Official calls for federal ban on employer discrimination

28 February 2014
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As politicians around the nation react to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto of a bill that would allow discrimination against gays and lesbians, the Obama administration has renewed calls for Congress to pass a federal ban on discrimination against gay Americans. Arizona’s discrimination bill proved controversial. It drew opposotion from Mitt Romney and the National Football League, among many others. But today there is actually no federal law protecting gay Americans from more severe discrimination – including termination from jobs over their sexual orientation. On Thursday, Labor Secretary...

Differences in a single gene may influence recovery from traumatic brain injury

28 February 2014
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After an individual suffers from a traumatic brain injury (TBI), such as a stroke or concussion, the subsequent treatment can be highly variable depending on the severity of the patient’s symptoms. Now, new research has revealed that differences in a single gene may predict how well a person recovers from a TBI, compared to others with similar injuries. In a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers focused on the role of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene and how it related to the post-TBI recovery process. “It’s a basic growth factor in the brain that supports...

New autism guidelines may reduce diagnoses by nearly one-third

28 February 2014
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New guidelines for defining autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may reduce the number of people being diagnosed with the condition by nearly one-third. According to a new study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, researchers from Columbia University have concluded that the updated guidelines, released by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in 2013, may result in thousands of children with developmental delays no longer qualifying for the social and medical services they need. The guidelines are listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM),...

After parents divorce, do kids need therapy?

28 February 2014
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Answer: At some point, we all need a little psychotherapy. The road of life is peppered with potholes, and when we fall into one of them, we need some help — and sometimes a lot of help — to get out of the mess. Our stumbles may be brought on by something as obvious as a separation, a divorce or a death, but they also can occur if someone in the family develops a serious illness or an addiction; if the main breadwinner loses his job; if the parents bring home a new baby or if the family simply moves across town. (Although a move isn’t supposed to be all that difficult, it can devastate a...

Night eating disorder may signal mental health issues

25 February 2014
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A fairly rare eating disorder whose signature is excessive eating – though not necessarily binging – at night needs further study since it may signal other mental health issues, researchers say. They analyzed eating disorders and mental health history in more than 1,600 university students and found about 4 percent met night eating disorder criteria, with about a third of those also engaging in binge eating. “Night eating syndrome is characterized not only by eating at night – certainly many college students might have a late night study fest with eating – but it’s...

‘Homosexual OCD’: Straight men who suspect they are gay

25 February 2014
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Steven Brodsky, a psychologist who specializes in obsessive-compulsive disorder, says that at any one time he has a “handful” of clients who are straight and suspect that they are gay. Brodsky, who is the clinical director of his OCD and Panic Center of N.Y. and N.J., said he had one adult patient who was so crippled by obsessive thoughts about being gay that he was unable to live independently and had to move back in with his parents to cope. Brodsky said he determined his patient had OCD associated with homosexuality. “He had a classic case,” said Brodsky. “He had...

President George W. Bush Fights to Take ‘Disorder’ Out of PTSD

25 February 2014
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By Freda Kahen-Kashi President Bush is front and center in the news this week, a position he hasn’t frequently occupied since leaving office five years ago, stepping back into the spotlight to shine a spotlight of his own on post-9/11 veterans and his fight to take the “Disorder” out of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. “We’re getting rid of the D,” he said.  “PTS is an injury; it’s not a disorder.  The problem is when you call it a disorder, [veterans] don’t think they can be treated. “An employer says, ‘I don’t want to hire somebody with a disorder.’  And so our mission...

Mothers’ voices can help train preemies to feed

19 February 2014
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NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – A pacifier-activated recording of mother singing may improve a premature baby’s feeding, which in turn could lead to its leaving the hospital sooner, according to a new study. One reason premature babies sometimes have to stay in the hospital for a while is that they haven’t developed the strength and coordination to nurse properly. Babies who can’t feed yet stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and rely on a feeding tube. Doctors and nurses usually give those babies a pacifier whenever possible to help them practice sucking, which can...

Bullying’s mental health toll may last years

19 February 2014
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Victims of bullying may suffer mental and physical consequences even after bullying occurs, research shows. A new study in the journal Pediatrics finds that bullying is associated with poor physical and mental health among children, particularly among those who were bullied in the past and are being currently bullied. The effects were strongest among children who were bullied continuously, in more than one grade, particularly in terms of psychological health, said lead author Laura Bogart, associate professor of pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital. Psychological measures included negative...

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