Differences in brain activity in children with anhedonia

Researchers have identified changes in brain connectivity and brain activity during rest and reward anticipation in children with anhedonia, a condition where people lose interest and pleasure in activities they used to enjoy. The study sheds light on brain function associated with anhedonia and helps differentiate anhedonia from other related aspects of psychopathology.
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Mental health issues increased significantly in young adults over last decade

The percentage of young Americans experiencing certain types of mental health disorders has risen significantly over the past decade, with no corresponding increase in older adults, according to new research.
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First double-blind controlled trial of TNS shows reduced symptoms in some children with ADHD

Currently approved in Canada and Europe for adults with medication-resistant depression and seizures, trigeminal nerve stimulation (TNS) has been found to be an effective and safe means of treatment for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), reports a new study.
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Alzheimer’s treatment holds promise for primary progressive aphasia patients

Scientists have discovered that an existing therapy frequently used to treat Alzheimer’s disease might also work on patients with primary progressive aphasia (PPA), a type of dementia that destroys language and currently has no treatment.
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Forgotten fathers: New dads also at risk for postpartum depression

A new study offers an in-depth view of new fathers’ experiences with postpartum depression (PPD). The study explores issues they encounter and how they can move beyond barriers they face in receiving diagnoses and treatment of the little-known phenomenon.
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Genetic factors influence human brain expansion

An analysis of brain scans from more than 600 children and adolescents reveals genetically-mediated associations between the size of evolutionarily novel brain regions and intelligence test scores. Genetic influences on the brain follow the patterns of evolutionary expansion of the human brain relative to nonhuman primates.
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Infant sleep duration associated with mother’s level of education and prenatal depression

A new study analyzing data from Canadian parents has found that babies sleep less at three months of age if their mothers do not have a university degree, experienced depression during pregnancy or had an emergency cesarean-section delivery.
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Keep calm and don’t carry on when parenting teens

In a new study, psychologists find that mothers and fathers who are less capable of dampening down their anger are more likely to resort to harsh discipline aimed at their teens, and that fathers in particular were not as good at considering alternative explanations for their teens’ behavior.
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Word order predicts a native speakers’ working memory

Memory plays a crucial role in our lives, and several studies have already investigated how we store and retrieve information under different conditions. Typically, stimuli presented at the beginning and at the end of a list are recalled better than stimuli from the middle. But are these findings universal and generalizable across languages and cultures?
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Why children struggle with the ‘cocktail party effect’

Researchers have clarified the development of the ability to attend to a speaker in a noisy environment — a phenomenon known as the ‘cocktail party effect.’ Published in JNeurosci, the study could have implications for helping children navigate the often-noisy surroundings in which they grow and learn.
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See-through fish aid scientists in autism-related breakthrough

Researchers have discovered a clue in the humble zebrafish’s digestive tract that, one day, could help people on the autism spectrum alleviate one of the most common yet least studied symptoms of their disorder: gastrointestinal distress.
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Persistent low body weight in young kids increases risk for anorexia nervosa later, study finds

A new study has found that a persistent low body mass index (BMI) in children, starting as young as age 2 for boys and 4 for girls, may be a risk factor for the development of anorexia nervosa in adolescence.
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Genetic risk for ADHD manifest in brain structure in childhood

There is only scant scientific evidence on whether the genetic risk for developing specific psychiatric disorders or cognitive traits is manifest in brain structure from childhood and, to date, studies have focused primarily on adult populations. The question remains unanswered.
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Youthful cognitive ability strongly predicts mental capacity later in life

Early adult general cognitive ability is a stronger predictor of cognitive function and reserve later in life than other factors, such as higher education, occupational complexity or engaging in late-life intellectual activities.
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Fighting perinatal mood and anxiety disorders on multiple levels

Over the past several decades, it’s become increasingly recognized that perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs), including postpartum depression, are more than just “baby blues.” They’re the most common complication of childbirth in the U.S., affecting about 14 percent of women in their lifetimes and up to 50 percent in some specific populations. PMADs can lead to a variety of adverse outcomes for both mothers and their babies, including poor breastfeeding rates, poor maternal-infant bonding, lower infant immunization rates and maternal suicides that account for up to 20 percent of postpartum deaths.
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Wearable sensor can detect hidden anxiety, depression in young children

Anxiety and depression in young children are hard to detect and often go untreated, potentially leading to anxiety disorders and increased risk of suicide and drug abuse later. In a new study, researchers showed a wearable sensor detected these ‘internalizing disorders’ in children with 81 percent accuracy, reducing to 20 seconds what would take clinicians months to diagnose, opening the door to inexpensive screening that could be part of routine developmental assessments.
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Controlling children’s behavior with screen time leads to more screen time, study reveals

Researchers investigated the impact of parenting practices on the amount of time young children spend in front of screens. They found a majority of parents use screen time to control behavior, especially on weekends. This results in children spending an average of 20 minutes more a day on weekends in front of a screen. Researchers say this is likely because using it as a reward or punishment heightens a child’s attraction to the activity.
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Brain plasticity restored in adult mice through targeting specific nerve cell connections

Research in mice finds a new molecular mechanism that is essential for maturation of brain function and may be used to restore plasticity in aged brains. Unlike previous research that broadly manipulated brain plasticity and affected the entire brain, this work targets for the first time a specific molecule acting on a single type of neuronal connection to modulate brain function. The findings may advance treatment of human diseases such as autism and stroke.
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Can a video game-based ‘digital medicine’ help children with autism and co-occurring ADHD?

Researchers evaluated a digital medicine tool designed as an investigational treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and co-occurring attention/deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
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Passive exposure alone can enhance the learning of foreign speech sounds

Ability to understand and subsequently speak a new language requires the ability to accurately discriminate speech sounds of a given language. When we start to learn a new language the differences between speech sounds can be very difficult to perceive. With enough active practice the ability to discriminate the speech sounds enhances.
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Widespread brain alterations in children with callousness

Children with elevated levels of callous traits — such as a lack of remorse and disregard for other people’s feelings — show widespread differences in brain structure compared with children with lower levels of the traits, according to a new study.
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New study finds bias against women and girls when intellectual ability is sought

A new study finds bias against both women and girls for jobs or activities requiring intellectual ability. The research underscores the pervasiveness of gender bias, held even among females, in both adults and young children.
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Link between neonatal vitamin D deficiency and schizophrenia confirmed

Newborns with vitamin D deficiency have an increased risk of schizophrenia later in life, a team of researchers has reported. The discovery could help prevent some cases of the disease by treating vitamin D deficiency during the earliest stages of life. The study found newborns with vitamin D deficiency had a 44 percent increased risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia as adults compared to those with normal vitamin D levels.
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Infections during childhood increase the risk of mental disorders

A new study shows that the infections children contract during their childhood are linked to an increase in the risk of mental disorders during childhood and adolescence. This knowledge expands our understanding of the role of the immune system in the development of mental disorders.
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An understudied form of child abuse and ‘intimate terrorism’: Parental alienation

According to Colorado State University social psychologist Jennifer Harman, about 22 million American parents have been the victims of behaviors that lead to something called parental alienation. Having researched the phenomenon for several years, Harman is urging psychological, legal and child custodial disciplines to recognize parental alienation as a form of both child abuse and intimate partner violence. Harman has authored a review article in Psychological Bulletin defining the behaviors associated with parental alienation and advocating for more research into its prevalence and outcomes.
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Traumatic brain injuries can lead to long-term neurological and psychiatric disorders

New research suggests that children who suffer traumatic brain injuries are at significantly increased risk of developing new post-traumatic neuropsychiatric disorders, and may benefit from ongoing outpatient follow-up to facilitate early detection and intervention.
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Slowed brainwaves linked to early signs of brain cells going haywire due to dementia

To turn back the clock on Alzheimer’s disease, many researchers are seeking ways to effectively diagnose the neurodegenerative disorder earlier. One potential way to do this is by tracking a person’s brainwave activity, which slows down in certain brain regions that are likely to be affected by the disease next, according to recent findings.
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Sign language reveals the hidden logical structure, and limitations, of spoken language

Sign languages can help reveal hidden aspects of the logical structure of spoken language, but they also highlight its limitations because speech lacks the rich iconic resources that sign language uses on top of its sophisticated grammar.
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Parents shouldn’t worry if their infant doesn’t sleep through the night by a year old

The authors of a study found that a large percentage of healthy babies don’t start sleeping through the night even at a year old. The research team also examined whether infants who didn’t sleep for six or eight consecutive hours were more likely to have problems with psychomotor and mental development, and found no association. The researchers also found no correlation between infants waking up at night and their mothers’ postnatal mood.
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Autism and zinc deficiency in early development

Autism has been associated with zinc deficiency in infancy. While it is not yet known whether zinc deficiency in early development causes autism, scientists have now found a mechanistic link. Their study connects zinc, autism risk genes and abnormal neuronal connections associated with autism spectrum disorders.
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Mothers prefer daughters and fathers prefer sons

A research group has studied whether parents’ gender preferences and investment in offspring are affected by their status, wealth, education or childhood environment. Instead, parental preferences were best predicted by their sex. These results help to make sense of the often contradictory findings on offspring sex preferences.
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Preschool children show awake responses to naptime nonsense words

Hearing has long been suspected as being ‘on’ all the time — even in our sleep. Now scientists are reporting results on what is heard and not heard during sleep and what that might mean for a developing brain. Preliminary results show preschool children seem to have memory traces for sounds heard during nap time.
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Children who experience violence early in life develop faster

A study has shown that exposure to violence early in life — such as physical, emotional, or sexual abuse — is associated with faster biological aging, including pubertal development and a cellular metric of biological aging called epigenetic age.
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Brainwave activity reveals potential biomarker for autism in children

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects children’s social and intellectual development. Conventional diagnostic methods for ASD rely on behavioral observation. Researchers have now identified a potential quantifiable biomarker for diagnosing ASD. Using magnetic brainwave imaging, they correlated altered gamma oscillation with the motor response of children with ASD, which is consistent with previous key hypotheses on ASD. The means of observation potentially offers a noninvasive, impartial form of early diagnosis of ASD.
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Cumulative sub-concussive impacts in a single season of youth football

In an investigation of head impact burden and change in neurocognitive function during a season of youth football, researchers find that sub-concussive impacts are not correlated with worsening performance in neurocognitive function.
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Father’s nicotine use can cause cognitive problems in children and grandchildren

A father’s exposure to nicotine may cause cognitive deficits in his children and even grandchildren, according to a new study. The effect, which was not caused by direct secondhand exposure, may be due to epigenetic changes in key genes in the father’s sperm.
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Gene variants raise risk of migraines in African-American children

Researchers have discovered common gene variants associated with migraines in African-American children. The research adds to knowledge of genetic influences on childhood migraine and may lead to future precision medicine treatments for African-American children with these intense headaches.
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Fathers’ postnatal hormone levels predict later caregiving

Dads whose cortisol levels were elevated while they held their newborns on the day of their birth — either skin-to-skin or clothed — were more likely to be involved with indirect care and play with their infants in the first months of their lives.
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When neglected children become adolescents

Many migrant children separated from their parents at the U.S. border, some of them very young, have landed in shelters where they often experience stress, neglect and minimal social and cognitive stimulation. The latest findings tell a cautionary tale about the psychiatric and social risks of long-term deprivation and family separation as children transition to adolescence.
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