Perspectives: Early Puberty Linked To Mental Health Concerns; SPARK Giving Insight Into Autism Questions
Editorial pages delve into these public health issues and more.
Mental Health Issues In Kids Can Be Linked To Early Puberty. Parents Need To Be Prepared.
Being uncomfortable and self-conscious could be synonyms for puberty. Less universal was her experience of entering that transitional state before reaching an age in the double digits — which only compounds many of the traditional difficulties associated with pubescence. Now Brusie is a mother of five. And in our current era, early puberty — defined as starting before age 8 in girls and age 9 in boys (the average ages are 11 and 12, respectively) — is on the rise. That means parents like her have to have conversations and attend to these life-altering changes earlier than previous generations. Failing to do so could end up intensifying the mental health challenges and social dislocation kids face, as studies suggest these difficulties can be associated with early puberty and can persist into adulthood and beyond. (Dr. Connie Chang and Dr. Juli Fraga, 5/2)
How Big Data Are Unlocking The Mysteries Of Autism
When I started my pediatric genetic practice over 20 years ago, I was frustrated by constantly having to tell families and patients that I couldn’t answer many of their questions about autism and what the future held for them. What were the causes of their child’s particular behavioral and medical challenges? Would their child talk? Have seizures? What I did know was that research was the key to unlocking the mysteries of a remarkably heterogeneous disorder that affects more than five million Americans and has no FDA-approved treatments. Now, thanks in large part to the impact of genetic research, those answers are starting to come into focus. (Wendy Chung, 4/30)
The Boston Globe:
Gender-Affirming Care Offers A Model For All Of Health Care
A patient once told me how she was forced to live in the world as a man, after having come out as a woman years earlier. Let’s call her “Sara.” She had to “retransition” because she could not find a psychiatric provider willing to write a letter granting her permission for surgery and did not feel safe as “a woman with a beard living on the streets.” My patient was a victim of a cycle of discrimination that started with a lack of access to basic gender-affirming care, leading to a lifetime of substance abuse, mental struggle, and an inability to find a place to call home. (Dalla Ducar, 5/3)
People Recover From Addiction. They Also Go On To Do Good Things
The news about addiction — rising rates of addiction, record numbers of overdose deaths, and the like — tends to be bleak. As clinicians and researchers, however, we have the good fortune to often see its bright side: recovery. (David Eddie and John Kelly, 5/3)
Georgia Health News:
It’s Time To Address Health Inequities In Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is called the “silent killer” because it is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths and is often diagnosed in its later stages. It is generally associated with cigarette smoking, though it can be caused by pollutants in the air. Additionally, lung cancer has an especially large impact on communities of color, which is why we must work together to end social and health inequalities contributing to disparities in cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment and research. (Rochelle Smalls and Dr. Daniel Miller, 4/30)
FDA 'Master Plan' Will Affect NIH Funding For Digital Medicine Work
The term B.C. took on a new meaning — Before Covid — last year when almost everything we knew changed. Among those changes is the way health care research and development are being conducted after the way Covid-19 vaccines were developed and brought to market. While it’s true that a good deal of research on the use of mRNA technology — the secret sauce in two of the Covid-19 vaccines authorized so far in the U.S. — is more than a decade old, the speed with which those vaccines were developed and authorized for widespread use was unprecedented. (Shira Machluf, 5/3)