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The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism 2006-2007

Stephanie Smith

Medical News Producer
New York, N.Y., USA

Topic: Through a four-part documentary, examine the mental health of children living in Oregon who have been orphaned by their parents' methamphetamine use.

Published Work:

Should Bodychecking in Youth Hockey be Banned?
That only about one in 4,000 youth hockey players will ever make it to the professional ranks, does putting the 3,999 other bodies – and specifically, heads – at risk by allowing bodychecking make sense?

Frequent Churchgoers Frequently Fatter
Young, religiously active people are more likely than their non-religious counterparts to become obese in middle age, according to new research.

Player's Text: Send My Brain to NFL Research Bank
The toll of repeated head blows and injuries loomed over football after the death last week of former NFL player, Dave Duerson.

Marijuana Use May Speed Psychosis
Using marijuana, or cannabis, may cause psychosis to develop sooner in patients already predisposed to developing it, and in other patients, the drug may even cause psychosis, according to a new study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

2010 Year in Review: Concussions
For an injury that is practically invisible, concussions got a lot of attention in 2010.

One Canadian Concussion Policy: 'Better Safe than Sorry'
Calling its policy "better safe than sorry," a Canadian hockey league has instituted new rules that could keep players suspected of having a concussion off the ice for days, weeks or even months.

New Study: One Step Closer to Measuring Concussion Impact
One of the vexing realities when it comes to concussion is that its impact on the brain is impossible to measure. There is no MRI, no X-ray, no test to describe how it might cause brain damage. That could change, according to a new, small study presented at the Radiological Society of North America annual meeting.

Docs Seek to Better ID Concussions' 'Invisible Injury'
It is hardly a comforting sight when an athlete's body lies splayed and twisted on the field after an injury. Doctors can splint a broken arm or X-ray a twisted knee. But when a concussion occurs, diagnosis is not so simple.

Cyber Bully Victims 'Isolated, Dehumanized'
There is no question that venomous, nasty insults hurled across the cafeteria or in school hallways hurt. A new survey published in the Journal of Adolescent Health finds that for victims of cyberbullying (insults that occur online or via text), that hurt may be more pronounced.

Charity's Last Hours: Brutal, Beautiful
Five years after Hurricane Katrina battered Charity Hospital, pain and fear, hope and triumph, still echo through its walls

Change Your Thinking to Kick that Cigarette Habit
Imagine how tantalizing, how powerful the craving for a cigarette is. Then imagine you could stem that craving by merely changing the way you think. A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that merely thinking differently could help control cravings.

Could Type 2 Diabetes Damage a Young Brain?
Children diagnosed with type 2 diabetes already are huffing and puffing on the playground - a new study indicates they may also be stressing and straining in the classroom.

Childhood Abuse Linked to Adult Heart Disease
Adults who were physically abused during childhood are more likely later to develop heart disease. In fact, abused children have 45 percent higher odds of heart problems later in life compared with children who are not abused, according to new research published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect.

Violence Weighs Heavy on a Child's Mind
Being around violence is stressful, no doubt, but it turns out that exposure to homicide may be causing cognitive problems in children, according to a new study.

Want Kids to Achieve? Pay Attention to Their Friendships
A key factor for academic success among adolescents turns out to be the number of friendships they have at school, according to a new UCLA study published in the online edition of the Journal of Research on Adolescence.

Youth Hockey Players: Too Young to Body Check?
Youth hockey does not look so different than adult hockey, besides the obvious differences in stature among the players. The essential elements of the game are there: The skates' clatter on the ice; the smoothly sliding puck; and, oh yes, that tousling and hitting they call body checking.

Bracing for Blow May Ward off Brain Injury
On the ice at a youth hockey game, players hurl and slam into one another - and that's on a good night. That makes it the perfect venue to study how all those collisions - and a player's preparedness for them - can impact the severity of a head injury.

Autism's Monetary Costs Nearly Match Emotional Toll
When he, without warning, snatched my arm from my lap and nestled my hand into his, I must admit I was startled. My 10-year-old "captor," Darian Sepulveda lightly squeezed my hand, and would not let go. I turned to him and, for the first time that day, found myself really looking at him.

Dead Athletes' Brains Show Damage from Concussions
For years after his NFL career ended, Ted Johnson could barely muster the energy to leave his house. "I'd [leave to] go see my kids for maybe 15 minutes," said Johnson. "Then I would go back home and close the curtains, turn the lights off and I'd stay in bed. That was my routine for two years.

Duerson Brain Tissue Analyzed: Suicide Linked to Brain Disease
His was a suicide with a macabre twist. In February, former Chicago Bears safety David Duerson shot himself in the chest, but not before leaving behind a note requesting his brain be studied for evidence of a disease striking football players.

Ex-Falcons Lineman had Brain Disease Linked to Concussions
Former NFL lineman Shane Dronett's transformation from an affable prankster, quick to flash a wry smile, to a person who was often frightened -- and frightening -- was subtle at first.

Tests Reveal Former NFL Player Suffered from Brain Disease

Ex-NFL Stars after Concussion: Lives Unraveled
Today is a rare day. Fred McNeill is animated, beaming. Sunlight glances over his face as he relives the glory days 30 years ago when he was a professional football player for the Minnesota Vikings.

Concussions Extra Dangerous to Teen Brains
Max Conradt was used to defensive linemen hurtling their 300-pound frames at him week after week. He was a high school quarterback, the team leader who took his licks and got back up.

Footballer: 'Are You OK with Destroying a Kid's Brain for this Game?
Several members of the team form a ring around a single player. The player in the middle begins a nervous shuffle, eyes darting, arms tense, as his teammates, one at a time, fling their bodies toward him at full force. He is the target of tackle after tackle, and if he moves too slowly the hits can be punishing.

Methadone Tied to One-Third of Prescription Painkiller Death
If you are not grappling with cancer-related pain, you probably should not be taking prescription methadone. That is the message spiraling out of startling statistics suggesting using methadone inappropriately is linked to one-third of prescription painkiller overdose deaths.

Weird Science: Kitty Litter Increases Risk of Suicide?
A small subset of suicide attempts may be linked to an infection that starts in the litter box. A new study suggests an association between Toxoplasma gondii and suicide attempts among women.

Questions Linger about Long-Term Impact of Hits to the Head
During a recent debate addressing whether the United States should ban college football, an argument against the sport was summed up this way: Schools should not be in the business of encouraging young men to hit themselves over the head.

One Baby per Hour Born Already in Withdrawal
The cry of a baby withdrawing from prescription opiates is shrill as if the child is in terrible pain. "It's a very high-pitched, uncomfortable cry," said Dr. Aimee Bohn, a pediatrician with Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation in Whitesburg, Kentucky. "it's like the kind has been pinched."

Could Stimulating the Brain One Day Treat Alzheimer's Disease?
In a very small group of patients, sending electrical impulses to a memory-center in the brain-via tiny implanted electrodes-may have improved their memory.

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