Novel neurodegenerative disease and gene identified with the help of man’s best friend

first_imgShare LinkedIn Genetic analyses revealed a single nucleotide change in the ATG4D gene in affected dogs. The ATG4D gene functions as a part of an intracellular pathway called autophagy, which functions in normal cellular “cleaning” by degrading damaged cellular components and organelles. Autophagy plays also an important role in maintaining cellular functions under stressful conditions, such as nutrient deprivation. The affected Lagottos had signs of altered autophagy in the brain.The ATG4D gene has not been previously linked to inherited diseases and represents an excellent candidate for human neurodegenerative disorders. “Our genetic finding enables more detailed future studies to unravel the disease-causing mechanisms and to understand the role of autophagy in normal neuronal function. These results could also have a broader significance for understanding and treating neurodegenerative disorders”, says Professor Hannes Lohi. Dogs could also help to explore novel therapy options for neurodegeneration.Gene test helps breeding and veterinary diagnosticsThis gene discovery enabled the development of a gene test to identify mutation carriers and to improve the Lagotto Romagnolo breeding program. “The genetic test not only helps in breeding decisions but can also be used for veterinary diagnostics. There are other similar neurodegenerative diseases in the breed and the genetic test can be used to get a differential diagnosis. This will also help ongoing studies in rest of the neurological disorders in the breed”, tells the first author of the paper, PhD student Kaisa Kyöstilä. This study is a part of her doctoral thesis work.“The signs and the rate of progression of the neurological abnormalities in this newly identified neurodegenerative disease vary considerably. The first clinical sign noticed by the dog owners can be episodes of abnormal eye movements (nystagmus) but in some cases the main clinical sign is a slowly progressive ataxia. The rate of progression of clinical signs varies from month to years. The diagnosis cannot be confirmed with clinical examinations and thus, the definitive diagnosis can only be made with the gene test” highlights Tarja Jokinen, a board-certified neurologist who participated in the studies at the University of Helsinki.The study involved a team of geneticists, veterinary neurologists and pathologists from several different European countries and highlights the importance of collaboration between basic and clinical research in veterinary medicine. Pinterest Share on Facebookcenter_img Email Share on Twitter A breakthrough study performed in an international collaboration led by Professor Tosso Leeb from the University of Bern and Professor Hannes Lohi from the University of Helsinki together with the veterinary neurologists and neuropathologists at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in the University of Helsinki has identified a gene mutation that causes a novel type of neurodegenerative disease in dogs. The results of the study shed light into the function of neurons, provide a new gene for human neurodegenration, and may aid in developing better treatments for neurodegenerative disorders. The study was published in the prestigious journal PLoS Genetics on 15.4.2015.Finnish and Swiss investigators have made a genetic breakthrough in the Lagotto Romagnolo dog breed. The breed originates from Italy and is known for its skills in truffle hunting. These dogs have interested genetic researchers due to the existence of several rare neurological conditions in the breed. The current study revealed a novel type of neurodegenerative disease, characterized by cerebellar dysfunction and movement incoordination. Some affected dogs also suffered from abnormal eye movements and developed behavioral changes, such as restlessness and aggression. The onset of the clinical signs varies from 4 months to 4 years.Gene discovery sheds light to a disease mechanismlast_img read more

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Parent training reduces serious behavioral problems in children with autism

first_imgLinkedIn Share on Facebook Pinterest This 24-week, multisite, randomized trial was conducted by the Research Units on Behavioral Intervention (RUBI) Autism Network, a six-site National Institute of Mental Health-funded consortium dedicated to developing and testing behavioral treatments for children with ASD.Denis Sukhodolsky, assistant professor at Yale Child Study Center, provided oversight for the study at the Yale site. Sukhodolsky and other investigators at Yale played a central role in data management, statistical analysis, and study monitoring.“Parent training has been well studied in children with disruptive behavior disorder,” said Sukhodolsky. “Our study shows that parent training is also helpful for improving behavioral problems such as irritability and non-compliance in young children with ASD.”RUBI investigators randomly assigned 180 children between the ages of 3 and 7 with ASD and behavioral problems to either a 24-week parent training program, or a 24-week parent education program. Parent education provided up-to-date and useful information about ASD, but no instruction on how to manage behavioral problems.“Parent education was an active control condition,” said James Dziura, associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Yale, who, along with Cindy Brandt, M.D., led the data management and statistical analysis for the study. “Both groups showed improvement, but parent training was superior on measures of disruptive and noncompliant behavior.” Share on Twittercenter_img Share Email Young children with autism spectrum disorder, who also have serious behavioral problems, showed improved behavior when their parents were trained with specific, structured strategies to manage tantrums, aggression, self-injury, and non-compliance.The findings from this parent training study by Yale and Emory University researchers were published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a chronic condition beginning in early childhood and defined by impaired social communication and repetitive behavior. ASD affects 0.6 to 1% of children worldwide. In young children, ASD is often complicated by moderate or severe behavioral problems.last_img read more

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How neurons get their branching shapes

first_imgWhen one end of a microtubule is attached to something, it does not push out new dendritic branches as it grows. However, when microtubules form at no particular site, the opposite is true, and new branches are more likely to form as it grows. Further testing revealed that centrosomin acts as a glue that fixes microtubules, particularly to Golgi bodies, which is why its presence promotes less complex branching.“The shape and complexity of neuronal dendrite arbors are often disrupted in neurological diseases,” notes team leader Adrian Moore. “It turns out the two microtubule regulators we found in this study of Drosophila neurons–centrosomin and pericentrin–are encoded by genes mutated in some human brain disorders. As we learn more about how neurons control the growth of dendrites it will help us understand these diseases more completely, and we may learn how to initiate and direct neuron growth as therapy for diseases and after neuronal injury.” Share on Facebook For more than a hundred years, people have known that dendritic arbors–the projections that neurons use to receive information from other neurons–differ in size and shape depending on neuron type. Now, researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have discovered a factor helps shape dendritic arbors. Published in Nature Neuroscience, the work reveals how the protein centrosomin prevents dendrites from branching out.Dendrites grow and branch as structural elements called microtubules push the ends out in specific directions. Microtubules are often likened to cellular scaffolding, and are built on site by growing out from one end. To determine how microtubule growth and dendritic branching is regulated, the researchers examined sensory neurons from Drosophila fruit flies.The scientists focused on a type of Drosophila sensory neuron that has very limited dendritic branching and expresses the transcription factor called Abrupt. Researchers began by determining that expression of Abrupt leads to reduced arbors, while its absence leads to more complex arbors. Next, they tested a group of candidate proteins from the pathway of molecular events initiated by Abrupt, looking for one that regulates microtubules. They found that loss of centrosomin–a protein that makes microtubule-based structures necessary for cell division–resulted in more extensive dendritic branching, and its addition could block the increase in branching caused by lack of Abrupt. The team then discovered that by working with another protein called pericentrin, centrosomin could control where new microtubules form within the dendrites. Email Share on Twittercenter_img LinkedIn Pinterest Sharelast_img read more

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How the brain recognizes objects

first_imgLinkedIn When the eyes are open, visual information flows from the retina through the optic nerve and into the brain, which assembles this raw information into objects and scenes.Scientists have previously hypothesized that objects are distinguished in the inferior temporal (IT) cortex, which is near the end of this flow of information, also called the ventral stream. A new study from MIT neuroscientists offers evidence that this is indeed the case.Using data from both humans and nonhuman primates, the researchers found that neuron firing patterns in the IT cortex correlate strongly with success in object-recognition tasks. Share on Facebook Share Emailcenter_img “While we knew from prior work that neuronal population activity in inferior temporal cortex was likely to underlie visual object recognition, we did not have a predictive map that could accurately link that neural activity to object perception and behavior. The results from this study demonstrate that a particular map from particular aspects of IT population activity to behavior is highly accurate over all types of objects that were tested,” says James DiCarlo, head of MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, a member of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, and senior author of the study, which appears in the Journal of Neuroscience.The paper’s lead author is Najib Majaj, a former postdoc in DiCarlo’s lab who is now at New York University. Other authors are former MIT graduate student Ha Hong and former MIT undergraduate Ethan Solomon.Distinguishing objectsEarlier stops along the ventral stream are believed to process basic visual elements such as brightness and orientation. More complex functions take place farther along the stream, with object recognition believed to occur in the IT cortex.To investigate this theory, the researchers first asked human subjects to perform 64 object-recognition tasks. Some of these tasks were “trivially easy,” Majaj says, such as distinguishing an apple from a car. Others — such as discriminating between two very similar faces — were so difficult that the subjects were correct only about 50 percent of the time.After measuring human performance on these tasks, the researchers then showed the same set of nearly 6,000 images to nonhuman primates as they recorded electrical activity in neurons of the inferior temporal cortex and another visual region known as V4.Each of the 168 IT neurons and 128 V4 neurons fired in response to some objects but not others, creating a firing pattern that served as a distinctive signature for each object. By comparing these signatures, the researchers could analyze whether they correlated to humans’ ability to distinguish between two objects.The researchers found that the firing patterns of IT neurons, but not V4 neurons, perfectly predicted the human performances they had seen. That is, when humans had trouble distinguishing two objects, the neural signatures for those objects were so similar as to be indistinguishable, and for pairs where humans succeeded, the patterns were very different.“On the easy stimuli, IT did as well as humans, and on the difficult stimuli, IT also failed,” Majaj says. “We had a nice correlation between behavior and neural responses.”The findings support the hypothesis that patterns of neural activity in the IT cortex can encode object representations detailed enough to allow the brain to distinguish different objects, the researchers say.Model performanceThe researchers also tested more than 10,000 other possible models for how the brain might encode object representations. These models varied based on location in the brain, the number of neurons required, and the time window for neural activity.Some of these models, including some that relied on V4, were eliminated because they performed better than humans on some tasks and worse on others.“We wanted the performance of the neurons to perfectly match the performance of the humans in terms of the pattern, so the easy tasks would be easy for the neural population and the hard tasks would be hard for the neural population,” Majaj says.The research team now aims to gather even more data to ask if this model or similar models can predict the behavioral difficulty of object recognition on each and every visual image — an even higher bar than the one tested thus far. That might require additional factors to be included in the model that were not needed in this study, and thus could expose important gaps in scientists’ current understanding of neural representations of objects.They also plan to expand the model so they can predict responses in IT based on input from earlier parts of the visual stream.“We can start building a cascade of computational operations that take you from an image on the retina slowly through V1, V2, V4, until we’re able to predict the population in IT,” Majaj says. Share on Twitter Pinterestlast_img read more

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Psychologists pinpoint change in weight required to look healthier and more attractive

first_imgPinterest Share on Facebook Email Share LinkedIncenter_img A good poker face might prevent others knowing what cards you’re holding but it won’t prevent them from knowing if you’ve gained or lost weight. That’s because our faces reveal many things, including whether our weight has changed. Now, researchers in the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto have determined the amount of weight people need to gain or lose before others notice or find them more attractive.“Women and men of average height need to gain or lose about three and a half and four kilograms, or about eight and nine pounds, respectively, for anyone to see it in their face,” said Nicholas Rule, associate professor and Canada Research Chair in Social Perception and Cognition at U of T, “but they need to lose about twice as much for anyone to find them more attractive.”Rule and postdoctoral fellow Daniel Re looked at facial adiposity — the perception of weight in the face — because it is an accurate indicator of a person’s body mass index (BMI), which is calculated as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of the person’s height in metres (kg/m2). Share on Twitter “It is a robust indicator of one’s health,” said Rule. “Increased facial adiposity is associated with a compromised immune system, poor cardiovascular function, frequent respiratory infections, and mortality. So, even a small decrease can improve one’s health.”To determine at what point a change in the perception of facial adiposity occurs, Rule and Re digitally created a collection of photos of male and female faces between 20 and 40 years old. In all photos, subjects had neutral expressions, hair pulled back, and no facial adornments. They altered each image to produce sequences of images spanning a range of weights on a gradually increasing scale.Participants in the study were asked to compare randomly drawn pairs of faces from each sequence and choose the heavier-looking one. After several trials, the researchers determined a change in BMI of approximately 1.33 kg/m2 is required to make a difference noticeable.“We calculated the weight change thresholds in terms of BMI rather than simple kilograms or pounds, so that people of all weights and heights can apply it to themselves according to their individual stature,” said Re.The researchers also investigated the threshold at which changes in an individual’s facial adiposity resulted in a change in perceived attractiveness. Although beauty is to some extent in the eye of the beholder, a large body of research shows that there are some universal standards of beauty, and these tend to reflect whether or not someone looks healthy.Rule and Re found that the average decrease required to make the faces in the sample appear more attractive was 2.38 kg/m2 for women, and 2.59 kg/m2 for men, translating to about 6.3 and 8.2 kilograms (approximately 14 and 18 pounds) for women and men of average height, respectively.“The difference between the groups suggests women’s facial attractiveness may be more sensitive to changes in weight,” said Rule. “This just means women attempting to lose weight need to shed slightly fewer pounds than men for people to find them more attractive.”“When it comes to incentives for weight loss, some people are more motivated to look attractive than to improve their health,” said Re.The research is described in full in the study ‘Heavy Matters: The Relationship Between Just Noticeable Differences in Perceptions of Facial Adiposity and Facial Attractiveness‘, published in Social Psychological and Personality Science.last_img read more

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New study finds nearly half of American Muslim doctors feel scrutinized on the job

first_imgWhile many studies have examined the impact of bias based on race, gender or sexual orientation, religious discrimination in the health care workplace has received little research attention. A new study funded by the John Templeton Foundation and conducted at the University of Chicago finds that for Muslim Americans, even those in one the nation’s most highly regarded professions, encounter a less-than-inclusive and welcoming work environment during their career.In a national survey of 255 Muslim American physicians published online this month by the journal AJOB Empirical Bioethics, researchers found that nearly half of respondents felt greater scrutiny at work compared to their peers. Nearly one in four said workplace religious discrimination had taken place sometimes – or more – often during their career. The same percentage of Muslim American physicians believe they have been passed over for career advancement due to their religion. The likelihood of religious discrimination over one’s career was greater among the respondents who consider their religion to be a very important part of their lives.Notably, the study found that neither indications of religious practice (such as a more frequent habit of performing ritual prayer) nor religious appearance (such as wearing a beard or hijab, a headscarf worn by some Muslim women) was associated with perceived religious discrimination at the health care workplace. LinkedIn Email “This national survey of American Muslim physicians provides some encouraging findings regarding the extent to which Muslim religious identity attracts negative workplace experiences, but also some findings that merit concern,” said study author Aasim Padela, MD, MSc assistant professor of medicine and director of the Initiative on Islam and Medicine at the University of Chicago. “It’s further evidence that the acknowledgement of the religious identity of one’s co-workers should be an added focus within workforce diversity efforts that today focus primarily on reducing discrimination directed at racial, ethnic, gender and sexual orientation identities.”This study is the first to examine the relationships between religiosity of American Muslim physicians and workplace discrimination. American Muslims from diverse backgrounds make up about 5 percent of U.S. physicians. With this survey, researchers aimed to uncover any adverse impacts on career satisfaction or job turnover in the health care context given the current political climate and ongoing accounts of Muslim stereotyping in the general population. Recent reports, including a Pew Research Center survey and a Zogby national poll, found Muslims to be the most negatively viewed religious group in America.The findings of this study, researchers say, suggest that data-driven programs are needed to eliminate religion-directed discrimination in the health care workplace.“Achieving an inclusive and diverse workforce requires policies that cultivate respect and accommodation for the religious identity of physicians of minority religions,” said Padela. “American Muslim doctors provide a valued service to this country. If they can’t feel comfortable being who they are in their workplace, we may marginalize them to practice medicine in some locales and not others, and also may create a ceiling on their upward career trajectory or even limit their openness about their identity.“When these things happen, these accomplished, respected members of our society lose some of their ability to serve as positive role models in their own religious communities and more broadly within American society; we restrict their ability to ultimately counter negative stereotypes and create a positive narrative of Muslims in America.”Padela is also a faculty member of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago Medicine. A former Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar and Templeton Faculty Scholar, he is internationally recognized for his work on Islamic bioethics and for his empirical research on how religious beliefs, values and identities impact the health care decisions of American Muslims and practice of Muslim clinicians. In 2012, he received the Ibn Sina Award from the Compassionate Care Network of Chicago for his contributions to the field of Islamic medical ethics. Sharecenter_img Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Pinterestlast_img read more

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Study finds taller people tend to be more politically conservative

first_imgShare Email Pinterest LinkedIn If you want to predict which political party someone will support, take note of the person’s height.The taller a person is, the more likely he or she is to support conservative political positions, support a conservative party and actually vote for conservative politicians, according to a new study using data from Britain.“If you take two people with nearly identical characteristics – except one is taller than the other – on average the taller person will be more politically conservative,” said Sara Watson, co-author of the study and assistant professor of political science at The Ohio State University.center_img Share on Twitter Share on Facebook The researchers found that a one-inch increase in height increased support for the Conservative Party by 0.6 percent and the likelihood of voting for the party by 0.5 percent.The results aren’t as strange as they might appear, Watson said. Many studies have found that taller people generally earn more income than do shorter people and researchers have thought income could be linked to voting.Watson said they conducted this study because, while political scientists have long theorized about an income-voting relationship, studies using real-world data have shown mixed results. Some researchers find a link, while others see little or no effect.“We were thinking about why there were so many seemingly contradictory findings. One reason might be that income fluctuates from year to year, so that a relationship between your overall economic well-being and your political beliefs can be hard to uncover,” she said.“That’s why we decided to see if height might be a good way to assess the link between income and voting.”Researchers in anthropology and economics have long used height as a measure of economic well-being, especially among historical populations for which we have little or no income data.Watson added that a number of recent studies have extended this work and have found that across modern labor markets, taller people get paid more.“I’ve always been struck by this research because I am 5 feet tall and I’m typically the shortest person in the room,” she said with a laugh. “It seemed unfair that shorter people seem to pay a penalty in the labor market.”Watson conducted the study with Raj Arunachalam, senior economist at Bates White, LLC. Their article is published online in the British Journal of Political Science.The researchers used data from the 2006 British Household Panel Study, a survey which includes self-reported height, detailed income data and a number of questions about political beliefs for just over 9,700 adults.They found that taller people were not only more likely to support the Conservative Party and vote for Conservative candidates, but also were more likely to support conservative positions. For example, taller people are less likely to support the statement that major public services and industries ought to be in state ownership, or that the government ought to place an upper limit on earnings.The findings stood up even after the researchers performed more detailed analyses to investigate whether the effect of height on political beliefs could be explained through other channels, including race, years of schooling, marital status and religion.“It was important to us to figure out if the effect of height on voting could be explained by factors that have nothing to do with income,” Watson said.The researchers also took into account potential explanations such as such as cognition and utilization of public health care. But no matter what they controlled for, the link between height and voting remained.“It was a robust finding,” Watson said.The authors discovered that the link between height and political views occurred in both men and women, but was roughly twice as strong for men. For men, each additional inch of height generates a 0.8 percent increase in the likelihood of Conservative support, whereas for women the effect is 0.4 percent. However, Watson cautioned that results on gender differences were not statistically significant.Because the data used by the researchers follows households over time, they were able to examine whether the effect of a person’s height varied depending on the year in question.“There was some year-to-year variation, but the effect never disappeared,” said Watson.In a second part of the study, the researchers used height in what is called an “instrumental variable” strategy, to assess the relationship between income and voting.“Height is useful in this context because it predicts income well,” Watson explained. “Because we only expect height to affect political behavior through income, we can use it to investigate the effect of income on voting.”The authors found that each additional inch in height was associated with about 350 pounds of income (approximately $665 at the time of the survey), and that a ten percent increase in income increased the likelihood of voting Conservative by about 5.5 percent.Watson said it was beyond the scope of this study to examine why height is related to income. Some researchers have pointed to discrimination in favor of tall people, while others emphasize self-confidence or cognitive advantages.Watson emphasized that a lot of factors affect a person’s political views and not just income – or height.“Income and height play a role, but they are not political destiny,” she said.last_img read more

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Teaching children how to cope with life’s challenges

first_imgShare on Facebook Email Share on Twitter Share “What we have found with our work is that starting these conversations about coping early on helps children develop good coping habits,” says Associate Professor Frydenberg. “We need to teach children to manage those worries so they don’t become uncontrollable worries because that’s what poor mental health is – when you don’t feel you have the resources to manage situations that are challenging or difficult. It’s inevitable that we’ll have anxiety as we go through life but problems occur when it goes on for too long without being managed or dealt with.”How can parents help children develop helpful coping strategies?Associate Professor Frydenberg FAPS says parents can help children to cope by discouraging unhelpful strategies – like excessive crying, tantrums, blaming oneself and anger – and encouraging helpful strategies such as asking for help, saying sorry and staying calm.She says encouraging children to talk to an adult about their worries is particularly effective when it leads to conversations about coping. In fact, children as young as four and five have, on average, 36 ways of describing how they cope that can be used in conversations.“What parents can do is acknowledge the upset of children and talk about the different ways children can deal with a situation,” says Associate Professor Frydenberg. “We find that even saying that to children generally develops a positive reaction and generates some ideas about what they could do.”And as with all things parenting, modelling helpful coping skills is a powerful teaching strategy. “Adults are role models and children learn from adults,” says Associate Professor Frydenberg. “It’s important for adults to think about their own coping skills.”Assoc. Professor Frydenberg is presenting her work at the Australian Psychological Society Congress 2016, in Melbourne, 13-16 September.center_img Just like adults, young children have worries that cause stress. Adults may worry about job security or a fight with a partner, while children may stress about a friend moving away or losing their favourite toy. But in much the same way as grown-ups, children who use positive coping strategies are more likely to work through their worries, reduce stress and bounce back from difficulties. And children who develop these helpful coping strategies are more likely to become resilient, mentally healthy adults. Who are the best teachers of coping skills for children? You guessed it: parents.Why are coping skills important?Coping skills are what we think and do to help us get through difficult situations, which, as much as we wish they weren’t, are an unavoidable part of life. Psychologist Associate Professor Erica Frydenberg from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education says for children aged four to six these situations are often things like saying goodbye to a parent at kinder or school, having to try something new or wanting to belong to a group of friends.She says helping children to cope with these sorts of worries will equip them with skills to cope with adult-sized problems later in life and help to reduce the risk of mental health problems like depression and anxiety, which affect an estimated one in seven school-age children. LinkedIn Pinterestlast_img read more

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Individuals with autism at substantially heightened risk for injury death

first_imgScreening over 32 million death certificates in the U.S. National Vital Statistics System, the researchers identified 1,367 individuals (1,043 males and 324 females) with a diagnosis of autism who died between 1999 and 2014. The annual number of documented deaths for individuals with a diagnosis of autism has risen nearly 7 times from 1999 to 2014.“Our study was limited to death certificate data. While the numbers are startling, autism as a contributing cause of death is likely undercounted because of the accuracy of information on death certificates filed by coroners varies,” noted Joseph Guan, the lead author and a master of public health degree student in epidemiology at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.The estimated prevalence of autism spectrum disorder is about four times as common in males as in females and higher among non-Hispanic white children and in children of highly educated parents. From 2000 to 2012, the rate has more than doubled.“Our analysis reveals that children with autism are 160 times as likely to die from drowning as the general pediatric population. Given the exceptionally heightened risk of drowning for children with autism, swimming classes should be the intervention of top priority,” said Dr. Li, who is the founding director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia. “Once a child is diagnosed with autism, usually between 2 years and 3 years of age, pediatricians and parents should immediately help enroll the child in swimming classes, before any behavioral therapy, speech therapy or occupational therapy. Swimming ability for kids with autism is an imperative survival skill.”Wandering is a common autistic behavior, and Dr. Li makes the point that many children with autism have an affinity to bodies of water. “With impaired communication and social skills, autistic kids tend to seek relief of their heightened anxiety from the serenity of water bodies. Unfortunately, this behavior too often leads to tragedies.” LinkedIn Share Share on Facebook Pinterestcenter_img Email Deaths in individuals with autism increased 700 percent in the past 16 years and were three times as likely as in the general population to be caused by injuries, according to a new study by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. The findings are published online in the American Journal of Public Health.The average age at death for individuals with autism was 36 years younger than for the general population, 36 years of age compared with 72. Of the deaths in individuals with autism, 28 percent were attributed to injury, most often by suffocation, followed by asphyxiation, and drowning. Together, these three causes accounted for nearly 80 percent of the total injury mortality in children with autism. More than 40 percent occurred in homes or residential institutions.“While earlier research reported a higher mortality rate overall for individuals with autism, until now injury mortality in the autism spectrum disorder population had been understudied,” said Guohua Li, MD, DrPH, Mailman School professor of Epidemiology, and senior author. “Despite the marked increase in the annual number of deaths occurring, autism-related deaths still may be severely underreported, particularly deaths from intentional injury such as assaults, homicide, and suicide.” Share on Twitterlast_img read more

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College students faced upsurge in anxiety, stress, and poor sleep the day after the 2016 election

first_imgEmail The researchers had 85 university students take a daily survey regarding their mood, stress, and mental health before and after the 2016 election. “We tracked daily psychological health for two weeks, starting a few days before the election, and concluding a few weeks after the election,” Roche explained.He and his colleague, Nicholas C. Jacobson, observed a spike in negative emotions and stress along with a drop in sleep quality the day after the election. The participants also reported an upsurge of race, gender, or age discrimination.“The main result was that students reported signs of negative emotions (anxiety, anger, fear) and other aspects of worsening psychological health (stress, poor sleep quality, marginalization, experiencing discrimination) on the day following the election,” Roche told PsyPost. “Some of these reactions only lasted for a day, while others appeared to be longer lasting (anger, fear, marginalization).”“This information can help counseling centers provide help for students, directing resources to address the difficulties that appear longer lasting. It may also help universities better understand their students so they can assist students in having productive reactions to the election (whether their candidate won or lost). This is especially important as many college students will be first time voters.”A similar study, published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, found an overall increase in negative moods among university students in the run-up to the election, which peaked on Election Day.But Roche admitted his study has some limitations.“The small sample size (less than 100 students) limits generalizability, and we also didn’t know political affiliation which may have had a role to play in student reactions,” he said. “These results apply to the 2016 presidential election, but it is possible that one would find these same results for any presidential election. Future research is needed to see if these reactions were typical or unique to the 2016 presidential election.”“This research is innovative because most political research we are aware of does not directly measure change over time within a person. For instance, most polls sample new people each day, rather than asking someone’s opinion across multiple occasions,” Roche added.“This is important because if an approval rating moves from 40% to 30%, we have no idea whether people are changing their minds, or if the people who agreed to respond to a poll that day happened to have a less approving view of the elected official. The potential of our research design (sampling individuals over time) can allow us to answer questions about change more directly. This has the potential to improve the predictive power of polling data, which has been recently questioned for its validity.”The study was titled: “Elections Have Consequences for Student Mental Health: An Accidental Daily Diary Study”. Share University students experienced a significant increase in anger, fear, marginalization, and stress on the day after the 2016 election, according to a new study published in Psychological Reports. Their sleep quality also suffered.“I first became interested in this topic after hearing how strongly students were reacting to the 2016 presidential election results in the classes I teach (some positive, some negative),” said Michael J. Roche of Penn State Altoona, the corresponding author of the study.“I realized that my research study (which tracked daily psychological health for two weeks) happened to begin just before the election, giving us an opportunity to explore the impact to psychological health in a way that had never been done before.” LinkedIncenter_img Pinterest Share on Facebook Share on Twitterlast_img read more

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