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Ariz. Gov. Signs Bills Increasing Abortion Restrictions, Updating Existing Statutes

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) on Monday signed into law a bill ( HB 2564 ) that mandates a 24-hour waiting period and in-person counseling with a doctor before women can receive abortion care, the AP/Yahoo! News reports. The law requires doctors to list risks and alternatives and describe the fetus's probable characteristics. It also makes an existing parental consent law more restrictive for minors seeking abortion care and allows health care workers to refuse to dispense emergency contraception on moral or religious grounds. Planned Parenthood Arizona said the measure "creates barriers, increases costs and denies access to services and providers to women who seek abortion care.

During Adolescence, Girls React Differently Than Boys To Peers' Judgments

Teenagers yearn to fit in and be accepted by their friends. A new study suggests that girls and boys think differently about being judged by their peers as they move through adolescence. The study, by researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and Georgia State University, appears in the July/August 2009 issue of the journal Child Development. The researchers looked at mostly White psychiatrically healthy Americans ages 9 to 17 to determine what happens in the brains of preteens and teens at a time of significant change in social behavior. The youths looked at photos of peers and rated their interest in interacting with each one.

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Brain Activity Of Institutionalized Children May Be Boosted By Foster Care

Children raised in institutions are more likely to lag physically, socially, and cognitively, but little is known about what happens to children's brains when they live in institutions. Now a new study finds that placing institutionalized children in high-quality foster care may improve their brain activity. The study, in the July/August 2009 issue of the journal Child Development, was carried out as part of the Bucharest Early Intervention Project, a longitudinal look at the effects of institutionalization on brain and behavioral development. It was conducted by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Children's Hospital Boston, the University of Maryland, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, and Harvard Medical School.

The Influences Of Peers, Parents On Self Identity Confirmed By fMRI

Ask middle-school students if they are popular or make friends easily, they likely will depend on social comparisons with their peers for an answer. Such reliance on the perceived opinions of others, or reflected self-appraisals, has long been assumed, but new evidence supporting this claim has now been found in the teen brain. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), researchers looked at adolescent and young-adult brain activity related to both direct self-appraisals, such as "Do I think I'm smart?" and perceptions of others' opinions -- reflected self-appraisals: "Do I think my friend thinks I'm lonely?" During direct self-appraisals, researchers found that adolescents show more activity than adults in neural networks tied to self-perception (medial prefrontal and parietal cortices) and in areas linked to social cognition (dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, temporal-parietal junction and posterior superior temporal sulcus).

UBC Study Finds Nearly 1 In 5 University Students Experienced Violence In Last 6 Months

While attending university, men are equally likely as women to have been victims of physical or emotional violence, and that violence is often linked to drinking, according to a new study led by University of British Columbia researcher Elizabeth Saewyc. The study, first published online in the Journal of Adolescent Health last month and scheduled for print publication this fall, found 17 per cent of men and 16 per cent of women reported emotional or physical violence in the past six months. It's the first multi-site study covering both the U.S. and Canada that focuses on recent violence while attending university. "Whether it's from intimate partners or relative strangers, violence has a significant effect on young people's health, " says Saewyc, a professor in the School of Nursing and lead author of the study.

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New Genetic Study Of Asperger Syndrome, Autistic Traits And Empathy

Scientists from the University of Cambridge have identified 27 genes that are associated with either Asperger Syndrome (AS) and/or autistic traits and/or empathy. The research is published in the journal Autism Research. This is the first candidate gene study of its kind. The research was led by Dr Bhismadev Chakrabarti and Professor Simon Baron-Cohen from the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge. 68 genes were chosen either because they were known to play a role in neural growth, social behaviour, or sex steroid hormones (e.g. testosterone and estrogen). The latter group of genes was included because AS occurs far more often in males than females, and because previous research from the Cambridge team has shown that foetal testosterone levels are associated with autistic traits and empathy in typically developing children.

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