The *American Journal of Preventive Medicine* issued the following news
release about a study to appear in the November issue:
Traumatic Childhood Might Take Years Off Adult Life
Many U.S. children face a terrible burden of stressors that can harm the
development of their brains and nervous systems.
These stressors can lead to health problems and diseases throughout
their lives, ultimately causing some to die prematurely, according to
the lead author of a new study.
David W. Brown., D.Sc., an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC), and colleagues found that children who
were exposed to six or more “adverse childhood experiences” or ACEs were
at double the risk of premature death compared to children who had not
suffered these experiences.
On average, the children at highest risk eventually died at age 60,
compared to low-risk children who lived to age 79.
The study appears in the November issue of the American Journal of
Preventive Medicine.

The *Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health* issued the following
news release:

People with parents who fight are more likely to have mental health
problems in later life

Exposure to interparental violence and psychosocial maladjustment in the
adult life course: Advocacy for early prevention

People with parents who were violent to each other are more likely to
have mental health problems when they grow up, reveals research
published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Researchers looked at what impact interparental violence had on people
as children by observing their mental health outcomes in adulthood.

A child being exposed to interparental violence is a form of
maltreatment with consequences for a child’s development, but in some
countries it is only seen as a risk factor for later problems with no
specific outcomes.

The authors studied 3,023 adults in the Paris metropolitan area in 2005
by carrying out at-home face to face interviews.

People who agreed to take part were found from a population based cohort
study in Paris held by the National Institute of Health and Medical Research.

The researchers measured current depression and lifetime suicide
attempts, intimate partner violence, violence against children and
alcohol dependence.

They also asked people about childhood adversities such as parental
separation, divorce, parental death or imprisonment, alcoholism and
physical and/or sexual abuse, as well as asking about social level
stressors including poor parental health, housing problems, prolonged
parental unemployment, and financial troubles.

Among the group of people interviewed, 16% said they had witnessed
interparental violence before the age of 18 and this was far more common
in certain situations. For example, it was up to eight times more likely
in cases where parents had been alcoholics.

Other factors were also relevant and witnessing violence was more common
in families with financial problems, serious parental diseases, housing
problems or unemployment.

After adjusting for family and social level stressors, the researchers
found that people who were exposed to interparental violence had a 1.4
times higher risk of having depression, were more than three times more
likely to be involved in conjugal violence, were almost five times more
likely to mistreat their own child and 1.75 times more likely to have a
dependence on alcohol.

The authors concluded: “Intensification of prevention of and screening
for domestic violence including interparental violence is a public
health issue for the well-being of future generations.”

Courtesy of Ken Pope

The Society for Research in Child Development issued the following news
release:

Why are some young victims of domestic violence resilient?

More than 10 million U.S. children witness domestic violence yearly,
resulting in a range of emotional and behavioral problems.

A new study suggests that the reason some of these children are
resilient is because of their easy temperaments and because they have
mentally healthy moms.

The longitudinal study, conducted by researchers at Michigan State
University, is published in the March/April 2009 issue of the journal
Child Development.

The researchers looked at more than 100 American children who had
witnessed violent acts against their mothers when the children were 2,
3, and 4 years old. They also looked at more than 70 children who hadn’t
witnessed violence against their mothers.

Children exposed to violence were almost four times more likely than
others to develop emotional or behavioral problems.

(more…)

The University of Washington issued a news release about
research to be presented later this week at the annual meeting of the
American Association of Suicidology.  Some excerpts:

Adolescents and young adults typically consider peer relationships to be
all important. However, it appears that strong family support, not peer support, is
protective in reducing future suicidal behavior among young adults when
they have experienced depression or have attempted suicide.

New research that will be presented here April 17 at the annual meeting
of the American Association of Suicidology shows that high school
depression and a previous suicide attempt were significant predictors of
thinking about suicide one or two years later. But, those individuals
who had high levels of depression or had attempted suicide in high
school were less likely to engage in suicidal thinking if they had
strong family support and bonds.

In addition, having a current romantic partner also reduced suicidal thoughts.

By bonding, the researchers are referring to a person’s closeness with
his or her family, or a partner, enjoying spending time with them, and
the ability to talk with them about important issues.

“Our findings suggest that the protective quality of family support and
bonding, or having an intimate partner, are not replaced by peer support
and bonding in emerging adulthood. “

The American Physiological Society issued the following news release:

Laughter remains good medicine

New study reports on the mind-emotion-disease model

The connection between the body, mind and spirit has been the subject of conventional scientific inquiry for some 20 years. The notion that psychosocial and societal considerations have a role in maintaining health and preventing disease became crystallized as a result of the experiences of a layman, Norman Cousins. In the 1970s, Cousins, then a writer and magazine editor of the popular Saturday Review, was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. He theorized that if stress could worsen his condition, as some evidence suggested at the time, then positive emotions could improve his health. As a result, he prescribed himself, with the approval of his doctor, a regimen of humorous videos and shows like Candid Camera(c). Ultimately, the disease went into remission and Cousins wrote a paper that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and a book about his experience, Anatomy of an Illness: A Patient’s Perspective, which was published in 1979. The book became a best seller and led to the investigation of a new field, known then as whole-person care or integrative medicine and now, lifestyle medicine.

Points from the news release:

  • Beta-endorphins elevate mood state
  • Human growth hormone (HGH) helps with optimizing immunity
  • Cortisol and epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) are detrimental stress hormones that negatively affect immunity if chronically released.
  • A group of 10 diabetics with hypertensoin and high cholesterol were assigned regularly to watch funny videos for 30 minutes. Over 12 months, their blood chemistry was compared to 10 matching people who were not made to laugh.
  • Adding laughter standard diabetes care may lower stress and inflammatory response and increase “good” cholesterol levels. The authors conclude that mirthful laughter may thus lower the risk of cardiovascular disease associated with diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome.

In describing himself as a “hardcore medical clinician and scientist,” Dr. Berk says, “the best clinicians understand that there is an intrinsic physiological intervention brought about by positive emotions such as mirthful laughter, optimism and hope.

More details follow:

(more…)

BBC News released an article: “Promotion ‘bad for mental health.'”

Here are some excerpts:

[begin excerpts]

Getting promoted at work may be bad for a person’s mental health, a
study suggests.

Warwick University researchers quizzed 1,000 workers who had been
promoted into supervisory or management roles in the past five years.

They were asked about about their health, mental well-being and use of
health services.

The study found that after promotion the quality of an individual’s
mental health deteriorated by 10% on average.

Experts said being given extra responsibility could lead to more stress,
anxiety and depression.

They said the problems could be exacerbated by workers who were promoted
having less time to access health services.

GP visits fell by 20% to less than two a year after promotion, the study
found.

It has long been assumed that a person’s job status directly results in
better health.

<snip>

Lead researcher Chris Boyce said: “Getting promoted at work is not as
great as people think.

“Our research finds that the mental health of managers typically
deteriorates after a job promotion and in a way that goes beyond merely
a short-term change.

“People given senior positions need to be given the proper support and
training to handle the extra responsibility.”

The research will be presented at the Royal Economic Society’s
conference later this month.

[end excerpts]

The article is online at:
<http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7998675.stm&gt;

Courtesy of Ken Pope.

Today’s new issue of *Journal of the American Medical Association* (Vol.
301 No. 13, April 1, 2009) includes an article: “Abuse and the Brain” by
Joan Stephenson, PhD.

Here’s how the article begins:

[begin excerpt]

Early childhood abuse might exert lifelong effects by altering a
person’s DNA and reducing levels of glucocorticoid receptors in the
brain, which are important for responding to stress, Canadian scientists
have found (McGowan PO et al. Nat Neurosci. 2009;12[3]:342-348).

The investigators examined brain tissue from 24 men who had committed
suicide, half of whom had a history of childhood abuse, and from 12 men
who had not been abused and died suddenly from other causes.

Men with a history of abuse had lower levels of glucocorticoid receptors
than did men who had not been abused or had not committed suicide.

In addition, in those who had been abused, a snippet of “promoter” DNA
that normally facilitates the production of glucocorticoid receptors had
been silenced by the attachment of a methyl group.

The researchers noted the work confirms their previous findings…

[end excerpt]

The article is online — but requires a subscription — at:
<http://tinyurl.com/comoql&gt;.

Courtesy of Ken Pope