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Sleep Apnea in Children Tied to Changes in Brain

In children with a common condition that causes them to periodically stop breathing during sleep, areas of the brain involved with thinking and problem-solving appear to be smaller than in children who sleep normally, a study finds.

Researchers can’t say the brain changes actually cause problems for children at home or school, but they do say the condition, known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), has been tied to behavior and cognitive problems.

“It really does seem that there is a change in the brain or that the brain is affected,” said study author Paul Macey, who is director of technology and innovation at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Nursing.

Macey and colleagues write in Scientific Reports that up to 5 percent of all children are affected by OSA. The condition causes the child’s airway to become blocked, which ultimately causes the brain to go without oxygen for short periods of time and may wake the child up.

Previous studies on lab animals and adults with OSA have shown changes in the brain due to nerve cells dying, they add.

For the new study, the researchers used magnetic resonance imaging to analyze the volume of children’s gray matter, which is the outermost layer of the brain that allows for higher levels of functioning like problem solving.

They compared brain scans from 16 children with OSA and 200 children without the condition. All the youngsters were between 7 and 11 years old.

Overall, children with OSA had decreases in gray matter volume in areas of the brain important for controlling cognition and mood, compared to the other children.

Macey, who is also affiliated with the UCLA Brain Research Institute, said it’s unclear how closely changes in the brain are connected to behavior, cognition and other issues.

“We know these two things are happening, but we’re not sure how much the reduced gray matter tracks with poor scores,” he told Reuters Health.

The researchers also can’t say exactly why OSA is tied to reduce gray matter volume among children. A lack of oxygen may kill off brain cells or it may stop the brain from properly developing, for example.

Macey’s team wants to see whether treating the condition helps children get back on track with their healthy peers.

“If we did that we would know better how people recover from it or not,” he said.

Dr. Eliot Katz, of Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, said previous research shows treating OSA by removing tonsils and adenoids improves children’s school performance, behavior and sleep-related issues. Evidence is mixed on whether it improves cognition.

Katz, who wasn’t involved with the new study, said the previous research on problems faced by children with OSA – like behavior and cognition – is fitting nicely with the brain imaging studies.

“This is really the first large, really well controlled study that has found decrements in gray matter in children with obstructive sleep apnea,” he told Reuters Health.

He said parents should discuss symptoms of OSA with children’s healthcare providers. Those symptoms include chronic snoring and gaps in breathing while they sleep.

“Sleep complaints are often not addressed in well child care visits,” he said, or in training programs for pediatricians.

He advises parents to “take a brief phone video of the breathing pattern that’s concerning to them and show it to their pediatrician.”

Macey said daytime tiredness and mood issues can also be symptoms of OSA. Children who are overweight and obese are at higher risk for the condition.

By Andrew M. Seaman (Reuters Health) 
 
source:    bit.ly/2mY9IFX        Scientific Reports, online March 17, 2017.        www.reuters.com


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Does TV Hinder Kindergarten-Readiness?

Lower-income kids harmed more by excess screen time than affluent children, study finds

One big factor holding kids back as they enter kindergarten may sit in the family living room: the television.

New research suggests that youngsters who watch a lot of TV – or other screens – are less ready for school than those who don’t.

“Given that studies have reported that children often watch more than the recommended amount, and the current prevalence of technology such as smartphones and tablets, engaging in screen time may be more frequent now than ever before,” lead author Andrew Ribner said in a New York University news release. He’s a doctoral candidate in NYU’s department of applied psychology.

In the new study, Ribner’s team tracked the school-readiness of 800-plus kindergarten students, testing their thinking, memory, social-emotional, math and literacy skills.

kids-watching-tv

Watching TV for more than a couple of hours a day was associated with lower skills, according to the study. The finding was especially strong among low-income children.

The researchers suggest that parents limit children’s TV time to less than two hours a day. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends less than an hour a day of TV viewing for children aged 2 to 5.

Ribner’s group couldn’t say why poorer children seemed harmed more than richer kids by excess TV time. However, the researchers noted that earlier studies have found that kids in higher-income homes watch more educational programming and less entertainment. Affluent parents may also have more time to watch TV with their children, discussing and helping them understand what they’re viewing.

“Our results suggest that the circumstances that surround child screen time can influence its detrimental effects on learning outcomes,” said study co-author Caroline Fitzpatrick, of the University of Sainte-Anne in Canada.

The study was published March 1 in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics.

By Robert Preidt      HealthDay Reporter    WebMD News from HealthDay
WEDNESDAY, March 1, 2017 (HealthDay News)
source:     New York University, news release, March 1, 2017      www.webmd.com


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Why Kids Younger Than 12 Don’t Need OTC Cough And Cold Remedies

The common cold season is here, and if you have children, you will likely feel their suffering from these annoying upper respiratory tract viral infections. Children experience more colds, about six to 10 annually, than adults. With each cold producing symptoms of nasal congestion, runny nose, cough and mild fever lasting up to seven to 10 days, it may seem that children are nearly continuously sick.

Parents certainly want their ill children to feel better, and they, naturally, want to help. A frequent solution is over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, which are heavily advertised to treat many maladies, including colds. A stroll down your local pharmacy OTC drug aisle will highlight the numerous OTC drug products available for adults and children.

It is tempting to buy one or more of these products to help your child. However, for children younger than 12 years of age, it is best not to use commonly advertised OTC cough and cold drug products. These products lack supportive clinical study efficacy and safety data, an issue I’ve studied as a professor of pharmacy practice.

Children are not just small adults

When treating children with OTC or prescription drugs, it is important to understand that young children differ significantly from the adult population with respect to drug efficacy and adverse effects.

Over the past 30 years, we have learned much more about pediatric pharmacology and drug action and behavior, known as pharmacokinetics, and differences compared to adults. Prior to this, and even today to some extent, health care professionals assumed that drugs functioned and behaved similarly in children as in adults.

Based on this assumption, health practitioners often only reduced the amount of a drug to a child based on a proportion of the child’s body weight to an adult. For example, a provider would prescribe 50 percent of an adult drug dose for a child with 50 percent body weight of an adult. The efficacy of OTC cough and cold product active ingredient, as demonstrated in adult studies, was assumed to be similar in children.

However, we have learned, and are continuing to learn, that this strategy is not accurate and can be dangerous. Most drugs are not specifically studied and evaluated in children prior to their labeling by the FDA and availability to the public.

A safe and effective drug dose and dose schedule (how often a drug dose is given) is derived from these formal studies and evaluations. But without these formal studies, pediatric-specific drug pharmacology is not accurately evaluated and determined. In addition, a physician can legally prescribe any drug for a child, even if there aren’t data supporting its efficacy and safety in children.

OTC drugs regulated differently than Rx drugs

FDA regulation of OTC drug products differs from prescription drug regulation. Active ingredients in OTC drug products are evaluated and approved by therapeutic category, such as the cough and cold therapeutic category. In a major undertaking begun in 1972, the FDA has been reviewing OTC drug product categories for safety and efficacy, and it continues to do so.

Pediatric OTC cough and cold products have seen significant regulatory changes in recent years. In 2007, several health care experts petitioned the FDA to carefully review pediatric efficacy and safety data of OTC cough and cold products, requesting that these products be specifically labeled not for use in children younger than six years of age.

sick_kid

In 2008, the FDA recommended that OTC cough and cold products not be given to children younger than two years old. The trade group representing OTC drug product manufacturers, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, additionally announced that these products would be labeled “not for use” in children younger than four years old. The FDA agreed, and this remains the current status of pediatric age labeling for OTC cough and cold products.

In addition, reviews of the medical literature indicates that OTC drug ingredients are actually ineffective in reducing cold symptoms in children. OTC cough and cold products can be dangerous to use as well, with more than 100 deaths of infants and young children described in published reports where these products were the sole cause or important contributive causes.

Although several doses of pediatric OTC cough/cold products are unlikely to be toxic, these reports have described scenarios where the products were used inappropriately, by administration of doses too large, doses given too frequently, measurement of liquid doses inaccurately (too much) or administration of similar active ingredient drugs given from numerous OTC products resulting in accumulative large doses.

These mistakes were easily made by parents, considering the difficulty in accurately measuring out small liquid doses and a desire for the drugs to help (more is better).

A word of caution regarding codeine

Recent studies and recommendations have significantly altered our use of another drug historically used to treat cough in children – codeine. It is an opioid, and it is still available over the counter in some cough medicines in some states. It is available in all states as prescription products.

We have learned in recent years that codeine is metabolized differently from subject to subject. Codeine alone has very little useful pharmacologic activity, but the liver chemically alters it into its active form, morphine, and another chemical. Morphine is dangerous, as it suppresses breathing. It must be used cautiously even in adults.

For many years, codeine has been used for treating pain and cough in children and adults. Recent evaluations, however, have determined that its clinical efficacy for these uses is inferior to other available drugs. We have learned that the amount of morphine produced from codeine liver metabolism can vary widely from person to person, a result of genetic differences.

Some individuals may convert codeine to a lot of morphine, while others may convert codeine to much less morphine. Evidence has accumulated over the past 10 years demonstrating that codeine can produce a significant decrease in breathing in some infants and children.

More than 20 cases of fatal respiratory depression have been documented in infants and children. In 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a warning on the dangers of administering codeine to infants and children, recommending that its use for all purposes in children, including cough and pain, be limited or stopped.

Try these remedies instead

When your child next suffers from a cold, instead of reaching for an OTC cough and cold product, use an OTC nasal saline drop or spray product to help with nasal congestion. You can also run a cold air humidifier in his or her room at night to additionally help loosen nasal congestion. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be given as needed for fever.

If your child is coughing enough to be uncomfortable or to prevent nighttime sleep, try giving honey, so long as he or she is one or older. Honey has been recently shown by several clinical studies to be an effective cough suppressant, and is likely to be much safer than codeine and OTC cough and cold products.

These therapies have been endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. When using these treatments in infants and young children, it is always wise to speak with your child’s pediatrician first, as several more serious illnesses may initially produce symptoms similar to those of a common cold.

November 23, 2016     Edward Bell       Professor of Pharmacy Practice, Drake University

 


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TV Ads May Spur Snacking in Kids as Young as Two

Mindless snacking in front of the television set may start long before children know how to work the remote control, a U.S. study suggests.

In an experiment with 60 kids aged 2 to 5 years, researchers focused on how advertising influences what’s known as eating in the absence of hunger.

They gave all the children a healthy snack to make sure they had a full belly, and then sat the kids down to watch a TV program with ads for Bugles corn chips or for a department store.

All of the kids had Bugles corn chips and one other snack in front of them while they watched the show. Children who saw ads for the corn chips ate 127 calories on average, compared to just 97 calories for kids who didn’t see Bugles on the screen, researchers report in Pediatrics.

“This is the first study to show that exposure to food ads cues immediate eating among younger children – even after they had a filling snack,” said lead study author Jennifer Emond of Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.

“Young children average up to three hours of TV viewing a day,” Emond added by email. “If kids are exposed to food ads during that time, they may unconsciously over consume snacks which can lead to extra weight gain.”

More than one third of U.S. children are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends against any screen time for children younger than 18 months and suggests no more than an hour a day for kids aged 2 to 5 in part to encourage language development, support healthy sleep habits and limit sedentary activity that can set preschoolers on a path toward obesity.

The type of TV program matters too. The AAP encourages educational programming like “Sesame Street” that can support language learning.

For the experiment, researchers sat kids down to watch a 14-minute segment of “Elmo’s World” that included three minutes of advertising.

kids-watching-tv

Before the show started, all of the kids could snack as much as they liked on banana, sliced cheese and crackers. They also got water to drink.

Children were randomly assigned to view ads for national department stores or to watch Bugles spots that showed kids playing and eating the corn chips.

While the shows played, kids were given bowls of Nabisco Teddy Grahams and Bugles corn snacks.

There wasn’t a meaningful association between how much kids ate during the program and their age, weight or the way their parents typically supervised mealtime at home.

In particular, researchers looked at whether parental feeding restrictions – which can include things like pressuring kids to eat or prohibiting certain foods – and didn’t find any association between these practices and the amount of snacks kids consumed in the experiment.

One limitation of the experiment is that it included mostly white, affluent rural kids, which may make the results less relevant to the broader population of U.S. children, the authors note.

Young children can also be unreliable when they tell adults whether they are full, so it’s possible some children who claimed they had enough to eat before watching TV were actually hungry, the researchers also point out.

Even so, the findings should give parents another reason to limit children’s exposure to media that comes with advertising, said Dr. Julie Lumeng, a researcher at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital who wasn’t involved in the study.

“Many children’s programs are now instead using product placement to advertise,” Lumeng added by email. “Parents should also pay attention to how product placement occurs in the television programs or other media their young children may be watching.”

Age 2 may be too young to understand how ads can influence behavior, Lumeng noted.

“But parents can consider gradually introducing the power of advertising to young children as a strategy for helping their children resist the effects of these ads,” Lumeng said. “Ultimately limiting the child’s exposure to the ads is the key strategy.”

 By Lisa Rapaport    Reuters Health

 SOURCE: bit.ly/2fCqsMF Pediatrics, online November 21, 2016.

 source: http://www.reuters.com


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Why We Need to Teach Kids Emotional Intelligence

For years, I’ve taught a weekly psychology class to students ranging from 7 to 14 years-old. In this class, I encourage self-reflection, asking kids to identify and express what they think and feel and to consider the thoughts and feelings of others. The results are often surprising. Strong, self-aware statements come out of their mouths that I don’t always expect. “I feel bad about myself in class. I worry I’ll be slower than everyone else.” “I’m angry when my dad won’t take time to help me with my homework. It makes me not want to try anymore.” “I hate it when my friends don’t want to play with me. So, I yell, but that just makes it worse.”

Too often, we tend to think of our kids as less sophisticated and incapable of processing or understanding the emotional complexities of their world. We think we’re protecting them by not bringing up the trickier, less pleasant subjects. But I can tell you firsthand that kids absorb a tremendous amount. Pretty much as soon as they’re verbal, children can be taught to identify and communicate their feelings. In a trusted environment where emotions are talked about openly, most kids will speak freely about their feelings and are quick to have empathy for their peers.

With their brains growing at a rapid rate, all children are constantly noticing, reacting, adapting and developing ideas based on their emotional experiences. This leaves me to wonder why we give our child an education in so many subjects, teaching them to sound out words and brush their teeth, and yet we fail to equip them with an emotional education that can dramatically improve the quality of their lives.

When you teach kids emotional intelligence, how to recognize their feelings, understand where they come from and learn how to deal with them, you teach them the most essential skills for their success in life. Research has shown that emotional intelligence or EQ “predicts over 54% of the variation in success (relationships, effectiveness, health, quality of life).” Additional data concludes that “young people with high EQ earn higher grades, stay in school, and make healthier choices.”

At this year’s Wisdom 2.0, I felt inspired by a talk by Dr. Marc Brackett, the Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, who talked at length about the importance of teaching kids to know their emotions. The Center has developed the RULER program for schools. RULER is an acronym that stands for Recognizing emotions in self and others,Understanding the causes and consequences of emotions, Labeling emotions accurately, Expressing emotions appropriately and Regulating emotions effectively. The program has been shown to boost student’s emotional intelligence and social skills, productivity, academic performance, leadership skills and attention, while reducing anxiety, depression and instances of bullying between students. RULER creates an all-around positive environment for both students and teachers, with less burnout on both ends.

ruler

These five RULER principles run parallel in many ways to social intelligence pioneer and author of Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More than IQ, Daniel Goleman’s five components of emotional intelligence. You can see how each of these elements would contribute to an individual’s personal success and sense of well-being.

  • Self-awareness. Knowing our own emotions.
  • Self-regulation. Being able to regulate and control how we react to our emotions.
  • Internal motivation.  Having a sense of what’s important in life.
  • Empathy. Understanding the emotions of others.
  • Social skills. Being able to build social connections.

As parents, when we don’t have a healthy way of handling emotions ourselves, we have trouble teaching our kids to handle theirs. That is why the change starts with us. Fortunately, all five components of emotional intelligence can be taught and learned at any age. There are many tools and techniques that can help us and our children start to identify and understand the emotions of ourselves and others. This process begins with recognition, because it’s only when we notice where we’re at that we’re able to shift ourselves to where we want to be.

When we acknowledge the profound influence of emotions in our lives, we inspire a new attitude toward self-awareness and mental health. We can then start to ask broader questions, like how can we create a movement to increase the emotional intelligence of future generations?

One place to start is with mindfulness. Studies have found that a mindfulness  practice can help reduce symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety in children. It can also increase gray matter density in regions of the brain involved in emotional regulation. Another study  of adolescents found that yoga, which can increase mindfulness, helped improve student’s emotional regulation capacity.

On a systemic level, we can help raise the emotional intelligence of future generations by working together to get our schools to implement programs like RULER. On a face-to-face level, as parents, teachers, friends and caretakers, we can open up a dialogue and encourage kids to express what they’re feeling. We can teach them what co-author of Parenting from the Inside Out Dr. Daniel Siegel often refers to as “name it to tame it,” in which children learn that naming their feelings can help them get a hold on them. We can also talk more about our own feelings, being honest and direct about the times when we feel sad, angry or even afraid.

When we mess up or act out with or around our children, instead of trying to sweep it under the rug, we should acknowledge what occurred in us and repair any emotional damage we may have caused. In taking these each of these steps, we create an environment in which our children can continually make sense of their emotions and experiences. This skill set is perhaps the largest predictor of not only their success in life, but more importantly, their happiness.


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Mental Health In Schools: A Hidden Crisis Affecting Millions Of Students

You might call it a silent epidemic.

Up to one in five kids living in the U.S. shows signs or symptoms of a mental health disorder in a given year.

So in a school classroom of 25 students, five of them may be struggling with the same issues many adults deal with: depression, anxiety, substance abuse.

And yet most children — nearly 80 percent — who need mental health services won’t get them.

Whether treated or not, the children do go to school. And the problems they face can tie into major problems found in schools: chronic absence, low achievement, disruptive behavior and dropping out.

Experts say schools could play a role in identifying students with problems and helping them succeed. Yet it’s a role many schools are not prepared for.

Educators face the simple fact that, often because of a lack of resources, there just aren’t enough people to tackle the job. And the ones who are working on it are often drowning in huge caseloads. Kids in need can fall through the cracks.

“No one ever asked me”

Katie is one of those kids.

She’s 18 now. Back when she was 8, she had to transfer to a different school in Prince George’s County, Md., in the middle of the year.

“At recess, I didn’t have friends to play with,” she recalls. “I would make an excuse to stay inside with the teachers and finish extra work or do extra credit.”

We’re not using Katie’s last name to protect her privacy. She’s been diagnosed with bulimia and depression.

She says that in the span of a few months, she went from honor roll to failing. She put on weight; other kids called her “fat.” She began cutting herself with a razor every day. And she missed a ton of school.

“I felt like every single day was a bad day,” she says. “I felt like nobody wanted to help me.”

Katie says teachers acted like she didn’t care about her schoolwork. “I was so invisible to them.”

Every year of high school, she says, was “horrible.” She told her therapist she wanted to die and was admitted into the hospital.

During all this time, she says, not a single principal or teacher or counselor ever asked her one simple question: “What’s wrong?”

If someone had asked, she says, she would have told them.

Who should have asked?

We talked to educators, advocates, teachers and parents across the country. Here’s what they say a comprehensive approach to mental health and education would look like.

The family

The role: The first place to spot trouble is in the home, whether that trouble is substance abuse, slipping grades or a child who sleeps too much. Adults at home — parents, siblings, other relatives — are often the first to notice something going on.

The reality: Many families do not know what to look for. Sometimes a serious problem can be overlooked as “just a phase.” But it’s those sudden changes — angry outbursts, declining grades, changes in sleeping or eating — that can signal problems. When something unusual crops up, families can keep in close touch with the school.

child struggling

The teacher

The role: During the week, many students see their teachers even more than their own families. Teachers are in a prime spot to notice changes in behavior. They read essays, see how students relate with other kids and notice when they aren’t paying attention.

The reality: Teachers already have a ton on their plates. They’re pressured to get test scores up, on top of preparing lessons and grading assignments. Plus, many teachers receive minimal training in mental health issues. But when they do see something concerning, they can raise a flag.

The social worker

The role: Social workers act like a bridge. If teachers come to them with a concern — maybe a child is acting withdrawn — one of the first things they’ll do is call home. They see each child through the lens of their family, school and community. They might learn that a family is going through a divorce or homelessness.

The reality: There aren’t enough of them. According to one model, every school should have one social worker for every 250 students. The reality is that in some schools, social workers are responsible for many more.

The counselor

The role: In some schools, counselors focus solely on academics: helping students pick classes and apply to college. But in others, they also act a lot like social workers, serving as a link to families and working with students who need support.

The reality: Like school social workers, there just aren’t enough counselors. On average nationwide, each counselor is responsible for nearly 500 students. The American School Counselor Association recommends a caseload nearly half that size.

The special education teacher

The Role: Special education teachers may start working with students when a mental health problem affects the ability to do school work. They are primarily responsible for working on academic skills.

The reality: Again, there aren’t enough of them. Nearly every state has reported a shortage of special education teachers. Half of all school districts say they have trouble recruiting highly qualified candidates.

The school psychologist

The Role: Here’s one job that, on paper, is truly dedicated to student mental health. School psychologists are key players when it comes to crisis intervention and can refer students to outside help, such as a psychiatrist.

The reality: If you sense a pattern here, you’re right. In the U.S., there is just one school psychologist for every 1,400 students, according to the most recent data available from the National Association of School Psychologists.

The school nurse

The role: Most any school nurse will tell you, physical and mental health are tough to separate. That puts nurses in a prime spot to catch problems early. For example: A kid who comes into the nurse’s office a lot, complaining of headaches or stomach problems? That could be a sign of anxiety, a strategy to avoid a bully, or a sign of troubles at home.

The reality: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least one nurse for every 750 students, but the actual ratio across the country can be much higher.

The principal

The role: As the top dogs in schools, principals make the big decisions about priorities. They can bring in social-emotional, anti-bullying and suicide-prevention programs.

The reality: Principals also have a lot on their plates: the day-to-day management of student behavior, school culture and teacher support.

Getting help, and “excited for life”

Katie says things started to turn around for her when she met a nurse at the Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C., who finally showed interest in what was wrong.

Now, she’s begun college and wants to be a pediatric nurse.

“I’m doing a lot better now” she says. ” Obviously, I mean, I’m a lot happier. I’m excited for school. I’m excited to graduate. I’m excited for life.”

August 31, 2016    MEG ANDERSON     KAVITHA CARDOZA
Part One in an NPR Ed series on mental health in schools.
 
source: www.npr.org


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This One Childhood Experience Turns Out to Have Major Consequences Later in Life

According to results of a new study, you might want to rethink before moving your family around at a vulnerable time.

In 2014, according to a United States national census, more than 11% of Americans relocated across state borders. In our mobile society, this might seem like par for the course—no cause for alarm. But what about the effects such internal migration has on children later in life? Washington Post writer Christopher Ingraham recently asked this very question. His conclusion: In the long run, it’s bad for the kids.

For the article, Ingraham drew on the findings of a recent study published by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that addressed the effects of moving one’s family around. In the study, a team of researchers conducted a comprehensive analysis using information gathered from everyone in Denmark born between 1971-1997 (which is only marginally less impressive when you consider that the country is around a third the size of New York state.) The team looked at the ratio rates of “attempted suicide, violent criminality, psychiatric illness, substance misuse, and natural and unnatural deaths” within this data set.

Their conclusion? Based on the “uniquely complete and accurate registration of all residential changes in [Denmark’s] population,” the team found that moving during childhood was directly tied to an increase in all of these measured negative outcomes later in life. And repeated moves in the course of a year — even worse. The team further found that children are most vulnerable at ages 12-14, with those who moved at 14 experiencing double the risk of suicide by middle age.

Young man in the dark

As Ingraham duly noted, however, while the study took into account parents’ income and psychiatric history as a control, the data was unable to provide information on the reasoning behind the moves. Ingraham illustrated this flaw by pointing to previous research conducted in the United States, which shows that beyond the act of moving itself, environment plays a far greater role in childhood development and its implications for adulthood. In other words, the positive effects of moving during childhood to a less violent neighborhood far outweigh any negative consequences. Of course, this oversight could also be attributed to Denmark having a generally lower rate of violent crime.

One of the study’s findings likely to carry more weight in the U.S. and abroad concerns the effects of changing schools. For these purposes, the study only considered moves across municipal boundaries, which meant a change in the child’s school district. Here the authors concluded:

“Relocated adolescents often face a double stress of adapting to an alien environment, a new school, and building new friendships and social networks, while simultaneously coping with the fundamental biological and developmental transitions that their peers also experience.”

Overall the results of the research are pretty damning. How much they directly apply contextually to other countries such as the United States is less clear. The study’s authors conceded that “the findings may not apply universally beyond Denmark, although it seems likely that they are relevant to other western societies with similar drivers of residential mobility.”

It seems pretty logical that changing one’s living environment during the onset of puberty could have lasting psychological consequences, and families that need to do so should take into account the hardship it presents to their growing children. Any direct link to higher risks of other negative consequences later on in life may be harder to establish.

Robin Scher is a freelance writer from South Africa currently based in New York.
He tweets infrequently @RobScherHimself.
By Robin Scher / AlterNet June 15, 2016