Disability Information

    Anxiety Disorders

    Apraxia/Childhood Apraxia of Speech

    Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

    Auditory Processing Disorders

    Autism Spectrum Disorders

    Bipolar Disorder

    Blindness/Visual Impairment

      US Department of Education issues policy memorandum on the importance of teaching Braille to students with visual impairments

      The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education has issued guidance to States and Committees on Special Education reiterating the importance of teaching Braille to students who are blind or visually impaired.
      Click this link to download a pdf of the memorandum.

      NICHCY Blindness/Visual Impairment Fact Sheet

      National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) Blindness/Visual Impairment Fact Sheet.
      Click this link to read go to the NICHCY page.
      Click this link to download a pdf of the Fact Sheet.

      Braile versus new technology for the visually impaired

      With the advent of readily accessible technology, such as mobile phones, many individuals with visual impairments are not learning to use Braile. While new technologies are great, this means that many individuals with visual impairments are essentially illiterate.
      Click this link to read or listen to the NPR Story..

      Website allows for free testing for Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)

      A new website allows for free Web-based testing for testing for amblyopia. The testing can be done at home by parents. The test was developed and validated against conventional testing. The test allows parents or physicians to assess their children/patients for amblyopia. The LazyeyeTest.org test provides a screening option for the most common cause of visual impairment in children.
      Click this link to read about Amblyopia.
      Click this link to go to Lazyeyetest.org.


    Cerebral Palsy


    Deafness/Hearing Loss

      Feds plan new law on movie captions

      The Democrat and Chronicle reports that "Movie theaters may soon be required to provide special devices to help deaf and blind moviegoers enjoy films, but somemembers of the local deaf community say the proposal doesn't go far enough."
      Click this link to read a pdf of the article..

      New American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidance on ear infections

      The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued new guidance on the management of ear infections. These involve primarily the use of antibiotics in the treatment of ear infections. There is also, however, a clear recommendation for speech and language and hearing evaluations if a child has fluid in their ears for moe than three months. This is an important recommendation that recognizes the connection between hearing and current and later speech and language development.
      Click on this link to read about the statement.
      Click this link to read a CBS News report on the guideline.
      Click this link to listen/read an NPR news story about this issue.
      Click this link to read the AAP Clinical Practice Guidelines.

      New Research: Parents unaware of Hearing Loss Risk

      Less than 5% of parents think their child is at risk for high-frequency hearing loss despite the silent epidemic affecting almost 20 percent of adolescents, according to results of an Internet-based survey published online November 21 in JAMA Otolaryngolgy–Head Neck Surgery.
      Click this link to about the study.

      NICHCY Deafness/Hearing Loss Fact Sheet

      National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) Deafness/Hearing Loss Fact Sheet.
      Click this link to read go to the NICHCY page.
      Click this link to download a pdf of the Fact Sheet.

      Music Training and hearing loss in older Adults

      New Research: Music training can help cut chance for hearing loss in older adults.
      Click this link to hear the story
      Be sure to check out this new addition in the classroom section Through your Child’s Eyes: American Sign Language - 8/18/11
      listen to the story here

      Fact Sheet on Secondary School Experiences & Academic Performance of Students with Hearing Impairments

      The National Center for Special Education Research has released a fact sheet describing the gaps between the academic achievement of youth with hearing impairments and their peers in the general population. Among the facts reported are that higher percentages of youth with hearing impairments scored below the mean across subtests of academic achievement compared with students in the general population.
      This link opens a 29 page PDF document.

      New study shows teen girls rate of hearing loss increasing

      New research published in Pediatrics shows that the rate of hearing loss in teen girls is increasing. Traditionally teenage boys have shown a higher rates of hearing loss than boys. In this study the researchers found that teen girls showed higher rates of noise-induced hearing-threshold shifts, or NITS. In NITS people have trouble hearing sounds in the middle of the sound spectrum (which can include some human speech and higher-pitched sounds from musical instruments). More specifically the researchers found that teen girls had experienced an increase in the rate of NITSs, from 12 percent in the first survey to 17 percent in the second survey.
      To read more click this link.
      To read the article in Pediatrics click this link.

      New Research shows teen hearing loss is on the rise

      This study compared data from an older (1988-1994) version of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) with those of a newer version (NHANES 2005-2006). The investigators identified 12- to 19-year-old adolescents in the 2 NHANES databases. The frequency of hearing loss of 15-24 dB was 11.4 percent in the earlier survey compared with 14.2 percent in the latter survey, and hearing loss = 25 dB was found in 3.5 percent of adolescents in the earlier survey vs 5.3 percent in the NHANES 2005-2006. The discussion section of this article reviews some of the data showing that even slight hearing impairment is associated with academic difficulties. The "f" and the soft "th" sounds both generally occur at decibel levels lower than 20, and the "s" sound and "h" sounds occur at 20-30 dB. Given how common these sounds are in speech, one can easily see how even loss in the 20-dB or less range would affect understanding of classroom instruction.
      To read more about the story click this link.

      American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) statement on cochlear implants

      The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a statement on cochlear implants in children, published in the August issue of Pediatrics. The new policy statement covers surgical site infections and prevention and treatment of acute otitis media (AOM) and meningitis.
      Click on this link to read about the statement.
      To read the AAP Statement click on this link.


    Developmental Coordination Disorders/Dyspraxia

      What is Dyspraxia

      Dyspraxia goes by many names: developmental coordination disorder, motor learning difficulty, motor planning difficulty and apraxia of speech. It can affect the development of gross motor skills like walking or jumping. It can also affect fine motor skills. These include things like the hand movements needed to write clearly and the mouth and tongue movements needed to pronounce words correctly.
      Click this link to read the more about Dyspraxia.

      Dyspraxia Warning Signs

      Dyspraxia is a disorder that affects motor skill development and coordination. Most children experience occasional signs of dyspraxia as they grow and develop muscle strength, coordination and skills needed for daily living and independence, but such symptoms in children with dyspraxia persist over time. Dyspraxia is not a learning disability (LD), but many children with LD may at times show signs of dyspraxia.
      Click this link to read the common warning signs of Dyspraxia in Children in Grades 3-8.

      Children With Developmental Coordination Disorder and ADHD at Risk for Depression, Anxiety Symptoms

      A new study finds a correlation between having both ADHD and a Developmental Coordination Disorder and anxiety and depression. The study suggests that children with both ADHD and Developmental Coordination Disorders are at greater risk for more severe issues with Anxiety and/or Depression, and suggests the need to screen children with this combination of disorders for anxiety and depression.
      Click this link to read the article..

    Down Syndrome

      Information on Down Syndrome

      Understanding Down Syndrome. Each year, approximately one in every 800 to 1,000 babies is born with Down syndrome, a condition that may delay a child's physical and mental development.
      Click this link to read the information.

      Down Syndrome Video

      An expectant mother found out her unborn child had Down Syndrome. She wrote to an Down Syndrome advocacy group asking what life would be like for her child. They made this video to answer her question. Well worth watching.

      NICHCY Down Syndrome Fact Sheet

      National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) Down Syndrome Fact Sheet.
      Click this link to read go to the NICHCY page.
      Click this link to download a pdf of the Fact Sheet.

    Epilepsy/Seizure Disorders

    Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which clusters of nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain sometimes signal abnormally. In epilepsy, the normal pattern of neuronal activity becomes disturbed, causing strange sensations, emotions, and behavior or sometimes convulsions, muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness. Epilepsy is a disorder with many possible causes. Anything that disturbs the normal pattern of neuron activity - from illness to brain damage to abnormal brain development - can lead to seizures. Epilepsy may develop because of an abnormality in brain wiring, an imbalance of nerve signaling chemicals called neurotransmitters, or some combination of these factors. Having a seizure does not necessarily mean that a person has epilepsy. Only when a person has had two or more seizures is he or she considered to have epilepsy. EEGs and brain scans are common diagnostic test for epilepsy.
    For additional information click on the following links:
    National Institue of Health Page on Epilepsy.
    Epilepsy Foundation.

    Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

      Fetal Alcohol Exposure Often Mistaken as Behavioral Issues

      Many children with behavioral issues often have undiagnosed Fetal Alchohol Syndrome or Fetal Alcholol Effects"
      Click this link to go to the articlea>

      NIH statement for International Fetal Alcholol Syndrome Awareness Day

      September 9th is the International Fetal Alcholol Syndrome Awareness Day. "International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day, recognized every year on Sept. 9th, is an important reminder that prenatal alcohol exposure is the leading preventable cause of birth defects and developmental disorders in the United States. Almost 40 years have passed since we recognized that drinking during pregnancy can result in a wide range of disabilities for children, of which fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is the most severe. Yet, 1 in 13 pregnant women report drinking in the past 30 days. Of those, about 1 in 6 report binge drinking during that time."
      Click this link to go to the site

      Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) Fact Sheet

      Click this link to download a pdf of the Fact Sheet

    Fragile X Syndrome

    The genetic disorder Fragile X syndrome, which results from mutations in a gene on the X chromosome, is the most commonly inherited form of developmental and intellectual disability.

      NIH awards $35 Million for Centers for Collaborative Research in Fragile X

      The National Institutes of Health is making funding awards of $35 million over the next five years to support the Centers for Collaborative Research in Fragile X program. Investigators at these centers will seek to better understand Fragile X-associated disorders and work toward developing effective treatments.
      Click this link to go to the site

    Intellectual Disability

    Learning Disability


      New Research: Chronic Migraine Puts Heavy Burden on Families

      Researchers found that more than two thirds of patients with chronic migraine feel their condition affects their sexual intimacy and that it makes their spouse's life difficult. Patients also report feeling guilty and worried about the effect their headaches have on their partner and children. Suffering chronic migraines takes a huge toll on family life, a new study suggests.
      Click this link to read the abstract of the article

      New Research: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Effective in Kids' Migraines

      Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) should be a first-line treatment along with medication for pediatric migraine, and not just an add-on approach when drugs don't work, a new study suggests. The reduction in headache days per month among children taking amitriptyline and completing a 20-week course of CBT was significantly greater than in those treated with amitriptyline and a course of headache education, the study found.
      Click this link to read the abstract of the article

      FDA Approves first medical device for Migraine Pain

      The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today allowed marketing of the Cerena Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator (TMS; eNeura Therapeutics), the first device approved to relieve pain caused by migraine headache with aura.
      Click this link to read the FDA Press Release

    Mixed Receptive-Expressive Language Disorder

    Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

      Helpful video on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

      This whiteboard video from the Veteran's Health Administration explains trauma and PTSD symptoms using hand-drawn whiteboard animation that reflects the story being presented (1 of 6 videos in series). Going to the site will let you watch the other 5 videos in the series.
      Click this link to go to the site.

      Information on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

      Helpful information on PTSD from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This is not just for military personnel or veterans. You can listen, read, or watch the information.
      Click this link to go to the site.

      DSM-5 Changes in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

      In the recently released DSM-5, PTSD was moved from the "Anxiety Disorders" chapter to a new chapter titled "Trauma-and Stressor-Related Disorders," and a fourth diagnostic cluster (in addition to Criteria B, C, and D) capturing behavioral symptoms has been added.
      Click this link to read the full article here.

      New Research: Little-known Growth Factor Enhances Memory, Prevents Forgetting in Rats

      A naturally occurring growth factor significantly boosted retention and prevented forgetting of a fear memory when injected into rats' memory circuitry during time-limited windows when memories become fragile and changeable. In the study funded by the National Institutes of Health, animals treated with insulin-like growth factor (IGF-II) excelled at remembering to avoid a location where they had previously experienced a mild shock
      read the full article here

      Research suggests genetic predisposition to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

      A combination of new studies point to a genetic predisposition for some individuals to have a greater risk for developing a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
      The first study was conducted at Emory University.
      The second study to be published in the November issues of Archives of General Psychiatry was completed at Yale University.
      For a review of this article follow this link. To read the Medscape review click on this link.

    Risk Factors

      Children of Severely Obese Moms have higher risk of ADHD

      Medscape reports that "Six-year-olds whose mothers were severely obese before pregnancy are more likely to have developmental or emotional problems than kids of healthy-weight moms, according to a new study. The researchers had found evidence of this link in two previous studies, said lead author Heejoo Jo of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia." The research found that "Kids of moms who were severely obese, with a BMI greater than 35, were twice as likely to have emotional symptoms, problems with peers and total psychosocial difficulties compared to kids of moms who had a healthy BMI, between 18.5 and 25.".
      Click this link to read about the study.

      Teenagers increasingly sleep-deprived

      Medscape reports that "US adolescents became progressively more sleep-deprived after 1990, researchers report in an article published online February 16 in Pediatrics. Girls were more likely to be affected than boys, as were racial/ethnic minorities, city dwellers, and those from poor families. Teenagers from racial/ethnic minorities and from poor families were likely to think they were getting enough sleep even when they were not. Katherine M. Keyes, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health in New York City, and colleagues analyzed data from 1991 through 2012 on 272,077 adolescents from Monitoring the Future, a nationally representative cross-sectional survey of adolescent birth cohorts. Participants were asked how often they got at least 7 hours of sleep per night, and how often they got less sleep than they should. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 9 hours of sleep per night for adolescents.".
      Click this link to read about the study.

      Kids with Behavioral Problems have sex earlier

      Medscape reports that "Kids with behavior problems became sexually active earlier than their peers, in a recent study. Having sex early - before age 16 - increases the risk of teen pregnancy, partner violence, sexually transmitted infections and other negative health outcomes, the researchers say. By age 17, 44% of boys and 50% of girls said they'd had intercourse." This study found that "Overall, almost 22% of boys and 25% of girls said they started before age 16, usually around age 15." The study found that "Bad behavior starting at age five for boys and age 10 for girls increased the likelihood of having sex before age 16 when the authors accounted for other factors like parental age, education attainment, and socioeconomic status."
      Click on this link, to read the abstract of the study.

      Fast Food May Lead to Lower Academic Achievement in U.S. Kids

      Medscape reports that "Eating fast food may lead to lower student test scores in math, science and reading, a recent study of U.S. school children said. A survey showed that fast-food consumption by 8,544 fifth-graders forecast lower academic achievement in eighth grade, according to the study published in Clinical Pediatrics."
      Click on this link, to read the abstract of the study.

      Algal Virus Infects, Affects Humans and possibly Human Intelligence

      While studying cognitive function in healthy adults, researchers discovered DNA from an algal virus in throat samples. The virus was associated with reduced cognitive functioning, highlighting how previously overlooked viruses may affect human health and cognition.
      Click on this link, to read the NIH review of the study.
      Click on this link, to read the abstract of the study.

      Industrial Chemicals Alter Placental Thyroid Hormone Activity

      Medscape reports that "Certain industrial chemicals commonly found in low levels in the environment can infiltrate the placenta during pregnancy and affect thyroid hormone activity in placental tissue, a new study reports. And since thyroid hormones play a key role in fetal brain development, maternal exposure to these endocrine-disrupting chemicals might affect cognitive development in infants, the researchers speculate. However, they caution that this remains to be proven.".
      Click on this link, to read the abstract.

      New Research: Maternal smoking during pregnancy linked to children's behavior problems

      From the NIH "In this research conversation, NICHD’s Dr. James Griffin talks with grantee Dr. Leslie Leve on her study, which found a strong association between a mother’s smoking during pregnancy and the chances that her child would have behavioral problems in school.
      Click on this link, to read the interview.

      New Research: Fever During Pregnancy Linked to Birth Defects

      A new metanalysis revealed elevated risk for poor health outcomes among children exposed to maternal fever in utero for 3 common classes of problems: neural tube defects, congenital heart defects, and oral clefts. The researchers identified a 1.5- to nearly 3-fold increased risk with exposure during the first trimester for 9 case-control studies of neural tube defects, 5 case-control studies of oral clefts, and 7 fixed-effects meta analyses of congenital heart defects. Neural tube defects had the strongest relationship to temperature exposure compared with oral clefts and congenital heart defects. Other outcomes included limb deficiencies, renal defects, anorectal malformation, ear defects, cataracts, and allergic diseases, but few studies were available. The analysis did not find an association between exposure to elevated maternal temperature in utero with spontaneous abortion, stillbirth, or preterm delivery. The studies did not reveal information on what degree of elevated temperature lead to what outcomes.
      Click on this link, to read about the research.

      New Research: Prenatal Acetaminophen Linked to Behavioral Problems in Children

      Click this link to read more about the study

      New Research: Sexting is common, and is linked to increased sexual activity in teens

      Sexting is sending sexually explicit text messages and/or pictures. New research with a group of 400 7th grade students showed that 17 percent reported having sent sexual text messages during the last 6 months and another 5 percent reported sending sexual photos. The subjects in the study who engaged in these behaviors were 4 to 7 times more likely to have reported engaging in a variety of sexual behaviors including oral and vaginal sex when compared to those in the study who had not engaged in either behavior.
      Click on this link, to read about the research.

      New Research: Childhood poverty negatively effects brain development

      New research shows that exposure to poverty in early childhood negatively effects brain development, but that good-quality care giving may help offset this effect. A longitudinal imaging study shows that young children exposed to poverty have smaller white and cortical gray matter as well as hippocampal and amygdala volumes, as measured during school age and early adolescence.
      Click on this link, to read about the research.
      Click on this link, to read an accompanying editorial about the article.

      New Research: Spanking increases aggression and decreases language in children

      New research shows additional evidence that spanking can damage a child's development. The Research shows that when fathers spank their children that as 9 year old's the children had lower levels of receptive vocabulary. When mothers spanked their children the children as 9 years old had had significantly more externalizing behaviors, such as aggression and rule breaking.
      Click this link to read the abstract of the article

      FDA won't ban BPA for now

      The FDA ruled today to not ban BPA. The FDA was forced to rule today on whether or not to ban BPA after a lawsuit from a consumer group. In reviewing the available data the FDA rules that while there were concerns about BPA that there was not enough evidence to ban BPA at this time.
      Click this link to read/listen to an NPR story about the FDA ruling.
      Click this link to read a Medscape article about the FDA action.
      Click this link to read/listen to a NPR article about BPA in food.

      American Academy of Pediatrics looks to US to protect kids from toxic chemicals

      In a new policy statement the AAP has called on the US Government, specifically the EPA to better monitor toxic chemicals in food, clothing and other sources that may be exposing children to unknown risks.
      To read more about the story click on this link.

      Mother's Depression puts Kids at Risk

      Research has shown that children living with depressed mothers are at much higher risk for depression themselves. New research has also shown that treating the mother's depression in turn leads to improvements in the children's moods.
      To read more about the story click on this link

      Plastic and Estrogenic Activity

      Plastic containing BPA has raised a number of health concerns, particularly when children are exposed to it. As noted in the attached article "Those questions largely circle around how prolonged exposure to the chemical in childhood or adulthood could affect reproduction and growth; how low-dose exposure at sensitive developmental stages could affect children and babies later in life; and how parental exposure could affect the next generation. Studies have shown links between BPA and cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and a host of other illnesses." This story points out that using plastics that do not contain BPA also has risks, particularly because they have specific chemical compounds that mimic the estrogen hormone. This may lead to number of factors including early age or menarche in young girls.
      To read the NPR story about this, click on this link.

      Pollutants in boys' blood tied to lower growth

      New research finds that Russian boys who were exposed to unusually high levels of environmental pollutants are smaller than their peers. A group of international researchers followed nearly 500 boys for three years. They found that those with the highest levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in their blood were nearly three centimeters (more than an inch) shorter than boys from the same region with the lowest amount of PCBs in their bodies.
      To read more about this study click on this link.

      Young teens with CD at risk for more severe Conduct Disorder Behaviors

      Young teens who show Conduct Disorder Behaviors are at risk for later more severe Conduct Disorder Behaviors.
      Click on this link to read the study.

      Smoking can increase depressive symptoms in teens

      A new study finds that smoking can increase depressive symptoms in teens.
      Click this link to read more about the study.

      Girls entering puberty earlier

      New Research finds that girls are entering puberty earlier than 12 years ago. The study found that more girls are developing breasts at age 7 than in past studies. The authors found higher rates of early puberty across groups but the highest rates among African American girls. Large body mass indexes were also related to early puberty. The authors speculate that exposure to phthalates (an ingredient in plastics) may be disrupting the hormonal system in young girls. They suggest that families try living greener, trying to minimize exposure to chemicals in the environment, and part of that might be using safer personal care products. They suggested choosing products that are free of the chemical phthalates. They also suggested controlling weight.
      Click on this link to read more about the study.
      Click on this link to read about a possible connection between phthalates and ADHD.

      Slightly early births linked to autism, dyslexia

      New research from England finds that children born even 1 or 2 weeks early are at a higher risk for developing dyslexia or autism. In analyzing the birth history of more than 400,000 school children in Scotland, the researchers found that while babies born at 40 weeks have a 4 percent risk of learning difficulties, those born at 37 to 39 weeks of gestation have a 5.1 percent risk. The researchers note that many women with planned cesarean deliveries plan on having this done at the 39 weeks.
      To read a Reuters news report click on this link.
      To read an article from the BBC on the study click on this link.

      Toddlers and TV: Early exposure has negative and long-term impact

      New research finds that early exposure to TV negative and long-term impacts. The study found that every additional hour of TV exposure among toddlers corresponded to a future decrease in classroom engagement and success at math, increased victimization by classmates, a more sedentary lifestyle, and a higher consumption of junk food and, ultimately, higher body mass index.
      Click this link to read the article

      Mom's antidepressants may delays baby's first steps

      New Research suggests that maternal use of antidepressant medication during pregnancy may lead to motor delays in the development infant.
      Click this link to read the article.

      Lead levels link to depression, panic

      A new study finds that low lead levels are linked to later depression, and panic in young adults
      Click this link to read the study.

      Smoking while pregnant, lead exposure linked to ADHD

      A new study finds that smoking during pregnancy and lead exposure both substantial increase the chance of a child having ADHD. The study found that children exposed prenatally to tobacco smoke were 2.4 times more likely to have ADHD. Those children with blood lead levels in the top third had a 2.3 fold increased likelihood of ADHD. However children exposed to both of these risk factors had an 8 times higher chance of have ADHD.
      Click this link to read about the study

      History of Childhood Maltreatment Linked to Higher Rates of Unemployment, Poverty

      A new study finds that a history of childhood maltreatment leads to higher rates of unemployment and poverty in adults
      Click this link to read about the study.


      Rochester group launches website devoted to schizophrenia

      CARES (Committee to Aid Research to End Schizophrenia) has started a website offering information about the schizophrenia. The site includes numerous very helpful links and video about his very complex disorder.

      How Schizophrenia Works

      "History suggests that schizophrenia has probably been plaguing people and throwing them into social isolation for millennia. Despite the vast amounts of research, the disorder, characterized by bizarre behavior and emotional withdrawal, remains largely a mystery."
      read more from the article here

      NY Times article on coping with Schizophrenia

      An adult who has survived years of hearing voices shares strategies on how to survive with the disorder.
      read the full article here



      What is a Stroke?

    Substance Abuse


      Ketamine may cut suicide risk

      Medscape reports that "Ketamine, an injectable anesthetic that has been shown to exert a rapid but short-lived antidepressant effect, may reduce suicidal ideation independently of a reduction in depressive symptoms, new research suggests. Investigators at the NIMH distinguished the relationship of ketamine to reduced suicidal thoughts from its effect on depression and anxiety symptoms across 4 studies conducted in patients with treatment-resistant major or bipolar depression.
      Click on this link to read about the study..

      Most Individuals receive Health Services a year before Suicide death

      New research indicates that most individuals who commit suicide have been seen for medical visits in the year before thier suicide. As reproted the majority of people who die by suicide have received health care services in the year prior to death. Half have had a medical visit within four weeks of thier suicide. The most common visit types included primary care and medical specialty. The individuals who made these visits were mostly older adults, specifically women. The study also found that over half of individuals did not have a mental health diagnosis in the year before death. In the four weeks before death, about 75 percent did not have a mental health diagnosis. A mental health diagnosis was even less common among disadvantaged groups with lower levels of education and income. The study authors find that there is therefore a key opportunity to reach individuals at risk for suicide within primary care and medical specialty settings that currently is not being optimized.
      Click on this link to read about the study..

      NIMH scientist Dr. Jane Pearson interview on NPR's Science Friday discussing the laterst research on suicide

      Suicide does not discriminate. People of all genders, ages, and ethnicities are at risk for suicide. This prevalent health problem is also one of the most preventable. Yet the numbers tell a different story: Each year twice as many Americans die from suicide than murder. Jane Pearson, Ph.D., chair of the Suicide Research Consortium at the National Institute of Mental Health, appeared on NPR’s Science Friday to discuss ways research is trying to prevent this pressing issue.
      Click on this link, to hear the interview.

      Most teens who think about suicide do not receive mental health services

      A new study founded by the NIMH find that "within the past year, 3.6 percent of adolescents had suicidal thoughts, but did not make a specific plan or suicide attempt. In addition, 0.6 percent reported having a plan, and 1.9 percent reported having made a suicide attempt within the past year. Suicidal behavior among youth was not only associated with major depression, but also with a range of other mental health problems including eating, anxiety, substance use and behavior disorders, as well as physical health problems. Between 50 and 75 percent of those teens who reported having suicidal ideation had recent contact with a service provider. However, most only had three or fewer visits, suggesting that treatment tends to be terminated prematurely. Moreover, most teens with suicidal ideation did not receive specialized mental health care.
      Click on this link, to read the press release from the NIMH.

      Low Omega 3 levels lead to increased suicide risk among military service members

      A new study in the military matched 800 members of the military who had committed suicide with 800 service members who had not. The study found that those with the lowest DHA levels had the highest rate of suicide. The study also found overall low levels of Omega 3s among all participants DHA is the major Omega 3 fatty acid concentrated in the brain.
      Click on this link, to read the press release from the NIMH.

      Gay teens in supportive setting less likely to attempt suicide

      Gay teens are more than 5 times as likely to attempt suicide as their peers. New research has found, however, that gay teens who are in supportive settings are less likely to attempt suicide then teens who are in nonsupportive settings.
      Click this link to read more about the study.

      Information on Teen Suicide

      In 2007, suicide was the third leading cause of death for young people ages 15-24. Suicide accounted for 4,140 deaths (12 percent) of the total 34,598 suicide deaths in 2007.
      For more information on Teen Suicide click on this link.

      NIMH Radio: Childhood Suicide-Using the Internet to Keep Kids Safe

      The broadcast references this website for teens who are struggling - Reach Out.
      Click this link to hear the story

      NIMH Radio: Childhood Suicide- Warning Signs for Adults and Communities

      Click this link to listen to the podcast

    Tourette Syndrome

    Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

      Concussions Video

      In the first video of our Sports Safety 101 series, we examine the issue of concussions in youth sports by interviewing leading experts, including NFL Hall of Fame player and coach Mike Ditka, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Neuropsychology at Children's National Health System, Dr. Gerry Gioia, and student advocate, Brie Boothby, who shares her story about suffering a concussion while playing high school field hockey.

      Concussion effects last longer than previously thought

      Research has investigated the duration of effect of concussion. Overall, 235 children participated in the study, with a mean age of 14.3 years, and 57.4 percent were boys. The research found that Headache was the most common symptom on arrival at the emergency department, reported by 85.1 percent of the patients, followed by fatigue (64.2 percent), taking longer to think (57.8 percent), and poor concentration (52.4 percent). After the initial assessment, 3.8 percent of the remaining children developed a headache, 15.4 percent developed fatigue, 11.1 percent were taking longer to think, and another 13.1 percent complained of poor concentration. By day 7, headaches were still occurring in 69.2 percent of the patients, but by day 90 they had resolved in all but 5.2 percent of 207 children evaluated at that point. Fatigue persisted in 59.8 percent of children at day 7 and was reported by 3.4 percent of 207 children at day 90. More than half of the children (54.3 percent) reported slower thinking at day 7 and 4.3 percent at day 90. In addition, 56.8 percent reported poor concentration at day 7 and 3.4 percent at day 90. Emotional symptoms also developed. Depression, frustration, irritability, and restlessness were initially seen in 22.9 percent, 27.7 percent, 25.5 percent, and 24.6 percent of children, respectively, but by day 7, those percentages had increased to 25.6 percent, 37.6 percent, 30.3 percent, and 31.6 percent, respectively. By 90 days, however, those symptoms had largely resolved, being reported by 1.4 percent, 1.4 percent, 1.9 percent, and 1.4 percent of patients, respectively. Similarly, sleep disturbance occurred in 11.6 percent of patients initially, in 24.8 percent at day 7, and in only 1 percent of the patients at 90 days. The median duration for all symptoms was 13 days.
      Click this link to read more about the report.

      Concussion: Rural versus urban causes of childhood concussion

      Children in rural and urban settings have different causes of concussion. Rural chidren are more likely to recieve a concussion due to a motorized vehicle such as all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes. Urban youth are more likely to suffer concussions mostly as a result of sports. Hockey accounts for 40 percent of those injuries.
      Click this link to read more about the report.
      Click this link to read the study.

      Preventing Traumatic Brain Injury

      Very helpful information from the CDC on traumatic brain injury (TBI) and on improved prevention, recognition, and response.
      Click this link to read more about the report.

      New report on Sports related Concussion in youth

      A new report found that many student athletes feel pressured to not report concussions. The report had a number of findings. These included the following:
      • The reported number of individuals aged 19 and under treated in US emergency departments for concussions and other nonfatal sports- and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) increased from 150,000 in 2001 to 250,000 in 2009.
      • Football, ice hockey, lacrosse, wrestling, and soccer are associated with the highest rates of reported concussions for male athletes at the high school and college levels.
      • Soccer, lacrosse, and basketball are associated with the highest rates of reported concussions for female athletes at at the high school and college levels.
      • Little evidence was found that current sports helmet designs cut the risk for concussions.
      • Most youth athletes with concussion will recover within 2 weeks of the injury, but in 10 percent to 20 percent of cases concussion symptoms persist for several weeks, months, or even years.
      • Athletes who return to play before complete recovery are at increased risk for prolonged recovery or more serious consequences if they sustain a second concussion.
      • That single and multiple concussions can lead to impairments in the areas of memory and processing speed.
      Click this link to read more about the report.

      Length of effect from Concussion

      New research suggests differences in how long the symptoms of a concusion last. The research shows that the length of effect varies depending on a number of factors. In girls, the median time to resolution of symptoms was 15 days compared with 12 days in boys. Additionally, the authors noted that real differences were between those who had previous concussions and those who did not. For example, children who had any previous concussion had a median recovery time of 22 days vs 12 days in those who had no previous concussion. Furthermore, the median recovery time in children who experienced a concussion within 1 year of a previous concussion was 35 days, compared with 14 days in children whose previous concussion took place more than 1 year before the current injury.
      Click this link to read the article abstract.

      NICHCY Traumatic Brain Injury Fact Sheet

      National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) Traumatic Brain Injury Fact Sheet.
      Click this link to read go to the NICHCYNICHCYNICHCY page.
      Click this link to download a pdf of the Fact Sheet.

      Video: TBI in returning veterans

      Traumatic Brain Injury can lead to profound changes in an individual and these changes will impact the individual and their family. It has been estimated that 1 in 5 of all returning veterans coming home from our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have come home with TBIs. Some of these individuals also suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In a moving video the Brain Injury Association of NY explores this issue by focusing on the stories of three returning soldiers.
      Click this link to watch the You Tube video.

      Suicide Reveals Signs of a Disease Seen in N.F.L. in 21 year old college football player

      There have been a number of stories recently about former NFL players who have died and then have been found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This is a form of brain damage caused by repeated trauma to the brain. A 21 year old college football played recently committed suicide and was then found to have the early stages of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Significantly he is reported to have ever had a concussion, although his family states that he may have had past concussions that he never reported. He is the youngest athlete to be found to have signs of CTE.
      To read the NY Times article on this topic click on this link.

      New Guidelines on Concussion

      The American Academy of Pediatrics has released a new study on the extent of concussions in young children. The study found that younger children take longer to recover from concussion, than high school students, who take longer than college students and professional athletes. The researchers recommended both cognitive and physical rest for young students who have suffered a concussion.
      Click this link to read a summary of the studies.
      Click this link to go to the article in Pediatrics and to read the specific recommendations.

      Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Major Depression linked

      A new study finds that more than 53 percent of patients hospitalized for traumatic brain injury (TBI) meet the criteria for major depressive disorder within a year after sustaining their injury. In addition, TBI is associated with increased comorbidity and poorer health-related quality of life in those with Major Depressive Disorder than in those without Major Depressive Disorder.

Latest Research/Publications

New Research

Rates of mental health disorders in children increase 21 percent in 10 years

"Although the number of children with physical disabilities has decreased 12 percent over the course of a decade, the number who have disabilities related to any neurodevelopmental or mental health condition has increased by 21 percent. That growth, reported in an article published in the September issue of Pediatrics, has pushed the overall prevalence of childhood disability up by 16 percent between 2001-2002 and 2010-2011. As of 2011, 6 million children in the US were living with a disability. Those living in poverty continue to have the highest rates of disability, at 102.6 cases per 1000 people, but unexpectedly, those living in households with incomes more than 4 times the federal poverty level saw the largest increase, at 28.4 percent during the 10-year period, according to the report. Children living in households with incomes less than the federal poverty level saw only a 10.7 percent rise in the rate of disability during those years.
Click this link to read about the report.

Hippocampus suspected in causing difficulties with Social Memory

New research has singed out a small part of the hippocampus for possibly causing difficulties with Social Memory and as a site for possible therapeutic intervention for select brain disorders. The area know as CA2 is important for social memory, which is the brain's ability to recognize familiar from unfamiliar others. Researchers are hoping that identifying the role of this region could be beneficial in understanding and treating disorders characterized by altered social behavior, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and Autism.
Click this link to read about the report.

People with Disabilities Nearly Three Times More Likely to Be Victims of Crime

A new report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that there were an estimated 1.3 million violent crimes against people with disabilities in the U.S. in 2012. The report documents nonfatal serious violent crimes, such as rape, robbery and aggravated assault. The National Crime Victimization Survey found that the age-adjusted rate of violent crimes against people with disabilities was nearly triple that of people without disabilities. Among persons with cognitive disabilities, the rate of serious violent crime doubled during the period of the study.
Click this link to read about the report.

FDA approves Blood Test For Intellectual Disability

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized for marketing the Affymetrix CytoScan Dx Assay, which can detect chromosomal variations that may be responsible for a child’s developmental delay or intellectual disability. Based on a blood sample, the test can analyze the entire genome at one time and detect large and small chromosomal changes. According to the National Institutes of Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics, two to three percent of children in the United States have some form of intellectual disability. Many intellectual and developmental disabilities, such as Down syndrome and DiGeorge syndrome, are associated with chromosomal variations. The test known as CytoScan Dx Assay analyzes the entire genome and can detect chromosomal variations associated with Down syndrome, DiGeorge syndrome and other intellectual and developmental disabilities, the FDA said.
Click this link to read the FDA notice.

New research shows People with Serious Mental Illnesses Can Lose Weight

Losing weight is challenging for everyone. It can be particularly difficult for someone with a serious mental illness. An NIMH-funded clinical study proves that a modified diet and exercise program can work for people with serious mental illnesses. Participants lost 7 pounds more than controls-and continued to lose weight. The NIMH reports that "Over 80 percent of people with serious mental illnesses are overweight or obese, which contributes to them dying at three times the rate of the overall population. They succumb mostly to the same things the rest of the population experiences—cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Although antipsychotic medications increase appetite and cause weight gain in these patients, it is not the only culprit. Like the general population, sedentary lifestyle and poor diet also play a part. Lifestyle modifications such as diet and exercise should work for these patients, yet they are often left out of weight loss studies."
Click this link to read more about the study.
Click this link to read an abstract of the study.

Siblings of Children with Disabilities struggle more than their peers

New Research in the Journal Pediatrics shows that parents of children with disabilities report that their non disabled children struggle more than their peers. Specifically the study found that "Overall, researchers found that parents of children with disabilities reported that their typically developing sons and daughters were more likely to feel sad, nervous or afraid. They also cited more problems with behavior, relating to adults or kids, completing schoolwork and participating in recreational activities."
Click this link to read more about the study.
Click this link to read the abstract from the article.

The White House opens a new web page to help individuals with Mental Health Disorders

President Obama launched the National Dialogue on Mental Health, bringing together 200 mental health experts, a dozen members of Congress, and celebrities like Glenn Close and Bradley Cooper to start a national conversation about youth and mental health. The White House has also launched a website, mentalhealth.gov, with its tag line “Let’s talk about it.”
Click this link to go http://www.mentalhealth.gov/.

Mental Disorders as Brain Disorders: Thomas Insel at TEDxCaltech

A rethink is needed in terms of how we view mental illness, stated National Institute of Mental Health Director Thomas Insel, M.D., in a recent TEDx talk at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena.

New Research suggests that one of the reasons males are at higher risk for Autism and Schizophrenia is that they are exposed to lower rates of OGT in utero than females

A New study finds that in a mouse model that this maybe because in utero male fetuses are exposed to less of a protective enzyme then females. The enzyme is expressed at relatively lower levels in placentas of male versus female offspring. The enzyme is also expressed at relatively lower levels in stressed mothers. This enzyme, called OGT, also plays a pivotal role in regulating the turning on-and-off of hundreds of brain genes and in protecting the developing brain from insults
Click this link to read more about the study.

Psychotropic Medications Are Prescribed Appropriately Among U.S. Teens

A New study finds that medications are prescribed appropriately among US Teens. The study finding include: "Among those youth who met criteria for any mental disorder, 14.2 percent reported that they had been treated with a psychotropic medication. Teens with ADHD had the highest rates of prescribed medication use at 31 percent, while 19.7 percent of those with a mood disorder like depression or bipolar disorder were taking psychotropic medication. Among those with eating disorders, about 19 percent were taking a psychotropic medication, and 11.6 percent of those with anxiety disorders reported taking medication.
Click this link to read more about the study.

Daily or Severe Tantrums May Point to Mental Health Issues

What qualifies as a typical or normal temper tantrum for a preschooler and when should parents, doctors take note. A new study looks at what is typical and what isn't. The study found that over a one month period, tantrums typically occurred:
when preschoolers were frustrated, angry, or upset (61 percent)
during daily routines, such as bedtime, mealtime, or getting dressed (58 percent)
with their parents (56 percent).
In contrast, it was less typical for preschoolers to have a tantrum:
with an adult who was not their parent, such as a babysitter or teacher (36 percent)
during which they broke or destroyed things (28 percent)
“out of the blue,” or for which parents could not discern a reason (26 percent)
that lasted an unusually long time (26 percent)
during which they hit, bit, or kicked someone else (24 percent).
Click this link to read more about the study.

What qualifies as a typical or normal temper tantrum for a preschooler and when should parents, doctors take note. A new study looks at what is typical and what isn't.

Survey Finds More Evidence That Mental Disorders Often Begin in Youth

About 8 percent of U.S. teens meet current criteria for having a serious emotional disturbance, according to two NIMH-funded studies published in the April 2012 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.
A September 2010 found that about 20 percent of youth are affected by a mental disorder sometime in their lifetime. In this most recent analysis, Kathleen Merikangas, Ph.D., of NIMH, Ron Kessler, Ph.D., of Harvard University, and colleagues examined the prevalence of mental disorders, as well as the severity of the disorders, within a 12-month period to estimate the rate of serious emotional disturbances (SED) in youth. SED was defined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) as a “mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder … that resulted in functional impairment which substantially interferes with or limits the child’s role or functioning in family, school, or community activities.” The researchers found that about 8 percent of all respondents had SED. Those with behavior disorders were most likely to be considered to have a severe disorder. Those with three or more coexisting disorders were also more likely to be severely affected. Similar to adults, anxiety disorders were the most common conditions in adolescents. Echoing many other studies, girls were more likely to have a mood or anxiety disorder or eating disorder, while boys were more likely to have a behavior disorder like ADHD or substance use disorder. Contrary to regional studies, this report showed a lower rate of depression among Hispanics compared to whites.
Click this link to read more about the study.

NIMH proposes new diagnostic category - Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS)

The syndrome, Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS), includes children and teens that suddenly develop on-again/off-again OCD symptoms or abnormal eating behaviors, along with other psychiatric symptoms - without any known cause. An immune-based treatment study is underway at NIH. PANS expands on Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcus (PANDAS), which is limited to a subset of cases traceable to an autoimmune process triggered by a strep infection. The proposed criteria for PANS would include:
1. Abrupt, dramatic onset of OCD or anorexia.
2. Concurrent presence of at least two additional neuropsychiatric symptoms with similarly severe and acute onset. These include: anxiety; mood swings and depression; aggression, irritability and oppositional behaviors; developmental regression; sudden deterioration in school performance or learning abilities; sensory and motor abnormalities; somatic signs and symptoms.
3. Symptoms are unexplainable by a known neurologic or medical disorder.
Click this link to read more about PANS.

NY State report finds a 'needless risk of harm' for individuals with disabilities in the care of NY State

The NY Times reported that nearly 300,000 disabled and mentally ill New Yorkers face a “needless risk of harm” because of conflicting regulations, a lack of oversight and even disagreements over what constitutes abuse, according to a draft state report.
To read the NY Times article, click this link.

Rates of short term inpatient stays increases for youth between 1996 and 2007

Short-term inpatient psychiatric stays increased for youth but declined for older adults between 1996 and 2007, according to an analysis published online ahead of print August 1, 2011, in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
Survey Assesses Trends in Psychiatric Hospitalization Rates

Dyslexic governor credits his learning disability for helping him achieve

The Governor of Connecticut, Daniel P. Malloy, has always had Dyslexia. He credits his disability for helping him learn to be a better listener and for helping him learn the lessons and master the other skills he needs to become and be the Governor.
read the full article here

Disability History Museum

This is an online virtual museum that promotes understanding about the historical experience of people with disabilities by recovering, chronicling and interpreting their stories and the history of individuals with disabilities and key components of the disability rights movement.
visit the museums website here

Substantial proportion of youth with severe mental disorders do not recieve mental health care

A substantial proportion of youth with severe mental disorders do not receive mental health care, according to data from an NIMH-funded survey published in the January 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
click here to read the full article

Developmental disabilities are on the rise

The rates of developmental disabilities has increased 17 percent of the last decade, with particular increases in the rates of ADHD and Autism.
Click this link to read the article on CNN.
Click this link to read the abstract or the full paper here.
you can also view the full paper on the CDC's site here

Proposed draft of the DSM-V released

The American Psychiatric Association released a proposed draft today of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5th revision (DSM-V). The DSM IV is the current version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. The DSM is the 'bible' for mental health and medical providers and insurance agencies that codify our understanding of developmental, behavioral, and mental health disorders. The APA has released the draft of the new edition, which represents a decade of work by the APA in reviewing and revising the DSM. This draft is open for public review and comment on the DSM-5 Web siteuntil April 20. After that it will be further reviewed and refined before the APA conducts 3 phases of field trials to test some of the proposed diagnostic criteria before the final version is published in May 2013.

The proposed changes include a major changes in a number of areas including the removal of the diagnoses of Asperger Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder NOS. These diagnosis will be subsumed under a broader diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders. There are also proposed changes in the Learning Disability area. One of the major changes is a proposed new diagnostic category of Temper Dysregulation with Dysphoria (TDD). The TDD diagnosis if approved would be a new diagnosis in the Mood Disorders' category where many children currently diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder would probably fall.
To listen to a news story from NPR on the DSM V and children with Bipolar Disorder and the new proposed diagnosis of TDD click on this link.
To see associated news coverage click on this link.
Click this link to read a Medscape article on the DSM-V - 2/10/10

Disability rates

A new national study finds that up to 13 percent of 8 to 15 year old children and adolescents reported having at least 1 of 6 mental disorders within the last year. About 1.8 percent of the respondents had more than one disorder, usually a combination of ADHD and conduct disorder. Among the specific disorders,
  • 8.6 percent had ADHD, with males more likely than females to have the disorder;
  • 3.7 percent had depression, with females more likely than males to have the disorder;
  • 2.1 percent had conduct disorder;
  • 0.7 percent had an anxiety disorder (GAD or panic disorder);
  • 0.1 percent had an eating disorder (anorexia or bulimia).
  • Click this link to read about the study.

    Disability Resources and Information

    © Copyright, all rights reserved Daniel J. DeMarle, Ph.D. 2014