Kids’ Checkups Should Include Cholesterol, Depression Tests, Doctors Say

HealthDay News — Doctors should test middle school-age children for high cholesterol and start screening for depression at age 11, according to updated guidelines from a leading group of U.S. pediatricians.Doctors should also test older teens for HIV, the AIDS-causing virus, the revised preventive-care recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics say.The new screening schedule provides “the recommended content for a well-child visit,” said Dr. Joseph Hagan, co-editor of the guidelines. “Some changes are small, some will get people’s attention.”

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New evidence that chronic stress predisposes brain to mental illness

University of California, Berkeley, researchers have shown that chronic stress generates long-term changes in the brain that may explain why people suffering chronic stress are prone to mental problems such as anxiety and mood disorders later in life.Myelin is stained blue in this cross section of a rat hippocampus. Myelin, which speeds electrical signals flowing through axons, is produced by oligodendrocytes, which increase in number as a result of chronic stress. New oligodendrocytes are shown in yellow. Image by Aaron Friedman and Daniela Kaufer.Their findings could lead to new therapies to reduce the risk of developing mental illness after stressful events.Doctors know that people with stress-related illnesses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD, have abnormalities in the brain, including differences in the amount of gray matter versus white matter. Gray matter consists mostly of cells – neurons, which store and process information, and support cells called glia – while white matter is comprised of axons, which create a network of fibers that interconnect neurons. White matter gets its name from the white, fatty myelin sheath that surrounds the axons and speeds the flow of electrical signals from cell to cell.

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5 Signs You Might Have Winter Depression – ABC News

Sick of the snow yet? Bad news: There’s more on the way. Much more.

While the flurries are fun for some, an estimated 14 percent of Americans battle the winter blues. And almost half of those people (more women than men) have full-on seasonal affective disorder or SAD – a form of depression more common in the colder months.

via 5 Signs You Might Have Winter Depression – ABC News.

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Children Who Lose Close Relative at Risk of Mental Problems: Study

HealthDay News — Children who experience the death of a family member are at slightly increased risk for psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia later in life, a large new study reveals.The risk is highest among children who had a sibling or parent commit suicide, according to the findings published Jan. 21 in the online edition of the BMJ.Researchers analyzed data from nearly 947,000 children born in Sweden between 1973 and 1985. Of those children, 33 percent experienced the death of a family member before they reached age 13. More than 11,000 children were exposed to death from suicide, more than 15,000 to death from accidents and more than 280,000 to death from natural causes.

via Children Who Lose Close Relative at Risk of Mental Problems: Study.

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Parent behaviors linked to kids’ anxiety, depression | Reuters

(Reuters Health) – Young people whose parents tend to fight with each other or are over involved in their kids’ lives are at increased risk of depression and anxiety, according to a new comprehensive review of past studies.

Kids tend to first experience depression or anxiety between ages 12 and 18, the authors write. They reviewed 181 papers published on potential links between how parents behave and which young people experience either disorder.

via Parent behaviors linked to kids’ anxiety, depression | Reuters.

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