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May 20, 2009, 7:39 PM CT

Mother-infant psychotherapy

Mother-infant psychotherapy
Psychotherapists who treat mothers suffering from postpartum depression and other mood disorders with their infants have developed a proven process that contributes to a greater positive experience with immediate insights for the mothers to develop healthy connections between their maternal experiences and their infants' behaviors.

Given the documented detrimental effects of postpartum depression on infants and the mother-infant relationship, mental health professionals concerned with child development and families are anxious to understand models of best practices in order to prevent untoward outcomes.

In a focus group study to evaluate the effectiveness of an agency-based mother-infant therapy program, nine therapists, each with 20 + years experience working with parents and babies, talked about their practices. A Boston University School of Social Work-led research team asked the participants to summarize their work, then describe what makes for therapeutic change in mother-infant treatment and how they know when it's effective. Their findings "Mother-Infant Psychotherapy: Examining the Therapeutic Process of Change," were just published in Infant Mental Health Journal

The therapists -- a multidisciplinary group of three psychology experts, four social workers, one psychiatry expert and an educator -- elaborated on how they helped depressed mothers tune in to the nuances of what their babies were telling them and communicated how best to respond. The clinicians are part of the Jewish Family and Children's Service Early Connections program, a home-based mother-infant psychotherapy intervention that specializes in the therapy of postpartum depression (PPD) and mood disorders. The program's key goal is to increase the mother's ability to be affectively present in her interaction with the child and to address issues that arise as result of becoming a mother.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 11, 2009, 5:03 AM CT

Does mom know when it is enough?

Does mom know when it is enough?
As the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States continues, scientists are examining whether early parent and child behaviors contribute to the problem. A study from the Department of Nutritional Sciences, Rutgers University, reported in the May/June 2009 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior reports that mothers who miss signs of satiety in their infants tend to overfeed them, leading to excess weight gains during the 6 month to 1 year period.

Ninety-six low-income black and Hispanic mothers, who chose to formula feed exclusively, were enrolled in the study. Data was collected during an initial interview and three home visits at 3, 6, and 12 months. During the home visits, feedings were observed, the mothers were interviewed, and the child's weight was measured. Feeding diaries were also checked for omissions or clarifications.

Many characteristics that predicted infant weight gain from birth to 3 months were included in the analysis. These were birth weight, gender, race/ethnicity, maternal age, education, country of origin, body mass index (BMI) before pregnancy, and weight gain during pregnancy. For the 3 to 6 month period, birth weight, maternal BMI, infant weight gain from birth to 3 months, infant length gain from birth to 3 months, the estimated number of feeds per day, the month that solid food was introduced, and the mothers' sensitivity to the infants' signals at 3 months were included. And, finally, for the 6 to 12 month period, birth weight, maternal BMI, infant weight gain from 3 to 6 months, infant length gain from 3 to 6 months, maternal sensitivity to infant signals at 6 months, and the estimated number of feeds/day at 6 months were entered as the independent variables.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 5, 2009, 5:22 AM CT

Iron deficiency in womb and brain maturation

Iron deficiency in womb and  brain maturation
Iron plays a large role in brain development in the womb, and new University of Rochester Medical Center research shows an iron deficiency may delay the development of auditory nervous system in preemies. This delay could affect babies ability to process sound which is critical for later language development in early childhood.

The study reviewed 80 infants over 18 months, testing their cord blood for iron levels and using a non-invasive tool -- auditory brainstem-evoked response (ABR) -- to measure the maturity of the brain's auditory nervous system soon after birth. The study observed that the brains of infants with low iron levels in their cord blood had abnormal maturation of auditory system in comparison to infants with normal cord iron levels.

"Sound isn't transmitted as well through the immature auditory pathway in the brains of premature babies who are deficient in iron as in comparison to premature babies who have enough iron," said Sanjiv Amin, M.D., associate professor of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center and author of the abstract presented today at the Pediatric Academic Society meeting in Baltimore. "We suspect that if the auditory neural system is affected during developmental phase, then other parts of the brain could also be affected in the presence of iron deficiency".........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


May 5, 2009, 5:11 AM CT

Possible and actual autism diagnosis

Possible and actual autism diagnosis
"Timely identification and diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can impact a child's development and is the key to opening the door to the services and therapies available to children with autism," says Paul Shattuck, Ph.D., assistant professor at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. "Unfortunately, our research shows that the average age of autism diagnosis is nearly six years old, which is three to four years after diagnosis is possible".

Shattuck is the main author of an article on the timing of ASD identification in the current issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

He and co-author of studys used data from 13 sites around the country that were funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to collect information from the health and education records of eight year olds with a wide variety of developmental problems in 2002.

Shattuck's research observed that females were identified later than males and that early diagnosis was commonly associated with a more severe or obvious cognitive impairment. There were no disparities in the age of diagnosis by race when the data are pooled from all 13 sites. However, in further analyses reported elsewhere, Shattuck and his colleagues have observed that Black and Hispanic children who meet diagnostic criteria for autism are much less likely to actually have a documented diagnosis in their records.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 4, 2009, 5:12 AM CT

Furniture tip-over injuries rising

Furniture tip-over injuries rising
Eventhough most parents do not consider furniture and televisions to be dangerous, children are often injured when these items tip over. A recent study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital observed that from 1990-2007 an average of nearly 15,000 children younger than 18 years of age visited emergency departments annually for injuries received from furniture tip-overs.

As per the study, reported in the online issue of Clinical Pediatrics in May, most furniture tip-over-related injuries occurred among children younger than 7 years of age and resulted from televisions tipping over. More than one quarter of the injuries occurred when children pulled over or climbed on furniture. Children ages 10-17 years were more likely to suffer injuries from desks, cabinets or bookshelves tipping over. Head and neck injuries were most common among younger children, while children older than 9 years were more likely to suffer injuries to the lower body.

Despite warnings from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the number of injuries involving televisions and other furniture tipping over onto children has increased in this country since the early part of 1990s.

"There was a more than 40 percent increase in the number of injuries during the study period, and the injury rate also significantly increased during these years," said study senior author Gary Smith, MD, DrPH, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital. "This trend demonstrates the inadequacy of current prevention strategies and underscores the need for increased prevention efforts".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 1, 2009, 5:06 AM CT

Maternal depression and sleep disturbance in infants

Maternal depression and sleep disturbance in infants
A study in the May 1 issue of the journal SLEEP suggests that babies born to mothers with depression are more likely to suffer from significant sleep disturbances at 2 weeks postpartum that continue until 6 months of age. Findings of the study are of particular importance, as sleep disturbances in infancy may result in increased risk for developing early-onset depression in childhood.

Results indicate that infants born to mothers with depression had significant sleep disturbances in comparison to low-risk infants; the high-risk group had an hour longer nocturnal sleep latency, shorter sleep episodes and lower sleep efficiency than infants who were born to mothers without depression. Eventhough average sleep time in a 24 hours did not differ by risk group at eight two or four weeks, nocturnal total sleep time was 97 minutes longer in the low-risk group at both recording periods. High-risk infants also had significantly more daytime sleep episodes of a shorter average duration.

Prior studies have observed that levels of cortisol, a hormone that is linked to stress, is increased during pregnancy and after delivery in depressed mothers, indicating that the mother's hormone level may affect the infant's sleep.

As per the main author, Roseanne Armitage, PhD, director of the Sleep and Chronophysiology Laboratory at the University Of Michigan Depression Center, while maternal depression does have a negative effect on infants' sleep, the damage appears to be reversible.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 29, 2009, 5:23 AM CT

New gene variant for autism

New gene variant for autism
UCLA scientists, in partnership with 30 research institutions across the country, have identified a new gene variant that is highly common in autistic children. And when scientists scrutinized the activity of the gene, known as CDH10, in the fetal brain, they discovered that it is most active in key regions that support language, speech and interpreting social behavior.

Published April 28 in the advance online edition of the journal Nature, the two findings suggest that CDH10 plays a critical role in shaping the developing brain and may contribute to a prenatal risk of autism.

A variant is a gene that has undergone subtle changes from the normal DNA yet is shared by a significant portion of the population.

"While this gene variant is common in the general population, we discovered that it occurs about 20 percent more often in children with autism," said study author Dr. Daniel Geschwind, director of the UCLA Center for Autism Treatment and Research. "A major change like this in the genetic code is too common to be a simple mutation it is a risk factor in the origin of the disease."

Using the largest population sample to date, the researchers systematically scanned the DNA of 3,100 individuals from 780 families nationwide. Each family had at least two autistic children.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


April 28, 2009, 5:17 AM CT

Psychological effects of inadequate sleep

Psychological effects of inadequate sleep
A recent Finnish study suggests that children's short sleep duration even without sleeping difficulties increases the risk for behavioral symptoms of ADHD.

During the recent decades, sleep duration has decreased in a number of countries; in the United States a third of children are estimated to suffer from inadequate sleep. It has been hypothesised that sleep deprivation may manifest in children as behavioral symptoms rather than as tiredness, but only few studies have investigated this hypothesis.

The scientists at the University of Helsinki and National Institute of Health and Welfare, Finland, examined whether decreased sleep leads to behavioral problems similar to those exhibited by children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

280 healthy children (146 girls and 134 boys) took part in the study.

The scientists tracked the children's sleep using parental reporting as well as actigraphs, or devices worn on the wrist to monitor sleep.

The children whose average sleep duration as measured by actigraphs was shorter than 7.7 hours had a higher hyperactivity and impulsivity score and a higher ADHD total score, but similar inattention score than those sleeping for a longer time. In multivariate statistical models, short sleep duration remained a statistically significant predictor of hyperactivity and impulsivity, and sleeping difficulties were linked to hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention. There were no significant interactions between short sleep and sleeping difficulties.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 15, 2009, 5:10 AM CT

Melatonin for sleep problems in children with autism

Melatonin for sleep problems in children with autism
Westchester, Ill. - A study in the April 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine determined that over-the-counter melatonin medicine can shorted the length of time it takes for children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), Fragile X Syndrome (FXS), or both to fall asleep at the beginning of the night.

Results of the study indicated that children who received over-the-counter melatonin therapys experienced significant improvements in total night sleep durations, sleep latency times, and sleep-onset times. Mean sleep duration was longer on melatonin than placebo by 21 minutes, sleep-onset latency was shorter by 28 minutes and sleep-onset time was earlier by 42 minutes.

As per the senior author, Beth L. Goodlin-Jones, PhD of the M.I.N.D Institute at the University of California Davis Health System in Sacramento, Calif., therapy with over-the-counter melatonin supplements benefits children of all ages, which helps alleviate some of the additional stress that parents of special-needs children experience.

"Sleep onset problems at the beginning of the night are very troublesome for children and their families," said Goodlin-Jones. "Sometimes children may take one to two hours to fall asleep and often they disrupt the household during this time."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 8, 2009, 5:09 AM CT

Digital album to take care of kids' health

Digital album to take care of kids' health
Modern moms and dads snap thousands of photos, recording every drooling smile and flailing attempt to crawl. Until now, this frenzy of activity could be one more thing distracting parents from monitoring their child's health and developmental progress.

Now Julie Kientz at the University of Washington has built a high-tech tool that takes photos and video, creates an online diary and family newsletters, and at the same time tracks a child's developmental milestones. The multimedia system, called Baby Steps, combines sentimental snapping with medical record-keeping. Baby Steps feels like a fun toy for parents, but scientists found in a small pilot study that having it on their home computers doubled the parents' collection of medically relevant information.

Kientz, an assistant professor of human-centered design and engineering and the Information School, presents the results this week in Boston at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Co-authors are Rosa Arriaga and Gregory Abowd of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Most parents can tell you the first time their baby smiled, or took his or her first step. But what about the first time a baby could adjust his or her gaze to look in the direction of a pointed finger, which an inability to do at a certain age indicates a possible risk of autism?.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Adolescents who suffer physical injuries are vulnerable to emotional distress in the months following their hospitalization, yet almost 40 percent of hospitalized adolescents interviewed for a new study had no source for the follow-up medical care that could diagnose and treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress. These young trauma survivors are at risk for high levels of post-traumatic stress and depressive symptoms, as well as high levels of alcohol use, according to research by researchers at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center.

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