Boy Scouts Begin Welcoming Transgender Boys, and Other News

boy scout holding a compassThe Boy Scouts of America will begin admitting boys based on gender identity, not sex assigned at birth. This opens participation to transgender boys. The organization previously relied on a child’s birth certificate, excluding transgender children. That original policy was in place for more than 100 years.

Last year, a New Jersey boy was expelled from the Cub Scouts. According to the boy’s family, the expulsion was because the boy is transgender. As part of the policy shift, the scouting organization invited the boy to rejoin.

The Boy Scouts have fought claims of discrimination against non-heterosexual children for years. They ended a policy against gay children in 2013 and another policy against gay adult leaders in 2015. Several other youth organizations, including the Girl Scouts, accept transgender children.

House Votes to Overturn Obama Gun Rule

This week, the United States House of Representatives overturned regulations from the former presidential administration that could have prevented people with mental health conditions from purchasing a gun. The vote was 235-180, and the Senate will also need a majority vote before the measure is sent to President Donald Trump to sign.

Autism May Begin Early in Brain Development

People with autism may have too many connections in the brain. According to an animal study published in the journal Cell Reports, this excess of neural connections may begin early in brain development, long before symptoms become apparent. The findings from this study could contribute to earlier interventions and a better understanding of autism in humans.

Early Signs of Depression and Anxiety Revealed by fMRI of Babies’ Brains

Early signs of depression and anxiety may appear in children’s brains by age 2, according to a new study. This suggests brain patterns associated with these conditions may be present well before symptoms appear. The authors of the study plan to follow up with study participants to see how their brains continue to develop over time.

Sitting Up Straight May Treat Depression Symptoms, Boost Happiness

Research suggests maintaining good posture during the day may improve mental health. This study’s authors found an upright posture reduced fatigue, increased positive affect and overall happiness, and helped people with moderate depression to avoid focusing on themselves and their condition too much. Previous research links sitting up straight to many health benefits, including a reduction in pain.

Social Biases Contribute to Challenges for Those with Autism

People with autism, who often have trouble in social interactions, are likely to face additional barriers due to social biases. A study published in the journal Scientific Reports suggests people often have negative first impressions of people with autism. This can reduce the quality of social interactions people with autism experience.

Easier to Let Go—Can Depression Help People Deal with Life?

Ambition can be an incentive to keep trying. It can also lead to disappointment. People with depression may not experience as much ambition-related disappointment, according to a study published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry. The study suggests people with depression are better able to disengage from unrealistic goals. This can help them probe more realistic options, potentially improving quality of life.

Online Scrutiny is Stressful for Doctors

Patients frequently rely on online review and rating tools to find medical providers and to share their experiences with current providers. According to research published in the Journal of Genera Internal Medicine, these tools increase providers’ stress levels. Fifty-three percent of doctors said they had read online reviews about themselves, and 39% of patients said they used the internet to find reviews on health care providers.

What a Child’s Humour Reveals About Their Psychological Well-Being

Previous research suggests an adult’s style of humor reveals information about their mental health. New research suggests humor also reveals information about children’s well-being. Children who use self-defeating humor, for example, were more likely to experience loneliness in addition to symptoms of depression.

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  • Marla

    February 3rd, 2017 at 10:22 AM

    I am sort of torn on this one because I guess that there really are some transgender children who know from a very young age that this is really who they are. I do tend to struggle though with these very adult decisions being made by children. I know that it must be an incredibly difficult thing for many families to come to terms with and understand and I pray that they all have the guidance and the wisdom to navigate that through this often judgmental and unsafe world. I think that the Boy Scouts are probably doing a wonderful thing by learning to be more inclusive and hopefully the rest of us can eventually get to that point as well.

  • perry

    February 7th, 2017 at 5:03 PM

    So if we do find that autism begins in early brain development as this hints at, then surely the anti vaxxers will see that it is not the vaccines that are causing this?

  • Eliza

    February 8th, 2017 at 11:56 AM

    I do wish that there was a way to control our prejudices and biases but some people are going to be very frightened of autism especially if they have not ever been exposed to it and they don’t know anything about it. You wish that you could control these initial feelings but since you don’t have anything else to go by that can be a tough one. And unfortunately the first meeting might go so poorly that you might not ever have the chance for a do over.

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