Large twin study suggests that language delay due more to nature than nurture

A study of 473 sets of twins followed since birth found that compared to single-born children, 47 percent of 24-month-old identical twins had language delay compared to 31 percent of non-identical twins. Overall, twins had twice the rate of late language emergence of single-born children. None of the children had disabilities affecting language acquisition.

University of Kansas Distinguished Professor Mabel Rice, lead author, said that all of the language traits analyzed in the study—vocabulary, combining words and grammar—were significantly heritable with genes accounting for about 43 percent of the overall twins’ deficit.

(Photo: Telethon Kids Institute, Perth, Western Australia)

Mothers of children with autism benefit from peer-led intervention

(Photo: U.S. Army)

Peer-led interventions that target parental well-being can significantly reduce stress, depression and anxiety in mothers of children with disabilities, according to new findings.

In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers from Vanderbilt University examined two treatment programs in a large number of primary caregivers of a child with a disability. Participants in both groups experienced improvements in mental health, sleep and overall life satisfaction and showed less dysfunctional parent-child interactions.

Why so many kids can’t sit still in school today – Washington Post

(Photo: FEMA Photo Gallery)

The Centers for Disease Control tells us that in recent years there has been a jump in the percentage of young people diagnosed with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD: 7.8 percent in 2003 to 9.5 percent in 2007 and to 11 percent in 2011. The reasons for the rise are multiple, and include changes in diagnostic criteria, medication treatment and more awareness of the condition. In the following post, Angela Hanscom, a pediatric occupational therapist and the founder of TimberNook, a nature-based development program designed to foster creativity and independent play outdoors in New England, suggests yet another reason more children are being diagnosed with ADHD, whether or not they really have it: the amount of time kids are forced to sit while they are in school.

Adolescent alcohol abuse disrupts transitions into early adulthood

 

  • Adolescent alcohol abuse is known to be associated with adverse outcomes in early adulthood.
  • It is unclear how much of this association is due to the influence of differences in familial background and shared genetics.
  • New findings implicate a significant causal relationship between elevated drinking problems at age 18.5 and more adverse life outcomes at age 25 that cannot be fully explained by shared genetic and environmental liabilities.

Prior research has shown strong associations between adolescent alcohol abuse and adverse outcomes in early adulthood. A first-of-its-kind study of linkages between adolescent alcohol abuse and adverse adult outcomes has examined the influence of differences in familial background and shared genetics on this association; findings are consistent with a causal relationship between adolescent drinking and subsequent alcohol-related adult problems that cannot be fully explained by shared genetic and environmental liabilities.

(Photo: Jakob Montrasio)

Experts balk at large trial of stem cells for autism – SFARI

Early animal studies have shown that stem cells isolated from umbilical cord blood can stimulate cells in the spinal cord to regrow their myelin layers, and in doing so help restore connections with surrounding cells. Autism is thought to result from impaired connectivity in the brain. Because of this, some groups of children with the disorder may benefit from a stem cell transplant.

But others are skeptical of the approach. Autism is a complex disorder with many possible causes. Also, it’s unclear how stem cells derived from cord blood can improve connections in the brain. Given these important caveats, it’s too soon to conduct a test of this scale and investment, some experts say.

“It’s probably premature to run large trials without evidence that they have a therapeutic effect that [we] understand,” cautions Arnold Kriegstein, director of the Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at the University of California, San Francisco.

(Photo: kurtislizandchauncey )