Dance, boys and girls, dance!

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Dance therapy can be a successful method for reaching children and adolescents with problems. This has been shown in a research project at Karlstad University and the University College of Dance in Stockholm, Sweden. Hyperactive and unruly boys with ADHD became calmer and played better with playmates. Depressed and self-destructive teenage girls were better at setting limits, and their depression was alleviated. For some groups in child and youth psychiatry it is difficult to find effective or sufficient treatment. These include boys with ADHD and depressed, self-destructive adolescent girls. A research project in the province of Värmland, Sweden, shows that dance therapy is a form of treatment that can work when other more traditional treatments fail or are insufficient.

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Der neurologische Grund für die Siesta

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The Spaniards may have been right all along – a siesta after a hearty lunch is natural, new research suggests. Sientists at The University of Manchester have for the first time uncovered how brain cells or ‘neurons’ that keep us alert become turned off after we eat. The findings – published in the scientific journal Neuron this week – have implications for treating obesity and eating disorders as well as understanding levels of consciousness. “It has been known for a while that people and animals can become sleepy and less active after a meal, but brain signals responsible for this were poorly understood,” said Dr Denis Burdakov, the lead researcher based in Manchester’s Faculty of Life Sciences.

Siesta für alle!

Wie Kinder Witze erzählen

UmschlagAus den Verlagsinformationen: Diese Arbeit befasst sich theoretisch und empirisch mit dem Zusammenhang von Spracherwerb und Humorentwicklung. Was ist ein Witz? Wie funktionieren Witze sprachlich und psychologisch? Wie verändert sich der verbale Humor zwischen dem Vorschulalter und dem Ende der Primarschule? Welche Rolle spielt dabei der Erwerb narrativer Fähigkeiten? Wodurch unterscheidet sich kindlicher Humor von erwachsenem Humor? Diese und weitere Fragen werden anhand einer Querschnittstudie diskutiert, die vier Altersstufen zwischen Kindergarten und sechster Klasse umfasst. Wie das Datenmaterial zeigt, weisen Kinderwitze eine Reihe charakteristischer Eigenschaften auf, die aus linguistischer und entwicklungspsychologischer Perspektive von grossem Interesse sind. Im Mittelpunkt der empirischen Analyse steht die Frage, in welchem Alter Kinder die verschiedenen narrativen Fähigkeiten erwerben, die es ihnen erlauben, Witze nicht nur folgerichtig, sondern auch effektvoll zu erzählen. Die Studie illustriert, wie anhand der Entwicklung des verbalen Humors sprachlich-kognitive Entwicklungsprozesse verfolgt werden können, die in anderen Kontexten der kindlichen Sprachproduktion nicht in gleicher Weise beobachtbar sind.

Der Autor: Stefan Hauser, geboren 1970 in Zürich, Studium der Germanistik, Anglistik und Pädagogischen Psychologie an der Universität Zürich; von 1999 bis 2004 Assistent und Lehrbeauftragter am Deutschen Seminar der Universität Zürich; von 2003 bis 2004 Dozent an der Schule für angewandte Linguistik (SAL) in Zürich; Promotion 2004 mit dieser Arbeit; seit 2004 Forschungsaufenthalte in Sydney und London.

Omega-3-Fettsäuren: positive Wirkung unklar

Eine Literaturstudie, publiziert im aktuellen BMJ, kommt zum Schluss, dass die gesundheitsfördernde Wirkung von Omega-3-Fettsäuren sich nicht hart belegen lässt. Das dazugehörende Communiqué meint:

A study published online by the BMJ today doesn't find evidence of a clear benefit of omega 3 fats on health. These findings do not rule out an important effect of omega 3 fats, but suggest that the evidence should be reviewed regularly, say the researchers. Consumption of long chain omega 3 fatty acids, found in oily fish and fish oils, and a shorter chain omega 3, found in some plant oils, is thought to protect against heart disease. UK guidelines encourage the general public to eat more oily fish, and higher amounts are advised after a heart attack. Researchers analysed 89 studies (48 randomised controlled trials and 41 cohort studies) to assess the health effects of long and short chain omega 3 fats on total mortality, cardiovascular events, cancer, and strokes. (…) Pooling the results showed no strong evidence that omega 3 fats have an effect on total mortality or combined cardiovascular events. The few studies at low risk of bias were more consistent, but they also showed no effect of omega 3 on total mortality or cardiovascular events. (…) They therefore conclude that it is not clear whether long chain or short chain omega 3 fats (together or separately) reduce or increase total mortality, cardiovascular events, cancer, or strokes.

Zusammenhang von Geburtsgewicht und Kindsmisshandlung

Eine im aktuellen Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health publizierte Studie untersucht den Zusammenhang zwischen niedrigem Geburtsgewicht und vorzeitiger Geburt einerseits und Kindsmisshandlung und -vernachlässigung andererseits. Ihr Datenmaterial besteht aus den Informationen über 119’771 Kinder, die zwischen Januar 1993 und Dezember 2001 in West Sussex zur Welt gekommen sind. Die Autoren kommen zum Schluss, dass ein linearer Zusammenhang besteht zwischen den Variabeln. Je früher und mit je weniger Gewicht ein Kind zur Welt kommt, desto höher ist sein Risiko, später von Kindsmisshandlung und -vernachlässigung betroffen zu werden. Ueber die Gründe, können die Autoren nur spekulieren:

There are a number of possible explanations for the associations reported here. Preterm infants or those with poor fetal growth may have characteristics that make them more vulnerable to all forms of abuse. It is possible that such infants may be more likely to provoke hostile parental feelings leading to increased risk of abuse. Early separation, more commonly experienced by preterm and small for gestational age infants, may interfere with parent-infant bonding, although this is unlikely to be an important factor except at the extremes. Alternatively, preterm birth and poor fetal growth may share a common pathway with abuse, for example, through maternal characteristics that predict increased risk of both poor pregnancy outcomes and child abuse. It is also possible that an unidentified confounding variable explains the apparent association. The design of this study does not permit definitive comment on these explanations. However, this study does suggest that any explanation must be consistent with the findings that all main categories of abuse broadly show the same association with both fetal growth and preterm birth and the association is not confined to infants born very early or very small but shows a trend across the range of fetal growth and gestational duration.

Das integrale Paper.

Kiffen hilft vergessen, …

… wenn man’s positiv sehen will. Diese Meldung macht heute die Runde:

Memory, speed of thinking and other cognitive abilities get worse over time with marijuana use, according to a new study published in the March 14, 2006, issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
The study found that frequent marijuana users performed worse than non-users on tests of cognitive abilities, including divided attention (ability to pay attention to more than one stimulus at a time) and verbal fluency (number of words generated within a time limit). Those who had used marijuana for 10 years or more had more problems with their thinking abilities than those who had used marijuana for five to 10 years. All of the marijuana users were heavy users, which was defined as smoking four or more joints per week.
„We found that the longer people used marijuana, the more deterioration they had in these cognitive abilities, especially in the ability to learn and remember new information,“ said study author Lambros Messinis, PhD, of the Department of Neurology of the University Hospital of Patras in Patras, Greece. „In several areas, their abilities were significant enough to be considered impaired, with more impairment in the longer-term users than the shorter-term users.“ (…) In a test where participants needed to remember a list of words that had been read to them earlier, the non-users remembered an average of 12 out of 15 words, the shorter-term users remembered an average of nine words and the long-term users remembered an average of seven words.

Methodenkritik: Viel zu viel psychisch Kranke

Die US-Professoren Allan V. Horwitz (Soziologie) und Jerome Wakefield (Sozialarbeit) vertreten in einem soeben erschienen Fachartikel die Ansicht, dass die in letzter Zeit publizierten enorm hohen Zahlen von Menschen mit unbehandelten Depressionen massiv zu hoch seien. Diese Ziffern seien ein Produkt der gewählten Methodologie, die quasi zwingend zu überhöhten Zahlen führen müsse.

The High Percentages of Depression Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

The Methodology of Community Surveys Leads to an Overestimate of Mental Illness

Washington, DC—According to widely reported community-based research, almost half the U.S. population suffers from depression. But research by two sociologists indicates that percentage is greatly exaggerated or is a misrepresentation. The extraordinarily high rates of untreated mental illness reported by community studies are false, say Allan V. Horwitz, a sociology professor in the Institute of Health at Rutgers University, and Jerome Wakefield, a professor in the School of Social Work at New York University. Community studies rely on standard, closed-format questions about symptoms with no context provided to differentiate between reactions to normal life stress (i.e., a death, a romantic break up, work or school stress) and pathological conditions that indicate clinical mental illness.

Hier der Link zum Originalartikel in der Fachzeitschrift „Contexts“ im .pdf-Format (Alternativlink, falls ersterer nichts liefert). Im Weltgesundheitsbericht der WHO von 2001 steht:

Mental and behavioural disorders are estimated to account for 12% of the global burden of disease

Im Weltgesundheitsbericht von 2002 sind bei den developed countries „neuropsychiatric disorders“ (Das sind: Unipolar depressive disorders, Bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia, Epilepsy, Alcohol use disorders, Alzheimer and other dementias, Parkinson disease, Multiple sclerosis, Drug use disorders, Post-traumatic stress disorder, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, Panic disorder, Insomnia [primary], Migraine, Mental retardation [lead-caused], Other neuropsychiatric disorders) laut Grafik 4.8 für gut 20% der DALYs (ungefähr: durch Tod und Krankheit verlorene Lebensjahre) verantwortlich. Die 450 Millionen, die laut WHO an „mental or behavioural disorder“s leiden, sind 7% der Weltbevölkerung. Horwitz und Wakefield reden in ihrem Artikel eine sehr klare Sprache:

According to large, community-based research studies that the media report with great fanfare, alarming numbers of Americans suffer from mental disorders. The most frequently cited study, the National Comorbidity Survey, claims that half the population suffers from a mental illness at some point. Moreover, these same studies show that few people diagnosed as mentally ill seek professional treatment. Policy discussions, scientific studies, media reports, advocacy documents, and pharmaceutical advertisements routinely cite such figures to show that mental disorder is a public health problem of vast proportions, that few sufferers receive appropriate professional treatment, that untreated disorders incur huge economic costs, and that more people need to take medication or seek psychotherapy to overcome their suffering. Awareness of large numbers of untreated, mentally ill people in the community has reshaped mental health policy, justifying efforts to address this “unmet need for treatment”—for example, by training general practitioners or public school personnel to screen for and treat mental disorders. Despite their rhetorical value, the high rates are a fiction; the studies establish no such thing.

kurioses abstruses geniales normales