Monday, September 12, 2016

Prozac for Dyslexia, Anxiety, Depression, and How to Help a Teacher

"READING" DRUG? A team of researchers that included Sally Shaywitz of Yale University conducted a study to see whether the drug atomoxetine affects components of dyslexia in children, including decoding and vocabulary. Children receiving the drug showed significant improvements compared to children receiving a placebo. The drug also significantly reduced symptoms of ADHD. Read about the study. Atomoxetine is the generic name for the Strattera, heretofore one of the drugs commonly prescribed for ADHD.

ANXIETY can be difficult to treat. An article in Time describes the role of the hypothalmus in anxiety and how research indicates that anti-anxiety medications probably need to be more specific in regard to their effect on certain areas of the brain. Go to Time, or find a press release about the research Time's article is based on. Separately, other research indicates that "a misunderstanding of how the brain is wired with regard to both fear and anxiety has stymied the development of effective treatments." These researchers advocate a "two-track" approach to understanding fear and anxiety -- a conscious track and an unconscious one. Find the study write-up.

THE ROEPER SCHOOL is celebrating 75 years, notes An article there gives the history of this Michigan school for the gifted. Find the article.

DEPRESSION. Several studies this week deal with depression.

  • The antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac) causes bone loss by instructing the brain to send out signals that increase bone breakdown (something we didn't know), but a beta-blocker can intercept the signals, a new study in mice has found. Got a kiddo on Prozac? Check out the study write-up
  • Some other things you might not know about antidepressant side effects are noted in a write-up of research at Medical News Today. Of particular interest is a comment by the senior author of the paper: "It is very unlikely that most of the prescribers of antidepressant drugs are aware of these side effects, because of a tight censorship that has been in action all these years." Go to Medical News Today to see if you should be worried.
  • Finally, negative experiences on Facebook may increase the risk of depressive symptoms, suggesting that online social interactions have important consequences for mental health, according to a study from Brown University. Find the study write-up
PSYCHOLOGIST DAN PETERS, a member of the 2e Newsletter Editorial Advisory Board, is scheduled to present a session at this fall's national conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Titled "The Gifted Child: Misunderstood, Mislabeled, Misdiagnosed," the session, according to the AAP, "will review characteristics and misconceptions of gifted children; describe the medical misdiagnoses made most commonly in gifted children (eg, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism); and provide approaches to offering anticipatory guidance and strategies to assist parents in caring for gifted children and in advocating with school systems." Find the AAP conference site.

EVIDENCE FOR ACCELERATION. Using data from a sample of state and national assessments, researchers have found that between 15 and 45 percent of students enter upper elementary school classrooms already perform at least one year above grade level. The researchers conclude that "traditional age-based grade levels may be hampering the progress of millions of K-12 students in the United States and should be a target for reform." Read more.

TECA CONFERENCE. The Twice Exceptional Children's Advocacy group has announced the dates for its 2016 conference, to be held November 5 at Molloy College, Rockville Center, New York. The keynoter is Jen "the Blogger" Merrill. Find out more.

TED TALKS comprise part of a three-part PBS series on education beginning this week. According to TED, the series "focuses on how education is changing to adapt to our new digital world." Sal Khan is one presenter. Find out more. Separately, TED also offers 17 ways to help a teacher out. Some of these might be obvious -- donations of time or goods for the classroom -- but some are unexpected, and perhaps rightly so since the teachers TED asked about needs are all over the world. Find the 17 ways, and see if any apply to the classroom your 2e kiddo is in.

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