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Latest News Around the Web

Veterans Affairs Official Says Department Is Working To Fix Suicide Hotline

The AP (4/4, Yen) reports Steve Young, a Department of Veterans Affairs deputy undersecretary, testified before the House Veterans Affairs Committee that the department has improved the operation of its suicide hotline. Young said that calls are now answered within eight seconds on average and that it was now “rare” for calls to be bumped to a backup center.

Related Links:

— “VA DEFENDS WORK TO FIX TROUBLED VETERAN SUICIDE HOTLINE,” HOPE YEN, Associate Press, April 4, 2017.

Psychology Professors Skeptical Of Video Game Addiction.

In an opinion piece, psychology professors Christopher J. Ferguson, of Stetson University, PhD, and Patrick Markey, PhD, of Villanova, wrote in the New York Times (4/2, SR6, Subscription Publication), “A large-scale study (4/3, Subscription Publication) of internet-based games recently published in the American Journal of Psychiatry bears out our skepticism about” video game “addiction.” The pair wrote, “Using the American Psychiatric Association’s own metrics for ascertaining psychiatric disorder, the study’s researchers found that at most one percent of video game players might exhibit characteristics of an addiction and that the games were significantly less addictive than, say, gambling.” The study also revealed that nearly “none of those classified as being possibly addicted to video games experienced negative outcomes from this addiction.”

Related Links:

— “Video Games Aren’t Addictive,” CHRISTOPHER J. FERGUSON and PATRICK MARKEY, New York Times, April 1, 2017.

Couples Raising Autistic Children Spend Less Time Together

HealthDay (3/31, Pallarito) reported couples raising children with autism may spend less time together than couples who are raising children without autism, according to a study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Researchers found that couples raising a child with autism on average spent “21 fewer minutes a day with their partner than a comparison group of parents.” The study, which included 174 couples with a child with autism and 179 couples without a child with autism, was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

Related Links:

— “Parents of Kids With Autism May Sacrifice ‘Couples Time’,” Karen Pallarito, HealthDay, March 31, 2017.

Johns Hopkins Withdraws From Marijuana Study Over Dispute Concerning Federal Rules

The Washington Post (3/31, Gregg) reported, “Johns Hopkins University has pulled out” of a study to test whether marijuana can “treat post-traumatic stress disorder.” A spokeswoman for Johns Hopkins “said the university’s goals were no longer aligned with those of the administrator of the study, the Santa Cruz-based Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS),” while “a spokesman for MAPS said the dispute was over federal drug policy, and whether to openly challenge federal rules that say medical cannabis research must rely on marijuana grown by the federal National Institute on Drug Abuse.”

Related Links:

— “Johns Hopkins was ready to test pot as a treatment for PTSD. Then it quit the study.,” Aaron Gregg, Washington Post, April 2, 2017.

Adults Who Self-Harm May Be At Increased Suicide Risk Over The Next Year, Research Suggests.

HealthDay (3/31, Preidt) reported, “Adults who self-harm appear to be at increased risk for suicide over the next year,” researchers found after examining “Medicaid data on more than 62,000 people in 45 states diagnosed with an initial self-harm episode between 2001 and 2007.” The findings were published online March 21 in the American Journal of Psychiatry, a publication of the American Psychiatric Association.

Related Links:

— “Self-Harm Can Be a Harbinger of Suicide,” Robert Preidt, HealthDay, April , 2017.

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