Mom’s Satisfaction Key for Kids with Autism, and Other News

Mother and son laying together in a hammockMothers of children with autism are usually primary caregivers and care coordinators, often giving up outside interests and even careers to tend to their children’s needs. A new study of mothers of autistic children suggests a mother’s positive attitude toward involvement in daily activities may benefit her child.

A team from Tel Aviv University compared 30 mothers of children with autism to 30 mothers of neurotypical children ages 4-6. The mothers completed questionnaires about their children’s participation in daily life, as well as their own participation. They also answered questions about their sense of efficacy as parents. High maternal participation in life and sense of self-efficacy were better predictors of high child participation in daily activities than autism severity. Autism severity accounted for just 20% of the difference between children, but maternal activities and confidence explained 30% of the variation.

The study’s authors say their research highlights the importance of self-care. Mothers may feel guilty when they engage in hobbies or take time away from their children, but these activities promote both child and maternal well-being.

Combination Drug Targeting Opioid System May Help Relieve Treatment-Resistant Depression

An experimental drug known as ALKS-5461 may improve symptoms of treatment-resistant depression when combined with traditional antidepressant therapy. Most traditional antidepressants target serotonin, but the new drug targets the endogenous opioid system, which helps to suppress pain.

‘Stroke Camp’ Seems to Help Caregivers Cope

A day camp for stroke survivors and their caregivers may reduce distress and provide support to caregivers. Caregivers often report financial stress, loss of time and personal freedom, and less flexibility with plans. Seventy-nine percent of caregivers reported feeling less alone after the camp, 77% said they felt “recharged,” and 58% reported learning new things.

Leaked Report Reveals Scale of Crisis in England’s Mental Health System

A leaked report from a British mental health task force points to a crisis in the nation’s mental health system, just as the prime minister is championing his work on mental health. Suicide has increased, following years of decline, with more than 4,400 people dying each year. Ten percent of children who seek mental health care in some regions of the country have their appointments canceled due to staff shortages, and average wait times for an appointment have increased from 15 to 21 weeks. Just 15% of regions in the country offer appropriate postnatal mental health services to women, and 40% offer no services at all.

Transgender Patients Face Challenges at the Hospital

Even when they receive competent support for their gender transition, transgender people may face barriers to medical care when they are injured. When Beck Bailey injured his knee in a skiing accident, his doctor at the hospital told him to cease testosterone treatment, despite the potential side effects. His primary care provider ultimately intervened, telling him to continue treatment. Karl Surkan carries the BRCA1 gene, which increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. When he was diagnosed with breast cancer, his oncologist did not have enough information to determine whether testosterone was safe to continue.

A Cluttered Kitchen Can Nudge Us to Overeat, Study Finds

According to a study of 100 people, the way rooms are organized can change eating habits. Researchers brought 100 people into a cluttered or tidy kitchen, then instructed them to write either about a time they felt in control or a time they felt out of control. Those in a cluttered kitchen who wrote about a time they felt out of control were subsequently more likely to overeat. This suggests loss of control may contribute to overeating, and clutter may contribute to a sense of lost control.

UC Berkeley Psychologist Tapped to Foster a Kinder Twittersphere

Dacher Keltner, a psychologist at the University of California-Berkeley, has been appointed to Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council because of his emotional intelligence. The council works to reduce trolling and bullying on the site. Keltner previously worked with Facebook to select messaging tools and emoticons and offered his knowledge on the science of emotions to the Pixar movie Inside Out.

E-Cigs Shut Down Hundreds of Immune System Genes—Regular Cigs Don’t

According to a comparison of genes swabbed from cigarette smokers, vapers, and those who abstained from both, both smoking and vaping may suppress immune system genes. Researchers found 53 genes that both practices suppressed, but vaping suppressed an additional 305 genes. The study did not explore how altering these genes might affect immune response, but researchers are concerned that vaping may suppress the immune system, leading to more vulnerability to infections and diseases.

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  • Ellie

    February 19th, 2016 at 12:39 PM

    When there is any kind of group or support for those in need I definitely think that this is a good thing to take advantage of. These will be people who know what you are feeling and are experiencing, and who knows? They might have some good advice on how to help you with certain issues, things that you might not have thought about yourself. This might not be in your comfort zone, and that is understandable. But there could be a lot to be learned just by going and listening to how others have fared in the same situation as you are.

  • Melanie

    February 20th, 2016 at 5:30 AM

    I would go out even further on a limb and say that a mother’s satisfaction in the home can be key to general happiness in most homes, with special needs children or not.

  • lois

    February 20th, 2016 at 11:18 AM

    going to the kitchen right now to clean up!

  • Faith

    February 22nd, 2016 at 10:46 AM

    Twitter is just an online world where people think that just because they follow you they can say whatever they want and there are no ramifications. That is why I recently closed my account and do not intend to go back

  • Jess

    February 22nd, 2016 at 3:41 PM

    Vapes suppress the immune system and regular cigs give you lung cancer.
    \Not sure which would be worse?
    Neither sound like a very good alternative to giving up the habit altogether.

  • Langdon

    February 23rd, 2016 at 10:31 AM

    Transgender patients it seems are at a disadvantage in many parts of the medical world, and they are being forced to become more outspoken advocates for themselves.

    I do not think that it is right that they or anyone else for that mater should have to feel like they are always the ones doing the educating and that there should be more medical professionals stepping up and doing this.

    This is now the reality of society and not something that is going to magically go away. Those of us in medicine need to know even more about the patients we are treating and providing care to.

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