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Researchers discovered an association between low levels of the antidiuretic hormone vasopressin, and the inability of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to understand that other people have different perspectives than they do. First, researchers confirmed that levels of vasopressin in the blood accurately reflected levels in the brain. Then, they recruited 159 children for neurocognitive assessments and blood testing. Fifty-seven had been diagnosed with ASD; 47 were developing normally but had a sibling with an ASD; and 55 were developing normally with no brothers or sisters on the spectrum. The researchers found low, medium, and high levels of vasopressin in the three groups. But while typically developing children scored well on mind tests, regardless of their vasopressin blood levels, children with ASD and low vasopressin showed poor ability to understand that other people's thoughts and motivations could be different than theirs.

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Researchers are currently studying whether vasopressin treatment improves social ability in children with ASD.- Accessed 7/24/2015.


Read the continuing-education article about ASD on page 212 of this issue.



Veterans are 60% more likely to be diagnosed with dementia sooner than those who never had a brain injury. A study from Deborah Barnes of the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine notes, "Our results suggest that [brain injury] may increase the risk of developing dementia in older veterans, with an age of onset about two years earlier. So clinicians may want to keep an eye out for signs of cognitive impairment in older veterans with a history of [brain injury]." Although the study points to an association, it does not confirm cause-and-effect.


Nearly 190,000 veterans, age 68, and dementia-free were studied. Of those vets, 1,229 had been diagnosed with a brain injury. The researchers then looked at data from those veterans over a 9-year follow-up period. They found that 16% of those with a brain injury developed dementia, whereas only 10% of those without a brain injury did. Other factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, and alcohol abuse were considered. Barnes noted, "The risk for developing dementia was higher in veterans with a brain injury who also experienced depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or cerebrovascular disease, compared to those who had either a brain injury or any one of those conditions."


Barnes theorizes that each "hit" to the brain reduces the brain's ability to bounce back after being damaged. Others believe that a brain injury leads to a buildup of amyloid or tau, the proteins that are implicated in Alzheimer disease and other dementias.- Accessed 7/24/2015.


See the article related to the spiritual care of veterans on page 219 of this issue.



Diabetes is costly, not only physically, but financially. The rise in spending for children with diabetes was, in part, due to higher spending on branded insulin. In 2013, $2,511 was spent per child with diabetes on branded insulin, more than four times what was spent on branded insulin for middle-aged adults ($589) and pre-Medicare adults ($617). From 2009 to 2013, per capita spending on branded insulin increased 70% (by $1,037) for children.


There has been extraordinary growth in healthcare spending for children with diabetes. It appears that higher spending on branded insulin is one factor influencing this trend. Moving forward, it will be important to continue to analyze these spending trends to see what else we can learn about how the way diabetes is managed, contributes to costs.-Health Care Cost Institute New Release, 5/6/2015.



With the nursing industry expected to grow faster than any other occupation through 2022, the leading personal finance social network WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2015's Best & Worst States for Nurses.


To assist new nurses in finding the best markets for their profession, WalletHub analyzed the attractiveness of 50 states and the District of Columbia across 15 key metrics such as salary, number of healthcare facilities, educational opportunities, mandatory overtime restrictions, number of hours worked, and so on. Here's how states came out on five of the metrics:


* Healthcare Facilities per Capita-


* Most = Oregon, Maine, Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa


* Least = Texas, Illinois, Nevada, Hawaii, Delaware


* Projected Number of Nurses per Capita by 2022-


* Most = Massachusetts, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, District of Columbia


* Fewest = Nevada, Alaska, California, Hawaii, Utah


* Nursing Job Openings per Capita-


* Most = District of Columbia, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Maine


* Fewest = Hawaii, New York, Utah, Mississippi, Alabama


* Annual Salary for Nurses, Adjusted for Cost of Living-


* Highest = Texas, Michigan, Nevada, Idaho, New Mexico


* Lowest = Vermont, New York, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii


* Projected Percentage of the Population Older than 65 by Year 2030-


* Highest = Florida, Maine, Wyoming, New Mexico, Montana


* Lowest = Georgia, Texas, Alaska, District of Columbia, Utah



The best state to work in based on overall opportunity, competition, and work environment rankings was Washington; the worst was Louisiana. For the full report, see: News Release, 5/5/2015.



Until recently, diagnosing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) was a long process, often involving invasive procedures such as colonoscopies and sigmoidoscopies. Dr. Mark Pimentel, a gastroenterologist at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, CA, created a new blood test to readily confirm IBS. Pimentel explains that, "having an early diagnosis means patients can avoid years of invasive tests and visits to specialists that often leave them with more questions than answers. With these new blood tests, many patients will now be able to proceed right to therapy for their condition."


The tests, developed over 8 years, identify when IBS has developed by recognizing the presence of specific antibodies-anti-Cdtb and anti-vinculin-that react to toxins associated with food poisoning. These toxins, produced by bacteria such as salmonella, damage nerves that are vital to healthy gut functioning. To validate the accuracy of the blood tests, Pimentel and colleagues analyzed 3,000 people aged 18 to 65, comparing participants with IBS with people with inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, or no gastrointestinal disease. Researchers found that the blood tests identified elevated anti-Cdtb and anti-vinculin antibodies successfully in participants with IBS with greater than 90% accuracy.


Globally, 10% of the population experiences IBS; 10% to 15% of the U.S. population is affected. IBS is characterized by symptoms that include abdominal pain, bloating, and bouts of diarrhea and constipation that can cause stress and fatigue.- Accessed 7/24/2015.



"Gratitude is a life skill and the application of God's wisdom. It is a means of holy living. ...When we are in a situation where we see nothing to be thankful for, our perspective on the situation may change if we give thanks. Our attitude can change, for in our gratitude we convey our trust of God and grow in wisdom."


"Gratitude can keep us from being discouraged or overwhelmed by fear in the midst of a depressing situation. Even if the situation feels like a storm, for the sake of our family and neighbors, we need to discipline ourselves to keep calm."


"Avoiding our frustrations and problems in the hopes of avoiding pain does not offer resolution. For that reason, we must confront our problems and do the hard work of pursuing solutions. Through the process, our faith grows, wisdom expands and character builds...."


"We can find some inspiration from the prophet Habakkuk, who found hope in a hopeless situation, Habakkuk expressed gratitude in the midst of desperation, trembling as he waited for an invasion (Habakkuk 3:16). He was not ignorant of the reality, for it appeared as through there was nothing to rest his hope on. But he saw something that the others couldn't see; God's saving hand, God's help. This is why he sang a song of hope."-From Spirituality of Gratitude: The Unexpected Blessing ofThankfulness by Joshua Choonmin Kang, 2015, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. See a book review in the Resources column; page 258.


-PulseBeats compiled by Cathy Walker