Posts made in July, 2013

Online Psychotherapy Stacks Up Well Against Face-to-Face

»Posted by on Jul 31, 2013 in Alpha Blog | 0 comments

As technology advances the delivery of medical care, telemedicine over the Internet is seen by some as a way to improve access to care while reducing costs. In many settings, online psychotherapy has taken the lead in providing this type of care. Despite the obvious advantages, the central question of whether the online format is as effective as conventional face-to-face therapy has not been closely examined. But some preliminary studies have suggested the techniques are comparable. Based on these earlier studies, University of Zurich researchers assumed that online therapy and face-to-face therapy were on a par. Not only was their theory confirmed, the results for online therapy exceeded their expectations. For the study, researchers reviewed the care provided...

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Identifying Teens at Risk for PTSD

»Posted by on Jul 30, 2013 in Alpha Blog | 0 comments

Many teens are exposed to emotionally traumatic events, putting them at risk for developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A new study found online in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry helps clinicians target those who are most vulnerable to developing PTSD. Researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital analyzed data on 6,483 teen–parent pairs from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication, a survey of the prevalence and correlates of mental disorders in the United States. They discovered that 61 percent of the teens (ages 13 to 17) had been exposed to at least one potentially traumatic event in their lifetime, including interpersonal violence (such as rape, physical abuse or witnessing domestic violence),...

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Give Them a Hand: Children Who Gesture Perform Better on Cognitive Tasks

»Posted by on Jul 29, 2013 in Alpha Blog | 2 comments

New research shows that children who use gestures do better on a problem-solving task. The task was relatively simple: Sort cards printed with colored shapes first by color, then shape. But the switch from color to shape can be difficult for children younger than 5, according to Dr. Patricia Miller, a professor of psychology at San Francisco State University. In a new study, Miller and graduate student Gina O’Neill found that young children who gesture are more likely to make the mental switch and group the shapes accurately. According to the Miller, there is “quite a bit of evidence now that gestures can help children think,” perhaps by helping the brain keep track of relevant information or by helping the brain reflect on the possibilities contained within...

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No Link Between Autism and Prenatal Mercury Exposure

»Posted by on Jul 25, 2013 in Alpha Blog | 0 comments

Contemporary research has centered on the potential impact of low-level mercury exposure on the developing brain. The concern has been especially keen for women consuming fish during pregnancy as some have argued that the chemical may be responsible for behavioral disorders such as autism. However, a new study that draws upon more than 30 years of research reports that there is no association between prenatal mercury exposure and autism-like behaviors. The new study found no correlation between low-level mercury exposure and autism spectrum-like behaviors among children whose mothers ate, on average, up to 12 meals of fish each week during pregnancy. “These findings contribute to the growing body of literature that suggest that exposure to the chemical does not...

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Binge Eating May Signal Anxiety, Depression & Suicide Risk

»Posted by on Jul 24, 2013 in Alpha Blog | 0 comments

A new study of African-American girls finds that body dissatisfaction can lead to symptoms of anxiety and depression, and an increased risk for suicide. Dr. Rashelle Musci and colleagues from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University found that mood disorders and a dissatisfied body image placed the girls at higher risk for turning their emotions inward — displaying “internalizing” symptoms such as suicide. Western culture places a significant focus on appearance, especially among girls and women. This cultural underpinning drives many to develop eating behavioral problems. The most frequently occurring problem eating behaviors are binge eating, or eating large amounts of food in a short period of time and feeling out of control...

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