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Sleep and Alzheimer's

Can disturbed sleep cause Alzheimer’s disease? Assistant Professor Adam Spira, PhD, led a study linking shorter sleep duration and poorer sleep quality to greater Alzheimer's plaque levels in the brains of community-dwelling older adults.

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  • Childhood Sex Abuse Could Accelerate Puberty in Girls, Study Finds
    A study that tracked small cohort of child sex abuse survivors over three decades say they’ve observed another phenomenon: that child sex abuse accelerates the timeline of puberty in adolescent girls. Early puberty has been linked to a higher risk of certain cancers, like ovarian and breast cancer, due to prolonged exposure to estrogen.
    Ryan Shields is quoted in CBS News.

  • Social Media is Causing Depression Among Teen Girls
    A "steady stream of research" suggests that far more girls than boys are battling major depression in their almost-adult years — and the growing psychological dependence on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and other social media may be making young women more vulnerable to mental illness.
    Ramin Mojtabai’s research is mentioned in MSN Lifestyle.

  • Loss of Spouse or Partner to Suicide Linked to Physical, Mental Disorders
    In this nationwide register-based cohort study, an increased risk of mental and physical disorders, mortality, and adverse social events were noted among people bereaved by spousal suicide. Bereavement by suicide differed from bereavement by other manners of death.  Paper published in JAMA Psychiatry by Annette Erlangsen, PhD (Adjunct). Holly Wilcox, PhD is contributing author.  View paper: http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2609649?resultClick=1
    Coverage in Baltimore Sun:  Suicide causes partners more mental, physical ailments

  • When the First Report Is Ignored, Terrible Things Happen
    Organizations serving youth need strong child sexual abuse prevention policies.
    Elizabeth Letourneau discusses her and Ryan Shields’ work at the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse in Pychology Today . They were asked to make recommendations as to how a Pennsylvania Dioceses should reform policies and procedures to make child sexual abuse prevention a focus.

  • Game Played at School May Curb Bad Habits Down the Road
    Thousands of students at dozens of schools in the region have learned to control potentially destructive behavior through a program called the Good Behavior Game, which ongoing research at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has shown has immediate rewards in the classroom and long-lasting public health benefits.
    Sheppard Kellam and Nicholas Ialongo are featured in this Baltimore Sun article.

  • Why do Myths About Vaccines Persist?
    Despite extensive scientific evidence, myths persist about the safety of vaccines, and their connection to autism.
    Dani Fallin discusses the impact these misperceptions have on autism research
    on WYPR Morning Edition.

  • The Career Pivot is the Ultimate Test of Self-Reinvention
    Andrew Feinberg is mentioned in a piece in The Washington Post about older workers reinventing themselves, which features two Bloomberg School MPH students, Jim Miller and Pauline Lubens.

  • Close Friends and Loving Relationships Keep the Brain Strong
    Having a vibrant social life may protect your brain as you age, according to a new report from AARP’s Global Council on Brain Health. The council’s review of the data shows that having close ties to friends and family, as well as participating in meaningful social activities, may help keep your mind sharp and your memories strong. Michelle Carlson's rsearch is mentioned.

  • Is a Teen Depressed, or Just Moody?
    From 2005 to 2014, the prevalence of depression — that is, the chance of having a major depressive episode over the course of a year — increased significantly among 12- to 17-year-olds in the United States and the prevalence is more intense among girls, per a recent study. Ramin Mojtabai, study lead, is quoted in The New York Times.

  • U.S. Legislation Boosted Access to Autism Services, With No Added Cost to Families
    Findings show 2008 federal 'parity' law is having desired effect, researchers say. Use of health care services by children with autism increased modestly in the wake of a U.S. law requiring equal insurance benefits for mental and physical health. But out-of-pocket costs for their families didn't rise, a new study finds. Co-authors Elizabeth Stuart and Colleen Barry are quotedin HealthDay.com.

  • Long-lasting Mental Health Isn't Normal
    Most people have at least one bout of depression, anxiety or other disorder, study suggests. A small, poorly understood segment of the population stays mentally healthy from age 11 to 38, a new study of New Zealanders finds. Everyone else encounters either temporary or long-lasting mental disorders.William Eaton is quoted in Science News.

  • Questions About Teen Depression (feat. Dr. Oz)
    The incidence of adolescent depression grew by 37 percent, and teen suicide rates, particularly among young girls ages 10-14, tripled in the past 15 years. Ramin Mojtabai's research is mentioned in NewsOK

  • Depression in Teens on the Rise
    WYPR broadcast with Ramin Mojtabai and Tamar Mendelson.
     Study leader and professor of mental health, Dr. Ramin Mojtabai says more research is needed. Then, preventing and spotting depression in teens. Hopkins psychologist Tamar Mendelson tells us what behavioral changes parents and teachers should look for.

  • Helping the Lonely and Elderly During the Holidays
    About 29 percent of people age 65 or older live alone, according to the Administration on Community Living, an agency established in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to encourage housing choice and community support for older Americans and people with disabilities.
    Joseph Gallo is quoted in The Baltimore Sun.

  • Study: Teen Violence Spreads Like A Disease
    Treating violence like a contagion through a social network can be effective.
    The Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence is mentioned in Vocativ.

  • Elizabeth Letourneau talks about child sexual abuse being a preventable public health issue at TEDMED Conference
    In her talk, she makes the argument that treating pedophilia as not solely a criminal justice issue, but as a preventable public health issue that should be addressed with more compassion.

  • The Good Behavior Game is citied in the first-ever Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health
    One universal elementary school-based prevention program has shown long-term preventive effects on substance use among a high-risk subgroup, males with high levels of aggression. (Chapter on Prevention; page 3-6)

  • Mindfulness in Schools | WYPR On the Record With Sheila Kast
    A nonprofit called the Holistic Life Foundation has been bringing mindfulness, yoga, and meditation into Baltimore public schools for nearly 15 years. Suspensions and detentions appear to have dropped as a result, and some kids have really taken the practice to heart.
    Tamar Mendelson is interviewed.

  • If you have depression, you likely aren't getting the treatment you need
    At any given moment, about 8% of adults in the US have symptoms of depression. That's far more common than cancer, heart disease, or other major illnesses. And it can lop years off of people's lives. But only about a quarter of those people ever get mental health treatment.
    Joseph Gallo is quoted in Business Inside | Yahoo! Finance.

  • There’s a Startling Increase in Major Depression Among Teens in the U.S. (TIME)
    A study led by Ramin Mojtabai is receiving broad media coverage. The study, which appears in Pediatrics, found that the rate of adolescents reporting a recent bout of clinical depression grew by 37 percent over the decade ending in 2014, with one in six girls reporting an episode, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health-led research suggests.
    To learn more, see the study.

  • Instead of detention, these students get meditation
    Children who’ve acted up can simmer down in what a West Baltimore elementary school calls its "Mindful Moment Room," a warm, brightly lit space strewn with purple floor pillows, yoga mats and the scents of essential oils.
    Tamar Mendelson is quoted in CNN International.

  • This Election Will End. The Mental Damage May Not
    Americans unnerved by the 2016 campaign may need help dealing with its consequences.
    More than half of Americans are experiencing election-related stress comparable to that often attributed to work, money, or the economy, the American Psychological Association has said. And while the good news is the presidential contest will end next week, the bad news is that because of the ferocity of the campaign, the mental damage may linger. And for some groups, it may get even worse—depending on who wins.
    William Eaton is quoted in article in Bloomberg.

  • Scientists seek better understanding of how genetic, environmental factors join forces to cause disease
    NIH-funded study co-led by Andrew Feinberg will explore effects of lead exposure.  Article in JHU HUB.

  • Ten-Year Effects of the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly Cognitive Training Trial on Cognition and Everyday Functioning in Older Adults
    George Rebok’s article on advanced cognitive training has been named the fifth most cited paper out of 155 papers for consideration in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society (JAGS) from 2000 - 2015.

  • Prevention is Possible! Exploring the Public Health Approach
    Elizabeth Letourneau’s latest Psychology Today column discusses ways to prevent children from engaging in sexually abusive behavior towards others. One third to one half of child sexual abuse is committed by other youth.

  • The Weak Evidence Behind Brain-Training Games
    Seven psychologists reviewed every single scientific paper put forward to support these products—and found them wanting. George Rebok is quoted in an article in The Atlantic.

  • FDA Black Box, VA Red Ink? A Successful Service-Connected Disability Claim for Chronic Neuropsychiatric Adverse Effects From Mefloquine
    Remington Nevin, MD, DrPH ’16,  recently had a case report published in Federal Practitioner.

  • Journal of Advances in School Mental Health Promotion names Tamar Mendelson's article as top 20 most popular with journal readers
    Tamar Mendelson's article is, Feasibility and preliminary outcomes of a yoga and mindfulness intervention for school teachers

  • Counterpoint: After Jacob, work harder to prevent child sexual abuse [Op-Ed]
    Instead of just reacting to perpetrators, create programs so they don't offend in the first place.
    Elizabeth Letourneau urges policymakers and the rest of us who want to end child sexual abuse to invest our efforts and resources. She writes in the wake of the news that 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling was sexually assaulted before he was murdered 27 years ago by Danny Heinrich.

  • Return to school means return to bullying for some, expert says
    Anxiety about going to school is really a big sign (about being bullied).
    Kathryn Van Eck, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Mental Health is interviewed by WBAL TV.

  • FDA Issues New Warning Involving Opioid-Based Prescriptions, Antidepressants
    Federal regulators say they are concerned about the increase in people taking opioid-based medications and antidepressants together.
    Colleen Barry’s research is mentioned in Healthline.

  • Malaria drug causes brain damage that mimics PTSD: case study
    The case of a service member diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder but found instead to have brain damage caused by a malaria drug raises questions about the origin of similar symptoms in other post-9/11 veterans.
    Remington Nevin is quoted in Military Times.

  • Opinion: Punishment That Doesn't Fit the Crime
    The writer urges reforms to listing juveniles on state sex offender registries. Many of the kids branded as sex offenders are guilty of nothing worse than public urination, exposing themselves or having consensual sex.
    Elizabeth Letourneau, director of The Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, is quoted in The New York Times.

  • Brain Training Cuts Dementia Risk a Decade Later
    How a brief intervention could have such long-lasting results remains unclear
    Article in Scientific American describes how for the first time ever, researchers have managed to reduce people’s risk for dementia — not through a medicine, special diet, or exercise, but by having healthy older adults play a computer-based brain-training game.
    George Rebok is quoted.

  • Marking kids for life on sex offender registries
    A new bi-partisan coalition called Just Kids is advocating for this much-needed changes to the way sex offender registries treat minors.
    Research by the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse is mentioned in an article in The Hill.

  • Rethinking the Service Delivery System of Psychological Interventions in Low and Middle Income Countries
    Laura Murray, PhD, Associate Scientist, recently published a paper in BMC Psychiatry, which presents a brief overview of the scientific progress in global mental health, and suggests consideration of an internal stepped care delivery approach.

  • For Effective Brain Fitness, Do More Than Play Simple Games
    Brain exercise classes offer useful skills to older people and are seen as helpful by many experts in improving the overall health and quality of life for participants – even though there is no known cure for dementia, or any evidence that exercising the brain in different ways can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.
    George Rebok is quoted in The New York Times.

  • Medical Marijuana Reduces Prescription Drug Use, Study Finds
    Patients fill significantly fewer prescriptions for such conditions as nausea and pain in states where medical marijuana is available, researchers reported Wednesday in one of the first studies to examine how medical cannabis might be affecting approved treatments.
    Brendan Saloner (joint faculty) is quoted in Philly.com.

  • Should a Juvenile Sex Offender be Locked Up Indefinitely?
    The segment looks at how in some states sex crime offenders in are being held years beyond their release date. Laws giving jailers discretion in releasing convicts for being too dangerous are facing increased scrutiny.
    Elizabeth Letourneau is interviewed in segment on PBS News Hour.

  • State Action Limits Opioid Addiction Treatments
    Why is Maryland's Medicaid policy coming from the secretary of corrections?
    Op-ed by Deborah Agus in The Baltimore Sun.  Deborah is an adjunct faculty in the Department of Mental Health, and executive director of Behavioral Health Leadership Institute (BHLI).

  • Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health turns 100
    From water to drugs and disease, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has studied it all.
    Those who were educated or employed by the school over the past century have had a hand in the eradication of smallpox, the chlorination formula that makes municipal water supplies safe, and the screening process that protects the nation's blood supply. They also were responsible for discovering that vitamin D prevents rickets, that penicillin treats syphilis, that HPV causes cancer and that smoking reduces life expectancy.
    Dean Klag is quoted. Faculty, past and present, are mentioned in are article in The Baltimore Sun.

  • Ron Manderscheid Receives the Howery Memorial Award from theNational Association for Rural Mental Health
    The historic and prestigious Victor I. Howery Memorial Award is given each year by the NARMH Board of Directors to an individual who has made significant and sustained contributions to the rural mental health field. We are delighted to announce that this year’s recipient is Dr. Ron Manderscheid, Executive Director of NARMH and NACBHDD.

  • Study: News Stories Often Link Violence With Mental Health Illness, Even Though People With Mental Health Illness Are Rarely Violent
    Research finds little has changed in media portrayal of mental illness over 20-year period
    Nearly four in 10 news stories about mental illness analyzed by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers connect mental illness with violent behavior toward others, even though less than five percent of violence in the United States is directly related to mental illness.To learn more, see the School’s news release and the Health Affairs article.
    “Trends in News Media Coverage of Mental Illness in the United States: 1995—2014” was written by Emma E. “Beth” McGinty, Alene Kennedy-Hendricks, Seema Choksy and Colleen Barry (holds joint in MH).

  • Nicholas Ialongo, PhD receives the SPR Presidential Award
    The Recognition and Honors Committee with nominations from the membership of the Society for Prevention Research (SPR) has selected Nick Ialongo to receive the 2016 Presidential Award.  Dr. Ialongo has been selected for his outstanding contributions to advancing the field of prevention science.
    The SPR Presidential Award is given to an individual or a team of individuals who have made a major specific contribution to prevention science research.  This award is a “lifetime achievement” award for a significant body of research or theory in any area related to prevention that has had a major impact on the field.

  • It's Autism Awareness Month
    We're lighting it up blue. But which aspects of autism most need more attention?
    Experts comment on they wished received more attention or was better understood about autism. 
    Heather Volk is featured in Psychology Today.

  • Correcting the Record: Leo Kanner and the Broad Autism Phenotype
    James C. Harris, MD, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and Joseph Piven, MD, a professor of psychiatry and director of the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, wrote the above-linked Viewpoint article in the latest edition of Spectrum, an online publication by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative.   Dr. Harris was Leo Kanner’s student during his residency training and was a successor to Kanner as director of the child and adolescent psychiatry division at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  Dr. Harris is joint faculty in DMH.

  • Suicide in America
    The suicide rate in the U.S. is at its highest level in nearly 30 years. In the 1980s and 1990s the suicide rate declined. But a new report from the Centers for Disease Control shows suicides rose by 24 percent between 1999 and 2014.
    Holly Wilcox and other suicide expert panelists explain what’s behind the rise and to talk about prevention on the Diane Rehm Show.

  • Treating Depression, Anxiety Saves Everyone Money
    Treating mental illness is not only a good medical decision, but it also makes good economic sense.
    Judy Bass
    is quoted in Healthline.

  • The fed's new 'war on drugs': Obama proposes $1.1 billion to expand care for opioid addicts
    Amid a prescription opioid abuse and heroin use epidemic largely fueled by overprescribing among doctors, President Obama has suggested allocating $1.1 billion to expand affected individuals’ access to care— a proposal that has garnered bipartisan support. Although some experts question whether throwing money at the issue will be enough, many believe that, if used properly, the funding has the potential to save lives.
    Brendan Saloner is quoted in Fox News.

  • Association of DNA Methylation Differences With Schizophrenia in an Epigenome-Wide Association Study
    DNA methylation may play an important role in schizophrenia (SZ), either directly as a mechanism of pathogenesis or as a biomarker of risk.
    Dani Fallin and Andy Feinberg are contributors in JAMA Psychiatry Online First.

  • Laysha Ostrow on Live & Learn Inc.: On the future of mental health
    A Q&A with Laysha Ostrow, founder of Live & Learn, a consulting firm that works with community and government organizations on mental health issues on Psychology Today blog: Rethinking Mental Health.
    Laysha Ostrow, PhD, is an alumna of the department.

  • Social and Emotional Readiness for Kindergarten Key to Future Academic Success
    Children who enter kindergarten behind in social-behavioral development are more likely to be held back, require more individualized supports and services, and be suspended or expelled in later grades.
    Amie Bettencourt is quoted in The Examiner. (Amie is an alum of MH and is currently Associate Faculty.)

  • The List
    When juveniles are found guilty of sexual misconduct, the sex-offender registry can be a life sentence. That misconduct can include elementary school students engaged in pranks and play.
    Elizabeth Letourneau is quoted in The New Yorker.

  • In the last months or days, these treatments can make things worse
    A look at what has research found about commonly used end-of-life interventions  -- which ones can be useful and which are not, and when should they be administered.
    Joseph Gallo is quoted.
    The story ran in other outlets, including the Bangor Daily News

  • Students Should Heed the Dangers of Speed
    If Adderall use at USC looks anything like it does at other universities, chances are, it’s everywhere.
    Ramin Mojtabai’s research is cited in the Daily Trojan (USC Student Newspaper).

  • An Ice Bucket, an Autistic Child, and a Cruel Joke
    Victimization worsens when autistic children cannot verbally express themselves.  A social media campaign aimed at raising awareness for one health problem becomes the cruel vehicle by which awareness is raised for another.
    Research led by Wendy Klag Memorial Scholar Benjamin Zablotsky, PhD ’13 (Mental Health) is mentioned in Psychology Today.

  • Adderall Misuse Rising Among Young Adults
    Prescriptions for the stimulant unchanged, but study finds more nonmedical use and emergency room visits among adults
    Study authors Ramin Mojtaibai and Lian-Yu Chen are quoted in the JHSPH News Release. The study, which appears in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry is getting broad media coverage.

  • 'Mindfulness' May Help Ease Sleep Problems for Seniors
    Mindfulness meditation may help older adults get a better night's sleep, a small study suggests. The study appeared in JAMA Internal Medicine.
    Adam Spira, who wrote an editorial published with the study, is quoted in HealthDay.com.

  • Senate HELP Committee Brings Reason, Civility and Comprehensiveness to Mental Health Reform
    Something remarkable happened at the recent US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee Hearing on Improving the Federal Response to Challenges in Mental Health Care in America. Civility, respect and a desire to be comprehensive were ever present at this hearing.
    William Eaton, who testified at the hearing, is mentioned in Huffington Post.

  • Our heroin, opioid epidemic is a national emergency, Washington needs to treat it like one
    New England is in the grip of an uncontrolled epidemic of opioid and heroin abuse, which has spread to our small towns and rural areas. As one addiction specialist put it: “It’s easier to get heroin in some of these places than it is to get a UPS delivery.” But this is also a nationwide crisis, and it requires an urgent federal response. In Congress we are advancing an emergency funding bill that would provide an additional $600 million to mobilize major new resources for prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery.
    Brendan Saloner (joint appointment in MH) is quoted in Fox News.

  • Obesity, Diabetes in Mom Increases Risk of Autism in Child
    New study offers new evidence that autism spectrum disorder risks may begin in utero
    Dani Fallin is quoted in this JHSPH News Release
    .

  • Hopkins Study Says Areas Around Drug Treatment Centers May Be Safer Than You Think
    Plans for methadone clinics and other treatment centers are often looked at with suspicion or worse by neighbors, believing they bring with them a criminal element. A new study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health finds the reverse may actually be true, that there may be less violent crime near those clinics.
    Debra Furr-Holden and Adam Milan (co-author) are quoted by WBAL.com.

  • Realizing You're a Pedophile Can Make You Want to Kill Yourself
    Pedophilia can be especially hard to live with for those who haven't committed a crime, and are forced to come to terms with an identity that most people regard as monstrous.
    Ryan Shields is quoted in Vice.

  • Peaceful Rally in West Baltimore after Porter Mistrial
    Call for peace continues in Penn-North community
    Several groups peacefully gathered there Wednesday after a mistrial was declared in the trial of Officer William Porter. He was the first of six officers to go on trial for charges related to the death of Freddie Gray.
    Philip Leaf is interviewed (at 00:52) by WBAL TV.

  • Autism's Lost Generation
    Some autistic adults have spent much of their lives with the wrong diagnosis, consigned to psychiatric institutions or drugged for disorders they never had.
    David Mandell, PhD, DMH alum, is quoted in The Atlantic.

  • The Commons Defence Select Committee recently announced an inquiry into the MoD’s use of the drug
    In response to growing concern over the dangers of Lariam, prompted by a series of reports in The Independent, the Commons Defence Select Committee recently announced an inquiry into the MoD’s use of the drug. The anti-malarial drug has dozens of psychiatric side effects including psychotic behaviour, hallucinations, and suicidal thoughts.
    Remington Nevin testified before a panel. Listen to the hearing on Parliamentlive.tv…

  • States Scale Back Juvenile Sex Offender Registries
    Driving the changes are concerns that putting juveniles’ names and photos on a registry stigmatizes them in their schools and neighborhoods and makes them targets of police. Thirty-eight states now add juveniles to sex offender registries. The remaining 12 states only add the names of youths convicted in adult courts.
    Elizabeth Letourneau is quoted in The Herald.

  • Smoking during Pregnancy Leaves a Generic Mark Imprinted in Your Baby's Blood 'that's still detectable 5 years later - and could be linked to autism'
    Smoking during pregnancy could leave damaging markers in your child's blood for at least five years after birth, experts have warned.
    Dani Fallin is quoted in Daily Mail (UK).

  • Sleep Could be the Missing Link in Dementia
    A growing body of research is exploring links among sleep deprivation, sleep disturbance and Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia. Poor sleep is a common symptom of Alzheimer's patients, particularly those suffering moderate to severe forms of the cognitive disorder. Researchers still haven't established whether the poor sleep causes Alzheimer's or is only a symptom of the incurable disease.
    Adam Spira is quoted in The Chicago Tribune.

  • Tide Turns Against U.S. Residency Restrictions on Sex Offenders
    Increasingly tough laws adopted in the United States over the past 20 years have had the unintended consequence of forcing many of the nation's 800,000 registered sex offenders into homelessness.
    Elizabeth Letourneau is quoted in Reuters.

  • Sympathy for the Deviant (Cover Story)
    The intense stigma surrounding child sexual abuse clouds an already misunderstood subject—and may ultimately prevent potential abusers from getting help before they commit harm. One convicted offender shares his story.
    Elizabeth Letourneau is quoted in Psychology Today.

  • Lack of Exercise Linked to Alcohol Misuse
    African-Americans who did not engage in physical activity were nearly twice as likely to abuse alcohol.
    April Joy Damian, PhD students, is quoted in EurekAlert! Science News.