Roundup: Say no to cookie-cutter approach, says juvenile court judge; migraines, strokes linked to ACEs; is it OK to divorce your family?

Steven Teske, chief judge of the Juvenile Court of Clayton County, is well known for statements such as: “We lock up kids because they make us angry. The problem is not with kids, it’s with adults.” He’s also known for his efforts to prevent kids from being funneled into the juvenile justice system. In this week’s column for the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, Teske mused about the “interesting paradox about how we use adolescent brain research”, just before a police escort arrived to accompany him to work. Here’s why:

Although it is taboo to diagnose adolescents with any psychopathy, the anti-social personality traits that some kids display keep us guessing if this kid is a serious risk to the community. What does this mean when kids like this are already wired to do stupid things? Kids having a psychopathy , who make poor decisions and act impulsively – well, they are really scary!

This research is a double-edge sword as it cuts one way to support detention reform and the other, for some kids, in support of commitment.

I am reflecting on this paradoxical situation because I will leave my home today escorted by police for my protection. The police got word from very reliable sources that a probationer was plotting to kill me. He was on being tracked by GPS, but has apparently cut it off.

Teske employed the situation to question the oft-used cookie-cutter approach in determining which kids go to jail and which don’t. You can guess from the headline what his opinion is.

RESEARCHERS HAVE FOUND A STRONG CORRELATION between adverse childhood experiences and migraines, chronic daily headaches and inflammation that leads to strokes, according to Marc Ransford’s overview on Medicalxpress.com.

In the research, 140 women — 100 who have frequent and infrequent headaches and 41 headache-free — took the short version of the ACE survey. Those who had continuous headaches had an ACE score of 3.24; those without headaches had a an ACE score of 1.53.

Study co-author Jagdish Khubchandani, a community health education professor in Ball State University’s Department of Physiology and Health ScienceDepartment of Physiology and Health Science, said:

“Our research found there were higher levels of blood abnormalities — also known as biomarkers — with chronic daily headaches and migraines in adult females who self-reported suffering some sort of abuse or negative event at a younger age. Since migraines are a major risk factor for strokes, we may have potentially found a cause for what could be a debilitating health event for many people. The evidence supporting the biologic plausibility of this theory is growing.”

The research was published in the journal Headache.

A LETTER IN THE DEAR ABBY column caught my eye: A woman relates a story about how, when she was a 12-year-old, she was sexually abused by her older brother. She told her mother, who bought her a lock for her door and told her not to tell her father. Years later the woman found out that her sister said her brother had done the same to her. Her sister told both parents, who did not confront their brother, and told their daughters that “it was in the past” and to leave it alone. The letter-writer asked Abby if it was OK to tell their parents that they did not want to see their brother anymore.

I’ll let you check out the link to find out what Abby told the woman. The letter had me ruminating over this question: If a man or woman was sexually abused when he or she was a child by a parent, uncle, aunt or grandparent, and the family insists upon not dealing with it or steadfastly denies it (despite hard evidence to the contrary), is it OK for the now-grown victim of abuse to divorce his or her family? Or should they just “leave it in the past” and pretend as if nothing happened?

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