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By Traci Pedersen

A new Dutch survey found that college students with a chronic lack of sleep experience great difficulty concentrating on their schoolwork and in turn have lower grades. Many of these students are “evening types,” those who gain more energy later in the day and into the night.

The study involved nearly 1,400 healthy students at Dutch universities and is based on a national survey by the Netherlands Association for Sleep Wake Research, Leiden University and the Netherlands Brain Foundation.

Young people require eight to nine hours of sleep in order to function properly, according to research at the National Sleep Foundation. Of the students surveyed, more than one-third reported not feeling rested enough to study properly. In fact, students who suffer from a chronic lack of sleep scored significantly lower on their final exam in the current academic year and had a significantly lower average grade than those who got enough sleep.

Of the respondents, 32 percent say they are evening types and seven percent say they are morning types (61 percent say they are neither). The evening types have more energy in the evenings than the other types and tend to go to bed later. Therefore, evening types have shorter sleeping times (eight hours and six minutes) than the average (eight hours and 20 minutes) and the morning types (eight hours and 28 minutes).

The evening types find it harder to keep their eyes open if they are sitting for a prolonged period of time in a lecture or working group and are less interested in studying because they feel too sleepy.

“’As the evening types sleep for less time every day than the average and morning types, they build up a sleep deficit over time. Evening types are more likely to have to get up in the morning while their biological clock hasn’t yet given them a signal to wake up. This can have a negative effect on the rest of the day,” says lead researcher Dr. Kristiaan van der Heijden from Leiden University.

“Regular bedtimes are extra important for these people and sleeping through to the afternoon in order to make up for lost sleep is disastrous for their sleep rhythm.”

Nearly all students agree that drinking coffee or other caffeine-containing drinks after dinner can cause sleeping problems. But there some negative habits and behaviors that many students believe are positive.

For example, 52 percent of students believe that participating in an intensive sport just before going to bed can have a positive influence on their sleep, while in fact this is not the case, as exercise raises body temperature and keeps one feeling wired and energetic. Drinking alcohol is another common misconception, as 30 percent of students believe that it affects sleep positively, while research has shown that the opposite is the case.

By Rick Nauert PhD

New research suggests that for at least some groups of “emerging adults,” sleep problems are a predictor of chronic pain and worsening pain severity over time.

Investigators say, however, that the presence of pain generally doesn’t predict worsening sleep problems during the transition between adolescence and young adulthood.

Drs. Irma J. Bonvanie and colleagues of University of Groningen, the Netherlands, believe early identification and treatment of sleep problems might help reduce later problems with pain in some groups of emerging adults.

Results of the study appear in suggests a study in PAIN®, the official publication of the International Association for the Study of Pain® (IASP).

In attempting to discover which come first — sleep problems or pain — Drs. Bonvanie and colleagues performed a “bidirectional” relationship assessment between sleep problems and pain among young adults, ages 19-22.

The study focused on overall chronic pain as well as specific types of pain: musculoskeletal, headache, and abdominal pain.

The long-term associations between sleep problems and three pain types were compared between the sexes, and the combined effects of anxiety and depression, fatigue, and physical activity were explored.

The study included approximately 1,750 young Dutch men and women who were followed for three years.

About half of young people who had sleep problems at the initial evaluation still had them three years later. At baseline, subjects with sleep problems were more likely to have chronic pain and had more severe musculoskeletal, headache, and abdominal pain.

Three years later, those with sleep problems were more likely to have new or persistent chronic pain. Overall, 38 percent of emerging adults with severe sleep problems at initial evaluation had chronic pain at follow-up, compared with 14 percent of those without initial sleep problems.

The relationship between sleep problems and pain was stronger in women than men — a difference that may start around older adolescence/emerging adulthood.

Fatigue appeared to be a modest intervening factor, while anxiety/depression and lack of physical activity were not significant contributors.

Sleep problems predicted increased severity of abdominal pain in women only. Sleep problems, however, did not predict headache severity in either sex. Abdominal pain was the only type of pain associated with a long-term increase in sleep problems, and the effect was small.

“Emerging adulthood…is characterized by psychosocial and behavioral changes, such as altered sleep patterns,” Drs. Bonvanie and coauthors write.

Chronic pain is also common in this age group, especially among women. Sleep problems might be an important risk factor for increased pain, acting through altered pain thresholds, emotional disturbances, or behavioral changes.

The new study suggests that sleep problems are significantly associated with chronic pain and specific types of pain problems in emerging adults.

“Our findings indicate the sleep problems are not only a precursor for pain, but actually predict the persistence of chronic pain and an increase in pain levels,” say the researchers.

In addition, they conclude, “Our findings suggest that sleep problems may be an additional target for treatment and prevention strategies in female emerging adults with chronic pain and musculoskeletal pain.”


Reviewer: Nancy, mom of Jason, 14
The Challenge: My son’s teachers have told me that he “spaces out” in class, and I’m worried that he will fall behind. Cell phones are prohibited in class, and a beeping alarm would be disruptive to everyone.
The Solution: The WatchMinder3 looks like a sports watch, so Jason didn’t mind wearing it to school. You can set a silent, vibrating alarm–he programmed it to go off every 20 minutes during class–as well as pre-programmed messages. He chose PYATTN (“pay attention”). The vibrating alarm nudges him out of his daydreams–at least for a few minutes. There’s also a mode for 30 daily reminders, and we set one for taking medication. The watch is rechargeable and you can create your own personal messages.

VibraLITE 3 Watch

Reviewer: Cynthia, mom of Chas, 15, and Katy, 13
The Challenge: My kids lose their watches or won’t wear them–maybe because they see them as annoying reminders from me! I want them to remember to do things on their own.
The Solution: We were mainly interested in the stopwatch function of the VibraLITE, with a silent, vibrating buzzer to notify you of the time. Katy was excited to try it, but she found it too complicated to set up. Chas figured it out easily, but the watch wasn’t his style–so Katy wore it. Katy had trouble setting the watch with one hand while wearing it on the other. Larger buttons or an easier set-up process would help. The vibrating buzzer does alert Katy to the time and helps her stay on track–when she remembers to set it.

Cadex 12-Alarm Watch

Reviewer: Stephen, dad of Jeanne, 13
The Challenge: My daughter forgets to do simple chores–taking out the garbage–and to take medication. I am tired of reminding her to do things.
The Solution: I needed something (besides me) to nag Jeanne to get things done. What I like about Cadex is the alarm, which rings every three minutes (for up to four hours), reinforced by a text message, up to 36 characters long, that appears on the face. Jeanne, even at her most distracted, can’t ignore both the auditory and visual prompts. When she finally takes out the garbage, she presses the FORWARD button on the watch to stop the alarm and text messages. At school, she takes her meds quickly when the alarm goes off, to avoid being embarrassed in front of classmates. Jeanne still doesn’t do all of her chores, but, thanks to the watch, I get an occasional reprieve from being a 24/7 nag.

Mar 12

By Neil Petersen

Today I’m an ADHD blogger. But before that I was just a guy with an ADHD diagnosis. And before that I was a guy who didn’t know much about ADHD at all.

When I finally did get diagnosed, I wondered how it took me so long to find out something that made so much sense. Part of the reason many people with ADHD get diagnosed late or not at all is that they think they know what ADHD is, and based on what they think they know they think they can’t have it.

ADHD MisconceptionsIn my case, thereare a few assumptions I made that influenced my view of ADHD before I started learning about ADHD. For anyone out there who has these misconceptions or knows other people who have them, I wanted to share them. They are:

1. Having ADHD means you can’t focus on anything

Based on the fact that ADHD is an “attention deficit” disorder, I assumed the essence of ADHD was a lack of focus and an inability to concentrate on anything.

However, more than being a simple deficit of attention, ADHD is an inability to regulate attention. When you have ADHD, you have less control over where your attention goes, so your focus will be naturally drawn towards things that are interesting/stimulating and away from things that aren’t.

In practice, what this means is that there will be some things you struggle to focus on, but there will also be some things that grab your attention. In fact, there might be somethings you can’t stop paying attention to.

That’s not to downplay the importance of inattention: in inability to sustain attention that interferes with your life is a big clue to the possibility of ADHD. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have ADHD if you can concentrate on some things, especially things you enjoy.

So having ADHD doesn’t mean you can’t focus on anything, but it does mean there will be a bigger gap between the activities you can focus on and the ones you can’t.

2. If you had ADHD, someone would have noticed by now

By the time you become an adult, it’s easy to assume that if you don’t have an ADHD diagnosis you don’t have ADHD. After all, if you did have it, a teacher, parent or doctor would have caught it when you were growing up, right?

Not necessarily!

There are many reasons ADHD can go unrecognized. Not everyone with ADHD has hyperactive symptoms, and ADHD without hyperactivity can be harder to spot from the outside. If you’re able to do alright in school despite ADHD, your parents or teachers might not have reason to suspect anything. Many people simply don’t know enough to recognize the signs of ADHD, and your doctor might not know you well enough personally to connect the dots.

You don’t know something until you know it, so you should never assume that not having an ADHD diagnosis precludes having ADHD. If you think you might have ADHD, you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain by making an appointment to talk it over with a professional.

3. ADHD is no big deal

By the time I was in high school, I was regularly hearing people use “ADD” as a cute shorthand for being scattered, disorganized or unfocused. “I’m so ADD,” “that’s so ADD,” “stop being so ADD,” you know how it goes.

The problem with trivializing ADHD this way isn’t just that it comes across as dismissive to people who really do have the disorder. It’s that for people don’t have the disorder or don’t know they have the disorder, it skews their perspective of what ADHD is.

Before I got diagnosed, I recognized I had some “quirks” in my ability to control my attention, impulses and so on (although I don’t think I would have articulated it in those terms at the time). If you’d asked me, I probably wouldn’t have even denied that I met the colloquial description of “so ADD.”

However, because I’d mostly heard traits like inattention and impulsivity discussed as trivial things, I wasn’t able to connect the dots to really see how these were symptoms that had a far-reaching impact on my life.

That said, even if I’d had a better objective understanding of ADHD, I doubt I would have been able to spontaneously acknowledge the full extent of how these symptoms were affecting my life. Denial is a powerful way of thinking, and we get used to how are lives are even when they’re not working that well.

We think of ADHD as a thing that’s different, but it doesn’t feel like a thing that’s different when you’ve had it all your life because it’s all you know – it’s like being the fish in water who doesn’t know what water is.

So if you do recognize possible ADHD symptoms in your life, don’t dismiss them and say “oh, I guess I’m just kind of ADD.” Research has shown that having ADHD profoundly alters the courses of people’s lives in terms of work, health and relationships just to name a few areas.

Learning more about ADHD and getting rid of my misconceptions has been a gradual process. Probably the biggest step forward I took in building more awareness was talking to a professional and stumbling into a diagnosis, which is why I always recommend this to other people (the talking to a professional part; the stumbling part is optional). And hopefully reading ADHD blogs can help too.

Mar 10

How Remarriage Affects Children


By Amy Bellows, PhD
When a remarriage occurs with children, it is a safe assumption that there will be some level of difficulty with their adjustment. The intensity of this adjustment period can vary greatly based on the child’s personality, divorce/custody circumstances and also the child’s age.

Here are a few things to consider about their age when you remarry with children:

Preschoolers (Ages 2-5)

Changes at this young age can be simpler for many families due to the fact that they may not remember the previous family structure and they may be more open to new people entering their life. It’s important to understand that the changes for kids this age may cause confusion. Lifelong changes such as divorce and remarriage be difficult to grasp since most young children have a hard time understanding permanent change. They may struggle with the idea that their parents will not be getting back together and they may internalize guilt, such as believing that their parent left because they did something ‘bad’.

Keeping an eye on their behavior and maintaining a sensitivity to their thoughts and feelings will help them to adjust to the new household. You may find yourself repeating the same reassurances many times with preschoolers who have fears of abandonment or guilt. Children at this age can also benefit from giving verbal assurance that they are allowed to love their step-parent and step-siblings.

Elementary School (Ages 6-10)

Just like with preschoolers, many elementary school children will carry thoughts and feelings of guilt over the divorce or creating relationships with their new step-relatives. Repeated verbal reassurance is key to helping them work through these emotions. Behavior changes may be seen such as poor grades or arguments with friends. These changes can signal emotions that they are trying to work through such as sadness over the divorce, coming to terms with the new family structure or guilt. Giving these children choices during a time when they may feel powerless can help them in their adjustment. Age appropriate choices such as hairstyle, clothes or room décor can give them areas of freedom to express themselves.

It’s important to maintain boundaries and rules during these choices – such as following school dress codes and maintaining healthy parent / child boundaries. It’s also important to remember that even if children do not verbally acknowledge the grieving process, they may be dealing with the lost illusion that their parents will someday reunite or from other areas of loss such as a reduced amount of attention from the parent. To help your children cope with these wide range of emotions it’s important to keep lines of communication open and to be understanding of their sense of loss.

Preteens (Ages 11-12)

This is the time period that generally has the highest potential for conflict in step-families. Research has shown that the hardest time period for children to adjust to remarriage is between the ages of 10-14. This is due to all of the changes a child is already working through emotionally and physically. Major adjustments to their home life can cause them to feel that they do not have a safe and consistent place to turn.

Children in the preteen years are starting to pull away in order to gain independence and to identify themselves in a new light. Preteen resentment towards authority figures is a normal occurrence in families, but this resentment can be intensified in stepfamilies. The stepparent will be the easiest target for this resentment because the child is less likely to fear rejection from them and there usually isn’t an underlining layer of unconditional love or a long relationship to lean on.

While children in this age group do need freedom to begin exploring their independence, they also need assurance of support and understanding. Forcing kids this age into situations they are uncomfortable with can cause push back so it is recommended to give them freedom of choice in safe areas. As a stepparent it can initially feel that you should back away at this time to get out of the line of fire, but Psychologist Carl Pickhardt advises the opposite reaction. He suggests that the stepparent/stepchild relationship needs more contact and time alone to grow and enforce the existing relationship. Additional time to communicate and to create positive memories can help to reduce overall conflict.

Teens (Ages 13-18)

With teens starting to understand and becoming more aware of their own sexuality and independence, seeing their parent form a romantic relationships can cause then to feel uncomfortable. Simple acts of affection may conflicts with the views they have held about their parents.

The act of bringing in a new partner and adjusting roles in the home may also result in the teenagers responsibilities or freedoms changing. New rules and adjusted boundaries can cause resentment. The level of discomfort with the roles changes will vary based on the closeness of the relationship they previously had with their parent, changes in parenting strategies and whether or not step-siblings are present. Decisions that teens may have previously been involved in now may change to include only the parent and step-parent. This can cause the child to hold anger towards their step-parent and it may cause resentment over the marriage as a whole.

Some children may choose to spend more time with the non-custodial parent during this time of transition so that they can adjust to the changes in a slower manner. Having flexibility with your teenager while they adjust to their new role and surroundings is important and can help reduce tension. Recent studies have shown that children over the age of 15 are generally not as involved with the step-family due to the lower level of active parenting they require and their likelihood of being more externally focused towards their peers. This can result in the relationship with the step-parent being more distant.

While each age has it’s own potential for conflict, understanding the unique challenges and the strengths of each age can help you to plan for the road ahead.

Mar 8

By Rick Nauert PhD

New research suggests the ability to ignore distraction is often associated with a better working memory.

Specifically, investigators from Simon Fraser University discovered differences in an individual’s working memory capacity correlate with the brain’s ability to actively ignore distraction.

A research team led by psychology professor Dr. John McDonald and doctoral student John Gaspar used EEG technology to determine that “high-capacity” individuals (those who perform well on memory tasks) are able to suppress distractors.

Conversely, “low-capacity” individuals are unable to suppress distractors in time to prevent them from grabbing their attention.

The suppressed memory capabilities has implications for individuals challenged with attention deficit disorders. Academic performance and individual safety concerns may be influenced by the attention deficits.

The research has been published in the journal PNAS.

“Distraction is a leading cause of injury and death in driving and other high-stakes environments, and has been associated with attentional deficits, so these results have important implications,” said McDonald, who holds a Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience.

The study is linked to two previous papers in 2009 and 2014 in which McDonald’s research team showed that when people search the visual world for a particular object, the brain has distinct mechanisms for both locking attention onto relevant information and for suppressing irrelevant information.

The study is the first to relate these specific visual-search mechanisms to memory and show that the suppression mechanism is absent in individuals with low memory capacity.

Source: Simon Fraser University

Mar 6

Why Some People Have Increased Risk for Anxiety


By Rick Nauert PhD

New research suggests people suffering from anxiety perceive the world in a fundamentally different way than others. Investigators believe this finding may help to explain why certain people are more prone to anxiety.

The new study, published in the journal Current Biology, shows that people diagnosed with anxiety are less able to distinguish between a neutral, “safe” stimulus.

Researchers tested their hypothesis using the sound of a tone — a stimuli that had earlier been associated with gaining or losing money.

Investigators found that when some people have emotionally-charged experiences, they show a behavioral phenomenon known as “over-generalization.”

“We show that in patients with anxiety, emotional experience induces plasticity in brain circuits that lasts after the experience is over,” says Prof. Rony Paz of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

“Such plastic changes occur in primary circuits, and these later mediate the response to new stimuli. The result is an inability to discriminate between the experience of the original stimulus and that of a new, similar stimulus.

Therefore anxiety patients respond emotionally to the new stimuli as well and exhibit anxiety symptoms even in apparently irrelevant situations. They cannot control this response: it is a perceptual inability to discriminate.”

The study was a collaboration between psychiatrist Dr. David Israeli and Paz, and it was led by Dr. Offir Laufer, then a Ph.D. student in Paz’s group.

Paz and his colleagues recruited anxiety patients to participate in the study. They trained the patients to associate three distinct tones with one of three outcomes: money loss, money gain, or no consequence.

In the next phase, the participants were presented with one of several new tones and were asked whether the tone was one they had heard before while in training. If they were right, they were rewarded with money.

The best strategy would be to take care not to mistake (or over-generalize) a new tone for one they had heard in the training phase. But people with anxiety were more likely than healthy controls to think that a new tone was one they had heard earlier.

That is, they were more likely to mistakenly associate a new tone with the earlier experience of money loss or gain. Those differences were not explained by differences in participants’ hearing or learning abilities.

Investigators explain that the participants simply perceived sounds that were earlier linked to an emotional experience differently.

Functional magnetic resonance images (fMRIs) of the brains of people with anxiety and those of healthy controls revealed differences in the activity of several brain regions. These differences were mainly found in the amygdala, a region related to fear and anxiety, as well as in the primary sensory regions of the brain.

Researchers believe these results strengthen the idea that emotional experiences induce long-term changes in sensory representations in anxiety patients’ brains.

The findings might help explain why some people are more prone to anxiety than others.

The underlying brain plasticity that leads to anxiety isn’t in itself bad, Paz says.

“Anxiety traits can be completely normal; there is evidence that they benefitted us in our evolutionary past. Yet an emotional event, sometimes even a minor one, can induce brain changes that can potentially lead to full-blown anxiety,” he says.

Therefore, understanding how the process of perception operates in anxiety patients may help lead to better treatments for the disorder.

Source: Weizmann Institute of Science

Mar 4

Alzheimer’s Risk: Do You Want to Know?


By Matt McMillen , Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH
If a test could tell whether you’ll get Alzheimer’s disease someday, would you want to know? And if so, what would you do with that knowledge?

These questions are becoming more and more important as researchers close in on tools to predict your risk of Alzheimer’s disease decades before symptoms start to appear.

“Primary care physicians, in the disease’s early stages, [eventually] could be able to say, ‘It looks like there’s a problem here’ through a blood test, a saliva test, or by looking at the retina,” says Dean Hartley, PhD, director of science initiatives for the Alzheimer’s Association. “But there’s no medical test now. It’s all in the research stage.”

For now, only genetic tests are available to the general public. They can spot genes linked to a higher risk of Alzheimer’s, such as the ApoE4 gene. But genetic tests aren’t conclusive. Not everyone whose test result says they have ApoE4 will get Alzheimer’s, and many people who don’t have that gene will get the disease.

And if you have the gene, there isn’t much you can do yet, aside from making lifestyle changes that may be preventive. “You can get the ApoE4 test at your doctor’s office, but I and many of my colleagues rarely offer it, because we don’t have any treatments to offer if we determine that patients are at higher risk,” says Alzheimer’s researcher Liana Apostolova, MD, a professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Also, knowing your risk could come with a price. Seven years ago, Jamie Tyrone learned unexpectedly that she had two copies of the ApoE4 gene.

“I went into a deep, dark hole,” says Tyrone, 55, a former nurse who lives in San Diego. “This information was very anxiety-provoking, to the point that I was diagnosed with PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder]. Knowing has done me harm.”

Tyrone says Alzheimer’s was not on her radar when she was tested for a variety of genetic disorders as part of a research study. Being unprepared for the news, she says, made her anxiety worse.
Eventually she learned to cope. She started to take better care of herself, exercising and improving her diet, meditating and doing brain-twisting puzzles purported to strengthen memory and focus. And she became involved with research into the disease. She founded B.A.B.E.S., Beating Alzheimer’s By Embracing Science, a non-profit that supports research into the disease and encourages people to get involved.

Tyrone wants others to learn from her experience.

“I’m choosing to heal by talking about it,” she says. “I don’t want people to go through what I went through.”

New Ways to Detect Alzheimer’s Disease
The biggest advance toward the early prediction of Alzheimer’s, Hartley says, is using PET scans to show the buildup of beta amyloid plaques in the brain. The plaques are a risk factor for the disease, and in the past they could be seen only during an autopsy.

“This is an opportunity to see into the live brain,” Hartley says.

The FDA has approved PET amyloid imaging for use in some clinical trials and to help diagnose dementia patients, but not to predict the development of the disease — at least not yet.

“PET imaging with amyloid will be the first way of approaching prediction,” Apostolova says. MRI will also be useful, she says, as will PET imaging for tau proteins, another sign of disease.

But, she continues, amyloid PET scans are expensive, not readily available, and they expose patients to radiation.

“What if there’s another way to get at the answer of who’s at risk?” she asks.

Research Apostolova led while at UCLA resulted in a simple blood test that picks up biomarkers — or proteins in the blood — linked to Alzheimer’s. Along with other tests, it one day may help predict the disease. She published her early findings in January in the journal Neurology.

Researchers are studying several other new tests:

A saliva test that identifies biomarkers linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
A combination of cognitive tests, MRI scans, and analysis of proteins found in cerebrospinal fluid — fluid in the brain and spinal cord that can predict mild cognitive impairment, or thinking problems, 5 years before symptoms become apparent.
Measurements of the protein neurogranin, a potential Alzheimer’s biomarker found in fluid in the brain and spinal cord.
Tests that uncover the deterioration of your sense of smell may indicate Alzheimer’s.
Eye exams that can measure beta amyloid buildup.
All of these tests remain experimental, and their effectiveness remains to be seen.

“Saliva tests, blood tests, and things like that are not ready for prime time,” Hartley says.
Knowing Your Risk
If you do learn your risk of Alzheimer’s — through a genetic test or, eventually, through one of these still-experimental tests — what can you do with that knowledge? And how would it affect you? After all, with no viable treatments available to slow, stop, or prevent the disease — only drugs that may improve symptoms in some people for a short time — there’s little doctors can offer you.

“Some people would want to know so they can plan things out, such as long-term care insurance and end-of-life decisions, while others would not want to know,” says David Salmon, PhD, of the Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the University of California, San Diego. “It’s a personal decision. It’s hard to say what the best advice would be.”

Salmon’s research suggests that knowing you’re at risk can have bad consequences. You’re more likely to rate your memory worse and do worse on a memory test than someone with the same risk who is unaware.

“We don’t think it’s depression, but we didn’t measure anxiety and stress, so we don’t know if the disclosure increased anxiety and that it’s the anxiety that causes you to have memory problems,” Salmon says.

But other research suggests that knowing your genetic risk does not up your chances of depression, anxiety, or distress. Jason Karlawish, MD, an Alzheimer’s expert and medical ethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, has studied middle-age adults with a family history of Alzheimer’s.

If people get their mood and well-being assessed before they get tested, “they have minimal problems with mood and well-being after learning the results,” Karlawish says. “We don’t have data from persons who are older and plausibly closer in age of onset to AD.”

Karlawish is involved in a study of an experimental Alzheimer’s drug known as solanezumab. The drug, made by Eli Lilly, targets amyloid plaques and may delay the onset of cognitive decline. It is now being tested on people who don’t have Alzheimer’s symptoms but whose PET scans have shown the presence of such plaques, a potential early warning sign of the disease.
It’s among several meds that may prevent or slow Alzheimer’s from getting worse that are being studied in people long before they show symptoms.

Karlawish’s previous research suggests that that knowledge may motivate people to change their lifestyles. That’s what Tyrone eventually began to do. She has improved her diet and her exercise habits, she’s at work on a book about her experiences, and she’s become involved in Alzheimer’s research, such as studies into new medication. That’s something she highly recommends — as does Karlawish — for people who know they’re at risk.

“Yes, it’s partially selfish, because you’re getting something as well as giving something,” she says. “You’re at the forefront of cutting-edge research.”

But if you don’t yet know? “I would ask them, why do you really want to know this information? And can you make changes without knowing that information?” Tyrone asks. “It may be anxiety provoking. Is it really healthy to know this information or is not healthy? What are you going to do with it?”

WebMD Health News

Mar 3

How to Survive a Child Custody Case


By Amy Bellows, PhD

The goal after divorce or separation should always be to find a way to create a peaceful environment for the kids. They deserve to have strong relationships and time with both parents without combating a parent’s guilt, resentment, anger or depression. While many couples are able to find a way to create this stable multi-home life, there are instances that instead create difficult child custody cases.

Going through a contested case is easily one of the most stressful situations you could face. By the time it gets to court, the fate of your children is largely out of your hands. Regardless of what you think is best or the recommendation from GALs or counselors, the final decision rests on the judge. A person that does not know you, your children or the whole story of your situation. For this reason alone, I’m firmly in the ‘don’t go to court unless absolutely necessary’ boat. It’s much easier in the long run if you can find a way to work it out with your ex without involving the children or the court system. Finding a way to compromise can be key to keeping the peace.

If you do find yourself in a heated court case, you will go through a range of emotions. I recently wrote about 4 common thoughts you may have based on a custody case I was involved in. It’s an emotional time full of stress, fear and a feeling of instability. The uncertainty and the waiting can wreck havoc on other parts of your life. It’s difficult to truly explain all of the emotions to someone who hasn’t had to go through it.

Here are a few lessons I learned on how to survive a contested child custody case:

Make sure you are doing it for the right reason. There are a lot of good reasons why a contested case moves forward, but there are also many bad ones. Are you truly doing this in the best interest of your children? Have all other options been explored? Are you still angry or emotional about your divorce or separation? It can be easy to misread a situation when emotions are running high. When you already feel betrayed, rejected or taken advantage of, it is possible to project those emotions on a situation when it isn’t warranted. Take the time to think through the situation objectively. Understand that the court process can be a long one and it will bring additional stress into your life and your children’s lives. Bringing a case to court should not be an emotional knee-jerk reaction.

Find a way to trust. A lot will be taken out of your control once you enter the court process. You need to be able to put your trust in something. It may be the court system, your lawyer or your faith. Whatever it is, having a level of trust will bring you comfort during the highs and lows of your case. The key to keeping order during this process is to find your center and to lean on it often.

Take care of yourself. When you get stressed it can be easy to overlook your own basic needs. You have to continue to take care of yourself at even the most basic level. Remember to eat, sleep and rely on your support system for help. Having the ear of an objective friend or family member is crucial. It’s easy to find people who will want to hear the gossip or talk bad about your ex and the entire process – you need a person who will not get emotional along side you. You need someone who can keep your feet firmly on the ground and offer you solid advice or observations. While custody cases are emotional, the court system is not. You need a way to convey clear facts and information without leaning on attacks or “look what this person did” rants.

Prepare yourself for every outcome. This is one of those situations where you hope for the best but prepare for the worst. If you can’t handle the worst case scenario then you need to seriously reconsider your approach or your entire case. The truth is, even if your case checks every box, the outcome may not be what you are looking for. You have to be prepared for all outcomes and you need to keep an open mind to compromises.

Be okay with the verdict. When all is said and done, you will have to accept whatever decision is made. Yes, there is an appeal process, but you have to be prepared to walk away at some point. Gaining an acceptance of your situation can be very freeing after months or years of questions and the unknown. Ensure you are able to close the book on this chapter when it ends and prepare yourself for moving forward with whatever the outcome may be. Even if you aren’t happy or feel that a mistake was made, your children need all of you. Being continually stuck in anger or disappointment will hurt them most of all.

Mar 1

10 Signs of Adult ADHD


Eileen Bailey Health Guide
ADHD was once considered a “childhood” disorder – something that went away as you reached adulthood. Today, we know different. We know that many adults continue to struggle with symptoms of ADHD, in their personal lives and in the workplace. For many, ADHD has gone undiagnosed, discovered only after their children are diagnosed. While the main symptoms of ADHD – inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness – remain the same, how they show up may be different. The following are 10 signs of ADHD in adults:

Lack of Focus

The typical inattention symptom of ADHD often continues into adulthood. You may find you are always starting a project – but never finishing. You may find it difficult to follow along in conversations or find you are easily distracted. You may miss important details – or details in general.


Hyperactivity in children shows up as overly energetic and has often been described as “driven by a non-stop motor.” In adults hyperactivity appears as restlessness or feeling fidgety. You may remember being a “high-energy” child.

History of Frequent Job Changes

Frequent job changes occur for two different reasons. You may have a history of being fired – your lack of attention to detail, making mistakes, personality conflicts or impulsiveness can lead to being fired from jobs. Or, you may find yourself bored with your job and constantly searching for a more interesting job. While many adults with ADHD do end up with successful careers, it can take time to find the right job to fit your skills and personality.

Difficult Relationships

Statistics show that the divorce rate for adults with ADHD is much higher than for those without ADHD. Adults indicate that forgetting important dates and details, not listening, impulsive spending and being unreliable are some of the symptoms of ADHD that cause problems in relationships.


The opposite of lack of focus, hyperfocus is when you become completely engrossed in an activity you like that you forget everything around you. You ignore those around you, lose track of time and forget about responsibilities. While hyper-focus can be an asset and may help you sometimes, at other times it interferes with relationships.


Just as disorganization is a problem for children with ADHD it is also a problem for adults with ADHD. Procrastination, lack of time-management skills, always being late, difficulty with prioritizing tasks and clutter all are signs of disorganization.

Addiction Problems

Adults with ADHD are more likely to use alcohol or drugs than the general public. Smoking is also more common in adults with ADHD – about one-fourth of the general public smokes but for adults with ADHD that number jumps to about 40 percent. [1]

Money Problems

A number of the symptoms that cause problems in other areas of your life – disorganization, procrastination, impulsiveness – can wreak havoc on your finances. You might find yourself paying late payments because you lost the bill or simply forgot to pay it. You may make impulsive purchases and then not have enough money to pay your bills.

Anger Issues

Adults with ADHD may have trouble controlling their emotions, leading to angry outbursts where you explode over trivial issues. You may find that you are angry one moment and then, as quickly as your anger appeared, it dissipates. Your family may still be dealing with your outburst but you have moved on to the next problem leaving your partner and children confused about what happened.


You don’t just forget the unimportant details, you forget important dates, to meet your spouse or friend for lunch, where you put your keys, you name it, you forget it. Forgetfulness is a routine part of your everyday life.

It is never too late to seek help for ADHD symptoms. Remember, if you have a child with ADHD, there is a good chance that either you or your spouse has ADHD as well. That is just as true if there are siblings or any other family history of ADHD. If you are having difficulty with the previous signs, talk to your doctor about what steps you can take to be assessed for ADHD.
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