December 24, 2013
Continuing Education for MFTs ### Co-authors are Laura Kubzansky, Ph.D. and Rebecca Thurston, Ph.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Institute of Mental Health funded the study. For the latest heart and stroke news, follow us on Twitter: @HeartNews. For stroke science, follow the Stroke journal at @StrokeAHA_ASA. Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association's policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at http://www.heart.org/corporatefunding.
December 18, 2013
Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors Continuing Education The paper will be published Dec. 16 in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin. In the U.S., marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug and young adults have the highest -- and growing -- prevalence of use. Decriminalization of the drug may lead to greater use. Because the study results examined one point in time, a longitudinal study is needed to definitively show if marijuana is responsible for the brain changes and memory impairment. It is possible that the abnormal brain structures reveal a pre-existing vulnerability to marijuana abuse. But evidence that the younger a subject started using the drug the greater his brain abnormality indicates marijuana may be the cause, Smith said. The groups in the study started using marijuana daily between 16 to 17 years of age for about three years. At the time of the study, they had been marijuana free for about two years. A total of 97 subjects participated, including matched groups of healthy controls, subjects with a marijuana use disorder, schizophrenia subjects with no history of substance use disorders, and schizophrenia subjects with a marijuana use disorder. The subjects who used marijuana did not abuse any other drugs. Few studies have examined marijuana's effect on the deep regions in the brain -- the 'subcortical gray matter' below the noodle-shaped cortex. The study also is unique in that it looked at the shapes of the striatum, globus pallidus and thalamus, structures in the subcortex that are critical for motivation and working memory. The Marijuana and Schizophrenia Connection Chronic use of marijuana may contribute to changes in brain structure that are associated with having schizophrenia, the Northwestern research shows. Of the 15 marijuana smokers who had schizophrenia in the study, 90 percent started heavily using the drug before they developed the mental disorder. Marijuana abuse has been linked to developing schizophrenia in prior research. "The abuse of popular street drugs, such as marijuana, may have dangerous implications for young people who are developing or have developed mental disorders," said co-senior study author John Csernansky, M.D., chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "This paper is among the first to reveal that the use of marijuana may contribute to the changes in brain structure that have been associated with having schizophrenia." Chronic marijuana use could augment the underlying disease process associated with schizophrenia, Smith noted. "If someone has a family history of schizophrenia, they are increasing their risk of developing schizophrenia if they abuse marijuana," he said. While chronic marijuana smokers and chronic marijuana smokers with schizophrenia both had brain changes related to the drug, subjects with the mental disorder had greater deterioration in the thalamus. That structure is the communication hub of the brain and is critical for learning, memory and communications between brain regions. The brain regions examined in this study also affect motivation, which is already notably impaired in people with schizophrenia. "A tremendous amount of addiction research has focused on brain regions traditionally connected with reward/aversion function, and thus motivation," noted co-senior study author Hans Breiter, M.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and director of the Warren Wright Adolescent Center at Feinberg and Northwestern Memorial. "This study very nicely extends the set of regions of concern to include those involved with working memory and higher level cognitive functions necessary for how well you organize your life and can work in society." "If you have schizophrenia and you frequently smoke marijuana, you may be at an increased risk for poor working memory, which predicts your everyday functioning," Smith said. ### The research was supported by grants R01 MH056584 and P50 MH071616 from the National Institute of Mental Health and grants P20 DA026002 and RO1 DA027804 from National Institute of Drug Abuse, all of the National Institutes of Health.
December 10, 2013
Continuing Education for Social Workers ### Other authors on the paper are Se-Young Choi, now of Seoul National University School of Dentistry; Yong Zhang, Shunyou Long and Min Li of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; and Thomas J.F. Nieland, now of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. This work was supported by grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Institute of Mental Health (grant numbers P50MH084020 and 5U54MH084691). Related stories: Gene Found to Foster Synapse Formation in the Brain http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/gene_found_to_foster_synapse_formation_in_the_brain Study Refutes Accepted Model of Memory Formation http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/study_refutes_accepted_model_of_memory_formation____ Newly Discovered "Switch" Plays Dual Role in Memory Formation http://m.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/newly_discovered_switch_plays_dual_role_in_memory_formation
December 09, 2013
Social Worker CEUs ### The work was supported by grants from NIMH and the Simon Foundation to Jay Gingrich, MD, PhD, and a NARSAD Young Investigator Awa rd from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation to Dr. Milekic.
December 05, 2013
Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors Continuing Education ### How the study was conducted The mental stress test part of the study was a public speaking task involving an emotional topic. Participants were asked to imagine a real-life stressful situation, such as a close relative been mistreated in a nursing home. They had to quickly prepare a speech and deliver it in front of a video camera and an audience wearing white coats, while their blood pressure and other vital signs were monitored. Immediately afterwards, cardiac imaging was performed to assess blood flow within the heart via SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography). On a separate day, study participants performed a standard exercise test on a treadmill; a few were unable to exercise at a high heart rate and had to have a "pharmacological" stress test with a drug that dilates coronary arteries. The research was supported by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute and the National Institute for Mental Health (R21HL093665, R21HL093665-01A1S1, R01 HL109413, K24HL077506, and K24 MH076955).
December 03, 2013
Professional Counselor Continuing Education ### Co-authors of the study include Madhura Ingalhalikar, Alex Smith, Drew Parker, Theodore D. Satterthwaite, Mark A. Elliott, Kosha Ruparel, and Hakon Hakonarson of the Section of Biomedical Image Analysis and the Center for Biomedical Image Computing and Analytics. This study was funded by in part by the National Institutes of Mental Health: MH089983, MH089924, MH079938, and MH092862.
December 02, 2013
PTSD - Clinical Practice Guideline for Management of Post Traumatic Stress CEU Course "The good news from the study is that it appears that when PTSD symptoms abate, risk of becoming overweight or obese is also significantly reduced," says first author Laura D. Kubzansky, PhD, Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard School of Public Health. However, despite the growing evidence of potential far-reaching problems associated with PTSD, it's estimated that only half of women in the United States with the disorder are ever treated. "Hopefully, wider recognition that PTSD can also influence physical health will improve this statistic, leading to better screening and treatments, including those to prevent obesity," says Dr. Kubzansky. While it's known that women with PTSD have high rates of obesity, it has been unclear whether PTSD was actually driving the weight gain. To explore the issue, the researchers analyzed data collected from 50,504 women, aged 22-44 years, taking part in the Nurses' Health Study II between 1989 and 2009. Participants were asked about the worst trauma they experienced and if they had related post-traumatic stress symptoms. The threshold for PTSD was the persistence of four or more symptoms over a month or longer. Common symptoms include re-experiencing the traumatic event, feeling under threat, social avoidance, and numbness. Normal-weight women who developed PTSD during the study period had 36% increased odds of becoming overweight or obese compared with women who experienced trauma but had no symptoms of PTSD. The higher risk was evident even for women with sub-threshold symptoms levels and remained after adjusting for depression, which has also been proposed as a major risk factor for obesity. In women with PTSD that began prior to the study period, body mass index increased at a more rapid pace than women without PTSD. The observed effect of PTSD on obesity is likely stronger in the general population of women than in nurses, notes Dr. Koenen. "Nurses are great for studies because they report health measures like BMI with a high degree of accuracy. But they are also more health conscious and probably less likely to become obese than most of us, which makes these results more conservative than they would otherwise be." Symptoms of PTSD rather than the trauma itself seemed to be behind the weight gain. "We looked at the women who developed PTSD and compared them to women who experienced trauma but did not develop PTSD. On the whole, before their symptoms emerged, the rate of change in BMI was the same as the women who never experienced trauma or did experience trauma but never developed symptoms," says Dr. Kubzansky. How exactly does PTSD lead to weight gain? The biological pathway is unknown, but scientists have a number of guesses. One is through the over-activation of stress hormones. PTSD may lead to disturbances in functioning of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the sympathetic nervous system, each of which are involved in regulating a broad range of body processes, including metabolism. Another is through unhealthy behavior patterns that may be used to cope with stress. Ongoing research is looking at whether PTSD increases women's preference for processed foods and decreases their likelihood of exercising Social Worker Continuing Education ### Co-authors include Pula Bordelois, MPH, and Andrea Roberts, PhD, at Harvard School of Public Health; Hee Jin Jun, DrPH, at the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital; Noah Blustone, BA, at Harvard Medical School and Boston University; and Magdalena Cerda, DrPH, at Columbia's Mailman School. The study was supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health to Dr. Koenen (MH078928 and MH093612). The authors declare no conflict of interest.
November 23, 2013
MHC Continuing Education ### Funding for the research outlined in the Neuron paper, titled "Single-neuron correlates of abnormal face processing in autism," was provided by the Simons Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Autism Speaks, and the National Institute of Mental Health. Additional coauthors were Caltech postdoctoral scholar Oana Tudusciuc and graduate student Shuo Wang.
November 19, 2013
LPC Continuing Education The country's mental health system has come under scrutiny in recent years, following a string of mass shootings, such as the murders at Columbine High in Colorado, in which mental illness seems to have played a role. The new study underlines the need for better mental health services for adolescents, Costello said. "It's still the case in this country that people don't take psychiatric conditions as seriously as they should," Costello said. "This, despite the fact that these conditions are linked to a whole host of other problems." Costello noted that not all teens in the study fared the same. Treatment rates varied greatly for different mental disorders, for instance. Adolescents with ADHD, conduct disorder or oppositional defiant disorder received mental health care more than 70 percent of the time. By contrast, teens suffering from phobias or anxiety disorders were the least likely to be treated. Results also varied greatly by race, with black youths significantly less likely to be treated for mental disorders than white youths. The care that teenagers received also varied greatly. In many cases, care was provided by pediatricians, school counselors or probation officers rather than by people with specialized mental health training. There simply are not enough qualified child mental health professionals to go around, Costello said. "We need to train more child psychiatrists in this country," Costello said. "And those individuals need to be used strategically, as consultants to the school counselors and others who do the lion's share of the work." The study draws on data from the National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement, a nationally representative face-to-face survey of 10,148 adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17. It was published online Nov. 15 in Psychiatric Services Youth with Co-occuring Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders CE Course ### The research was supported by NIDA (grants U01-DA024413, DA011301, and DA022308), NIMH (grant MH083964), and the NIMH Intramural Research Program. CITATION: "Services for Adolescents With Psychiatric Disorders: 12-Month Data From the National Comorbidity Survey–Adolescent," E. Jane Costello, Jian-ping He, Nancy A. Sampson, Ronald C. Kessler and Kathleen Ries Merikangas. Psychiatric Services 2013. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201100518
November 16, 2013
CEUs For Nurses Orzech and her team compared three outcomes between longer and shorter sleepers: number of illness bouts, illness duration, and school absences related to illness. The team found that bouts of illness declined with longer sleep for both male and female high school students. Longer sleep was also generally protective against school absences that students attributed to illness. There were gender differences as well, with males reporting fewer illness bouts than females, even with similar sleep durations. Orzech's team analyzed total sleep time in teens for six-day windows both before and after a reported illness and found a trend in the data toward shorter sleep before illness vs. wellness. Due to the difficulty of finding teens whose illnesses were spaced in such a way to be statistically analyzed, Orzech also conducted qualitative analysis, examining individual interview data for two short-sleeping males who reported very different illness profiles. This analysis suggested that more irregular sleep timing across weeknights and weekends (very little sleep during the week and "catching up" on sleep during the weekend), and a preference for scheduling work and social time later in the evening hours can both contribute to differences in illness outcomes, conclusions that are also supported in the broader adolescent sleep literature. "Some news reaches the general public about the long-term consequences of sleep deprivation, such as the links between less sleep and weight gain," said Orzech. "However, most of the studies of sleep and health have been done under laboratory conditions that cannot replicate the complexities of life in the real world. Our study looked at rigorously collected sleep and illness data among adolescents who were living their normal lives and going to school across a school term." "We showed that there are short-term outcomes, like more acute illness among shorter-sleeping adolescents, that don't require waiting months, years or decades to show up," Orzech continued. "Yes, poor sleep is linked to increased cardiovascular disease, to high cholesterol, to obesity, to depression, etc., but for a teenager, staying healthy for the dance next week, or the game on Thursday, may be more important. This message from this study is clear: Sleep more, and more regularly, get sick less." Mary Carskadon, Ph.D., director of the Bradley Hospital Sleep Research Laboratory, commented on Orzech's study, "We have long been examining the sleep cycles of teenagers and how we might be able to help adolescents - especially high school students - be better rested and more functional in a period of their lives where sleep seems to be a luxury." Carskadon continued, "In the future, these findings identifying specific issues in individual sleep patterns may be a useful way to help adolescents begin to prioritize sleep." ### Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health under award numbers MH45945 and MH79179, and T32 training grant MH19927. Direct financial and infrastructure support for this project was received through the Lifespan Office of Research Administration. The principal affiliation of Carskadon is Bradley Hospital (a member hospital of the Lifespan health system in Rhode Island). She is also a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Orzech was a postdoctoral fellow in the Bradley Hospital Sleep Research Laboratory at the time of the research, and is currently a postdoctoral fellow with the Charting the Digital Lifespan project based at the University of Dundee in Scotland, UK. About Bradley Hospital Founded in 1931, Bradley Hospital, located in East Providence, R.I., was the nation's first psychiatric hospital devoted exclusively for children and adolescents. It remains a nationally recognized center for children's mental health care, training and research. Bradley Hospital was awarded the distinction of 'Top Performer on Key Quality Measures' for both 2011 and 2012 by The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health organizations in the U.S. Bradley Hospital is the only hospital in Rhode Island and the only psychiatric hospital in New England to receive this designation. Bradley Hospital is a member of the Lifespan health system and is a teaching hospital for The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Follow us on Facebook and on Twitter (@BradleyHospital).
November 14, 2013
Social Worker Continuing Education The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry study notes, "The increased likelihood of falls together with the significantly greater number of emergency department visits and length of hospitalization also suggest that those with severe mental illness represent a vulnerable elderly population that deserve more intensive studies, leading hopefully to a better integrated model of medical and psychiatric care including consideration of psychosocial factors." Individuals with severe mental illness in the study were patients of Eskenazi Health Midtown Community Mental Health. The patients had severe chronic depression (48 percent), schizophrenia (39 percent) and bipolar disorder (14 percent). Others in the study were patients from Wishard-Eskenazi primary care sites. "This study highlights a major challenge faced by older adults with severe mental illnesses and the increased burden it places on our health care system," said Julie L. Szempruch, RN, CNS, associate vice president of Eskenazi Health Midtown Community Mental Health. ### Authors of "Comorbidity Profile and Healthcare Utilization in Elderly Patients With Serious Mental Illnesses," in addition to Drs. Hendrie and Callahan, are Donald Lindgren, LCSW, Donald P. Hay, M.D., Kathleen A. Lane, M.S., Sujuan Gao, Ph.D., Christianna Purnell, B.A., Stephanie Munger, M.P.H., Faye Smith, M.A., Jeanne Dickens, M.D., and Malaz A. Boustani, M.D., M.P.H. The study was supported by National Institute of Mental Health grant MH080827-01A1.
November 13, 2013
Professional Counselor Continuing Education Characterized by developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, ADHD is one of the most frequently diagnosed childhood psychiatric disorders. Although many studies focusing on school-aged children have shown that parents and teachers -- rather than clinician observations alone -- are more likely to assess ADHD accurately, scant evidence exists to support similar conclusions with preschoolers. To fill this gap in the research, O'Neill and colleagues followed a group of 104 hyperactive and/or inattentive three- and four-year-olds for a period of two years. Both parents and teachers rated the preschoolers' behavior. In addition, clinicians, who were blind to parent and teacher reports, completed ratings of preschoolers' behavior during a psychological testing session. By the time the children reached age six, more than half (53.8 percent) had been diagnosed with ADHD. The likelihood of such a diagnosis increased when all three informants had rated the child as high on symptoms at age three or four. Furthermore, after analyzing the reports separately, the research team found that parents' reports were critical, particularly when combined with either teacher or clinician reports. Teacher reports alone were not as useful, and the research team ascribed the relative inability of educators' reports to predict a child's ADHD status over time to possible situational variables. Preschoolers may initially have difficulty adjusting to the structured classroom setting, but this disruptive behavior is time-limited to the transition to school. Teachers' perceptions of "difficult" behavior may also be affected by factors such as classroom setting and size as well as their expectations of children's behavior. As a result of the study findings, O'Neill and her team emphasize the importance of using information from multiple informants who have seen the child in different settings. Parent reports of preschoolers' behavior appear to be crucial, but these alone are not sufficient. Augmenting the parent report with that of the teacher and/or clinician is necessary. Also important are clinician observations of preschoolers during psychological testing, which are predictive of an ADHD diagnosis and its severity over time. Being able to identify children at risk for poorer outcomes may help educators and clinicians to plan appropriate interventions. "Consider a preschool child's behavior in different contexts," O'Neill emphasized. "Although parents' reports of preschoolers' inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity are very important, ideally we would not rely solely on them. At least for young children, the clinician's behavioral observations appear to hold prognostic utility." ### Reference: O'Neill, S. et al. (2013). Reliable Ratings or Reading Tea Leaves: Can Parent, Teacher, and Clinician Behavioral Ratings of Preschoolers Predict ADHD at Age Six? Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. DOI 10.1007/s10802-013-9802-4
November 12, 2013
Nursing CEUs Since each person is naturally more skillful in some areas than in others, the scores of healthy adults showed a symmetrical, bell-shaped range: Most of their scores were high, a few were a bit lower, and a few were even lower. By grouping the patients into cohorts based on the severity of their dementia, the researchers found a trend in the test scores that is likely to mimic the deterioration of an individual's scores over time. At the outset, he says, Alzheimer's disease subtly disrupts some mental abilities, while leaving others intact. Thus, well before a person develops clear cognitive impairment, his or her performance declines slightly on a few measures. When shown on a graph, these changes cause the healthy symmetric, bell-shaped curve to shift and become asymmetrical. Regardless of how low a person's test scores were, the researchers determined that lopsidedness in their score distribution correlated with dementia. They predicted that people with low scores that were evenly distributed were not likely to develop dementia. But those with clearly lopsided test score distributions on the 13 measures administered were already experiencing varying levels of dementia. "Departures from the normal bell-shaped pattern of variability on cognitive tests might determine which people with low scores develop dementia," says David J. Schretlen, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and leader of a study published online Nov. 12 in the journal Neuropsychology. Since these declines can be subtle, the researchers also increased the precision of cognitive testing by accounting for the effects of age, sex, race and education on test performance. The challenge for doctors, Schretlen explains, is that most normal, healthy people will produce a few low scores on cognitive testing. That makes it nearly impossible to know at the outset whether a patient who reports forgetfulness and produces one or two low scores has a benign form of mild cognitive impairment, or is in the earliest stage of dementia. As a result, doctors often tell such patients to return for follow-up testing in a year or two. But if future research confirms it, this new statistical model could help doctors get the prognosis right earlier in the disease, at the first visit, and start treating patients accordingly. Mostly, Schretlen says, doctors could use the new model to reassure patients who are not at risk of dementia, while fast-tracking interventions for those who are. Because there currently are no effective treatments for Alzheimer's disease, those likely headed that way could be counseled to take the good time they have to organize their affairs, and do things they have always wanted to do. They also could be fast-tracked into clinical trials of medications to slow the progression of dementia. "If we are going to have any hope of helping patients with Alzheimer's disease, we need to do it as early as possible," Schretlen says. "Once the brain deteriorates, there's no coming back." Recent failures of drugs in late-stage clinical trials for Alzheimer's disease have been a real blow, he adds, but new treatments are being developed. The new way of reading existing test scores follows a 2008 study by the same researchers showing that one of every six healthy adults scored poorly on two or more of 10 tests in a brief cognitive battery — even though there was nothing wrong with them. The main reason it is difficult to tell whether older people have benign mild cognitive impairment or not is because they are not routinely screened for cognitive impairment, he says. A visit to a specialist comes only after someone has noticed symptoms, and then cognitive testing is interpreted without the benefit of a baseline assessment. What would solve this problem, he says, would be for everyone over the age of 55 to get routine neurocognitive testing every five years. ### The study was supported by the Therapeutic Cognitive Neuroscience Fund; the Benjamin and Adith Miller Family Endowment on Aging, Alzheimer's and Autism; the William and Mary Ann Wockenfuss Research Fund Endowment; and the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Mental Health (MH60504). Under an agreement with Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc., Schretlen is entitled to a share of royalties on sales of a test and software used in the study. The terms of this arrangement are being managed by The Johns Hopkins University in accordance with its conflict-of-interest policies. Other Johns Hopkins researchers involved in the study include Gila Z. Reckess, Ph.D.; Mark Varvaris, B.A.; and Barry Gordon, M.D., Ph.D. For more information about Schretlen, click here. Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM), headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, is a $6.7 billion integrated global health enterprise and one of the leading health care systems in the United States. JHM unites physicians and scientists of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with the organizations, health professionals and facilities of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System. JHM's vision, "Together, we will deliver the promise of medicine," is supported by its mission to improve the health of the community and the world by setting the standard of excellence in medical education, research and clinical care. Diverse and inclusive, JHM educates medical students, scientists, health care professionals and the public; conducts biomedical research; and provides patient-centered medicine to prevent, diagnose and treat human illness. JHM operates six academic and community hospitals, four suburban health care and surgery centers, and more than 30 primary health care outpatient sites. The Johns Hopkins Hospital, opened in 1889, was ranked number one in the nation for 21 years in a row by U.S. News & World Report. For more information about Johns Hopkins Medicine, its research, education and clinical programs, and for the latest health, science and research news, visit http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org Aging and Long Term Care CE Course Johns Hopkins Medicine Media Relations and Public Affairs
November 11, 2013
Child Abuse Assessment and Reporting CEU Course (7 hours) •Human Sexuality CEU Course (10 hours) •Spousal and Partner Abuse CEU Course (15 hours) •Aging and Long Term Care CEU Course (10 hours) Click here: BBS Website – Additional Coursework Requirements for verification. The following extra coursework is required as well but must be taken at an approved university: •Alcoholism and Chemical Dependency (1 semester unit; must be in your degree program if your school is in California) •Psychological Testing (2 semester units or 3 quarter units) •Psychopharmacology (2 semester units or 3 quarter units) •California Law and Professional Ethics (2 semester units or 3 quarter units) View Aspira's CEU Pricing page to see how to pay for Aspira's CE courses. View Aspira's CEU Offers page to see the latest offers and discounts available. Also, see how to earn free CEUs.
MFT Intern Continuing Education "We found a steady decline in attention to other people's eyes, from 2 until 24 months, in infants later diagnosed with autism," said co-investigator Ami Klin, Ph.D., director of Marcus Autism Center. Differences were apparent even within the first 6 months, which has profound implications. "First, these results reveal that there are measurable and identifiable differences present already before 6 months. And second, we observed declining eye fixation over time, rather than an outright absence. Both these factors have the potential to dramatically shift the possibilities for future strategies of early intervention." Jones is director of research at Marcus Autism Center and assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine. Klin is director of Marcus Autism Center, chief of the Division of Autism & Related Disorders in the Department of Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar. The researchers caution that what they observed would not be visible to the naked eye, but requires specialized technology and repeated measurements of a child's development over the course of months. "To be sure, parents should not expect that this is something they could see without the aid of technology," said Jones, "and they shouldn't be concerned if an infant doesn't happen to look at their eyes at every moment. We used very specialized technology to measure developmental differences, accruing over time, in the way that infants watched very specific scenes of social interaction." Before they can crawl or walk, babies explore the world intensively by looking at it, and they look at faces, bodies, and objects, as well as other people's eyes. This exploration is a natural and necessary part of infant development, and it sets the stage for brain growth. The critical implications of the study relate to what it reveals about the early development of social disability. Although the results indicate that attention to others' eyes is already declining by 2 to 6 months in infants later diagnosed with autism, attention to others' eyes does not appear to be entirely absent. If infants were identified at this early age, interventions could more successfully build on the levels of eye contact that are present. Eye contact plays a key role in social interaction and development, and in the study, those infants whose levels of eye contact diminished most rapidly were also those who were most disabled later in life. This early developmental difference also gives researchers a key insight for future studies. "The genetics of autism have proven to be quite complex. Many hundreds of genes are likely to be involved, with each one playing a role in just a small fraction of cases, and contributing to risk in different ways in different individuals," said Jones. "The current results reveal one way in which that genetic diversity may be converted into disability very early in life. Our next step will be to expand these studies with more children, and to combine our eye-tracking measures with measures of gene expression and brain growth." ### The study, Attention to Eyes is Present But In Decline in 2-6 Month-Olds Later Diagnosed with Autism was funded by the Simons Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health, the Marcus Foundation and the Whitehead Foundation. More information can be found at http://www.marcus.org/infants. Marcus Autism Center Marcus Autism Center is a not-for-profit organization and an affiliate of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta that treats more than 5,500 children with autism and related disorders a year. As one of the largest autism centers in the U.S. and one of only three National Institutes of Health Autism Centers of Excellence, Marcus Autism Center offers families access to the latest research, comprehensive evaluations and intensive behavior treatments. With the help of research grants, community support and government funding, Marcus Autism Center aims to maximize the potential of children with autism today and transform the very nature of autism for future generations. Visit marcus.org for more information.
November 10, 2013
Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors Continuing Education The more detailed view could help scientists and pharmaceutical companies develop drugs that do a much better job of targeting what they're trying to target — and not create side effects caused by a broader blast at the brain proteins. "By learning as much as possible about the structure of the transporter and its complexes with antidepressants, we have laid the foundation for the design of new molecules with better therapeutic profiles and, hopefully, with fewer deleterious side effects," said Gouaux. Gouaux's latest dopamine transporter research is also important because it was done using the molecule from fruit flies, a dopamine transporter that is much more similar to those in humans than the bacteria models that previous studies had used. The dopamine transporter article was one of two articles Gouaux had published in today’s edition of Nature. The other article also dealt with a modified amino acid transporter that mimics the mammalian neurotransmitter transporter proteins targeted by antidepressants. It gives new insights into the pharmacology of four different classes of widely used antidepressants that act on certain transporter proteins, including transporters for dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline. The second paper in part was validated by findings of the first paper — in how an antidepressant bound itself to a specific transporter. "What we ended up finding with this research was complementary and mutually reinforcing with the other work — so that was really important," Gouaux said. "And it told us a great deal about how these transporters work and how they interact with the antidepressant molecules." Gouaux's discoveries over the years in neurotransmission have established him as one of the top investigators in his field. His research has important implications for understanding the mechanisms of not just antidepressants, but also drugs used for the treatment of a wide range of psychiatric and neurological diseases. Gouaux's co-authors on the dopamine transporter paper were both members of his lab; Aravind Penmatsa, Ph.D., and Kevin Wang, Ph.D. Gouaux's co-authors on the second Nature paper were also members or former members of his lab: Hui Wang, Ph.D.; April Goehring, Ph.D.; Kevin Wang, Aravind Penmatsa and Ryan Ressler, Ph.D. Both papers were funded by the American Heart Association, the National Institute of Mental Health, (1F32MH093120 and 5R37MH070039) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. About the OHSU Vollum Institute The Vollum Institute is a privately endowed research institute at OHSU and is dedicated to basic research that will lead to new treatments for neurological and psychiatric diseases. Vollum scientists have transformed the field of neuroscience and, in particular, have been pioneers in the study of cellular signaling, neuronal development, gene regulation and the neurobiology of disease. About OHSU Oregon Health & Science University is a nationally prominent research university and Oregon’s only public academic health center. It serves patients throughout the region with a Level 1 trauma center and nationally recognized Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. OHSU operates dental, medical, nursing and pharmacy schools that rank high both in research funding and in meeting the university’s social mission. OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute helped pioneer personalized medicine through a discovery that identified how to shut down cells that enable cancer to grow without harming healthy ones. OHSU Brain Institute scientists are nationally recognized for discoveries that have led to a better understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and new treatments for Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and stroke. OHSU’s Casey Eye Institute is a global leader in ophthalmic imaging, and in clinical trials related to eye disease.
November 08, 2013
LPC Continuing Education About the University of Rochester The University of Rochester (www.rochester.edu) is one of the nation's leading private universities. Located in Rochester, N.Y., the University gives students exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary study and close collaboration with faculty through its unique cluster-based curriculum. Its College, School of Arts and Sciences, and Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are complemented by its Eastman School of Music, Simon School of Business, Warner School of Education, Laboratory for Laser Energetics, School of Medicine and Dentistry, School of Nursing, Eastman Institute for Oral Health, and the Memorial Art Gallery.
November 07, 2013
CWRU study finds mending ruptures in client-therapist relationship during PTSD treatment has positive benefits
PTSD - Clinical Practice Guideline for Management of Post Traumatic Stress “We want therapists to know that a rupture in the therapeutic relationship isn’t a bad thing, as long as the therapist tends to it,” said Stephanie Keller, one of the study’s researchers and a Case Western Reserve doctoral student in clinical psychology. “However, if the rupture is not repaired, then your patient may not do as well in treatment.” The research study included 116 people who experienced a traumatic event such as childhood sexual or physical abuse, physical assault, or combat exposure, and had a primary diagnosis of PTSD. Participants engaged in a 10-session treatment program called prolonged exposure (PE) therapy. To help therapists chart progress and examine the therapeutic relationship, each client assessed his or her own PTSD symptoms and perception of their relationship with the therapist during treatment. This helped researchers to identify those clients who experience no ruptures in the therapeutic relationship (a stable relationship), clients who experienced a rupture that was subsequently repaired, and those with ruptures that went unrepaired LCSW Continuing Education The first PE session outlined what would happen over the course of treatment to set specific goals. Exposure-based exercises began in the second session, which included exposure to anxiety-provoking situations that served as trauma-reminders and talking about their traumatic experiences. In this sample, 28 percent of patients experiences a repaired rupture and 18 percent experienced a rupture, or dip in the therapeutic relationship, that was never repaired. An unresolved rupture in the therapist-client relationship became a predictor for a poorer outcome in treatment, Keller said. She also said more research is needed to figure out why these alliance ruptures occur and how to best repair them. The research was funded through a National Institute of Mental Health PTSD research project, directed by Norah Feeny, Ph. D. from Case Western Reserve University and Lori A. Zoellner, Ph. D. from the University of Washington. Other researchers contributing to the project were lead investigator and Case Western Reserve alumna AnnaMaria Aguirre McLauglin, and Eric A. Youngstrom, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
November 06, 2013
Core Elements in Responding to Mental Health Crises CE Course Three waiting-room interventions tested The new study involved nearly 900 patients and 135 primary-care clinicians at seven Northern California health-care sites. Prior to their medical appointments, patients were screened for depression. All patients were then randomized to view one of three interventions: •A video – similar to a public-service announcement – focused on recognizing depression and talking with doctors about symptoms •An interactive multimedia computer program that provided patients with instant feedback and information tailored to different levels of depressive symptoms and treatment preferences •A non-depression-related video on healthy sleep The clinicians did not know which intervention their patients viewed. Immediately after the patients' appointments, the researchers determined if the patients discussed depression with their clinicians and whether they left with prescriptions for medications to treat depression and if they received a referral for mental-health services. Help for the most depressed The results showed that patients with baseline depression who either watched the informational video or used the computer program were nearly twice as likely as control subjects to request information about depression during their appointment. Those who used the interactive computer program were significantly more likely to receive a prescription or referral for depression (26 percent) than were those who viewed either the depression video (17.5 percent) or the video on sleep (16.3 percent). The computer program had the greatest impact on patients who were most depressed, according to the baseline screening. The investigators also studied the effects of the interventions on people who were not likely to be depressed according to the baseline screening. Among these patients, rates of prescribing and referral were low (about 5 percent) and did not differ by intervention group. According to Richard Kravitz, UC Davis professor of internal medicine and lead author of the study, it is important for public-health interventions to avoid inadvertently expanding unnecessary treatments that can do more harm than good and waste health-care resources. "We were concerned that the interventions could lead to treatment for depression for those who do not actually have it," said Kravitz. "Our interactive computer program, however, increased help for those who needed it the most without increasing treatment for those who didn't." According to Jerant, this study is the largest to compare "targeted" versus "tailored" interventions for stimulating people with depression to seek and accept treatment. Targeted interventions, such as the informational video used in the study, use terms and images most likely to resonate with the target audience, based on specific demographic factors. Four different versions were used in this study, targeted toward gender and income levels. The video took about three minutes to watch. Tailored interventions, such as the study's interactive computer program, integrate patient-specific answers to deliver information and guidance. The program used in the study, developed by the study investigators, prompted users to answer questions about symptoms of depression, informed users as to whether or not they were likely to be depressed, and provided guidance depending on the users' specific needs and interests. Patients assigned to the computer program spent about two to 15 minutes on it, with a median of five minutes. Kravitz speculated that the informational video did not work as well because, like a television commercial advertising a medication, it may require multiple repetitions to be effective. In contrast, the interactive computer program quickly provided a high level of personalization, which may account for its higher degree of effectiveness with a single use. The UC Davis investigators intend to further refine and study the interactive computer model to identify patients who need to receive more extensive treatment for their depression Professional Counselor Continuing Education ### Other UC Davis investigators on the study were Peter Franks, Daniel Tancredi, Christina Slee, Robert Bell, Debora Paterniti, Camille Cipri, Ana-Maria Iosif, Andrew Hudnut, Simon Dvorak and Charles Turner. Additional authors were Maga Jackson-Triche of the Northern California VA Health Care System, Steven Kelly-Reif of Kaiser Permanente Medical Group in Sacramento, Mitchell Feldman and Sarah Olson of UC San Francisco, and Ronald Epstein and Paul Duberstein of University of Rochester in New York. The study, titled "Patient Engagement Programs for Recognition and Initial Treatment of Depression in Primary Care," was supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (1R01MH079387, K24MH072756 and K24MH02712).