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Adolescents suffering Trauma and Stress likely to Impair Ability to recognise Facial Expressions

The findings showed that adolescents with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are more likely to misidentify sad and angry faces as fearful

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Depression has significantly increased the risk of early death in women. Wikimedia
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New York, Feb 21, 2017: Adolescents suffering from trauma and stress are likely to have impairment in the ability to recognise facial expressions that is critical for social functioning and communicating emotions, researchers say.

The findings showed that adolescents with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are more likely to misidentify sad and angry faces as fearful.

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“Our findings suggest that exposure to stress and trauma can have acute emotional impacts that simply translate to misidentification of important affective cues,” said lead author Shabnam Javdani, Assistant Professor at New York University – Steinhardt in the US.

“Fear is particularly relevant for understanding PTSD, as the disorder has been associated with a ‘survival mode’ of functioning characterised by an overactive fight-or-flight response and increased threat perception,” Javdani added.

In contrast, teens with conduct disorder — a group of behavioural and emotional problems characterised by callousness or aggression towards others — were more likely to misidentify sad faces, but did not have trouble recognising angry or fearful faces.

Conduct disorder symptoms were associated with mistaking sadness for anger, suggesting that youth with higher levels of conduct disorder interpret sad faces as angry and may be less effective at recognising others’ sadness, pain and suffering.

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“Difficulty interpreting displays of sadness and misidentifying sadness as anger may contribute to the impaired affective bonding, low empathy, and callous behaviour observed in teens with conduct disorder,” Javdani said.

For the study, published in the journal Child and Adolescent Mental Health, the team examined 371 teens, ages 13-19, to understand the effects of PTSD and conduct disorder symptoms on how youth with emotional and behaviour problems process facial expressions.

Enhancing the accuracy of recognising facial expressions may be an important treatment goal for youth with symptoms of PTSD and conduct disorder, the researchers said. (IANS)

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Mother’s Lifestyle Choices Linked to Obesity Risk in Adolescents

The risk of obesity was also lower among children of mothers who consumed low or moderate levels of alcohol compared with those whose mothers abstained from alcohol

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Mother's Lifestyle Choices Linked to Obesity Risk in Adolescents
Mother's Lifestyle Choices Linked to Obesity Risk in Adolescents. Pixabay

Adolescents whose mothers follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and refrain from smoking may be 75 per cent less likely to develop obesity, according to a study.

The findings also suggested that children of women who maintained a healthy body weight and did not smoke had 56 per cent and 31 per cent lower risk of obesity respectively.

“The study demonstrates that an overall healthy lifestyle really outweighs any individual healthy lifestyle factors followed by mothers when it comes to lowering the risk of obesity in their children,” said Qi Sun, from the Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in the US.

For the study, published in the journal The BMJ, the team examined data from 24,289 children aged between nine and 18 years of age, who were born to 16,945 women. They looked at the association between a mother’s lifestyle and the risk of obesity among their children and adolescents.

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Representational image. Pixabay

The results showed that 5.3 per cent of the group developed obesity during a median five year follow-up period. Maternal obesity, smoking, and physical inactivity were strongly associated with obesity among children and adolescents.

While the greatest drop in obesity risk was seen when mothers and children followed healthy lifestyle habits, many of the healthy habits had a noticeable impact on the risk of childhood obesity when assessed individually.

Also Read: Obesity And Smoking: Roadblocks In Arthritis Treatment

The risk of obesity was also lower among children of mothers who consumed low or moderate levels of alcohol compared with those whose mothers abstained from alcohol.

Further, mothers’ dietary patterns were not associated with obesity in their children, possibly because children’s diets are influenced by many factors, including school lunches and available food options in their neighbourhoods. (IANS)