Media Production Project

--Original published at Sidney's college blogs

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), has continued to rise in numbers. The former 1 in every 68 children has now risen to affecting 1 in every 59 children. There has never been a reliable way to predict the onset of autism within a child. Scientists from the University of North Carolina and Chapel Hill and Washington University School of Medicine performed a study to predict this onset very early in life.

An fMRI machine was used to scan the brains of 59 infants while sleeping. Of the 59 infants, 18 were female and 41 were male. Each infant in the study was six-months old and had an older sibling who was diagnosed with ASD. Infants were excluded from the study if they had any previous genetic conditions, premature birth, low birth weight, maternal substance abuse, contraindication for MRI, or family history of psychosis, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder. The fMRI recorded brain functions based on the fluctuations of blood flow in the brain. Each infant was scanned twice, ensuring no head movement interfered with the imaging.

When the infants reached 24 months of age, they underwent behavioral assessments. The results of the various assessments were analyzed by clinicians for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Questionnaires were also filled out by the parents of the children in the study. Assessments given resulted in information regarding their cognitive, behavioral, and developmental abilities. These assessments helped to identify the validity of the brain scans. The brain scans from when they were six-months-old were then compared to the results of their behavioral assessments at 24-months-old. This included their social interactions, communication, motor development, and repetitive behavior.

The scores of the assessments were plotted on a graph. There was a clear linear separation between those with ASD and those without ASD. A correlation between infants’ brain activity and their repetitive and social behaviors was found by the researchers. Early brain activity in infants can accurately predict the diagnosis of ASD later in life. The study correctly predicted the diagnosis of nine out of eleven babies. It also correctly predicted the absence of diagnosis of ASD in all 48 infants. This study is able to be generalized to a new sample of infants. The findings in the study need to be tested and expanded more in the future. The prediction of ASD at 24-months-old may be too young, but it does correlate correctly. This test is very expensive, so as advancements are made in the future, this imaging can be done when there are genetic and screening technologies that indicate a strong likelihood of the child having ASD.


I actually really enjoyed this project overall. I was able to learn more about a disorder that I am very passionate about. Taking on the role of a journalist was actually a lot harder than I expected it to be. We had a deadline just as a journalist would have. However, that was not the hard part. The hard part of this paper was scrunching 9 pages of information into 460 words. There was a lot of important information from the actual research study that I had to leave out. I left out all of the different assessments that were given to each child. These assessments held a lot of information as to what autism consisted of and the signs that they looked for. I opted for just generalizing the assessments that were given and a few of the behaviors that they looked for in them. I also had to leave out information regarding how they took the brain scans. Each scan was taken at a certain magnification, direction, weight, angle, and other factors. The images were taken in frames. This allowed for the researchers to discard any frames that contained movement of their head. They then compiled the rest of the frames for the correlative analysis. Although I was not able to include this type of information in the journal article, I do think that I was able to touch upon the main parts of the study. I think that journalists have a hard job. They are responsible for summarizing a huge study into just a few hundred words. They need to be certain to include only the most important pieces of information in order to meet their number of words that are allowed.


(460 Words)

Link to Article:–Infants–Brain-Activity-Patterns-Predict-Autism-Risk/

Link to Scholarly Article:


Spotlight Blog 3

--Original published at marybraun99

Mental Health Treatment:

According to, psychotherapy brings about lasting changes, and connects the emotion to the root of the problem. The site argues that many people do not realize that psychotherapy is targeting the roots of the problem to bring about a lasting change in emotion. The site argues that pharmaceuticals have an incentive to give patients medication because it makes their industry grow. Disorders such as major depressive disorder create problems for individuals not only in their personal life, but their social life as well. By targeting the root of the problem, there is a possibility of unwavering those problems from your social life and treat your personal life to create a better and healthier life. If you are just taking medication, there is no “fixing” the problem, rather just covering the problem up. Psychotherapy helps you to target your blind spots, and change the things that you never realized were affecting your life.

groupsinc describes the benefits of psychotherapy, and how it is not only a counseling service to help you understand your mental illness, but it also helps you to understand your full potential, and help you to reach it with small goals, and one big ultimate goal. Using psychotherapy is very effective if you are willing for it to be successful. If you are going because you don’t have a choice, and you do not open up to your therapist and let them help you, you will receive no benefits from psychotherapy. Using therapy to find coping skills is more effective than taking a medication, because being able to have life long skills to use when you are going through a depressive episode can help you more in the long run than when you stop taking medications and it fades out.

On the other hand, medications are seen as a better alternative to treating mental illnesses such as major depressive disorder.

According to depressionisreal, it is important to realize that if your symptoms are not severe, medications probably will not help you. If you are suffering from severe depression however, medications will probably be your best friend. If you are taking antidepressants for a shorter amount of time, and just until you can get back on track, that is when it will be most helpful. If you do not have immediate means to solve your depression, medications will help. Even if their effects can not be seen until about 8 weeks in, they are helpful for dealing with anxiety especially because they help to soothe your nerves and help you to better deal with everyday stressors if you do not already have a coping strategy.

On psychologytoday, there is a news article that talks about the benefits of taking medications. It is urgent that you listen to the directions given to you by doctors for the most effective outcome. Some people do not like to open up to other individuals and by taking medication it is giving them a way out, or they are more open and willing to talk to others. Medication can be an effective side to your therapy sessions as it can help you better express what is wrong, and help you get to the roots of your problems. Many people prefer medications because therapy can only provide educational information about their illness and can not provide an actual treatment other than advice and help. Most believe that medication is actually the treatment, or cure to their illness and depend on that more than therapy. Most people just have the stigma that medication works better than therapy does.

Overall, I believe that a combination of therapy and medication is the most effective way to treat a mental illness. A medication should be a helping hand, not the whole treatment. It is important to talk to someone and get the roots of your issues sorted out so that you can live a happy and healthy life later on and not live a horrible life. I think finding a perfect combination and continuing even when you are starting to feel better is the best way to get your mental illness under control and not end up relapsing.


Media Production Project

--Original published at marybraun99

Does Sunshine Affect Your Mood?

Researchers in Australia say that there is a correlation between the amount of sun that is shining and the levels of serotonin in your brain. The Bakers Heart Research Institute was approved for an study involving blood samples and sunlight.  During the summer months many people feel intense happiness, but as soon as the winter months start to kick in, and the cold starts to take over your body many people start to experience seasonal depression. Depression happens when serotonin levels in your body decrease, causing low chemical balances and a feeling of hopelessness.

The research in Australia took 100 volunteers, aged 18-79, that went through intense testing, and had no history of depression or mental illnesses. Once they were tested, their serotonin levels were measured from their jugular veins throughout the year. The blood samples were taken from the jugular vein because the researchers say they wanted blood as close to the brain as they could get.

Data from the research shows that serotonin levels vary from day to day and are lowest in the winter time. It shows that the previous days serotonin levels had no effect on the next days levels. Patients were not permitted to smoke, or have any caffeine 12 hours prior to being tested to get the best results.

Temperature, precipitation, air pressure, and sunlight were all tested, however only sunlight seemed to play a role in serotonin levels in the brain from day to day.

Since the participants were not chosen randomly, and went through intense testing to make sure there was no prior mental health issues were present, this study can not be generalized to all of the population. There was no studies done to see if the levels of serotonin varied as much between those who were already exposed to a mental illness or low serotonin levels. More research would be needed to evaluate those who have a current illness.




During the process of trying to create a new journal article, it was hard to look through the scholarly article and find information that was relevant to the survey. The scholarly article, and the pop news article were very different in the way that they expressed the survey. The pop culture article was very clear and got to the point of what the most important parts of the scholarly article conveyed. The scholarly article had a lot of information that did not make sense to the general public. If you did not have prior education on some of the facts, you would have to skim through it and find key points. (much like I had to do) Since this experiment took place in Australia, some of what was said would not be understood to Americans, and would not be able to get the same information as their codes of conduct and their informed consent vary from the United States. Many of the information that I chose to leave out was all of the information that 5-HIAA, because it does not go into detail, and does not describe what that means or what any of the information that they found while doing the experiment meant. I was not able to understand that information without going on google, and searching it. I chose to leave it out because I did not think it was significant and I thought that the stuff that was significant was most of what was mentioned in the pop culture article because it was basic and to the point. It could also be understood by the general public, which  is what is essentially wanted while writing a journal entry. Overall, I was confused on what to include and what not to include. I believe, however, that the pop culture article I chose was relatively close to what the scholarly article included and there was not much else that could have been said that you would still understand what was going on in the experiment.

Spotlight Blog 3

--Original published at Sidney's college blogs

For the last spotlight blog, I decided to gather information about year-round schooling. Growing up I can always remember my mom saying that she would much rather all of us sibling be in year-round school. She always wanted this because even though we were home all summer, she hardly ever got to see us because she was working every day. She wanted more frequent breaks even though they were shorter so that she would be able to take off some work to send time with us. As a kid, her idea never seemed appealing to me, but my opinions may have changed since then.

In schools who are on the summer vacation program, there are only vacations in the summer and a few days off here and there for holidays. In schools with a year-round program, there would be a greater frequency in breaks. This program still operates on 180 school days over the course of the year. There are just more breaks in between this amount of time. This frequency in breaks allows for not only the student, but also the teachers to recuperate and not burn out early in the year. The longer time in school allows for the students to cover more material in class. The books within the schools are hardly ever covered completely. The extended time allows for this missed material to be covered and the critical lessons would no longer be rushed or skipped over. If schooling was year-round, there would be very little distinction between one year and the next year. Because there is very little distinction, the more advanced students would be able to move to the next grade with ease and faster than the others. It allows for a faster advancement for students. During the summer, students are not challenged to use their critical thinking skills. Without exercising this critical thinking, the students lose a lot of information over their summer break. Because of this lost material, teachers often have to spend vast amounts of time reteaching things from the previous year. Instead of one long break, frequent, shorter breaks will allow for a higher retention rate. This will allow for the teachers to spend less time reteaching in the beginning of the year as well.

Although there are various reasons supporting the year-round schooling program, there are also plenty of reasons not to enroll students in the program. Because the summer months are hot, electricity bills tend to rise a lot. If students were still in school during the summer, the bills for the schools would also likely increase. Many public schools already suffer from a lack of funds, and this would not help the school budget at all. A large component to growing and learning is having the ability to go outside and play. This is vital to healthy development in children. The summer months allow for them to be able to spend that time outside and take a break from the school walls. Children with attention difficulties may struggle with a year-round schedule as well. They need those breaks to be away from a strict and confined area. This can cause more behavioral problems with those children. Another down-fall to year-round schooling is for the older students. Highschool students need to work to pay for college, bills, and their future plans. This would not allow for the students to have enough time off of school to really hold a job and make a decent amount of money for their future plans. Families may have a hard time scheduling family vacations due to not having a distinct summer vacation. This also goes along with band and other extracurricular activities. They use these summer months to prepare their music, marches, and other components for their club. The activities could run into problems in that regard. Lastly, the year-round program for schooling is not conclusively proven to benefit the students academically.

In my opinion, year-round schooling would be a great option for students. Growing up I would never agree with this, but now that I graduated, I would rather have more frequent breaks rather than just my summer off. I can remember sitting in class the first week of school, and I would not remember anything from the previous year. I think that year-round schooling would allow for better academic excellence in students. I know that many kids just stay inside and play videogames their entire summer. This in no way helps them grow or flourish in their academics. Short breaks would allow for the student to not burn out and lose motivation. These short breaks would allow for playing and down-time without it being excessively long. I do understand that the schools would suffer financially, however, I think that adaptations can be made to support those changes. I also think that having more successful academic students is more important than an electricity bill. It may make planning a vacation in the summer harder to do, but many students get a permission form to fill out to approve a trip anyway. I agree with my mom’s opinion when I was little. I think that students would benefit overall from having shorter, more frequent breaks, rather than one long one.




Media Production Project

--Original published at Miguel's College Blog

News Article: (1034 words)

Scholarly Article:

Article Rewrite: (327)

Finding the right partner can be a hit or miss situation. One of the common problems people have in relationships is knowing if their partner is “the one.” If there was a way to  see if your partner was going to be your potential “one,” would you trust it?

A recent study by Jaakko Aspara, Kristina Wittkowski, and Xueming Luo (2018) studied the role of intelligence in marriage behavior based on the statistical evidence from 120,290 males who took a cognitive test before entering the Finnish military. The results of the study suggests the partner who is smarter is going to be the best bet for a long term relationship.

The researchers claimed there was a positive correlation between high intelligence scores and marriage outcomes. The researchers took scores from the cognitive test and watched marriage statuses of the males who took the test from 2007 to 2011. Those who scored higher on the test statistically were more likely to get married, and stay married, in comparison to their peers who scored lower. An interesting variable the researchers added into their study was car possession and size and how that adds to marriage outcomes as well.

The intelligence test was taken from the Finnish Defense Forces, given before admittance to the military, and the marriage records were taken from public marriage registers from Finland’s Population Register Center. The test gathered verbal, numerical, and logical intelligence, with verbal intelligence being highlighted by the researchers as having a larger effect on marriage likelihood. They believed that a high verbal intelligence allowed for better communication skills and therefore, better probability for marriage.

The researchers took a biological stance in how intelligence affects marriage and how that can affect fitness of an individual. Fitness of an individual is how many offspring one individual can produce. The hypothesis at hand then is that by having high intelligence increases the chance of getting married, increasing the chance of the opportunity to reproduce, thus increasing one’s biological fitness.


Summarizing the research article was pretty easy to do because the news article had 1,034 words, which left me with more than enough room to substantially describe the findings of the article in depth enough. I did have to make sure that I did not go too in depth with the article because the original research article had much more statistical evidence and values to defend their results. Adding statistics and more numbers into the news article probably would have confused the reader and may turn the reader away from reading the entire article. What was difficult in this assignment was trying to include the most important parts of the research article for the rewrite now that I read the actual research article. There was a lot of extraneous information included in the research article that may be interesting to know but for the news article I had to figure out whether or not it was important for an overall understanding of the research. My perspective of journalists have evolved over the course because now I understand how difficult writing about research actually is. Journalists not only have to find the research, but they also have to thoroughly read the article and understand it. After that, they have to write an article that is precise enough to hit all the main points of the research, as well as being easy to understand for the reader. Reading the news article first gave me confidence in understanding the research article because the news article was easy to understand and gave me a general understanding of the research article. When I read the research article, the article was dense and filled with graphs and numbers that were confusing. It took me a couple of reads to actually understand the results that were given by the study. This assignment was really beneficial in that I now understand better how to digest news articles and check the actual research to completely understand what the research is telling me.


Spotlight Post #3

--Original published at JanellesCollegeBlog

For my last spotlight post, I decided to write about intelligence and whether or not year-round schooling is a good idea. Although students may hate the idea, there are some valid pros to year-round schooling. The first article states that students will actually remember what they learn, like school, and the achievement gap will start to be bridged. In summer break, students often lose a good amount of information that they worked hard to learn during the school year. We have all experienced this effect when we know we learned something the previous year but just cannot recall it. With year round schooling, there would be less time to lose this precious information. The article also believes that students would tend to like school more because there would be more time for students and teachers to build stronger relationships. The achievement gap is between minorities and other students in school. Research has shown that minorities are likely to lose more information over summer vacation than other students, so year-round schooling would help these children benefit from the education that they are receiving. Also, this would hopefully help decrease the drop out rates for minorities if they start seeing results from their schooling. The second article presented ten arguments for year-round school. These included easier vacation scheduling, solving overcrowding in schools, benefiting low-income students, having more frequent breaks, allowing teachers to earn more money, increasing respect for teachers, getting rid of an educational system meant for a different time, limiting time constraints on teachers, allowing students to advance more quickly, and cutting down on loss of information. This article talks about a multitrack system where there would be different groups in the school and one group would have vacation at one time while the others were in school and then the vacations would be rotated throughout the year, thus solving overcrowding in school. The system would also allow students to advance at the pace that they are able to go instead of having students restricted by grades like the current system does, which would allow students to achieve more. The article also thinks year-round school would be a good thing for teachers. They could earn more money instead of potentially having to pick up second jobs in the summer, would get more respect from other professions that consider them lazy for having a break in summer, and would be less constrained with time and could cover more material over the course of a year. The last new perspective that this article had was that the current school system was designed for an agricultural society where families needed their children to help cultivate crops over the summer when they were not in school. Society does not revolve around this labor anymore and the article’s point was that the system should actually match society.

The two articles against year-round schooling have valid points against the idea. The first article states that the academic benefits have not actually been proven and students will forget the same amount of information in 3 weeks as in 10, so teachers may actually have to take more time reviewing information previously learned throughout the course of the year. Summer camps and the ability for older students to hold a summer job would become obsolete. Also, extracurricular activities that usually practice throughout the summer would run into scheduling issues with this time taken away. Finally, if schools implemented a multitrack system, parents with children in different tracks would have an impossible time trying to schedule a family vacation because the children would have different breaks. The second article states three main arguments against year-round schooling including it being more expensive, children not having enough down time, and scheduling conflicts. Summer months have the highest rates of energy consumption so school districts would actually have to pay more to run schools year-round. This shot to the school budget could create other budget cuts elsewhere lessening the opportunities that students have. Finally, summer break is a vital time for childhood development where students need to get out of sitting in a classroom and go outside. Summer allows children to do this and to experience the outdoors.

Personally, with a lot of bias from being an actual student, I do not agree with the arguments for year-round schooling. I think summer is an important time needed for students to be able to relax, spend time with their families, go on vacations, and take a break from school. It is a good time to recharge before the new school year. I have experienced the issue of forgetting information from one year to the next, but I agree with the first against article that stated the loss of information would happen anyway even within a shorter amount of time, so teachers would need to spend more time reviewing over the year. Also, I do not believe that stronger relationships between students and teachers would occur because there would be a huge backlash from students when this system would be implemented. Students would actually end up hating school more. I also do not believe that it would allow students to advance more quickly because I do not think that schools would get rid of grades. Also, if there was a really intelligent 11-year old that advanced through all of school, I have a hard time believing that they would be allowed to graduate. Finally, I agree with the argument that it would help bridge the gap for minority students, but I do not believe that this huge jump to year-round schooling needs to be made just to help the minority. I think that other programs could be tried first during summers to help these students keep up with their learning and work. This would be a better first step to trying to bridge the gap between students. Overall though, I do not support the idea of year-round schooling.

For year-round schooling:

Against year-round schooling:



Spotlight Post #3 – Overcoming Peer Pressure

--Original published at Site Title

Facing peer pressure is an inevitable thing that we all surely have some experience with. Although peer pressure can sometimes be a positive thing, more often than not it is negative. Considering the fact that the majority of the students in this class are underclassmen, peer pressure is probably more prevalent in our lives than it is in most other categories of people. The following link is to a website that offers suggestions as to how college students can avoid giving in to the peer pressures that they face.

As we all probably know, one of the most common pressures we face as college students is the temptation to drink alcohol. In a lot of college settings, drinking has become a norm even though it is illegal for a large percentage of the students who participate in it. According to the article above, there are several things a college student can do to help them resist engaging in these behaviors. One strategy is to become involved in as many activities as you can. These activities can include sports teams, clubs, and pretty much any other thing that takes time out of your day. When someone has less time, they are less likely to party because they just don’t have the time to. Being involved in clubs like this is also a great way to create relationships with people. A lot of times you will hear college students say one of the main reasons they attend parties is to be social and meet new people. If you already have established relationships, you will be less likely to succumb to peer pressures. Additionally, you will have more of a sense of belonging, causing you to feel more secure. Based upon what we have discussed in class, I feel as if this is a valid suggestion that could prove to be a successful strategy. At one point we learned that it is in human nature to want to be seen as “cool” or just to be liked in the eyes of others. This is exactly why people give into peer pressures so frequently. However, it is less likely if you already have a good group of people who you know are in your corner regardless of the choices you make.

While college students and young adults face a lot of peer pressure, there are many other groups of people that struggle with the same issues. Specifically, athletes. Athletes often have this reputation of being “cool” and “the life of the party”. The following article consists of strategies that are geared specifically towards what athletes can do to avoid peer pressure.

This article gave five tips as to what an athlete can do in peer pressure situations. One is to be aware of your feelings. As I have previously mentioned, we discussed in class that it is normal to want to be liked and you can be aware of the fact that you want to be liked. Being aware of this can remind you that sometimes the impulses that you’re facing are not things that you really want to do in the long run, even though it may seem like a good idea at the time. The second tip is to ask yourself questions such as “would I be proud of this in ten years?”. Next, gather a support system. Having people in your corner will remind you that you do not need to try to impress others in order to be liked. The next tip is to remind yourself of why you decided to not make a certain decision. Just because you overcame peer pressure once doesn’t mean that it will always be easy. Remind yourself why you are making the sacrifice that you are, and what your goal is. Finally, do something that will help you to build up your inner strength. Doing things like meditating, keeping a journal, and working on your self-talk will help you to become more secure in yourself. Similarly to the first article, I believe that the tips in this article could help someone to successfully avoid giving into peer pressure. Again, we discussed in class that it is on our human nature to want people to like us. If you were to follow these tips, it is likely that you will become more secure in yourself, decreasing the need for others approval. Therefore, peer pressure will be easier to overcome.

A third group of people that struggle with facing peer pressure are teens. Middle school and high school can be pretty rough for many kids. Fitting in is super important for most kids, and often times kids will do things that they don’t actually want to do in order to seem cool. This article is targeted specifically at what parents can do to help their children avoid peer pressure.

This article gives parents five suggestions of strategies they can use to help their children avoid peer pressure. The first suggestion is to teach their children how to say no to things like cigarettes, alcohol, etc. The second suggestion is talking to their children about how to avoid situations where they know rules will be broken. Next is to remind children that there is strength in numbers, and having support will make resisting peer pressure easier. It is also important to let teens know that it is okay to to seek the advice of adults. Finally, parents should do their best to raise their kids to have a high self-esteem. I believe all of these strategies are likely to successfully help teens avoid peer pressure for the same reasons as the previous two articles. Human beings want to be accepted, and we want to feel as if everyone likes us. However, when we are informed, secure, and strong-willed, the desire for others to determine our worth is lessened. Therefore, succumbing to peer pressure is less likely.  

Media Production Project

--Original published at Nadia's Blog

It is a common belief and misconception that as the cold weather approaches, depression worsens, most commonly known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Most people believe that the colder weather lowers an individual’s mood, slows their mind and become more prone to depression. This misconception was caused by a SAD study conducted in which the participants recruited believed that they had this diagnosis. This ultimately led to bias and skewed results. An improved study was conducted by Megan K. Traffanstedt, Sheila Mehta and Steven G. LoBello to determine if a seasonally related pattern of occurrence of major depression could be demonstrated in a population-based study.

The researchers conducted a cross-sectional U.S. survey of adults, from 18-99 years old. A total of 34,294 participants were randomly chosen from a population registry during all four seasons. The study was based on a larger population representative sample. The researchers ensured that depression measurement was consistent with DSM criteria, was population representative, the participants were unaware of the seasonal hypothesis and were aware of the effects of variables. The survey included the Patient Health Questionnaire-8 (PHQ-8), which was the current measure of depression, and was conducted in 36 different states. The data collected was interpreted using regression models to determine if depression was related to sunlight exposure. The study was sure to investigate the latitude, season and sunlight exposure in each participant, and took those factors into account.

The latitude was classified as an individual living in the northern, middle or southern latitude and this aspect was tabulated at the time of the survey. The researchers were also able to acknowledge the duration of daylight for most U.S. areas. The amount of sunlight exposure ranged from 8 hours and 43 minutes to 15 hours and 37 minutes. A few analyses of the correlation between depression and sunlight were evaluated. The first being if depression is related to season, second being if latitude or season independently interacted with depression scores.

The study resulted that seasonal variables were not related to depression scores. The same results came from the effects of latitude. Most importantly the amount of sunlight exposure did not significantly alter depression scores. There was no association with depression scores and sunlight in the total sample or in the participants who had increased depression scores. Additionally there was not a correlation of sunlight exposure the day of the interview and the depression score.

This study conducted is able to be representative of the entire U.S. population and was properly executed to ensure no self-selection bias. The results of this study doubt that major depression with seasonal variation is an actual psychiatric disorder. It is evident to note that just because an individual is depressed in winter does not mean that their depression is caused by winter itself.




I found this assignment challenging because I quickly realized that the news article contained very little information to support what they were discussing. I am definitely an individual who believed what I read in news articles online; however my views have completely changed. I am now aware that the news article that I read did not contain any of the 5 important questions and did not provide the reader with any information that could verify their results. Overall both the news article and the scholarly article had the same results which allowed me to at least agree with the outcome of the news article. I did not have a lot of difficulty summarizes the research article because my original news article was 1,496 words, which gave me a ton of room to include the necessary aspects of the research for the reader to understand the study. Interestingly the difficult part was to not include too much detail that the reader would not be able to understand what I was trying to say. In the scholarly article much more information was given but not necessarily all of the information could be used in the new summary. The summary was challenging because I needed to prioritize and organize the information in a way that would make sense to the reader. I did have trouble deciding how in depth I should go or if I was being too vague. I now understand the difficulty of journalist who does not have full control of what to include in an article if they are under a word constraint. It is not their fault that they were not able to provide the reader with all the information necessary. Overall I found this assignment incredibly helpful and it now allows me to look at things in a different light.

(News Article)

(Scholarly Article)

Week 16 – Mental Health Treatment Option 1

--Original published at Manda's College Blog

Your textbook lists 4 major types of psychotherapy (psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive, and humanistic). Rank these types of therapy according to how helpful you think they would be if you needed therapy and explain what it is about each one that you like/dislike.


Humanistic: Person’s individual nature, rather than categorizing groups of people with similar characteristics as having the same problems; emphasis on a person’s positive traits and behaviors, and the ability to use their personal instincts to find wisdom growth, healing, and fulfillment within themselves.

I would personally rank humanistic therapy is the best because the focus is you and you only. Therapy of all sorts does focus on you but with a humanistic therapist, they don’t use the same methods with each person with the same disorder. It’s understood that everyone has different experiences, triggers, and could have more than just that one said mental illness. This type of therapy sounds like it’s custom made for you and you only, which actually can encourage the treated patient to be more motivated to heal due to specific methods that are designed to work for you but not everyone else.

Cognitive: Negative, self defeating thinking; promote healthier thinking and adaptive behaviors; Train people to counter self harmful thoughts and to act out their new ways of thinking (textbook)

Cognitive would be the next best type of therapy I would recommend. Though I would use cognitive and behavioral together because most negative thinking from personal experience, causes self-destructive behavior. I believe this therapy would help you verbalize your negative thoughts to a trusted professional, and having that person reinforce positive coping skills may inspire the patient to even learn something they like about themselves by trying something new.

Psychodynamic: Unconscious conflicts from childhood experiences; reduce anxiety through self-insight; interpret patients’ memories and feelings (textbook)

I feel that a lot of people that currently have any type of mental illness may be influenced because of their childhood traumas. They may have never talked about it with anyone and bundled it up inside for so many years, also they could be in a living situation where they are at risk which can trigger mental health issues. Acknowledging the trauma’s can help the patient process it much better and maybe figure out where to go after learning about their childhood. It can also help the therapist knowing about their childhood to recommend any other types of treatment to medication.

Behavioral: Dysfunctional behaviors; Lean adaptive behaviors, extinguish problem ones; use classical or operant conditioning (textbook)

Behavioral I believe would also pair well with cognitive. But by itself I would find least effective because I personally think dysfunctional behavior comes from what is going on in your head mentally. Any one can learn how to behave properly, but there is usually a reason why the person is behaving badly. I think that everything mentally should be processed first before learning how to extinguish problem behaviors.

Spotlight Blog 3: Psychotherapy vs Medication

--Original published at Manda's College Blog

Image result for quotes on antidepressants

Mental health in general has changed dramatically I believe since the 1960’s. Before John F. Kennedy’s presidency, mental health treatment was overlooked, ignored and unknown. For example, PTSD wasn’t an actual diagnosis until 1980, and a lot of people, even General George Patton (WW2) believed PTSD wasn’t a real disease. The only solution for people suffering anywhere from depression, bipolar, to schizophrenia was sending that person to a psychiatric hospital; where they will most likely be abused and/or their disorder goes untreated. JFK’s sister, Rosemary suffered from mental disabilities—mostly intellectual. Kennedy and his administration proposed The Community Mental Health Act, the purpose of the bill was to build mental health centers to provide for community-based care, as an alternative to institutionalization. At the centers, patients could be treated while working and living at home (wiki). Though this bill can be argued that it wasn’t a turning point, to myself and others, it shows that people even in high power want to not just help their loved ones, but for the rest of the countries mentally disabled. Moving forward, we have been fortunate enough to have understood mental health disorders much more. There are many ways to treat a specific illness, even multiple mental illnesses discovered in one person. Though we have come very far in treatment, there are controversal measures where it’s argued whether medication or psychotherapy treats mental illness effectively.

As TIME reported in a recent cover story, clinical depression affects about 16 million people in the U.S. and is estimated to cost the U.S. In the most recent study done (2011) 13% of people from ages 12 and up have said to take antidepressants.; it’s said that the amount of people taking antidepressants will continue to grow. A large problem is most people seek prescription drugs rather than psychotherapy. An intake of a patient who gets prescribed medication most of the time isn’t even recommended any kind of therapy; most of the antidepressants have dangerous side affects that can typically make your mental illness worse.

Television and the internet are constantly advertising ads for depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety. The ads make it sound that these medications are the key to picking up or lowering your mood as needed as long as you don’t pay attention to the many side effects they quickly read out and have in the smallest print on the bottom of the screen. It’s pretty clear that there is no alternative options shared on the commercials to seek some sort of psychotherapy. So most people interpret that taking medicine is the way to get better. Kathryn McHugh from McLean Hospital investigated that the vast majority of people seeking treatment for depression and anxiety disorders prefer pharmacological to psychological interventions by a ratio of 3 to 1 (Psychotherapy).

Few few know this but psychotherapy can do just about what medication can do though it may take longer than a fast acting medicine. Therapy should be recommended if you have a non psychotic disorder or a minor disorder than can be quickly resolved. Though medication works faster, it can be addictive; the best type of treatment would be a combination of both.

A study was done in the 70’s by psychiatrist named Klerman, finding that a combined treatment of psychotherapy and medication is superior to either treatment alone. The study founded that psychotherapy can enhance the effectiveness of medication. Concurrent treatment may also improve the therapeutic alliance and enhance patient satisfaction with treatment. The therapeutic alliance, in turn, has a profound effect on antidepressant efficacy (Klerman, 2). It’s also founded that the side effects of the medication will be less likely due to being preoccupied with whatever type of therapy the person is on.

It’s also said a person with a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia will benefit and cope much more with medication and psychotherapy.

Nowadays with the increase of adolescents quickly getting diagnosed with bipolar, ADHD and even depression, doctors are too quick to give medication out to them, which in of it’s self should be known that they are still developing and growing; doctors and their parents need to exhaust every single option before considering the child to take medication. Psychotherapy would be the absolute best option for adolescents especially, since they are easily impressionable and can get professional help to outgrow the issue. Yes, there has been significant improvement from both doctors and the person that is ill; knowing which illness they have and the patient actually seeking to get help. But just like the way the opioid epidemic is headed, where they exhaust all options before prescribing pain medication, the same needs to be looked at with mental illness.