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Lessons From Implementation Of Mental Health Parity In California

Experiences in California may provide valuable lessons for implementation of the federal parity legislation, such as the need to monitor not only plan costs and coverage but also access and quality. Results of research examining experiences in California over a five-year period appear in the December issue of Psychiatric Services, a journal of the American Psychiatric Association. In 2000 California legislated parity coverage for mental health care-fully ten years before parity will take effect on a national level. Next year, federal legislation passed in 2008-the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act-will provide full parity for mental health and substance abuse coverage to 113 million people.

Loneliness Can Spread Through Social Networks

A new US study of social networks found that a person's loneliness can spread to others, in that when they become lonely they move to the edge of the network and transmit feelings of loneliness to their few remaining friends who also become lonely, leading to an effect that the researchers described as an unravelling at the edges of our social fabric. The study, which was sponsored by the National Institute on Aging, is the work of John T Cacciopo of the University of Chicago, James H Fowler of the University of California, San Diego, and Nicholas A Christakis of Harvard University and is about to be published in the December issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

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Psychologists Suggest Parents Should Wait To Teach Toddlers Self-Control

Toddlers are distractible. Their minds flit constantly here and there, and they have a terrible time concentrating on even the most stimulating project. They might be fascinated by a colorful new toy, but only until the next best toy comes along. This can be maddening for parents or teachers, who often try to rein in a toddler's impulsivity. But should we really be trying to teach self-control? Psychologists are beginning to raise these questions, and some are even suggesting that it may be detrimental to the developing brain to push it toward maturity too soon. University of Pennsylvania neuropsychologist Sharon Thompson-Schill and her colleagues study a region of the brain called the prefrontal cortex, or PFC, the part of the brain that filters out irrelevant information and allows us to focus.

Study Finds Early Intervention For Toddlers With Autism Highly Effective

A novel early intervention program for very young children with autism - some as young as 18 months - is effective for improving IQ, language ability, and social interaction, a comprehensive new study has found. "This is the first controlled study of an intensive early intervention that is appropriate for children with autism who are less than 2 years of age. Given that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all 18- and 24-month-old children be screened for autism, it is crucial that we can offer parents effective therapies for children in this age range, " said Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., chief science officer of Autism Speaks and the study's lead author.

Older People Urged To Look After Their Mental Health

As we are in the winter months older people in Ireland are being encouraged to look after their mental health and to seek help and support if they are feeling depressed most of the day, most days. Leading Old Age Psychiatrist Professor Brian Lawlor and advocacy group Age Action urged older people to address the issue of their mental health at the launch of the ' Mind Yourself - Depression in Later Life' leaflet today. The leaflet, produced by Lundbeck (Ireland) Ltd, provides useful information to help people recognise the symptoms of depression in later life and how to access support services and resources. The leaflet was developed following research amongst over 65 year olds, carried out by Behaviour and Attitudes on behalf of Lundbeck which shows that almost 60% of those surveyed believe that people in their age group would be reluctant to discuss depression with others.

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Early Intervention Very Effective For Toddlers With Autism, Small Study

A small US study involving toddlers diagnosed with autism, some as as young as 18 months old, showed that intensive early intervention delivered by trained specialists and parents was very effective and improved IQ, social interaction and language ability. The five year study was based at the University of Washington (UW) Seattle and was led by Dr Geraldine Dawson, who used to be professor of psychology and director of UW's Autism Center, and is now chief science officer of Autism Speaks, an awareness, fundraising, science, and advocacy organization. A paper on the study was published online in the journal Pediatrics on 30 November. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that stays with a person for life.

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