Sunday, February 28, 2016

Science Rocks. Babies Rock!

Please do not believe that babies are capable of self soothing. They are not. It is important to comfort them whenever they need. Being left to self sooth causes them to give up crying and seeking out but the body continues in a state of distress. Dissociation between behavior and the body is not a sign of calm.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Help kids ! Because children Rock!

the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, in a 2012 statement, concluded that,

…although corporal punishment may have a high rate of immediate behavior modification, it is ineffective over time, and is associated with increased aggression and decreased moral internalization of appropriate behavior.

In 2011, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNA) issued a statement noting that,

Corporal punishment (CP) is an important risk factor for children developing a pattern of impulsive and antisocial behavior…[and] children who experience frequent CP… are more likely to engage in violent behaviors in adulthood.

Friday, January 22, 2016

A new window into attraction! Science Rocks

Physical attraction linked to genes that control height

January 19, 2016
BioMed Central
Some may believe that chance brings you together with your loved one, but scientists have found a far less romantic reason. Mate choice is influenced by our genes, in part by those responsible for our height.

An analysis of the genotype of more than 13,000 human heterosexual couples found that genes that determine your height also influence your choice of mate by height. This provides more understanding into why we choose partners of a similar height.

Over the last century, numerous studies have found that height was a key trait when choosing a mate, but until now there has been no explanation for this preference. This study investigates both, individual physical traits in relation to mate choice and the role played by underlying genetic variation.

Lead author, Albert Tenesa, from University of Edinburgh, says, "Our genes drive our attraction for partners of similar height to ours, i.e. tall people pair with tall people. We found that 89% of the genetic variation affecting individual preferences for height and one's own height are shared, indicating that there's an innate preference for partners of similar height."

Our height is determined by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Using height as a model physical trait of attractiveness, the researchers sought to determine whether sexual attraction is driven by genes controlling a preference for a mate's height. They investigated whether the genes controlling your own height influence your preference for a mate of similar height to you.

Our genes can be used to predict the height of our partner. Albert Tenesa says, "Using one partner's genes for height, we estimated the height of the chosen partner with 13% accuracy. The similarity in height between partners is driven by the observed physical appearance of the partner, specifically their height, rather than influenced by the social or genetic structure of the population we live in."

Using white-British male and female pairs the team analyzed to what extent attraction to a mate of similar height was explained by a person's genetic make-up. The analysis provided correlations between one's own height and one's genetic make-up. These correlations indicated that genotype (one's genetic make-up) determines not only phenotype (one's physical appearance), but also one's preference for a mate with a particular appearance.

Mate selection driven by one's height is more than just a chance event and has important social and biological implications for human populations. The mating pattern observed for height is known as assortative mating, a mating pattern where individuals of similar physical characteristics mate more frequently than expected by chance. Assortative mating influences how DNA variation is arranged in the genome, which may have important implications for other human traits including disease susceptibility.

This study brings researchers closer to understanding the mechanisms that govern sexual attraction and those that drive human variation.

Your nose and your weight?!

Heightened ability to imagine odors linked to higher body weight

January 18, 2016
The John B Pierce Laboratory
The ability to vividly imagine the smell of popcorn, freshly baked cookies and even non-food odors is greater in obese adults, new research suggests. Vivid mental imagery is a key factor in stimulating and maintaining food cravings, which can be induced by the thought, smell and sight of food, say authors of a new report on the work.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Neuroscience Rocks! Memory Consolidation.

"It takes a few hours for new experiences to complete the biochemical and electrical process that transforms them from short-term to long-term memories. Over time, they become stronger and less vulnerable to interference, and, as scientists have argued for nearly a century, they eventually become imprinted onto the circuitry of our brains. That process is referred to as consolidation. Until recently, few researchers challenged the paradigm; the only significant question about consolidation seemed to be how long it took for the cement to dry."

But now a great deal of information is becoming available and how incredible this time in Neuroscience is turning out to be.

A fascinating article by Michael Specter about rewriting our traumatic memories. Neuroscience has come a long ways.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Babies Rock.! Protect our assests through knowledge.

Babies recognize real-life objects from pictures as early as nine months, psychologists discover

April 29, 2014
University of Royal Holloway London
Babies begin to learn about the connection between pictures and real objects by the time they are nine-months-old, according to a new study. The research found that babies can learn about a toy from a photograph of it well before their first birthday.

Element of surprise helps babies learn

April 2, 2015
Johns Hopkins University
Cognitive psychologists have demonstrated for the first time that babies learn new things by leveraging the core information they are born with. When something surprises a baby, like an object not behaving the way a baby expects it to, the baby not only focuses on that object, but ultimately learns more about it than from a similar yet predictable object.

What do infants remember when they forget?

September 28, 2011
Association for Psychological Science
Six-month-old babies are severely limited in what they can remember about the objects they see in the world; if you hide several objects from an infant, they will only remember one of those objects with any detail. But a new study finds that when babies "forget" about an object, not all is lost.

Let us Learn more about them. They are the future. Babies Rock!

How does type of toy affect quantity, quality of language in infant playtime?

December 23, 2015
The JAMA Network Journals

Electronic toys for infants that produce lights, words and songs were associated with decreased quantity and quality of language compared to playing with books or traditional toys such as a wooden puzzle, a shape-sorter and a set of rubber blocks, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.
The reality for many families of young children is that opportunities for direct parent-child play time is limited because of financial, work, and other familial factors. Optimizing the quality of limited parent-child play time is important.
Anna V. Sosa, Ph.D., of Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, and colleagues conducted a controlled experiment involving 26 parent-infant pairs with children who were 10 to 16 months old. Researchers did not directly observe parent-infant play time because it was conducted in participants' homes. Audio recording equipment was used to pick up sound. Participants were given three sets of toys: electronic toys (a baby laptop, a talking farm and a baby cell phone); traditional toys (chunky wooden puzzle, shape-sorter and rubber blocks with pictures); and five board books with farm animal, shape or color themes.
While playing with electronic toys there were fewer adult words used, fewer conversational turns with verbal back-and-forth, fewer parental responses and less production of content-specific words than when playing with traditional toys or books. Children also vocalized less while playing with electronic toys than with books, according to the results.
Results also indicate that parents produced fewer words during play with traditional toys than while playing with books with infants. Parents also used less content-specific words when playing with traditional toys with their infants than when playing with books.
The authors note results showed the largest and most consistent differences between electronic toys and books, followed by electronic toys and traditional toys.
The study has important limitations, including its small sample size and the similarity of the participants by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status.
"These results provide a basis for discouraging the purchase of electronic toys that are promoted as educational and are often quite expensive. These results add to the large body of evidence supporting the potential benefits of book reading with very young children. They also expand on this by demonstrating that play with traditional toys may result in communicative interactions that are as rich as those that occur during book reading. ... However, if the emphasis is on activities that promote a rich communicative interaction between parents and infants, both play with traditional toys and book reading can be promoted as language-facilitating activities while play with electronic toys should be discouraged," the study concludes.
Editorial: Keeping Children's Attention
"Electronic toys that make noises or light up are extremely effective at commanding children's attention by activating their orienting reflex. This primitive reflex compels the mind to focus on novel visual or auditory stimuli. The study by Sosa in this issue of JAMA Pediatrics suggests that they may do more than just command children's attention; they appear to reduce parent-child verbal interactions. Why does this matter? Conversational turns during play do more than teach children language. They lay the groundwork for literacy skills, teach role-playing, give parents a window into their child's developmental stage and struggles, and teach social skills such as turn-taking and accepting others' leads. Verbal interactions of course are only part of the story. What is missing from this study is a sense of how nonverbal interactions, which are also an important source of social and emotional skills, varied by toy type," write Jenny S. Radesky, M.D., of the University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, and Dimitri A. Christakis, M.D., M.P.H., of Seattle Children's Hospital and a JAMA Pediatrics associate editor, in a related editorial.
"Any digital enhancement should serve a clear purpose to engage the child not only with the toy/app, but also transfer that engagement to others and the world around them to make what they learned meaningful and generalizable. Digital features have enormous potential to engage children in play -- particularly children with a higher sensory threshold -- but it is important the child not get stuck in the toy/app's closed loop to the exclusion of real-world engagement. Bells and whistles may sell toys, but they also can detract value," they conclude.

Story Source:
The above post is reprinted from materials provided by The JAMA Network JournalsNote: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Think twice about Gene Expression! The human brain Rocks!

Genes continue to spin out 13 months after birth in direct relation to experience. Therefore, a great number of psychobiological disorders can be prevented through quality attuned care giving. The following is an excerpt from the Center for the Developing child at Harvard.

Experiences Affect How Genes Are Expressed

Inside the nucleus of each cell in our bodies, we have chromosomes, which contain the code for characteristics that pass to the next generation. Within these chromosomes, specific segments of genetic code, known as genes, make up long, double-helix strands of DNA.

Experiences leave a chemical “signature” on genes that determines whether and how genes are expressed.
Children inherit approximately 23,000 genes from their parents, but not every gene does what it was designed to do. Experiences leave a chemical “signature” on genes that determines whether and how the genes are expressed. Collectively, those signatures are called the epigenome.

The brain is particularly responsive to experiences and environments during early development. External experiencesspark signals between neurons, which respond by producing proteins. These gene regulatory proteins head to the nucleus of the neural cell, where they either attract or repel enzymes that can attach them to the genes. Positive experiences, such as exposure to rich learning opportunities, and negative influences, such as malnutrition or environmental toxins, can change the chemistry that encodes genes in brain cells — a change that can be temporary or permanent. This process is called epigenetic modification.      ~The Center for the Developing Child at Harvard

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Early life stress and adolescent depression linked to impaired development of reward circuits

October 29, 2015
Early life stress is a major risk factor for later episodes of depression. In fact, adults who are abused or neglected as children are almost twice as likely to experience depression. Scientific research into this link has revealed that the increased risk following such childhood adversity is associated with sensitization of the brain circuits involved with processing threat and driving the stress response. More recently, research has begun to demonstrate that in parallel to this stress sensitization, there may also be diminished processing of reward in the brain and associated reductions in a person's ability to experience positive emotions.

The researchers focused on the ventral striatum, a deep brain region that is important for processing rewarding experiences as well as generating positive emotions, both of which are deficient in depression.
"Our analyses revealed that over a two-year window during early to mid-adolescence, there was an abnormal decrease in the response of the ventral striatum to reward only in adolescents who had been exposed to emotional neglect, a relatively common form of childhood adversity where parents are persistently emotionally unresponsive and unavailable to their children," explained first author Dr. Jamie Hanson.
"Importantly, we further showed that this decrease in ventral striatum activity predicted the emergence of depressive symptoms during this key developmental period," he added. "Our work is consistent with other recent studies finding deficient reward processing in depression, and further underscores the importance of considering such developmental pathways in efforts to protect individuals exposed to childhood adversity from later depression."
This study suggests that, in some people, early life stress compromises the capacity to experience enthusiasm or pleasure. In addition, the effect of early life stress may grow over time so that people who initially appear resilient may develop problems later in life.
"This insight is important because it suggests a neural pathway through which early life stress may contribute to depression," said Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. "This pathway might be targeted by neural stimulation treatments. Further, it suggests that survivors of early life trauma and their families may benefit from learning about the possibility of consequences that might appear later in life. This preparation could help lead to early intervention."

Story Source:
The above post is reprinted from materials provided by ElsevierNote: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:
  1. Jamie L. Hanson, Ahmad R. Hariri, Douglas E. Williamson. Blunted Ventral Striatum Development in Adolescence Reflects Emotional Neglect and Predicts Depressive SymptomsBiological Psychiatry, 2015; 78 (9): 598 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.05.010


Which Countries Consume The Most Antidepressants? 

November 11, 2015 | 

by Tom Hale 

The results showed that Iceland, Australia and Portugal were among the top consumers of antidepressants, while Chile, South Korea and Estonia consumed the least. 

However, it is worth noting that the report only covered the pharmaceutical habits of "developed countries." Also, the United States – the original "Prozac Nation" – did not feature in this particular set of data. Separate data has shown 10% of Americans are prescribed antidepressants, which would put them second on this graph. We should also note that this is per thousand people, not by the total number consumed.

FTD! Mindurbrain! Science Rocks.

Developing a twisted sense of humor could be an earlier sign of dementia, according to new research.

The study, conducted at University College London (UCL), looked at 48 patients suffering from frontotemporal dementia (FTD) – which affects the region behind the forehead – and Alzheimer’s disease. Using a series of questionnaires, they asked friends or relatives of the participants what type of comedy they preferred: slapstick comedy such as Mr Bean, satirical comedy such as Yes Minister (imagine a 1980s British Veep if you're not familiar) or absurd comedy such as Monty Python. They then compared the results with 21 healthy people of a similar age.

The results, which were published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, found that all the patients with dementia tended to enjoy slapstick comedy rather than subtle satirical or absurdist humor.

The study also found a highly altered sense of humor in the group of people with a specific form of FTD, called behavioral variant FTD (bvFTD). This is a rarer form of dementia, which is less associated with memory loss and more to do with change in personality and loss of inhibitions.

They also used anecdotal evidence from friends and family of FTD sufferers, which asked them to reflect on the past 15 years and note any peculiar behavior changes. Many reported a shift into “darker humor,” often finding inappropriate and even tragic events funny, such as one man who laughed when his wife badly scalded herself.

They also found that with bvFTD often laughed hysterically at everyday things that others would struggle to find any humor in, such as a badly parked car or barking dog, but the other groups did not.

Dr Camilla Clark, who led the research at the UCL Dementia Research Centre, said in a statement: “As sense of humor defines us and is used to build relationships with those around us, changes in what we find funny has impacts far beyond picking a new favorite TV show.

“As well as providing clues to underlying brain changes, subtle differences in what we find funny could help differentiate between the different diseases that cause dementia. Humor could be a particularly sensitive way of detecting dementia because it puts demands on so many different aspects of brain function, such as puzzle solving, emotion and social awareness.”

Dr Simon Ridley, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, also stressed the importance of this study in helping doctors identify and diagnose dementia earlier: “While memory loss is often the first thing that springs to mind when we hear the word dementia, this study highlights the importance of looking at the myriad different symptoms that impact on daily life and relationships

“A deeper understanding of the full range of dementia symptoms will increase our ability to make a timely and accurate diagnosis.”

Of course, this study looked at changes in sense of humor, so if you’ve always had a rather warped sense of humor, there’s no cause for concern. Other than for your poor friends who have to put up with it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Infants are the most valuable assets of any society!

By age 5 children have a sense of self-esteem comparable in strength to that of adults, according to a new study by University of Washington researchers.
Because self-esteem tends to remain relatively stable across one's lifespan, the study suggests that this important personality trait is already in place before children begin kindergarten.
"Our work provides the earliest glimpse to date of how preschoolers sense their selves," said lead author Dario Cvencek, a research scientist at the UW's Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS).
"We found that as young as 5 years of age self-esteem is established strongly enough to be measured," said Cvencek, "and we can measure it using sensitive techniques."
The new findings, published in the January 2016 issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, used a newly developed test to assess implicit self-esteem in more than 200 5-year-old children -- the youngest age yet to be measured.
"Some scientists consider preschoolers too young to have developed a positive or negative sense about themselves. Our findings suggest that self-esteem, feeling good or bad about yourself, is fundamental," said co-author, Andrew Meltzoff, co-director of I-LABS. "It is a social mindset children bring to school with them, not something they develop in school."
Meltzoff continued: "What aspects of parent-child interaction promote and nurture preschool self-esteem? That's the essential question. We hope we can find out by studying even younger children."
Until now no measurement tool has been able to detect self-esteem in preschool-aged children. This is because existing self-esteem tests require the cognitive or verbal sophistication to talk about a concept like "self" when asked probing questions by adult experimenters.
"Preschoolers can give verbal reports of what they're good at as long as it is about a narrow, concrete skill, such as 'I'm good at running' or 'I'm good with letters,' but they have difficulties providing reliable verbal answers to questions about whether they are a good or bad person," Cvencek said.
To try a different approach, Cvencek, Meltzoff and co-author Anthony Greenwald created a self-esteem task for preschoolers. Called the Preschool Implicit Association Test (PSIAT), it measures how strongly children feel positively about themselves.
Adult versions of the IAT, which was first developed by Greenwald, can reveal attitudes and beliefs that people don't know they have, such as biases related to race, gender, age and other topics.
"Previously we understood that preschoolers knew about some of their specific good features. We now understand that, in addition, they have a global, overall knowledge of their goodness as a person," said Greenwald.
The task for adults works by measuring how quickly people respond to words in different categories. For instance, the adult implicit self-esteem task measures associations between words like "self" and "pleasant" or "other" and "unpleasant."
To make the task appropriate for preschoolers who can't read, the researchers replaced words related to the self ("me," "not me") with objects. They used small unfamiliar flags, and the children were told which of the flags were "yours" and "not yours."
The 5-year-olds in the experiment--which included an even mix of 234 boys and girls from the Seattle area--first learned to distinguish their set of flags ("me") from another set of flags ("not me").
Using buttons on a computer, they responded to a series of "me" and "not me" flags and to a series of "good" words from a loudspeaker (fun, happy, good, nice) and "bad" words (bad, mad, mean, yucky). Then, to measure self-esteem, the children had to combine the words and press the buttons to indicate whether the "good" words were associated more with the "me" flags or not.
The results showed that the 5-year-olds associated themselves more with "good" than with "bad," and this was equally pronounced in both girls and boys.
The researchers also did two more implicit tests to probe different aspects of the self. A gender identity task assessed the children's sense of whether they are a boy or a girl, and a gender attitude task measured the children's preference for other children of their own gender, called a "gender in-group preference."
Children who had high self-esteem and strong own-gender identity also showed stronger preferences for members of their own gender.
Taken together, the findings show that self-esteem is not only unexpectedly strong in children this young, but is also systematically related to other fundamental parts of children's personality, such as in-group preferences and gender identity.
"Self-esteem appears to play a critical role in how children form various social identities. Our findings underscore the importance of the first five years as a foundation for life," Cvencek said.
The researchers are following up with the children in the study to examine whether self-esteem measured in preschool can predict outcomes later in childhood, such as health and success in school. They are also interested in the malleability of children's self-esteem and how it changes with experience.

Story Source:
The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of WashingtonNote: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:
  1. Dario Cvencek, Anthony G. Greenwald, Andrew N. Meltzoff. Implicit measures for preschool children confirm self-esteem's role in maintaining a balanced identityJournal of Experimental Social Psychology, 2016; 62: 50 DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2015.09.015
University of Washington. "Children's self-esteem already established by age five." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 November 2015. <>.

Healthy children in less than 10 days!Science Rocks!

Reducing consumption of added sugar, even without reducing calories or losing weight, has the power to reverse a cluster of chronic metabolic diseases, including high cholesterol and blood pressure, in children in as little as 10 days, according to a study by researchers at UC San Francisco and Touro University California.
"This study definitively shows that sugar is metabolically harmful not because of its calories or its effects on weight; rather sugar is metabolically harmful because it's sugar," said lead author Robert Lustig, MD, MSL, pediatric endocrinologist at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco. "This internally controlled intervention study is a solid indication that sugar contributes to metabolic syndrome, and is the strongest evidence to date that the negative effects of sugar are not because of calories or obesity."
Jean-Marc Schwarz, PhD of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Touro University California and senior author of the paper added, "I have never seen results as striking or significant in our human studies; after only nine days of fructose restriction, the results are dramatic and consistent from subject to subject. These findings support the idea that it is essential for parents to evaluate sugar intake and to be mindful of the health effects of what their children are consuming."
The paper will appear online on October 27, and in the February 2016 issue of the Journal Obesity.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

So much potential! Infants Rock.

Researchers have long known that adults can flexibly find new ways to communicate, for example, using smoke signals or Morse code to communicate at a distance, but a new Northwestern University study is the first to show that this same communicative flexibility is evident even in 6-month-olds.
The researchers set out to discover whether infants could learn that a novel sound was a "communicative signal" and, if so, whether it would confer the same advantages for their learning as does speech.
To do so, they had infants watch a short video in which two people had a conversation -- one speaking in English and the other responding in beep sounds. Infants were then tested on whether these novel beep sounds would facilitate their learning about a novel object category, a fundamental cognitive process known to be influenced by speech. Could the beeps, once communicative, have the same effect? Indeed, the researchers found that after seeing the beeps used to communicate, the infants linked beep sounds to categorization just as if they were speech.
"We reasoned that if infants were able to learn about a new communicative signal, they might now succeed in object categorizing while listening to tones, despite having failed in prior studies while listening to tones without any prior exposure to them," said Brock Ferguson, lead author of the study and a doctoral candidate in cognitive psychology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern. "That is, they might treat this new 'communicative' sound as if it were speech."
In contrast, Ferguson said, if infants couldn't interpret this new signal as communicative, or if their categorization in the subsequent task could only be 'boosted' by speech, then infants should fail to categorize objects while listening to tones as they had in all prior studies.
"We knew that speech could promote infants' learning of object categories. Now we know that for infants, this link to learning is broad enough to encompass many communicative signals -- including ones to which infants had just been introduced," Ferguson said.
Sandra Waxman, senior author of the study, director of the Project on Child Development, faculty fellow in Northwestern's Institute for Policy Research and the Louis W. Menk Chair in Psychology at Northwestern, highlighted the powerful implications of this work for the understanding of infants' intricate coordination of social, language and cognitive development.
"Infants' success in accepting this entirely novel signal as communicative is astounding," Waxman said.
"This shows that infants have the social capacity to recognize an entirely new social communicative signal in their environment. And once recognized, they can use it to support cognition. Babies, like adults, are already on the lookout for new ways that the people around them communicate with one another," Waxman said.

Story Source:
The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Northwestern University. The original item was written by Hilary Hurd Anyaso. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:
  1. Brock Ferguson, Sandra R. Waxman. What the [beep]? Six-month-olds link novel communicative signals to meaningCognition, 2016; 146: 185 DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2015.09.020

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Guns in the US! “Wouldn’t it be great if you could get your hands on access to mental health care” as fast as you can get your hands on a gun?

APA-IPS: Gun ownership is a public health issue


NEW YORK – The prevalence of guns in the United States is a public health issue that must be addressed head-on by clinicians – including psychiatrists, experts said at the American Psychiatric Association’s Institute on Psychiatric Services.
Part of the challenge is bridging the cultural disconnect between some psychiatrists and patients. About 10% of psychiatrists own guns, but the ownership rate among U.S. households ranges from 40%-50%, said Dr. John Rozel, a psychiatrist affiliated with the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic at the University of Pittsburgh. “Most of us psychiatrists might not intrinsically get it.”
The United States has more than 270,000,000 civilian-owned firearms, which is more than the next 18 countries combined.
The United States has more than 270,000,000 civilian-owned firearms, which is more than the next 18 countries combined.
Facing the ubiquity of guns in American life might be a good place to start. The United States has more than 270,000,000 civilian-owned firearms, which is more than the next 18 countries combined, Dr. Rozel said, quoting 2007 data from the global Small Arms Survey. “Wouldn’t it be great if you could get your hands on access to mental health care” as fast as you can get your hands on a gun?
The secure place of guns within American life requires “radical acceptance” on the part of psychiatrists, Dr. Abhishek Jain said at the session.
“The Second Amendment is not going anywhere,” said Dr. Jain, also a psychiatrist with the clinic. “Keep in mind how much buying [of guns] there is in your jurisdiction. Pay attention to your own state laws. Variability is considerable.”
An understanding of these laws needs to occur while recognizing that the public is largely misinformed about the tendency of people with mental illness to turn to violence. “Little population-level evidence supports the notion that individuals diagnosed with mental illness are more likely than anyone else to commit gun crimes,” Dr. Jonathan M. Metzl and Kenneth T. MacLeish, Ph.D., wrote in a recent review (Am J Public Health. 2015 Feb;105[2]:240-9). “Databases that track gun homicides, such as the National Center for Health Statistics, similarly show that fewer than 5% of the 120,000 gun-related killings in the United States between 2001 and 2010 were perpetrated by people diagnosed with mental illness,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
People with mental illness are more likely to hurt themselves than others. Furthermore, tighter gun laws are associated with lower rates of suicide. A recent study found a connection between more stringent laws involving waiting periods, universal background checks, gun locks, and open carrying regulations in four states and a drop in suicide rates (Am J Public Health. 2015;105[10]:2049-58). “We should talk about individual safety,” Dr. Jain said.

Talking with your patients about guns
Dr. Layla Soliman encouraged developing a working knowledge about some of the fine points of guns, such as how they work. “After every tragedy, we see [in the comments section of online articles] ‘why can’t psychiatrists stop these people?’ We’re part of the discussion, whether we want to be or not,” said Dr. Soliman, a psychiatric attending on the inpatient unit at the hospital.
Using motivational interviewing is a good way to get patients to open up about their access to guns and how they view them.
Using motivational interviewing is a good way to get patients to open up about their access to guns and how they view them.
Asking all patients about the role of guns in their lives should be routine, she said. “We are trained to do this [as part of] a checklist. We have to ask in the same way we ask about past violence [and] substance use.” Document these conversations with patients defensively, Dr. Soliman said. “I would suggest an integrated risk assessment in your documentation.”
Dr. Rozel agreed. “We’ve learned a lot of lessons from our colleagues in pediatrics [and] how they talk with patients about vaccinations,” he said. Dr. Rozel is trained as a child psychiatrist and holds a master of studies in law degree.
Using motivational interviewing is a good way to get patients to open up about their access to guns and how they view them. “It’s about collaboration, not confrontation,” Dr. Rozel said. “It’s about accepting their reality [and] not imposing our will on them. They may not want to have this conversation. Express empathy [by saying]: ‘I don’t want to take any unnecessary chances with your life.’ ”
Dr. Rozel, Dr. Jain, and Dr. Soliman are also assistant professors of psychiatry at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. They said they had no disclosures.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

you snooze you loose? not so true!

As humans, we spend about a third of our lives asleep. So there must be a point to it, right? Scientists have found that sleep helps consolidate memories, fixing them in the brain so we can retrieve them later. Now, new research is showing that sleep also seems to reorganize memories, picking out the emotional details and reconfiguring the memories to help you produce new and creative ideas, according to the authors of an article inCurrent Directions in Psychological Science.
"Sleep is making memories stronger," says Jessica D. Payne of the University of Notre Dame, who co-wrote the review with Elizabeth A. Kensinger of Boston College. "It also seems to be doing something which I think is so much more interesting, and that is reorganizing and restructuring memories."
Payne and Kensinger study what happens to memories during sleep, and they have found that a person tends to hang on to the most emotional part of a memory. For example, if someone is shown a scene with an emotional object, such as a wrecked car, in the foreground, they're more likely to remember the emotional object than, say, the palm trees in the background -- particularly if they're tested after a night of sleep. They have also measured brain activity during sleep and found that regions of the brain involved with emotion and memory consolidation are active.
"In our fast-paced society, one of the first things to go is our sleep," Payne says. "I think that's based on a profound misunderstanding that the sleeping brain isn't doing anything." The brain is busy. It's not just consolidating memories, it's organizing them and picking out the most salient information. She thinks this is what makes it possible for people to come up with creative, new ideas.
Payne has taken the research to heart. "I give myself an eight-hour sleep opportunity every night. I never used to do that -- until I started seeing my data," she says. People who say they'll sleep when they're dead are sacrificing their ability to have good thoughts now, she says. "We can get away with less sleep, but it has a profound effect on our cognitive abilities."

Story Source:
The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Association for Psychological ScienceNote: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:
  1. Elizabeth A. Kensinger and Jessica D. Payne. Sleep’s Role in the Consolidation of Emotional Episodic MemoriesCurrent Directions in Psychological Science,