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Annual Editions: Human Development, 44/e
1. Journey to the Genetic Interior, Stephen S. Hall, Scientific American, 2012.
For years, geneticists have considered the non-protein coding DNA "junk." But now genes, and the transcription of DNA to RNA, are considered important in the role of inheritance and health. In this interview, Evan Birney proposes expunging the term "junk DNA." He believes 80% of the jungle of unexplored materials may be functional. The question is how.
2. The No-Baby Boom, Anne Kingston, Maclean's, 2013.
As the number of childless women has increased to 47% in 2010, the focus has shifted from pity and judgment to a deeper sense of understanding of childlessness.
3. The Incredible Expanding Adventures of the X Chromosome, Christopher Badcock, Psychology Today, 2011.
This article explains XY (male) and XX (female) genetics and gender differences. There is mounting evidence that X-related brain development affects socialization, intelligence, and cognition. The Y chromosome has about 100 genes compared to about 1,200 X genes. Both genius and autistic spectrum disorders may be X related.
4. Making Babies, Alexis Madrigal, The Atlantic, 2014.
Current and future technologies are discussed including the use of IVF mitochondrial DNA, uterus transplants and artificial gametes.
5. Unnatural Selection, Mara Hvistendahl, Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls and the Consequences of a World Full of Men, 2011.
Years of prenatal sex selection in China, Korea, India, Balkans, and Caucasus countries have led to 20–30% more men and many stressors. Violence, sex trafficking, and arranged marriages for women are rising. Preimplantation genetic diagnosis has arrived in the United States. What ethics are involved in these gender choices?
6. The Islamic Republic of Baby-Making, Azadeh Moaveni, Foreign Policy, 2014.
In Iran, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sanctioned sperm and egg donations in 1999. This fatwa, or legal pronouncement, led to the opening of 70 fertility clinics nationwide. Shiite and Suni clerics disagree about how the Quran applies to the bioethics of fertility clinics and the reproductive technologies that are practiced there.
7. Beyond the Baby Weight, Eric Reither, Utah Science, 2013.
The role of prenatal care and the importance of a pregnant woman's body weight are discussed in relation to the fetus' weight in adolescence.
8. Keys to Quality Infant Care: Nurturing Every Baby’s Life Journey, Alice Sterling Honig, Young Children, 2010.
Dr. Honig, an expert on infant caregiving, shares 11 keys to enhancing a baby's brain development, physical status, language skills, emotional regulation, and social abilities. She explains different infant temperaments and advises on how parents and teachers can shape behaviors to accommodate personalities.
9. Vaccination Nation, Chris Mooney, Discover, 2009.
Parents have been scared by activists claiming (falsely) that vaccines cause infant autism. Science proves otherwise; this article cites multiple studies. The ethics of skeptics are dubious. Withholding vaccines can cause epidemics of largely vanquished diseases. Other environmental factors that trigger genetic diseases must be explored and motivation to vaccinate must increase.
10. How to Choose the Right Apps for Early Learning, Stephen Gass, T.H.E. Journal, 2013.
This article explores the role of digital tools as a child builds strong educational foundations in Early Childhood. Educational gains should be based on children as active learners engaging in skill building activities using open ended play and exploration with adult interaction.
11. The Touch-Screen Generation, Hanna Rosin, The Atlantic, 2013.
Early childhood has many "digital natives" fluent in finger-swiping technology before word recognition or reading. This article ponders the effects of kids' "apps" on brain development, cognition, intelligence, and creativity. Digital media often functions as a baby-sitter during meals, car rides, and busy times. Will swiping become addictive for toddlers?
12. Luck of the Draw, Lesley Evans Ogden, New Scientist Magazine, 2013.
This article looks at birth order and its effect on future life choices such as success, leadership and risk taking. Birth order is also discussed in relation to height, intellect, health, allergies, and sexual orientation.
13. No Child Locked Inside, Jorge Rossi, Fire Chief, 2013.
Since 1998, 559 children have died as a result of being left unattended in a car. Multitasking and our fast-paced society are discussed as potential reasons for these deaths.
14. Creating a Country of Readers, Sid Trubowitz, Phi Delta Kappan, 2012.
Cognition begins prenatally; so should reading. Sid Trubowitz believes women who are pregnant or have infants ought to be instructed to read to their babies. Schools can start with meditative reading and extend library hours. Storytelling can be integral to family life. Blackouts of technology can be devoted to reading. Let us create a culture that reads.
15. Addressing Achievement Gaps with Psychological Interventions, David Yeager, Gregory Walton, and Geoffrey L. Cohen, Phi Delta Kappan, 2013.
If children believe their low intelligence is fixed, their personalities suffer from low self-esteem and low incentive to try to learn. School interventions can teach them that cognitive processes are developed. Students from marginalized cultures, when criticized or disrespected, are especially prone to achievement gaps.
16. What I've Learned, Michelle Rhee, Newsweek, 2010.
School reform is difficult. It involves culture change. This article describes the struggles to improve education in Washington, D.C., between 2007 and 2010. More than 20 nations surpass children in the United States in science, reading, and math. There is no large lobby to promote school students' best interests. The author presents several suggestions for putting "students first."
17. Visiting Room 501, Margaret Sauceda Curwen, Phi Delta Kappan, 2009.
Latinos are the largest minority culture in the United States and they are not one-dimensional (e.g., non-mainstream, marginalized, "at-risk"). Many are U.S. born; their home language is English, and they are upwardly mobile. Schools that disenfranchise Latino children based on old stereotypes impair their identity, affiliation, and achievement.
18. Are Exams Bad for Children?, Stephanie Schneider and Matt Christison, New Internationalist, 2013.
The benefits and disadvantages of standardized tests are debated in this article. Two teachers discuss academic performance, student evaluation and the effects of standardized tests on children.
19. Ritalin Gone Wrong, L. Alan Sroufe, The New York Times, 2012.
The benefits of drugs such as Ritalin or Adderall are assessed for attention deficits or hyperactivity disorders. The history and initial success of such drugs is reviewed. This initial success is clouded by a study in 2009 of approximately 600 children that questioned any long term benefits of these medications on academic performance or behavior.
20. Do-It-(All)-Yourself Parents, Linda Perlstein, Newsweek, 2012.
A popular approach called "attachment parenting" includes homeschooling. About 300,000 children and adolescents in the United States are now homeschooled. State laws vary; from no reporting to submission of plans and test scores. Advantages are flexible differentiated instruction, no bullying, family togetherness, and an enthusiastic welcome from colleges.
21. Pop Psychology, Gary Drevitch, Psychology Today, 2014.
The value, function, and role of a father are discussed in this article. The benefits of having a father in a child's life include better language development, fewer behavioral issues, and less delinquent behavior in adolescence, including less teen pregnancy. Absentee fathers are also discussed as they contribute to premature delivery, lower birth weights, and higher mortality rates.
22. Use the Science of What Works to Change the Odds for Children at Risk, Susan B. Neuman, Phi Delta Kappan, 2009.
Research documents that intelligence is not all genetic: It grows with targeting language and motivation in cultures of poverty. Education of single parents in their homes that focuses on child–caregiver activities increases both cognitive and social–emotional development. Early intervention can break the cycle of disadvantage.
23. Why Our Approach to Bullying Is Bad for Kids, Susan Porter, Independent School, 2013.
Bullying is discussed in light of our understanding of preadolescent brain development. Porter suggests that increased rates of bullying are a result of the expansion of the term to include aggressive childhood behaviors such as name calling or unfriendliness. The perceived victims of bullying may suffer from a lack of resilience or self-esteem.
24. Bribing the Poor, Anya Kamenetz, Fast Company, 2011.
This article discusses the ethics of bribing families to immunize their children in rural regions of India. The benefits of improved immunization rates are weighed against the distasteful success of the bribe—a one dollar bag of lentils for each family.
25. Spoiled Rotten, Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 2012.
Is it possible that we are doing our children a disservice by spoiling them? This article explores the possibility that our children could benefit from more independence and discipline.
26. The Incredible Shrinking Childhood: How Early Is Too Early for Puberty?, Elizabeth Weil, The New York Times Magazine, 2012.
Preadolescent girls with early puberty have more emotional health risks. One theory is that early puberty affects cognition, making the brain susceptible to depression. Another theory is that changed physical status may be due to environmental estrogens. Parenting focused on exercise, nutrition, and self-esteem helps vulnerable girls.
27. Will Your Marriage Last?, Brooke Lea Foster, Washingtonian, 2012.
Researchers have found many correlates of lasting marriages. This article reports that education, wives with career income or assets, peer friendships with other couples, good sex, and frequent positive interactions (playing nice) are advantageous. Children decrease happiness initially, but couples rebound as they grow up and leave home.
28. All About Me, Laura Spinney, New Scientist Magazine, 2012.
This article explores the idea that the self-esteem movement has developed a generation of self-absorbed, narcissistic adolescents with an over inflated sense of self. The implications for this sense of entitlement are discussed. A broad range of issues such as cheating, plastic surgery and an increased use of antidepressants are linked to this artificial rise in self-esteem.
29. The Retro Wife, Lisa Miller, New York Magazine, 2013.
Educated adult women with three roles (mother, wife/partner, and daughter) are rethinking the fourth role (independent career authority). Many meditate upon "A man's job is to earn money; a woman's job is to care for home and family." Are gender differences (females nurture, males assert) real, or just coming back into favor?
30. Kids Are Not Adults, Sarah Alice Brown, Juvenile Justice Bulletin, 2013.
Juvenile justice policies in the United States, such as trying adolescents as adults within the criminal justice system are discussed. Recent research on brain development suggests that before the age of 25, the decision making processes in teens differ from that in adults. Adolescents are more likely to base their behavior on short-term consequences.
31. All Joy and No Fun: Why Parents Hate Parenting, Jennifer Senior, New York Magazine, 2010.
Adulthood is less happy when marriage leads to parenting. Children make demands and add stressors unknown to childless couples. The emotions of family life range from agony to ecstasy. Gender differences are minimal. Nobel Prize–winning economist Daniel Kahneman found that child care ranked very low on all adults' lists of pleasurable activities.
32. High-Tech Bullies, Ingrid Sturgis, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, 2014.
Bullying was once thought to be the domain of middle and high school students but it now appears to be a pervasive problem at the college level. Sites such as "College Wall of Shame" or "Juicy Campus" provide an ideal outlet for stalking, revealing secrets, or masquerading as somebody else.
33. Many Professors Say Their Students Lack Professional Qualities for Future Jobs, Ann Schnoebelen, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2013.
Multitasking is blamed for students' lack of professional qualities, which include good interpersonal skills, dependability, the ability to focus, and pay attention and complete a task.
34. Don't Leave Me Out!, Catherine Sebastian, The Psychologist, 2012.
This article pinpoints rejection as a form of relational aggression or bullying during adolescence. Adolescents are particularly sensitive to peer rejection due to brain development, in particular, the prefrontal cortex. Using Internet video games and MRI scans, the brain is tracked as it develops from early adolescence into adulthood.
35. Cheating in the Age of Facebook, Steven Schlozman, Psychology Today, 2013.
In light of the cheating scandal at Harvard University, this article attempts to reconcile the difference between a professor's and a student's definition of cheating. The difference between collaboration and cheating is discussed. The author suggests that clearer guidelines should be given by professors to avoid future problems.
36. Good Morning, Heartache, Kathleen McGowan, Psychology Today, 2009.
Adulthood depression is common. Genetic factors and life stressors affect brain chemistry, creating negative emotions. Drug abuse and death by suicide are risks. This article describes journeys back to health with multiple components. Meditation, spirituality, creativity, humor, nutrition, exercise, sleep, acupuncture, medication, and cognitive therapy all help.
37. The Switched-On Brain, Amy Barth, Discover, 2012.
Optogenetics has stopped drug abuse in mice. It used opsins (light-sensitive microbes), inserted in mouse neurons, to control their brains with light. Creative scientists are motivated to get opsins into human cells. This technology could improve vision, heart health, and possibly neurological functioning. Will such mind control be deemed ethical?
38. The New Survivors, Pamela Weintraub, Psychology Today, 2009.
The link between cancer and death is being broken. The stress of surviving cancer is making some adults psychologically hardier. Transformative benefits include more positive emotions, spirituality, self-esteem, and friendships. Empowered by hope, survivors generate more forgiveness, gratitude, kindness, and humor than in the past.
39. How to Fix the Obesity Crisis, David H. Freedman, Scientific American, 2011.
Obesity is the primary lifestyle-related health concern in the United States. Are nutrition (food choices) and exercise the best fixes? Behavioral science adds four other weight-loss conditions: assessment of motivation to eat, monitoring eating, behavior shifts, and social support. Genetics and brain functioning (e.g., hypothalamus, limbic system) will not prevent weight loss.
40. An Empty Nest Can Promote Freedom, Improved Relationships, Rebecca A. Clay, Monitor on Psychology, 2003.
Myths about the "empty nest syndrome" are debunked including the perceived depression and loss of purpose for mothers when their children leave home. The spousal relationship and the parent child relationship are discussed.
41. Anxiety Nation, Sophie McBain, New Statesman, 2014.
The mental illness, anxiety, is explored as a cultural concept. The relationship between anxiety and other emotions such as sadness or depression is discussed. Medications such as Prozac and Xanax are reviewed. There is a focus on the role of panic attacks, insomnia and phobias.
42. Bringing Life Into Focus, Brendan L. Smith, Monitor on Psychology, 2012.
ADHD is discussed as an adult disorder. An adult diagnostic screening questionnaire is discussed. The implications for adults with ADHD are reviewed. Coping mechanisms such as time management skills are discussed as well as possible medications for adults.
43. Brutal Truths about the Aging Brain, Robert Epstein, Discover, 2012.
The physical status of the aging brain affects cognition and memory. Neurons are reduced by about 10% and glial cells by 15% by age 70. Neurotransmitters (e.g., dopamine), dendritic connections, and myelin sheathing also decline. The senses lose information. Good nutrition, exercise, and education can slow the process.
44. Age-Proof Your Brain: 10 Easy Ways to Stay Sharp Forever, Beth Howard, AARP The Magazine, 2012.
Dementia is not inevitable. Elders, even those with a genetic link to Alzheimer's, can delay or prevent it. Included in the ten suggestions for keeping brain health are meditation, spirituality (a mission in life), social networking, stimulating new memory, exercise, and nutrition factors (e.g., Mediterranean diet, spices, vitamin supplements).
45. The Old World, Ted C. Fishman, The New York Times Magazine, 2010.
Global economics are having a profound impact on the careers of aging workers. The author describes an "age apartheid" that is occurring in China, India, and elsewhere. Young workers are wanted. Elders are facing retirement without meaningful pensions or health care. Decisions about government spending pit old against young.
46. The Real Social Network, Martha Thomas, AARP The Magazine, 2011.
In 2001, Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood began a "village movement." This socialization trend is growing rapidly. Aging persons stay in their own homes. Their "village" organizes services like those in retirement communities. Connectedness to neighbors allows for home maintenance, transportation, health care, and other social networking.
47. Elder Abuse Identification: A Public Health Issue, Helen Sorenson, AARC Times, 2012.
Aging adults seldom report family or caregiver abuse (physical, sexual, verbal, financial, or neglect), due to fear of repercussions. Health care providers for elders should ask if abuse exists. Aggression against old people is stressful and criminal. The author describes how to recognize and report abuse, either suspected or confirmed.