Freaky Evonomics: Dopamine Genes Running Across the Border

What makes people flee violence and endure danger of illegal border crossings to come to the United States? What makes people risk carrying illegal drugs across the border? And, what makes the millions of American citizens in the US crave illegal drugs in the US? One could blame bad parents, too lax or too harsh parents. One could blame believing in the wrong religion or no religion. Those judgments cannot see impossibly tiny dopamine genes that do not respond to social, physical, and biological events in a “moral way”. Those genes change how dopamine is expressed in our brains, and how…

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We Can Greatly Reduce Child Abuse

Thanks to the NFL we have the opportunity to have a useful public discussion about punishment and violence in America’s families. I want to offer a somewhat different way of thinking about this that hasn’t yet been discussed in the media. So far the primary focus has been on punishing wrong doers. Prosecuting Adrian Peterson, banning him and Ray Rice from playing, demanding that Roger Goodell resign, establishing stronger penalties for off-the-field misbehavior. Given that the NFL policies regarding domestic violence have the potential to reduce domestic violence going forward—both through direct effects on players and through changes in our…

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Punishment Is Not the Answer to Domestic Violence

There is a certain irony to the way our public discussion about the domestic violence of NFL players. The emphasis is on punishment in reaction to what they have done. Criminal prosecution, banishment from the league, firing of the commissioner, shaming of the league. But I have not heard one word about prevention or rehabilitation. Don’t get me wrong, I think there has been egregious conduct on the part of many NFL players and obtuse and insensitive actions by NFL officials. But while this media circus will enhance the bottom line of media organizations, I doubt that it will contribute…

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Can Children Be Taught To Have Empathy?

How do we cultivate the skills and values that people need to deal patiently and effectively with others’ distressing behavior? If you look at how young children learn to be empathetic you can see the key skills they need. The first skill is simply having an awareness of their own emotional reactions.  Imagine that four-year-old preschooler Ryan opens the lunch his mom prepared for him and starts to cry. In a high quality preschool, one of the adults might join him and talk empathically about how he is feeling: “Oh are you feeling really sad?” In doing so, she is helping him…

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Punishment Is Not the Answer to Domestic Violence

There is a certain irony to the way our public discussion about the domestic violence of NFL players. The emphasis is on punishment in reaction to what they have done. Criminal prosecution, banishment from the league, firing of the commissioner, shaming of the league. But I have not heard one word about prevention or rehabilitation. Don’t get me wrong, I think there has been egregious conduct on the part of many NFL players and obtuse and insensitive actions by NFL officials. But while this media circus will enhance the bottom line of media organizations, I doubt that it will contribute…

Continue reading

We Can Greatly Reduce Child Abuse

Thanks to the NFL we have the opportunity to have a useful public discussion about punishment and violence in America’s families. I want to offer a somewhat different way of thinking about this than I have seen in media so far. So far the primary focus has been on punishing wrong doers. Prosecuting Adrian Peterson, banning him and Ray Rice from playing, demanding that Roger Goodell resign, establishing stronger penalties for off-the-field misbehavior. Given that the NFL policies regarding domestic violence have the potential to reduce domestic violence going forward—both through direct effects on players and through changes in our…

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A Super Tootle to Madison County and Ohio for a Nurturing Environment

Please go read this newspaper story:  http://www.madison-press.com/news/opinion/5245873/A-Tootle-for-the-Madison-County-Fair   A “Tootle” (for the uninitiated) is the opposite of a tattle, and Tootles are written. An Ohio newspaper is the first newspaper in the world to publish a Tootle. The people of Madison County and the state of Ohio may not realize that they are the vanguard of showing it’s possible to mobilize young people, adults and organizations of every stripe to protect generations from the epidemic of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders [1]. The last time this happened for a large public good for our children was during the 1950s Polio…

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Mobilizing America to Protect Young Children from Mental Illnesses

(Note: Tony and I wrote this) In March 2009, the U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the National Academy of Sciences announced that mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders (MEB’s) among young people were preventable because of powerful, replicated science largely funded by various National Institutes of Health [1]. Not every case can be prevented, but enough can to have profound impact on American children, youth, families, communities, plus the nation’s health, wellbeing and economy. Most of the strategies the IOM committee reviewed have been shown by randomized-controlled trials and long term following up to prevent multiple problems for periods as…

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Nurturing Babies Brain Development by Eating Fish: Promoted Now by the FDA and EPA

Yep, on June 11, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration endorsed pregnant women eating fish. You can read the announcements online at: The announcement and links to attached documents can be found here: http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/Metals/ucm393070.htm#QAs This announcement of release can also can be found here on the Federal registry. https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/06/11/2014-13584/advice-about-eating-fish-draft-update The story behind this was years in the breaking, significantly attributable to one incredibly brilliant and passionate scientist and good friend: Dr. Joseph Hibbeln. In 2000, I met with Dr. Joe Hibbeln, for a whole a day at the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcohol Abuse…

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Ohio Counties Pass Levy to Support PAX Good Behavior Game

The citizens of Allen, Auglaze and Hardin counties in Ohio pass a levy to support mental health prevention, intervention and treatment. The 1 mill, five-year levy for Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Allen, Auglaize and Hardin counties passed 55 percent to 45 percent overall and passed in all three counties. The vote was 13,070 to 10,489, according to unofficial results from county election boards. In years past, the levy failed. One of the likely reasons the levy passed is because of the mobilization of teachers, parents and others who have witnessed first-hand the benefit of PAX GBG in in…

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