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 Posted September 23, 2003 

(May 21, 2003) Eastman Kodak Company donated patents to McLean Hospital, the largest psychiatric research, clinical care and teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, for the development of new diagnostic technology for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Kodak’s System Concepts Center developed the ADHD Rapid Check technology, which could lead to a new process for the objective screening of ADHD, one of the “most commonly diagnosed (and misdiagnosed) psychiatric disorders in children.” Dr. Martin H. Teicher M.D., Ph.D, world-renowned physician and developer of objective testing for physiological and psychological disorders, also directs McLean Hospital’s Developmental Biopsychiatry Research Program. He will head the research, which could “help lay the foundation for improving the speed and accuracy of ADHD tests.” Donology LLC assists major corporations when donating their non-core technology portfolios to suitable research institutions and assisted with this donations from Kodak.

(July 17, 2003) The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Press Office, 301-443-4536, reports: 43 percent of people who suffered multiple stressful life events over 5 years developed depression when they had the “short,” or stress-sensitive version of serotonin. Only 17 percent developed depression in the group who had the “long” protective version of the gene, regardless of the number of stressful events endured. The research, partly funded by NIMH, also showed those with the stress-sensitive version of the gene were at higher risk for depression if abused as children. Drs. Avshalom Caspi and Terrie Moffitt, University of Wisconsin and King’s College London, and colleagues published their in the July 18, 2003 edition of Science. The serotonin transporter gene has been a prime suspect in mood and anxiety disorders, yet its link to depression eluded detection in eight previous studies. Although the short gene variant appears to predict who will become depressed following life stress, a gene’s effects may only be expressed, or turned on, in people exposed to the requisite environmental risks. [more...]

(August 2003) Researchers from the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center at the Medical University of South Carolina, show a high percentage of adolescents between the ages of 12 to 17 have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive episodes and alcohol and drug dependency. Based on interviews of 4,023 youth, alcohol and other drug misuse and addiction was prevalent in eight percent of the boys and six percent of the girls. The study was published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. [Study...]

How Much Exercise is Too Much?
(August 2003) The latest research shows “anybody less than 12 years old is better off doing exercises with just their body weight,” according to James Villepigue, certified trainer and author of The Body Sculpting Bible For Men (Hatherleigh Press, 2001). 13 year olds can start with weights that are light enough to allow 20-30 reps per set and can also add dumbbells, for the next two years. At age 15 they can start increasing the weight they lift, but should stay within 13-20 reps. For the next three years, they should concentrate on perfecting their exercise technique and form, only increasing the weight when they can do over 20 repetitions easily. “Teens under eighteen should not go to absolute muscular failure or use any fancy weight training techniques,” Villepigue warns, “since there is still some bone growth and development occurring in their bodies. Remember, strenuous and heavily weighted exercise can interfere with the growth process.”

(August 6, 2003) Education Week reports a popular business book, Good to Great, by Jim Collins, has become popular reading among many in education circles. It is an analysis of the traits of companies that have achieved enduring success. Educator fans are advocating that the successful traits described in the book are what is needed for a school system to survive the increased pressures for performance.

Lack Direction? Evaluate Your Brain’s C.E.O.
(August 26, 2003) Intelligent people who lack the ability to plan, organize, complete projects and delay gratification have neurological abnormalities, according to neuroscientists. The neurological difficulties affect “the brain’s C.E.O,” which controls an array of “executive functions,” that maintain a mental image of destination, orchestrating memory, language and goal directed activity. Executive dysfunction is something of a “disability du jour,” according to Christopher Murphy, an official at Landmark School in Prides Crossing, Mass., which works with language-based learning disorders. Dr. Martha Bridge Denckla, a neurologist at the Kennedy Krieger Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine says, “What fascinates me is kids who go off to college with perfect SAT’s and then flunk out in their first year because there is too little structure for their scattered minds. `On your own’ is a death knell for these kids.” Executive functions involve the frontal lobes of the cerebral cortex. This is the last area in the brain to mature, is not fully developed until people are in their 30’s and is extremely vulnerable to injury or disease. Genetic factors probably also have a role. Researchers believe attention disorders and impaired executive function stem from a developmental flaw in the self-regulation mechanism of the brain. External cues and supports can teach the stronger parts of the brain strategies to compensate for the dysfunction, according to Dr. Denckla: “adults with executive deficits can be relatively successful, as long as there is another human being - a co-author, a teacher, a wife - who acts as an auxiliary frontal lobe to keep them on track.” [more...]

Universities in Decline
(August 26, 2003) Public colleges and universities, which grant more than three-quarters of this country’s degrees, have been steadily undermined by state budgets and have responded by raising tuition beyond the reach of many poor and working-class families. Some universities have begun to “cannibalize themselves by increasing class size and cutting course offerings, making it difficult for students to find the courses they need to graduate.” [more...]

New Research Uncovers Changes in the Brains of Cocaine Users
(August 27, 2003) A new study “suggests that people who regularly use cocaine experience structural changes in areas of their brains related to higher thought and impulse control. The National Instituted on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 301-443-6245, supported a study of “chronic cocaine users relative to cocaine-naive controls suggests that addiction may be accompanied by a disruption of brain structures critical for the higher-order, cognitive control of behavior.” The study, published in the August 27th issue of the Journal of Neuroscience reports: certain brain areas critical for cognitive control were less active in chronic cocaine users compared to nonusers.

(August 30, 2003) Fall tuition increased 39 percent at the University of Arizona, 30 percent at the University of California, 28 percent at the State University of New York and 25 percent at the City University of New York. The average tuition during the last decade, at both public and private four-year colleges grew nearly 38 percent, adjusted for inflation. Tuition at public campuses is still well below private ones, an average of $4,081 compared with $18,273 at private institutions, according to the College Board. In response to increases, Illinois recently adopted a law guaranteeing that public college tuition will not increase from the time a state resident enters college, so long as the student remains continuously enrolled. In Washington, there is a proposal to penalize both public and private colleges for increases that exceed inflation by a designated amount. [more...]

zero-tolerance discipline significantly increases student arrests
(September 2003) The Washington-based Advancement Project, reports a nationwide study shows the rise of zero-tolerance discipline policies has led to significant increases in student arrest rates. For example, the study reports a 300% increase in arrests between 1999 and 2001 in Florida’s Miami-Dade school district.

(September 2003) According to the Harvard Mental Health Letter, September 2003, schizophrenia is more common in men than in women, as is autism and most other developmental brain disorders. A meta-analysis of pooled data from 39 published research studies shows that men have a 42% higher rate of schizophrenia. Separate calculations based on studies that corrected for possible biases show the male excess to be “genuine and could be a clue to the origins of schizophrenia.” Source: Aleman A, et al. Archives of General Psychiatry (June 2003); Vol. 60, No. 6, pp.565-71.

Rising Demands for Testing Push Limits of Its Accuracy
(September 2, 2003) An increasing number of testing flaws are being reported in the annual testing being required as a result of President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act. In Nevada, a test error caused 736 juniors and sophomores to fail that state’s high school exit exam. In Georgia, officials cancelled statewide exams for more than 600,000 fifth graders when the third error in three years was discovered in the tests. In Minnesota, when almost 8,000 students got incorrect scores as a result of testing errors, and the case ended up in court. Educators and some testing industry experts warn that new testing demands are pushing the limits of the testing industry’s ability to provide fair and accurate tests. In January 2002, when President Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act, calling for increased annual testing in grades three through eight by the 2005-06 school year, the testing industry had “just weathered the three most error-plagued years in its history. Many experts warn that the increased testing and tight deadlines of the education law will trigger a spike in human errors unless greater attention is paid to quality control issues. Because errors can have such life-altering consequences” for students and schools, a few critics are even calling for federal or an independent oversight of the industry. [more...]

Man Charged With Raping Girl He Met on Internet
(September 4, 2003) A mother’s suspicions led to the arraignment on charges of rape and sodomy of a 20-year-old Long Island, NY man who authorities said had formed an online relationship with a 13-year-old girl. The case was the latest in a string of Internet sex crimes that the Westchester district attorney, Jeanine F. Pirro, has pursued in recent years, leading to the convictions of a former school board member, a Yonkers official and many others. “This is another example of how pedophiles are using the Internet to make contact with our children,” Ms. Pirro said in a news conference. They are not merely exchanging “indecent materials with them and arranging to meet them,” she said, “but they are actually raping and sodomizing these kids.” The man, Ricardo Brice, communicated with the girl over four months via an America Online chat room, officials said. Then, at the end of July, he went to the girl’s house, where they had sexual relations - considered rape and sodomy under the law because of their ages. Investigators from the district attorney’s high-tech crimes unit assumed the identity of the 13-year-old online and established computer contact with Mr. Brice. [more...]

The Case for Smaller Schools
(September 18, 2003) The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced it will provide seven nonprofit organizations across New York City with $51.2 million, with the aim of creating 67 new schools. New York City has been in the forefront of a national movement aimed at converting “large, factory-style schools often with thousands of students, into smaller public schools where students have closer contact with teachers. Nearly three-fifths of the grant announced this week for small schools will go to New Visions for Public Schools, a pioneering group that has already started 41 small public schools in collaboration with the New York City Department of Education, its union partners and a philanthropic consortium consisting of the Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Open Society Institute. These schools are run with public dollars. National data on small schools shows that they tend to be quieter and safer, with fewer dropouts and higher graduation rates. This trend held true last year in poor areas of the Bronx, where ordinary high schools, some with enrollments of 3,000 or more, had lower success rates on state exams — and drastically higher dropout rates — than the New Visions schools, which have enrollments ranging from roughly 75 to 150 students.” [more...]

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