Tag Archives: Mental Health

Elsevier study: At what point does click-bait susceptibility become a mental health disorder?

17 Nov

Shahram Heshmat Ph.D. wrote in the Psychology Today article, 5 Patterns of Compulsive Buying: How do you know you have an addiction?

About 6% of the U.S. population can be said to have compulsive buying behavior with 80% of compulsive buyers being women. Many women have been socialized from a very young age to enjoy shopping with their mothers and friends (Workman & Paper, 2010). However, compulsive buying is likely to increase for men with the evolution of digital commerce. It is much faster and easier now to find what you are looking for.
Compulsive buying is similar to behavioral addiction, such as binge eating and gambling (Lawrence et al., 2014). Compulsive spending frequently co-occurs with other mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Unlike other addictions, which take hold in the teens, spending addictions mostly develop in the 30s when people achieve financial independence.
Compulsive buying is not listed as an addiction in the DSM-5. However, the impulse problem appears to share certain characteristics common in addictive disorders (Black, 2012).
1. Impulse purchase. Compulsive buyers often purchase things on impulse that they can do without. And they often try to conceal their shopping habits…. Compulsive buyers may develop into hoarders later in life after their products have accumulated with time (Mueller, 2007).
2. Buyers high. Compulsive shoppers experience a rush of excitement when they buy. The euphoric experience is not from owning something but from the act of buying it…. And this excitement can become addictive.
3. Shopping to dampen unpleasant emotions. Compulsive shopping is an attempt to fill an emotional void, like loneliness, lack of control, or lack of self-esteem. Often, a negative mood, such as an argument or frustration triggers an urge to shop. However, the decrease in negative emotions is temporary and it is replaced by an increase in anxiety or guilt (Donnelly et al., 2016).
4. Guilt and remorse. Purchases are followed by feelings of remorse. They feel guilty and irresponsible for purchases that they perceive as indulges. The result may be a vicious cycle, that is, negative feeling fuel another “fix,” purchasing something else.
5. The pain of paying. Paying with cash is more painful than paying with credit cards (Ariely and Kreisler, 2017). The main psychological force of credit cards is that they separate the pleasure of buying from the pain of paying. Credit cards seduce us into thinking about the positive aspects of a purchase. In fact, CBD is only prevalent in developed countries where there is a system of credit and a consumer culture. https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/science-choice/201806/5-patterns-compulsive-buying

See, Compulsive Shopping https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/compulsive-shopping.asp and Compulsive Spending / Shopping https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/compulsive-shopping

Science Daily reported the Elsevier study: At what point does click-bait susceptibility become a mental health disorder?

A new study in Comprehensive Psychiatry, published by Elsevier, found that one third of a group of patients seeking treatment for buying-shopping disorder (BSD) also reported symptoms of addictive online shopping. These patients tended to be younger than the others in the study sample, experienced greater levels of anxiety and depression, and were likely to exhibit a higher severity of BSD symptoms.
“It really is time to recognize BSD as separate mental health condition and to accumulate further knowledge about BSD on the Internet,” explained lead investigator Astrid Müller, MD, PhD, Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany. At present, BSD is not categorized as a separate mental health condition; it is characterized as “other specified impulse control disorder” in the recently released 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases.
BSD is a cross-national problem that afflicts an estimated five percent of the population. It is characterized by extreme preoccupation with and craving for buying and/or shopping, as well as irresistible and identity-seeking urges to possess consumer goods. Patients with BSD buy more consumer goods than they can afford, need, or use. Their excessive purchasing serves to regulate emotions, e.g., to get pleasure, relief from negative feelings or cope with self-discrepancy. In the long run, the recurrent breakdown in self-control leads to extreme distress, psychiatric comorbidity, familial discord, clutter due to pathological hoarding of goods, and indebtedness and/or deception and embezzlement to enable continued spending despite insufficient finances.
As e-commerce has gained increasing popularity as a primary method for buying and shopping for goods over the past decade, a need has developed for mental health experts to explore whether traditional BSD manifests differently in the online retail market. The Internet offers a vast variety of shopping information and simultaneous access to many online stores, thereby meeting expectations for immediate reward, emotional enhancement, and identity gain.
Previous studies showed that certain Internet-specific aspects of buying and shopping, such as availability, anonymity, accessibility, and affordability, contribute to the development of an online subtype of BSD. However, there is a paucity of studies investigating addictive online shopping as a phenotype of BSD related to the problematic use of the Internet. This study, which analyzed data from earlier studies reporting on 122 treatment-seeking patients, is among the first to quantify and explore the phenomenon of online shopping in BSD diagnosed-patients…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/11/191114100911.htm

Citation:

At what point does click-bait susceptibility become a mental health disorder?
Date: November 14, 2019
Source: Elsevier
Summary:
A new study found that one third of a group of patients seeking treatment for buying-shopping disorder (BSD) also reported symptoms of addictive online shopping. These patients tended to be younger than the others in the study sample, experienced greater levels of anxiety and depression, and were likely to exhibit a higher severity of BSD symptoms.
Journal Reference:
Astrid Müller, Sabine Steins-Loeber, Patrick Trotzke, Birte Vogel, Ekaterini Georgiadou, Martina de Zwaan. Online shopping in treatment-seeking patients with buying-shopping disorder. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 2019; 94: 152120 DOI: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2019.152120

Here is the press release from Elsevier:

At what point does click-bait susceptibility become a mental health disorder?
One third of patients seeking treatment for buying-shopping disorder report symptoms of online shopping addiction, according to a new study published in Comprehensive Psychiatry

Philadelphia, November 13, 2019
A new study in Comprehensive Psychiatry, published by Elsevier, found that one third of a group of patients seeking treatment for buying-shopping disorder (BSD) also reported symptoms of addictive online shopping. These patients tended to be younger than the others in the study sample, experienced greater levels of anxiety and depression, and were likely to exhibit a higher severity of BSD symptoms.
“It really is time to recognize BSD as separate mental health condition and to accumulate further knowledge about BSD on the Internet,” explained lead investigator Astrid Müller, MD, PhD, Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany. At present, BSD is not categorized as a separate mental health condition; it is characterized as “other specified impulse control disorder” in the recently released 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases.
BSD is a cross-national problem that afflicts an estimated five percent of the population. It is characterized by extreme preoccupation with and craving for buying and/or shopping, as well as irresistible and identity-seeking urges to possess consumer goods. Patients with BSD buy more consumer goods than they can afford, need, or use. Their excessive purchasing serves to regulate emotions (e.g., to get pleasure, relief from negative feelings or cope with self-discrepancy). In the long run, the recurrent breakdown in self-control leads to extreme distress, psychiatric comorbidity, familial discord, clutter due to pathological hoarding of goods, and indebtedness and/or deception and embezzlement to enable continued spending despite insufficient finances.
As e-commerce has gained increasing popularity as a primary method for buying and shopping for goods over the past decade, a need has developed for mental health experts to explore whether traditional BSD manifests differently in the online retail market. The Internet offers a vast variety of shopping information and simultaneous access to many online stores, thereby meeting expectations for immediate reward, emotional enhancement, and identity gain.
Previous studies showed that certain Internet-specific aspects of buying and shopping, such as availability, anonymity, accessibility, and affordability, contribute to the development of an online subtype of BSD. However, there is a paucity of studies investigating addictive online shopping as a phenotype of BSD related to the problematic use of the Internet. This study, which analyzed data from earlier studies reporting on 122 treatment-seeking patients, is among the first to quantify and explore the phenomenon of online shopping in BSD diagnosed-patients.
Dr. Müller added, “We hope that our results showing that the prevalence of addictive online shopping among treatment-seeking patients with BSD will encourage future research addressing the distinct phenomenological characteristics, underlying features, associated comorbidity, and specific treatment concepts.”
Notes for editors
The article is “Online shopping in treatment-seeking patients with buying-shopping disorder,”by Astrid Müller, Sabine Steins-Loeber, Patrick Trotzke, Birte Vogel, Ekaterini Georgiadou, and Martina de Zwaan (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.comppsych.2019.152120). It appears in Comprehensive Psychiatry, volume 94 published by Elsevier.
This study is published open access and can be downloaded by following the DOI link above.
Full text of the article is available to credentialed journalists upon request. Contact Eileen Leahy at +1 732 238 3628or hmsmedia@elsevier.com to obtain copies. Journalists wishing to speak to the authors should contact Astrid Müller at mueller.astrid@mh-hannover.de.
About Comprehensive Psychiatry
Comprehensive Psychiatry is an open access, peer-reviewed journal that publishes on all aspects of psychiatry and mental health with a mission to disseminate cutting-edge knowledge in order to improve patient care and advance the understanding of mental illness. The Journal aims to publish high quality papers with a particular emphasis on the clinical implications of the work including an improved understanding of psychopathology.
About Elsevier
Elsevier is a global information analytics business that helps scientists and clinicians to find new answers, reshape human knowledge, and tackle the most urgent human crises. For 140 years, we have partnered with the research world to curate and verify scientific knowledge. Today, we’re committed to bringing that rigor to a new generation of platforms. Elsevier provides digital solutions and tools in the areas of strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support, and professional education; including ScienceDirect, Scopus, SciVal, ClinicalKey and Sherpath. Elsevier publishes over 2,500 digitized journals, including The Lancet and Cell, 39,000 e-book titles and many iconic reference works, including Gray’s Anatomy. Elsevier is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. http://www.elsevier.com
Media contact
Eileen Leahy
Elsevier
+1 732 238 3628
hmsmedia@elsevier.com

Dr. April Benson wrote in Compulsive Shopping Treatment Overview:

As with most other addictive, impulse control, or compulsive disorders, there is a wide range of effective treatment options: drug treatment, individual, group, and couples therapy, counseling for compulsive buying, Debtors Anonymous, and Simplicity Circles can all be effective. The choice of what form or forms of compulsive shopping treatment to use with a particular person is a complex decision that goes well beyond the scope of this overview. For further information about making treatment decisions, consult my own writings, the For Therapists page of this website, as well as the bibliographic references at the end of each chapter in I Shop, Therefore I Am: Compulsive Buying and the Search for Self.
Psychotropic medications, including antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and opiod antagonists have been used to treat compulsive buying, with varying effectiveness. For further details, see McElroy and Goldsmith-Chapter 10 of I Shop, Therefore I Am and in Benson, April L. and Gengler, Marie. “Treatment of Compulsive Buying,” in Handbook of Addictive Disorders: A Practical Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment Handbook, Robert Coombs, (ed.), Wiley (2004).
Group therapy for compulsive buyers has been reported since the late 1980s. At least five different forms of group therapy have been utilized with this population. My own group compulsive shopping treatment model is an amalgam of three things: useful techniques from existing models; didactic and experiential material used in group treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder; and material I’ve found effective in my clinical practice. A study of the efficacy of this model has been submitted for publication to the Journal of Groups in Addiction and Recovery and two additional papers, one about the model itself, and the second, a case illustration of the model, will appear in Volume 8, Number 1, of the Journal of Groups in Addiction and Recovery (2013).
There are chapters about two of the existing group therapy models in my book, I Shop, Therefore I Am and I describe all five in detail in Benson, April L. and Gengler, Marie. “Treatment of Compulsive Buying,” in Handbook of Addictive Disorders: A Practical Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment Handbook, Robert Coombs, (ed.), Wiley (2004).
Couples therapy for compulsive buying is an extremely important treatment modality, because couples act as a financial unit and generally blend income as well as spending. Money issues are an intrinsic part of marriage and are often a source of intense and pervasive friction that can seep into other aspects of the relationship. Couples therapy is indicated when the compulsive spending problem can’t be dealt with adequately on an individual basis. Olivia Mellan, the country’s foremost expert in this area, discusses the treatment in Chapter 15, “Overcoming Overspending in Couples”, of I Shop, Therefore I Am.
How Does Compulsive Shopping Treatment Work?
Compulsive shopping treatment targets the specific problem and creates an action plan to stop the behavior. Targeted counseling for this problem alters the negative actions of compulsive buying and concurrently works toward healing the underlying emotions, although less emphasis is placed on exploring the emotional significance of compulsive buying than in traditional individual psychotherapy. The major premise of compulsive shopping treatment is the idea that insight alone will not stop the behavior. All stages in the compulsive buying cycle must be identified: the triggers, the feelings, the dysfunctional thoughts, the behaviors, the consequences of the behavior, as well as the meaning of the compulsive buying. Creating and using a spending plan is a cornerstone of compulsive shopping treatment. More information about compulsive buying counseling can be found in Karen McCall’s chapter “Financial Recovery Counseling”, as well as in my treatment chapter in Handbook of Addictive Disorders: A Practical Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment Handbook, Robert Coombs, (ed.), Wiley (2004).
Debtors Anonymous (D.A.) can be a powerful tool in recovery from compulsive buying, especially for compulsive buyers who have problems with debt. D.A. sees debting as a disease similar to alcoholism that can be cured with solvency, which means abstinence from any new debt. Since individuals are trying to control their lives with addictive debting, D.A. offers a regimented program of surrender and recovery, a program with a spiritual emphasis. Individual debtors work through the steps of the program with a sponsor, a more experienced member of the group, using newly acquired tools in conjunction with the steps. How Debtors Anonymous and psychotherapy can work synergistically is the topic of Kellen and Levine’s chapter of I Shop, Therefore I Am….. https://www.shopaholicnomore.com/complusive-shopping-treatment/

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Helen Keller

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NYU Langone Health / NYU School of Medicine study: Artificial intelligence can diagnose PTSD by analyzing voices

23 Apr

Live Science described AI in What Is Artificial Intelligence?:

One of the standard textbooks in the field, by University of California computer scientists Stuart Russell and Google’s director of research, Peter Norvig, puts artificial intelligence in to four broad categories:
The differences between them can be subtle, notes Ernest Davis, a professor of computer science at New York University. AlphaGo, the computer program that beat a world champion at Go, acts rationally when it plays the game (it plays to win). But it doesn’t necessarily think the way a human being does, though it engages in some of the same pattern-recognition tasks. Similarly, a machine that acts like a human doesn’t necessarily bear much resemblance to people in the way it processes information.
• machines that think like humans,
• machines that act like humans,
• machines that think rationally,
• machines that act rationally.
Even IBM’s Watson, which acted somewhat like a human when playing Jeopardy, wasn’t using anything like the rational processes humans use.
Tough tasks
Davis says he uses another definition, centered on what one wants a computer to do. “There are a number of cognitive tasks that people do easily — often, indeed, with no conscious thought at all — but that are extremely hard to program on computers. Archetypal examples are vision and natural language understanding. Artificial intelligence, as I define it, is the study of getting computers to carry out these tasks,” he said….
Computer vision has made a lot of strides in the past decade — cameras can now recognize faces Other tasks, though, are proving tougher. For example, Davis and NYU psychology professor Gary Marcus wrote in the Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery of “common sense” tasks that computers find very difficult. A robot serving drinks, for example, can be programmed to recognize a request for one, and even to manipulate a glass and pour one. But if a fly lands in the glass the computer still has a tough time deciding whether to pour the drink in and serve it (or not).
Common sense
The issue is that much of “common sense” is very hard to model. Computer scientists have taken several approaches to get around that problem. IBM’s Watson, for instance, was able to do so well on Jeopardy! because it had a huge database of knowledge to work with and a few rules to string words together to make questions and answers. Watson, though, would have a difficult time with a simple open-ended conversation.
Beyond tasks, though, is the issue of learning. Machines can learn, said Kathleen McKeown, a professor of computer science at Columbia University. “Machine learning is a kind of AI,” she said.
Some machine learning works in a way similar to the way people do it, she noted. Google Translate, for example, uses a large corpus of text in a given language to translate to another language, a statistical process that doesn’t involve looking for the “meaning” of words. Humans, she said, do something similar, in that we learn languages by seeing lots of examples.
That said, Google Translate doesn’t always get it right, precisely because it doesn’t seek meaning and can sometimes be fooled by synonyms or differing connotations….
The upshot is AIs that can handle certain tasks well exist, as do AIs that look almost human because they have a large trove of data to work with. Computer scientists have been less successful coming up with an AI that can think the way we expect a human being to, or to act like a human in more than very limited situations…. https://www.livescience.com/55089-artificial-intelligence.html

NYU scientists used AI to diagnose PTSD which is short for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The National Institute of Mental Health defined PTSD:

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Overview
PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.
It is natural to feel afraid during and after a traumatic situation. Fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to help defend against danger or to avoid it. This “fight-or-flight” response is a typical reaction meant to protect a person from harm. Nearly everyone will experience a range of reactions after trauma, yet most people recover from initial symptoms naturally. Those who continue to experience problems may be diagnosed with PTSD. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they are not in danger.
Signs and Symptoms
Not every traumatized person develops ongoing (chronic) or even short-term (acute) PTSD. Not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous event. Some experiences, like the sudden, unexpected death of a loved one, can also cause PTSD. Symptoms usually begin early, within 3 months of the traumatic incident, but sometimes they begin years afterward. Symptoms must last more than a month and be severe enough to interfere with relationships or work to be considered PTSD. The course of the illness varies. Some people recover within 6 months, while others have symptoms that last much longer. In some people, the condition becomes chronic.
A doctor who has experience helping people with mental illnesses, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, can diagnose PTSD.
To be diagnosed with PTSD, an adult must have all of the following for at least 1 month:
• At least one re-experiencing symptom
• At least one avoidance symptom
• At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms
• At least two cognition and mood symptoms
Re-experiencing symptoms include:
• Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
• Bad dreams
• Frightening thoughts
Re-experiencing symptoms may cause problems in a person’s everyday routine. The symptoms can start from the person’s own thoughts and feelings. Words, objects, or situations that are reminders of the event can also trigger re-experiencing symptoms.
Avoidance symptoms include:
• Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the traumatic experience
• Avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event
Things that remind a person of the traumatic event can trigger avoidance symptoms. These symptoms may cause a person to change his or her personal routine. For example, after a bad car accident, a person who usually drives may avoid driving or riding in a car.
Arousal and reactivity symptoms include:
• Being easily startled
• Feeling tense or “on edge”
• Having difficulty sleeping
• Having angry outbursts
Arousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic events. These symptoms can make the person feel stressed and angry. They may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.
Cognition and mood symptoms include:
• Trouble remembering key features of the traumatic event
• Negative thoughts about oneself or the world
• Distorted feelings like guilt or blame
• Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
Cognition and mood symptoms can begin or worsen after the traumatic event, but are not due to injury or substance use. These symptoms can make the person feel alienated or detached from friends or family members.
It is natural to have some of these symptoms after a dangerous event. Sometimes people have very serious symptoms that go away after a few weeks. This is called acute stress disorder, or ASD. When the symptoms last more than a month, seriously affect one’s ability to function, and are not due to substance use, medical illness, or anything except the event itself, they might be PTSD. Some people with PTSD don’t show any symptoms for weeks or months. PTSD is often accompanied by depression, substance abuse, or one or more of the other anxiety disorders….
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml

See, Recognizing PTSD Early Warning Signs, Matthew Tull, PhD https://www.verywellmind.com/recognizing-ptsd-early-warning-signs-2797569

Science Daily reported in Artificial intelligence can diagnose PTSD by analyzing voices:

A specially designed computer program can help diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans by analyzing their voices, a new study finds.
Published online April 22 in the journal Depression and Anxiety, the study found that an artificial intelligence tool can distinguish — with 89 percent accuracy — between the voices of those with or without PTSD.
“Our findings suggest that speech-based characteristics can be used to diagnose this disease, and with further refinement and validation, may be employed in the clinic in the near future,” says senior study author Charles R. Marmar, MD, the Lucius N. Littauer Professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine.
More than 70 percent of adults worldwide experience a traumatic event at some point in their lives, with up to 12 percent of people in some struggling countries suffering from PTSD. Those with the condition experience strong, persistent distress when reminded of a triggering event.
The study authors say that a PTSD diagnosis is most often determined by clinical interview or a self-report assessment, both inherently prone to biases. This has led to efforts to develop objective, measurable, physical markers of PTSD progression, much like laboratory values for medical conditions, but progress has been slow.
Learning How to Learn
In the current study, the research team used a statistical/machine learning technique, called random forests, that has the ability to “learn” how to classify individuals based on examples. Such AI programs build “decision” rules and mathematical models that enable decision-making with increasing accuracy as the amount of training data grows.
The researchers first recorded standard, hours-long diagnostic interviews, called Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale, or CAPS, of 53 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with military-service-related PTSD, as well as those of 78 veterans without the disease. The recordings were then fed into voice software from SRI International — the institute that also invented Siri — to yield a total of 40,526 speech-based features captured in short spurts of talk, which the team’s AI program sifted through for patterns.
The random forest program linked patterns of specific voice features with PTSD, including less clear speech and a lifeless, metallic tone, both of which had long been reported anecdotally as helpful in diagnosis. While the current study did not explore the disease mechanisms behind PTSD, the theory is that traumatic events change brain circuits that process emotion and muscle tone, which affects a person’s voice.
Moving forward, the research team plans to train the AI voice tool with more data, further validate it on an independent sample, and apply for government approval to use the tool clinically.
“Speech is an attractive candidate for use in an automated diagnostic system, perhaps as part of a future PTSD smartphone app, because it can be measured cheaply, remotely, and non-intrusively,” says lead author Adam Brown, PhD, adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine.
“The speech analysis technology used in the current study on PTSD detection falls into the range of capabilities included in our speech analytics platform called SenSay Analytics™,” says Dimitra Vergyri, director of SRI International’s Speech Technology and Research (STAR) Laboratory. “The software analyzes words — in combination with frequency, rhythm, tone, and articulatory characteristics of speech — to infer the state of the speaker, including emotion, sentiment, cognition, health, mental health and communication quality. The technology has been involved in a series of industry applications visible in startups like Oto, Ambit and Decoded Health.” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190422082232.htm

Citation:

Artificial intelligence can diagnose PTSD by analyzing voices
Study tests potential telemedicine approach
Date: April 22, 2019
Source: NYU Langone Health / NYU School of Medicine
Summary:
A specially designed computer program can help to diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans by analyzing their voices.

Speech‐based markers for posttraumatic stress disorder in US veterans
First published: 22 April 2019
https://doi.org/10.1002/da.22890
Preliminary findings from this study were presented at the 16th annual conference of the International Speech Communication Association, Dresden, Germany, September 6–10, 2015.
Charles R. Marmar
Corresponding Author
E-mail address: Charles.Marmar@nyulangone.org
http://orcid.org/0000-0001-8427-5607
Department of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York
Steven and Alexandra Cohen Veterans Center for the Study of Post‐Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury, New York, New York
Marmar and Brown should be have considered joint first authors.
Correspondence Charles R. Marmar, M.D., Department of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, 1 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016. Email: Charles.Marmar@nyulangone.org
Background
The diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is usually based on clinical interviews or self‐report measures. Both approaches are subject to under‐ and over‐reporting of symptoms. An objective test is lacking. We have developed a classifier of PTSD based on objective speech‐marker features that discriminate PTSD cases from controls.
Methods
Speech samples were obtained from warzone‐exposed veterans, 52 cases with PTSD and 77 controls, assessed with the Clinician‐Administered PTSD Scale. Individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) were excluded. Audio recordings of clinical interviews were used to obtain 40,526 speech features which were input to a random forest (RF) algorithm.
Results
The selected RF used 18 speech features and the receiver operating characteristic curve had an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.954. At a probability of PTSD cut point of 0.423, Youden’s index was 0.787, and overall correct classification rate was 89.1%. The probability of PTSD was higher for markers that indicated slower, more monotonous speech, less change in tonality, and less activation. Depression symptoms, alcohol use disorder, and TBI did not meet statistical tests to be considered confounders.
Conclusions
This study demonstrates that a speech‐based algorithm can objectively differentiate PTSD cases from controls. The RF classifier had a high AUC. Further validation in an independent sample and appraisal of the classifier to identify those with MDD only compared with those with PTSD comorbid with MDD is required.

Here is the press release from NYU:

NEWS RELEASE 22-APR-2019
Artificial intelligence can diagnose PTSD by analyzing voices
Study tests potential telemedicine approach
NYU LANGONE HEALTH / NYU SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
VIDEO: NYU School of Medicine researchers say artificial intelligence could be used to diagnose PTSD by analyzing voices. view more
Credit: NYU School of Medicine
A specially designed computer program can help diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans by analyzing their voices, a new study finds.
Published online April 22 in the journal Depression and Anxiety, the study found that an artificial intelligence tool can distinguish – with 89 percent accuracy – between the voices of those with or without PTSD.
“Our findings suggest that speech-based characteristics can be used to diagnose this disease, and with further refinement and validation, may be employed in the clinic in the near future,” says senior study author Charles R. Marmar, MD, the Lucius N. Littauer Professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine.
More than 70 percent of adults worldwide experience a traumatic event at some point in their lives, with up to 12 percent of people in some struggling countries suffering from PTSD. Those with the condition experience strong, persistent distress when reminded of a triggering event.
The study authors say that a PTSD diagnosis is most often determined by clinical interview or a self-report assessment, both inherently prone to biases. This has led to efforts to develop objective, measurable, physical markers of PTSD progression, much like laboratory values for medical conditions, but progress has been slow.
Learning How to Learn
In the current study, the research team used a statistical/machine learning technique, called random forests, that has the ability to “learn” how to classify individuals based on examples. Such AI programs build “decision” rules and mathematical models that enable decision-making with increasing accuracy as the amount of training data grows.
The researchers first recorded standard, hours-long diagnostic interviews, called Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale, or CAPS, of 53 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with military-service-related PTSD, as well as those of 78 veterans without the disease. The recordings were then fed into voice software from SRI International – the institute that also invented Siri – to yield a total of 40,526 speech-based features captured in short spurts of talk, which the team’s AI program sifted through for patterns.
The random forest program linked patterns of specific voice features with PTSD, including less clear speech and a lifeless, metallic tone, both of which had long been reported anecdotally as helpful in diagnosis. While the current study did not explore the disease mechanisms behind PTSD, the theory is that traumatic events change brain circuits that process emotion and muscle tone, which affects a person’s voice.
Moving forward, the research team plans to train the AI voice tool with more data, further validate it on an independent sample, and apply for government approval to use the tool clinically.
“Speech is an attractive candidate for use in an automated diagnostic system, perhaps as part of a future PTSD smartphone app, because it can be measured cheaply, remotely, and non-intrusively,” says lead author Adam Brown, PhD, adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine.
“The speech analysis technology used in the current study on PTSD detection falls into the range of capabilities included in our speech analytics platform called SenSay Analytics™,” says Dimitra Vergyri, director of SRI International’s Speech Technology and Research (STAR) Laboratory. “The software analyzes words – in combination with frequency, rhythm, tone, and articulatory characteristics of speech – to infer the state of the speaker, including emotion, sentiment, cognition, health, mental health and communication quality. The technology has been involved in a series of industry applications visible in startups like Oto, Ambit and Decoded Health.”
###
Along with Marmar and Brown, authors of the study from the Department of Psychiatry were Meng Qian, Eugene Laska, Carole Siegel, Meng Li, and Duna Abu-Amara. Study authors from SRI International were Andreas Tsiartas, Dimitra Vergyri, Colleen Richey, Jennifer Smith, and Bruce Knoth. Brown is also an associate professor of psychology at the New School for Social Research.
The study was supported by the U.S. Army Medical Research & Acquisition Activity (USAMRAA) and Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) grant W81XWH- ll-C-0004, as well as by the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation.
Media Inquiries:
Jim Mandler
(212) 404-3500
jim.mandler@nyulangone.org
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.

Resources:

Artificial Intelligence Will Redesign Healthcare                     https://medicalfuturist.com/artificial-intelligence-will-redesign-healthcare

9 Ways Artificial Intelligence is Affecting the Medical Field https://www.healthcentral.com/slideshow/8-ways-artificial-intelligence-is-affecting-the-medical-field#slide=2

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

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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American Psychological Association study: Mental health issues increased significantly in young adults over last decade

17 Mar

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Reputation takes a long time to burnish and nurture. It can be destroyed by a smear or an ill-thought-out act in a nanosecond.

“The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.”
Socrates
“Your reputation is in the hands of others. That’s what the reputation is. You can’t control that. The only thing you can control is your character.”
Wayne W. Dyer
In an attempt to control online reputation, many schools are now helping their students clean their online presentation. Why? Because people like to gossip and most of us have been young and stupid or old and ill-advised.
“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”
Eleanor Roosevelt
“Isn’t it kind of silly to think that tearing someone else down builds you up?”
Sean Covey, The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teens

Science Daily reported in Mental health issues increased significantly in young adults over last decade: Shift may be due in part to rise of digital media, study suggests:

The percentage of young Americans experiencing certain types of mental health disorders has risen significantly over the past decade, with no corresponding increase in older adults, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.
“More U.S. adolescents and young adults in the late 2010s, versus the mid-2000s, experienced serious psychological distress, major depression or suicidal thoughts, and more attempted suicide,” said lead author Jean Twenge, PhD, author of the book “iGen” and professor of psychology at San Diego State University. “These trends are weak or non-existent among adults 26 years and over, suggesting a generational shift in mood disorders instead of an overall increase across all ages.”
The research was published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.
Twenge and her co-authors analyzed data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a nationally representative survey that has tracked drug and alcohol use, mental health and other health-related issues in individuals age 12 and over in the United States since 1971. They looked at survey responses from more than 200,000 adolescents age 12 to 17 from 2005 to 2017, and almost 400,000 adults age 18 and over from 2008 to 2017.
The rate of individuals reporting symptoms consistent with major depression in the last 12 months increased 52 percent in adolescents from 2005 to 2017 (from 8.7 percent to 13.2 percent) and 63 percent in young adults age 18 to 25 from 2009 to 2017 (from 8.1 percent to 13.2 percent). There was also a 71 percent increase in young adults experiencing serious psychological distress in the previous 30 days from 2008 to 2017 (from 7.7 percent to 13.1 percent). The rate of young adults with suicidal thoughts or other suicide-related outcomes increased 47 percent from 2008 to 2017 (from 7.0 percent to 10.3 percent).
There was no significant increase in the percentage of older adults experiencing depression or psychological distress during corresponding time periods. The researchers even saw a slight decline in psychological distress in individuals over 65.
“Cultural trends in the last 10 years may have had a larger effect on mood disorders and suicide-related outcomes among younger generations compared with older generations,” said Twenge, who believes this trend may be partially due to increased use of electronic communication and digital media, which may have changed modes of social interaction enough to affect mood disorders. She also noted research shows that young people are not sleeping as much as they did in previous generations.
The increase in digital media use may have had a bigger impact on teens and young adults because older adults’ social lives are more stable and might have changed less than teens’ social lives have in the last ten years, said Twenge. Older adults might also be less likely to use digital media in a way that interferes with sleep — for example, they might be better at not staying up late on their phones or using them in the middle of the night.
“These results suggest a need for more research to understand how digital communication versus face-to-face social interaction influences mood disorders and suicide-related outcomes and to develop specialized interventions for younger age groups,” she said…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190315110908.htm

Citation:

Mental health issues increased significantly in young adults over last decade
Shift may be due in part to rise of digital media, study suggests
Date: March 15, 2019
Source: American Psychological Association
Summary:
The percentage of young Americans experiencing certain types of mental health disorders has risen significantly over the past decade, with no corresponding increase in older adults, according to new research.

Journal Reference:
Jean M. Twenge, A. Bell Cooper, Thomas E. Joiner, Mary E. Duffy, Sarah G. Binau. Age, period, and cohort trends in mood disorder indicators and suicide-related outcomes in a nationally representative dataset, 2005–2017.. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 2019; DOI: 10.1037/abn0000410

Here is the press release from the American Psychological Association:

PUBLIC RELEASE: 14-MAR-2019
Mental health issues increased significantly in young adults over last decade
Shift may be due in part to rise of digital media, study suggests
AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION
WASHINGTON — The percentage of young Americans experiencing certain types of mental health disorders has risen significantly over the past decade, with no corresponding increase in older adults, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.
“More U.S. adolescents and young adults in the late 2010s, versus the mid-2000s, experienced serious psychological distress, major depression or suicidal thoughts, and more attempted suicide,” said lead author Jean Twenge, PhD, author of the book “iGen” and professor of psychology at San Diego State University. “These trends are weak or non-existent among adults 26 years and over, suggesting a generational shift in mood disorders instead of an overall increase across all ages.”
The research was published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.
Twenge and her co-authors analyzed data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a nationally representative survey that has tracked drug and alcohol use, mental health and other health-related issues in individuals age 12 and over in the United States since 1971. They looked at survey responses from more than 200,000 adolescents age 12 to 17 from 2005 to 2017, and almost 400,000 adults age 18 and over from 2008 to 2017.
The rate of individuals reporting symptoms consistent with major depression in the last 12 months increased 52 percent in adolescents from 2005 to 2017 (from 8.7 percent to 13.2 percent) and 63 percent in young adults age 18 to 25 from 2009 to 2017 (from 8.1 percent to 13.2 percent). There was also a 71 percent increase in young adults experiencing serious psychological distress in the previous 30 days from 2008 to 2017 (from 7.7 percent to 13.1 percent). The rate of young adults with suicidal thoughts or other suicide-related outcomes increased 47 percent from 2008 to 2017 (from 7.0 percent to 10.3 percent).
There was no significant increase in the percentage of older adults experiencing depression or psychological distress during corresponding time periods. The researchers even saw a slight decline in psychological distress in individuals over 65.
“Cultural trends in the last 10 years may have had a larger effect on mood disorders and suicide-related outcomes among younger generations compared with older generations,” said Twenge, who believes this trend may be partially due to increased use of electronic communication and digital media, which may have changed modes of social interaction enough to affect mood disorders. She also noted research shows that young people are not sleeping as much as they did in previous generations.
The increase in digital media use may have had a bigger impact on teens and young adults because older adults’ social lives are more stable and might have changed less than teens’ social lives have in the last ten years, said Twenge. Older adults might also be less likely to use digital media in a way that interferes with sleep – for example, they might be better at not staying up late on their phones or using them in the middle of the night.
“These results suggest a need for more research to understand how digital communication versus face-to-face social interaction influences mood disorders and suicide-related outcomes and to develop specialized interventions for younger age groups,” she said.
Given that the increase in mental health issues was sharpest after 2011, Twenge believes it’s unlikely to be due to genetics or economic woes and more likely to be due to sudden cultural changes, such as shifts in how teens and young adults spend their time outside of work and school. If so, that may be good news, she said.
“Young people can’t change their genetics or the economic situation of the country, but they can choose how they spend their leisure time. First and most important is to get enough sleep. Make sure your device use doesn’t interfere with sleep — don’t keep phones or tablets in the bedroom at night, and put devices down within an hour of bedtime,” she said. “Overall, make sure digital media use doesn’t interfere with activities more beneficial to mental health such as face-to-face social interaction, exercise and sleep.”
###
Article: “Age, Period, and Cohort Trends in Mood Disorder and Suicide-Related Outcomes in a Nationally Representative Dataset, 2005-2017,” by Jean Twenge, PhD, San Diego State University; Thomas Joiner, PhD, and Mary Duffy, BA, Florida State University; Bell Cooper, PhD, Lynn University; and Sara Binau, Pomona College. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, published online March 14, 2019.
Full text of the article is available from the APA Public Affairs Office and at
http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/abn-abn0000410.pdf.
Contact: Jean Twenge can be contacted via email at jtwenge@mail.sdsu.edu.
The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA’s membership includes nearly 118,400 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives.
http://www.apa.org
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.
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There is something to be said for Cafe Society where people actually meet face-to-face for conversation or the custom of families eating at least one meal together. Time has a good article on The Magic of the Family Meal http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1200760,00.html See, also The

Importance of Eating Together: Family dinners build relationships, and help kids do better in school. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/07/the-importance-of-eating-together/374256/

It also looks like Internet rehab will have a steady supply of customers according to an article reprinted in the Seattle Times by Hillary Stout of the New York Times. In Toddlers Latch On to iPhones – and Won’t Let Go https://www.seattletimes.com/life/lifestyle/toddlers-latch-onto-iphones-8212-and-wont-let-go/ Stout reports:

But just as adults have a hard time putting down their iPhones, so the device is now the Toy of Choice — akin to a treasured stuffed animal — for many 1-, 2- and 3-year-olds. It’s a phenomenon that is attracting the attention and concern of some childhood development specialists.

Looks like social networking may not be all that social.

Where information leads to Hope. ©

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Duke University study: Childhood lead exposure linked to poor adult mental health

24 Jan

The increased rate of poverty has profound implications if this society believes that ALL children have the right to a good basic education. Moi blogs about education issues so the reader could be perplexed sometimes because moi often writes about other things like nutrition, families, and personal responsibility issues. Why? The reader might ask? Because children will have the most success in school if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of societies’ problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family. There is a lot of economic stress in the country now because of unemployment and underemployment. Children feel the stress of their parents and they worry about how stable their family and living situation is. Sabrina Tavernise wrote an excellent New York Times article, Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Studies Say http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/10/education/education-gap-grows-between-rich-and-poor-studies-show.html?emc=eta1

The Centers for Disease Control report:

Today at least 4 million households have children living in them that are being exposed to high levels of lead. There are approximately half a million U.S. children ages 1-5 with blood lead levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL), the reference level at which CDC recommends public health actions be initiated.
No safe blood lead level in children has been identified. Lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body. Because lead exposure often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized. CDC’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is committed to the Healthy People 2020 goals of eliminating blood lead levels ≥ 10 µg/dL and differences in average risk based on race and social class as public health concerns. The program is part of the National Center for Environmental Health’s Division of Emergency and Environmental Health Services. http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/

A Wayne State University study finds that lead exposure may affect more than one generation.

Science Daily reported in Lead exposure in mothers can affect future generations:

A team of researchers at Wayne State University have discovered that mothers with high levels of lead in their blood not only affect the fetal cells of their unborn children, but also their grandchildren. Their study, Multigenerational epigenetic inheritance in humans: DNA methylation changes associated with maternal exposure to lead can be transmitted to the grandchildren, was published online this week in Scientific Reports.
It’s a known fact that babies in the womb can be affected by low levels of lead exposure. If a pregnant woman is exposed to lead, the lead passes through the placenta into the baby’s developing bones and other organs. Pregnant women with a past exposure to lead can also affect the unborn child’s brain, causing developmental problems later in life. Previous research studies have suggested that exposure to heavy metal toxicants can influence a person’s global DNA methylation profile…. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151002191739.htm?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

A Duke university study examined the effects of lead added to gasoline.

Science Daily reported in Childhood lead exposure linked to poor adult mental health:

Lead exposure in childhood appears to have long-lasting negative effects on mental health and personality in adulthood, according to a study of people who grew up in the era of leaded gasoline.
Previous studies have identified a link between lead and intelligence, but this study looked at changes in personality and mental health as a result of exposure to the heavy metal.
The findings, which will appear Jan. 23 in JAMA Psychiatry, reveal that the higher a person’s blood lead levels at age 11, the more likely they are to show signs of mental illness and difficult personality traits by age 38.
The link between mental health and lead exposure is modest, according to study coauthor Aaron Reuben, a graduate student in clinical psychology at Duke University. But “it’s potentially important because this is a modifiable risk factor that at one point in time everyone was exposed to, and now, certain people in certain cities and countries are still exposed to,” he said.
In a previous study, Reuben and colleagues showed that higher levels of lead in childhood were linked to lower IQ and lower social standing in adulthood.
Both sets of findings suggest that lead’s “effects really can last for quite a long time, in this case three to four decades,” said coauthor Jonathan Schaefer, also a graduate student in clinical psychology at Duke. “Lead exposure decades ago may be harming the mental health of people today who are in their 40s and 50s.”
Because gasoline around the world was treated with high levels of lead from the mid 1960s until the late 1980s, most adults now in their 30s, 40s, and 50s were exposed as children. Lead from automotive exhaust was released into the atmosphere and soils. Today, high lead exposures are rarer, and most often found in children who live in older buildings with lead plumbing and paint.
The subjects of this study are part of a group of more than 1,000 people born in 1972 and 1973 in Dunedin, New Zealand, at a time when gasoline lead levels in New Zealand were among the highest in the world. They have regularly participated in physical and mental health evaluations at the local University of Otago.
Researchers measured blood lead levels — in micrograms per deciliter of blood (ug/dL) — when participants were 11 years old. Today, blood lead levels above 5 ug/dL will trigger additional clinical follow-up of a child. At age 11, 94 percent of participants in the Dunedin Study had blood lead levels above this cutoff.
“These are historical data from an era when lead levels like these were viewed as normal in children and not dangerous, so most of our study participants were never given any treatment for lead toxicity,” said Terrie Moffitt, the senior author of the study and Duke’s Nannerl O. Keohane University Professor of psychology & neuroscience and psychiatry & behavioral sciences.
The Duke research team also assessed participant mental health and personality at various points throughout their lives, most recently at age 38. Diagnostic criteria or symptoms associated with eleven different psychiatric disorders — dependence on alcohol, cannabis, tobacco, or hard drugs; conduct disorder, major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, fears and phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, mania, and schizophrenia — were used to calculate a single measure of mental health, called the psychopathology factor, or “p-factor” for short.
The higher an individual’s p-factor score, the greater the number and severity of psychiatric symptoms. Lead’s effects on mental health as measured by the p-factor score are about as strong as those on IQ, explained coauthor Avshalom Caspi, Edward M. Arnett Professor of psychology & neuroscience and psychiatry & behavioral sciences at Duke. “If you’re worried about lead exposure’s impact on IQ, our study suggests you should probably also be worried about mental health,” Caspi said.
The research team also determined that participants exposed to higher levels of lead as children were described as having more difficult adult personalities by family members and friends. Specifically, they found that study members with greater lead exposure were rated as more neurotic, less agreeable, and less conscientious than their less-exposed peers.
These findings confirm personality characteristics that have been previously linked to a number of problems, including worse mental and physical health, reduced job satisfaction, and troubled interpersonal relationships…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190123112330.htm

Citation:

Childhood lead exposure linked to poor adult mental health
Date: January 23, 2019
Source: Duke University
Summary:
Lead exposure in childhood appears to have long-lasting negative effects on mental health and personality in adulthood, according to a study of people who grew up in the era of leaded gasoline. The findings reveal that the higher a person’s blood lead levels at age 11, the more likely they are to show signs of mental illness and difficult personality traits by age 38.

Journal Reference:
Aaron Reuben, Jonathan D. Schaefer, Terrie E. Moffitt, Jonathan Broadbent, Honalee Harrington, Renate M. Houts, Sandhya Ramrakha, Richie Poulton, Avshalom Caspi. Association of Childhood Lead Exposure With Adult Personality Traits and Lifelong Mental Health. JAMA Psychiatry, 2019 DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.4192

Here is the press release from Duke University:

PUBLIC RELEASE: 23-JAN-2019
Childhood lead exposure linked to poor adult mental health
Lead exposure in childhood appears to have long-lasting negative effects on mental health and personality in adulthood
DUKE UNIVERSITY
DURHAM, N.C. — Lead exposure in childhood appears to have long-lasting negative effects on mental health and personality in adulthood, according to a study of people who grew up in the era of leaded gasoline.
Previous studies have identified a link between lead and intelligence, but this study looked at changes in personality and mental health as a result of exposure to the heavy metal.
The findings, which will appear Jan. 23 in JAMA Psychiatry, reveal that the higher a person’s blood lead levels at age 11, the more likely they are to show signs of mental illness and difficult personality traits by age 38.
The link between mental health and lead exposure is modest, according to study coauthor Aaron Reuben, a graduate student in clinical psychology at Duke University. But “it’s potentially important because this is a modifiable risk factor that at one point in time everyone was exposed to, and now, certain people in certain cities and countries are still exposed to,” he said.
In a previous study, Reuben and colleagues showed that higher levels of lead in childhood were linked to lower IQ and lower social standing in adulthood.
Both sets of findings suggest that lead’s “effects really can last for quite a long time, in this case three to four decades,” said coauthor Jonathan Schaefer, also a graduate student in clinical psychology at Duke. “Lead exposure decades ago may be harming the mental health of people today who are in their 40s and 50s.”
Because gasoline around the world was treated with high levels of lead from the mid 1960s until the late 1980s, most adults now in their 30s, 40s, and 50s were exposed as children. Lead from automotive exhaust was released into the atmosphere and soils. Today, high lead exposures are rarer, and most often found in children who live in older buildings with lead plumbing and paint.
The subjects of this study are part of a group of more than 1,000 people born in 1972 and 1973 in Dunedin, New Zealand, at a time when gasoline lead levels in New Zealand were among the highest in the world. They have regularly participated in physical and mental health evaluations at the local University of Otago.
Researchers measured blood lead levels — in micrograms per deciliter of blood (ug/dL) — when participants were 11 years old. Today, blood lead levels above 5 ug/dL will trigger additional clinical follow-up of a child. At age 11, 94 percent of participants in the Dunedin Study had blood lead levels above this cutoff.
“These are historical data from an era when lead levels like these were viewed as normal in children and not dangerous, so most of our study participants were never given any treatment for lead toxicity,” said Terrie Moffitt, the senior author of the study and Duke’s Nannerl O. Keohane University Professor of psychology & neuroscience and psychiatry & behavioral sciences.
The Duke research team also assessed participant mental health and personality at various points throughout their lives, most recently at age 38. Diagnostic criteria or symptoms associated with eleven different psychiatric disorders — dependence on alcohol, cannabis, tobacco, or hard drugs; conduct disorder, major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, fears and phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, mania, and schizophrenia — were used to calculate a single measure of mental health, called the psychopathology factor, or “p-factor” for short.
The higher an individual’s p-factor score, the greater the number and severity of psychiatric symptoms. Lead’s effects on mental health as measured by the p-factor score are about as strong as those on IQ, explained coauthor Avshalom Caspi, Edward M. Arnett Professor of psychology & neuroscience and psychiatry & behavioral sciences at Duke. “If you’re worried about lead exposure’s impact on IQ, our study suggests you should probably also be worried about mental health,” Caspi said.
The research team also determined that participants exposed to higher levels of lead as children were described as having more difficult adult personalities by family members and friends. Specifically, they found that study members with greater lead exposure were rated as more neurotic, less agreeable, and less conscientious than their less-exposed peers.
These findings confirm personality characteristics that have been previously linked to a number of problems, including worse mental and physical health, reduced job satisfaction, and troubled interpersonal relationships.
“For folks who are interested in intervention and prevention, the study suggests that if you’re going to intervene on a group of kids or young adults that have been lead exposed, you may need to think very long-term when it comes to their care,” said Schaefer.
In the future, the Dunedin Study team is interested in whether lead exposure might be linked to the development of later-life diseases such as dementia or cardiovascular disease.
Reuben said the findings are relevant to other developed countries as well. “When we see changes that may be the result of lead exposures in New Zealand it’s very likely that you would have seen those same impacts in America, in Europe, and the other countries that were using leaded gasoline at the same levels at the same time.”
###
The New Zealand Health Research Council and the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment provided funding to the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit. Support also came from grants T32AG000139 and AG032282 from the National Institute on Aging, T32HD007376 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, F31ES029358 from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and MR/P005918/1 from the UK Medical Research Council. The Jacobs Foundation and the Avielle Foundation provided additional funding.
CITATION: “Association of Childhood Lead Exposure With Adult Personality Traits and Lifelong Mental Health,” Aaron Reuben, Jonathan D. Schaefer, Terrie E. Moffitt, Jonathan Broadbent, Honalee Harrington, Renate M. Houts, Sandhya Ramrakha, Richie Poulton, Avshalom Caspi. JAMA Psychiatry, January 23, 2019. DOI:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.4192
https://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?doi=10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.4192
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.

Another cause of lead poisoning is substandard housing conditions.

A 2002 Journal of Public Health article, Housing and Health: Time Again for Public Health Action:

Poor housing conditions are associated with a wide range of health conditions, including respiratory infections, asthma, lead poisoning, injuries, and mental health. Addressing housing issues offers public health practitioners an opportunity to address an important social determinant of health. Public health has long been involved in housing issues. In the 19th century, health officials targeted poor sanitation, crowding, and inadequate ventilation to reduce infectious diseases as well as fire hazards to decrease injuries. Today, public health departments can employ multiple strategies to improve housing, such as developing and enforcing housing guidelines and codes, implementing “Healthy Homes” programs to improve indoor environmental quality, assessing housing conditions, and advocating for healthy, affordable housing. Now is the time for public health to create healthier homes by confronting substandard housing…. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1447157/

Substandard housing has been identified as a cause of health issues for decades. The issue is what can or will be done to address the issue.

Related:

Unequal exposures: People in poor, non-white neighborhoods breathe more hazardous particles                                  http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2012/unequal-exposures

Lead Poisoning                                                        http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/explore/pollute/lead.htm

Learn about Lead                                                                                  http://www2.epa.gov/lead/learn-about-lead

Poor Neighborhoods’ Influence On Parents May Raise Preschool Children’s Risk Of Problems                                         http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080207085613.htm

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University of Illinois at Chicago study: How to avoid raising a materialistic child

21 Oct

George Monbiot wrote in the article, Materialism: a system that eats us from the inside out:

There has long been a correlation observed between materialism, a lack of empathy and engagement with others, and unhappiness. But research conducted over the past few years seems to show causation. For example, a series of studies published in the journal Motivation and Emotion in July showed that as people become more materialistic, their wellbeing (good relationships, autonomy, sense of purpose and the rest) diminishes. As they become less materialistic, it rises….
A third paper, published (paradoxically) in the Journal of Consumer Research, studied 2,500 people for six years. It found a two-way relationship between materialism and loneliness: materialism fosters social isolation; isolation fosters materialism. People who are cut off from others attach themselves to possessions. This attachment in turn crowds out social relationships.
The two varieties of materialism that have this effect – using possessions as a yardstick of success and seeking happiness through acquisition – are the varieties that seem to be on display on Rich Kids of Instagram. It was only after reading this paper that I understood why those photos distressed me: they look like a kind of social self-mutilation.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons an economic model based on perpetual growth continues on its own terms to succeed, though it may leave a trail of unpayable debts, mental illness and smashed relationships. Social atomisation may be the best sales strategy ever devised, and continuous marketing looks like an unbeatable programme for atomisation.
Materialism forces us into comparison with the possessions of others, a race both cruelly illustrated and crudely propelled by that toxic website. There is no end to it. If you have four Rolexes while another has five, you are a Rolex short of contentment. The material pursuit of self-esteem reduces your self-esteem.
I should emphasise that this is not about differences between rich and poor: the poor can be as susceptible to materialism as the rich. It is a general social affliction, visited upon us by government policy, corporate strategy, the collapse of communities and civic life, and our acquiescence in a system that is eating us from the inside out.
This is the dreadful mistake we are making: allowing ourselves to believe that having more money and more stuff enhances our wellbeing, a belief possessed not only by those poor deluded people in the pictures, but by almost every member of almost every government. Worldly ambition, material aspiration, perpetual growth: these are a formula for mass unhappiness…. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/09/materialism-system-eats-us-from-inside-out

University of Illinois Chicago researchers studied how to avoid raising a materialistic child.

Science Daily reported in How to avoid raising a materialistic child:

If you’re a parent, you may be concerned that materialism among children has been on the rise. According to research, materialism has been linked to a variety of mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, as well as selfish attitudes and behaviors.
But there’s some good news. A new study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology suggests that some parenting tactics can curb kids’ materialistic tendencies.
“Our findings show that it is possible to reduce materialism among young consumers, as well as one of its most common negative consequences (nongenerosity) using a simple strategy — fostering gratitude for the things and people in their lives,” writes researcher Lan Nguyen Chaplin, associate professor of marketing at the University of Illinois at Chicago and coauthor of the study.
After studying a nationwide sample of more than 900 adolescents ages 11 to 17, Chaplin’s team found a link between fostering gratitude and its effects on materialism, suggesting that having and expressing gratitude may possibly decrease materialism and increase generosity among adolescents.
The team surveyed 870 adolescents and asked them to complete an online eight-item measure of materialism assessing the value placed on money and material goods, and a four-item measure of gratitude assessing how thankful they are for people and possessions in their lives.
The researchers then conducted an experiment among 61 adolescents and asked them to complete the same four-item gratitude measure from the first study and an eight-item materialism measure. The adolescents were randomly assigned to keep a daily journal for two weeks. One group was asked to record who and what they were thankful for each day by keeping a gratitude journal, and the control group was asked to record their daily activities.
After two weeks, the journals were collected and the participants completed the same gratitude and materialism measures as before. The kids were then given 10 $1 bills for participating and told they could keep all the money or donate some or all of it to charity.
Results showed that participants who were encouraged to keep a gratitude journal showed a significant decrease in materialism and increase in gratitude. The control group, which kept the daily activity journal, retained their pre-journal levels of gratitude and materialism.
In addition, the group that kept a gratitude journal was more generous than the control group. Adolescents, who were in the experimental group, wrote about who and what they were thankful for and donated more than two-thirds of their earnings. Those who were in the control group and simply wrote about their daily activities donated less than half of their earnings.
“The results of this survey study indicate that higher levels of gratitude are associated with lower levels of materialism in adolescents across a wide range of demographic groups,” Chaplin noted…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181019100606.htm

Citation:

How to avoid raising a materialistic child
Date: October 19, 2018
Source: University of Illinois at Chicago
Summary:
If you’re a parent, you may be concerned that materialism among children has been on the rise. But there’s some good news. A new study suggests that some parenting tactics can curb kids’ materialistic tendencies.
Journal Reference:
Lan Nguyen Chaplin, Deborah Roedder John, Aric Rindfleisch, Jeffrey J. Froh. The impact of gratitude on adolescent materialism and generosity. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 2018; 1 DOI: 10.1080/17439760.2018.1497688

Here is the press release from University of Illinois Chicago:

PUBLIC RELEASE: 19-OCT-2018

How to avoid raising a materialistic child
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT CHICAGO
If you’re a parent, you may be concerned that materialism among children has been on the rise. According to research, materialism has been linked to a variety of mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, as well as selfish attitudes and behaviors.
But there’s some good news. A new study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology suggests that some parenting tactics can curb kids’ materialistic tendencies.
“Our findings show that it is possible to reduce materialism among young consumers, as well as one of its most common negative consequences (nongenerosity) using a simple strategy — fostering gratitude for the things and people in their lives,” writes researcher Lan Nguyen Chaplin, associate professor of marketing at the University of Illinois at Chicago and coauthor of the study.
After studying a nationwide sample of more than 900 adolescents ages 11 to 17, Chaplin’s team found a link between fostering gratitude and its effects on materialism, suggesting that having and expressing gratitude may possibly decrease materialism and increase generosity among adolescents.
The team surveyed 870 adolescents and asked them to complete an online eight-item measure of materialism assessing the value placed on money and material goods, and a four-item measure of gratitude assessing how thankful they are for people and possessions in their lives.
The researchers then conducted an experiment among 61 adolescents and asked them to complete the same four-item gratitude measure from the first study and an eight-item materialism measure. The adolescents were randomly assigned to keep a daily journal for two weeks. One group was asked to record who and what they were thankful for each day by keeping a gratitude journal, and the control group was asked to record their daily activities.
After two weeks, the journals were collected and the participants completed the same gratitude and materialism measures as before. The kids were then given 10 $1 bills for participating and told they could keep all the money or donate some or all of it to charity.
Results showed that participants who were encouraged to keep a gratitude journal showed a significant decrease in materialism and increase in gratitude. The control group, which kept the daily activity journal, retained their pre-journal levels of gratitude and materialism.
In addition, the group that kept a gratitude journal was more generous than the control group. Adolescents, who were in the experimental group, wrote about who and what they were thankful for and donated more than two-thirds of their earnings. Those who were in the control group and simply wrote about their daily activities donated less than half of their earnings.
“The results of this survey study indicate that higher levels of gratitude are associated with lower levels of materialism in adolescents across a wide range of demographic groups,” Chaplin noted.
The authors also suggest that materialism can be curbed and feelings of gratitude can be enhanced by a daily gratitude reflection around the dinner table, having children and adolescents make posters of what they are grateful for, or keeping a “gratitude jar” where children and teens write down something they are grateful for each week, while countering materialism.
###
Coauthors of the study include Deborah Roedder John, University of Minnesota; Aric Rindfleisch, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Jeffrey Froh, Hofstra University.
The research was conducted at Villanova University. Lan Nguyen Chaplin is now at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
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.

A key component of materialism is the level of gratitude an individual possesses.

Lifeworks wrote in Depression more prevalent in the Western world:

According to a new World Health Organization (WHO) study, published on July 25 in the journal of BMC medicine, not only are depression rates significantly higher in affluent nations but cases of major depression are on the rise throughout the world. The study concludes that depression is a severe global problem that will change from being the world’s fourth leading cause of disability worldwide, to being the second leading cause of disability by 2020. But how are we to explain these concerning findings.
The link between affluence and stress
The WHO study found that 15% of people in high income countries were likely to face an episode of depression in their lifetime, compared to 11% of people in low income countries. The highest instances of people that faced clinical depression once in their lifetime was found in France, Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United States. These figures are in stark contrast to countries such as China and Mexico, which were found to have the lowest incidences of depression.
The researchers of the study speculate that stress might be a significant factor in the differences in the prevalence rates. Stress is known to be one of the main triggers of depression, and in nations such as the UK a still growing number of men and women succumb to the pressures that seem embedded in our value system and societal structure. The study found an important gender disparity with regards to depression, with women having a twofold increased risk of having major depressive episodes, which might in part explain why affluent nations, in which women are working and making home, stress and depression are more prevalent…. https://www.lifeworkscommunity.com/mental-health-knowledge-centre/depression/depression-in-the-western-world.html

Perhaps, what is missing is gratitude.

Robert Emmons wrote Why Gratitude Is Good:

We’ve studied more than one thousand people, from ages eight to 80, and found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:
Physical
• Stronger immune systems
• Less bothered by aches and pains
• Lower blood pressure
• Exercise more and take better care of their health
• Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking
Psychological
• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More alert, alive, and awake
• More joy and pleasure
• More optimism and happiness
Social
• More helpful, generous, and compassionate
• More forgiving
• More outgoing
• Feel less lonely and isolated.
The social benefits are especially significant here because, after all, gratitude is a social emotion. I see it as a relationship-strengthening emotion because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people.
Indeed, this cuts to very heart of my definition of gratitude, which has two components. First, it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good thing in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received. This doesn’t mean that life is perfect; it doesn’t ignore complaints, burdens, and hassles. But when we look at life as a whole, gratitude encourages us to identify some amount of goodness in our life…. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_gratitude_is_good

Many of the happiest individuals cultivate an attitude of gratitude. See, Wynne Parry’s 7 Tips to Cultivate Gratitude https://www.livescience.com/25900-7-tips-gratitude-happiness.html

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Aarhus University study: Using antidepressants during pregnancy may affect your child’s mental health

9 Sep

Laura G Owens wrote in the Huffington Post article, What I Wished I’d Had: Maternal Mental Health Screening:

When I was pregnant nineteen years ago I wish my doctor had warned me I might be at risk for postpartum depression.
Her words wouldn’t have freaked me out, they would have helped me cope when the darkness did indeed hit.
I wish during my 6 week check-up (when I was at my private worst) my Ob-Gyn had handed me a mental health screening and even if I lied on every question, she still explained how the “baby blues” are different than depression.
In January for the first time the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommended screening pregnant and postpartum women for maternal mental illness.
Hopefully now more health care practitioners will talk to women so those who suffer know they’re not bad people or rotten mothers or God knows, alone.
The fact is worldwide 10% of pregnant women and 13% of postpartum women have a mental disorder and the numbers are even higher in developing countries.
While maternal mental illness is often lumped into the catchall “postpartum depression” it’s more complicated than a single kitchen sink diagnosis.
Symptoms can show up during pregnancy or long after birth and they don’t always look like depression, sometimes they look like:
• Anxiety
• Panic disorder
• Post-traumatic stress disorder
• Obsessive compulsive disorder
• Psychosis
Alone, or in combination.
Mental illness has always been stigmatized but especially inside the idealized institution of motherhood where pretending superhuman resilience to change, sleep deprivation, anger, frustration, fear, anxiety and sadness awards women the coveted “best” mother prize…. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laura-g-owens/maternal-mental-health-screening_b_9485446.html

The timing of a pregnancy should include diagnosis of potential maternal mental health issues and what treatment may be necessary.

Science Daily reported in Using antidepressants during pregnancy may affect your child’s mental health:

The use of antidepressants has been on the rise for many years. Between 2 and 8% of pregnant women are on antidepressants. Now researchers from the National Centre for Register-based Research at Aarhus BSS show that there is an increased risk involved in using antidepressants during pregnancy.
The researchers, headed by Xiaoqin Liu, have applied register-based research to the study of 905,383 children born between 1998 and 2012 with the aim of exploring the possible adverse effects of the mother’s use of antidepressants during her pregnancy.
They found that out of the 905,383 children in total, 32,400 developed a psychiatric disorder later in life. Some of these children were born to mothers who were on antidepressants during their pregnancy, while other children had not been exposed to medication.
“When we look at children born to mothers who discontinued and continued antidepressant treatment during pregnancy, we can see an increased risk of developing a psychiatric disorder if the mothers continued antidepressant treatment while pregnant,” says Xiaoqin Liu, who is the lead author of the article, which has just been published in BMJ-British Medical Journal.
More specifically, the researchers divided the children into four groups depending on the mother’s use of antidepressants before and during pregnancy. The children in group 1 had not been exposed to antidepressants in the womb. In group 2, the mothers had been taking antidepressants up until the pregnancy, but not during. In group 3, the mothers were using antidepressants both before and during the pregnancy. Group 4 consisted of children, whose mothers were new users of antidepressants and had started taking the medication during the pregnancy.
The result of the study showed an increased number of children with psychiatric disorders in the group in which the mothers had been using antidepressants during their pregnancy. Approximately twice as many children were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder in group 4 (14.5%) than in group 1 (8%). In groups 2 and 3 respectively, 11.5% and 13.6% were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder at age 16 years.
Psychiatric disorders are hereditary
In their analyses, the researchers took into account that heritability also plays a part in determining who will be diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, and that it is not just a question of being exposed to antidepressants in the womb…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170907112400.htm

Citation:

Using antidepressants during pregnancy may affect your child’s mental health
Date: September 7, 2017
Source: Aarhus University
Summary:
The use of antidepressants during pregnancy increases the risk of your child being diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder later in life, a study of almost one million Danish children shows. However, heritability also plays a part, according to the researchers.
Journal Reference:
1. Xiaoqin Liu, Esben Agerbo, Katja G Ingstrup, Katherine Musliner, Samantha Meltzer-Brody, Veerle Bergink, Trine Munk-Olsen. Antidepressant use during pregnancy and psychiatric disorders in offspring: Danish nationwide register based cohort study. BMJ, 2017; j3668 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.j3668

Here is the press release from Aarhus University:

Using antidepressants during pregnancy may affect your child’s mental health
A study from Aarhus BSS of almost one million Danish children shows that the use of antidepressants during pregnancy increases the risk of your child being diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder later in life. However, heritability also plays a part, according to the researchers.
2017.09.07 | Ingrid Marie Fossum
The use of antidepressants has been on the rise for many years. Between 2 and 8% of pregnant women are on antidepressants. Now researchers from the National Centre for Register-based Research at Aarhus BSS show that there is an increased risk involved in using antidepressants during pregnancy.
The researchers, headed by Xiaoqin Liu, have applied register-based research to the study of 905,383 children born between 1998 and 2012 with the aim of exploring the possible adverse effects of the mother’s use of antidepressants during her pregnancy.
They found that out of the 905,383 children in total, 32,400 developed a psychiatric disorder later in life. Some of these children were born to mothers who were on antidepressants during their pregnancy, while other children had not been exposed to medication.
“When we look at children born to mothers who discontinued and continued antidepressant treatment during pregnancy, we can see an increased risk of developing a psychiatric disorder if the mothers continued antidepressant treatment while pregnant,” says Xiaoqin Liu, who is the lead author of the article, which has just been published in BMJ-British Medical Journal.
More specifically, the researchers divided the children into four groups depending on the mother’s use of antidepressants before and during pregnancy. The children in group 1 had not been exposed to antidepressants in the womb. In group 2, the mothers had been taking antidepressants up until the pregnancy, but not during. In group 3, the mothers were using antidepressants both before and during the pregnancy. Group 4 consisted of children, whose mothers were new users of antidepressants and had started taking the medication during the pregnancy.
The result of the study showed an increased number of children with psychiatric disorders in the group in which the mothers had been using antidepressants during their pregnancy. Approximately twice as many children were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder in group 4 (14.5%) than in group 1 (8%). In groups 2 and 3 respectively, 11.5% and 13.6% were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder at age 16 years.
Psychiatric disorders are hereditary
In their analyses, the researchers took into account that heritability also plays a part in determining who will be diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, and that it is not just a question of being exposed to antidepressants in the womb.
“We chose to conduct the study on the assumption that psychiatric disorders are highly heritable. For this reason, we wanted to show that is too narrow if you only look at autism, which is what many previous studies have done. If heritability plays a part, other psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, ADHD-like symptoms would also appear in the data,” says Trine Munk-Olsen, who is also one of the researchers behind the study.
Indeed, the study also shows that the increase covers not only autism but also other psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD. Thus it becomes clear that the mother’s underlying psychiatric disorder matters in relation to the child’s mental health later in life. At the same time, it cannot be ruled out that the use of antidepressants further increases the risk of psychiatric diseases in the child.
“Our research shows that medication seems to increase the risk, but that heritability also plays a part,” says Trine Munk-Olsen, who also points out that it might be the mothers who suffer from the most severe forms of depression who need to take medication during their pregnancy.
Not just black and white
The researchers hope that the study can increase the focus on the fact that the research results are not just black and white. This could help doctors advise women on the use of antidepressants both before and after their pregnancy. Some women might be able to discontinue treatment with the medication while pregnant. However, the researchers also acknowledge that some women need medication and stress that the consequences of an untreated depression are severe and can lead to serious consequences to both mother and child.
The most important message is that we ensure and safeguard the mental well-being of the pregnant women, and for some women, this involves the use of antidepressants.
“These women should not feel guilty about taking antidepressants. Even though there is an increased risk of the child developing a psychiatric disorder later in life, our research shows that we cannot blame medication alone. Heritability also plays a part,” says Trine Munk-Olsen.
Facts:
• The article “Antidepressant use during pregnancy and psychiatric disorders in the offspring: A Danish nationwide register-based cohort study” has been published in the medical journal BMJ-British Medical Journal.
• The research has been conducted by researchers at the National Centre for Register-based Research at Aarhus BSS in collaboration with an American and a Dutch psychiatrist.
• The research has been partly funded by The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research”- iPSYCH, as well as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) (R01MH104468)
• The study includes all children born in Denmark between 1998 and 2012. The study followed the children until 2014, where some of the children were 16,5 years old.
Further info:
Trine Munk-Olsen
Senior Researcher
National Centre for Register-based Research
Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
tmo@econ.au.dk
+45 87165749 / + 45 51505161
¬Xiaoqin Liu
Postdoc
National Centre for Register-based Research
Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
lxq@econ.au.dk
+45 87165358

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

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

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Tulane University study: Don’t want to raise a psychopath? Be sensitive to a child’s distress

9 Dec

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

Jyoti Madhusoodanan and Nature magazine reported in the Scientific American article, Stress Alters Children’s Genomes:

Growing up in a stressful social environment leaves lasting marks on young chromosomes, a study of African American boys has revealed. Telomeres, repetitive DNA sequences that protect the ends of chromosomes from fraying over time, are shorter in children from poor and unstable homes than in children from more nurturing families…
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/stress-alters-childrens-genomes/?WT.mc_id=SA_Facebook

Not only are the child’s gene’s altered, but there are behavioral indications of the stress being felt by the child.

Science Daily reported in Don’t want to raise a psychopath? Be sensitive to a child’s distress:

How do you stop a child, especially one who has experienced significant adversity, from growing up to be a psychopath? Responsive, empathetic caregiving — especially when children are in distress — helps prevent boys from becoming callous, unemotional adolescents, according to a new Tulane University study of children raised in foster care.

The research, which was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, is the first to show that an intervention can prevent the precursors to psychopathy. The destructive condition affects approximately 1 percent of the population and is characterized by callous interpersonal interactions and lack of guilt or empathy.

Researchers measured levels of callous-unemotional behavior in 12-year-olds from the Bucharest Early Intervention Project, a cohort of children abandoned in Romanian orphanages in the early 2000s and followed longitudinally ever since. Half of these children were placed in high-quality foster care as toddlers, while others grew up in institutional care. Researchers compared their results with children who had never been orphans. The study is led by Dr. Charles H. Zeanah from Tulane, Nathan A. Fox from the University of Maryland, and Charles A. Nelson from Harvard Medical School.

Overall, children reared in orphanages had significantly higher levels of callous-unemotional traits compared to children who had never been institutionalized. Boys placed in foster care had lower levels of callous-unemotional traits than those who did not receive the intervention. What explained the difference? Researchers observed children with their caregivers as toddlers and found that the more sensitive caregivers were to a young child’s distress, the less callous and more empathic the boys were in adolescence.

Lead author Kathryn Humphreys, a who conducted the study as a postdoctoral fellow in infant mental health at Tulane, says the findings can help child welfare advocates target and support specific caregiver behaviors when reaching out to families.

“If we can intervene early to help kids in their development, it not only helps them but also the broader society,” she says. “The best way to do that is making sure children are placed in homes with responsive caregivers and helping caregivers learn to be more responsive to their child’s needs.” Don’t want to raise a psychopath? Be sensitive to a child’s distress: New study is the first to show that an intervention can prevent the precursors to psychopathy

Citation

Don’t want to raise a psychopath? Be sensitive to a child’s distress  New study is the first to show that an intervention can prevent the precursors to psychopathy

Date:        December 3, 2015

Source:   Tulane University

Summary:

How do you stop a child, especially one who has experienced significant adversity, from growing up to be a psychopath? Responsive, empathetic caregiving — especially when children are in distress — helps prevent boys from becoming callous, unemotional adolescents, according to a new study of children raised in foster care.

Journal Reference:

  1. Kathryn L. Humphreys, Lucy McGoron, Margaret A. Sheridan, Katie A. McLaughlin, Nathan A. Fox, Charles A. Nelson, Charles H. Zeanah. High-Quality Foster Care Mitigates Callous-Unemotional Traits Following Early Deprivation in Boys: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2015; 54 (12): 977 DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2015.09.010

Here is the press release from Tulane University:

Don’t want to raise a psychopath? Be sensitive to a child’s distress

December 3, 2015

Keith Brannon
Phone: 504-862-8789
kbrannon@tulane.edu

How do you stop a child, especially one who has experienced significant adversity, from growing up to be a psychopath? Responsive, empathetic caregiving – especially when children are in distress – helps prevent boys from becoming callous, unemotional adolescents, according to a new Tulane University study of children raised in foster care.

The research, which was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, is the first to show that an intervention can prevent the precursors to psychopathy.

Researchers measured levels of callous-unemotional behavior in 12-year-olds from the Bucharest Early Intervention Project, a cohort of children abandoned in Romanian orphanages in the early 2000s and followed longitudinally ever since. Half of these children were placed in high-quality foster care as toddlers, while others grew up in institutional care. Researchers compared their results with children who had never been orphans. The study is led by Dr. Charles H. Zeanah from Tulane, Nathan A. Fox from the University of Maryland, and Charles A. Nelson from Harvard Medical School.

Overall, children reared in orphanages had significantly higher levels of callous-unemotional traits compared to children who had never been institutionalized. Boys placed in foster care had lower levels of callous-unemotional traits than those who did not receive the intervention. What explained the difference? Researchers observed children with their caregivers as toddlers and found that the more sensitive caregivers were to a young child’s distress, the less callous and more empathic the boys were in adolescence.

Lead author Kathryn Humphreys, a who conducted the study as a postdoctoral fellow in infant mental health at Tulane, says the findings can help child welfare advocates target and support specific caregiver behaviors when reaching out to families.

“If we can intervene early to help kids in their development, it not only helps them but also the broader society,” she says. “The best way to do that is making sure children are placed in homes with responsive caregivers and helping caregivers learn to be more responsive to their child’s needs.”                                                                                                    Tulane University – Don’t want to raise a psychopath? Be sensitive to a child’s distress                           http://tulane.edu/news/releases/how-to-prevent-raising-a-psychopath.cfm

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:

GAO report: Children’s mental health services are lacking

https://drwilda.com/2013/01/12/gao-report-childrens-mental-health-services-are-lacking/

Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children

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

University of Cambridge study: Saliva test may detect depression in kids

https://drwilda.com/2014/02/23/university-of-cambridge-study-saliva-test-may-detect-depression-in-kids/

Study: Some of the effects of adverse stress do not go away

https://drwilda.com/2012/11/09/study-some-of-the-effects-of-adverse-stress-do-not-go-away/

American Psychological Association: Kids too stressed out to be healthy

https://drwilda.com/2014/02/12/american-psychological-association-kids-too-stressed-out-to-be-healthy/

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