The Nurture Effect of PAX Good Behavior Game: Is It Real?

It’s interesting hear some reactions to the PAX Good Behavior Game. Some think it must be turning to children into robots, because the children become more pro-social, helpful, and engaged. Others think it’s too soft and fluffy, because the children are not given “consequences” for “bad” behaviors. If we cite the incredible scientific research, systematically replicated in the world about PAX GBG, some are so jaded by the anti-science noise in the mass media that they dismiss it. There is nothing like people seeing the benefits and immediate outcomes in their own communities, classrooms, and children. That’s happening in Ohio,…

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Can Nurturing Environments “Turn On” Protective Genes?

Yes, indeed, through a process called epigenetics. Chances are you’ve never heard of changes in gene expression, since most people were taught your genes are for life. Well, we do have our genes for life—but many of our genes change their expression based on our social interactions at home, at school or in the community. Many of the genes that change the most involve our brains. Consider the genes regulating Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, or BDNF for short. Feeling depressed? Many medications change your BDNF to feel less depressed? Having trouble learning new things? You might not be producing enough BDNF,…

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Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Are Preventable

On April 1, 2014, the Wall Street Journal Editorial (unsigned) declared, “…there is no known way to prevent severe mental illness.” This statement is scientifically and verifiably false, easily established by the scores of gold-standard, randomized control studies indexed in the US National Library of Medicine (www.pubmed.gov). So, I drafted a letter in reply, which has not been published by the WSJ. Twenty three-leading prevention scientists, signed on to the letter. Our letter is reproduced below, and ask that readers share this with local papers and media, leaders, and elected officials. Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Are Preventable. The Wall…

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Radical Cutbacks on Children and Schools Surrender America’s Security

Are the radical cutbacks surrendering America? Did you know that 75% of American’s young people 17 to 24 are unfit for military service?1 When I grew up in archconservative Wichita, Kansas, going to school with the ultra-rightwing Koch brothers, data like these showing our American kids were unfit for military service would be proof positive of a left-wing, communist, or socialist conspiracy. But who is really surrendering America to our enemies? You be the judge. First, look at some facts in a report by a bunch of retired 4-star generals.1 FACT: Thirty-five (35) percent of young Americans are ineligible for…

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Everybody wants to blame parents. It’s a cheap shot.

Instead blaming parents, what happens if we as a society nurture the parents who nurture children ages 0-9? Do the parents become welfare cases? Do their children become leeches on taxpayers? The answer is NO! When any and every parent in whole counties can access brief parenting supports almost anywhere in their community, great things happen—quickly. This was discovered by major study funded by the US Centers for Disease Control. It is the first study in the world to show that child maltreatment can be prevented at a community or county level. Other studies had already shown that the strategy…

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A Universal Health Care Option Is Good for Small Business and US Global Competition

The best thing that could happen for US small business is universal health-care. I know, because I have owned small businesses since I was fourteen—47 years ago, and am a scientist entrepreneur. Everybody knows that small businesses are the engine of employment and global competitiveness for America. It’s small businesses that invent the next big thing. Facts are pesky things. And, anybody who has access to the Internet can get access to all the best scientifically valid research on medical issues for free. OMG, it’s called www.pubmed.gov—the index of all the worlds’ best health research. At pubmed, search “small business”…

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Gratitude for Good Government

In the run up to the 2010 election and since, we’ve heard nothing but bashing of every aspect of government one can imagine. Dwight David Eisenhower was president when I was in elementary school, and my middle name comes from him, as my initials are the same, Dennis David Embry.  Eisenhower was from a small town in Kansas, like me.  Later when I was in in High School, I was recommended to be a U.S. Capitol Page by then Representative Robert Dole and appointed by Gerald R. Ford—then House Minority Leader. I wanted to become a political leader to do…

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15-seconds in Tucson

On January 8, about 10:15 am at the Safeway where my husband and I occasionally shop, 19 people where injured or killed by gunfire. Some of the injured or killed I knew. What most people don’t know is how long it took to discharge 33 bullets from the high-capacity magazine loaded into the Glock pistol. It too less time than it took me on that Saturday morning just before I heard the news, to take a coffee mug down from the kitchen cabinet and fill that mug with coffee. All 30 bullets were discharged, injured or killed my friends and…

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Loughner More Than a Deranged Individual; He Is One of Millions

The phone rang Saturday morning in Tucson. My coworker Sarah was gasping: “Gabrielle Giffords has been shot.” I couldn’t breathe, and started to sob. ‘”Oh, God no.” Sarah and I both know Gabby and many people in her office. As a prevention scientist and psychologist involved in violence issues as well as mental illness prevention for over 20 years, I was suddenly certain of the profile of the shooter. He will be young man. He will have a history of behavior problems that go back in time. He will have markers of instability, impulsiveness and ruminating or obsessive thoughts. More…

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Expressive Writing Activity Proven to INCREASE Employment. Why aren’t we doing that?

Bad things happen to people.  One of the worst is to lose a job or your business. Now, we’ve got 15 million people unemployed. That is a lot of human pain, and wouldn’t add more pain to future job interviews? What if all those hurting people hurt less? Would that help them get jobs or start a new business? Yes, and why not use an evidence-based kernel for everyone whose experienced job or business loss to ease that pain? After losing a job, people get angry with others and themselves. People get depressed. People give up, “ saying what’s the…

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