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Latest News Around the Web

VA Says Goal Of Ending Homelessness Among Veterans Is Within Reach

USA Today (12/29, Vogel) reports, “Halfway into an ambitious five-year campaign to end homelessness among veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs says it has made enough progress that the goal is within reach, even as a new generation of veterans returns from Iraq and Afghanistan.” Over the past two and a half years, the VA has aggressively used a “voucher program” to house “more than 33,000 veterans.” The VA “did so by changing its longtime policy of requiring homeless veterans to be successfully treated for substance abuse and mental ailments before being given apartments.”

To curb homelessness among returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, the VA has allocated $160 million in grants to non-profit community agencies to prevent low-income from falling into homelessness. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said, “We’ve learned we can’t end homelessness by street rescues alone.”

Army Changes TBI Treatment

The CBS Evening News (12/28, story 7, 2:30, Ward) reported that the US Army is changing treatment for troops that suffer from traumatic brain injury (TBI). Previously, soldiers that suffered mild concussions during battle continued fighting, which “sometimes” caused “serious long-term health issues.” Now, all concussions are treated. Army Capt. Amy Gray, an occupational therapist, said, “What we found is within the first 24 hours, if we can get them down, get them a good night’s sleep, the symptoms usually go away.” Since Gray arrived in Afghanistan last May, she’s treated nearly 200 soldiers for TBI and under her care, most have returned to battle within a week.

Eating Disorders May Continue Into Adulthood.

HealthDay (12/29, Thompson) reports, “Unhealthy eating patterns adopted in adolescence or teen years often continue into adulthood, according to a University of Minnesota study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The study, which followed 2,287 kids as they grew into young adults, found that more than half of the girls had unhealthy eating patterns that continued into their mid- to late 20s.”

Now, “more and more middle-aged and older people are coming forward to receive treatment for eating problems that began in their youth and have been reignited by adult stress or personal crises,” HealthDay points out.

Mother and child bond may affect teen obesity

The Los Angeles Times (12/27, Stein) “Booster Shots” blog reported, “The quality of a mother’s relationship with her toddler could affect that child’s weight in adolescence,” according to a study published in the January 2012 issue of the journal Pediatrics. The study, which included some 977 children, “was based on observing how mothers interacted with their children when they were 15, 24 and 36 months old, then following up with those kids when they turned 15 to check levels of obesity.” The researchers looked at “two aspects of the relationship: attachment security…and maternal sensitivity.”

“Teens are more likely to be obese if they had a poor emotional relationship with their mother when they were toddlers, according to a new study,” HealthDay (12/26, Preidt) reported. “The analysis showed that the children’s risk of obesity at age 15 was highest among those who had the lowest-quality emotional relationship with their mothers when they were toddlers, the Ohio State University researchers said.” The study found that “more than one-quarter of the toddlers who had the lowest-quality relationships with their mothers were obese as teens, compared with 13 percent of those who had closer bonds with their mothers in their early years.”

Medscape (12/27, Hitt) reported, “After adjusting for sex and birth weight, the risk for adolescent obesity was found to be 2.45 (95% confidence interval, 1.49 – 4.04) times higher in those with the worst relationship (score, ≥3) compared with those considered to have the highest-quality relationship (score, 0).” In addition, the researchers found that “compared with insecure attachment, low maternal sensitivity was more strongly associated with obesity.” Study “researchers suggest that maternal sensitivity could protect against obesity by ‘improving children’s ability to modulate their physiologic and behavioral responses to stress.'” WebMD (12/26, Mann) andReuters (12/28, Joelving) also covered the story.

IQ May Improve With More Schooling In Children.

USA Today (12/28, Reinberg) reports, “Children who have more schooling may see their IQ improve,” according to a study published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “Using data on men born between 1950 and 1958, the researchers looked at the level of schooling by age 30” and “IQ scores of the men when they were 19” and found that “comparing IQ scores before and after the education reform, the average increased by 0.6 points, which correlated with an increase in IQ of 3.7 points for an addition year of schooling,” a study author noted.

The results “suggest that education as late as the middle teenage years may have a sizeable effect on IQ, but do not challenge the well-documented importance of early childhood experiences on cognitive development,” according to the researchers.

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