The Child Mind BlogBrainstorm

  • The Anxiety Gender Gap: Are Women Really More Anxious?
    April 22, 2011 Slate

    Women are diagnosed with anxiety disorders twice as often as men. In an essay for Slate, Taylor Clark argues that this prevalence isn't due to bioengineering so much as the "cultural setup" which turns girls into nervous women who have poor coping strategies. Clark calls his theory the "skinned knee effect:"  

    "Parents coddle girls who cry after a painful scrape but tell boys to suck it up, and this formative link between emotional outbursts and kisses from mom predisposes girls to react to unpleasant situations with 'negative' feelings like anxiety later in life. On top of this, cultural biases about boys being more capable than girls also lead parents to push sons to show courage and confront their fears, while daughters are far more likely to be sheltered from life's challenges. If little Olivia shows fear, she gets a hug; if little Oliver shows fear, he gets urged to overcome it."

    The women's blog Jezebel took issue with some of Clark's generalizations on female behavior, but agreed that society does treat little girls differently, citing the popular book The Dangerous Book for Boys and its female counterpart, The Great Big Glorious Book for Girls, as clear examples of gender bias.

    In his essay Clark also points out that women may receive more anxiety disorder diagnoses simply because they are more likely to see a therapist.  

    Know More:  How to Help Your Daughter Have a Healthy Body Image

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  • Pabst's New "Binge in a Can"
    April 22, 2011 Wall Street Journal

    Earlier this month Pabst Brewing Co. released an updated version of the Colt 45 called "Blast." The new malt beverage comes with twice the alcohol content of the original Colt 45 and flavors such as strawberry lemonade and raspberry watermelon. Attorneys general from several states are already protesting the drink, which they call a "binge in a can," and have expressed concern that Blast is targeted to underage drinkers who will be attracted by the fruit flavors and by the drink's promoter, Snoop Dogg. In a letter to the chairman of Pabst, C. Dean Metropoulos, the attorneys general claimed the product "poses a grave public safety threat," and requested that Pabst immediately reduce the number of servings of alcohol contained in one single-serving container.

    Know More:  Is My Teenager a Substance Abuser?

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  • Half of All Children With Autism Wander from Safe Places
    April 21, 2011 Science Daily

    The Interactve Autism Network (IAN) has announced the preliminary results from their landmark survey on the prevalance of wandering among people on the autism spectrum. Approximately half of the parents taking the survey reported that their child wanders or bolts from safe locations. Of the children who wandered, nearly 50 percent went missing "long enough to cause significant concern about safety."

    The director of the Ian Project, Dr. Paul Law, says, "We hope that advocates and policy makers use this research to implement key safety measures to support these families and keep these children safe."

    Know More:  The movie Wretches & Jabberers takes autism advocacy on the road.

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  • Demi Lovato: I Have Bipolar Disorder
    April 21, 2011 People

    Disney star Demi Lovato told People magazine that she was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Lovato says she didn't know she had the disorder until she sought treatment for her anorexia, bulimia and cutting last November. "Looking back it makes sense," she says. "There were times when I was so manic, I was writing seven songs in one night and I'd be up until 5:30 in the morning." Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones made a similar announcement about her bipolar II disorder on April 19th, and Lovato was quick to offer her support, tweeting that Zeta-Jones was "SO brave."

    Lovato recently quit starring in the popular Disney show Sonny with a Chance. Lovato says she plans to focus on her treatment and on her singing career instead. "Being in front of a camera would make me nervous," the teen said.     

    Know More:  Going Public About Bipolar: Catherine Zeta-Jones and Demi Lovato

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  • Autism Now: Exploring the 'Phenomenal' Increase in U.S. Prevalence
    April 20, 2011 PBS NewsHour

    The second installment of NewsHour's Autism Now series aired last night, this time focusing on the seemingly phenomenal increase of autism in America. You can watch the report online at the NewsHour website.

    Know More:  Autism, Vaccines, and the Wakefield Fraud

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  • Teens Aren't Sleeping Enough
    April 19, 2011 MSNBC

    A new poll shows that American teens are sleeping at least two hours less than they should be, and experts are worried about the consequences. "We know that sleep has a fundamental role in protecting and growing and strengthening the brain," says Dr. Mary Carskadon, a professor at Brown University. Because the frontal lobe is developing more at 18, the newest thinking is that older adolescents might need even more sleep than the younger ones.

    Sleep deprivation has also been linked to the development of ADHD, obesity, and depression.

    Know More:  How Does the Brain Change in Childhood and Adolescence?

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  • ADHD Linked to Preterm Birth
    April 19, 2011 Web MD

    Researchers in Sweden have confirmed that babies born prematurely are more likely to develop ADHD later in life. By analyzing government birth records and prescription drug records, researchers found that a child's likelihood for developing ADHD rises exponentially according to each week of prematurity. A child born very early, between 23 and 28 weeks of gestation, has more than double the risk of developing ADHD.

    Know More:  Does My Child Have ADHD or Just High Energy?

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  • Autism Now: Robert MacNeil Shares Grandson Nick's Story
    April 18, 2011 PBS NewsHour

    Former anchor Robert MacNeil returns to NewsHour to host Autism Now, a six-part series examining autism in America. MacNeil's family has been personally affected by the disorder, and in his first report MacNeil introduces Nick, his six-year-old grandson who was diagnosed with autism at 16 months. While autism was once considered to be a disorder affecting only the brain, researchers now understand that many children, including Nick, experience serious physical complications as well. MacNeil investigates the "whole-body experience" of autism, and interviews his grandson's pediatric gastroenterologist, who has taken a major role in Nick's treatment. Autism Now reports will air on PBS and online.

    Know More:  Autism, Vaccines, and the Wakefield Fraud

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  • In Praise of Pink Polish
    April 15, 2011 New York Times

    J. Crew ignited a media grease fire after publishing a photo of President and Executive Creative Director Jenna Lyons painting her young son's toenails pink. The photo was included in a promotional email intended to depict quality family time mixed with fashion—what Jon Stewart calls "bondvertizing." Lyons says her son Beckett asked for the polish; the photo's caption read: "Lucky for me, I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon." But the fun seems lost on many media pundits, who were scandalized by the polish. The Cultural Media Institute is even calling the photo "blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children." Really, though, the photo is just the latest installment in the nation's on-going debate on "Pink Boys."

    Know More:  Watch CMI's President Harold S Koplewicz discuss pink boys on the Today show.

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  • Shortages of ADHD Medications
    April 15, 2011 CHADD Leadership Blog

    Parents across the nation are struggling to fill prescriptions for the commonly prescribed ADHD medications Adderall and Metadate. This week the FDA added the two medications to its list of Current Drug Shortages, apparently due to an undersupply of the active pharmaceutical ingredient used in both drugs. The shortages are expected to be resolved in the next six to eight weeks; meanwhile parents are turning to Internet forums in search of tips on which pharmacies are still stocked. Here Timothy MacGeorge, the director of the National Resource Center on ADHD, gives struggling parents advice on how to fill their prescriptions.

    Know More:  Long-Term Studies of Children on ADHD Meds 

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