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Mental Health News & Research

This page lists some useful resources related to children and mental health.


Mental Health Treatment of Children and Adolescents – Video Presentations from Penn State

Presentations from Penn State psychiatry faculty – most about 30 minutes Autism Spectrum Disorders – Raman Baweja, MD Disruptive Behaviors in Children and Adolescents – Usman Hameed, MD Mental Health Services in Schools: An Overview for PCP’s – Richard Mattison, MD Treatment of Depression and Suicide Prevention – Lidija Petrovic-Dovat, MD Treatment of ADHD in the Primary Care Setting – James Waxmonsky,...

Press Release – National conference on child maltreatment to advance innovation through data solutions

This year Penn State’s Seventh Annual conference focuses on childhood well-being through its Child Maltreatment Solutions Network and is asking others to be leaders, too. The Penn State Solutions Network’s annual network conference focused on “Strengthening Child Safety and Wellbeing through Integrated Data Solutions,” and featured over 16 nationally and internationally recognized experts in the field of child maltreatment. Held on Sept. 27 and 28 at the University Park campus, the conference hosted researchers, policy makers, child welfare professionals and members of the public. The use of technology and data-driven innovations now and over the next few years provides the leading edge in service delivery and care for children. This helps and empowers the organizations and groups in the public and private sector that work with children and families. Understanding and knowing the power of integrated data solutions brought dozens of experts and a broad range of community leaders from around the country to University Park. The conference featured sessions from leaders in the field of child maltreatment and welfare, including Penn State Professor and Solutions Network Director Jennie Noll; University of Southern California Professor Emily Putnam-Hornstein; University of Washington Professor Melissa Jonson-Reid; and University of Chicago Professor Fred Wulczyn among others. The conference looks forward and is geared toward collaborative conversation and problem-solving, making this a unique opportunity to engage with experts on these critical...

Suicide and safety issues

Suicides among young people are a serious problem. Each year in the U.S., thousands of youth commit suicide.  In 2013, suicide was the second leading cause of death for 15-to-24-year-olds, and a major cause of death for 5-to-14-year-olds. More information and resources click...

Gender Dysphoria and Gender Identity Disorders

Gender Identity Disorder (GID) is a diagnosis for individuals who perceive themselves to be of the gender opposite to their biologic sex. Treatment for dysphoria and controversies are addressed.

Depression and the Childhood Depression Inventory

Depression and the Childhood Depression Inventory Presented at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2004 Annual Meeting C Petersen, M.D., Department of Psychiatry, Penn State College of Medicine; , S Mayes, Ph.D., N Vegesna, M.D., D Mauger, Ph.D. Abstract Objective:  This study on inpatient children reports on the congruence of a clinician’s DSM-IV diagnosis versus a patient-administered scale (CDI) versus the parent’s report of depression. Methods: The sample comprised 111 children, 5 to 15 years of age admitted to our child psychiatry unit. Sixty-three of the children had a DSM-IV diagnosis of depression and 48 did not. Children completed the CDI. Results: CDI scores differed significantly (p < .0001) between children with depression and children without depression. Positive and negative predictive power were high (79% and 61%). Within the depressed group, percent agreement for depression was 81% for the child psychiatrist and child, and 81% for the psychiatrist and parent. Conclusion:  The CDI is a valuable instrument in the inpatient assessment of children and is a good predictor of depressive diagnosis. See full report in PDF format Free Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 to download and read the above PDF file (If you have an earlier version please upgrade to 5.0 for...

Autism and Genetics

Exploring Autism: the Search for a Genetic Etiology Katharine E. Yoder Penn State College of Medicine 2004   Introduction  Autistic Disorder is described in the DSM IV as having the characteristics of: Qualitative impairment in social interaction, Qualitative impairments in communication, Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, And delays or abnormal functioning in at least one of the following areas, with onset prior to age 3 years: Social interaction Language used in social communication, or Symbolic or imaginative play, And the disturbance is not described by Rett’s Disorder or Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.   Incidence à possibility of a genetic link General population: 0.04% to 0.1%, Males 3-4x > Females Twin studies: Monozygotic (MZ) and Dizygotic (DZ) –     Autism in concordance rates occurs MZ 300x> DZ –     Autism penetrance not 100% (36.3-95.7%) in MZs –     Strong arguments for genetic as well as non-genetic influences Family studies –     Risk of autism in sibling of autistic child 3% (general pop 0.1%) –     Cognitive disabilities in parents and siblings of autistic inconclusive –     Bias in studies due to less # of siblings if one autistic child in family   Chromosomal Regions of Interest  15q11-13 inverted duplication Region associated with dyslexia and genes for 3-γ-aminobyturic acid (GABA)-A receptor subunits Prader-Willi/Angelman critical region (PWACR) – two types of duplications –     proximal to PWACR, no clinical significance, familial, normal –     within PWACR, often with DD and autism, familial or de novo maternally-derived often > significance vs. paternally-derived = imprinting?   The X chromosome Fragile X: expansion of CGG repeat sequence of Xq27.3 (FMR1 gene) –     2nd most common cause of mental retardation,...

Autism and Neurology

A Review of Current Thoughts on Localized Structural Lesions in Autistic Disorder Philip Omotosho Penn State College of Medicine 2002   Definition and Epidemiology The DSM-IV diagnosis of autistic disorder requires qualitative impairments in social interaction and in communication, plus restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior. Autistic disorder (autism) is rare, occurring in 2-5 children per 10,000 live births. It is more common in males, with a male to female ratio of 3:1. Risk of recurrence in siblings is 3-5 percent, a risk about 75 times greater than that in the general population. Autism is among the group of disorders known as the Pervasive Developmental Disorders. The other disorders in the group include Rett’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, and Asperger’s disorder. Mental retardation is associated with 70 percent of cases and seizures with 33 percent. Autistic features are associated with other neurological diseases such as tuberous sclerosis, neurofibromatosis, fragile X syndrome, and phenylketonuria. These findings have led to the conclusion that there is a genetic predisposition to autism.   Structural Abnormalities in Autistic Disorder Several abnormalities have been described in the last 20 years in the study of Autism, including: Delayed maturation of frontal lobe circuitry (Zilbovicius et al., 1993) Decreased functional connections within the cerebral cortex and between the cortex and subcortical regions (Horwitz et al., 1988) Abnormalities of the dentatothalamocortical pathways (Chugani et al., 1997) These findings point not to a specific location in the brain but suggest that autism is due to connection abnormalities between neural networks that process information. The following studies have found evidence for localized structural abnormalities, which could explain clinically observed...
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