world. Several thousand reviews and commentaries have been written in the short time since the book’s publication….
The Bell Curve, in its introduction, begins with a brief description of the history of intelligence theory and recent developments in intelligence thought and testing, through the eyes of the authors. The introduction concludes with six important assumptions that the authors build much of the Bell Curve’s case upon. These six assumptions regarding the validity of “classical” cognitive testing techniques include:
There is such a difference as a general factor of cognitive ability on which human beings differ.
All standardized test of academic aptitude or achievement measure this general factor to some degree, but IQ tests expressly designed for that purpose measure it most accurately.
IQ scores match, to a first degree, whatever it is that people mean when they use the word intelligent, or smart in ordinary language.
IQ scores are stable, although not perfectly so, over much of a person’s life.
Properly administered IQ tests are not demonstrably biased against social, economic, ethnic, or racial groups.
Cognitive ability is substantially heritable, apparently no less than 40 percent and no more than 80 percent.
The authors proceed to explain, using classical cognitive test results primarily, to explain how lower levels of measured intelligence impact an individual’s, or indeed an entire class or group of individual’s life in American society. The rest of the book is divided into four major parts. http://www.indiana.edu/~intell/bellcurve.shtml

Needless to say, this book ignited a firestorm.

Cam Soucy wrote an excellent summary of IQ tests for the Livestrong site in the article, What Is the Definition of IQ Test?

History
French psychologist Alfred Binet developed the the first IQ-style tests at the beginning of the 20th century. The first tests were designed only to assess the intelligence of children. The U.S. military relied on intelligence testing to assess and place recruits during World Wars I and II. Psychologist David Wechsler used the military IQ tests as a model in devising his own test in 1949. Today, a group of tests derived from Wechsler’s work are the most widely used IQ tests.
Download Free White Paper on assessment and teaching from CTB/McGraw-Hill CTB.com
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Tests
The fourth version of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, the WISC-IV, was released in 2009. A companion test, the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, targets people 16 and older. Other frequently used IQ tests include the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, the Das-Naglieri Cognitive Assessment System and the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children.
Elements
IQ tests commonly assess the taker’s logical reasoning, math ability, spatial-relations skills, short-term memory and problem-solving skills.
Scoring
IQ tests originally were scored by dividing the subject’s “mental age,” as determined by which questions she answered correctly on the test, by her “chronological age,” her actual age in years, then multiplying that quotient by 100. For example, an 8-year-old child with a mental age of 12 would have an IQ of 125, with the calculation being 12/8 = 1.25, and 1.25 x 100 = 125. A person whose mental age precisely matched his actual age would have an IQ of 100, so a 100 IQ was defined as “average.”
Modern IQ tests no longer use such a formula. They simply compare a person’s test results with those of everyone else in the same age group, on a scale where 100 is defined as average intelligence.
Criticism
Criticism of IQ tests focuses on the content of the tests–that is, the type of questions they ask–and their application. Such areas as vocabulary and “logic” can be strongly influenced by culture and socioeconomics. For example, consider a test that asks what word goes best with “cup”: saucer, plate or bowl. The test may intend “saucer” to be the correct answer. However, a test-taker who grew up in a home where tables weren’t set in a formal fashion might not know what a saucer is. He may be just as “intelligent” as the next person, but his score will suffer because of cultural factors. Authors of IQ tests are continually refining tests to address such concerns; some tests have removed verbal elements entirely.
Even test creators argue that the results are only one tool for assessing a person’s abilities, and that “intelligence” in a person is not a fixed quality, but changeable–even from day to day. In reality, however, people and institutions tend to put great weight on IQ scores. Students have been labeled “learning disabled” based on the outcome of IQ tests alone. As authors revise their tests, they also are revising their instructions to stress the tests’ limited application
http://www.livestrong.com/article/130019-definition-iq-test/

Daniel Willingham, cognitive scientist and a psychology professor at the University of Virginia and author of “Why Don’t Students Like School?” His next book, “When Can You Trust The Experts? How to tell good science from bad in education,” http://www.danielwillingham.com/books.html Willingham’s research is crucial for understanding IQ.

Science Daily reported in Falling IQ scores in childhood may signal psychotic disorders in later life:

New research shows adults who develop psychotic disorders experience declines in IQ during childhood and adolescence, falling progressively further behind their peers across a range of cognitive abilities. The researchers from King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in the United States found falls in IQ start in early childhood, and suggest educational interventions could potentially delay the onset of mental illness.
Psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, are severe mental illnesses affecting 1-3% of the UK population that cause a range of abnormalities in perception and thinking. The study, published today in JAMA Psychiatry, is the first to track IQ scores and cognitive abilities throughout the entire first two decades of life among individuals who develop psychotic disorders in adulthood.
Dr Josephine Mollon from King’s IoPPN, now with Yale University, said: ‘For individuals with psychotic disorders, cognitive decline does not just begin in adulthood, when individuals start to experience symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions, but rather many years prior — when difficulties with intellectual tasks first emerge — and worsen over time. Our results suggest that among adults with a psychotic disorder, the first signs of cognitive decline are apparent as early as age 4.’
Previous studies have shown that deficits in IQ begin many years before hallucinations and delusions first appear in patients with psychotic disorders, but the timing of when these IQ deficits emerge has not been clear. The new study provides the clearest evidence to date of early life cognitive decline in individuals with psychotic disorders.
The study included 4322 UK-based individuals who were followed from 18 months to 20 years old. Those who developed psychotic disorders as adults had normal IQ scores in infancy, but by age 4 their IQ started to decline, and continued to drop throughout childhood, adolescence and early adulthood until they were an average of 15 points lower than their healthy peers… https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180131133348.htm

Citation:

Falling IQ scores in childhood may signal psychotic disorders in later life
Date:
January 31, 2018
Source:
King’s College London
Summary:
New research shows adults who develop psychotic disorders experience declines in IQ during childhood and adolescence, falling progressively further behind their peers across a range of cognitive abilities. The researchers found falls in IQ start in early childhood, and suggest educational interventions could potentially delay the onset of mental illness.
Journal Reference:
1. Josephine Mollon, Anthony S. David, Stanley Zammit, Glyn Lewis, Abraham Reichenberg. Course of Cognitive Development From Infancy to Early Adulthood in the Psychosis Spectrum. JAMA Psychiatry, 2018; DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.4327

Here is the press release from King’s College:

Falling IQ scores in childhood may signal psychotic disorders in later life
Posted on 01/02/2018
New research shows adults who develop psychotic disorders experience declines in IQ during childhood and adolescence, falling progressively further behind their peers across a range of cognitive abilities. The researchers from King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in the United States found falls in IQ start in early childhood, and suggest educational interventions could potentially delay the onset of mental illness.
Psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, are severe mental illnesses affecting 1-3% of the UK population that cause a range of abnormalities in perception and thinking. The study, published today in JAMA Psychiatry, is the first to track IQ scores and cognitive abilities throughout the entire first two decades of life among individuals who develop psychotic disorders in adulthood.
Dr Josephine Mollon from King’s IoPPN, now with Yale University, said: ‘For individuals with psychotic disorders, cognitive decline does not just begin in adulthood, when individuals start to experience symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions, but rather many years prior – when difficulties with intellectual tasks first emerge – and worsen over time. Our results suggest that among adults with a psychotic disorder, the first signs of cognitive decline are apparent as early as age 4.’
Previous studies have shown that deficits in IQ begin many years before hallucinations and delusions first appear in patients with psychotic disorders, but the timing of when these IQ deficits emerge has not been clear. The new study provides the clearest evidence to date of early life cognitive decline in individuals with psychotic disorders.
The study included 4322 UK-based individuals who were followed from 18 months to 20 years old. Those who developed psychotic disorders as adults had normal IQ scores in infancy, but by age 4 their IQ started to decline, and continued to drop throughout childhood, adolescence and early adulthood until they were an average of 15 points lower than their healthy peers.
As well as falling behind in IQ, individuals who developed psychotic disorders lagged increasingly behind their peers in cognitive abilities such as working memory, processing speed and attention.
IQ scores fluctuate among healthy individuals, and not all children struggling at school are at risk of developing serious psychiatric disorders. Senior author Dr Abraham Reichenberg, Professor of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and with King’s IoPPN said: ‘It is important to bear in mind that many children will experience some difficulties with schoolwork or other intellectual tasks at some point in their lives, and only a small minority will go on to develop a psychotic disorder.’
The results suggest that adults who develop psychotic disorders do not go through a deterioration in cognitive function, but instead they fail to keep up with normal developmental processes. Early interventions to improve cognitive abilities may potentially help stave off psychotic symptoms from developing in later life.
‘There are early interventions offered to adolescents and young adults with psychosis,’ said Dr Reichenberg. ‘Our results show the potential importance of interventions happening much earlier in life. Intervening in childhood or early adolescence may prevent cognitive abilities from worsening and this may even delay or prevent illness onset.’
The researchers are now examining changes in the brains of individuals who go on to develop psychotic disorders, as well as potential environmental and genetic risk factors that may predispose individuals to poor cognition.
The study was funded by the Medical Research Council, and the data was drawn from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC).
Notes to editors
Paper reference:
‘Course of Cognitive Development From Infancy to Early Adulthood in the Psychosis Spectrum’ by Mollon et al., JAMA Psychiatry, DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.4327
To contact the authors, or for further media information, please contact: Robin Bisson, Senior Press Officer, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London, robin.bisson@kcl.ac.uk / +44 20 7848 5377 / +44 7718 697176. +45 87165358

Here are some key findings of Intelligence: New Findings and Theoretical

Developments. American Psychologist. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0026699 which deal directly with the Bell Curve:
Stress, Intelligence, and Social Class
One factor that Neisser and colleagues (1996) did not deal with extensively is stress. Chronic, continuous stress—what can be considered as “toxic” stress—is injurious over time to organ systems, including the brain. Chronically high levels of stress hormones damage specific areas of the brain—namely, the neural circuitry of PFC and hippocampus—that are important for regulating attention and for short-term memory, long-term memory, and working memory (McEwen, 2000). Although the extent to which the effect of early stress on brain development and stress physiology may affect the development of intelligence is not currently known, we do know that (a) stress is greater in low-income home environments (Evans, 2004) and (b) a low level of stress is important for self-regulation and early learning in school (Blair & Razza, 2007; Ferrer & McArdle, 2004; Ferrer et al., 2007). Research suggests that part of the Black–White IQ gap may be attributable to the fact that Blacks, on average, tend to live in more stressful environments than do Whites. This is particularly the case in urban environments, where Black children are exposed to multiple stressors. Sharkey (2010), for example, has recently found that Black children living in Chicago (ages 5–17) scored between 0.5 and 0.66 SD worse on tests (both the WISC-Revised and the Wide Range Achievement Test-3) in the aftermath of a homicide in their neighborhood. Sharkey’s data show that debilitating effects were evident among children regardless of whether they were witnesses to the homicide or had simply heard about it. An impressive study by Eccleston (2011) indicates that even stress on the pregnant mother may have enduring effects on her children. The children born to women in New York City who were in the first six months of pregnancy when 9/11 occurred had lower birth weights than children born before 9/11 or well after it, and the boys at the age of six were more than 7% more likely to be in special education and more than 15% more likely to be in kindergarten rather than first grade. Oddly, girls’ academic status was unaffected by mothers’ stress. Investigation of relations between early stress and intelligence thus seems an important direction for future research. A particularly important issue concerns the degree to which the effects of stress on the brain are reversible. These five unresolved issues are merely examples of some of the important contemporary paradoxes and unknowns in intelligence research. It is to be hoped that as much progress on these and other issues will be made in the next 15 years as has been made on some of the paradoxes and unknowns since the time of the Neisser et al. (1996) review.

IQ is not a simple concept and this newest research points to more questions than answers.

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.

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