New Mobile App From NIH Helps Women Learn About Their Health in 52 Weeks

52 Weeks for Women’s Health, a new app that offers women access to a year’s worth of practical health information, highlighted week-by-week, is now available. The app is based on the Primer for Women’s Health: Learn about Your Body in 52 Weeks, published by the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health. The easy-to-use mobile app can help women identify health risks for themselves and their families, and can help them create and maintain healthy lifestyles throughout their lives. Questions to ask healthcare providers, a glossary of health terms, and health screening information and links to additional information from NIH institutes and centers expand the mobile app’s offerings.

Insurers Not Paying When Patients Leave Hospital Against Medical Advice is a Myth

Many physicians believe this to be true, but researchers say doctors shouldn’t use insurance to force compliance.

If you’re a physician telling patients that insurers won’t pay if they don’t follow doctors’ orders, a study says you should stop — because it’s not true.

An article in the July Journal of General Internal Medicine reported an analysis of data on 526 patients leaving against medical advice from University of Chicago hospitals from 2001 to 2010. Of the group, insurers denied 18 payment for hospital care, but this was primarily due to administrative errors such as misspelled names. Not a single claim was turned down for insurance payment because the patient self-discharged.

The authors also surveyed 51 residents and 41 attending physicians at the institution. Sixty-eight percent of residents and 44% of attending physicians said insurers would not pay for a hospital stay if a patient left against medical advice. Also, 71% of residents and 51% of attending physicians always or often told patients they may be held financially responsible for any bills related to the stay if they left against their counsel (

Research and anecdotal evidence suggest this nonpayment myth most likely goes beyond the University of Chicago. A survey of 114 residents from other institutions found 40% believed insurers would not pay if patients left against medical advice. When the data were presented as a poster at two medical meetings in 2011, numerous physicians reported to the authors that they believed this to be true.

By VICTORIA STAGG ELLIOTT, amednews staff.

HHS Releases New Report on Efforts to End the Tobacco Epidemic

HHS released a progress report on the tobacco strategic action plan that highlights the accomplishments and strategies of the Administration to help tobacco users quit and prevent children from starting to use tobacco products. Over the last three years, HHS has accelerated efforts to reduce tobacco use, taking a coordinated approach employing many tools available to help tobacco users stop and keep others from starting.

Tobacco use is the leading cause of premature and preventable death in the United States.  Every day in the U.S., more than 1,200 people die due to smoking and, for each of those deaths, at least two adolescents or young adults become regular smokers.

Stresses of Poverty May Impair Learning Ability in Young Children

NIH funded research suggests stress hormones inhibit brain function, stifle achievement

The stresses of poverty — such as crowded conditions, financial worry, and lack of adequate childcare — lead to impaired learning ability in children from impoverished backgrounds, according to a theory by a researcher funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The theory is based on several years of studies matching stress hormone levels to behavioral and school readiness test results in young children from impoverished backgrounds. Further, the theory holds, finding ways to reduce stress in the home and school environment could improve children’s well-being and allow them to be more successful academically. High levels of stress hormones influence the developing circuitry of children’s brains, inhibiting such higher cognitive functions such as planning, impulse and emotional control, and attention. Known collectively as executive functions, these mental abilities are important for academic success. The body of research is described in the September/October issue of Scientific American Mind.

–National Institutes of Health

“Stop Bullying” Video Challenge

HRSA and the Federal Partners are launching a video challenge to help prevent and end bullying in schools and communities across the nation. This challenge invites youth ages 13 to 18 years old to create a 30 to 60 second video that will inform and motivate youth to prevent bullying, and that promotes an environment where kindness and respect for others matters. The focus should be on how youth can be more than a bystander, rather than a video that solely explains why bullying is wrong.  Submissions will be accepted through October 14 at 11:00 PM ET.

Wonderful Note From CEO of Executive Service Corp of Houston

Jack & Sally Tyler, CEO attended our VIP Kickoff Reception on August 26, 2012 and commented, “The Marque and Empire Room were great fun to see. We talked about how much effort you put forth for this event and the upcoming conference.  I understand how hard it is to grow things from seed. You are good gardener.:>”

Ron Swofford, VP also attended. Thank you for being such a great coach!

Daily or Severe Tantrums May Point to Mental Health Issues

Most young children lose their temper sometimes, but daily tantrums or tantrums with severe behaviors, such as aggressive or destructive tantrums, are unusual and could signal a larger problem, according to an NIMH-funded study published online August 3, 2012, in a special issue of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.


Distinguishing “normal” misbehaviors of early childhood from clinically worrisome problems can be challenging for pediatricians, parents, and others who work with young children.

To address this issue, Lauren Wakschlag, Ph.D., of Northwestern University, Margaret Briggs-Gowan, Ph.D., of University of Connecticut Health Center, and their colleagues examined temper loss among preschoolers as a spectrum of behaviors ranging from mild or normal to “problem indicators” that may be signs of a greater, underlying mental health issue.

For this study, the researchers developed the Multidimensional Assessment of Preschool Disruptive Behavior (MAP-DB) questionnaire. Rather than merely asking whether a child had tantrums or not, the MAP-DB assesses the frequency, quality, and severity of behaviors related to temper tantrums and the extent of a child’s anger management skills over the past month. Parents of almost 1,500 preschoolers, ages 3-5, took part in the study.

Results of the Study

The researchers found that more than 80 percent of preschoolers had one or more tantrums in the past month. However, less than 10 percent had tantrums every day. Also, normal temper loss behaviors showed similar patterns and could be reliably distinguished from problem indicators.

For example, over a one month period, tantrums typically occurred:

  • when preschoolers were frustrated, angry, or upset (61 percent)
  • during daily routines, such as bedtime, mealtime, or getting dressed (58 percent)
  • with their parents (56 percent).

In contrast, it was less typical for preschoolers to have a tantrum:

  • with an adult who was not their parent, such as a babysitter or teacher (36 percent)
  • during which they broke or destroyed things (28 percent)
  • “out of the blue,” or for which parents could not discern a reason (26 percent)
  • that lasted an unusually long time (26 percent)
  • during which they hit, bit, or kicked someone else (24 percent).


The findings provide early evidence that studying behaviors as a spectrum may provide new insights into how mental disorders develop and better target early diagnosis, prevention, and treatment.

“Our goal was to provide a standard method that would take the guesswork out of ‘when to worry’ about young children’s behavior and to provide a more developmentally sensitive way of characterizing the emergence of mental health problems, moving away from traditional approaches emphasizing extreme clinical distinctions to a dimensional approach that charts a progression from normal to abnormal,” said Wakschlag.

What’s Next

Further research is needed to confirm and evaluate the effectiveness of the MAP-DB questionnaire in identifying the point at which very young children would benefit from more specialized mental health screening and treatment. Changes in behavior as the child ages and whether problematic behaviors in early childhood lead to greater mental health issues later in life are also important areas for future study.


Wakschlag et al. Defining the developmental parameters of temper loss in early childhood: Implications for developmental psychopathology. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. In press.

–National Institue of Mental Health (NIMH)