Unit 1: Genetics and Prenatal Influences on Development
The No-Baby Boom, Anne Kingston, Maclean's, 2013
As the number of childless women has increased to 47 percent in 2010, the focus has shifted from pity and judgment to a deeper sense of understanding of childlessness.
Making Babies, Alexis Madrigal, The Atlantic, 2014
Current and future technologies are discussed including the use of IVF mitochondrial DNA, uterus transplants and artificial gametes.
Unnatural Selection, Mara Hvistendahl, Psychology Today, 2011
Years of prenatal sex selection in China, Korea, India, Balkans, and Caucasus countries have led to 20–30 percent more men and many stressors. Violence, sex trafficking, and arranged marriages for women are rising. Preimplantation genetic diagnosis has arrived in the United States. What ethics are involved in these gender choices?
The Islamic Republic of Baby-Making, Azadeh Moaveni, Foreign Policy, 2014
In Iran, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sanctioned sperm and egg donations in 1999. This fatwa, or legal pronouncement, led to the opening of 70 fertility clinics nationwide. Shiite and Suni clerics disagree about how the Quran applies to the bioethics of fertility clinics and the reproductive technologies that are practiced there.
From Rubella to Zika: New Lessons from an Old Epidemic, Agnes R. Howard, Commonweal, 2016
The Zika virus is discussed as a modern day epidemic. Parallels are drawn to the Rubella epidemic in the 1960s. The responsibilities of public health officials to contain the spread of this virus is outlined along with the responsibilities of women of child bearing age.
Unit 2: Development during Infancy and Early Childhood
Vaccinations: Who Calls The Shots? Liza Greve, The New American, 2016
The vaccination industry is a 24 million dollar business but does it really prevent disease and should vaccinations be mandated by our government? The possibility of infection after vaccination is discussed in light of the measles outbreak at Disneyland in 2015.
Good News, Bad News, Tom Curry, Exceptional Parent (EP) Magazine, 2014
Suggestions for parents and students to combat intimidation and bullying in the sports arena. Proactive advice includes positive reinforcement, seeking out good leadership and verbalizing concerns.
How to Choose the Right Apps for Early Learning, Stephen Gass, T.H.E. Journal, 2013
This article explores the role of digital tools as a child builds strong educational foundations in early childhood. Educational gains should be based on children as active learners engaging in skill-building activities using open-ended play and exploration with adult interaction.
The Touch-Screen Generation, Hanna Rosin, The Atlantic, 2013
Early childhood has many "digital natives" fluent in finger-swiping technology before word recognition or reading. This article ponders the effects of kids' "apps" on brain development, cognition, intelligence, and creativity. Digital media often functions as a baby-sitter during meals, car rides, and busy times. Will swiping become addictive for toddlers?
Unit 3: Development during Childhood: Cognition and Schooling
Immigrant Influxes Put U.S. Schools to the Test, Corey Mitchell, Education Week, 2016
An inside look into some of the issues associated with the integration of immigrant children into the American school system from a cognitive, social and emotional perspective.
Does Changing Our Behaviour at School Actually Make a Difference in Terms of Climate Change? And If It Does, How Can We Know? Sheila Gundry, Environmental Education, 2016
If children develop a more positive attitude toward environmentally friendly issues such as recycling, will there be a related change in their behavior? This article looks at recycling programs in schools. It reviews students’ attitudes and the increase in recycling as a result of environmental education programs. It also analyzes behavioral changes towards recycling in the child’s home.
Happy, Healthy Kids: Six Ways to Boost Mood, Calm ADHD, and Ease Anxiety, Lisa Turner, Better Nutrition, 2014
Eating healthily can increase brain activity in children. Certain foods can enhance attention and concentration. Deficiencies in vitamins, copper, iodine and other nutrients can adversely affect a child’s brain development. Conversely, appropriate levels of EPA, DHA and PharaGABA have been shown in research studies to enhance brain development.
Are Exams Bad for Children? Stephanie Schneider and Matt Christison, New Internationalist, 2013
The benefits and disadvantages of standardized tests are debated in this article. Two teachers discuss academic performance, student evaluation and the effects of standardized tests on children.
Ritalin Gone Wrong, L. Alan Sroufe, The New York Times, 2012
The benefits of drugs such as Ritalin or Adderall are assessed for attention deficits or hyperactivity disorders. The history and initial success of such drugs is reviewed. This initial success is clouded by a study in 2009 of approximately 600 children that questioned any long-term benefits of these medications on academic performance or behavior.
Giving ADHD a Rest: with Diagnosis Rates Exploding Wildly, Is the Disorder a Mental Health Crisis—or a Cultural One? Kate Lunau, Maclean's, 2014
The rates of ADHD seem to have risen in America and other countries. This article looks to the possible causes such as increased educational pressures. The criteria for ADHD in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the effects of stimulants on the brain are discussed.
Unit 4: Development during Childhood: Family and Culture
Do-It-(All)-Yourself Parents, Linda Perlstein, Newsweek, 2012
A popular approach called "attachment parenting" includes homeschooling. About 300,000 children and adolescents in the United States are now homeschooled. State laws vary; from no reporting to submission of plans and test scores. Advantages are flexible differentiated instruction, no bullying, family togetherness, and an enthusiastic welcome from colleges.
The Drugging of the American Boy, Ryan D’Agostino, Esquire, 2014
The prevalence of ADHD diagnosis in young boys is discussed in relation to their behavior and schooling. The DSM-V criteria for diagnosis are discussed along with the funding for ADHD research.
Why Our Approach to Bullying Is Bad for Kids, Susan Porter, Independent School, 2013
Bullying is discussed in light of our understanding of preadolescent brain development. Porter suggests that increased rates of bullying are a result of the expansion of the term to include aggressive childhood behaviors such as name calling or unfriendliness. The perceived victims of bullying may suffer from a lack of resilience or self-esteem.
Time to Lower the Drinking Age, Mary Kate Cary, U.S. News & World Report, 2014
The author makes the case for lowering the drinking age back to 18 as it was in the Reagan era. Lowering the age, she claims, would reduce binge drinking, illegal prescription drug use and sexual assault on college campuses.
When to Worry about Your Child’s Aggression, Jordana Mansbacher, Pediatrics for Parents, 2015
Aggression is a natural part of our psyche but it is a parent’s responsibility to interpret their child’s overt behaviors and decide when intervention is necessary.
Displacement Crisis Grows as Boko Haram Increases Exploitation of Girls, Fredrick Nzwili, Christian Century, 2016
Read about the deplorable kidnappings and use of children by the terrorist group Boko Haram which operates in Nigeria and beyond. Young girls are forced to return home pregnant or carry out suicide missions for their captors.
Unit 5: Development during Adolescence
The Incredible Shrinking Childhood: How Early Is Too Early for Puberty? Elizabeth Weil, The New York Times Magazine, 2012
Preadolescent girls with early puberty have more emotional health risks. One theory is that early puberty affects cognition, making the brain susceptible to depression. Another theory is that changed physical status may be due to environmental estrogens. Parenting focused on exercise, nutrition, and self-esteem helps vulnerable girls.
Secrets of Our Modern Youth, Brigitte Piniewski, Pediatrics for Parents, 2016
Hormonal chaos can be unleashed when overweight or obese children enter puberty. Learn about the social and emotional implications. Suggestions for prevention are also discussed.
The Science of Decision-making and Peer Pressure, Heads Up, 2016
The adolescent brain is more sensitive to peer pressure, complements, insults and rewards. Read about the unique qualities of the adolescent brain that contribute to adolescent risk-taking and increased susceptibility to peer pressure.
Twenty Insider Tips for Working with Adolescents at Camp, Karen Goeller, American Camp Association, 2016
Increase your positive interactions with adolescents through these tips to promote positive leadership. As the adolescent brain grows and develops, follow these simple strategies to encourage better communication skills and decision making among our youth.
Substance Abuse Concerns: Heroin and Prescription Drug Use on the Rise among Teens, Curriculum Review, 2016
In light of the staggering increase in heroin and prescription drug use, the risk factors, signs and symptoms of addiction are highlighted. Health problems and behavioral changes are also discussed.
High Anxiety: Colleges Are Seeing an Increase in the Number of Students with Diagnosable Mental Illness, Anxiety, and Depression, Sandra Long Weaver, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, 2016
A review of mental health records on college campuses suggests that 1:4 college students has a diagnosable illness, 1:6 students have been diagnosed or treated for anxiety in the past year and that 18% of college students have experienced suicidal ideation. Stressors and symptoms are discussed.
Get the Message: Distracted Driving and Teens, Ruth Adeola and Mallory Gibbons, Journal of Trauma Nursing, 2013
Read why young drivers are more likely to engage in distracted behaviors while driving that could result in accidents. Read about the programs that exist to educate novice drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. These programs try to combat adolescent beliefs of invincibility.
High-Tech Bullies, Ingrid Sturgis, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, 2014
Bullying was once thought to be the domain of middle and high school students but it now appears to be a pervasive problem at the college level. Sites such as "College Wall of Shame" or "Juicy Campus" provide an ideal outlet for stalking, revealing secrets, or masquerading as somebody else.
Many Professors Say Their Students Lack Professional Qualities for Future Jobs, Ann Schnoebelen, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2013
Multitasking is blamed for students' lack of professional qualities, which include good interpersonal skills, dependability, the ability to focus and pay attention, and complete a task.
Don’t Leave Me Out! Catherine Sebastian, The Psychologist, 2012
This article pinpoints rejection as a form of relational aggression or bullying during adolescence. Adolescents are particularly sensitive to peer rejection due to brain development, in particular, the prefrontal cortex. Using Internet video games and MRI scans, the brain is tracked as it develops from early adolescence into adulthood.
Unit 6: Development during Early Adulthood
Will Your Marriage Last? Brooke Lea Foster, Washingtonian, 2012
Researchers have found many correlates of lasting marriages. This article reports that education, wives with career income or assets, peer friendships with other couples, good sex, and frequent positive interactions (playing nice) are advantageous. Children decrease happiness initially, but couples rebound as they grow up and leave home.
The Retro Wife, Lisa Miller, New York Magazine, 2013
Educated adult women with three roles (mother, wife/partner, and daughter) are rethinking the fourth role (independent career authority). Many meditate upon "A man's job is to earn money; a woman's job is to care for home and family." Are gender differences (females nurture, males assert) real, or just coming back into favor?
Pokémon NO! Protecting Your Workers from Digital Zombies, Stefanie Valentic, EHS Today, 2016
The dangers associated with the popular online game “Pokemon Go” are discussed. These include a decline in worker productivity, distracted driving and other inattentive behaviors.
Stanford Sexual-Assault Case Reveals the Chasm that Privilege Creates, Naeemah Clark, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2016
Read about the sentence that Brock Turner received from the court for raping a woman who was passed out at a college party. Decide for yourself what his Ivy League school and social status had to do with his sentence. Read about his social class, ethnicity and sportsmanship then decide what role they played in the outcome of his court case. Think about the father of this sexual predator and his reaction to his son’s behavior. Finally, decide for yourself how this case has changed our perceptions.
Unit 7: Development during Middle and Late Adulthood
PICK Your PATH to Retirement, Jane Bennett Clark, Kiplinger's Personal Finance, 2015
Retirement has been redefined in the twenty-first Century as a result of increased life expectancy, more years in the work force, better health and higher levels of education.
The Switched-On Brain, Amy Barth, Discover, 2012
Optogenetics has stopped drug abuse in mice. It used opsins (light-sensitive microbes), inserted in mouse neurons, to control their brains with light. Creative scientists are motivated to get opsins into human cells. This technology could improve vision, heart health, and possibly neurological functioning. Will such mind control be deemed ethical?
Anxiety Nation, Sophie McBain, New Statesman, 2014
The mental illness, anxiety, is explored as a cultural concept. The relationship between anxiety and other emotions such as sadness or depression is discussed. Medications such as Prozac and Xanax are reviewed. There is a focus on the role of panic attacks, insomnia and phobias.
Is Facebook Making Us Lonely? Stephen Marche, The Atlantic, 2012
Social media has had an impact on us from a social, emotional and psychological perspective. The irony of having more “Facebook friends” but becoming lonelier is discussed in terms of social interactions and mental health.
Brutal Truths about the Aging Brain, Robert Epstein, Discover, 2012
The physical status of the aging brain affects cognition and memory. Neurons are reduced by about 10 percent and glial cells by 15 percent by age 70. Neurotransmitters (e.g., dopamine), dendritic connections, and myelin sheathing also decline. The senses lose information. Good nutrition, exercise, and education can slow the process.
Combat Age-Related Brain Atrophy, Barry Volk, Life Extension Magazine, 2015
The age-related causes of brain shrinkage are outlined along with suggestions to combat brain loss including the consumption of polyphenols (found in pomegranates) and resveratrol (found in red grapes). Increased intake of B vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids also helps to combat brain shrinkage.
The Shock of Elder Abuse in Assisted Living, Lois A. Bowers, Long-Term Living, 2014
Elder abuse including sexual abuse is discussed from the perspective of the nurse aides and the executive directors at assisted living facilities. Suggestions are made to combat this abuse that includes neglect, medication errors and sexually inappropriate behavior.
Unique Magnesium Compound Reverses Brain Aging, Jamie Rivington, Life Extension Magazine, 2016
Learn about how the brain can become more youthful with the addition of more magnesium to the diet in the form of a unique compound developed by MIT scientists. Read how magnesium can improve brain plasticity, impacting cognition, memory and leaning. The potential impact of this research on Alzheimer’s disease and PTSD is discussed.
Could Cooking a Different Dinner Save You from Alzheimer’s? Sarah Klein and Catherine Price, Prevention, 2016
Is it possible that the food that we each could contribute to Alzheimer’s disease? Is it also possible to prevent the disease by eating differently? Consider how insulin levels contribute to this disease. Think about the effects of a high carbohydrate diet or the Mediterranean diet.