The CDC’s ACE Study summarized in 14-minute video from Academy on Violence & Abuse

The Academy on Violence and Abuse, which educates health care professionals about the often unrecognizable health effects of violence and abuse, produced a four-hour DVD of interviews with the co-founders of the CDC’s Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, released a 14-minute executive summary.

The organization released a three-minute teaser last year. For those unfamiliar with the ACE STudy, this 14-minute puts a little more meat on the bones.

And if you want to know what your ACE score is — as well as how you’re doing on building resilience into your life — go to the survey: Got Your ACE Score? The ACE survey has 10 questions, and the resilience survey has 14.

What motivated Boston bombing suspects? Looking for their ACEs might provide some answers

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Tamerlan Tsarnaev as a baby, with parents Anzor and Zubeidat and uncle Muhamad Suleimanov (Reuters obtained this photo from a family member in Dagestan.)

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The Chechnya link to the Boston Marathon bombing suspects petered out when an extremist Chechen group claimed no connection to Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev. And although the brothers used religion as a reason, a link between them and Muslim terrorist groups doesn’t seem to exist.

So, if this incomprehensible act of violence was not classic terrorism, what else could it be? How could young men whom many people described as “lovely” and “talented”  intentionally inflict such unrelenting pain and death?

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Focusing on “terrorism” alone in Boston bombings can hinder opportunity to understand, prevent violence

bostonLately I have been working on a paper about the phenomenology of violence, focusing on the present atrocities in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. On the days when I am not trying to grapple with the inconceivable brutality haunting this region of the world, I often sit with people coming to grips with their own personal histories of violence here in the United States.

In this context, when first seeing the headlines announcing the bombings in Boston, I quickly closed my browser — an impulsive defense against the horrific imagery I knew would be forthcoming. I worried where I could put in my heart this senseless tragedy when already feeling overwhelmed by thoughts and images of violence.

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A 15-second look at how U.S. population became obese over 25 years

The Atlantic.com posted an animated graphic that takes us from 1985….

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…..to 2010. In just 15 short seconds, you can watch the obesity epidemic balloon across the U.S. The CDC defines obesity as having a body mass index that’s 30 or higher.

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Reporter James Hamblin also posted the 10 metropolitan areas with the lowest obesity rates, and the 11 with the highest. The pegs at either end are Boulder, CO, at 12.5 percent, and McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX at 38.5%.

Obesity is linked to childhood adversity. One of the CDC’s ACE Study publications found a link physical, sexual and verbal child abuse and obesity in at least 8 percent of the adult obese population. If there are 70 million obese and morbidly obese Americans, as the CDC says, that means that several million obese and morbidly obese people are likely to have suffered physical, sexual and/or verbal abuse during their childhoods. (It should be noted that this particular publication looked at only three of the 10 types of adverse childhood experiences.)

A number of other researchers are looking into the link between obesity and childhood adversity. Here

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Of scars and neuroplasticity…a few words from a survivor

01-26-04. digital image #2349The ConsortiumCharles Abel photo.I am a survivor of sexual and physical abuse. The experience changed me. It shapes and informs who I am – how I interact with others and the world around me. Yes, I have grown stronger as a result of these experiences; they are the wellspring of my passion and strength. Scars do that, they remind us of the past and how far we have come. Yes, great healing occurs but, as F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, the thin line of the break is always evident.

A very wise woman who walked with me through the early days of my healing journey once said when I asked her if the pain would always be so wrenching,

“The times between these moments will be longer. The pain itself will seldom be so strong. The time you are bent over in fear will not last so long. But you will always be a woman who has experienced violence. You may go to a party, someone tells a joke, everyone laughs, and you leave immediately to go home, to bed…not for long but the memory will come up again. The body knows. It is an archive of your history. It cannot be erased but it can be the basis of your body wisdom.”

So when we speak of the neuroplasticity of the brain, do not assume that every trace of the past is vanished. It just does not loom so large; it does not drive our every action, thought or feeling.

I don’t think we forget. We grow strong in the broken (read: wounded) places. And that is not a bad thing. It is a remarkable thing.

Rene Andersen sent this in a message on a list-serv; she said it would be OK to post here. Rene (pronounced “ree-nee”) has been active in leading recovery projects, especially developing peer-to-peer communities, for decades. She says her work “is grounded in the community, centered on the resiliency of the individual, and borne out of personal experience with recovery from abuse and addiction.” I’m doing a story about the trauma-informed care movement, and have interviewed her. 

What’s better than meds for kids with ADHD? Changing the behavior of parents.

parentSo says a study published in Pediatrics this week. The researchers reviewed 55 studies — 34 looked at parent behavior training (PBT), 15 at the used of prescription drugs, specifically methylphenidate, and six looked at a combination of parent training and school or day-care interventions.

The study was done, according to MedPageToday.com reporter Charles Bankhead, because the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, realized that there wasn’t much known about whether drugs or parent-behavior training were more effective in reducing symptoms in pre-school children at high risk for ADHD.

So, according to the article, Dr. Alice Charach, of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and her colleagues asked this question: “Among children younger than 6 years with ADHD or disruptive behavior disorder, what are the effectiveness and adverse-event outcomes after treatment?”

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Lebanon’s startling campaign against domestic violence

lebaneseBusiness Insider published ads from KAFA, the Lebanese nonprofit that’s sponsoring a campaign against domestic violence. The images depict women who have been hit or strangled. But….

Their wounds mimic the shape of the audio waveforms of words used against them: “whore,” “slut,” and “bitch.”

“Words hurt,” read the ads. The campaign calls light to the unseen scars left by verbal abuse. KAFA, which translates in Arabic to “enough,” provides a helpline number on each image.

According to Business Insider, Y&R Dubai created the ads. For other images from the campaign, check out the article.

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