Air Pollution, Psychological Distress During Pregnancy Linked to Behavior Problems

Combination of physical and psychosocial stressors during fetal development magnifies the effect of each exposure

Maternal psychological distress combined with exposure to air pollution during pregnancy have an adverse impact on the child’s behavioral development, according to researchers at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health at the Mailman School of Public Health.

The study, published online in the journal Pediatrics, reports that maternal demoralization, a measure of psychological distress capable of affecting a mother’s ability to cope with stressful situations, was linked with a number of behavioral problems, including anxiety, depression, attention problems, rule-breaking, externalizing problems, and aggressive behavior...

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Smoking during Pregnancy May Increase Risk of Bipolar Disorder in Offspring

New Study Suggests that Smoking during Pregnancy May Increase Risk of Bipolar Disorder in Offspring

A study published today in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggests an association between smoking during pregnancy and increased risk for developing bipolar disorder (BD) in adult children.  Researchers at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, in collaboration with scientists at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California, evaluated offspring from a large cohort of pregnant women who participated in the Child Health and Development Study (CHDS) from 1959-1966.  The study was based on 79 cases and 654 comparison subjects...

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Healthy Snacking for Weight Gain

While many people in the United States are focused on losing weight to improve their overall health, there is another group of people who are struggling to gain weight.

If you are trying to gain weight, or are having difficulty maintaining your weight, try adding some nutrient-rich snacks to your diet to increase your daily caloric intake. I recommend having a combination of protein, fat, and carbohydrates about 2-3 hours after your last meal.

If you’re resistant to snacking because you get full quickly and are worried you will not be hungry for your next meal, worry no more! Many studies show that eating a snack between meals has little effect on caloric intake during the following meal...

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Acute Palliative Care Units Provide Compassion and Medical Care for Patients with End-Stage Disease

A recent study shows that hospitals with specialized units combining the compassionate care of hospice and the level of care offered in medical-surgical units (MSUs) may provide efficient, cost-effective assistance to patients with advanced chronic illness or terminal disease.

The study, conducted at Montefiore Medical Center, was published in the American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine.

“Acute Palliative Care Units (APCUs) are really a new frontier in managing patients with end-stage chronic disease,” said study co-author Marlene McHugh, DNP, FNP, assistant professor of nursing at CUMC and Associate Director of Palliative Care at Montefiore Medical Center...

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Preventing Disability from Schizophrenia: The Time Has Come

Recent research on schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders has inspired hope among psychiatrists that early diagnosis and treatment can forestall the disorder’s debilitating effects and foster recovery.

Based on these findings, other countries have already begun to implement early intervention strategies, while the U.S. has lagged behind.

In a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, chair of Columbia’s Department of Psychiatry; Lisa Dixon, MD, professor of psychiatry at Columbia; and Howard Goldman, MD, of the University of Maryland, describe a new model of care that can prevent the progression of psychosis and forestall disability...

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Some Grains of Truth about Salt, Scientific Evidence, and Public Policy

Is salt bad for your health? Should everyone cut back? Does it pose a risk only for people with high blood pressure? Should policymakers regulate the amount of salt in our food?  Do we have the evidence we need to support such actions? Will we ever have it?

Debate has raged over these questions since the late 1960s. In a new review of half a century of studies, recommendations, meta-analyses, federal policies, and reports in the popular press, Mailman School professors Ronald Bayer, PhD, and Sandro Galea, MD, DrPH, along with sociomedical sciences doctoral student and journalist David Johns serve up a provocative new analysis of the case, such as it is, for reducing dietary salt...

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First Estimate of Total Viruses in Mammals

Scientists estimate that there is a minimum of 320,000 viruses in mammals awaiting discovery. Collecting evidence of these viruses, or even a majority of them, they say, could provide information critical to early detection and mitigation of disease outbreaks in humans. This undertaking would cost approximately $6.3 billion, or $1.4 billion if limited to 85 percent of total viral diversity—a fraction of the economic impact of a major pandemic like SARS.

Close to 70 percent of emerging viral diseases such as HIV/AIDS, West Nile, Ebola, SARS, and influenza, are zoonoses—infections of animals that cross into humans. Yet until now, there has been no good estimate of the actual number of viruses that exist in any wildlife species.

“Historically, our whole approach to discovery has been alto...

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Following A Mediterranean Diet Not Associated With Delay To Clinical Onset Of Huntington Disease

Adhering to a Mediterranean-type diet (MedDi) does not appear associated with the time to clinical onset of  Huntington disease (phenoconversion),according to a study by Karen Marder, M.D., M.P.H., of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, N.Y., and colleagues.

The Mediterranean diet, a diet high in plant foods (e.g. fruits, nuts, legumes, and cereals) and fish, with olive oil as the primary source of monounsaturated fat (MUSF) and low to moderate intake of wine, as well as low intake of red meat, poultry, and dairy products, is known to be beneficial for health owing to its protective effects in many chronic diseases, according to the study background.

A prospective cohort study of 41 Huntington study group sites in the United States and Canada involving 1,001 ...

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Does It Take a Village to Breastfeed a Child?

While the difficulties of childbirth are universally acknowledged, many people assume that breastfeeding is natural and easy, automatically bonding mother and child once the baby is born.

But Laura Zeidenstein, director of the Nurse Midwifery Nurse Practitioner Program at Columbia University School of Nursing, says breastfeeding is not necessarily simple or easy, especially for a first-time mother who is isolated or receiving negative feedback on how she is feeding her child.

“It’s usually extremely difficult for first-time moms to get started with breastfeeding,” Zeidenstein says. “People don’t realize that it requires an enormous amount of enthusiastic, hands-on support...

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When the Prescription Becomes the Problem

On Father’s Day of 2011, 33-year-old David Laffer, a gaunt, unemployed Army veteran wearing a disguise, shot up a Long Island pharmacy, murdering the pharmacist, the pharmacist’s 17-year old assistant, and two customers who came in as he was loading his backpack with prescription bottles. It was later discovered that the pharmacy was missing 11,000 pills of hydrocodone, the main ingredient for the prescription painkiller Vicodin.

Around the same time, the office of New York City’s special narcotics prosecutor was conducting an investigation into Stan Xuhui Li, a then-57-year-old anesthesiologist from New Jersey who operated a weekend pain clinic in Flushing, Queens...

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