News and Research

Cognitive-Behavior Therapy in Occupational Therapy

There has been an increasing trend in pediatric clients with mood disorders entering occupational therapy over the last few years. One practitioner discusses using cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), among other strategies, for pediatric clients. (Advance, 28(15):17)  Read more.

Computer Program May Help Kids’ Anxiety

An international research effort is examining a new computer program that suggests it is as effective as medications or psychotherapy for childhood anxiety disorders. The treatment technique called Attention Bias Modification (ABM) reduces anxiety to change thought patterns by drawing children away from their tendency to dwell on potential threats. (American Journal of Psychiatry, Feb. 2012; 169(2); 213-230) Read more. 

Anxious Girls’ Brains Hard at Work

Scientists say the brains of anxious girls work much harder than those of boys, a discovery that could help in the identification and treatment of anxiety disorders, and it may help predict the development of anxiety issues later in life for girls. (International Journal of Psychophysiology, published online 29 May 2012) Read more. 

Treating Adolescent Depression to Prevent Substance Abuse

Treating adolescents for major depression can also reduce their chances of abusing alcohol or drugs later on, a secondary benefit found in a five-year study of hundreds of youths in the United States. (Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 2012; 80 (2): 299) Read more. 

Content Overweight Teens Less Depressed

A study has found that overweight adolescent girls who are happy with the size and shape of their bodies report higher levels of self-esteem, possibly protecting them from depression, anxiety, or anger at times associated with being overweight. (Journal of Adolescent Health, June 2012) Read more.

Depression Linked To Adolescent Bullying

New research suggests that teens suffering from depression are at a greater risk of being bullied because they have difficulties establishing friendships among peers. Problematic peer relationships in the study did not drive depression, the study indicates that depression symptoms predicted negative peer relationships. (Child Development, published online February 2012) Read more.

Depression Often Leads to Difficulties With Peers in Middle Childhood

A new study on the middle years of childhood has found that depression forecasts problems in peer relationships, including being victimized by peers and difficulties being accepted by peers. (Child Development; published online 7 Feb. 2012) Read more.

No Link Between Antidepressant and Suicide in Youths

A new analysis of clinical trial data finds that treatment with the antidepressant fluoxetine did not increase—or decrease—suicidality in children compared to placebo treatment. (Archives of General Psychiatry, published online February 6, 2012) Read more.

Insomnia, SSRI Treatment in Depressed Youth

Most youth with depression has report insomnia. A recent study shows that adolescents with substantial insomnia were less likely to respond to treatment with antidepressants than those without insomnia. But children were more responsive to fluoxetine when they had insomnia. (Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, published online January 18, 2012) Read more.

Genetic Link to Separation Anxiety

A mouse study has led scientists to identify a gene linked to separation anxiety in children with the rare genetic disorder 7q11.23 duplication syndrome (Dup7q11.23). Presented at the Society for Neuroscience annual scientific conference, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal. Read more.

Babies: No Stress, Few Allergies

A new study shows that infants with low concentrations of the stress-related hormone cortisol in their saliva develop fewer allergies than other infants. (Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2011; 128(6): 1335) Read more.

Some Shy Teens Have Social Anxiety Disorder

A new study analyzed how many teens appeared to meet the American Psychiatric Association's criteria for social anxiety disorder or social phobia resulted in roughly 1 in 10 of the self-described shy kids. The findings challenge criticism that the terms "social phobia" and "social anxiety disorder" medicalize normal shyness. (Pediatrics, published online Oct. 17, 2011) Read more.

Brain Chemical Lower in Joyless Teens

Teens with anhedonia, or the inability to experience pleasure, have lower levels of the neurotransmitter GABA in a key mood-regulating region of the brain, according to an NIMH-funded study. Researchers note that this may offer new clues to the pathways and processes underlying depression and other mental disorders. (Archives of General Psychiatry, published online Oct. 3, 2011) Read more.

Depressed, Abused Teens Less Likely to Respond to Combination Treatment

Adolescents with treatment-resistant depression who have a history of abuse, especially physical, are less likely to respond to combination treatment than to medication alone, according to data from a study funded by NIMH. (Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 50(3): 293-301) Read more.

Diagnosing OCD in Children Before It’s Too Late

Researchers point out how appropriate early recognition and treatment of OCD in children can positively affect the course of the disorder. (Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, 108(11): 173–9) Read more.

Depressed Adolescents: Recovery and Relapse

Researchers studying adolescents with major depressive disorder found that nearly all recovered from their episode after treatment. But nearly half of them had relapsed within five years; females were at much higher risk of another major episode. (Archives of General Psychiatry, 67(11):1099–1198) Read more. 

fMRI Predicts Outcome of Talk Therapy in Anxious Children

A brain scan with functional MRI (fMRI) is enough to predict which patients with pediatric anxiety disorder will respond to talk therapy, according to neuroscientists from Georgetown University Medical Center. (Study presented at the annual meeting of the 2010 Society for Neuroscience) Read more.

Childhood Adversity May Trigger Elevated Stress Response in Healthy Adults

New research suggests that healthy adults who were mistreated as children may have a higher inflammatory response to new stressors. Elevated concentrations of the cytokine interleukin 6 (IL-6) are in individuals who experienced early-life adversity. (Neuropsychopharmacology, published online 29 September 2010) Read more. 

Mental Disorders: One in Five Children

Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health have reported on the prevalence data on a broad range of mental disorders in a nationally representative sample of U.S. adolescents, which show that approximately one in five children in the U.S. meet the criteria for a mental disorder severe enough to disrupt their daily lives. (Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 49(10): 980–989) Read more. 

Infants’ Behavioral Regularity Predicts Lower Anxiety

The lack of regularity in sleeping, eating, and play routines in infancy appears to be associated with risk for anxiety in childhood. Researchers studying infants with irregular patterns of sleeping, eating, and playing were significantly more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety more than a decade later. (Psychiatry Research, 30 July 2010, 178(2): 370-373) Read more.

Parental Intervention Alters Children’s Anxiety Trajectory

Researchers are reporting that parents can potentially alter the path of anxiety and related disorders in young at-risk children with a brief intervention. Three years after the intervention the children exhibited fewer signs of anxiety. (American Journal of Psychiatry, published online Sept. 1, 2010) Read more.

Heightened Brain Activity in Children Predicts Anxiety Risk

A new study of monkeys demonstrated that increased brain activity in the amygdala and anterior hippocampus could predict anxious temperament, suggesting that young children who have higher activity in these brain regions are also more likely to develop anxiety and depression as adolescents and adults, as well as drug and alcohol problems. (Nature, 12 August 2010; 466:864-868) Read more.

Abused Children at Risk of Developing Psychiatric Disorders as Young Adults

According to a new cohort study in New Zealand, childhood abuse and neglect are significantly associated with increased rates of anxiety, mood, and substance use disorders in young adulthood. (Archives of General Psychiatry, July 2010; 67:712-719) Read more.

New Treatment Options Target Causes of Childhood OCD and Tourette’s

A special free online issue focuses on the neurobiological bases of pediatric OCD and Tourette’s syndrome, which share similarities in genetic and environmental factors, treatments, and psychiatric features. (Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, Aug. 2010; 20(4) Read more.

Survey of Children of Military Parents

A RAND Corporation study describes the health and well-being of children from military families from the perspectives of the child and nondeployed parent. (Pediatrics, January 2010; 125(1):16-25) Read more.

Good News: Mental Stress Not a Factor in Distracting Young Drivers

Anxiety and depression do not play a role in teen motor vehicle accidents, according to a new study at the University of Sydney in Australia. (Journal of Adolescent Health, published online May 19, 2010) Read more.

Childhood-Cancer Survivors More Likely to Develop PTSD

Young adults who have survived childhood cancers are four times more likely to develop posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD; findings include 9 percent reporting significant functional impairment and clinical distress and symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of PTSD. (Pediatrics, May 2010; 125(5): e1124-e1134) Read more.

Children of Deployed Parents More Anxious, Depressed

A recent study of children with parents deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan showed elevations in anxiety and depression linked to length of deployment and the psychological stress of the parent at home. Further, the symptoms persist after the deployed parent comes home. (Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, April 2010, 49(4): 310-320) Read more.

Childhood Adversity Linked to Mental Disorders

Results from two large survey studies suggest that multiple childhood adversities explain (in a predictive sense) a wide range of mental disorders, including nearly one-third of anxiety disorders. (Archives of General Psychiatry, 2010; 67(2):113-123, 124-132) Read more.

Vigilance and Avoidance in Children With Separation Anxiety Disorder

Using eye-tracking methodology, researchers found that anxious children showed vigilance-avoidance attention pattern. Vigilance-avoidance has been found in anxious adults, who initially gaze more at threatening pictures than nonanxious adults (vigilance), but subsequently gaze at them less (avoidance) than non-anxious adults. (Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, Feb. 2010; 38(2): 225-235) Read more.

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