Science Updates

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Click on article title to link to National Library of Medicine.

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Intersections of Adverse Childhood Experiences, Race, Ethnicity and Asthma Outcomes   FREE FULL TEXT article

Research by Hall et al (2020) from University of Colorado Family Medicine & Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health (CAIANH) – shows increased burden of ASTHMA for Black Americans and American Indian and Alaska Natives is related to EARLY CHILDHOOD ADVERSITY (ACEs). Asthma is from narrowing of airways by inflammation – related to stress.

Research shows how Service Dogs help PTSD

Defining the PTSD Service Dog Intervention.  Rodriguez et al (2020) from Purdue Univ provide detailed review of how Service Dogs help persons with PTSD improve emotional regulation.  A complement to psychotherapy, Service Dogs are trained to notice and interrupt anxiety in addition to usual benefits of a pet – providing companionship and non-judgmental affection.  Persons with PTSD who have a Service Dog report increased calm, decreased anxiety leaving the house, and increased ability to have a daily routine of activities – improving Brain-Body regulation.


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Family Resilience Promotes Child Flourishing.   FREE FULL TEXT article

Analysis by Goldstein et al (Univ Wisc Family Med) of national survey of parents of 44,686 children reinforces that children suffer from cumulative adversity across race/ethnicity and income levels.  Family resilience (talking about problems, awareness of strengths, hope amidst difficulty) decreases impact of childhood adversity (ACE), especially for Black children.  Preventing ACEs and enhancing protective factors must inform our public health response.  #aces #resilience


180% jump in US Children prescribed 2+ antipsychotics & other psychotropics – despite limited evidence of drug efficacy & safety.
Over 220,000 US youth age 0-18 including 3800 children<age 4 received 2+ psych meds.
Most common combination = Antipsychotic + Stimulant + Alpha-Agonist

Research – Maryland School Pharmacy.  JAMA Pediatrics Nov 2020
Zhang et al.  Characteristics of Youths Treated with Psychotropic Polypharmacy in the United Stated, 1999 to 2015. 

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Cook County Public Health Leaders call for a look at the roots of health disparities, especially under COVID.  Crain’s Chicago Business.

Doctors describe how low wages and lack of paid sick leave put essential workers at high risk.  Essential workers are more likely to be African-American and Latinx – populations already disproportionately affected by heart and lung disease, diabetes and cancer.  [39]


To have and to hold: Effects of Physical Contact on Infants and their Caregivers

In Western societies, infants are in body contact with caregivers about 18% of the day – as compared to 79-99% of the day in many non-Western societies.  Physical contact with others is vital to infant development.  Infant-Caregiver touch not only improves infant emotional and physical regulation but improves mood for caregivers.

FREE FULL TEXT article provides extensive list of new research


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Longitudinal Study of the impact of Exposure of Children to Violence to Development of Brain Networks

Goetschius, et al. Association of Childhood Violence Exposure with Adolescent Neural Network Density.  JAMA Network Open.  September 2020.  FREE FULL TEXT ARTICLE.

Longitudinal study of 173 children (followed from birth to age 17) in Detroit, Toledo and Chicago.    Showed that adolescents with high violence exposure were 3 times more likely to have decreased connections within key brain networks.  Loss or failure to form connections within brain networks puts us at lifelong risk for medical and emotional problems via altered BRAIN-BODY CONNECTIONS.

Study from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (U Michigan, Princeton, Columbia).

Click here THEN Neurobiology Glossary for brief introduction to BRAIN NETWORKS

Stepanikova et al, Gender discrimination and depressive symptoms among child-bearing women  EClinical Medicine 2020 

Study of 4,688 Czech women from mid-pregnancy to 11 years after delivery showed that women who perceived GENDER DISCRIMINATION were more likely to experience depressive symptoms.  Also linked to depression:  poverty, neglect in their own childhood, and sexual abuse.  PROTECTIVE FACTORS: social support and help from partner with household tasks.

Study by Univ Alabama-Sociology, Stanford Pediatrics, and Masaryk Univ-Czech Republic