General

Parental Age and Risk of ADHD in Children

Many studies have examined the association between parental age and psychiatric illness in the children, including autism and schizophrenia.  In a recent case-control study from Finland, the authors identified 10,409 individuals with ADHD born between 1991 and 2005 from nationwide population-based registers.  Logistic regression was used to examine the association between parental age and ADHD in the offspring, adjusting for potential confounding factors including parental psychiatric history, maternal socioeconomic status, marital status, maternal smoking during pregnancy, number of previous births, and birth weight.

Maternal Depression Leads to Risky Behaviors in Adolescent Children

Maternal depression has been identified as a risk factor for adolescent depression.  In addition, maternal depression appears to increase the risk of certain behavioral problems in children; however, it appears that the timing of exposure may play an important role in mediating the effects of maternal depression.  A recent study suggests that childhood exposure to maternal depression between the ages of 4 and 14 may result in risky behaviors later on during adolescence.

Intergenerational Transmission of Depression: Telomere Shortening and Cortisol Reactivity in Girls at High Risk for Depression

In every cell, genetic material is contained within the double-stranded molecules of DNA called chromosomes. Every time a cell divides, the chromosomes are copied so that each new cell gets a copy of this genetic material.  However, the process isn’t perfect – a little bit of the end of the chromosome is lost each time so the copy is not a perfect reproduction. To prevent important genetic material from being lost, the cell protects itself with structures called telomeres located at the ends of the chromosomes. Telomeres are repeating DNA sequences and proteins that act like a guard so that when the chromosome is copied, the important material is protected and only the telomere is shortened. Since telomere shortening happens every time the cell divides, telomeres act like biological clocks for the cell. When the chromosome has been copied enough times that the telomere has been completely worn away, any future copies of the chromosome may be missing important genetic material and the cell may cease to function normally.