The New York Times recently ran a story on how a questionnaire administered at a child’s 1-year check up can detect autism and other developmental delays. However, the test has a high rate of false positives.
Photo at left: Although the brain of a person with autism sometimes uses different areas, looking at the brain isn’t the only way to see if a child might be autistic.
Researchers examining the effectiveness of the questionnaire had pediatricians in San Diego use the tool and then followed the babies that had been identified as potentially having autism or other developmental issues. Out of the nearly 190 children they followed, 25 percent did not end up having autism or another developmental issue, according to the article.
Previous research has shown that early intervention can be more effective, so it seems that getting a diagnosis early could be useful and helpful to the child and the parents.
However, with a quarter of diagnoses being wrong, it seems like communication could play a very big role. What do you see as the role of communication? How does one communicate that a test may provide false positives and make this understandable?
Are your friends sabatoging your summer beach bod? Many research results say it’s possible, if not plausible. NPR’s Robert Krulwich asks in his blog “Krulwich Wonders…” if our friends make us fatter.
Re-reporting, from a blog by Jonah Lehrer, Krulwich discusses the stunning results of some correlational research by Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler, who analyzed 32 years of data for trends related to obesity:
Christakis and Fowler reported that when two people are friends for a long while, if one of them becomes obese, the chances that the friend will do the same increased by 57 percent. That’s a big number, far more predictive than if those two people shared genes associated with obesity, says Jonah.
Many health behavior theories note that at least somewhere in the process, peers and social factors can have some sort of influence on attitudes and actions (e.g. Social Cognitive Theory, the Transtheoretical Model, the Health Belief Model, just to name a few).
What sort of communication campaigns could we produce to target social aspects of obesity? What public policies would help attack obesity from this important angle? Do the news media give enough coverage to this component of the causes of obesity, or do they focus too much on just individual or larger societal/policy levels?
On the brink of defeat by a giant green monster machine, Captain America is saved by the heroic efforts of a nearby boy. Ends up that Captain America saves the boy, though.
The Captain America comic titled "A Little Help" by Marvel Comics uses no dialogue to tell a story of a boy who just needs a little help. Will it make a difference with its intended audience? Photo from Marvel Comics and SAMHSA.
He does this not with his strength or fancy shield and cape, but by giving the kid a phone number: 800-273-TALK (8255).
That is the number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. John Draper, director of the Lifeline, wrote in a post on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA) website that the idea for a popular comic book hero to promote suicide prevention and awareness came from the industry, not from the government;
“When I was a kid, I loved Marvel comic books. As much as I indulged my imagination in the workings of superheroes back then, I never could have imagined that, decades later, Captain America would be an ally of mine in promoting SAMHSA’s National Suicide Prevention Lifeline!”
But how exactly will a comic book help prevent suicide?
Are moms helping their daughters get more than a bronzed complexion?
Teen girls use tan beds. They tan before prom. College girls tan. They tan year-round, but mostly right before spring break. This is no breaking news.
What a recent study has revealed, though, is that the phenomenon all too jokingly called “tanorexia,” meaning when people (usually females but not always) tan way too much and increase their chances of skin cancer way too much, can be highly influenced by mothers.