Friday, August 29, 2014

Anxiety, Depression, Dyslexia, ADHD... and Bacteria

FOLLOW-UP #1. We blogged last time about a study indicating that a problem in autism is a lack of neuronal pruning during childhood. The New York Times also reported on the study, going much beyond the press release we read and pointed to. Find the NY Times article.

FOLLOW-UP #2. We also blogged about the American Academy of Pedatrics' recommendation that teens start school later in order to get more sleep. The Child Mind Institute has an article on its site with advice on how parents can help teenagers get more sleep; find it.

DSM-5. Medscape surveyed over 6,000 physicians on their reactions to the DSM-5, released a year ago. It doesn't seem to have caused much of a stir -- or much change in practice. More than half of the respondents don't use the new edition; and most said that the DSM-5 hadn't made a difference in their handling of autism, pediatric bipolar disorder, or personality disorders. However, the majority of those who actually use the DSM-5 are "extremely satisfied," "very satisfied," or "moderately satisfied." Find out more.

GOT AN ANXIOUS KID? Do you fall into the "protection trap"? Find out what it is and how you can help that child.

DEPRESSION was the topic of lots of stories over the past few days.
  • The brains of young adults who have experienced depression are evidently "hyperconnected" -- different sections talking to each other too much; read more
  • The Child Mind Institute ran an article on the symptoms of depression in teens; find it
  • "Collaborative care" -- presumably integrating mental health services into primary care -- leads to greater improvements than "usual" care; read more
  • A study indicates that serotonin might not play a central role in depression; read more
DYSLEXIA IN THE WHOLE BRAIN. Researchers have mapped connectivity within the entire brain in subjects with dyslexia and compared them to typical readers. Some of the results: "Dyslexic readers showed decreased connectivity within the visual pathway as well as between visual and prefrontal regions, increased right-hemisphere connectivity, reduced connectivity in the visual word-form area, and persistent connectivity to anterior language regions around the inferior frontal gyrus." Read more.

GIFTED ED IN MINNESOTA. A school curriculum specialist grumps about the state of gifted ed in Minnesota, listing a variety of ills, some of which are probably ones that irritate you in your home state. It's a depressing read, but necessary in that it brings up questions to ask your district or your state board of education. The writer concludes, "Ignoring an entire population of students gives lie to every district mission statement I have ever read and violates everything 'educational equity' should represent. But until education focuses on the growth of each student, stagnation will remain the painful reality for most gifted students." We hope he keeps his job. Read the opinion piece.

ADHD: Not an LD? Maybe it's a "decision-making impairment" instead. See what you think about this twist in diagnosis.

AND FINALLY, THIS -- your bacteria are a big part of your life, and they even travel with you and "colonize" your hotel rooms to "look" just like home. In fact, families have distinct "fingerprints" -- bacterial profiles -- that allow one family to be distinguished from others. Now, this is interesting in several ways, but the research also implies that more early exposure to different bacteria -- eg by having a family dog -- might positively affect a child's development and later life. Read a press release; or, read a Washington Post article about the study. And go get a dog.

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