Gene for Severe Form of Epilepsy Discovered, and Other News

Feet of mother and baby walkingEpilepsy comprises more than just one neurological abnormality. Instead, this group of seizure-causing neurological disorders has a number of causes that can be genetic, environmental, or a combination of both. One of the most severe forms of epilepsy, progressive myoclonus epilepsy (PME) tends to appear in childhood and causes debilitating twitches and seizures, and can also cause cognitive decline. Recently, an international team of scientists uncovered a gene that may cause the condition.

Researchers recruited 84 participants who had PME. Using gene sequencing techniques, they were able to find a genetic cause in 26 patients—31% of the entire group. In addition, a previously undiscovered mutation in a potassium ion channel gene known as KCNC1 played a role in 13% of PME cases. This mutation isn’t inherited; rather, it’s the product of errors in DNA copying. The potassium ion channel the mutation affects plays a major role in the transmission of brain signals. Researchers believe that the gene may reduce inhibitory brain signals, rendering patients more vulnerable to seizures and similar neurological problems. The findings were published earlier this week, just in time for epilepsy awareness month.

BabyCenter Reveals Findings of New Postpartum Depression Study

According to a new survey by BabyCenter, one of the most popular websites for parenting advice and support, 20% of new moms experience postpartum depression, but 40% percent of these women don’t seek help. Among women who don’t seek help, the most common reasons were thinking their symptoms weren’t sufficiently serious (25%), embarrassment (24%), and guilt (23%).

Television Programs Praised Over Portrayal of Mental Health in Storylines

People with mental health issues have historically been portrayed as one-dimensional and lampooned as “crazy” in many television shows. But the complex portrayal of mental health issues in Coronation Street and Homeland is earning the two shows much praise.

Hip-Hop Could Help With Depression and Mental Illness, Says Cambridge University

In an article published in The Lancet Psychiatry, Cambridge University psychiatrists recently argued that hip-hop could offer help for people struggling with mental health difficulties. The psychiatrists point to hip-hop lyrics that emphasize overcoming adversity, emphasizing that some hip-hop lyrics neatly outline the symptoms of common mental health issues.

The Dutch Village Where Everyone Has Dementia

An experimental Dutch village embraces residents with dementia. The 152 resident of Hogeway receive care in small residential groups, and have significant freedom to explore the town. Residents need fewer medications than other similarly situated dementia patients. They also live longer, eat better, and are happier.

Revealed: How Pressures of Online Life Undermine Teenage Girls’ Self-Esteem

A survey of 30,000 teenage girls has found that girls’ self-esteem has precipitously dropped since the economic downturn that began in 2007. Previous trends in girls’ self-esteem showed that confidence was increasing, so the numbers come as a surprise. The survey shows a peak in self-esteem among 10-year-olds, with an increasing number of girls in this age group reporting high self-esteem. Among 14- and 15-year-olds, though, the numbers are worse. Researchers believe the change may be due to increased Internet usage. About a third of study participants reported fears of cyberbullying, and two-thirds want to lose weight.

Many Teens Suffer ‘Cyber’ Dating Abuse, Study Suggests

A survey of over 1,000 teens ranging in age from 14 to 19 has found that many teens suffer dating abuse online. Forty-five percent of females and 31% of males reported online romantic abuse in the past 3 months. For 8% of study participants, the abuse included aggressive messages or threats.

Artificial Intelligence That Performs Real Magic Tricks [Video]

The sleight of hand and careful deceptions that good magic demands might seem like something only a highly emotionally attuned human could pull off. But programmers at Queen Mary University of London have revealed a computer program with remarkable magic skills. The system works by evaluating how viewers will perceive the magic trick, then applies these principles to ensure that viewers really feel like they’re experiencing magic.

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  • Jeremiah

    November 21st, 2014 at 10:37 AM

    Does the discovery of this gene lead to any better treatment for those who have epilepsy as a result?

  • Shya

    November 21st, 2014 at 1:23 PM

    What is there to be embarrassed about with being depressed after giving birth? To be honest I am shocked when I hear new moms talking about how much they love having a newborn because I remember how hard it was with all those sleepless nights and I just think that they are either lying to me or lying to themselves when they profess to be in love with being a new mom! There is nothing that they should be ashamed of, we all need help from time to time, and the only thing that is harder than asking for help is waiting until things are out of control before you ask for that help. Postpartum depression is common, and it is easy to work through, but you have to first be willing to admit that you are a little overwhelmed and that you would appreciate having a little bit of help.

  • Sharon

    November 21st, 2014 at 8:40 PM

    As parent of a teenage girl I am worried about how much young girls nowadays are thinking about their weight an other things that are not really a problem. They are often critical of their bodies at a time when their metabolism rates are great and as they will discover a time when they didnt have to really worry about their bodies.

    What could be causing this? I mean media has been around for decades but what is causing this to occur for the past decade or so that so many young girls are depressed about their physical appearance?!

  • Carl

    November 22nd, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    The fact that self esteem is dropping among teen internet users is exactly the reason why my wife and I really try to limit the hours that our kids are on the computer. You think that most of the information that they are accessing is harmless until you read about just how much they are influenced by the things that they see online and it is frightening how detrimental this can be their overall well being. I would like to say that I wish we could go back in time to an era when things were a little more simple and I do but knowing that this is not a real possibility, we just try to saty on top of what our kids are viewing and talk to them often about what goes on at school and how they are feeling about themselves.

  • alec

    November 22nd, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    If I ever found out that some punk kid was bullying mine online or anywhere for that matter, you have not seen fury until you have seen that from a dad who is determined not to let his kid get hurt.

  • Deb

    November 24th, 2014 at 3:51 AM

    I am very interested in the village which houses only those with dementia. They could be on to something there as far as the treatment and management of this goes. Just being surrounded by those who are like you and by caregivers who have so much experience working with this population is probably very encouraging for the friends and families of those who are living there.

  • Russell

    November 24th, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    I can see how SOME hip hop music could have that message about overcoming adversity but I can also see how other forms of that same musical genre could have the opposite effect and lead you to believe that there is not anything else out there but the darkness of streets.
    Moral of the story is to choose your artists wisely.

  • kris

    November 25th, 2014 at 4:01 AM

    i have seen neither Coronation Street nor Homeland but i think now i will be checking both of those out

  • Desiree

    November 30th, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    I try not to get so much information from TV, but it is what it is and we have to understand that there are alot of people for whom this their primary source for news and info. So the fact that there are now resources like these television shows that are offering real and informative story lines centering around mental health issues is very encouraging.

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