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University of Virginia study: Alzheimer’s drug may stop disease if used before symptoms develop, study suggests

5 Aug

The Alzheimer’s Association describes Alzheimer’s Disease:

Alzheimer’s and Dementia basics
• Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 percent to 80 percent of dementia cases.
Learn more: What Is Dementia, Research and Progress
• Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. The greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older. But Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of old age. Approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease (also known as early-onset Alzheimer’s).
Learn more: Early-Onset Alzheimer’s, Risk Factors

• Alzheimer’s worsens over time. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Those with Alzheimer’s live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from four to 20 years, depending on age and other health conditions.
Learn more: 10 Warning Signs, Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease
• Alzheimer’s has no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues. Although current Alzheimer’s treatments cannot stop Alzheimer’s from progressing, they can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Today, there is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing.
Learn more: Treatments, Treatment Horizon, Prevention, Clinical Trials
Help is available
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, you are not alone. The Alzheimer’s Association is the trusted resource for reliable information, education, referral and support to millions of people affected by the disease.
• Call our 24/7 Helpline: 800.272.3900
• Locate your local Alzheimer’s Association
• Use our Virtual Library
• Go to Alzheimer’s Navigator to create customized action plans and connect with local support services https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers

A University of Virginia study points to treating the disease before symptoms manifest as the most desired option.

Science Daily reported in Alzheimer’s drug may stop disease if used before symptoms develop, study suggests:

About 50 percent of people who reach the age of 85 will develop Alzheimer’s disease. Most will die within about five years of exhibiting the hallmark symptoms of the disease — severe memory loss and a precipitous decline in cognitive function.
But the molecular processes that lead to the disease will have begun years earlier.
Currently, there are no known ways to prevent the disease or to stop its progression once it has begun. But research at the University of Virginia offers new understanding of how the disease develops at the molecular level, long before extensive neuronal damage occurs and symptoms show up.
Additionally, the researchers have found that an FDA-approved drug, memantine, currently used only for alleviating the symptoms of moderate-to-severe Alzheimer’s disease, might be used to prevent or slow the progression of the disease if used before symptoms appear. The research also offers, based on extensive experimentation, a hypothesis as to why this might work.
The findings are published currently online in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia.
“Based on what we’ve learned so far, it is my opinion that we will never be able to cure Alzheimer’s disease by treating patients once they become symptomatic,” said George Bloom, a UVA professor and chair of the Department of Biology, who oversaw the study in his lab. “The best hope for conquering this disease is to first recognize patients who are at risk, and begin treating them prophylactically with new drugs and perhaps lifestyle adjustments that would reduce the rate at which the silent phase of the disease progresses.
“Ideally, we would prevent it from starting in the first place.”
As Alzheimer’s disease begins, there is a lengthy period of time, perhaps a decade or longer, when brain neurons affected by the disease attempt to divide, possibly as a way to compensate for the death of neurons. This is unusual in that most neurons develop prenatally and then never divide again. But in Alzheimer’s the cells make the attempt, and then die.
“It’s been estimated that as much as 90 percent of neuron death that occurs in the Alzheimer’s brain follows this cell cycle reentry process, which is an abnormal attempt to divide,” Bloom said. “By the end of the course of the disease, the patient will have lost about 30 percent of the neurons in the frontal lobes of the brain…” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180801160022.htm

Citation:

Alzheimer’s drug may stop disease if used before symptoms develop, study suggests
Date: August 1, 2018
Source: University of Virginia
Summary:
Biologists have gained new understanding of how Alzheimer’s disease begins, and how it might be halted using a current medication.
Journal Reference:
1. Erin J. Kodis, Sophie Choi, Eric Swanson, Gonzalo Ferreira, George S. Bloom. N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor–mediated calcium influx connects amyloid-β oligomers to ectopic neuronal cell cycle reentry in Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 2018; DOI: 10.1016/j.jalz.2018.05.017

Here is the press release from the University of Virginia:

Study: Alzheimer’s Drug May Stop Disease if Used Before Symptoms Develop
July 31, 2018
• Fariss Samarrai, farisss@virginia.edu
About 50 percent of people who reach the age of 85 will develop Alzheimer’s disease. Most will die within about five years of exhibiting the hallmark symptoms of the disease – severe memory loss and a precipitous decline in cognitive function.
But the molecular processes that lead to the disease will have begun years earlier.
Currently, there are no known ways to prevent the disease or to stop its progression once it has begun. But research at the University of Virginia offers new understanding of how the disease develops at the molecular level, long before extensive neuronal damage occurs and symptoms show up.
Additionally, the researchers have found that an FDA-approved drug, memantine, currently used only for alleviating the symptoms of moderate-to-severe Alzheimer’s disease, might be used to prevent or slow the progression of the disease if used before symptoms appear. The research also offers, based on extensive experimentation, a hypothesis as to why this might work.
The findings are published currently online in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia.
“Based on what we’ve learned so far, it is my opinion that we will never be able to cure Alzheimer’s disease by treating patients once they become symptomatic,” said George Bloom, a UVA professor and chair of the Department of Biology, who oversaw the study in his lab. “The best hope for conquering this disease is to first recognize patients who are at risk, and begin treating them prophylactically with new drugs and perhaps lifestyle adjustments that would reduce the rate at which the silent phase of the disease progresses.
“Ideally, we would prevent it from starting in the first place.”
As Alzheimer’s disease begins, there is a lengthy period of time, perhaps a decade or longer, when brain neurons affected by the disease attempt to divide, possibly as a way to compensate for the death of neurons. This is unusual in that most neurons develop prenatally and then never divide again. But in Alzheimer’s the cells make the attempt, and then die.
“It’s been estimated that as much as 90 percent of neuron death that occurs in the Alzheimer’s brain follows this cell cycle reentry process, which is an abnormal attempt to divide,” Bloom said. “By the end of the course of the disease, the patient will have lost about 30 percent of the neurons in the frontal lobes of the brain.”
Erin Kodis, a former Ph.D. student in Bloom’s lab and now a scientific editor at AlphaBioCom, hypothesized that excess calcium entering neurons through calcium channels on their surface drive those neurons back into the cell cycle. This occurs before a chain of events that ultimately produce the plaques
The building blocks of the plaques are a protein called amyloid beta oligomers. Kodis found that when neurons are exposed to toxic amyloid oligomers, the channel, called the NMDA receptor, opens, thus allowing the calcium flow that drives neurons back into the cell cycle.
Memantine blocks cell cycle reentry by closing the NMDA receptor, Kodis found.
“The experiments suggest that memantine might have potent disease-modifying properties if it could be administered to patients long before they have become symptomatic and diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease,” Bloom said. “Perhaps this could prevent the disease or slow its progression long enough that the average age of symptom onset could be significantly later, if it happens at all.”
Side effects of the drug appear to be infrequent and modest.
Bloom said potential patients would need to be screened for Alzheimer’s biomarkers years before symptoms appear. Selected patients then would need to be treated with memantine, possibly for life, in hopes of stopping the disease from ever developing, or further developing.
“I don’t want to raise false hopes,” Bloom said, but “if this idea of using memantine as a prophylactic pans out, it will be because we now understand that calcium is one of the agents that gets the disease started, and we may be able to stop or slow the process if done very early.”
Bloom currently is working with colleagues at the UVA School of Medicine to design a clinical trial to investigate the feasibility of using memantine as an early intervention.
MEDIA CONTACT
Fariss Samarrai
University News AssociateOffice of University Communications
farisss@virginia.edu (434) 924-3778

The U.S. faces a fiscal crisis in dealing with Alzheimer’s.

Here are 2017 Alzheimer’s Statistics
Alzheimer’s Care Costs
• In 2016, 15.9 million family caregivers provided an estimated 18.2 billion hours and $230 billion to people with dementia.
• In 2017, Alzheimer’s cost the United States $259 billion.
• By 2050, costs associated with dementia could be as much as $1.1 trillion.
• The global cost of Alzheimer’s and dementia is estimated to be $605 billion, which is equivalent to 1% of the entire world’s gross domestic product.
• Aggregate Cost of Care by Payer for Americans Age 65 and Older with Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias: Medicare $113 Billion, Medicaid $41 Billion, Out of Pocket $44 Billion, Other $29 Billion.
Alzheimer’s in the United States
• Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.
• Alzheimer’s is the only disease in the 10 leading causes of deaths in the United States that cannot be cured, prevented or slowed.
• 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s.
• Between 2017 and 2025 every state is expected to see at least a 14% rise in the prevalence of Alzheimer’s.
• There has been an 89% increase in deaths due to Alzheimer’s between 2000 and 2014.
• More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s.
• By 2050, it’s estimated there will be as many as 16 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s.
• Every 66 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s.
• 1 in 3 seniors dies with some form of dementia.
• When the first wave of baby boomers reaches age 85 (in 2031), it is projected that more than 3 million people age 85 and older will have Alzheimer’s.
• One-third of Americans over age 85 are afflicted with the illness.
• Typical life expectancy after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is 4-to-8 years.
• By 2050, there could be as many as 7 million people age 85 and older with Alzheimer’s disease, accounting for half (51%) of all people 65 and older with Alzheimer’s.
• Proportion of People With Alzheimer’s Disease in the United States by Age: 85+ years – 38%, 75-84 years, 44%, 65-74 years, 15%, <65 years, 4% https://www.alzheimers.net/resources/alzheimers-statistics/

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Technical University of Munich study: Allergy potential of strawberries and tomatoes depends on the variety

21 Jul

Moi wrote about allergies in Food allergies can be deadly for some children:

If one is not allergic to substances, then you probably don’t pay much attention to food allergies. The parents and children in one Florida classroom are paying a lot of attention to the subject of food allergies because of the severe allergic reaction one child has to peanuts. In the article, Peanut Allergy Stirs Controversy At Florida Schools Reuters reports:
Some public school parents in Edgewater, Florida, want a first-grade girl with life-threatening peanut allergies removed from the classroom and home-schooled, rather than deal with special rules to protect her health, a school official said.
“That was one of the suggestions that kept coming forward from parents, to have her home-schooled. But we’re required by federal law to provide accommodations. That’s just not even an option for us,” said Nancy Wait, spokeswoman for the Volusia County School District.
Wait said the 6-year-old’s peanut allergy is so severe it is considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
To protect the girl, students in her class at Edgewater Elementary School are required to wash their hands before entering the classroom in the morning and after lunch, and rinse out their mouths, Wait said, and a peanut-sniffing dog checked out the school during last week’s spring break….
Chris Burr, a father of two older students at the school whose wife has protested at the campus, said a lot of small accommodations have added up to frustration for many parents.
“If I had a daughter who had a problem, I would not ask everyone else to change…. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/22/us-peanut-allergy-idUSTRE72L7AQ20110322

Researchers are trying to discover the reason for the allergies.

Active Beat described allergies in the 10 Most Common allergies in Adults:

1. Nuts
Even though we’re most sensitive about nut exposure in schools and around our children, peanut allergies make up 3.3 million allergy cases in the U.S. Plus, reactions to peanut allergies are typically the most severe, resulting in the highest rates of anaphylactic shock compared to other types of allergies. So beware of seemingly nut-free foods and beauty products—moisturizer (which often uses peanut oil) and chili and stews (which often add peanut butter as a thickener).
2. Pollen
Pollens are another common allergy trigger for North Americans. And pollen allergies can act up if you share an environment with trees, grass, and flowering plants. Pollen allergens are airborne so they’re particularly challenging from spring to autumn when plant life is blooming and pollen can be inhaled.
3. Shellfish
Shellfish allergy is one of the more common food allergies for adults—with more than 2-percent of American adults affected. Shellfish allergies also typically develop later in life, unlike many others. So not only do sufferers have to say no to shrimp, oysters, lobster, clams, mussels, and crab; they also have to beware of coming into contact with things like vitamins (i.e., Glucosamine), pet foods, and cross contamination from restaurants.
4. Pet Hair
Sure you love Fido and Fluffy, but as soon as they crawl up on your lap, you’re left with a runny nose and watery eyes. Allergies to pet hair stem from the oil that animal’s secrete from their coats as well as from the protein in their hair.
5. Eggs
Even though more kids are affected by egg allergies, they are still a concern for 20-percent who take the reaction with them into adulthood. Eggs are often hidden in the sneakiest of places as well—including in immunizations, medications, anesthetics, and baked goods.
6. Dust mites
Dust mites are stubborn allergens because they can’t be seen by the naked eye, and they live in dust, which is present in just about every home and workplace setting. And the allergen is kind of gross—dust mites feed on our bacteria, fungi and dead skin cells in dust balls, and we experience allergic reactions to their waste. Yuck!
7. Soy
Although soy is less of an allergen issue for adults than it is for children, soy beans are a common hidden ingredient in packaged foods, hair, baby formula, stuffed toys, and skin products, so it can be rather dangerous even though it may not be listed on the label.
8. Insect bites
An insect stings or bites as part of its defensive mechanism. However, when an insect bites, it leaves proteins in the skin that are also allergy triggers for some people. The allergy can manifest as mild swelling and itchiness, but it can also be life-threatening for some people.

9. Milk
Cow’s milk is the most common food allergy, with 80-percent of U.S. children suffering from exposure to dairy products, many taking the allergy into adulthood. A milk allergy differs from “lactose intolerance” (the body’s inability to digest milk sugars) in that it’s an immune response to milk proteins, including lactose-free products.
10. Wheat
Wheat is a challenging food allergy because it’s found in so many things—including soy sauce, most beers, deli meats, moisturizing lotions, and even shampoos. A wheat allergy differs from Celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder), and oftentimes can cause anaphylaxis in combination with physical exertion. https://www.activebeat.com/your-health/women/10-most-common-allergies-in-adults/?streamview=all

The Technical University of Munich studied whether the variety of the allergen has an impact on the specific allergy.

Science Daily reported in Allergy potential of strawberries and tomatoes depends on the variety

The incidence of food allergies has increased in recent decades: It affects three to four percent of the adult population and five percent of children. Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) and strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa) can cause allergic reactions due to the presence of various allergenic proteins. Of particular note are proteins that resemble the primary allergen in birch pollen and due to this similarity can lead to birch pollen-associated food allergy. About 1.5 percent of the population in Northern Europe and up to 16 percent in Italy are affected by tomato allergies. And around 30 percent of those who are allergic to birch pollen also report allergenic reactions to strawberry fruits….
Previous studies have found that there are several proteins in both strawberries and tomatoes, which can cause allergic reactions. The aim of the two recently published studies was to quantify an important allergenic protein in the various strawberry and tomato varieties. In order to analyze a broad spectrum, varieties were selected in both cases, which differed in size, shape, and color. Furthermore, the influence of organic and conventional cultivation conditions as well as various processing methods ranging from sun-drying and oven-drying to freeze-drying of the fruits, were investigated. It was assumed that the concentration of the allergenic protein varies with the color of the ripe fruit, the state of growth, and the processing method.
The specific variety makes all the difference
Twenty-three different-colored tomato varieties and 20 strawberry varieties of different sizes and shapes were examined to analyze the genetic factor for the expression of the allergenic protein in the fruits.
The concentration of the allergen in both types of fruit varied greatly between varieties. In addition, the heat sensitivity of the proteins could be confirmed: If the fruits were exposed to heat during the drying process, their allergy potential was lower. However, the influence of cultivation conditions (conventional and ecological) on the allergy content was minor….
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180713111957.htm

Citation:

Allergy potential of strawberries and tomatoes depends on the variety
Approach for cultivation of strawberry and tomato varieties with reduced allergy potential
Date:
July 13, 2018
Source:
Technical University of Munich (TUM)
Summary:
Strawberries and tomatoes are among the most widely consumed fruits and vegetables worldwide. However, many people are allergic to them, especially if they have been diagnosed with birch pollen allergy. A team has investigated which strawberry or tomato varieties contain fewer allergens than others and to what extent cultivation or preparation methods are involved.
Journal References:
1. Elisabeth Kurze, Roberto Lo Scalzo, Gabriele Campanelli, Wilfried Schwab. Effect of tomato variety, cultivation, climate and processing on Sola l 4, an allergen from Solanum lycopersicum. PLOS ONE, 2018; 13 (6): e0197971 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0197971
2. Elisabeth Kurze, Vanessa Kock, Roberto Lo Scalzo, Klaus Olbricht, Wilfried Schwab. Effect of the Strawberry Genotype, Cultivation and Processing on the Fra a 1 Allergen Content. Nutrients, 2018; 10 (7): 857 DOI: 10.3390/nu10070857

Here is the press release from the Technical University of Munich:

Approach for cultivation of strawberry and tomato varieties with reduced allergy potential
Allergy potential of strawberries and tomatoes depends on the variety
13.07.2018, Research news
Strawberries and tomatoes are among the most widely consumed fruits and vegetables worldwide. However, many people are allergic to them, especially if they have been diagnosed with birch pollen allergy. A team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has investigated which strawberry or tomato varieties contain fewer allergens than others and to what extent cultivation or preparation methods are involved.
The incidence of food allergies has increased in recent decades: It affects three to four percent of the adult population and five percent of children. Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) and strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa) can cause allergic reactions due to the presence of various allergenic proteins. Of particular note are proteins that resemble the primary allergen in birch pollen and due to this similarity can lead to birch pollen-associated food allergy. About 1.5 percent of the population in Northern Europe and up to 16 percent in Italy are affected by tomato allergies. And around 30 percent of those who are allergic to birch pollen also report allergenic reactions to strawberry fruits.

Symptoms of an immunological reaction to strawberries or tomatoes can affect the skin (urticaria or dermatitis), irritate mucous membranes and trigger a runny nose, and can also lead to abdominal pain. Food allergy sufferers develop symptoms after eating fresh fruit or vegetables, while processed products are often tolerated.

Previous studies have found that there are several proteins in both strawberries and tomatoes, which can cause allergic reactions. The aim of the two recently published studies under the direction of Prof. Dr. Wilfried Schwab from the Chair of Biotechnology of Natural Products was to quantify an important allergenic protein in the various strawberry and tomato varieties. In order to analyze a broad spectrum, varieties were selected in both cases, which differed in size, shape, and color.
Furthermore, the influence of organic and conventional cultivation conditions as well as various processing methods ranging from sun-drying and oven-drying to freeze-drying of the fruits, were investigated. It was assumed that the concentration of the allergenic protein varies with the color of the ripe fruit, the state of growth, and the processing method.
THE SPECIFIC VARIETY MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE
Twenty-three different-colored tomato varieties and 20 strawberry varieties of different sizes and shapes were examined to analyze the genetic factor for the expression of the allergenic protein in the fruits.

The concentration of the allergen in both types of fruit varied greatly between varieties. In addition, the heat sensitivity of the proteins could be confirmed: If the fruits were exposed to heat during the drying process, their allergy potential was lower. However, the influence of cultivation conditions (conventional and ecological) on the allergy content was minor.

Consequently, the proteins investigated in the studies (Sola l 4.02 in tomatoes and Fra a 1 protein in strawberries) may in future serve as markers for the cultivation of hypoallergenic tomato and strawberry varieties.
PUBLICATIONS:
Kurze, Elisabeth, Lo Scalzo, Roberto, Campanelli, Gabriele; Schwab, Wilfried: Effect of tomato variety, cultivation, climate and processing on Sola l 4, an allergen from Solanum lycopersicum, PLOS ONE 2018. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0197971.

Kurze, Elisabeth; Kock, Vanessa; Lo Scalzo, Roberto; Olbricht, Klaus and Schwab, Wilfried: Effect of the strawberry genotype, cultivation and processing on the Fra a 1 allergen content, Nutrients 2018 10, 857. DOI: 10.3390/nu10070857..
CONTACT:
Prof. Dr. Wilfried Schwab
Technical University of Munich
Chair of Biotechnology of Natural Products
Phone: +49 8161 71 2912
Mail: wilfried.schwab@tum.de
Desk: Sabine Letz https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/detail/article/34818/

A physical examination is important for children to make sure that there are no health problems. The University of Arizona Department of Pediatrics has an excellent article which describes Pediatric History and Physical Examination http://www.peds.arizona.edu/medstudents/Physicalexamination.asp The article goes on to describe how the physical examination is conducted and what observations and tests are part of the examination. The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital describes the Process of the Physical Examination http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/p/exam/
If children have allergies, parents must work with their schools to prepare a allergy health plan. See, Journal of American Medical Association study: Consumption of nuts by pregnant woman may reduce nut allergies in their children https://drwilda.com/tag/peanut-allergy/

Resources:

Micheal Borella’s Chicago-Kent Law Review article, Food Allergies In Public Schools: Toward A Model Code
http://www.cklawreview.com/wp-content/uploads/vol85no2/Borella.pdf

USDA’s Accomodating Children With Special Dietary Needs
http://www.k12.wa.us/ChildNutrition/pubdocs/SpecialDietaryNeeds.PDF

Child and Teen Checkup Fact Sheet
http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/fh/mch/ctc/factsheets.html

Video: What to Expect From A Child’s Physical Exam https://www.aol.com/video/view/what-to-expect-from-a-childs-physical-exam/325661948/

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Washington University in St. Louis study: Air pollution contributes significantly to diabetes globally

1 Jul

Cheryl Katz wrote the 2012 Scientific American article, People in Poor Neighborhoods Breathe More Hazardous Particles:

Tiny particles of air pollution contain more hazardous ingredients in non-white and low-income communities than in affluent white ones, a new study shows.
The greater the concentration of Hispanics, Asians, African Americans or poor residents in an area, the more likely that potentially dangerous compounds such as vanadium, nitrates and zinc are in the mix of fine particles they breathe.
Latinos had the highest exposures to the largest number of these ingredients, while whites generally had the lowest.
The findings of the Yale University research add to evidence of a widening racial and economic gap when it comes to air pollution. Communities of color and those with low education and high poverty and unemployment face greater health risks even if their air quality meets federal health standards, according to the article published online in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Fresno are among the metropolitan areas with unhealthful levels of fine particles and large concentrations of poor minorities. More than 50 counties could exceed a new tighter health standard for particulates proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Communities of color and those with low education and high poverty and unemployment may face greater health risks even if their air quality meets federal health standards. A pervasive air pollutant, the fine particulate matter known as PM2.5 is a mixture of emissions from diesel engines, power plants, refineries and other sources of combustion. Often called soot, the microscopic particles penetrate deep into the lungs.
The new study is the first to reveal major racial and economic differences in exposures to specific particle ingredients, some of which are linked to asthma, cardiovascular problems and cancer…. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/people-poor-neighborhoods-breate-more-hazardous-particles/

A University of Miami Miller School of Medicine expanded upon the link between neighborhood greenness and disease.

Science Daily reported in Study links neighborhood greenness to reduction in chronic diseases:

A new study of a quarter-million Miami-Dade County Medicare beneficiaries showed that higher levels of neighborhood greenness, including trees, grass and other vegetation, were linked to a significant reduction in the rate of chronic illnesses, particularly in low-to-middle income neighborhoods. Led by researchers at the University of Miami Department of Public Health Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine, and the School of Architecture, the study showed that higher greenness was linked to significantly lower rates of diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, as well as fewer chronic health conditions.
The findings, published online April 6 by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, are based on 2010 — 2011 health data reported for approximately 250,000 Miami-Dade Medicare beneficiaries over age 65, and a measure of vegetative presence based on NASA satellite imagery. The study was the first of its kind to examine block-level greenness and its relationship to health outcomes in older adults, and the first to measure the impact of greenness on specific cardio-metabolic diseases.
“This study builds on our research group’s earlier analyses showing block level impacts of mixed-use and supportive building features on adults and children,” said lead study author Scott Brown, Ph.D., research assistant professor of public health sciences. Brown was a co-principal investigator on the study with Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, M.Arch., a Malcolm Matheson Distinguished Professor in Architecture. Plater-Zyberk, who was responsible for the rewrite of the City of Miami’s zoning code in 2010, said the study results “give impetus to public agencies and property owners to plant and maintain a verdant public landscape.”
Study findings revealed that higher levels of greenness on the blocks where the study’s Medicare recipients reside, is associated with a significantly lower chronic disease risk for the residents of high greenness blocks, including a 14 percent risk reduction for diabetes, a 13 percent reduction for hypertension and a 10 percent reduction for lipid disorders….. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160421171345.htm

A Washington University in St. Louis study reported a link between pollution and diabetes.

Science Daily reported in Air pollution contributes significantly to diabetes globally:

New research links outdoor air pollution — even at levels deemed safe — to an increased risk of diabetes globally, according to a study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Veterans Affairs (VA) St. Louis Health Care System.
The findings raise the possibility that reducing pollution may lead to a drop in diabetes cases in heavily polluted countries such as India and less polluted ones such as the United States.
Diabetes is one of the fastest growing diseases, affecting more than 420 million people worldwide and 30 million Americans. The main drivers of diabetes include eating an unhealthy diet, having a sedentary lifestyle, and obesity, but the new research indicates the extent to which outdoor air pollution plays a role.
“Our research shows a significant link between air pollution and diabetes globally,” said Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, the study’s senior author and an assistant professor of medicine at Washington University. “We found an increased risk, even at low levels of air pollution currently considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). This is important because many industry lobbying groups argue that current levels are too stringent and should be relaxed. Evidence shows that current levels are still not sufficiently safe and need to be tightened.”
The findings are published June 29 in The Lancet Planetary Health.
While growing evidence has suggested a link between air pollution and diabetes, researchers have not attempted to quantify that burden until now. “Over the past two decades, there have been bits of research about diabetes and pollution,” Al-Aly said. “We wanted to thread together the pieces for a broader, more solid understanding…” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180630153740.htm

Citation:

Air pollution contributes significantly to diabetes globally
Even low pollution levels can pose health risk
Date: June 30, 2018
Source: Washington University in St. Louis
Summary:
New research links outdoor air pollution — even at levels deemed safe — to an increased risk of diabetes globally, according to a new study. The findings raise the possibility that reducing pollution may lead to a drop in diabetes cases in heavily polluted countries such as India and less polluted ones such as the United States.
Journal Reference:
1. Bowe B, Xie Y, Li T, Yan Y, Xian H, Al-Aly Z. The 2016 Global and National Burden of Diabetes Mellitus Attributable to Fine Particulate Matter Air Pollution. The Lancet Planetary Health, June 29, 2018

Here is the press release from Washington University:

PUBLIC RELEASE: 29-JUN-2018
Air pollution contributes significantly to diabetes globally
Even low pollution levels can pose health risk
WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY IN ST. LOUIS
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New research links outdoor air pollution — even at levels deemed safe — to an increased risk of diabetes globally, according to a study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Veterans Affairs (VA) St. Louis Health Care System.
The findings raise the possibility that reducing pollution may lead to a drop in diabetes cases in heavily polluted countries such as India and less polluted ones such as the United States.
Diabetes is one of the fastest growing diseases, affecting more than 420 million people worldwide and 30 million Americans. The main drivers of diabetes include eating an unhealthy diet, having a sedentary lifestyle, and obesity, but the new research indicates the extent to which outdoor air pollution plays a role.
“Our research shows a significant link between air pollution and diabetes globally,” said Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, the study’s senior author and an assistant professor of medicine at Washington University. “We found an increased risk, even at low levels of air pollution currently considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). This is important because many industry lobbying groups argue that current levels are too stringent and should be relaxed. Evidence shows that current levels are still not sufficiently safe and need to be tightened.”
The findings are published June 29 in The Lancet Planetary Health.
While growing evidence has suggested a link between air pollution and diabetes, researchers have not attempted to quantify that burden until now. “Over the past two decades, there have been bits of research about diabetes and pollution,” Al-Aly said. “We wanted to thread together the pieces for a broader, more solid understanding.”
To evaluate outdoor air pollution, the researchers looked at particulate matter, airborne microscopic pieces of dust, dirt, smoke, soot and liquid droplets. Previous studies have found that such particles can enter the lungs and invade the bloodstream, contributing to major health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and kidney disease. In diabetes, pollution is thought to reduce insulin production and trigger inflammation, preventing the body from converting blood glucose into energy that the body needs to maintain health.
Overall, the researchers estimated that pollution contributed to 3.2 million new diabetes cases globally in 2016, which represents about 14 percent of all new diabetes cases globally that year. They also estimated that 8.2 million years of healthy life were lost in 2016 due to pollution-linked diabetes, representing about 14 percent of all years of healthy life lost due to diabetes from any cause. (The measure of how many years of healthy life are lost is often referred to as “disability-adjusted life years.”)
In the United States, the study attributed 150,000 new cases of diabetes per year to air pollution and 350,000 years of healthy life lost annually.
The Washington University team, in collaboration with scientists at the Veterans Affairs’ Clinical Epidemiology Center, examined the relationship between particulate matter and the risk of diabetes by first analyzing data from 1.7 million U.S. veterans who were followed for a median of 8.5 years. The veterans did not have histories of diabetes. The researchers linked that patient data with the EPA’s land-based air monitoring systems as well as space-borne satellites operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). They used several statistical models and tested the validity against controls such as ambient air sodium concentrations, which have no link to diabetes, and lower limb fractures, which have no link to outdoor air pollution, as well as the risk of developing diabetes, which exhibited a strong link to air pollution. This exercise helped the researchers weed out spurious associations.
Then, they sifted through all research related to diabetes and outdoor air pollution and devised a model to evaluate diabetes risk across various pollution levels.
Finally, they analyzed data from the Global Burden of Disease study, which is conducted annually with contributions from researchers worldwide. The data helped to estimate annual cases of diabetes and healthy years of life lost due to pollution.
The researchers also found that the overall risk of pollution-related diabetes is tilted more toward lower-income countries such as India that lack the resources for environmental mitigation systems and clean-air policies. For instance, poverty-stricken countries facing a higher diabetes-pollution risk include Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea and Guyana, while richer countries such as France, Finland and Iceland experience a lower risk. The U.S. experiences a moderate risk of pollution-related diabetes.
In the U.S., the EPA’s pollution threshold is 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air, the highest level of air pollution considered safe for the public, as set by the Clean Air Act of 1990 and updated in 2012. However, using mathematical models, Al-Aly’s team established an increased diabetes risk at 2.4 micrograms per cubic meter of air. Based on VA data, among a sample of veterans exposed to pollution at a level of between 5 to 10 micrograms per cubic meter of air, about 21 percent developed diabetes. When that exposure increases to 11.9 to 13.6 micrograms per cubic meter of air, about 24 percent of the group developed diabetes. A 3 percent difference appears small, but it represents an increase of 5,000 to 6,000 new diabetes cases per 100,000 people in a given year.
In October 2017, The Lancet Commission on pollution and health published a report outlining knowledge gaps on pollution’s harmful health effects. One of its recommendations was to define and quantify the relationship between pollution and diabetes.
“The team in St. Louis is doing important research to firm up links between pollution and health conditions such as diabetes,” said commission member Philip J. Landrigan, MD, a pediatrician and epidemiologist who is the dean for global health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and chair of its Department of Preventive Medicine. “I believe their research will have a significant global impact.”
###
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.

This society will not have healthy children without having healthy home and school environments.

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

Resources:

What are Key Urban Environmental Problems?
http://web.mit.edu/urbanupgrading/urbanenvironment/issues/key-UE-issues.html

Understanding Neighborhood Effects of Concentrated Poverty
https://www.huduser.gov/portal/periodicals/em/winter11/highlight2.html

Where We Live Matters for Our Health: Neighborhoods and Health
http://www.commissiononhealth.org/PDF/888f4a18-eb90-45be-a2f8-159e84a55a4c/Issue%20Brief%203%20Sept%2008%20-%20Neighborhoods%20and%20Health.pdf

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 ©
https://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Carnegie Mellon University study: The seed that could bring clean water to millions

24 Jun

Life Water wrote in Water and Poverty:

How Access to Safe Water Reduces Poverty:
Water and poverty are inextricably linked. Lack of safe water and poverty are mutually reinforcing; access to consistent sources of clean water is crucial to poverty reduction. Currently, 748 million people live without access to safe water and 2.5 billion live without adequate sanitation.[1]
When we talk about poverty, we primarily refer to the economically disadvantaged groups of people across wide swaths of the globe, mainly in Africa and Asia, that survive on subsistence farming or incomes of less than $2 per day. There were 2.4 billion people living in this situation in 2010. The global rate of extreme poverty, defined as the percentage of those living on less than $1.25 per day, was halved between 1990 and 2010.[2]
In that same twenty-year period, the global proportion of people living without access to clean water was halved as well, with 2.3 billion people gaining access to improved drinking water between 1990 and 2012.[3] Safe water means consistent access to and adequate supply of clean water suitable for drinking, bathing, cooking, and cleaning. According to the World Health Organization, this means safe drinking water from a source less than 1 kilometer (.62 miles) away and at least 20 liters (5.28 gallons) per person per day.[4] In some cases, safe water for irrigation or animals might be necessary to the extent that it affects individual human health and dignity. https://lifewater.org/blog/water-poverty/

Carnegie Mellon University scientists reported about their water research which could bring water to those suffering from water poverty.

Science Daily reported in The seed that could bring clean water to millions:

According to the United Nations, 2.1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services, the majority of whom live in developing nations. Carnegie Mellon University’s Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering Professors Bob Tilton and Todd Przybycien recently co-authored a paper with Ph.D. students Brittany Nordmark and Toni Bechtel, and alumnus John Riley, further refining a process that could soon help provide clean water to many in water-scarce regions. The process, created by Tilton’s former student and co-author Stephanie Velegol, uses sand and plant materials readily available in many developing nations to create a cheap and effective water filtration medium, termed “f-sand.”
“F-sand” uses proteins from the Moringa oleifera plant, a tree native to India that grows well in tropical and subtropical climates. The tree is cultivated for food and natural oils, and the seeds are already used for a type of rudimentary water purification. However, this traditional means of purification leaves behind high amounts of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from the seeds, allowing bacteria to regrow after just 24 hours. This leaves only a short window in which the water is drinkable.
Velegol, who is now a professor of chemical engineering at Penn State University, had the idea to combine this method of water purification with sand filtration methods common in developing areas. By extracting the seed proteins and adsorbing (adhering) them to the surface of silica particles, the principal component of sand, she created f-sand. F-sand both kills microorganisms and reduces turbidity, adhering to particulate and organic matter. These undesirable contaminants and DOC can then be washed out, leaving the water clean for longer, and the f-sand ready for reuse.
While the basic process was proven and effective, there were still many questions surrounding f-sand’s creation and use — questions Tilton and Przybycien resolved to answer.
Would isolating certain proteins from the M. oleifera seeds increase f-sand’s effectiveness? Are the fatty acids and oils found in the seeds important to the adsorption process? What effect would water conditions have? What concentration of proteins is necessary to create an effective product? https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180620150246.htm

Citation:

The seed that could bring clean water to millions
Date: June 20, 2018
Source: College of Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
Summary:
Scientist are refining a process that could soon help provide clean water to many in water-scarce regions. The process uses sand and plant materials readily available in many developing nations.
Journal Reference:
1. Brittany A. Nordmark, Toni M. Bechtel, John K. Riley, Darrell Velegol, Stephanie B. Velegol, Todd M. Przybycien, Robert D. Tilton. Moringa oleifera Seed Protein Adsorption to Silica: Effects of Water Hardness, Fractionation, and Fatty Acid Extraction. Langmuir, 2018; 34 (16): 4852 DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.8b00191

Here is the press release from Carnegie Mellon:

PUBLIC RELEASE: 20-JUN-2018
The seed that could bring clean water to millions
COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING, CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY
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According to the United Nations, 2.1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services, the majority of whom live in developing nations.
Carnegie Mellon University’s Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering Professors Bob Tilton and Todd Przybycien recently co-authored a paper with Ph.D. students Brittany Nordmark and Toni Bechtel, and alumnus John Riley, further refining a process that could soon help provide clean water to many in water-scarce regions. The process, created by Tilton’s former student and co-author Stephanie Velegol, uses sand and plant materials readily available in many developing nations to create a cheap and effective water filtration medium, termed “f-sand.”
“F-sand” uses proteins from the Moringa oleifera plant, a tree native to India that grows well in tropical and subtropical climates. The tree is cultivated for food and natural oils, and the seeds are already used for a type of rudimentary water purification. However, this traditional means of purification leaves behind high amounts of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from the seeds, allowing bacteria to regrow after just 24 hours. This leaves only a short window in which the water is drinkable.
Velegol, who is now a professor of chemical engineering at Penn State University, had the idea to combine this method of water purification with sand filtration methods common in developing areas. By extracting the seed proteins and adsorbing (adhering) them to the surface of silica particles, the principal component of sand, she created f-sand. F-sand both kills microorganisms and reduces turbidity, adhering to particulate and organic matter. These undesirable contaminants and DOC can then be washed out, leaving the water clean for longer, and the f-sand ready for reuse.
While the basic process was proven and effective, there were still many questions surrounding f-sand’s creation and use–questions Tilton and Przybycien resolved to answer.
Would isolating certain proteins from the M. oleifera seeds increase f-sand’s effectiveness? Are the fatty acids and oils found in the seeds important to the adsorption process? What effect would water conditions have? What concentration of proteins is necessary to create an effective product?
The answers to these questions could have big implications on the future of f-sand.
Fractionation
The seed of M. oleifera contains at least eight different proteins. Separating these proteins, a process known as fractionation, would introduce another step to the process. Prior to their research, the authors theorized that isolating certain proteins might provide a more efficient finished product.
However, through the course of testing, Tilton and Przybycien found that this was not the case. Fractionating the proteins had little discernible effect on the proteins’ ability to adsorb to the silica particles, meaning this step was unnecessary to the f-sand creation process.
The finding that fractionation is unnecessary is particularly advantageous to the resource-scarce scenario in which f-sand is intended to be utilized. Leaving this step out of the process helps cut costs, lower processing requirements, and simplify the overall process.
Fatty Acids
One of the major reasons M. oleifera is cultivated currently is for the fatty acids and oils found in the seeds. These are extracted and sold commercially. Tilton and Przybycien were interested to know if these fatty acids had an effect on the protein adsorption process as well.
They found that much like fractionation, removing the fatty acids had little effect on the ability of the proteins to adsorb. This finding also has beneficial implications for those wishing to implement this process in developing regions. Since the presence or absence of fatty acids in the seeds has little effect on the creation or function of f-sand, people in the region can remove and sell the commercially valuable oil, and still be able to extract the proteins from the remaining seeds for water filtration.
Concentration
Another parameter of the f-sand manufacturing process that Tilton and Przybycien tested was the concentration of seed proteins needed to create an effective product. The necessary concentration has a major impact on the amount of seeds required, which in turn has a direct effect on overall efficiency and cost effectiveness.
The key to achieving the proper concentration is ensuring that there are enough positively charged proteins to overcome the negative charge of the silica particles to which they are attached, creating a net positive charge. This positive charge is crucial to attract the negatively charged organic matter, particulates, and microbes contaminating the water.
This relates to another potential improvement to drinking water treatment investigated by Tilton, Przybycien, and Nordmark in a separate publication. In this project, they used seed proteins to coagulate contaminants in the water prior to f-sand filtration. This also relies on controlling the charge of the contaminants, which coagulate when they are neutralized. Applying too much protein can over-charge the contaminants and inhibit coagulation.
“There’s kind of a sweet spot in the middle,” says Tilton, “and it lies in the details of how the different proteins in these seed protein mixtures compete with each other for adsorption to the surface, which tended to broaden that sweet spot.”
This broad range of concentrations means that not only can water treatment processes be created at relatively low concentrations, thereby conserving materials, but that there is little risk of accidentally causing water contamination by overshooting the concentration. In areas where exact measurements may be difficult to make, this is crucial.
Water Hardness
Water hardness refers to the amount of dissolved minerals in the water. Although labs often use deionized water, in a process meant to be applied across a range of real world environments, researchers have to prepare for both soft and hard water conditions.
Tilton and Przybycien found that proteins were able to adsorb well to the silica particles, and to coagulate suspended contaminants, in both soft and hard water conditions. This means that the process could potentially be viable across a wide array of regions, regardless of water hardness.
Tilton and Przybycien recently published a paper on this research, “Moringa oleifera Seed Protein Adsorption to Silica: Effects of Water Hardness, Fractionation, and Fatty Acid Extraction,” in ACS Langmuir.
Overall, the conclusions that Tilton, Przybycien, and their fellow authors were able to reach have major benefits for those in developing countries looking for a cheap and easily accessible form of water purification. Their work puts this novel innovation one step closer to the field, helping to forge the path that may one day see f-sand deployed in communities across the developing world. They’ve shown that the f-sand manufacturing process displays a high degree of flexibility, as it is able to work at a range of water conditions and protein concentrations without requiring the presence of fatty acids or a need for fractionation.
“It’s an area where complexity could lead to failure–the more complex it is, the more ways something could go wrong,” says Tilton. “I think the bottom line is that this supports the idea that the simpler technology might be the better one.”
###
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.

Compassion International explains why water is important in eliminating poverty.

In Water Facts Compassion International explains the importance of water:

One of the most critical needs in the fight against poverty around the world is the need for clean water.
Deaths from diseases caused by dirty water are easily preventable. Even so, lack of access to clean water continues to complicate life for those in poverty.
• In 2015, 71 percent of the global population (5.2 billion people) used a safely managed drinking-water service – that is, one located on premises, available when needed, and free from contamination. 1
• Globally, at least 2 billion people use a drinking-water source contaminated with faeces. 1
• By 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas. 1
• Since 2000, 1.4 billion people have gained access to basic drinking water services, such as piped water into the home or a protected dug well. 3
• Over 10 percent of the population still relies on untreated surface water in 22 countries. 4
• At least 10 percent of the world’s population is thought to consume food irrigated by waste water. 2
• 2.3 billion people still do not have basic sanitation facilities such as toilets or latrines. Of these, 892 million still defecate in the open, for example in street gutters, behind bushes or into open bodies of water. 2
• The countries where open defection is most widespread have the highest number of deaths of children aged under 5 years as well as the highest levels of malnutrition and poverty, and big disparities of wealth. 2
• Almost 60 percent of deaths due to diarrhea worldwide are attributable to unsafe drinking water and poor hygiene and sanitation. Hand washing with soap alone can cut the risk of diarrhea by at least 40 percent. 5
• Diarrhea caused by poor sanitation and unsafe water kills 315,000 children every year. 6
https://www.compassion.com/poverty/water.htm

The importance of the Carnegie Mellon research cannot be understated.

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

Resources:

What are Key Urban Environmental Problems?
http://web.mit.edu/urbanupgrading/urbanenvironment/issues/key-UE-issues.html

Understanding Neighborhood Effects of Concentrated Poverty
https://www.huduser.gov/portal/periodicals/em/winter11/highlight2.html

Where We Live Matters for Our Health: Neighborhoods and Health
http://www.commissiononhealth.org/PDF/888f4a18-eb90-45be-a2f8-159e84a55a4c/Issue%20Brief%203%20Sept%2008%20-%20Neighborhoods%20and%20Health.pdf

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 ©
https://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

University of Illinois Chicago study: One-third of US adults may unknowingly use medications that can cause depression

17 Jun

Moi said in Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children:
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

Schools are developing strategies to deal with troubled kids.

Anna M. Phillips wrote the New York Times article, Calming Schools by Focusing on Well-Being of Troubled Students which describes how one New York school is dealing with its troubled children.

Mark Ossenheimer, principal of the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation in the Bronx, threw out a name to add to the list of teenagers in trouble.
Several teachers and a social worker seated around a table in the school’s cramped administrative offices nodded in agreement. They had watched the student, who had a housebound parent who was seriously ill, sink into heavy depression. Another child seemed to be moving from apartment to apartment, showing up at school only sporadically. And then there was the one grappling with gender-identity issues. Soon the list had a dozen names of students who could shatter a classroom’s composure or a school windowpane in a second.
Convening the meeting was Turnaround for Children, a nonprofit organization that the young-but-faltering school in an impoverished neighborhood near the Bronx Zoo had brought in this year to try to change things.
“This is the condition our organization was created to solve,” said Dr. Pamela Cantor, Turnaround’s founder and president. “A teacher who works in a community like this and thinks that these children can leave their issues at the door and come in and perform is dreaming.”
In focusing on students’ psychological and emotional well-being, in addition to academics, Turnaround occupies a middle ground between the educators and politicians who believe schools should be more like community centers, and the education-reform movement, with its no-excuses mantra. Over the past decade, the movement has argued that schools should concentrate on what high-quality, well-trained teachers can achieve in classrooms, rather than on the sociological challenges beyond their doors. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/15/nyregion/calming-schools-through-a-sociological-approach-to-troubled-students.html?hpw

One strategy in helping children to succeed is to recognize and treat depression. https://drwilda.com/2011/11/15/schools-have-to-deal-with-depressed-and-troubled-children/

Science Daily reported in One-third of US adults may unknowingly use medications that can cause depression:

A new study from University of Illinois at Chicago researchers suggests that more than one-third of U.S. adults may be using prescription medications that have the potential to cause depression or increase the risk of suicide, and that because these medications are common and often have nothing to do with depression, patients and health care providers may be unaware of the risk.
The researchers retrospectively analyzed medication use patterns of more than 26,000 adults from 2005 to 2014, which were collected as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They found that more than 200 commonly used prescription drugs — including hormonal birth control medications, blood pressure and heart medications, proton pump inhibitors, antacids and painkillers — have depression or suicide listed as potential side effects.
Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the study is the first to demonstrate that these drugs were often used concurrently and that concurrent use, called polypharmacy, was associated with a greater likelihood of experiencing depression. Approximately 15 percent of adults who simultaneously used three or more of these medications experienced depression while taking the drugs, compared with just 5 percent for those not using any of the drugs, 7 percent for those using one medication and 9 percent for those taking two drugs simultaneously.
The researchers observed similar results for drugs that listed suicide as a potential side effect. These findings persisted when the researchers excluded anyone using psychotropic medications, considered an indicator of underlying depression unrelated to medication use.
“The take away message of this study is that polypharmacy can lead to depressive symptoms and that patients and health care providers need to be aware of the risk of depression that comes with all kinds of common prescription drugs — many of which are also available over the counter,” said lead author Dima Qato, assistant professor of pharmacy systems, outcomes and policy in the UIC College of Pharmacy. “Many may be surprised to learn that their medications, despite having nothing to do with mood or anxiety or any other condition normally associated with depression, can increase their risk of experiencing depressive symptoms, and may lead to a depression diagnosis.”
Qato notes that the study also shows an important trend of increasing polypharmacy for medications with depression, particularly suicidal symptoms, as a potential adverse effect. This makes the need for awareness of depression as a potential side effect even more pressing…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180612185204.htm

Citation:

One-third of US adults may unknowingly use medications that can cause depression
Polypharmacy on the rise
Date: June 12, 2018
Source: University of Illinois at Chicago
Summary:
A new study suggests that more than one-third of U.S. adults may be using prescription medications that have the potential to cause depression or increase the risk of suicide.

Journal Reference:
1. Dima Mazen Qato, Katharine Ozenberger, Mark Olfson. Prevalence of Prescription Medications With Depression as a Potential Adverse Effect Among Adults in the United States. JAMA, 2018; 319 (22): 2289 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2018.6741

Here is the press release from University of Illinois Chicago:

One-third of US adults may unknowingly use medications that can cause depression
June 12, 2018
A new study from University of Illinois at Chicago researchers suggests that more than one-third of U.S. adults may be using prescription medications that have the potential to cause depression or increase the risk of suicide, and that because these medications are common and often have nothing to do with depression, patients and health care providers may be unaware of the risk.
The researchers retrospectively analyzed medication use patterns of more than 26,000 adults from 2005 to 2014, which were collected as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They found that more than 200 commonly used prescription drugs — including hormonal birth control medications, blood pressure and heart medications, proton pump inhibitors, antacids and painkillers — have depression or suicide listed as potential side effects.
Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the study is the first to demonstrate that these drugs were often used concurrently and that concurrent use, called polypharmacy, was associated with a greater likelihood of experiencing depression. Approximately 15 percent of adults who simultaneously used three or more of these medications experienced depression while taking the drugs, compared with just 5 percent for those not using any of the drugs, 7 percent for those using one medication and 9 percent for those taking two drugs simultaneously.
The researchers observed similar results for drugs that listed suicide as a potential side effect. These findings persisted when the researchers excluded anyone using psychotropic medications, considered an indicator of underlying depression unrelated to medication use.
“The take away message of this study is that polypharmacy can lead to depressive symptoms and that patients and health care providers need to be aware of the risk of depression that comes with all kinds of common prescription drugs — many of which are also available over the counter,” said lead author Dima Qato, assistant professor of pharmacy systems, outcomes and policy in the UIC College of Pharmacy. “Many may be surprised to learn that their medications, despite having nothing to do with mood or anxiety or any other condition normally associated with depression, can increase their risk of experiencing depressive symptoms, and may lead to a depression diagnosis.”
Qato notes that the study also shows an important trend of increasing polypharmacy for medications with depression, particularly suicidal symptoms, as a potential adverse effect. This makes the need for awareness of depression as a potential side effect even more pressing.
The researchers found use of any prescription medication with a potential depression adverse effect increased from 35 percent in the 2005 to 2006 period to 38 percent in the 2013 to 2014 period. Approximate use of antacids with potential depression adverse effects, like proton pump inhibitors and H2 antagonists, increased from 5 percent to 10 percent in the same period. Use of three or more drugs concurrently increased from 7 percent to 10 percent, approximately.
For prescription drugs with suicide listed as a potential side effect, usage increased from 17 percent to 24 percent, and use of three or more drugs concurrently increased from 2 percent to 3 percent.
“People are not only increasingly using these medicines alone, but are increasingly using them simultaneously, yet very few of these drugs have warning labels, so until we have public or system-level solutions, it is left up to patients and health care professionals to be aware of the risks,” Qato said.
Qato says that solutions worth further study may include updating drug safety software to recognize depression as a potential drug-drug interaction, so that health care professionals, including pharmacists, are more likely to notice if a patient is using multiple medications that may increase risk. Or, including evaluation of medication use in the depression screening and diagnostic tools used by doctors and nurses and recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, especially when it comes to persistent or treatment-resistant depression.
“With depression as one of the leading causes of disability and increasing national suicide rates, we need to think innovatively about depression as a public health issue, and this study provides evidence that patterns of medication use should be considered in strategies that seek to eliminate, reduce or minimize the impact of depression in our daily lives,” Qato said.
Co-authors on the study are Katharine Ozenberger of UIC and Columbia University’s Mark Olfson. Qato and Olfson both noted financial disclosures potentially relevant to the study.
Contact
Jacqueline Carey
312-996-8277
jmcarey@uic.edu
twitter.com/JCareyUIC

If you or your child needs help for depression or another illness, then go to a reputable medical provider. There is nothing wrong with taking the steps necessary to get well.

Related:

Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/schools-have-to-deal-with-depressed-and-troubled-children/

School psychologists are needed to treat troubled children
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/school-psychologists-are-needed-to-treat-troubled-children/

Battling teen addiction: ‘Recovery high schools’
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/battling-teen-addiction-recovery-high-schools/

Resources:
1. About.Com’s Depression In Young Children http://depression.about.com/od/child/Young_Children.htm

2. Psych Central’s Depression In Young Children http://depression.about.com/od/child/Young_Children.htm

3. Psychiatric News’ Study Helps Pinpoint Children With Depression http://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/newsarticle.aspx?articleid=106034

4. Family Doctor’s What Is Depression? http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/depression.html

5. WebMD’s Depression In Children http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-children

6. Healthline’s Is Your Child Depressed?
http://www.healthline.com/hlvideo-5min/how-to-help-your-child-through-depression-517095449

7. Medicine.Net’s Depression In Children http://www.onhealth.com/depression_in_children/article.htm

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/

Drexel University study: Trauma from parents’ youth linked to poorer health, asthma in their own children

10 Jun

Moi reported about the effect stress has on genes in Penn State study: Stress alters children’s genomes https://drwilda.com/2014/04/08/penn-state-study-stress-alters-childrens-genomes/ A Tulane Medical School study finds that family violence or trauma alters a child’s genomes.

Science Daily reported in the article, Family violence leaves genetic imprint on children:

A new Tulane University School of Medicine study finds that the more fractured families are by domestic violence or trauma, the more likely that children will bear the scars down to their DNA.
Researchers discovered that children in homes affected by domestic violence, suicide or the incarceration of a family member have significantly shorter telomeres, which is a cellular marker of aging, than those in stable households. The findings are published online in the latest issue of the journal Pediatrics.
Telomeres are the caps at the end of chromosomes that keep them from shrinking when cells replicate. Shorter telomeres are linked to higher risks for heart disease, obesity, cognitive decline, diabetes, mental illness and poor health outcomes in adulthood. Researchers took genetic samples from 80 children ages 5 to 15 in New Orleans and interviewed parents about their home environments and exposures to adverse life events….
The study found that gender moderated the impact of family instability. Traumatic family events were more detrimental to young girls as they were more likely to have shortened telomeres. There was also a surprising protective effect for boys: mothers who had achieved a higher level of education had a positive association with telomere length, but only in boys under 10.
Ultimately, the study suggests that the home environment is an important intervention target to reduce the biological impacts of adversity in the lives of young children, Drury said. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617102505.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29&utm_content=FaceBook

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

Science Daily reported in Trauma from parents’ youth linked to poorer health, asthma in their own children:

Trauma experienced by a parent during childhood has long-reaching consequences — maybe even to the point of negatively impacting their own children’s health, a new Drexel University study found.
“It is well known that adverse childhood experiences can lead to serious and wide-ranging effects on the health of the people who go through them,” said Félice Lê-Scherban, PhD, the study’s lead researcher and an assistant professor in Drexel’s Dornsife School of Public Health. “A lot of these health problems — such as substance abuse, depression or chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease — can affect how parents care for their kids and the environments where they grow up.”
“Adverse childhood experiences” are described as serious traumas or stress a person experiences during their formative years. This might include something like abuse or exposure to violence and/or drugs. The study, published in Pediatrics, looked into surveys taken by 350 Philadelphia parents who answered questions about their own “ACEs.”
It found that for every type of “ACE” a parent went through, their children had 19 percent higher odds of poorer health and 17 percent higher odds of having asthma.
“If we only look at the within-individual effects of ACEs, we may be underestimating their lasting impact on health across multiple generations,” Lê-Scherban said of the study team’s motivations. “Looking intergenerationally gives us a more comprehensive picture of the long-term processes that might affect children’s health.”
“By the same token, acting to prevent ACEs and helping those who have experienced them can potentially have benefits extending to future generations,” Lê-Scherban added.
Among the parents who were surveyed:
— Nearly 42 percent said they’d witnessed violence (seeing someone shot, stabbed or beaten) as a child
— 38 percent said they lived with a problem drinker or someone who used illicit drugs during their youth
— Roughly 37 percent said that they had been physically abused as children
While those were the most common ACEs, there were many others that received strong responses, including experiencing racial discrimination and sexual abuse.
Overall, 85 percent of parents experienced at least one ACE. The more ACEs a parent had suffered as a child, the more likely their own children were to have poorer health status.
One of the other areas that Lê-Scherban and her fellow researchers focused on was behavior in the survey respondents’ children that could have an impact on health. They found that each ACE a parent had experienced was tied to an additional 16 percent higher odds that their children would have excessive TV-watching habits. While not a direct health outcome, it sets up a child for potentially poorer health habits down the line.
And though ACEs are more prevalent in populations low on the socioeconomic scale, that doesn’t explain everything, Lê-Scherban said…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180604172745.htm

Citation:

Trauma from parents’ youth linked to poorer health, asthma in their own children
Date: June 4, 2018
Source: Drexel University
Summary:
A new study found that for each type of adverse childhood experience a parent went through, their children had 19 percent higher odds of poorer health.
Journal Reference:
1. Félice Lê-Scherban, Xi Wang, Kathryn H. Boyle-Steed, Lee M. Pachter. Intergenerational Associations of Parent Adverse Childhood Experiences and Child Health Outcomes. Pediatrics, 2018; 141 (6): e20174274 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2017-4274

Here is the press release from Drexel University:

Trauma from Parents’ Youth Linked to Poorer Health, Asthma in Their Own Children
By: Frank Otto
June 4, 2018

Trauma experienced by a parent during childhood has long-reaching consequences — maybe even to the point of negatively impacting their own children’s health, a new Drexel University study found.
“It is well known that adverse childhood experiences can lead to serious and wide-ranging effects on the health of the people who go through them,” said Félice Lê-Scherban, PhD, the study’s lead researcher and an assistant professor in Drexel’s Dornsife School of Public Health. “A lot of these health problems — such as substance abuse, depression or chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease — can affect how parents care for their kids and the environments where they grow up.”
“Adverse childhood experiences” are described as serious traumas or stress a person experiences during their formative years. This might include something like abuse or exposure to violence and/or drugs. The study, published in Pediatrics, looked into surveys taken by 350 Philadelphia parents who answered questions about their own “ACEs.”
It found that for every type of “ACE” a parent went through, their children had 19 percent higher odds of poorer health and 17 percent higher odds of having asthma.
“If we only look at the within-individual effects of ACEs, we may be underestimating their lasting impact on health across multiple generations,” said Lê-Scherban — who also serves as a researcher in her school’s Urban Health Collaborative — about the study team’s motivations. “Looking intergenerationally gives us a more comprehensive picture of the long-term processes that might affect children’s health.”
“By the same token, acting to prevent ACEs and helping those who have experienced them can potentially have benefits extending to future generations,” Lê-Scherban added.
Among the parents who were surveyed:
• Nearly 42 percent said they’d witnessed violence (seeing someone shot, stabbed or beaten) as a child
• 38 percent said they lived with a problem drinker or someone who used illicit drugs during their youth
• Roughly 37 percent said that they had been physically abused as children
While those were the most common ACEs, there were many others that received strong responses, including experiencing racial discrimination and sexual abuse.
Overall, 85 percent of parents experienced at least one ACE. The more ACEs a parent had suffered as a child, the more likely their own children were to have poorer health status.
One of the other areas that Lê-Scherban and her fellow researchers focused on was behavior in the survey respondents’ children that could have an impact on health. They found that each ACE a parent had experienced was tied to an additional 16 percent higher odds that their children would have excessive TV-watching habits. While not a direct health outcome, it sets up a child for potentially poorer health habits down the line.
And though ACEs are more prevalent in populations low on the socioeconomic scale, that doesn’t explain everything, Lê-Scherban said.
“It’s important to remember that ACEs, and their effects, occur across the socioeconomic spectrum,” Lê-Scherban commented.
While the links can’t be definitively established as causal yet, they suggest that it’s important to keep studying the multigenerational effects that trauma has on health, according to Lê-Scherban.
“We need to know more about the specific pathways through which parental ACEs might harm child health so we can minimize these harms,” she said. “On the flip side, it’s important to learn more about the factors that promote resilience to help parents and their children thrive despite past trauma.”
Those interested in reading the full study, “Intergenerational Associations of Parent Adverse Childhood Experiences and Child Health Outcomes,” can access it here.
Media Contact:
Frank Otto
fmo26@drexel.edu
215.571.4244

Here is information about the Adverse Child Experiences Study. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides access to the peer-reviewed publications resulting from The ACE Study. http://acestudy.org/
https://drwilda.com/2012/11/09/study-some-of-the-effects-of-adverse-stress-do-not-go-away/

Science Daily reported in Infantile memory study points to critical periods in early-life learning for brain development:

A new study on infantile memory formation in rats points to the importance of critical periods in early-life learning on functional development of the brain. The research, conducted by scientists at New York University’s Center for Neural Science, reveals the significance of learning experiences over the first two to four years of human life; this is when memories are believed to be quickly forgotten — a phenomenon known as infantile amnesia.
“What our findings tell us is that children’s brains need to get enough and healthy activation even before they enter pre-school,” explains Cristina Alberini, a professor in NYU’s Center for Neural Science, who led the study. “Without this, the neurological system runs the risk of not properly developing learning and memory functions…”
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160718111939.htm

Citation:

Infantile memory study points to critical periods in early-life learning for brain development
Date: July 18, 2016
Source: New York University
Summary:
A new study on infantile memory formation in rats points to the importance of critical periods in early-life learning on functional development of the brain. The research reveals the significance of learning experiences over the first two to four years of human life.
Journal Reference:
1. Alessio Travaglia, Reto Bisaz, Eric S Sweet, Robert D Blitzer, Cristina M Alberini. Infantile amnesia reflects a developmental critical period for hippocampal learning. Nature Neuroscience, 2016; DOI: 10.1038/nn.4348

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

Resources:

The Effects of Stress on Your Body
http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/effects-of-stress-on-your-body

The Physical Effects of Long-Term Stress
http://psychcentral.com/lib/2007/the-physical-effects-of-long-term-stress/all/1/

Chronic Stress: The Body Connection
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=53737

Understanding Stress Symptoms, Signs, Causes, and Effects
http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_signs.htm

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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/

Drexel University study: New parts of the brain become active after students learn physics

27 May

Jonathan Cohn reported about an unprecedented experiment which occurred in Romanian orphanages in the New Republic article, The Two Year Window. There are very few experiments involving humans because of ethical considerations.

Drury, Nelson, and their collaborators are still learning about the orphans. But one upshot of their work is already clear. Childhood adversity can damage the brain as surely as inhaling toxic substances or absorbing a blow to the head can. And after the age of two, much of that damage can be difficult to repair, even for children who go on to receive the nurturing they were denied in their early years. This is a revelation with profound implication—and not just for the Romanian orphans.
APPROXIMATELY SEVEN MILLION American infants, toddlers, and preschoolers get care from somebody other than a relative, whether through organized day care centers or more informal arrangements, according to the Census Bureau. And much of that care is not very good. One widely cited study of child care in four states, by researchers in Colorado, found that only 8 percent of infant care centers were of “good” or “excellent” quality, while 40 percent were “poor.” The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has found that three in four infant caregivers provide only minimal cognitive and language stimulation—and that more than half of young children in non-maternal care receive “only some” or “hardly any” positive caregiving. http://www.tnr.com/article/economy/magazine/97268/the-two-year-window?page=0,0&passthru=YzBlNDJmMmRkZTliNDgwZDY4MDhhYmIwMjYyYzhlMjg

Because the ranks of poor children are growing in the U.S., this study portends some grave challenges not only for particular children, but this society and this country. Adequate early learning opportunities and adequate early parenting is essential for proper development in children. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/jonathan-cohns-the-two-year-window/

Michigan State University’s Office of Supportive Services succinctly states why math is important:

Why is math important?

All four year Universities have a math requirement

Math improves your skills:

• Critical Thinking Skills
• Deductive Logic and Reasoning Skills
• Problem Solving Skills

A good knowledge of math and statistics can expand your career options

Physical Sciences – Chemistry, Engineering, Physics

Life and Health Sciences – Biology, Psychology, Pharmacy, Nursing, Optometry

Social Sciences – Anthropology, Communications, Economics, Linquistics, Education, Geography

Technical Sciences – Computer Science, Networking, Software Development

Business and Commerce

Actuarial Sciences

Medicine

http://oss.msu.edu/academic-assistance/why-is-math-important

Often, the students who need the best math teachers are shortchanged.

Science Daily reported in New parts of the brain become active after students learn physics:

Parts of the brain not traditionally associated with learning science become active when people are confronted with solving physics problems, a new study shows.
The researchers, led by Eric Brewe, PhD, an associate professor in Drexel University’s College of Arts and Sciences, say this shows that the brain’s activity can be modified by different forms of instruction.
Using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to measure blood flow in the brain, the researchers looked to map what areas become active when completing a physics reasoning task, both before a course on the concepts and after.
“The neurobiological processes that underpin learning are complex and not always directly connected to what we think it means to learn,” Brewe said of the findings, which were published in Frontiers in ICT.
More than 50 volunteer students took part in the study in which they were taught a physics course that utilized “Modeling Instruction,” a style of teaching which encourages students to be active participants in their learning.
Before they participated in the class, the students answered questions from an abridged version of the Force Concept Inventory while undergoing fMRI. The Force Concept Inventory is a test that assesses knowledge of physics concepts commonly taught in early college physics classes.
After the volunteer students completed their physics course, they again took the Force Concept Inventory, once more monitored by fMRI.
In the pre-instruction scans, parts of the brain associated with attention, working memory and problem solving — the lateral prefrontal cortex and parietal cortex, sometimes called the brain’s “central executive network” — showed activity.
“One of the keys seemed to be an area of the brain, the dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex, that generates mental simulations,” Brewe said. “This suggests that learning physics is an imaginative process, which is not typically how people think of it.”
After the subjects had completed their class, comparison of the pre- and post-learning scans revealed increased activity in the frontal poles, which was to be expected since they’ve been linked to learning. But there was another area that also became active: the posterior cingulate cortex, which is linked to episodic memory and self-referential thought.
“These changes in brain activity may be related to more complex behavioral changes in how students reason through physics questions post- relative to pre-instruction,” Brewe and his co-authors wrote about the study. “These might include shifts in strategy or an increased access to physics knowledge and problem-solving resources….” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180524141527.htm

Citation:

New parts of the brain become active after students learn physics
Date: May 24, 2018
Source: Drexel University
Summary:
A new study showed that, when confronted with physics problems, new parts of a student’s brain are utilized after receiving instruction in the topic.
Journal Reference:
1. Eric Brewe, Jessica E. Bartley, Michael C. Riedel, Vashti Sawtelle, Taylor Salo, Emily R. Boeving, Elsa I. Bravo, Rosalie Odean, Alina Nazareth, Katherine L. Bottenhorn, Robert W. Laird, Matthew T. Sutherland, Shannon M. Pruden, Angela R. Laird. Toward a Neurobiological Basis for Understanding Learning in University Modeling Instruction Physics Courses. Frontiers in ICT, 2018; 5 DOI: 10.3389/fict.2018.00010

Here is the press release from Science Daily:

New parts of the brain become active after students learn physics

May 24, 2018 by Frank Otto, Drexel University

Parts of the brain not traditionally associated with learning science become active when people are confronted with solving physics problems, a new study shows.

The researchers, led by Eric Brewe, Ph.D., an associate professor in Drexel University’s College of Arts and Sciences, say this shows that the brain’s activity can be modified by different forms of instruction.

Using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to measure blood flow in the brain, the researchers looked to map what areas become active when completing a physics reasoning task, both before a course on the concepts and after.

“The neurobiological processes that underpin learning are complex and not always directly connected to what we think it means to learn,” Brewe said of the findings, which were published in Frontiers in ICT.

More than 50 volunteer students took part in the study in which they were taught a physics course that utilized “Modeling Instruction,” a style of teaching which encourages students to be active participants in their learning.
Before they participated in the class, the students answered questions from an abridged version of the Force Concept Inventory while undergoing fMRI. The Force Concept Inventory is a test that assesses knowledge of physics concepts commonly taught in early college physics classes.

After the volunteer students completed their physics course, they again took the Force Concept Inventory, once more monitored by fMRI.
In the pre-instruction scans, parts of the brain associated with attention, working memory and problem solving—the lateral prefrontal cortex and parietal cortex, sometimes called the brain’s “central executive network—showed activity.

“One of the keys seemed to be an area of the brain, the dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex, that generates mental simulations,” Brewe said. “This suggests that learning physics is an imaginative process, which is not typically how people think of it.”

After the subjects had completed their class, comparison of the pre- and post-learning scans revealed increased activity in the frontal poles, which was to be expected since they’ve been linked to learning. But there was another area that also became active: the posterior cingulate cortex, which is linked to episodic memory and self-referential thought.

“These changes in brain activity may be related to more complex behavioral changes in how students reason through physics questions post- relative to pre-instruction,” Brewe and his co-authors wrote about the study. “These might include shifts in strategy or an increased access to physics knowledge and problem-solving resources.”

One of the aims of the study was to further explore how the form of teaching used, Modeling Instruction, encourages students to use their own mental models to understand new concepts.

“The idea of mental models is something that people who research learning love to talk about, but have no evidence of what is happening inside brains other than what people say or do,” Brewe said. “We are actually looking for evidence from inside the brain.”

As such, Brewe and his fellow researchers think their study provides a good look at what might be typical when these “mental models” take hold.
But why physics? What makes this the ideal subject to study mental modeling in the brain?

Brewe said that there has been some research on the brain networks associated with learning math and reading. But mental modeling especially lends itself to physics, which has not gotten as much attention.

“Physics is a really good place to understand learning for two reasons,” Brewe said. “First, it deals with things that people have direct experience with, making formal classroom learning and informal understanding both relevant and sometimes aligned—and sometimes contrasted.”

“Second, physics is based in laws, so there are absolutes that govern the way the body works,” Brewe finished.

Moving forward, Brewe is excited by what this study opens up in his quest to improve physics learning in the United States and beyond.
“I would like to follow up on the question of mental simulations in physics, to see where that shows up at different levels of physics learning and with different populations,” he said. “But this whole study opens up many new areas of investigations and I’m pretty excited about how it will play out.”

Explore further: Scientists discover how the brain repurposes itself to learn scientific concepts

More information: Eric Brewe et al, Toward a Neurobiological Basis for Understanding Learning in University Modeling Instruction Physics Courses, Frontiers in ICT ( 2018). DOI: 10.3389/fict.2018.00010
Provided by: Drexel University

Moi has written about the importance of motivation in student learning. In Research papers: Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform, moi wrote:

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. A series of papers about student motivation by the Center on Education Policy (CEP) follows the Council on Foreign Relations report by Condoleezza Rice and Joel Klein. https://drwilda.com/2012/05/30/research-papers-student-motivation-an-overlooked-piece-of-school-reform/

Every child deserves not only a good education, but a good math education.

Related:

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/

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

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/

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

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