Tag Archives: Science Daily

University of California San Diego study: Targeted cognitive training benefits patients with severe schizophrenia

8 Dec

Bethany Yeiser wrote in the Psychology Today article, Schizophrenia and Homelessness: Paranoia drove me to sleep outside:

Over the past few years, I have been contacted by several families who have a loved one struggling with schizophrenia. Many of these people with schizophrenia are homeless.
For me, becoming homeless was a direct result of schizophrenia. Because of the illness, I could not work the easiest job or focus enough to take even one class. The illness brought on a paranoia which led me to cut off all my family members and my closest friends.
While homeless, I badly wanted a place to sleep, as I was tired of sleeping outside in a churchyard. Remarkably, I was given plenty of opportunities to leave my homeless life, and I rejected every one of them…. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/recovery-road/201807/schizophrenia-and-homelessness

SARDAA has information about schizophrenia.

In Quick Facts About Schizophrenia, SARDAA reported:

Quick Facts About Schizophrenia
• Schizophrenia can be found in approximately 1.1% of the world’s population, regardless of racial, ethnic or economic background
• Approximately 3.5 million people in the United States are diagnosed with schizophrenia and it is one of the leading causes of disability.
• Three-quarters of persons with schizophrenia develop the illness between 16 and 25 years of age.
• The disorder is at least partially genetic.
• To be diagnosed as having schizophrenia, one must have associated symptoms for at least six months.
• Studies have indicated that 25% of those having schizophrenia recover completely, 50% are improved over a 10-year period, and 25% do not improve over time.
• Treatment and other economic costs due to schizophrenia are enormous, estimated between $32.5 and $65 billion annually.
• Between one-third and one-half of all homeless adults have schizophrenia.
• 50% of people diagnosed with schizophrenia have received no treatment.
To learn more, we invite you to view a presentation by Linda Whitten Stalters, APRN, BC, FAPA, SARDAA Board of Directors. https://www.slideshare.net/SARDAA https://sardaa.org/resources/about-schizophrenia/

The University of California San Diego reported that cognitive training might aid those suffering from schizophrenia.

Science daily reported in Targeted cognitive training benefits patients with severe schizophrenia:

Schizophrenia is among the most difficult mental illnesses to treat, in part because it is characterized by a wide range of dysfunction, from hallucinations and mood disorders to cognitive impairment, especially verbal and working memory, which can be explained in part by abnormalities in early auditory information processing.
In recent years, targeted cognitive training (TCT) has emerged as a promising therapeutic intervention. TCT uses computerized training, such as sophisticated brain games, to target specific neural pathways, such as memory, learning and auditory-based senses, to beneficially alter the way they process information.
But while TCT has proven effective for mild to moderate forms of schizophrenia under carefully controlled conditions, it remains unclear whether the approach might benefit patients with chronic, refractory schizophrenia treated in non-academic settings, such as those cared for in locked residential rehabilitation centers.
In a study published in the December print issue of Schizophrenia Research, senior author Gregory A. Light, PhD, professor of psychiatry at UC San Diego School of Medicine and director of the Mental Illness, Research, Education and Clinical Center at Veterans Affaris San Diego Healthcare System, and colleagues investigated whether TCT improved auditory and verbal outcomes among the most difficult of schizophrenia patients.
“Chronic, treatment-refractory patients mandated to locked residential care facilities make up just a small subgroup of persons with schizophrenia, but they consume a disproportionately large share of mental health care resources,” said Light. “Finding an effective therapy for them is critical.”
Light’s team studied 46 patients with schizophrenia psychosis recruited from a community-based residential treatment program, each following acute hospitalization. All were deemed “gravely disabled,” unable to care for themselves, and under the guardianship of a private party or government agency. Participants were randomized to either standard treatment-as-usual (TAU) or TAU plus TCT, in which they used laptop computers to perform various learning and memory game exercises, often involving auditory cues.
The researchers found that among participants who completed the roughly three months of TAU-TCT treatment, verbal learning and auditory perception scores improved; and severity of auditory hallucinations lessened. Of note: The benefits were not negatively impacted by age, clinical symptoms, medication or illness duration. “Our results suggest that chronically ill, highly disabled patients can benefit from TCT,” said Light. “That contradicts current assumptions.”
Light cited some caveats. “We’re somewhere between the Wild West and golden age of cognitive training for schizophrenia patients. There is much still to be learned and done,” he said. Patients in this study represented some of the most difficult patients to treat, with therapy regimens that are highly complex. “We need to do a lot more research….” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181207112759.htm

Citation:

Targeted cognitive training benefits patients with severe schizophrenia
Study participants improved auditory and verbal outcomes
Date: December 7, 2018
Source: University of California – San Diego
Summary:
Researchers find that patients with severe, refractory schizophrenia benefit from targeted cognitive therapy, improving auditory and verbal outcomes and the way they process information.
Journal Reference:
Michael L. Thomas, Andrew W. Bismark, Yash B. Joshi, Melissa Tarasenko, Emily B.H. Treichler, William C. Hochberger, Wen Zhang, John Nungaray, Joyce Sprock, Lauren Cardoso, Kristine Tiernan, Mouna Attarha, David L. Braff, Sophia Vinogradov, Neal Swerdlow, Gregory A. Light. Targeted cognitive training improves auditory and verbal outcomes among treatment refractory schizophrenia patients mandated to residential care. Schizophrenia Research, 2018; 202: 378 DOI: 10.1016/j.schres.2018.07.025

Here is the press release from University of California San Diego:

PUBLIC RELEASE: 6-DEC-2018
Targeted cognitive training benefits patients with severe schizophrenia
Study participants improved auditory and verbal outcomes
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA – SAN DIEGO
Schizophrenia is among the most difficult mental illnesses to treat, in part because it is characterized by a wide range of dysfunction, from hallucinations and mood disorders to cognitive impairment, especially verbal and working memory, which can be explained in part by abnormalities in early auditory information processing.
In recent years, targeted cognitive training (TCT) has emerged as a promising therapeutic intervention. TCT uses computerized training, such as sophisticated brain games, to target specific neural pathways, such as memory, learning and auditory-based senses, to beneficially alter the way they process information.
But while TCT has proven effective for mild to moderate forms of schizophrenia under carefully controlled conditions, it remains unclear whether the approach might benefit patients with chronic, refractory schizophrenia treated in non-academic settings, such as those cared for in locked residential rehabilitation centers.
In a study published in the December print issue of Schizophrenia Research, senior author Gregory A. Light, PhD, professor of psychiatry at UC San Diego School of Medicine and director of the Mental Illness, Research, Education and Clinical Center at Veterans Affaris San Diego Healthcare System, and colleagues investigated whether TCT improved auditory and verbal outcomes among the most difficult of schizophrenia patients.
“Chronic, treatment-refractory patients mandated to locked residential care facilities make up just a small subgroup of persons with schizophrenia, but they consume a disproportionately large share of mental health care resources,” said Light. “Finding an effective therapy for them is critical.”
Light’s team studied 46 patients with schizophrenia psychosis recruited from a community-based residential treatment program, each following acute hospitalization. All were deemed “gravely disabled,” unable to care for themselves, and under the guardianship of a private party or government agency. Participants were randomized to either standard treatment-as-usual (TAU) or TAU plus TCT, in which they used laptop computers to perform various learning and memory game exercises, often involving auditory cues.
The researchers found that among participants who completed the roughly three months of TAU-TCT treatment, verbal learning and auditory perception scores improved; and severity of auditory hallucinations lessened. Of note: The benefits were not negatively impacted by age, clinical symptoms, medication or illness duration. “Our results suggest that chronically ill, highly disabled patients can benefit from TCT,” said Light. “That contradicts current assumptions.”
Light cited some caveats. “We’re somewhere between the Wild West and golden age of cognitive training for schizophrenia patients. There is much still to be learned and done,” he said. Patients in this study represented some of the most difficult patients to treat, with therapy regimens that are highly complex. “We need to do a lot more research.”
Light and others are doing so. In a recent paper published in Neuropsychopharmacology, for example, he and colleagues described the underlying mechanism involved in TCT to improve auditory function. And in past work, schizophrenia-and-auditory-cues.aspx Light and others have shown that deficiencies in the neural processing of simple auditory tones can evolve into a cascade of dysfunctional information processing in the brains of patients with schizophrenia.
###
This study was made available online in July 2018 ahead of peer-review and publication this month.
Co-authors include: Michael L. Thomas, Andrew W. Bismark, Yash B. Joshi, Melissa Tarasenko, Emily B.H. Treichler, William C. Hochberger, Joyce Sprock, David L. Braff and Neal Swerdlow, UC San Diego and Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System; Wes Zhang, SDSU-UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology; John Nungaray, UC San Diego; Lauren Cardoso, UC San Diego and Alpine Special Treatment Center; Mouna Attarha, Alpine Special Treatment Center; and Sophia Vinogradov, University of Minnesota.
Disclosures: Dr. Greg Light has been a consultant to Astellas, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Dart Neuroscience, Heptares, Lundbeck, Merck, NeuroSig, Neuroverse and Takeda. Dr. Mouna Attarha is a research scientist and stock holder at Posit Science Corporations, which developed the computerized brain training program used in the study.
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.

Science Daily reported in Roots of schizophrenia: Excess of methionine during pregnancy?

An abundance of an amino acid called methionine, which is common in meat, cheese and beans, may provide new clues to the fetal brain development that can manifest in schizophrenia, University of California, Irvine pharmacology researchers report in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
The findings point to the role methionine overload can play during pregnancy and suggest that targeting the effects of this amino acid may lead to new antipsychotic drugs….
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170816100305.htm

Citation:

Roots of schizophrenia: Excess of methionine during pregnancy?
Date: August 16, 2017
Source: University of California – Irvine
Summary:
An abundance of an amino acid called methionine, which is common in meat, cheese and beans, may provide new clues to the fetal brain development that can manifest in schizophrenia, pharmacology researchers report.
Journal Reference:
1. A Alachkar, L Wang, R Yoshimura, A R Hamzeh, Z Wang, N Sanathara, S M Lee, X Xu, G W Abbott, O Civelli. Prenatal one-carbon metabolism dysregulation programs
schizophrenia-like deficits. Molecular Psychiatry, 2017; DOI: 10.1038/mp.2017.164

Here is the press release from UC Irvine:

Public Release: 15-Aug-2017
UCI study uncovers possible roots of schizophrenia
Excess of methionine during pregnancy alters prenatal brain development related to the psychiatric disease
University of California – Irvine
Irvine, Calif., Aug. 15, 2017 – An abundance of an amino acid called methionine, which is common in meat, cheese and beans, may provide new clues to the fetal brain development that can manifest in schizophrenia, University of California, Irvine pharmacology researchers report in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
The findings point to the role methionine overload can play during pregnancy and suggest that targeting the effects of this amino acid may lead to new antipsychotic drugs.
The UCI study also provides detailed information on the neural developmental mechanisms of the methionine effect, which results in changes in the expression of several genes important to healthy brain growth and, in particular, to one linked to schizophrenia in humans.
Amal Alachkar and colleagues based their approach on studies from the 1960s and 1970s in which schizophrenic patients injected with methionine experienced worsened symptoms. Knowing that schizophrenia is a developmental disorder, the UCI team hypothesized that administering three times the normal daily input of methionine to pregnant mice may produce pups that have also schizophrenia-like deficits, which is what occurred.
The pups of the injected mothers displayed deficits in nine different tests encompassing the three schizophrenia-like symptoms behaviors – “positive” symptoms of overactivity and stereotypy, “negative” symptoms of human interaction deficits, and “cognitive impairments” memory loss.
The research team treated the mice with anti-schizophrenic drugs well used in therapy. A drug that in schizophrenics treats mostly the positive symptoms (haloperidol) did the same in the mice, and a drug that treat preferentially the negative symptoms and the cognitive impairments (clozapine) did the same.
Alachkar, an associate adjunct professor of pharmacology, said that the study is the first to present a mouse model based on methionine-influenced neural development that leads to schizophrenic-like behaviors.
“This mouse model provides much broader detail of biological processes of schizophrenia and thus reflect much better the disorder than in the animal models presently widely used in drug discovery,” said Olivier Civelli, chair and professor of pharmacology and an author on the paper.
“Our study also agrees with the saying, ‘we are what our mothers ate’,” Alachkar added. “Methionine is one of the building blocks of proteins. It is not synthesized by our bodies, and it needs to be ingested. Our study points at the very important role of excess dietary methionine during pregnancy in fetal development, which might have a long-lasting influence on the offspring. This is a very exciting area of research that we hope can be explored in greater depth.”
###
The study received support from the National Institutes of Health (DA024746), the UCI’s Center for Autism Research & Translation, the Eric L and Lila D Nelson Chair of Neuropharmacology, and the Institute of International Education.
Link to study: http://www.nature.com/mp/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/mp2017164a.html?foxtrotcallback=true
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.
Media Contact
Tom Vasich
tmvasich@uci.edu
949-824-6455
@UCIrvine
http://www.uci.edu
University of California – Irvine
Journal
Molecular Psychiatry
Funder
National Institutes of Health
Original Source
http://www.som.uci.edu/news_releases/uc-irvine-study-finds-possible-roots-of-schizophrenia.asp

Related Journal Article
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/mp.2017

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

http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/pregnancy/conditioninfo/Pages/prenatal-care.aspx

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

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

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Northwestern University study: Why we shouldn’t like coffee, but we do

2 Dec

David DiSalvo wrote in the Forbes article, Drinking Coffee May Lower Risk Of Early Death, According To New Study:

A new study is adding to the good news about coffee, finding that drinking two to four cups a day is associated with overall lower risk of death, particularly among middle-age drinkers.
The findings, presented at the European Cardiac Society Congress 2017, are the result of a long-term observational study of nearly 20,000 people in Spain. The average age of participants was 37, and they were followed for about ten years. During that time, 337 participants died. The researchers found that participants who consumed at least four cups of coffee per day had a 64% lower risk of death than those who infrequently or never consumed coffee. They also found a 22% lower risk of death for participants who drank two cups a day.
Lower risk was especially strong for older participants, with two cups a day linked to a 30% reduction in mortality.
“We found an inverse association between drinking coffee and the risk of all-cause mortality, particularly in people aged 45 years and above. This may be due to a stronger protective association among older participants,” says Dr. Adela Navarro, study co-author and a cardiologist at Hospital de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain.
That’s the good news. The qualifier is that this was an observational study, and several other factors could come into play. The researchers report that they accounted for factors including age, sex and whether the participants predominantly ate a Mediterranean Diet, which has also been linked to a list of health benefits. The correlation between coffee consumption and lower risk of death appears to stand out, but it’s important to note that it’s a correlation – not proof of causation…. https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2017/08/27/drinking-coffee-may-lower-risk-of-death-in-healthy-people-according-to-new-study/#7a1c1924f82a

Citation:

Higher coffee consumption associated with lower risk of early death
Date: August 27, 2017
Source: European Society of Cardiology
Summary:
Higher coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of early death, according to new research. The observational study in nearly 20 000 participants suggests that coffee can be part of a healthy diet in healthy people.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170827101750.

The Harvard Gazette reported in How coffee loves us back: Health benefits a recurring theme in Harvard research:

Coffee is everywhere, through history and across the world. And increasingly, science is demonstrating that its popularity is a good thing.
Harvard scientists have for years put coffee under the microscope. Last year, researchers announced they had discovered six new human genes related to coffee and reconfirmed the existence of two others. The long-running Nurses’ Health Study has found that coffee protects against type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Researchers are continuing to follow up on 2001 findings that it protects against Parkinson’s disease.
The work at Harvard is just part of an emerging picture of coffee as a potentially powerful elixir against a range of ailments, from cancer to cavities.
Sanjiv Chopra, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, has been so impressed he’s become something of a coffee evangelist. The author of several books, Chopra included a chapter on coffee in his 2010 book, “Live Better, Live Longer.”
Chopra first became aware of the potentially powerful protective effects of coffee when a study revealed that consumption lowers levels of liver enzymes and protects the liver against cancer and cirrhosis. He began asking students, residents, and fellows on the liver unit to quiz patients about their coffee habits, finding repeatedly that none of the patients with liver ailments drank coffee.
Chopra himself makes sure to have several cups a day, and encourages others to do the same. Though other researchers are less bold in their dietary recommendations, they’re convinced enough to continue investigations into the benefits…. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2015/09/how-coffee-loves-us-back/

Northwestern University researchers studied why people like coffee.

Science Daily reported in Why we shouldn’t like coffee, but we do: Weirdly, people with a higher sensitivity to bitter caffeine taste drink more coffee:
Why do we like the bitter taste of coffee? Bitterness evolved as a natural warning system to protect the body from harmful substances. By evolutionary logic, we should want to spit it out.
But, it turns out, the more sensitive people are to the bitter taste of caffeine, the more coffee they drink, reports a new study from Northwestern Medicine and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Australia. The sensitivity is caused by a genetic variant….
In other words, people who have a heightened ability to taste coffee’s bitterness — and particularly the distinct bitter flavor of caffeine — learn to associate “good things with it,” Cornelis said.
Thus, a bigger tab at Starbucks.
The study will be published Nov. 15 in Scientific Reports.
In this study population, people who were more sensitive to caffeine and were drinking a lot of coffee consumed low amounts of tea. But that could just be because they were too busy drinking coffee, Cornelis noted.
The study also found people sensitive to the bitter flavors of quinine and of PROP, a synthetic taste related to the compounds in cruciferous vegetables, avoided coffee. For alcohol, a higher sensitivity to the bitterness of PROP resulted in lower alcohol consumption, particularly of red wine.
“The findings suggest our perception of bitter tastes, informed by our genetics, contributes to the preference for coffee, tea and alcohol,” Cornelis said.
For the study, scientists applied Mendelian randomization, a technique commonly used in disease epidemiology, to test the causal relationship between bitter taste and beverage consumption in more than 400,000 men and women in the United Kingdom. The genetic variants linked to caffeine, quinine and PROP perception were previously identified through genome-wide analysis of solution taste-ratings collected from Australian twins. These genetic variants were then tested for associations with self-reported consumption of coffee, tea and alcohol in the current study…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181115104603.htm

Citation:

Why we shouldn’t like coffee, but we do
Weirdly, people with a higher sensitivity to bitter caffeine taste drink more coffee
Date: November 15, 2018
Source: Northwestern University
Summary:
The more sensitive people are to the bitter taste of caffeine, the more coffee they drink, reports a new study. The sensitivity is based on genetics. Bitterness is natural warning system to protect us from harmful substances, so we really shouldn’t like coffee. Scientists say people with heightened ability to detect coffee’s bitterness learn to associate good things with it.
Journal Reference:
Jue-Sheng Ong, Daniel Liang-Dar Hwang, Victor W. Zhong, Jiyuan An, Puya Gharahkhani, Paul A. S. Breslin, Margaret J. Wright, Deborah A. Lawlor, John Whitfield, Stuart MacGregor, Nicholas G. Martin, Marilyn C. Cornelis. Understanding the role of bitter taste perception in coffee, tea and alcohol consumption through Mendelian randomization. Scientific Reports, 2018; 8 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-34713-z

Here is the press release from Northwestern University:

Why we shouldn’t like coffee, but we do
Weirdly, people with a higher sensitivity to bitter caffeine taste drink more coffee s
More
November 15, 2018 | By Marla Paul
Why do we like the bitter taste of coffee? Bitterness evolved as a natural warning system to protect the body from harmful substances. By evolutionary logic, we should want to spit it out.
But, it turns out, the more sensitive people are to the bitter taste of caffeine, the more coffee they drink, reports a new study from Northwestern Medicine and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Australia. The sensitivity is caused by a genetic variant.
“You’d expect that people who are particularly sensitive to the bitter taste of caffeine would drink less coffee,” said senior author Marilyn Cornelis, assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “The opposite results of our study suggest coffee consumers acquire a taste or an ability to detect caffeine due to the learned positive reinforcement (i.e. stimulation) elicited by caffeine.”
In other words, people who have a heightened ability to taste coffee’s bitterness — and particularly the distinct bitter flavor of caffeine — learn to associate “good things with it,” Cornelis said.
Thus, a bigger tab at Starbucks.
The study was published Nov. 15 in Scientific Reports.
In this study population, people who were more sensitive to caffeine and were drinking a lot of coffee consumed low amounts of tea. But that could just be because they were too busy drinking coffee, Cornelis noted.
The study also found people sensitive to the bitter flavors of quinine and of PROP, a synthetic taste related to the compounds in cruciferous vegetables, avoided coffee. For alcohol, a higher sensitivity to the bitterness of PROP resulted in lower alcohol consumption, particularly of red wine.
“The findings suggest our perception of bitter tastes, informed by our genetics, contributes to the preference for coffee, tea and alcohol,” Cornelis said.
For the study, scientists applied Mendelian randomization, a technique commonly used in disease epidemiology, to test the causal relationship between bitter taste and beverage consumption in more than 400,000 men and women in the United Kingdom. The genetic variants linked to caffeine, quinine and PROP perception were previously identified through genome-wide analysis of solution taste-ratings collected from Australian twins. These genetic variants were then tested for associations with self-reported consumption of coffee, tea and alcohol in the current study.
“Taste has been studied for a long time, but we don’t know the full mechanics of it,” Cornelis said. “Taste is one of the senses. We want to understand it from a biological standpoint.”
The paper is titled “Understanding the role of bitter taste perception in coffee, tea and alcohol consumption through Mendelian randomization.”
Topics: Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern Medicine https://news.northwestern.edu/stories/2018/november/bitter-coffee/

Joseph Nordqvist reported in the Medical News article, Coffee: Health Benefits,

Nutritional Information:
Possible health benefits of coffee
The potential health benefits associated with drinking coffee include: protecting against type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, liver disease, liver cancer, and promoting a healthy heart.3
1) Coffee and diabetes
Coffee may be protective against type 2 diabetes. Researchers at UCLA identified that drinking coffee increases plasma levels of the protein sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). SHBG controls the biological activity of the body’s sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) which play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes.4
Dr. Simin Liu, one of the authors of the study, said that an “inverse association” exists between coffee consumption and risk for type 2 diabetes….
2) Coffee and Parkinson’s disease
Researchers in the U.S. carried out a study that assessed the link between coffee consumption and Parkinson’s disease risk. The authors of the study concluded that “higher coffee and caffeine intake is associated with a significantly lower incidence of Parkinson’s disease”.5
In addition, caffeine in coffee may help control movement in people suffering from Parkinson’s, according to a study conducted at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC) that was published in the journal Neurology.6
3) Coffee and liver cancer
Italian researchers found that coffee consumption lowers the risk of liver cancer by about 40%. In addition, some of the results suggest that if you drink three cups a day, the risks are reduced by more than 50%.7
The lead author of the study, Dr. Carlo La Vecchia, from Milan’s Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, said “our research confirms past claims that coffee is good for your health and particularly the liver.”
4) Coffee and liver disease
Regular consumption of coffee is linked to a reduced risk of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), a rare autoimmune disease of the bile ducts in the liver.8
In addition, coffee consumption can lower the incidence of cirrhosis of the liver for alcohol drinkers by 22%, according to a study at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, California, USA.
The authors of the study concluded that the results “support the hypothesis that there is an ingredient in coffee that protects against cirrhosis, especially alcoholic cirrhosis.”9
Research published in the journal Hepatology in April 2014, suggested that drinking coffee is linked to a decreased liver cirrhosis death risk. The researchers suggested that drinking two or more cups of coffee every day can reduce the risk of death from liver cirrhosis by 66%.16
A study published in the journal Hepatology indicates that drinking decaf coffee also lowers liver enzyme levels, suggesting the benefits are not linked to caffeine content.
5) Coffee and heart health
Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Harvard School of Public Health, concluded that drinking coffee in moderation protects against heart failure. They defined ‘in moderation’ as 2 European cups (equivalent to two 8-ounce American servings) per day.10
People who drank four European cups on a daily basis had an 11% lower risk of heart failure, compared to those who did not.
The authors stressed that their results “did show a possible benefit, but like with so many other things we consume, it really depends on how much coffee you drink.”
Recent developments on the benefits of coffee from MNT news
Moderate coffee drinking may prevent premature death
Incredible volumes of black gold are poured into our collective bodies on a daily basis, which makes the medical effects of coffee drinking a perpetual area of study. Now, new research points to some interesting positive health benefits of moderate consumption.
Study provides more evidence that coffee may reduce mortality
A new study adds to growing evidence that coffee is good for us, finding that consuming four to five cups daily may reduce the risk of early death – even for those who drink decaf.
Coffee may protect against liver cirrhosis
Drinking coffee every day is linked to a reduced risk of liver cirrhosis, according to a new review of published evidence that also suggests drinking two extra cups a day may nearly halve the risk of dying from the disease.
Drinking more coffee may stave off multiple sclerosis
Research published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry indicates that caffeine’s neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties may lower the risk of developing multiple sclerosis.
Daily coffee, even decaf, may protect against colorectal cancer
Researchers from the US and Israel found that drinking coffee every day – even decaffeinated coffee – may lower the risk of colorectal cancer.
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270202.php

As with anything, coffee should be consumed in moderation.

Resources:

Online Courses for Coffee Professionals: Master roasting coffee, cupping, coffee quality evaluation and understand the path of the coffee from the farm to cup. https://bootcampcoffee.com/

Learn About Coffee                                                  http://www.coffeeteawarehouse.com/coffee.html

The NCA Complete Guide to Coffee
We believe that coffee is more than just a drink: It’s a culture, an economy, an art, a science — and a passion. Whether you’re new to the brew or an espresso expert, there’s always more to learn about this beloved beverage. http://www.ncausa.org/About-Coffee
coffeeresearch.org

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Colorado State University study: An understudied form of child abuse and ‘intimate terrorism’: Parental alienation

28 Nov

Psychology Today defined child neglect:

Definition
Child neglect is defined as a type of maltreatment related to the failure to provide needed, age-appropriate care. Unlike physical and sexual abuse, neglect is usually typified by an ongoing pattern of inadequate care and is readily observed by individuals in close contact with the child. Once children are in school, personnel often notice indicators of child neglect such as poor hygiene, poor weight gain, inadequate medical care, or frequent absences from school. Professionals have defined four types of neglect: physical, emotional, educational, and medical.
More children suffer from neglect in the United States than from physical and sexual abuse combined. The US Department of Health and Human Services found that in 2007 there were 794,000 victims of child maltreatment in the US, of those victims 59% were victims of neglect. Some researchers have proposed 5 different types of neglect: physical neglect, emotional neglect, medical neglect, mental health neglect, and educational neglect. States may code any maltreatment type that does not fall into one of the main categories—physical abuse, neglect, medical neglect, sexual abuse, and psychological or emotional maltreatment—as “other.”
In spite of this, neglect has received significantly less attention than physical and sexual abuse by practitioners, researchers, and the media. One explanation may be that neglect is so difficult to identify. Neglect often is an act of omission. But neglecting children’s needs can be just as injurious as striking out at them.
Additional Information
For 2003, 47.3 percent of child victims were boys, and 50.7 percent of the victims were girls. The youngest children had the highest rate of victimization. The rate of child victimization of the age group of birth to 3 years was 16.5 per 1,000 children. The victimization rate of children in the age group of 4-7 years was 13.5 per 1,000 children. Nearly three-quarters of child victims (73.1 percent) ages birth to 3 years were neglected compared with 52.7 percent of victims ages 16 years and older…. https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/child-neglect

Child neglect occurs in all societies.

Science Daily reported in An understudied form of child abuse and ‘intimate terrorism’: Parental alienation:

The scene: a bitter divorce, and a custody battle over the couple’s 7-year-old son. Awarded full custody, the mother — perhaps seeking revenge? — sets out to destroy the son’s relationship with his father. The mother tells the son lies about the father’s behavior, plants seeds of doubt about his fitness as a parent, and sabotages the father’s efforts to see his son. The son begins to believe the lies; as he grows up, his relationship with his father becomes strained.
According to Colorado State University social psychologist Jennifer Harman, about 22 million American parents, like that fictional father, have been the victims of behaviors that lead to something called parental alienation. Having researched the phenomenon for several years, Harman is urging psychological, legal and child custodial disciplines to recognize parental alienation as a form of both child abuse and intimate partner violence.
An associate professor in CSU’s Department of Psychology, Harman has authored a review article in Psychological Bulletin defining the behaviors associated with parental alienation and advocating for more research into its prevalence and outcomes. She and her co-authors explain how these behaviors are the source of long-term negative consequences for the psychological health and well-being of children and adults all over the world.
“We have to stop denying this exists,” said Harman, who previously co-authored a book about parental alienation with Zeynep Biringen, a professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. “You have to treat an alienated parent like an abused person. You have to treat the child like an abused child. You take the child out of that abusive environment. You get treatment for the abusive parent, and you put the child in a safe environment — the healthier parent.”
In their new paper, Harman and co-authors Edward Kruk of University of British Columbia and Denise Hines of Clark University categorize parental alienation as an outcome of aggressive behaviors directed toward another individual, with the intent to cause harm. They draw direct lines between widely recognized patterns of abuse, like emotional or psychological aggression, and the behavior of alienating parents.
For example, psychological aggression is a common form of child maltreatment that involves “attacking a child’s emotional and social well-being.” In a similar manner, alienating parents terrorize their children by targeting the other parent, purposely creating fear that the other parent might be dangerous or unstable — when no evidence of such danger exists. Alienating parents will further reject, shame or guilt-trip their children for showing loyalty or warmth to the other parent.
The authors also argue that such alienating behaviors are abusive to the targeted parent, and they liken these behaviors to more familiar forms of intimate partner violence between spouses or dating partners…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181127171419.htm

Citation:

An understudied form of child abuse and ‘intimate terrorism’: Parental alienation
Researchers are urging psychological, legal and child custodial disciplines to recognize parental alienation as family violence
Date: November 27, 2018
Source: Colorado State University
Summary:
According to Colorado State University social psychologist Jennifer Harman, about 22 million American parents have been the victims of behaviors that lead to something called parental alienation. Having researched the phenomenon for several years, Harman is urging psychological, legal and child custodial disciplines to recognize parental alienation as a form of both child abuse and intimate partner violence. Harman has authored a review article in Psychological Bulletin defining the behaviors associated with parental alienation and advocating for more research into its prevalence and outcomes.

Journal Reference:
Jennifer J. Harman, Edward Kruk, Denise A. Hines. Parental alienating behaviors: An unacknowledged form of family violence. Psychological Bulletin, 2018; 144 (12): 1275 DOI: 10.1037/bul0000175

Here is the press release from Colorado State University:

PUBLIC RELEASE: 27-NOV-2018
An understudied form of child abuse and intimate terrorism: Parental Alienation
Researchers are urging psychological, legal and child custodial disciplines to recognize parental alienation as family violence
COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY
The scene: a bitter divorce, and a custody battle over the couple’s 7-year-old son. Awarded full custody, the mother – perhaps seeking revenge? – sets out to destroy the son’s relationship with his father. The mother tells the son lies about the father’s behavior, plants seeds of doubt about his fitness as a parent, and sabotages the father’s efforts to see his son. The son begins to believe the lies; as he grows up, his relationship with his father becomes strained.
According to Colorado State University social psychologist Jennifer Harman, about 22 million American parents, like that fictional father, have been the victims of behaviors that lead to something called parental alienation. Having researched the phenomenon for several years, Harman is urging psychological, legal and child custodial disciplines to recognize parental alienation as a form of both child abuse and intimate partner violence.
An associate professor in CSU’s Department of Psychology, Harman has authored a review article in Psychological Bulletin defining the behaviors associated with parental alienation and advocating for more research into its prevalence and outcomes. She and her co-authors explain how these behaviors are the source of long-term negative consequences for the psychological health and well-being of children and adults all over the world.
“We have to stop denying this exists,” said Harman, who previously co-authored a book about parental alienation with Zeynep Biringen, a professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. “You have to treat an alienated parent like an abused person. You have to treat the child like an abused child. You take the child out of that abusive environment. You get treatment for the abusive parent, and you put the child in a safe environment – the healthier parent.”
In their new paper, Harman and co-authors Edward Kruk of University of British Columbia and Denise Hines of Clark University categorize parental alienation as an outcome of aggressive behaviors directed toward another individual, with the intent to cause harm. They draw direct lines between widely recognized patterns of abuse, like emotional or psychological aggression, and the behavior of alienating parents.
For example, psychological aggression is a common form of child maltreatment that involves “attacking a child’s emotional and social well-being.” In a similar manner, alienating parents terrorize their children by targeting the other parent, purposely creating fear that the other parent might be dangerous or unstable – when no evidence of such danger exists. Alienating parents will further reject, shame or guilt-trip their children for showing loyalty or warmth to the other parent.
The authors also argue that such alienating behaviors are abusive to the targeted parent, and they liken these behaviors to more familiar forms of intimate partner violence between spouses or dating partners.
Harman is an expert in power dynamics in human relationships. Her research has found that parental alienation is similar to what’s known as “intimate terrorism.” Intimate terrorism is chiefly characterized by a lopsided power dynamic, in which one partner subjugates the other through intimidation, coercion, or threats of (or actual) physical violence. Such a scenario is distinct from situational couple violence, in which both partners have relatively equal power in the relationship but cannot get along and resort to physical or emotional violence.
Analogously, children are used as weapons in the form of intimate terrorism known as parental alienation, Harman argues. The power imbalance in such intimate terrorism can be seen in custody disputes, in which one parent is awarded full custody of a child. This parent wields that court-ordained power to subjugate the other parent by withholding contact or actively seeking to destroy the other parent’s relationship with the child.
The family court systems see these situations every day, Harman says, but judges, lawyers and social workers aren’t attuned to the prevalence of parental alienation as child abuse or intimate partner abuse. Instead, such situations are regarded as simple custody disputes, or the inability of the parents to get along.
Harman says she’s hopeful her reframing of parental alienation will spur other social scientists to continue studying the problem. More research into this particular form of family violence will bring greater awareness, and may marshal resources to better identify and stop such behaviors.
###
Link to paper: http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2018-58808-004
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.

Strategies to identify child neglect must be researched and refined.

Prevent Child Abuse America described strategies for preventing child neglect:

Prevent Child Abuse America advocates for:
• Increasing services to families such as home visiting, early childhood education, and parent education.
Child neglect often occurs when parents are overwhelmed with an array of stressors, including the difficulties of coping with poverty and its many associated burdens, single parenthood, limited parenting skills, depression, substance abuse, interpersonal violence, as well as the daily stressors most parents face.1 Services such as home visiting, early childhood education, and parent education provide emotional support, knowledge, and guidance on how to provide a nurturing environment for children. In addition, ensuring that all children have a quality education will help ensure this important need is met. Other services can assist potential parents in considering their readiness for a family, the number of children they wish to have, and appropriate spacing between births. These services can also help parents effectively care for the children they already have. In sum, services that strengthen families and support parents should in turn enhance children’s development, health and safety, and help prevent child neglect.
• Providing mental health services to parents and neglected children and youth.
Many neglected children have parents who are emotionally unstable or depressed.2 Mental health services can assist such parents to become emotionally healthier and better able to adequately care for their children. In addition, children often face adverse and potentially long-term psychological consequences due to neglect. Mental health services, especially at an early point, can help mitigate these consequences and can help ensure that neglect is not transmitted to the next generation.
• Ensuring access for all children to affordable, quality health care, including prenatal, dental, and mental health services.
Access to health care is critical to child and family well-being and helps protect against neglect. Without health insurance, families are less likely to seek timely and preventive health care. When they do, the cost of that care contributes to a family’s economic insecurity. Both of these are risk factors for neglect. In addition, children’s health care providers are a valuable source of support and advice for parents as they raise their children. They inform parents about community resources such as home visiting programs and parent support groups that can help prevent child abuse before it happens and provide information about child development and strategies for dealing with a variety of parenting challenges.
• Increasing efforts to address social problems such as poverty, substance abuse, and family violence which contribute to neglect.
Neglect is often intertwined with social problems, such as poverty, substance abuse, and family violence. It is crucial that greater resources be allocated to reduce these major problems that contribute to neglect. Such efforts must include the prevention of child neglect as an explicit goal.
• Increasing public awareness efforts to educate the public about child neglect, its seriousness, and how they can help prevent it, as well as foster a shared sense of societal responsibility.
Raising public awareness of the serious and pervasive nature of child neglect is essential in order for real change to occur. Children interact with an array of people in their community who play a vital role in their development. We need to recognize this and mobilize significant financial and human resources to address the problem. A public that appreciates the serious and pervasive nature of child neglect should be a crucial ally for necessary changes. They can help advocate for and support the policies and programs needed to enhance children’s development, health and safety, and help prevent their neglect.
• Increasing research efforts to improve our understanding of child neglect abuse – its nature, extent, causes, and consequences, as well as what helps prevent and address it.
Our current understanding of child neglect is limited. A better understanding is essential to guide policymakers and practitioners to develop policies and programs to tackle neglect. A variety of programs have been developed aiming to optimize children’s development, health and safety. Careful evaluation is needed to learn what works, and to replicate effective programs. It is also likely that new policies and programs addressing child neglect need to be developed and evaluated….. http://preventchildabuse.org/resource/preventing-child-neglect/

Our goal as a society should be:

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy social in a healthy neighborhood (c)

Resources:

Chronic Child Neglect
https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/chronic-neglect/

Chronic Neglect Can Lead to Aggression in Kids
https://psychcentral.com/news/2015/04/22/chronic-neglect-can-lead-to-aggression-in-kids/83788.html

Child Neglect
https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/child-neglect

Neglect
https://developingchild.harvard.edu/science/deep-dives/neglect/

Child Abuse                                                                                                      https://drwilda.com/tag/child-abuse/

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Michigan State University study: Healthcare providers — not hackers — leak more of your data

22 Nov

Lucas Mearian reported in Hackers are coming for your healthcare records — here’s why:

Data stolen from a bank quickly becomes useless once the breach is discovered and passcodes are changed. But data from the healthcare industry, which includes both personal identities and medical histories, can live a lifetime.
Cyberattacks will cost hospitals more than $305 billion over the next five years and one in 13 patients will have their data compromised by a hack, according to industry consultancy Accenture….
The Brookings research demonstrates that the healthcare sector is uniquely vulnerable to privacy breaches. For one thing, government regulations forced healthcare operations to adopt electronic health records (EHR) and other advances under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) even if they weren’t ready to adequately invest in security.
Healthcare records also contain the most valuable information available, including Social Security numbers, home addresses and patient health histories — making them more valuable to hackers than other types of data, according to the study by the Brookings Institution’s Center for Technology Innovation. Since cybercriminals can sell data for a premium on the black market, hackers have a big incentive to focus their attacks on the healthcare industry.
With the push toward more integrated care, “medical data are now being shared with many different types of entities in which many employees have access to patient records,” the study said. “Extended access to medical records increases the potential for privacy breaches.”
To comply with legal requirements, healthcare organizations often store detailed medical information for many years. The probability of a breach — and the potential severity of the consequences — increases according to the amount of data stored and the length of time it is stored….
The greatest threat to the healthcare industry today, Safavi said, is not from one-off hackers seeking quick paydays, but from foreign governments that can store intimate personal health data for future use against individuals.
For example, hackers last year stole the records of about 80 million customers of Anthem Inc., the second largest U.S. health insurer.
“The presumption was that they were state actors,” Safavi said. “The purpose of the state actor was to harvest the database in order to create a dossier of individuals that they could use for social engineering for future attacks….” https://www.computerworld.com/article/3090566/healthcare-it/hackers-are-coming-for-your-healthcare-records-heres-why.html

A Michigan State University study highlighted the risks of inadequate security by medical providers against hackers.

Science Daily reported in Healthcare providers — not hackers — leak more of your data:

Your personal identity may fall at the mercy of sophisticated hackers on many websites, but when it comes to health data breaches, hospitals, doctors offices and even insurance companies are oftentimes the culprits.
New research from Michigan State University and Johns Hopkins University found that more than half of the recent personal health information, or PHI, data breaches were because of internal issues with medical providers — not because of hackers or external parties.
“There’s no perfect way to store information, but more than half of the cases we reviewed were not triggered by external factors — but rather by internal negligence,” said John (Xuefeng) Jiang, lead author and associate professor of accounting and information systems at MSU’s Eli Broad College of Business.
The research, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, follows the joint 2017 study that showed the magnitude of hospital data breaches in the United States. The research revealed nearly 1,800 occurrences of large data breaches in patient information over a seven years, with 33 hospitals experiencing more than one substantial breach.
For this paper, Jiang and co-author Ge Bai, associate professor at the John’s Hopkins Carey Business School, dove deeper to identify triggers of the PHI data breaches. They reviewed nearly 1,150 cases between October 2009 and December 2017 that affected more than 164 million patients.
“Every time a hospital has some sort of a data breach, they need to report it to the Department of Health and Human Services and classify what they believe is the cause,” Jiang, the Plante Moran Faculty Fellow, said. “These causes fell into six categories: theft, unauthorized access, hacking or an IT incident, loss, improper disposal or ‘other.'”
After reviewing detailed reports, assessing notes and reclassifying cases with specific benchmarks, Jiang and Bai found that 53 percent were the result of internal factors in healthcare entities.
“One quarter of all the cases were caused by unauthorized access or disclosure — more than twice the amount that were caused by external hackers,” Jiang said. “This could be an employee taking PHI home or forwarding to a personal account or device, accessing data without authorization, or even through email mistakes, like sending to the wrong recipients, copying instead of blind copying or sharing unencrypted content.”
While some of the errors seem to be common sense, Jiang said that the big mistakes can lead to even bigger accidents and that seemingly innocuous errors can compromise patients’ personal data….” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181120073655.htm

Citation:

Healthcare providers — not hackers — leak more of your data
Date: November 20, 2018
Source: Michigan State University
Summary:
New research found that more than half of the recent personal health information, or PHI, data breaches were because of internal issues with medical providers — not because of hackers or external parties.

Here is the press release from Michigan State:
Published: Nov. 16, 2018

HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS – NOT HACKERS – LEAK MORE OF YOUR DATA
Contact(s): Caroline Brooks , Xuefeng Jiang

Your personal identity may fall at the mercy of sophisticated hackers on many websites, but when it comes to health data breaches, hospitals, doctors offices and even insurance companies are oftentimes the culprits.
New research from Michigan State University and Johns Hopkins University found that more than half of the recent personal health information, or PHI, data breaches were because of internal issues with medical providers – not because of hackers or external parties.
“There’s no perfect way to store information, but more than half of the cases we reviewed were not triggered by external factors – but rather by internal negligence,” said John (Xuefeng) Jiang, lead author and associate professor of accounting and information systems at MSU’s Eli Broad College of Business.
The research, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, follows the joint 2017 study that showed the magnitude of hospital data breaches in the United States. The research revealed nearly 1,800 occurrences of large data breaches in patient information over seven years, with 33 hospitals experiencing more than one substantial breach.
For this paper, Jiang and co-author Ge Bai, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, dove deeper to identify triggers of the PHI data breaches. They reviewed nearly 1,150 cases between October 2009 and December 2017 that affected more than 164 million patients.
“Every time a hospital has some sort of a data breach, they need to report it to the Department of Health and Human Services and classify what they believe is the cause,” Jiang, the Plante Moran Faculty Fellow, said. “These causes fell into six categories: theft, unauthorized access, hacking or an IT incident, loss, improper disposal or ‘other.’”
After reviewing detailed reports, assessing notes and reclassifying cases with specific benchmarks, Jiang and Bai found that 53 percent were the result of internal factors in health care entities.
“One quarter of all the cases were caused by unauthorized access or disclosure – more than twice the amount that were caused by external hackers,” Jiang said. “This could be an employee taking PHI home or forwarding to a personal account or device, accessing data without authorization, or even through email mistakes, like sending to the wrong recipients, copying instead of blind copying or sharing unencrypted content.”
While some of the errors seem to be common sense, Jiang said that the big mistakes can lead to even bigger accidents and that seemingly innocuous errors can compromise patients’ personal data.
“Hospitals, doctors offices, insurance companies, small physician offices and even pharmacies are making these kinds of errors and putting patients at risk,” Jiang said.
Of the external breaches, theft accounted for 33 percent with hacking credited for just 12 percent.
Some data breaches might result in minor consequences, such as obtaining the phone numbers of patients, but others can have much more invasive effects. For example, when Anthem, Inc. suffered a data breach in 2015, 37.5 million records were compromised. Many of the victims were not notified immediately, so weren’t aware of the situation until they went to file their taxes only to discover that a third-party fraudulently filed them with the data they obtained from Anthem.
While tight software and hardware security can protect from theft and hackers, Jiang and Bai suggest health care providers adopt internal policies and procedures that can tighten processes and prevent internal parties from leaking PHI by following a set of simple protocols. The procedures to mitigate PHI breaches related to storage include transitioning from paper to digital medical records, safe storage, moving to non-mobile policies for patient-protected information and implementing encryption. Procedures related to PHI communication include mandatory verification of mailing recipients, following a “copy vs. blind copy” protocol (bcc vs cc) as well as encryption of content.
“Not putting on the whole armor opened health care entities to enemy’s attacks,” Bai said. “The good news is that the armor is not hard to put on if simple protocols are followed.”
Next, Jiang and Bai plan to look even more closely at the kind of data that is hacked from external sources to learn what exactly digital thieves hope to steal from patient data. https://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2018/health-care-providers-not-hackers-leak-more-of-your-data/

Protecting vital information from hackers of all types is constantly chasing a moving target.

Medical providers range from small offices to large institutions and university departments. Wendy Zamora wrote in 10 ways to protect against hackers:

What can you do to protect it against cybercriminals? Instead of sitting back and waiting to get infected, why not arm yourself and fight back?
Bad guys, beware. We’ve got 10 ways to beat you.
1. Update your OS and other software frequently, if not automatically. This keeps hackers from accessing your computer through vulnerabilities in outdated programs (which can be exploited by malware). For extra protection, enable Microsoft product updates so that the Office Suite will be updated at the same time. Consider retiring particularly susceptible software such as Java or Flash, especially as many sites and services continue to move away from them.
2. Download up-to-date security programs, including anti-malware software with multiple technologies for protecting against spyware, ransomware, and exploits, as well as a firewall, if your OS didn’t come pre-packaged with it. (You’ll want to check if your OS has both firewall and antivirus built in and enabled by default, and whether those programs are compatible with additional cybersecurity software.)
3. Destroy all traces of your personal info on hardware you plan on selling. Consider using d-ban to erase your hard drive. For those looking to pillage your recycled devices, this makes information much more difficult to recover. If the information you’d like to protect is critical enough, removing the platters where the information is stored then destroying them is the way to go.
4. Do not use open Wi-Fi on your router; it makes it too easy for threat actors to steal your connection and download illegal files. Protect your Wi-Fi with an encrypted password, and consider refreshing your equipment every few years. Some routers have vulnerabilities that are never patched. Newer routers allow you to provide guests with segregated wireless access. Plus, they make frequent password changes easier.
5. Speaking of passwords: password protect all of your devices, including your desktop, laptop, phone, smartwatch, tablet, camera, lawnmower…you get the idea. The ubiquity of mobile devices makes them especially vulnerable. Lock your phone and make the timeout fairly short. Use fingerprint lock for the iPhone and passkey or swipe for Android. “It’s easy to forget that mobile devices are essentially small computers that just happen to fit in your pocket and can be used as a phone,” says Jean-Philippe Taggart, Senior Security Researcher at Malwarebytes. “Your mobile device contains a veritable treasure trove of personal information and, once unlocked, can lead to devastating consequences.”
6. Sensing a pattern here? Create difficult passwords, and never use the same ones across multiple services. If that’s as painful as a stake to a vampire’s heart, use a password manager like LastPass or 1Password. For extra hacker protection, ask about two-step authentication. Several services have only recently started to offer 2FA, and they require the user to initiate the process. Trust us, the extra friction is worth it. Two-factor authentication makes taking over an account that much more difficult, and on the flip side, much easier to reclaim should the worst happen.
7. Come up with creative answers for your security questions. People can now figure out your mother’s maiden name or where you graduated from high school with a simple Google search. Consider answering like a crazy person. If Bank of America asks, “What was the name of your first boyfriend/girlfriend?” reply, “Your mom.” Just don’t forget that’s how you answered when they ask you again.
8. Practice smart emailing. Phishing campaigns still exist, but cybercriminals have become much cleverer than that Nigerian prince who needs your money. Hover over links to see their actual URLs (as opposed to just seeing words in hyperlink text). Also, check to see if the email is really from the person or company claiming to have sent it. If you’re not sure, pay attention to awkward sentence construction and formatting. If something still seems fishy, do a quick search on the Internet for the subject line. Others may have been scammed and posted about it online.
9. Some websites will ask you to sign in with a specific service to access features or post a comment. Ensure the login option isn’t a sneaky phish, and if you’re giving permission to an app to perform a task, ensure you know how to revoke access once you no longer need it. Old, abandoned connections from service to service are an easy way to see your main account compromised by spam.
10. Keep sensitive data off the cloud. “No matter which way you cut it, data stored on the cloud doesn’t belong to you,” says Taggart. “There are very few cloud storage solutions that offer encryption for ‘data at rest.’ Use the cloud accordingly. If it’s important, don’t.”
Honorable mentions: Alarmist webpages announcing that there are “critical errors” on your computer are lies. Microsoft will never contact you in person to remove threats. These messages come from scammers, and if you allow them to remotely connect to your computer, they could try to steal your information and your money. If that’s not a Nightmare on Elm Street, then we don’t know what is. https://blog.malwarebytes.com/101/2015/10/10-ways-to-protect-against-hackers/

Hacking of medical records is cyber warfare and the best defense is a good offense.

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American Geophysical Union study: Warmer winter temperatures linked to increased crime

18 Nov

Ohio State Researchers wrote about the impact of climate on crime in How does climate affect violence? Researchers offer new theory:

Researchers have long struggled to explain why some violent crime rates are higher near the equator than other parts of the world. Now, a team of researchers have developed a model that could help explain why.
This new model goes beyond the simple fact that hotter temperatures seem to be linked to more aggressive behavior.
The researchers believe that hot climates and less variation in seasonal temperatures leads to a faster life strategy, less focus on the future, and less self-control – all of which contribute to more aggression and violence….
Paul van Lange, lead author of the study and a professor of psychology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) added, “We believe our model can help explain the impact of climate on rates of violence in different parts of the world….”

The CLASH model states that it is not just hotter temperatures that lead to more violence – it is also climates that have less seasonal variation in temperature.
“Less variation in temperature, combined with heat, brings some measure of consistency to daily life”, Rinderu said.
That means there is less need to plan for large swings between warm and cold weather. The result is a faster life strategy that isn’t as concerned about the future and leads to less need for self-control.
“Strong seasonal variation in temperature affects culture in powerful ways. Planning in agriculture, hoarding, or simply preparing for cold winters shapes the culture in many ways, often with people not even noticing it. But it does shape how much a culture values time and self-control,” Van Lange said.
“If there is less variation, you’re freer to do what you want now, because you’re not preparing foods or chopping firewood or making winter clothes to get you through the winter. You also may be more concerned with the immediate stress that comes along with parasites and other risks of hot climates, such as venomous animals.”
People living in these climates are oriented to the present rather than the future and have a fast life strategy – they do things now.
“We see evidence of a faster life strategy in hotter climates with less temperature variation – they are less strict about time, they have less use of birth control, they have children earlier and more often,” Bushman said.
With a faster life strategy and an orientation toward the present, people have to practice less self-control, he said. That can lead people to react more quickly with aggression and sometimes violence.
The theory is not deterministic and isn’t meant to suggest that people in hotter, consistent climates can’t help themselves when it comes to violence and aggression…. https://news.osu.edu/how-does-climate-affect-violence-researchers-offer-new-theory/

The American Geophysical Union studied the link between temperature and crime.

Science Daily reported in Warmer winter temperatures linked to increased crime:

Milder winter weather increased regional crime rates in the United States over the past several decades, according to new research that suggests crime is related to temperature’s effect on daily activities.
A new study published in GeoHealth, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, finds U.S. crime rates are linked to warmer temperatures, and this relationship follows a seasonal pattern.
The findings support the theory that three major ingredients come together to bring about crime: a motivated offender, a suitable target, and the absence of a guardian to prevent a violation of the law. During certain seasons, namely winter, milder weather conditions increase the likelihood these three elements come together, and that violent and property crimes will take place, according to the new study. Unexpectedly, warmer summer temperatures were not linked with higher crime rates.
The new research abates existing theories that hot temperatures drive aggressive motivation and behavior, according to the study’s authors. Instead, the new research suggests crime is related to the way climate alters people’s daily activities.
“We were expecting to find a more consistent relationship between temperature and crime, but we weren’t really expecting that relationship to be changing over the course of the year,” said Ryan Harp, lead author of the study and a doctoral candidate in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder. “That ended up being a pretty big revelation for us.”
Understanding how climate affects crime rates could expand the boundaries of what scientists would consider to be a climate and health connection, Harp said.
“Ultimately, it’s a health impact,” he said. “The relationship between climate, human interaction, and crime that we’ve unveiled is something that will have an impact on people’s wellbeing.”
Regional climate affects human interaction
Previous studies have found a link between temperature and the incidence of crime, but none have looked at the relationship on a regional level and only some have controlled for underlying seasonal changes, allowing researchers to identify the potential underlying mechanism…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181113110411.htm

Citation:

Warmer winter temperatures linked to increased crime
Date: November 13, 2018
Source: American Geophysical Union
Summary:
Milder winter weather increased regional crime rates in the United States over the past several decades, according to new research that suggests crime is related to temperature’s effect on daily activities.
Journal Reference:
Ryan D. Harp, Kristopher B. Karnauskas. The Influence of Interannual Climate Variability on Regional Violent Crime Rates in the United States. GeoHealth, 2018; DOI: 10.1029/2018GH000152

Here is the press release from the American Geophysical Union:

WARMER WINTER TEMPERATURES LINKED TO INCREASED CRIME, STUDY FINDS
13 November 2018
WASHINGTON — Milder winter weather increased regional crime rates in the United States over the past several decades, according to new research that suggests crime is related to temperature’s effect on daily activities.
A new study published in GeoHealth, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, finds U.S. crime rates are linked to warmer temperatures, and this relationship follows a seasonal pattern.
The findings support the theory that three major ingredients come together to bring about crime: a motivated offender, a suitable target, and the absence of a guardian to prevent a violation of the law. During certain seasons, namely winter, milder weather conditions increase the likelihood these three elements come together, and that violent and property crimes will take place, according to the new study. Unexpectedly, warmer summer temperatures were not linked with higher crime rates.
The new research abates existing theories that hot temperatures drive aggressive motivation and behavior, according to the study’s authors. Instead, the new research suggests crime is related to the way climate alters people’s daily activities.
“We were expecting to find a more consistent relationship between temperature and crime, but we weren’t really expecting that relationship to be changing over the course of the year,” said Ryan Harp, lead author of the study and a doctoral candidate in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder. “That ended up being a pretty big revelation for us.”
Understanding how climate affects crime rates could expand the boundaries of what scientists would consider to be a climate and health connection, Harp said.
“Ultimately, it’s a health impact,” he said. “The relationship between climate, human interaction, and crime that we’ve unveiled is something that will have an impact on people’s wellbeing.”
Regional climate affects human interaction
Previous studies have found a link between temperature and the incidence of crime, but none have looked at the relationship on a regional level and only some have controlled for underlying seasonal changes, allowing researchers to identify the potential underlying mechanism.
In the new study, Harp and his co-author conducted a systematic investigation into the relationship between large-scale climate variability and regionally-aggregated crime rates, using a technique that allowed them to group together detailed spatial data on seasonal temperature and crime rates from across the United States.
They compared crime and climate data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR). The data encompassed 16,000 cities across five defined US regions—Northeast, Southeast, South Central, West, and Midwest—from 1979 to 2016.
Their finding that violent crime is almost always more prevalent when temperatures are warmer in the winter months was especially notable in areas with the strongest winters, like the Midwest and Northeast, according to the researchers.
The new findings showing that increasing temperatures matter more in the winter than in the summer is interesting, said Marshall Burke, assistant professor of Earth System Science at Stanford University, who was not involved with the new study.
“The authors rightly suggest that this is more consistent with warmer temperatures altering people’s patterns of activity, like going outside more, than a physiological story about temperature and aggression,” he said.
The American Geophysical Union is dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity through its scholarly publications, conferences, and outreach programs. AGU is a not-for-profit, professional, scientific organization representing 60,000 members in 137 countries. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and our other social media channels.

There are various theories regarding why individuals commit crimes.

Steven Briggs wrote in Important Theories in Criminology: Why People Commit Crime:
Here is a broad overview of some key theories:

• Rational choice theory: People generally act in their self-interest and make decisions to commit crime after weighing the potential risks (including getting caught and punished) against the rewards.
• Social disorganization theory: A person’s physical and social environments are primarily responsible for the behavioral choices that person makes. In particular, a neighborhood that has fraying social structures is more likely to have high crime rates. Such a neighborhood may have poor schools, vacant and vandalized buildings, high unemployment, and a mix of commercial and residential property.
• Strain theory: Most people have similar aspirations, but they don’t all have the same opportunities or abilities. When people fail to achieve society’s expectations through approved means such as hard work and delayed gratification, they may attempt to achieve success through crime.
• Social learning theory: People develop motivation to commit crime and the skills to commit crime through the people they associate with.
• Social control theory: Most people would commit crime if not for the controls that society places on individuals through institutions such as schools, workplaces, churches, and families.
• Labeling theory: People in power decide what acts are crimes, and the act of labeling someone a criminal is what makes him a criminal. Once a person is labeled a criminal, society takes away his opportunities, which may ultimately lead to more criminal behavior.
• Biology, genetics, and evolution: Poor diet, mental illness, bad brain chemistry, and even evolutionary rewards for aggressive criminal conduct have been proposed as explanations for crime. https://www.dummies.com/education/psychology/important-theories-in-criminology-why-people-commit-crime/
One crime reduction strategy is predictive policing.
The National Institute of Justice described predictive policing:
Overview of Predictive Policing
Law enforcement work is frequently reactive: Officers respond to calls for service, quell disturbances and make arrests. Today more than ever, law enforcement work is also proactive.
In proactive policing, law enforcement uses data and analyzes patterns to understand the nature of a problem. Officers devise strategies and tactics to prevent or mitigate future harm. They evaluate results and revise practices to improve policing. Departments may combine an array of data with street intelligence and crime analysis to produce better assessments about what might happen next if they take various actions.
What Is Predictive Policing?
Predictive policing tries to harness the power of information, geospatial technologies and evidence-based intervention models to reduce crime and improve public safety. This two-pronged approach — applying advanced analytics to various data sets, in conjunction with intervention models — can move law enforcement from reacting to crimes into the realm of predicting what and where something is likely to happen and deploying resources accordingly.
The predictive policing approach does not replace traditional policing. Instead, it enhances existing approaches such as problem-oriented policing, community policing, intelligence-led policing and hot spot policing.
Predictive policing leverages computer models — such as those used in the business industry to anticipate how market conditions or industry trends will evolve over time — for law enforcement purposes, namely anticipating likely crime events and informing actions to prevent crime. Predictions can focus on variables such as places, people, groups or incidents. Demographic trends, parolee populations and economic conditions may all affect crime rates in particular areas. Using models supported by prior crime and environmental data to inform different kinds of interventions can help police reduce the number of crime incidents…. https://www.nij.gov/topics/law-enforcement/strategies/predictive-policing/Pages/welcome.aspx
Learn more about NIJ’s predictive policing and geospatial police strategies research. https://www.nij.gov/topics/law-enforcement/strategies/predictive-policing/Pages/research.aspx

Crime reduction strategy is based upon a variety of factors which affect the crime reduction strategy used in a particular locale.

Resources:

Crime & Crime Prevention: Community Crime Prevention Strategies https://www.crimesolutions.gov/TopicDetails.aspx?ID=10

5 Common-Sense Ideas to Combat Crime https://www.citylab.com/equity/2013/05/5-common-sense-ideas-combat-crime/5527/

Effective Crime Reduction Strategy Includes Prisoner Re-Entry https://www.justice.gov/usao-edmi/archived-district-reports/effective-crime-reduction-strategy

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Swansea University study: Excessive posting of selfies is associated with increase in narcissism

12 Nov

Lisa Firestone Ph.D. wrote in the Psychology Today article, Is Social Media to Blame For the Rise In Narcissism?

So who’s to blame for this generational increase in narcissism?
Can we pin the tail on Mark Zuckerberg and the advent of Facebook? Over the last couple years, a plethora of research has been pouring in that makes connections between Facebook and narcissism. Studies are consistently finding that people who score higher on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory questionnaire tend to have more friends on Facebook, tag themselves more often in photos and update their statuses more frequently. According to Laura Buffadi, a postdoctoral researcher at the Universidad de Dueto in Bilbao, Spain, “Narcissists use Facebook and other social networking sites because they believe others are interested in what they’re doing, and they want others to know what they are doing.”
In general, social media websites encourage self-promotion, as users generate all of the content. W. Keith Campbell explains that people often utilize Facebook “to look important, look special and to gain attention and status and self-esteem.” The trouble with this aspect of social networking is that nearly everyone presents an unrealistic portrait of themselves. Just as people select the most attractive photos of themselves to use as profile pictures, they tend to populate their newsfeeds with the most attractive bits of news about themselves. Of course, this is not always the case, but the unrealistically sunny picture that so many social networkers paint can have a negative psychological effect on their friends or followers. Recent studies of undergraduates across the country have shown that “students who were more involved with Facebook were more likely to think other people’s lives were happier and better.” These heavy Facebook users were also more likely to negatively compare themselves to others and feel worse about themselves.
While Facebook is certainly a platform for narcissists, it is a mistake to assume that Facebook alone has caused this spike in narcissism. As researcher Shawn Bergman pointed out, “There is a significant amount of psychological research that shows that one’s personality is fairly well-established by age 7,” given that Facebook’s policy doesn’t allow users to register until age 13 “the personality traits of typical users are fairly well-ingrained by the time they get on a social network.”
The truth is the rise in narcissism among millennials may have less to do with our social networks online and more to do with our social networks at home. Throughout the last few decades, there has been an increase in parental coddling and the so-called “self-esteem” movement. Parents and teachers trying to instill a healthy sense of self-esteem in children by praising them lavishly often do more harm than good. In fact, studies show that children offered compliments for a skill they have not mastered or talents that they do not have are left feeling emptier and more insecure. Only when children are praised for real accomplishments are they able to build actual self-esteem. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/compassion-matters/201211/is-social-media-blame-the-rise-in-narcissism

The question most want to ask about narcissists is, are they bad people?

Elinor Greenberg, Ph.D. wrote in the Psychology Today article, Are Narcissists Bad People? Do they choose to hurt other people or are they unable to control themselves?

Most of the hurt that narcissists cause is the result of two basic sets of issues:
1. The need to retaliate to protect their self-esteem
Blame and retaliation: During any sort of disagreement, or even a fairly neutral situation, as soon as narcissists start to feel bad, they are likely to see whomever they are with as responsible for their discomfort. They quickly move from blaming the other person to angrily retaliating.
Justification: They feel justified because without whole object relations or object constancy, they now see the other person as the all-bad enemy. In addition, they have temporarily lost touch with any positive past history between them and the other person.
Fragile self-esteem: Their fragile self-esteem makes it extremely painful for them to become aware of their part in causing a fight. They do not even try to see how they might be at fault because that would pierce their narcissistic defenses and result in them feeling imperfect and deeply shamed.
Difficulty apologizing: After they calm down, they may realize that they over-reacted and regret it. Unfortunately, their underlying shaky self-esteem makes it very unlikely they will admit they were wrong and apologize. Instead, they are likely to make a reparative gesture, such as giving the person a present.
However, if the other person wants to talk about what happened, they are likely to become very defensive and feel attacked. Then the cycle of blame and retaliation and reparation may start all over again.
2. Self-centeredness and lack of emotional empathy
Narcissists often unintentionally do things that hurt other people because they are so self-centered and lack emotional empathy. For example, they may make fun of you in front of other people and just think they are being funny. Or you may tell them that you have a stomach virus and instead of sympathizing, they tell you that they had one much worse than yours.
How do we judge them?
Do we give them a free pass to hurt other people because they have a narcissistic personality disorder? I would not. At the very least, most well-intentioned people with NPD:
• Know that they are selfish.
• Know that other people are getting hurt by them.
• Know psychotherapy exists and most are choosing not to go for help to change.
• Have been told that what they are doing is hurtful and continue doing it anyway.
But: This subset of narcissists are not setting out to hurt other people on purpose…. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/understanding-narcissism/201810/are-narcissists-bad-people

Researchers are studying the intersection of personality disorders and social media.

Science Daily reported in Excessive posting of selfies is associated with increase in narcissism:

A new study has established that excessive use of social media, in particular the posting of images and selfies, is associated with a subsequent increase in narcissism.
Published in The Open Psychology Journal, researchers from Swansea University and Milan University studied personality changes of 74 individuals aged 18 to 34 over a four-month period.
They also assessed the participants’ usage of social media — including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat — during that same period.
Narcissism is a personality characteristic that can involve grandiose exhibitionism, beliefs relating to entitlement, and exploiting others.
Those who used social media excessively, through visual postings, displayed an average 25% increase in such narcissistic traits over the four months of the study.
This increase took many of these participants above the clinical cut-off for Narcissistic Personality Disorder, according to the measurement scale used.
The study also found that those who primarily used social media for verbal postings, such as Twitter, did not show these effects.
However, for this group of people, their initial levels of narcissism predicted a growth in this form of social media usage over time. The more narcissistic they were to begin with, the more verbal postings they made later.
All but one of the people in the study used social media, and their average use was about three hours a day, excluding usage for work, but some reported using social media for as much as eight hours a day for non-work related purposes.
Facebook was used by 60% of the sample, 25% used Instagram, and 13% used Twitter and Snapchat each. Over two thirds of the participants primarily used social media for posting images…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181109112655.htm

Citation:

Excessive posting of selfies is associated with increase in narcissism
Date: November 9, 2018
Source: Swansea University
Summary:
A new study has established that excessive use of social media, in particular the posting of images and selfies, is associated with a subsequent increase in narcissism by an average of 25 percent.

Journal Reference:
Phil Reed, Nazli I. Bircek, Lisa A. Osborne, Caterina Viganò, Roberto Truzoli. Visual Social Media Use Moderates the Relationship between Initial Problematic Internet Use and Later Narcissism. The Open Psychology Journal, 2018; 11 (1): 163 DOI: 10.2174/1874350101811010163

Here is the press release from Swansea University:

Excessive posting of photos on social media is associated with increase in narcissism
A new study has established that excessive use of social media, in particular the posting of images and selfies, is associated with a subsequent increase in narcissism.
Researchers from Swansea University and Milan University studied personality changes of 74 individuals aged 18 to 34 over a four-month period. They also assessed the participants’ usage of social media – including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat – during that same period.
The work was published in The Open Psychology Journal.
Narcissism is a personality characteristic that can involve grandiose exhibitionism, beliefs relating to entitlement, and exploiting others.
Those who used social media excessively, through visual postings, displayed an average 25% increase in such narcissistic traits over the four months of the study.
This increase took many of these participants above the clinical cut-off for Narcissistic Personality Disorder, according to the measurement scale used.
Read the research paper
The study also found that those who primarily used social media for verbal postings, such as Twitter, did not show these effects. However, for this group of people, their initial levels of narcissism predicted a growth in this form of social media usage over time. The more narcissistic they were to begin with, the more verbal postings they made later.
All but one of the people in the study used social media, and their average use was about three hours a day, excluding usage for work, but some reported using social media for as much as eight hours a day for non-work related purposes.
Facebook was used by 60% of the sample, 25% used Instagram, and 13% used Twitter and Snapchat each. Over two thirds of the participants primarily used social media for posting images.
Professor Phil Reed from the Department of Psychology at Swansea University, who led the study, said:
“There have been suggestions of links between narcissism and the use of visual postings on social media, such as Facebook, but, until this study, it was not known if narcissists use this form of social media more, or whether using such platforms is associated with the subsequent growth in narcissism.
“The results of this study suggest that both occur, but show that posting selfies can increase narcissism.
“Taking our sample as representative of the population, which there is no reason to doubt, this means that about 20% of people may be at risk of developing such narcissistic traits associated with their excessive visual social media use.
“That the predominant usage of social media for the participants was visual, mainly through Facebook, suggests the growth of this personality problem could be seen increasingly more often, unless we recognise the dangers in this form of communication.”
Professor Roberto Truzoli from Milan University added:
“The use of visual social media may emphasise the perception of narcissistic individuals that they are the main focus of attention.
“The lack of immediate ‘direct’ social censure, may offer them the opportunity to inflict aspects of their narcissistic personality, present themselves in a grandiose manner, and realise fantasies of omnipotence.”
The study was conducted by Professor Phil Reed and Nazli Bircek from Swansea University, Dr. Lisa Osborne from the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, and Dr. Caterina Viganò and Professor Roberto Truzoli from Milan University.
Find out about research in the College of Human and Health Sciences at Swansea University

Posted by Ben Donovan
Friday 9 November 2018 09.45 GMT
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The healthy use of social media must be determined by each individual’

Pamela B. Rutledge Ph.D., M.B.A. wrote in the Psychology Today article, The Healthy Use of Social Media: Start with your goals. Is your social media use helping or hurting them?

Balance is key
While research does not support the fears about social media causing “addiction”, destroying empathy and social skills or turning a generation into narcissists, doing any one thing to the exclusion of others can create challenges. If you feel harrassed and overwhelmed by information overload or pressure from all that connectivity:
• Take the time to identify your larger goals, such as success at work or school, good relationships, or personal development.
• Evaluate your social media use and determine if it’s helping you meet those goals–keep a social media diary for a few days to learn what you use, when you use it and how it makes you feel
• Remember that you are the boss of your technology, not the other way around. Just because something rings or buzzes, doesn’t mean you have to answer
• Give youself permission to take a technology break from time to time and remind yourself what it feels like to be unplugged
• How you use your social media and mobile tools is unique to you and your goals. Don’t use others’ behavior to determine yours https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/positively-media/201310/the-healthy-use-social-media

While technology has advanced many aspects of civilization and made many tasks easier, its impact on social engagement and individual personality development may not be as salutatory.

“To know a species, look at its fears. To know yourself, look at your fears. Fear in itself is not important, but fear stands there and points you in the direction of things that are important. Don’t be afraid of your fears, they’re not there to scare you; they’re there to let you know that something is worth it.”
C. Joy Bell C.

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Stanford Medicine study: Older fathers associated with increased birth risks, study reports

8 Nov

Typically, older mothers are the subject of risk factor analysis for pregnancy after 35. The Mayo Clinic staff wrote in Pregnancy after 35: Healthy moms, healthy babies:

Understand the risks
The biological clock is a fact of life, but there’s nothing magical about age 35. It’s simply an age at which various risks become more discussion worthy. For example:
• It might take longer to get pregnant. You’re born with a limited number of eggs. As you reach your mid- to late 30s, your eggs decrease in quantity and quality. Also, older women’s eggs aren’t fertilized as easily as younger women’s eggs. If you are older than age 35 and haven’t been able to conceive for six months, consider asking your health care provider for advice.
• You’re more likely to have a multiple pregnancy. The chance of having twins increases with age due to hormonal changes that could cause the release of multiple eggs at the same time. The use of assisted reproductive technologies — such as in vitro fertilization — also can play a role.
• You’re more likely to develop gestational diabetes. This type of diabetes, which occurs only during pregnancy, is more common as women get older. Tight control of blood sugar through diet and physical activity is essential. Sometimes medication is needed, too. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause a baby to grow significantly larger than average — which increases the risk of injuries during delivery. Gestational diabetes can also increase the risk of premature birth, high blood pressure during pregnancy, and complications to your infant after delivery.
• You’re more likely to develop high blood pressure during pregnancy. Research suggests high blood pressure that develops during pregnancy is more common in older women. Your health care provider will carefully monitor your blood pressure and your baby’s growth and development. You will need more frequent obstetric appointments and you might need to deliver before your due date to avoid complications.
• You’re more likely to have a low birth weight baby and a premature birth. Premature babies, especially those born earliest, often have complicated medical problems.
• You might need a C-section. Older mothers have a higher risk of pregnancy-related complications that might lead to a C-section delivery. An example of a complication is a condition in which the placenta blocks the cervix (placenta previa).
• The risk of chromosome abnormalities is higher. Babies born to older mothers have a higher risk of certain chromosome problems, such as Down syndrome.
• The risk of pregnancy loss is higher. The risk of pregnancy loss — by miscarriage and stillbirth — increases as you get older, perhaps due to pre-existing medical conditions or fetal chromosomal abnormalities. Research suggests that the decrease in the quality of your eggs, combined with an increased risk of chronic medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, could increase your risk of miscarriage. Ask your health care provider about monitoring your baby’s well-being during the last weeks of pregnancy.
While further research is needed, studies suggest that men’s ages at the time of conception — the paternal age — also might pose health risks for children…. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/pregnancy/art-20045756

Stanford Medicine studied the risk factors associated with older fathers.

Science Daily reported in Older fathers associated with increased birth risks, study reports:

A decade of data documenting live births in the United States links babies of older fathers with a variety of increased risks at birth, including low birth weight and seizures, according to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
The data even suggest that the age of the father can sway the health of the mother during pregnancy, specifically her risk for developing diabetes.
“We tend to look at maternal factors in evaluating associated birth risks, but this study shows that having a healthy baby is a team sport, and the father’s age contributes to the baby’s health, too,” said Michael Eisenberg, MD, associate professor of urology.
Data from more than 40 million births showed that babies born to fathers of an “advanced paternal age,” which roughly equates to older than 35, were at a higher risk for adverse birth outcomes, such as low birth weight, seizures and need for ventilation immediately after birth. Generally speaking, the older a father’s age, the greater the risk. For example, men who were 45 or older were 14 percent more likely to have a child born prematurely, and men 50 or older were 28 percent more likely to have a child that required admission to the neonatal intensive care unit.
Still, these numbers aren’t reason to drastically change any life plans, as the risks are still relatively low, Eisenberg said. He compared the increased risks to buying lottery tickets. “If you buy two lottery tickets instead of one, your chances of winning double, so it’s increased by 100 percent,” he said. “But that’s a relative increase. Because your chance of winning the lottery started very small, it’s still unlikely that you’re going to win the lottery. This is a very extreme example, but the same concept can be applied to how you think about these birth risks.”
Instead, Eisenberg sees the findings as informational ammunition for people planning a family and hopes that they will serve to educate the public and health officials.
A paper describing the study will be published online Nov. 1 in the The British Medical Journal. Eisenberg is the senior author. Resident physician Yash Khandwala, MD, is the lead author…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181101133759.htm

See, Pregnancy at Dr. Wilda https://drwilda.com/tag/pregnancy/

Citation:

Older fathers associated with increased birth risks, study reports
Date: November 1, 2018
Source: Stanford Medicine
Summary:
A decade of data documenting live births in the United States links babies of older fathers with a variety of increased risks at birth, including low birth weight and seizures, according to a new study.

Infants of older fathers are at greater risk of birth complications
BMJ 2018; 363 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k4595 (Published 01 November 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k4595
Linked research
Association of paternal age with perinatal outcomes
Paternal factors in preconception care: the case of paternal age
BMJ 2018; 363 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k4466 (Published 31 October 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k4466

Here is the press release from Stanford Medicine:

Older fathers associated with increased birth risks

From the data of more than 40 million births, scientists at Stanford have linked paternal age to birth risks, and even risks to the mother’s health.
A decade of data documenting live births in the United States links babies of older fathers with a variety of increased risks at birth, including low birth weight and seizures, according to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
The data even suggest that the age of the father can sway the health of the mother during pregnancy, specifically her risk for developing diabetes.
“We tend to look at maternal factors in evaluating associated birth risks, but this study shows that having a healthy baby is a team sport, and the father’s age contributes to the baby’s health, too,” said Michael Eisenberg, MD, associate professor of urology.
Data from more than 40 million births showed that babies born to fathers of an “advanced paternal age,” which roughly equates to older than 35, were at a higher risk for adverse birth outcomes, such as low birth weight, seizures and need for ventilation immediately after birth. Generally speaking, the older a father’s age, the greater the risk. For example, men who were 45 or older were 14 percent more likely to have a child born prematurely, and men 50 or older were 28 percent more likely to have a child that required admission to the neonatal intensive care unit.
Still, these numbers aren’t reason to drastically change any life plans, as the risks are still relatively low, Eisenberg said. He compared the increased risks to buying lottery tickets. “If you buy two lottery tickets instead of one, your chances of winning double, so it’s increased by 100 percent,” he said. “But that’s a relative increase. Because your chance of winning the lottery started very small, it’s still unlikely that you’re going to win the lottery. This is a very extreme example, but the same concept can be applied to how you think about these birth risks.”
Instead, Eisenberg sees the findings as informational ammunition for people planning a family and hopes that they will serve to educate the public and health officials.
A paper describing the study was published online Nov. 1 in the British Medical Journal. Eisenberg is the senior author. Resident physician Yash Khandwala, MD, is the lead author.
Increased risks at 35
Back in 2017, Eisenberg published a study showing that the number of older men fathering children was on the rise. Now, about 10 percent of infants are born to fathers over the age of 40, whereas four decades ago it was only 4 percent.
“We’re seeing these shifts across the United States, across race strata, across education levels, geography — everywhere you look, the same patterns are being seen,” Eisenberg said. “So I do think it’s becoming more relevant for us to understand the health ramifications of advanced paternal age on infant and maternal health.”
Having a better understanding of the father’s biological role will be obviously important for the offspring, but also potentially for the mother.
Eisenberg and his colleagues used data from 40.5 million live births documented through a data-sharing program run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics. The researchers organized the information based on the fathers’ age — younger than 25; 25 to 34; 35 to 44; 45 to 55; and older than 55 — and controlled for a variety of parameters that might skew the association between the father’s age and birth outcomes, such as race, education level, marital status, smoking history, access to care and the mother’s age.
The data suggested that once a dad hits age 35, there’s a slight increase in birth risks overall — with every year that a man ages, he accumulates on average two new mutations in the DNA of his sperm — but birth risks for infants born to fathers of the subsequent age tier showed sharper increases.
Compared with fathers between the ages of 25 and 34 (the average age of paternity in the United States), infants born to men 45 or older were 14 percent more likely to be admitted to the NICU, 14 percent more likely to be born prematurely, 18 percent more likely to have seizures and 14 percent more likely to have a low birth weight. If a father was 50 or older, the likelihood that their infant would need ventilation upon birth increased by 10 percent, and the odds that they would need assistance from the neonatal intensive care unit increased by 28 percent.
“What was really surprising was that there seemed to be an association between advanced paternal age and the chance that the mother would develop diabetes during pregnancy,” said Eisenberg. For men age 45 and older, their partners were 28 percent more likely to develop gestational diabetes, compared with fathers between 25 and 34. Eisenberg points out that possible biological mechanisms at play here are still a bit murky, but he suspects that the mother’s placenta has a role.
Beyond correlation
Moving forward, Eisenberg wants to look into other population cohorts to confirm the associations between age and birth risks, as well as begin to decode some of the possible biological mechanisms.
“Scientists have looked at these kinds of trends before, but this is the most comprehensive study to look at the relationship between the father’s age and birth outcomes at a population level,” said Eisenberg. “Having a better understanding of the father’s biological role will be obviously important for the offspring, but also potentially for the mother.”
Other Stanford co-authors of the study are professor of obstetrics and gynecology Valerie Baker, MD; professor of pediatrics Gary Shaw, DrPH; professor of pediatrics David K. Stevenson, MD; and professor of biomedical data, Ying Lu, PhD.
Eisenberg is a member of Stanford Bio-X, the Stanford Child Health Research Institute and the Stanford Cancer Institute.
Stanford’s Department of Urology also supported the work.
By HANAE ARMITAGE
Hanae Armitage is a science writer for the medical school’s Office of Communication & Public Affairs. Email her at harmitag@stanford.edu. http://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2018/10/older-fathers-associated-with-increased-birth-risks.html

There are benefits and cautions for those becoming parents after 35.

Dinah Wisenberg Brin wrote in the CNBC article Older-Parent Families: Advantages and Disadvantages:

Beyond the retirement and college-planning decisions, middle-aged parents may be caring for their own frail, elderly parents at the same time they’re raising preschoolers, a potentially costly prospect that points to another issue: No built-in support network of youthful grandparents who can babysit during parental getaways. CFP Kahler knows this first hand.
“Our childcare bill is as much as our airfare bill,” he says. Trading childcare with other families can defrays the costs, though, he adds.
The age factor similarly can make it difficult for middle-age parents to find willing and able guardians to name in their wills. Lindsay recalls a former client couple in their 40s with young children who had trouble completing their estate planning because they had only older siblings and no one willing to be named as guardians.
“Sometimes it just comes down to making the best decision out of a number of poor alternatives,” Kahler says. “It may mean sending them out of state to someone, you may be looking to nieces and nephews who could potentially raise a child.”
Older-parent families can face other advantages and disadvantages, as well.
“I think my kids will need less therapy than if I’d had kids in my 20s,” Kahler jokes. On the other hand, he notes there are costs associated with the care of an aging body. “I tell my kids, `The horsey can only go up and down the hallway a couple of times before the horsey runs out of gas.’ ” https://www.cnbc.com/id/44378785

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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