Suicidal Thoughts More Common in Kids With Autism: Study

HealthDay News — Children with autism may have a higher-than-average risk of contemplating or attempting suicide, a new study suggests.Researchers found that mothers of children with autism were much more likely than other moms to say their child had talked about or attempted suicide: 14 percent did, versus 0.5 percent of mothers whose kids didnt have the disorder.The behavior was more common in older kids aged 10 and up and those whose mothers thought they were depressed, as well as kids whose moms said they were teased.An autism expert not involved in the research, however, said the study had limitations, and that the findings "should be interpreted cautiously."

via Suicidal Thoughts More Common in Kids With Autism: Study.

Childhood Depression May Be Tied to Later Heart Risk: Study

(HealthDay News) — Teens who were depressed as children are more likely to be obese, to smoke and to be sedentary, a new study finds.

The findings suggest that depression during childhood can increase the risk of heart problems later in life, according to the researchers.

The study included more than 500 children who were followed from ages 9 to 16. There were three groups: those diagnosed with depression as children, their depression-free siblings and a control group of unrelated youngsters with no history of depression.

Twenty-two percent of the kids who were depressed at age 9 were obese at age 16, the study found. “Only 17 percent of their siblings were obese, and the obesity rate was 11 percent in the unrelated children who never had been depressed,” study first author Robert Carney, a professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said in a university news release.

The researchers found similar patterns when they looked at smoking and physical activity.

via Childhood Depression May Be Tied to Later Heart Risk: Study.

Depression in Women and Girls – Causes, Risk Factors

Image: Flaming June by Frederic Lord Leighton

Flaming June by Frederic Lord Leighton

Women suffer from unipolar (as opposed to bipolar or manic) depression in greater numbers than men do; twice as much by most estimates. Three times as many teenage girls as boys report having experienced an episode of major depression.

Causes

The reason or reasons why women have unipolar depression more frequently than men is less definite, due to a great extent to the fact that we don’t fully understand what causes depression, whether in men or women. Depression is a highly individual disease. Each case is different. One person’s depression may be wholly chemical, while someone else’s is brought on by events and stressful factors in her life. Yet another person may suffer depression due to a combination of chemical and environmental factors. Continue reading

‘Depression Quest’ cripples players with despondent gameplay – The Daily Californian

“Depression Quest” isn’t a typical game. It’s not even typical for an atypical game. Unlike convention-violating indie titles like “Journey” or “The Unfinished Swan,” “Depression Quest” isn’t artistic, captivating or even enjoyable. Rather, it’s a gray, text-based and emotionally draining experience about living with depression.“Depression Quest” casts the player as an ordinary 20-something with a job, a girlfriend and crippling major depressive disorder. Throughout the game, the player must make simple day-to-day choices — whether to go out with his girlfriend or how he should conduct a conversation with his mother, for example — with the catch being that the best answer or answers are crossed out and unavailable, just as they would be to someone with depression.

via ‘Depression Quest’ cripples players with despondent gameplay – The Daily Californian.

Shared Genes May Link ADHD, Autism and Depression

(HealthDay News) — Autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia may all share common genetic risk factors, a new study says.

In this largest study of its kind, researchers spotted gene variations governing brain function that may raise the risk for these often devastating mental woes. In the future, these gene variants might become key targets for prevention or treatment, the scientists said.

"This study, for the first time, shows that there are specific genetic variants that influence a range of childhood and adult-onset psychiatric disorders that we think of as clinically different," said lead researcher Dr. Jordan Smoller, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

via Shared Genes May Link ADHD, Autism and Depression.