Tuesday, July 08, 2008

anxiety may be hard wired for some

Anxiety, Shyness May Be Long-Lasting Traits FRIDAY, July 4 (HealthDay News) -- The brains of people who suffer from anxiety and severe shyness may respond more strongly to stress and show signs of being anxious even in situations considered safe by others, say researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. They studied brain activity, anxious behavior and stress hormones in adolescent rhesus monkeys. Those with the most anxious temperaments showed higher activity in a part of the brain called the amygdala, which regulates emotion and triggers reactions to anxiety. The anxious monkeys had more activity in the amygdala in both secure and threatening situations, the study found. When the monkeys were tested again 18 months later, the results were the same. "The brain machinery underlying the stress response seems to be always on in these individuals, even in situations that others perceive as safe and secure," Dr. Ned Kalin, chairman of the department of psychiatry and HealthEmotions Research Institute, said in a prepared statement. It has long been known that children with an anxious temperament are at increased risk for developing anxiety disorders, depression and substance abuse. The findings indicate a brain mechanism that's present early in life predisposes people to anxious temperament, and that it's difficult for someone with this temperament to be calm because their brain is wired in a way that keeps them tense and anxious. The study was published July 2 in the online journal PLoS One. More information The Center for Mental Health Services has more about anxiety disorders.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Washington Takeaways - Day One

Just finished my first day of meetings. Here are some of the takeaways from the morning sessions:
  • 22% of our nation's minors are living in poverty. That's the highest rate for a developed nation.
  • Gas and food prices are now number 1 and 2 on national polls about priorities. Education used to hold the top spot. It is now ranked 3rd.
  • Excellent education depends on parent involvement and parent involvement is improved with effective strategic communication.
  • Quick notification of a problem resolved saved the day when middle school students inserted an X-rated video clip into the morning announcements. The school's fast response via email calmed parents before the rumor mill got to them. A few parents wanted to see the video. ;)
  • Big life lesson in a 10-word sentence, all 2 letter words: "If it is to be, it is up to me."
  • Lincoln asked if the nation could survive half slave and half free. Since education is the proven passport to first class citizenship, now we should ask can our nation survive half educated and half uneducated?
  • Civil rights progress didn't become actionable until MLK nationalized the issue. Blacks had been mistreated for decades, but with nationwide awareness, injustices became apparent to Americans throughout the nation, not just those in Selma or Birmingham.
  • Which generations do these statements match: Just Do It, Just Did It, Won't Do It?
  • Gen-X parents want reliability, trustworthiness, speed and convenience. Their trust is not unconditional. They take note of slights. They seek options, custom solutions, warm, group discussion and feedback. Baby Boomer admins should remember these three R's: relationship, relationship, relationship.
And the afternoon:
  • Five trends that will impact education over the next five years: technology, pathways, environment, safety, diversity.
  • Who spends only 3% of their time thinking about the future? Most executives.
  • Care more about doing what's right than fear of being wrong.
  • Bring unique value in seeing patterns, take the helicopter view, spot emergent trends
  • The important role of strategic counselor
  • Getting to the heart of the matter: passion, advocacy, communication prowess
  • Students who used high frequency ring tones to bypass adults with hearing loss
  • Check out myclass, tumblr, kickapps, makingmyway.ca
  • Affirmation for experience with facebook, myspace, blogger, twitter, flick
  • Multiple pathways: primary research, spotlight non-traditional stories
  • Showcase vocational success and non-academic awards
  • Conservation ethic: use, allocation, exploitation, protection of resources
  • Avoiding greenwash, green sheen and green noise: really do it, not just talk
  • Valuing the opinions of front lines: students, teachers, custodians
  • Share bad news before students tell their version
  • If the house is on fire, first tell the people inside
  • Immigrants or Newcomer Families?
  • Diversity as a honor, a privilege to be where the world comes to learn
  • Diversity a real-world, competitive advantage for students