New research is giving scientists more insight into the far-reaching and long-lasting harms of domestic violence to the children who grow up around it. And brain imaging in infants shows that exposure to domestic violence – even as they are sleeping, or in utero – can reduce parts of the brain, change its overall structure and affect the way its circuits work together. In other public health news: autism, aggression, bone density, and exercise.
Latrelle Huff says her twins were conceived by rape. Now she blames domestic violence for her children’s health problems. The Georgia woman says she had been in an abusive, on-and-off relationship for six years when she became pregnant. While pregnant, she says, the conflict continued. Huff spent 25 of 37 weeks on bed rest, she says, due in part to rectal bleeding her doctors said was caused by stress. (O’Donnell and Quarshie, 1/29)
Susan Wallitsch is the primary caregiver for her 27-year-old son Frank, who is autistic and functionally nonverbal. A few years ago, when she had a health crisis and was temporarily unable to care for him, the solutions she found were limited — and troubling. She could look for a group home — but most have long waiting lists and would likely not accept Frank because he has behavior problems. (Bahrampour, 1/29)
For comedian Lewis Black, anger is a job. Black is famous for his rants about stuff he finds annoying or unfair or just plain infuriating. Onstage, he often looks ready for a fight. He leans forward. He shouts. He stabs the air with an index finger, or a middle finger. To a scientist, Black looks a lot like a belligerent dog, or an irritated gerbil. (Hamilton, 1/29)
Could competitive cyclists be putting their bone health at risk? A disquieting new study of bone density in elite cyclists and runners suggests that the answer might be yes. The study found that the cyclists, both male and female, had thinner bones than the runners, even though all of the athletes were young, healthy and enviably fit, and many of the cyclists lifted weights. (Reynolds, 1/30)
It takes moxie to flip an unhealthy lifestyle to a healthy one — particularly for folks over 60. Most baby boomers approach retirement age unwilling to follow basic healthy lifestyle goals established by the American Heart Association, said Dr. Dana King, professor and chairman of the department of family medicine at West Virginia University, referencing his university’s 2017 study comparing the healthy lifestyle rates of retired late-middle-aged adults with rates among those still working. (Horovitz, 1/30)
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