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Tag: children

Today’s Topic: Cannabis

Article Excerpt: Although lawmakers in New Hampshire won’t pass a bill to legalize recreational cannabis this year, they are grinding away at plans that might gain traction next year. They gave a study commission until Dec. 1 to recommend a path forward, with an implied mission to satisfy the demands of Governor Chris Sununu, who dropped his opposition to legalization in May. Sununu, a Republican, signaled support for a model that would give the state control over marijuana distribution, marketing, and more… Jacob T. Borodovsky, Ph.D., a senior research scientist at Dartmouth’s Center for Technology and Behavioral Health, said Sununu seems to have the right idea about striking a balance to protect public health. While the blanket criminalization of cannabis has been harmful and should end, a purely laissez-faire approach to drug policy would be harmful as well for individuals and society alike, Borodovsky said. “There’s no correct answer. There’s only trade-offs,” he said. “And the trade-offs that you’re willing to accept depend on the values of the community that is making these decisions.”

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Article Source: Boston Globe New Hampshire Morning Report


Preventing mental illness in children that experienced maltreatment the efficacy of REThink online therapeutic game

David OA & Fodor LA. Preventing mental illness in children that experienced maltreatment the efficacy of REThink online therapeutic game. npj Digit. Med. 6, 106 (2023).

This article reports on a randomized controlled trial to test the efficacy of REThink, an online therapeutic game, compared to usual care in preventing mental illness in children who have experienced maltreatment. REThink was developed based on a transdiagnostic cognitive-behavioral therapy and has an action and adventure approach to learning and practicing therapeutic tasks. Each REThink level/session is completed weekly using a mobile device under the supervision of study staff. Children aged 8-12 years with self-reported maltreatment history (N=294) were recruited from schools. Participants completed pre- and post-intervention assessments measuring mental health, emotion regulation, and irrational cognitions. In the REThink group, 65% of the children completed all of the levels/sessions of the game and 18% dropped out from treatment. The REThink intervention arm was found to have a significantly lower level of emotional problems (d=0.42, p=0.001), mental health problems (d=0.35, p=0.007), maladaptive emotion regulation strategies (catastrophizing: d=0.41, p=0.002; self-blame: d=0.26, p=0.017) and irrational cognitions (d=0.54, p<0.001) compared to the control arm post-intervention. Additionally, children with higher maltreatment severity benefitted the most from the REThink game and children with lower parent attachment security benefited the least. Future research is needed to test the long-term efficacy of the REThink game.


Recreational Cannabis Has Arrived in Minnesota. What Are Its Health Benefits, Risks?

Article Excerpt: Despite its use in medicine, cannabis is a cause for concern for some clinicians, especially when they consider the developing brains of children and young adults. It is also an understudied substance, due in part to its federal classification as a Schedule 1 drug, limiting what we know, scientifically, about its potential benefits and harms on the human body. “Cannabis is not one drug,” said Jacob Borodovsky, a senior research scientist at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. “The cannabis plant itself, we’ve identified over 150 cannabinoid compounds that are present in the cannabis plant. THC and CBD are just two of those 150 or more identified compounds.” So, what do we know about cannabis and its health impacts?

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Article Source: Post Bulletin


The Digital Wellness Lab Aims to Mediate Between TikTok and Parents

Article Excerpt: As some states try to regulate children’s social media use and TikTok emerges as a geopolitical chew toy, a new clearinghouse has emerged for mediating between tech companies and those concerned about their products’ impact on kids: the Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

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Article Source: Axios


Implementation fidelity of the Promoting First Relationships intervention program in a Native community

Booth-LaForce C, Oxford ML, O’Leary R, Rees J, Petras A, Buchwald DS. Implementation fidelity of the Promoting First Relationships intervention program in a Native community. Transl Behav Med. 2023 Jan 20;13(1):34-41. doi: 10.1093/tbm/ibac060. PMID: 36227860; PMCID: PMC9853091.

An evidence-based parenting intervention called Promoting First Relationship (PFR) was evaluated for implementation fidelity in a Northern Plains Native community. PFR is a preventive program for primary caregivers and their young children based on attachment theory. Ten sessions are delivered weekly for an hour through home visits conducted by trained providers who are tribal members living on the reservation with at least a relevant bachelor’s degree. Each week has a specific theme and includes a check-in, reflection time, observation of video recordings, and handouts on the child’s behaviors, feelings, and needs. This study analyzed data from a randomized controlled trial of 162 primary caregivers and their children (10-30 months old) who were assigned to the PFR intervention or the control condition (referral to local resources). PFR providers were trained in a two-day in-person workshop and then, online intensive training and pilot sessions. All trainees were required to pass fidelity checks with three families to be certified. Researchers measured implementation fidelity using a checklist on adherence to content, scoring quality of delivery in video-recorded sessions, number of PFR sessions completed, and participant satisfaction. On average, adherence to PFR content was very high (mean=0.99 out of 1.00; SD=0.02) and quality of delivery exceeded established criteria. Despite high attrition which occurred before intervention delivery (28.40%, N=23), the remaining participants completed all 10 intervention sessions. Additionally, participants reported high satisfaction with the program (mean=3.90 out of 4, SD=0.19). Overall, high implementation fidelity of the PFR intervention was achieved in a Native community using in-person and remote online training and video feedback.


CBT Smartphone App Aims to Address Depression in Teens

Article Excerpt: Researchers recently created a brand new CBT smartphone app that will provide young people with multiple ways to address and handle their mental health problems. A study group will now be assembled to assess the effectiveness of the smartphone application in relation to its ability to combat depression. Adolescents are struggling with depression at higher rates today than ever before. Researchers believe that the stress of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting peer isolation and disruption to school life is to blame. Other factors cited include an ever-growing presence on social media and pressure to conform to impossible celebrity standards. Thus, any way in which technology can help depressed teens minimize symptoms is much-needed. Through the use of interactive and self-guided therapy, the ClearlyMe app will use the power of cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, on teenagers from all over the country. The technology contains 37 “short lessons” that will touch upon the basics of CBT and the power it has to change thinking and alter core beliefs in those who use it.

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Article Source: Legal Reader


As Student Mental Health Needs Soar, Schools Turn to Telehealth

Article Excerpt: In the southwestern suburbs of Denver, the Cherry Creek school system has been tackling the mental health crisis gripping students here, as in the rest of the country. Social workers and psychologists are based in schools to help. But this month, the district debuted a new option: telehealth therapy for children.

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Article Source: The Washington Post


Parent-Based Prevention of Bullying and Cyberbullying During COVID-19 Social Distancing: A Pilot Intervention using the MOST Framework

Doty J, Gabrielli J, Abraczinskas M, Giron K, Yourell J, Stormshak E. Parent-Based Prevention of Bullying and Cyberbullying During COVID-19 Social Distancing: A Pilot Intervention using the MOST Framework. J of Prevention 43, 719–734 (2022).

This pilot study investigated satisfaction and acceptability of an evidence-based parenting intervention enhanced to address bullying and cyberbullying. The Everyday Parenting intervention focuses on content on positive reinforcement, monitoring daily activities, setting limits, negotiation, and positive parenting. This program was enhanced with intensive role playing, social emotional coaching, and media parenting components. The pilot was delivered via video teleconferencing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thirty-two parents (88% female) with children ages 9-12 years old participated in weekly online 60-minute sessions for 8 weeks. Eligibility for free- or reduced-price lunch was met by 56% of participants. Thirty of the parents completed all the sessions. Researchers examined participant satisfaction and qualitative analyses to explain outcomes and explore participant acceptability. Average satisfaction with individual sessions was high (3.93 on 4-point scale). Qualitative findings reinforced and explained quantitative findings. Participants found the intervention and virtual delivery acceptable and gave feedback to strengthen the focus on bullying and cyberbullying topics. There were non-significant differences in satisfaction and delivery in families eligible for free- or reduced-priced lunch. Overall, parents found the enhancements to Everyday Parenting program acceptable. It was also feasible to deliver the program through video conferencing with parents. The increase in technology engagement due to the COVID-19 pandemic will potentially increase the importance of online safety for children.


Evaluation of an artificial intelligence-based medical device for diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder

Megerian JT, Dey S, Melmed RD, Coury DL, Lerner M, Nicholls CJ, Sohl K, Rouhbakhsh R, Narasimhan A, Romain J, Golla S, Shareef S, Ostrovsky A, Shannon J, Kraft C, Liu-Mayo S, Abbas H, Gal-Szabo DE, Wall DP, & Taraman S (2022). Evaluation of an artificial intelligence-based medical device for diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. NPJ Digital Medicine, 5(1), 57–57.

Researchers conducted a double-blinded, multi-site, active comparator cohort study to test the accuracy of artificial intelligence software for diagnosing autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The software device collects data about child behavioral features from 3 sources (caregiver questionnaire, analysis of two short 1 minute home videos recorded and uploaded by the child’s caregiver, provider questionnaire). Data are processed using a machine learning algorithm to indicate whether a person is ASD positive, ASD negative, or inconclusive (i.e., inputted data are not sufficient for a predictive output). Researchers evaluated the software in a study with 425 children aged 18-72 months for whom a caregiver or provider had a concern about developmental delay. Researchers compared the software outputs to the clinical standard (diagnosis made by a provider based on DSM-5 criteria). Results demonstrated that data collection with the software device took less time to administer and require less specialty training relative to clinical standard process. For about 33% of the sample, the algorithm output supported accurate diagnoses compared with clinical evaluation. Of the children for whom the software algorithm made a definite evaluation, 98.4% with clinically diagnosed ASD received an ASD positive result and 78.9% without a clinical diagnosis of ASD received an ASD negative result. All children who received a false-positive result (n=15) had a non-ASD developmental condition. Only one child received a false negative result in this study. Overall, this machine learning tool demonstrated high sensitivity and good specificity for diagnosing ASD. The tool can potentially expand the ability to effectively diagnose children with ASD in primary care to facilitate early intervention and more efficient use of specialist resources.