October 31, 2013

Gene found to foster synapse formation in the brain

Implications for language development, autism, epilepsy Researchers at Johns Hopkins say they have found that a gene already implicated in human speech disorders and epilepsy is also needed for vocalizations and synapse formation in mice. The finding, they say, adds to scientific understanding of how language develops, as well as the way synapses — the connections among brain cells that enable us to think — are formed. A description of their experiments appears in Science Express on Oct. 31. A group led by Richard Huganir, Ph.D., director of the Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, set out to investigate genes involved in synapse formation. Gek-Ming Sia, Ph.D., a research associate in Huganir's laboratory, first screened hundreds of human genes for their effects on lab-grown mouse brain cells. When one gene, SRPX2, was turned up higher than normal, it caused the brain cells to erupt with new synapses, Sia found. When Huganir's team injected fetal mice with an SRPX2-blocking compound, the mice showed fewer synapses than normal mice even as adults, the researchers found. In addition, when SRPX2-deficient mouse pups were separated from their mothers, they did not emit high-pitched distress calls as other pups do, indicating they lacked the rodent equivalent of early language ability. Other researchers' analyses of the human genome have found that mutations in SRPX2 are associated with language disorders and epilepsy, and when Huganir's team injected the human SRPX2 with the same mutations into the fetal mice, they also had deficits in their vocalization as young pups. Another research group at Institut de Neurobiologie de la Méditerranée in France had previously shown that SRPX2 interacts with FoxP2, a gene that has gained wide attention for its apparently crucial role in language ability. Huganir's team confirmed this, showing that FoxP2 controls how much protein the SRPX2 gene makes and may affect language in this way. "FoxP2 is famous for its role in language, but it's actually involved in other functions as well," Huganir comments. "SRPX2 appears to be more specialized to language ability." Huganir suspects that the gene may also be involved in autism, since autistic patients often have language impairments, and the condition has been linked to defects in synapse formation. This study is only the beginning of teasing out how SRPX2 acts on the brain, Sia says. "We'd like to find out what other proteins it acts on, and how exactly it regulates synapses and enables language development." Roger Clem of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine also participated in the study CADC I & II Continuing Education ### This study was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (grant number P50MH084020) and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (grant number NS050274). Related stories: Study Refutes Accepted Model of Memory Formation Johns Hopkins Scientists Reveal Molecular Sculptor of Memories Johns Hopkins Researchers Discover How to Erase Memory

October 29, 2013

Nurturing may protect kids from brain changes linked to poverty

Growing up in poverty can have long-lasting, negative consequences for a child. But for poor children raised by parents who lack nurturing skills, the effects may be particularly worrisome, according to a new study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Among children living in poverty, the researchers identified changes in the brain that can lead to lifelong problems like depression, learning difficulties and limitations in the ability to cope with stress. The study showed that the extent of those changes was influenced strongly by whether parents were nurturing. The good news, according to the researchers, is that a nurturing home life may offset some of the negative changes in brain anatomy among poor children. And the findings suggest that teaching nurturing skills to parents — particularly those living in poverty — may provide a lifetime benefit for their children. The study is published online Oct. 28 and will appear in the November issue of JAMA Pediatrics. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the researchers found that poor children with parents who were not very nurturing were likely to have less gray and white matter in the brain. Gray matter is closely linked to intelligence, while white matter often is linked to the brain's ability to transmit signals between various cells and structures. The MRI scans also revealed that two key brain structures were smaller in children who were living in poverty: the amygdala, a key structure in emotional health, and the hippocampus, an area of the brain that is critical to learning and memory. "We've known for many years from behavioral studies that exposure to poverty is one of the most powerful predictors of poor developmental outcomes for children," said principal investigator Joan L. Luby, MD, a Washington University child psychiatrist at St. Louis Children's Hospital. "A growing number of neuroscience and brain-imaging studies recently have shown that poverty also has a negative effect on brain development. "What's new is that our research shows the effects of poverty on the developing brain, particularly in the hippocampus, are strongly influenced by parenting and life stresses that the children experience." Luby, a professor of psychiatry and director of the university's Early Emotional Development Program, is in the midst of a long-term study of childhood depression. As part of the Preschool Depression Study, she has been following 305 healthy and depressed kids since they were in preschool. As the children have grown, they also have received MRI scans that track brain development. "We actually stumbled upon this finding," she said. "Initially, we thought we would have to control for the effects of poverty, but as we attempted to control for it, we realized that poverty was really driving some of the outcomes of interest, and that caused us to change our focus to poverty, which was not the initial aim of this study." In the new study, Luby's team looked at scans from 145 children enrolled in the depression study. Some were depressed, others healthy, and others had been diagnosed with different psychiatric disorders such as ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder). As she studied these children, Luby said it became clear that poverty and stressful life events, which often go hand in hand, were affecting brain development. The researchers measured poverty using what's called an income-to-needs ratio, which takes a family's size and annual income into account. The current federal poverty level is $23,550 for a family of four. Although the investigators found that poverty had a powerful impact on gray matter, white matter, hippocampal and amygdala volumes, they found that the main driver of changes among poor children in the volume of the hippocampus was not lack of money but the extent to which poor parents nurture their children. The hippocampus is a key brain region of interest in studying the risk for impairments. Luby's team rated nurturing using observations made by the researchers — who were unaware of characteristics such as income level or whether a child had a psychiatric diagnosis — when the children came to the clinic for an appointment. And on one of the clinic visits, the researchers rated parental nurturing using a test of the child's impatience and of a parent's patience with that child. AUDIO: Poverty can interfere with healthy development in children and can have long-lasting, negative consequences. Now researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that if poor... Click here for more information. While waiting to see a health professional, a child was given a gift-wrapped package, and that child's parent or caregiver was given paperwork to fill out. The child, meanwhile, was told that s/he could not open the package until the caregiver completed the paperwork, a task that researchers estimated would take about 10 minutes. Luby's team found that parents living in poverty appeared more stressed and less able to nurture their children during that exercise. In cases where poor parents were rated as good nurturers, the children were less likely to exhibit the same anatomical changes in the brain as poor children with less nurturing parents. "Parents can be less emotionally responsive for a whole host of reasons," Luby said. "They may work two jobs or regularly find themselves trying to scrounge together money for food. Perhaps they live in an unsafe environment. They may be facing many stresses, and some don't have the capacity to invest in supportive parenting as much as parents who don't have to live in the midst of those adverse circumstances." The researchers also found that poorer children were more likely to experience stressful life events, which can influence brain development. Anything from moving to a new house to changing schools to having parents who fight regularly to the death of a loved one is considered a stressful life event. Luby believes this study could provide policymakers with at least a partial answer to the question of what it is about poverty that can be so detrimental to a child's long-term developmental outcome. Because it appears that a nurturing parent or caregiver may prevent some of the changes in brain anatomy that this study identified, Luby said it is vital that society invest in public health prevention programs that target parental nurturing skills. She suggested that a key next step would be to determine if there are sensitive developmental periods when interventions with parents might have the most powerful impact. "Children who experience positive caregiver support don't necessarily experience the developmental, cognitive and emotional problems that can affect children who don't receive as much nurturing, and that is tremendously important," Luby said. "This study gives us a feasible, tangible target with the suggestion that early interventions that focus on parenting may provide a tremendous payoff." Aspira Continuing Education Online Courses ### Funding for this research comes from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIH grant numbers 2R01 MH064769-06A1, PA-07-070 NIMH R01 and 5K01 MH090515-04. Luby J, Belden A, Botteron K, Marrus N, Harms MP, Babb C, Nishino T, Barch D. The effects of poverty on childhood brain development: The mediating effect of caregiving and stressful life events. JAMA Pediatrics vol. 167 (11), November 2013, published online Oct. 28, 2013. http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/journal.aspx Washington University School of Medicine's 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.

October 28, 2013

Past weight loss an overlooked factor in disordered eating

PHILADELPHIA (September 24, 2013)— Dieters and weight loss researchers are familiar with the principle: The more weight you've lost, the harder it is to keep it off. A complex and vicious cycle of biological and behavioral factors make it so. But eating disorder research has largely overlooked this influence, and Dr. Michael Lowe, a professor of psychology at Drexel University, has published a flurry of research studies showing that needs to change. "The focus of eating disorder research has very much been on the state of patients' thoughts, beliefs, emotions and personalities," Lowe said. "And while these mental influences are undoubtedly part of the problem, historically there has been very little focus on how their current and past body weights contribute to their eating disorder." Lowe and colleagues' studies – about a dozen on bulimia nervosa have been published in the past several years – show that having an elevated past body weight, and being at a body weight well below highest past weight, may help cause and perpetuate disordered eating. The latest of Lowe's studies was just published in The Journal of Abnormal Psychology, the top journal for eating disorder research, and is the team's first to address this principle in anorexia nervosa. The findings, Lowe says, show that researchers and clinicians need to start taking into account how a person's historical and current body weight contribute to disordered eating. "This fundamentally changes the assumption that the problem is primarily psychological or emotional," Lowe said. The new study, led by doctoral student Laura A. Berner, was based on data collected at the Renfrew Center for eating disorders in Philadelphia, where Lowe is also a consultant. The researchers found that the level of eating disorder symptoms, as well as degree of improvement during treatment, depends on how much weight patients with anorexia nervosa had lost from their previous highest weight (a measure called "weight suppression"), how much they currently weigh and the interaction between the two LSW Continuing Education After controlling for patients' body mass index (BMI, which is a known indicator of disease severity), they found that patients with greater weight suppression had more severe symptoms of anorexia than patients whose low weight was closer to their historical highest weight. Standard measures of disordered eating such as shape concerns, eating concerns, binge eating, depression and menstrual abnormalities were correlated with weight suppression, current BMI, or both. Lowe said that researchers and clinicians who already use weight or BMI as an absolute measure of eating disorder severity should also consider weight suppression as a relative measure. These findings also may have important implications for treatment. "The standards for treating anorexia nervosa are all about 'how much weight do they need to gain to meet a minimally healthy body weight for their height,'" Lowe said. "What we've rarely asked, is 'what is this patient's weight history?'" Lowe said his ongoing research suggests that the answer is that many patients weighed more than their peers before developing anorexia nervosa. "If the patient's body somehow 'remembers' that past higher weight, then even at the minimally healthy body weight she is still going to be struggling mightily to maintain her weight," Lowe said. "That perspective is new. It suggests that future treatments might work toward finding a healthier 'balance point' between what patients once weighed and what they currently weigh." "It is really helpful to have more than one way to look at weight in the eating disorders; we now have evidence that absolute weight and relative weight are both important in predicting difficulties in our work towards full recovery," said Dr. Susan Ice, vice president and chief medical officer of The Renfrew Center. "And it is immensely satisfying to find that science has discovered that there is physical memory or a kind of 'wisdom' in the body." ### Lowe and his research team were recently funded by the National Institute of Mental Health to further investigate the role of these weight-related variables on bulimia nervosa. Individuals with symptoms of bulimia who are interested in participating in this federally funded study may call 215-762-1313 or email TEDS@drexel.edu for additional information. Another research laboratory at Drexel, the Laboratory for Innovations in Health-Related Behavior Change, is recruiting participants who have experienced binge eating problems but do not engage in compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting or laxative use. One project is investigating a new smartphone app for binge eating and the other is evaluating an in-person treatment. Individuals who are interested in participating in these research studies may call 215-762-4900. Paper in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0033930

October 26, 2013

Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors Continuing Education

Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors Continuing Education (CADC CEUs, CPS CEUS, CCS CEUs, CADCA CEUs) Aspira Continuing Education is a California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEPTM) and offers CAADAC-approved clock hours for events that meet CAADAC requirements. The ACEP solely is responsible for all aspects of the program. (Provider # 2C-09-123-0811). Aspira Continuing Education offers online CE courses for the various certifications provided by CAADAC. Such as CADC I, CADC II, CPS, CCS and CADCA. View our Board Approvals and Accreditations page for provider numbers. Click here for: CAADAC Website View Aspira’s CE courses to see the variety options you have to satisfy your CAADAC requirements. 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. **CADC I & II Continuing Education For your information, here is an excerpt from the CAADAC website: “Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC I & II) Requirements: •Meet all requirements of the CADCA formerly (RADI) •Provide documentation of 4,000 hours or two (2) years full-time supervised work experience as an alcohol and drug counselor (supervised by at least a CADC-II) •Pass IC&RC Case Presentation Method of Oral Review Examination (see manual for additional information and requirements) •Submit appropriate fees Download the CADC I & II Manual and Handbook now! CADC I/II Manual CADC I/II Handbook Click here for: CADC I & II Certification Requirements Aspira Continuing Education is an approved CE Provider for CAADAC licensees. Some of the online courses Aspira offers can be used toward necessary CE requirements others can be used toward Professional Development requirements. View the table on each course description page to see if that particular course is approved for Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors CADC I & II. If the course is indicated as approved for CAADAC professionals, then that course can be applied toward CE requirements. If not, then that course can be applied toward Professional Development requirements. View our CE Courses today! 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. View our Board Approvals and Accreditations page for provider numbers.

Ability to delay gratification may be linked to social trust, new CU-Boulder study finds

A person's ability to delay gratification—forgoing a smaller reward now for a larger reward in the future—may depend on how trustworthy the person perceives the reward-giver to be, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder. A body of research that stretches back more than a half-century has shown that the ability to delay gratification is linked to a number of better life outcomes. On average, people who were able to delay gratification as children go on to have higher SAT scores, for example. They also tend to be more socially conscious as adolescents, less obese as adults, and less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol. But despite the long history of studying delayed gratification, little research has focused on the role of social trust in a person's ability to wait for a larger payoff in the future. "Most of the time, when people talk about delaying gratification, they talk about basic processes of evaluation and self-control," said Laura Michaelson, a CU-Boulder doctoral student in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and co-lead author of the new study appearing in the online journal Frontiers in Psychology. In general, people who choose not to delay gratification have often been characterized as irrational and as having poor impulse control. But if the role of social trust is considered, it introduces the possibility that the person who is choosing not to delay gratification may be acting rationally after all, the researchers said. "If you don't trust someone, it's rational not to wait for them to give you $20 in a month instead of $15 now," said study co-lead author Alejandro de la Vega, also a doctoral student in CU-Boulder's Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. To determine the role of social trust, the research team—which also included Christopher Chatham, a former CU-Boulder doctoral student now at Brown University, and psychology and neuroscience Professor Yuko Munakata—recruited participants using Amazon's Mechanical Turk, an online tool that can be used by scientists to quickly connect with a large number of people from a broad range of backgrounds. The researchers paid participants up to $1 to participate in an experiment in which they were asked to read the profiles of three fictional characters and then rate them on their trustworthiness. Participants were then asked whether they would opt to take a smaller amount of money offered immediately from each character or a larger amount of money that they would have to wait to collect. The results showed that the participants were less likely to delay gratification when they distrusted the person who was offering the reward. A second experiment—which relied on a larger group but asked each participant to read the profile of only one character—had similar results. The second study also paired one of three sketches of a face with each character. "This offers an alternative explanation for why certain populations might be notoriously bad at delaying gratification or notoriously impulsive, like criminals and addicts," Michaelson said. "It had been chalked up to a lack of self-control. But it may be the case that they are poor at delaying gratification because they have low social trust." The findings could have implications for determining the best intervention strategies to use with children who find it difficult to delay gratification. Creating environments in which children can develop social trust, for example, could be more effective than having those children work solely on self-control, Michaelson said. The findings also may be important for adults, especially in terms of economic decision-making, de la Vega said. Economists are interested in delayed gratification as it relates to making investments or building up savings instead of spending money immediately. The new CU-Boulder study suggests that how much a person trusts an investment banker or an economic adviser could affect the person's decisions about saving and spending Social Worker Continuing Education "These economic decisions are not being made in a complete vacuum," de la Vega said. "They might really be affected by how you perceive the person you're interacting with." The research team plans to follow up this study with research that involves participants interacting in person with the people who are offering the rewards. "There is a very real possibility the this relationship between social trust and delaying gratification might be even more strong and even more salient when you're in a real situation," Michaelson said. ### Read the full study online at http://www.frontiersin.org/Cognition/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00355/abstract.

October 24, 2013

Abusive parenting may have a biological basis

Research led by University of Oregon professor unveils a potential neurobiological trigger EUGENE, Ore. -- Parents who physically abuse their children appear to have a physiological response that subsequently triggers more harsh parenting when they attempt parenting in warm, positive ways, according to new research. Reporting in the quarterly journal Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, a five-member team, led by Elizabeth A. Skowron, a professor in the Department of Counseling Psychology and Human Services in the University of Oregon College of Education, documented connections between the nervous system's ability to calm heart rate -- via electrocardiogram (ECG) measures of parasympathetic activation -- and the type of parenting mothers displayed during a laboratory interaction with their preschool child LCSW Continuing Education Studies of child maltreatment have consistently found that parents who physically abuse their children tend to parent in more hostile, critical and controlling ways. Skowron's team appears to have found evidence of a physiological basis for patterns of aversive parenting -- the use of hostile actions such as grabbing an arm or hand or using negative verbal cues in guiding a child's behavior -- in a sample of families involved with Child Protective Services. For the experiment, mothers and children were monitored to record changes in heart rate while playing together in the lab. Parenting behavior was scored to capture positive parenting and strict, hostile control using a standard coding system. What emerged, Skowron said, were clear distinctions between abusive, neglectful and non-maltreating mothers in their physiological responses during parenting. When abusive mothers were more warm and nurturing, they began to experience more difficulty regulating their heart rate and staying calm. This physiological-based stress response then led the abusive mothers to become more hostile and controlling toward their child a short time later in the interaction. The same was not the case for mothers who had been previously identified as being physically neglectful or for mothers with no history of neglectful or abusive parenting. Participants in the National Institutes of Health-funded study were 141 mothers -- 94 percent Caucasian with a high school degree or less and incomes at or below $30,000 -- and their children, ranged in age from 3 to 5 years old. The research focuses on tracking the effects of physiology on parenting in real time. "Abusive mothers who try to warmly support their child when the child faced a moderate challenge displayed a physiological response that suggested they're stressed, on alert and preparing to defend against a threat of some kind," said Skowron, a researcher at the Child and Family Center/Prevention Science Institute at the UO. "This kind of physiological response then led to a shift in an abusive mother becoming more hostile, strict, and controlling ways with her young child, regardless of how her child was behaving." The findings, she added, suggest that when physically abusive mothers experience being a nurturing parent they find it to be hard work. "It appears to quickly wear them out, perhaps because it challenges them in ways that lower-risk mothers don't experience," she said. "An abusive mother appears caught: When she does a good job with her child, it costs her physiologically, and it negatively affects her because it leads to more aversive parenting." The team's findings help to explain why abusive parenting is so resistant to most interventions, Skowron said. "Most parents who struggle with child maltreatment really love their children and want help improving their parenting skills. Our findings suggest that many are experiencing a biological response during parenting that actively interferes with their efforts to parent in warm and nurturing ways." The next step, she said, is exploring how to translate the new discovery into interventions specifically designed for parents struggling with child abusive. "We have to figure out how to help these high-risk parents calm themselves down more effectively and enjoy the experience of supporting their children in warm, positive ways. First, she noted, it will be important for other researchers to replicate the findings. "Researchers at the University of Oregon continue to yield critical insights that result in more effective prevention strategies," said Kimberly Andrews Espy, vice president for research and innovation and dean of the UO Graduate School. "This research by Dr. Skowron revealing a potential neurobiological trigger involved in abusive parenting may lead to new interventions that could help to improve the lives of children." ### Co-authors with Skowron were Elizabeth Cipriano-Essel and Aaron L. Pincus, both of Pennsylvania State University where Skowron conducted this research, Lorna Smith Benjamin of the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute, and Mark J. Van Ryzin, research associate in the UO Child and Family Center and researcher at the Eugene-based Oregon Social Learning Center. NIH grant RO1 MH079328 to Skowron supported the research through the National Institute of Mental Health. Additional funding was provided by the Administration for Children and Families, through its Children's Bureau of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, as part of the Federal Child Neglect Research Consortium. About the University of Oregon The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities. Source: Elizabeth A. Skowron, associate professor of counseling psychology, 541-346-0913, eskowron@uoregon.edu Links: Skowron faculty page: https://education.uoregon.edu/users/elizabeth-skowron Counseling psychology and human services: https://education.uoregon.edu/department/counseling-psychology-and-human-services Child and Family Center: http://cfc.uoregon.edu/ College of Education: https://education.uoregon.edu/ Audio: 1) Skowron on main finding, 20 seconds: http://uonews.uoregon.edu/sites/uonews.wc-sites.uoregon.edu/files/uploads/AbusiveParenting-Response.mp3 2) Skowron on the challenges of intervention, 66 seconds: http://uonews.uoregon.edu/sites/uonews.wc-sites.uoregon.edu/files/uploads/Intervention%20Challenges.mp3 Follow UO Science on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/UniversityOfOregonScience UO Science on Twitter: http://twitter.com/UO_Research More UO Science/Research News: http://uoresearch.uoregon.edu Note: The University of Oregon is equipped with an on-campus television studio with a point-of-origin Vyvx connection, which provides broadcast-quality video to networks worldwide via fiber optic network. In addition, there is video access to satellite uplink, and audio access to an ISDN codec for broadcast-quality radio interviews.

October 23, 2013

LPCC Continuing Education

LPCC Continuing Education For California LPCCs: For those interested in the new California LPCC license, there are a few different paths from which to choose. If you want an overview look at the different paths in a side by side comparison then click here on the LPCC LICENSURE PATHWAY OVERVIEW. To view the most recent information regarding this license and all corresponding links go to the CA BBS LPCC page at CA BBS - LPCC or the California Association for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors at CALPCC - LPCC. AspiraCE is approved by the CA BBS (provider # PCE 4374) to offer online courses for LPCCs in California. To view the list of AspiraCE’s approvals and corresponding provider numbers click on AspiraCE's Approvals and Provider Numbers. For all other states with LPCCs: You can view our State Board Approved List to see if Aspira is an approved CE provider for LPCCs in your state. Aspira Continuing Education is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEPTM) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements. The ACEP solely is responsible for all aspects of the program. (Provider #6416) Aspira Continuing Education is a California Board of Behavioral Sciences-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEPTM) and offers CA BBS-approved clock hours for events that meet CA BBS requirements. The ACEP solely is responsible for all aspects of the program. (Provider #PCE 4374) View our CE Courses today! 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.

What a difference a grade makes

First-graders with attention problems lag for years afterward; second-graders, less so DURHAM, N.C. -- When it comes to children's attention problems, the difference between first and second grade is profound, says a new study from Duke University. The study, which appears online in the November issue of the Journal of Attention Disorders, says the age at which attention problems emerge makes a critical difference in a child's later academic performance. When the problems emerged in first grade, children's performance suffered for years afterward. For instance, those children scored lower than their peers on reading achievement scores after fifth grade. The poor performance occurred even if the attention problems were fleeting and improved after first grade. By contrast, children who developed attention problems starting in second grade performed as well as their peers in later years. Other studies have noted the link between early attention problems and academic achievement. But the new study is the first to identify the impact of attention problems that emerge in first grade versus those that emerge just a year later. The research was conducted by Duke psychologists David Rabiner, Madeline Carrig and Kenneth Dodge, the William McDougall Professor of Public Policy and director of Duke's Center for Child and Family Policy. It draws on data from the Fast Track Project, a longitudinal study of the development of conduct problems that has followed 891 individuals in four different locales from kindergarten into adulthood. The attention study examined academic performance among a subsample of 386 children by looking at grades as well as reading and math scores before and after first grade, and again after fifth grade. The results may reflect the critical importance of first grade as an academic building block, Rabiner said. Children who suffer from attention problems in first grade fail to acquire key academic skills, and their performance suffers in later years as a result. Not all first-graders who struggle to focus in school have ADHD, Rabiner added. But whether they have diagnosable ADHD or not, he said it's important to help them at the outset of their academic careers, when they are acquiring essential building block skills. "Even when these children overcome their attention problems, they continue to struggle in school," Rabiner said. "The earlier we can identify children who are struggling with sustaining attention in the classroom and intervene to help them, the better." Professional Counselor Continuing Education The study emphasized first and second grades, but Rabiner noted that future researchers would do well to look at kindergarten as well. Data for the study was collected beginning in the early 1990s. Since that time, kindergarten has assumed a more important academic role in many schools. ### The research was supported by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Grants R18 MH48043, R18 MH50951, R18 MH50952, R18 MH50953, K05MH00797, and K05MH01027; National Institute on Drug Abuse Grants DA016903, K05DA15226, and P30DA023026; and Department of Education Grant S184U30002. The Center for Substance Abuse Prevention also provided support through a memorandum of agreement with NIMH. CITATION: "Attention Problems and Academic Achievement: Do Persistent and Earlier-Emerging Problems Have More Adverse Long-Term Effects," David L. Rabiner, Madeline M. Carrig and Kenneth A. Dodge, Journal of Attention Disorders, October 18, 2013. DOI: 10.1177/1087054713507974

October 22, 2013

Anger Management: A Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Manual

Anger Management: A Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Manual
This course is designed to help you: 1. Recognize the dynamics of anger and related anger management challenges 2. Utilize appropriate cognitive behavioral anger management interventions. 3. Analyze anger management cases for power and control dynamics. 4. List potential services and interventions. 5. Promote an interdisciplinary approach. 6. Increase familiarity with group dynamics involving anger management Course Description: This manual was designed for use by qualified substance abuse and mental health clinicians who work with substance abuse and mental health clients with concurrent anger problems. The manual describes a 12-week cognitive behavioral anger management group treatment. Each of the 12 90-minute weekly sessions is described in detail with specific instructions for group leaders, tables and figures that illustrate the key conceptual components of the treatment, and homework assignments for the group participants. MFT, mft, lpc, lpcc, LCSW, lsw, CA BBS, online ceus, board approved, mental health ce courses, online ceus, ceus for MFTs, ce courses for counselors, Social Worker ceus, continuing education units for LPCs, MHC ceus, LCSW, ASW and MFT Intern ceus, Board approved ceus in many states, national board approval ceus, alcohol and drug abuse counselor ceus. See chart below for your

Research uncovers new details about brain anatomy and language in young children

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Researchers from Brown University and King's College London have gained surprising new insights into how brain anatomy influences language acquisition in young children. Their study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, found that the explosion of language acquisition that typically occurs in children between 2 and 4 years old is not reflected in substantial changes in brain asymmetry. Structures that support language ability tend to be localized on the left side of the brain. For that reason, the researchers expected to see more myelin — the fatty material that insulates nerve fibers and helps electrical signals zip around the brain — developing on the left side in children entering the critical period of language acquisition. But that is not what the research showed. "What we actually saw was that the asymmetry of myelin was there right from the beginning, even in the youngest children in the study, around the age of 1," said the study's lead author, Jonathan O'Muircheartaigh, the Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow at King's College London. "Rather than increasing, those asymmetries remained pretty constant over time." That finding, the researchers say, underscores the importance of environment during this critical period for language. O'Muircheartaigh is currently working in Brown University's Advanced Baby Imaging Lab. The lab uses a specialized MRI technique to look at the formation of myelin in babies and toddlers. Babies are born with little myelin, but its growth accelerates rapidly in the first few years of life. The researchers imaged the brains of 108 children between ages 1 and 6, looking for myelin growth in and around areas of the brain known to support language. While asymmetry in myelin remained constant over time, the relationship between specific asymmetries and language ability did change, the study found. To investigate that relationship, the researchers compared the brain scans to a battery of language tests given to each child in the study. The comparison showed that asymmetries in different parts of the brain appear to predict language ability at different ages. "Regions of the brain that weren't important to successful language in toddlers became more important in older children, about the time they start school," O'Muircheartaigh said. "As language becomes more complex and children become more proficient, it seems as if they use different regions of the brain to support it." Interestingly, the association between asymmetry and language was generally weakest during the critical language period. "We found that between the ages of 2 and 4, myelin asymmetry doesn't predict language very well," O'Muircheartaigh said. "So if it's not a child's brain anatomy predicting their language skills, it suggests their environment might be more influential." The researchers hope this study will provide a helpful baseline for future research aimed at pinpointing brain structures that might predict developmental disorders. "Disorders like autism, dyslexia, and ADHD all have specific deficits in language ability," O'Muircheartaigh said. "Before we do studies looking at abnormalities we need to know how typical children develop. That's what this study is about." "This work is important, as it is the first to investigate the relationship between brain structure and language across early childhood and demonstrate how this relationship changes with age," said Sean Deoni, assistant professor of engineering, who oversees the Advanced Baby Imaging Lab. "The study highlights the advantage of collaborative work, combining expertise in pediatric imaging at Brown and neuropsychology from the King's College London Institute of Psychiatry, making this work possible." ### Other authors on the paper include Douglas Dean, Holly Dirks, Nicole Waskiewicz, and Katie Lehman from Brown's Baby Imaging Lab, and Beth Jerskey from Brown's Alpert Medical School. The work was funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health and the Wellcome Trust. Editors: Brown University has a fiber link television studio available for domestic and international live and taped interviews, and maintains an ISDN line for radio interviews. For more information, call (401) 863-2476 ASW Continuing Education -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- [ Back to EurekAlert! ] [ Print | E-mail Share Share ] [ Close Window ] AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system. HOME DISCLAIMER PRIVACY POLICY TERMS & CONDITIONS CONTACT US TOP Copyright ©2013 by AAAS, the science society.

October 21, 2013

NAB Unveils Youth Mental Health Awareness Campaign

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) launched “OK2TALK,” a campaign to increase understanding and awareness about mental health in youth. The Tumblr-based community campaign includes television and radio ads in English and Spanish that feature teens and young adults opening up about their experiences with mental health. These ads aim to prompt conversation and let people know that help is available and effective. The site also encourages young adults and teens to share their personal stories of recovery, tragedy, struggle, or hope, and includes resources for those seeking help. The “OK2TALK” campaign is inspired in part by the personal struggles of NAB President and former U.S. Senator Gordon Smith’s 22-year-old son, Garrett, who wrestled with depression and ultimately took his own life. One in five Americans experience a mental health issue, yet only one in three reach out to receive mental health services, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. President Obama called for a national dialogue on mental health, a year-long initiative that will bring together 200 mental health experts, 40 organizations, a dozen members of Congress, and celebrities like Glenn Close and Bradley Cooper to facilitate nationwide discussions about youth and mental health. The White House also launched a website, mentalhealth.gov, with its tag line “Let’s talk about it.” LSW Continuing Education

October 20, 2013

NIMH Grantee Receives 2013 Nobel Prize

Congratulations to current NIMH grantee Thomas C. Südhof, M.D., at Stanford University School of Medicine, for winning the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on how the brain sends and receives chemical messages. Thomas C. Südhof, M.D. Thomas C. Südhof, M.D. Stanford University School of Medicine “We are extremely proud of Dr. Südhof,” said National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Director Thomas Insel, M.D. “NIMH has supported Dr. Südhof's ground-breaking research for more than two decades as part of our commitment to understanding the fundamental mechanisms of brain function." The human brain houses about 100 billion neurons—about half the number of stars in the Milky Way. Each of these neurons “converses” with, on average, thousands of other neurons, sending molecular messages in a matter of milliseconds, about the same timeframe as a camera flash. How these messages are sent in such a rapid and precise manner has long been a mystery to neuroscientists. When these messages go awry, mental disorders such as schizophrenia, autism, and depression may arise. Specifically, Dr. Südhof parsed the proteins that are used in a synapse—the gap between neurons where one neuron reaches out to talk to another via chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters. These specialized spaces are comprised of three components: the messenger or presynaptic neuron, the recipient or postsynaptic neuron, and the cleft or space between these two neurons. Dr. Südhof’s work identified key molecules involved in the rapid release of neurotransmitters from the terminals of presynaptic neurons and revealed how electrical signals in the form of calcium ions instruct a protein called synaptotagmin. Once calcium binds to synaptotagmin, the protein serves as a switch for neurotransmitter-carrying cellular shuttles called vesicles to fuse with the outer surface of the presynaptic neuron and release these chemical messengers into the synaptic cleft. Upon release, the neurotransmitters cross the synaptic cleft and bind to docking sites or receptors on the postsynaptic neuron, triggering an electrical signal to pulse through it. Südhof’s work revealed that synaptotagmins also act as universal calcium sensors in non-neuronal cells, functioning, for example, in the release of hormones such as insulin from pancreatic beta cells. Dr. Südhof shares the world’s most prestigious science award with James E. Rothman, Ph.D., at Yale University, and Randy W. Schekman, Ph.D., at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Rothman unraveled protein machinery that allows vesicles to fuse with their targets to permit transfer of cargo. Dr. Schekman discovered a set of genes that were required for vesicle traffic. The researchers will share a prize that totals roughly $1.2 million USD. Previously, Dr. Südhof and Richard H. Scheller, Ph.D., at Genentech, collected the 2013 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for their work. Known as “America’s Nobels,” the Lasker Awards often predict future Nobel Prize recipients. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has supported Dr. Südhof’s research over the past 22 years. In turn, Dr. Südhof has served on several study sections at the NIH Center for Scientific Review, in addition to the Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Neuroscience study section at NIMH. Over the years, Dr. Südhof’s work on the neurotransmitter release machinery has been supported with research program grants as well as center grants from NIMH. He is also the recipient of an NIMH MERIT (Method to Extend Research in Time) award, which along with an additional NIMH grant and funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute helped support his Nobel work. MERIT awards provide up to 10 years of stable research support for highly productive outstanding investigators working on projects well aligned with the mission of NIMH Social Worker Continuing Education Dr. Südof also holds an NIH TR01 award for work to facilitate the creation of neurons from non-neuronal cells (skin fibroblasts of human patients). This work is anticipated to provide a novel way for scientists to study the biological effects of gene mutations associated with neuropsychiatric diseases

October 19, 2013

PBS Documentary “Brains on Trial”

A convenience store robbery goes horribly wrong: A teenager high on cocaine stands trial for attempted murder. Brains on Trial PBS documentaryUsing this fictional crime, a two-episode PBS program titled “Brains on Trial” explores the brains of the key courtroom players—defendant, witnesses, jurors, and judge. Is a witness lying or telling the truth? How can two people see the same event and yet remember it so differently? These and other questions are what neuroscience currently is being asked to do using brain scans. Join host Alan Alda as he visits and conducts brain scan experiments with neuroscientists, such as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)’s Jay Giedd, M.D., in the quest to answer how brain research can influence and reform the criminal justice system. Dr. Giedd is chief of the Unit on Brain Imaging in the Child Psychiatry Branch at NIMH LCSW Continuing Education