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First-ever glimpse of 2 neutron stars colliding ushers in a new era of astronomy

CNN - 37 min 28 sec ago
For the first time, two neutron stars in a nearby galaxy have been observed engaging in a spiral death dance around one another until they collided. What resulted from that collision is being called an "unprecedented" discovery that is ushering in a new era of astronomy, scientists announced Monday.

LIGO Detects Fierce Collision of Neutron Stars for the First Time

NY Times - 39 min 45 sec ago
Seen and heard, the fireball is a stunning breakthrough into kilonovas, bursts of energy believed to produce metals like gold and uranium in the universe.

Op-Ed Columnist: The G.O.P. Is No Party for Honest Men

NY Times - 39 min 54 sec ago
Republicans on taxes: the most dishonest selling job in U.S. political history.

Trump and McConnell Strive for Comity Amid Rising Tensions

NY Times - 40 min 28 sec ago
President Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, put on a public display of bonhomie, waving aside reports of a disintegrating relationship.

Passengers say flight crew screamed as plane dropped 20,000 feet

CNN - 41 min 2 sec ago
Passengers aboard an AirAsia flight from Perth to Bali Sunday have criticized the flight crew for allegedly screaming when the plane suddenly dropped 20,000 feet.

Here's what Trump isn't tweeting about

CNN - 42 min 7 sec ago
And on the 269th day, President Donald Trump tweeted about Hillary Clinton.

Intervention gives at-risk moms ways to cope with depression

Futurity.org - 42 min 59 sec ago

Researchers have shown that a problem-solving intervention they developed significantly reduces depression symptoms in at-risk mothers.

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the US, affecting over 16 million adults in 2015, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. And when depression strikes mothers, it can negatively affect the entire family.

“We were pretty astounded … I think it confirms the growing sense that depression is a preventable illness…”

Michael Silverstein, a professor of pediatrics at the Boston University School of Medicine, and his colleagues carried out a five-year randomized clinical trial on mothers enrolled in Head Start programs around Boston who were at risk of developing depression. Head Start, a nationwide government program, offers low-income mothers of children under five access to social services such as childcare and family wellness and education programs.

They found that mothers who learned a technique called “problem-solving education intervention,” or PSE, fared significantly better than their counterparts when it came to avoiding depression symptoms over the course of a year.

According to Silverstein, in the 1990s researchers began to realize that it may be possible to prevent depression with the right interventions. But historically there have been few evidence-based preventative techniques, and such techniques are less available to low-income parents, who already lack access to good mental healthcare yet tend to suffer from higher rates of depression. And when parents become depressed, it is not only problematic for them, but also for their children.

“Across populations, children who grow up in families with chronically depressed parents have worse social outcomes and academic outcomes and behavioral outcomes,” explains Silverstein, adding that when he and his colleagues interviewed low-income parents around Boston, depression was the issue the parents mentioned over and over again.

The mothers’ feelings of sadness and demoralization largely stemmed from adverse social circumstances beyond their control. Yaminette Diaz-Linhart, a program director at Boston Medical Center’s Center for Family Navigation and Community Health Promotion and a coauthor of the study, says that previous research has documented higher rates of depression in low-income parents, typically due to the stress of poverty.

Emily Feinberg, an associate professor of community health sciences in the School of Public Health, associate professor of pediatrics, and another coauthor of the study, adds that community violence, homelessness, and lack of support all contribute to higher rates of depression among low-income mothers.

‘Sticky points’

Silverstein and his colleagues wanted to develop a practical, easy-to-deploy approach for preventing depression among low-income mothers. They decided to integrate an intervention into existing Head Start programs, choosing a simple problem-solving technique and training 15 Head Start staff members (none of whom was a licensed mental health professional) to administer it.

The technique involves six 30-to-60-minute one-on-one sessions where mothers first learn how to articulate the “sticky points” in their lives that make them feel demoralized and stressed. Then, once those daily problems are laid out, the mothers “go through a step-by-step process that involves taking big problems and boiling them down to little problems,” Silverstein says.

“What we’ve noticed is that in the first couple times, our intervention providers are talking a lot and walking people through the process, but by session number four, we’re not really necessary anymore, and so it’s really kind of transferring this skill through this process,” he explains.

Problem-solving technique

After an intensive screening process, the researchers selected 230 mothers in six of Boston’s Head Start programs who were deemed at high risk for developing depression. Half of the women learned the problem-solving technique, while the other half received regular Head Start services. Over a 12-month period, the mothers in the problem-solving group had roughly 40 percent fewer depressive symptoms, such as feelings of sadness or problems sleeping.

How treating moms for depression boosts kids

“We were pretty astounded. We weren’t expecting a result quite like that. I think it confirms the growing sense that depression is a preventable illness,” Silverstein says, adding that the study also demonstrates the value of “looking outside of conventional medical and health venues, outside of doctors’ offices and hospitals,” and tapping a nontraditional workforce of people who are not mental health specialists.

While researchers need to do more work to understand why this problem-solving technique is so good at helping low-income mothers stave off depression, Silverstein speculates that it may reduce stress by teaching mothers how to reframe problems and helping them exert more control over circumstances in their everyday lives.

Coauthors Diaz-Linhart and Feinberg say that the technique could likely transfer to all parents; a previous study Feinberg and Silverstein coauthored in JAMA Pediatrics showed the technique had similarly positive results with mothers of children with autism.

Scaling up

Heather Flynn, a clinical psychologist at Florida State University not involved in the study, is enthusiastic about what it was able to accomplish.

“One of the biggest problems in our field of maternal mental health really is getting treatments that work to people who need them,” she says. “This is very potentially high-impact because of the fact that they were able to find a creative way to get effective treatments embedded within existing services.”

Flynn also points out that mental health specialists are hard to come by in most communities (with Boston being an exception), so it is promising that the researchers successfully trained Head Start workers who were not mental health specialists to administer the intervention.

Postpartum depression fixes don’t work for all moms

Next, Silverstein and his team would like to deploy the intervention under more real-world conditions that lack the intense supervision present in a controlled study, to see if the problem-solving technique can be as effective in different contexts and on a larger scale.

“Going where the patients and families are, as sort of part of their day-to-day activities, is a potentially good strategy,” Silverstein says. “But it’s an age-old problem in healthcare: you find something that has promise; how do you scale it up?”

The researchers report their findings in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

Source: Catherine Caruso for Boston University

The post Intervention gives at-risk moms ways to cope with depression appeared first on Futurity.

President's approval rating for how he handled hurricanes dropped 20% after Maria hit, poll shows

CNN - 44 min 25 sec ago
President Donald Trump's approval rating for handling the federal government's response to recent hurricanes has dropped 20 points in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS.

Asia and Australia Edition: Ophelia, Kirkuk, Abu Sayyaf: Your Tuesday Briefing

NY Times - 44 min 34 sec ago
Here’s what you need to know to start your day.

Op-Ed Columnist: Save the Phony Weinstein Outrage, Republicans

NY Times - 46 min 50 sec ago
The movie business is corrupt and depraved. The Republican Party under Trump is worse.

Trump calls assault allegations fake

CNN - 47 min 33 sec ago
President Donald Trump says allegations of sexual assault by a former contestant on "The Apprentice" are "fake and made up." CNN's Jessica Schneider reports.

Book: Status quo trumps evidence in U.S. health care

Futurity.org - 47 min 44 sec ago

A new book argues that political incentives, doctors, and partisanship undermine evidence-based medicine in the United States.

In 2002, Eric Patashnik of Brown University came across a puzzling study in the New England Journal of Medicine, which found that a widely used surgical procedure for osteoarthritis of the knee worked no better than a sham procedure in which a surgeon merely pretended to operate.

Assuming that common medical treatments must rest on evidence of their effectiveness, Patashnik and colleagues Alan S. Gerber of Yale University and Conor M. Dowling of the University of Mississippi began to investigate why the procedure had become popular and how doctors responded to the landmark study. Over time, the researchers found that the knee surgery case is illustrative of broader problems in the US health care system and that treatments contradicted by evidence can remain the standard of care for decades.

In their new book Unhealthy Politics: The Battle over Evidence-Based Medicine (Princeton University Press, 2018), Patashnik and his coauthors look at how partisanship, political polarization, and medical authority stymie efforts to promote better, more efficient health care for Americans. The book draws on public opinion surveys, physician surveys, case studies, and political science models.

Here, Patashnik—a professor of public policy and political science who oversees Brown’s master of public affairs program—shares thoughts on evidence-based medicine and what roles doctors, politicians, and patients can and do play in this debate.

The post Book: Status quo trumps evidence in U.S. health care appeared first on Futurity.

Venezuelan Opposition Denounces Latest Vote as Ruling Party Makes Gains

NY Times - 47 min 45 sec ago
The results, with pro-government candidates winning a majority of state races, shocked many and raised new questions about the integrity of the nation’s electoral system.

Op-Ed Contributor: Tech’s Troubling New Trend: Diversity Is in Your Head

NY Times - 52 min 15 sec ago
If the goal can be achieved by hiring a group of 12 white male employees, you can guess who will remain left out.

Trump Says He’ll Consider Pulling Drug Czar Nomination

NY Times - 54 min 9 sec ago
As a congressman, Tom Marino, the president’s choice to lead the drug policy office, championed legislation to undercut enforcement efforts against the drug industry.

Trump, Weinstein, Kirkuk: Your Monday Evening Briefing

NY Times - 54 min 20 sec ago
Here’s what you need to know at the end of the day.

Chief deputy US marshal engaged in sexual activity on government property, report finds

CNN - 54 min 36 sec ago
A chief deputy US marshal was caught "engaging in sexual activity with numerous different women within government space," according to findings from a Justice Department inspector general investigation published Monday.

Mistrial in burning death of Mississippi woman

CNN - 1 hour 2 min ago
A mistrial was declared Monday in the burning death of a Mississippi teenager after a jury failed to reach a verdict.

Trump blames Puerto Rico officials for water problems

CNN - 1 hour 2 min ago
President Donald Trump defended the federal government's response to the disaster in Puerto Rico, and contended difficulty accessing food and water was due to shortcomings on local distribution.
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