Monday, September 9th, 2013
Children who have diagnosed behavioral problems or who experience “adverse events” in their lives before age 8 may be more likely to develop physical inflammation later in adolescence and adulthood, putting them at greater risk for inflammation-related disorders including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. More from ScienceDaily.com on the findings of a new study, which was published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology:
[Children with behavioral problems or who had suffered "adversities" by age 8] had higher levels of two proteins (C-reactive protein — CRP; and Interleukin 6 — IL-6) in their blood when tested at the age of 10. This was the case even after a large number of other factors, including sex, race, background, and medication use, were taken into account.
Having raised levels of CRP and IL-6 can be an early warning sign that a person may be at risk of chronic or inflammatory conditions later in life.
Previous research has shown that children with behavioral problems can go on to develop health problems during adulthood, but this is the first time that a link has been found between mental health and inflammation in childhood.
The researchers believe the link may be due to the fact that many behavioral problems are associated with how the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis works. The HPA axis plays a major role in controlling reactions to stress and the immune system and, if it malfunctions, it can stimulate the release of the two proteins that cause chronically elevated levels of inflammation, which is tissue’s response to injury.
Speaking about the findings, Karestan Koenen, PhD, the report’s senior author and associate professor of Epidemiology, said: “This new research shows for the first time that having behavioral problems in childhood can put children on the path to ill health much earlier than we previously realized. The important message for healthcare professionals is that they need to monitor the physical health as well as the mental health of children with behavioral problems in order to identify those at risk as early as possible.”
Image: Sad child, via Shutterstock
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Monday, November 7th, 2011
A study that will be published in the December issue of the journal Pediatrics shows that children whose fathers show signs of depression are 70 percent more likely to develop emotional or behavioral problems themselves.
The new research builds on earlier findings that show correlation between maternal depression and child depression. This is the first major study that examines paternal depression and its effect on children.
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“For years we’ve been studying maternal depression and how it affects children, but the medical community has done a huge disservice by ignoring fathers in this research,” said the study’s lead author, Michael Weitzman, a professor of pediatric medicine at New York University, in New York. “These findings reinforce what we already assumed — that fathers matter, too, and they matter quite a lot.”
The situation is predictably worse if both parents are depressed. Just 6% of children with two mentally healthy parents have serious emotional or behavioral problems, such as feeling sad or nervous, acting out at school, or clashing with family and peers, the study found. But that proportion increases to 11% if the father is depressed, 19% if the mother is depressed and 25% if both parents are depressed — a strikingly high number, Weitzman says.
Although the study doesn’t prove that a parent’s depression directly causes problems in children, rather than vice versa, previous research on mothers and children has clearly shown that it’s generally mothers who influence kids’ mental health, not the other way around.
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
A new study has found that mothers in their 40s are more likely to be depressed if they believe in the “supermom” myth, the notion that women can maintain stellar careers and perfect homes and children all at the same time.. The findings didn’t suggest that working moms are more depressed in general–only that those moms who believe they have to do everything themselves, and do it perfectly, are at greater risk. The Boston Globe reports that women who ease their standards are more likely to report being happy:
It’s all about perception, rather than the amount of juggling a woman does, according to new research presented Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Las Vegas. If she expects to drop a few balls from time to time, she’s less likely to develop depression by the time she’s 40.
“Women are sold a story that they can do it all, but most workplaces are still designed for employees without child-care responsibilities,” said Katrina Leupp, a University of Washington sociology graduate student who conducted the study in a statement. And it’s not like babies born to working moms have any fewer demands than those born to stay-at-home moms.
That means something has to give. “You can happily combine child rearing and a career, if you’re willing to let some things slide,” Leupp said.
(image via: http://theteachick.com)
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Tuesday, July 5th, 2011
Toddlers who start using words later than their peers are not likely to suffer lasting consequences from their delay, a study published online in the journal Pediatrics has found.
When they are 2 years old, children who are behind on vocabulary and other measurable language development milestones do tend to display more behavioral problems than their more verbal peers. But over time–the children in the study were followed until they reached age 17–those issues disappeared, and the kids showed no increased behavioral or emotional delays or problems as long as other development was normal.
The study’s authors attribute the early behavioral issues to the children feeling frustrated at their inability to express themselves and be understood. “When the late-talking children catch up to normal language milestones, which the majority of children do, the behavioral and emotional problems are no longer apparent,” the paper’s lead author, Andrew J. O. Whitehouse of the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth, Australia told The New York Times.
(image via: http://www.whattoexpect.com/)
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