Latest OBSSR Connector Monthly Newsletter

The OBSSR Connector Monthly Newsletter is a monthly e-newsletter featuring updates from OBSSR Director William T. Riley, Ph.D., information about behavioral and social sciences in the news, events and announcements, findings from recently published research, funding announcements, and other updates. The latest newsletter is available below.

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September 27, 2021

Director's Voice Blog

NIH awards 10 grants addressing firearm violence prevention. In recent years, approximately 40,000 deaths each year in the United States are from firearms, 60% of which are suicides and 37% of which are homicides. In 2019, firearm-related injuries were one of the leading causes of death for American children, teens, and adults less than 65 years of age. In addition to firearm deaths, many more Americans experience non-fatal firearm injuries. When firearms are involved with violent events, the risk for injury and mortality increases. Firearm violence is responsible for three quarters of all homicide deaths and is the most common and lethal means of suicide. Firearm injury and mortality also contribute to health disparities with some demographic groups being at much higher risk than others. Black males between the ages of 15 and 24 had a gun homicide rate more than 20 times higher than White males of the same age group in 2019.

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Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Spotlights

Trends in Consumption of Ultraprocessed Foods Among US Youths Aged 2-19 Years, 1999-2018.

The childhood obesity rate has been steadily rising among US youths during the past two decades. Ultraprocessed foods, which are foods that are manufactured with the addition of other ingredients (fats, starches, added sugars, hydrogenated fats), may be associated with this rise in childhood obesity. In a study funded by the NIMHD, investigators found that ultraprocessed food consumption has been rising in youth and now comprises two-thirds of calories in children and teen’s diet.
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Social connections and maternal care in young wild hyenas modifies gene expression and stress resilience later in life.

Laboratory animal research with rodents, primates, and humans have shown the impact of early life experiences on behavioral and physiological differences later in life through changes in DNA methylation. In a study partially funded by the NIEHS, researchers were the first to find an association in wild animals between early life social environments and subsequent impacts on molecular health markers and behavioral stress response later in life.
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Examining unique substance-related risk profiles for neglectful behaviors among parents with and without clinical depression.

Understanding interacting factors that occur with substance use disorder (SUD) and contribute to child neglect is essential to developing strategies to reduce child neglect. Intramural research funded by NIDA aimed to examine the relationship between neglect frequency, social support type, and parental clinical depression. Child maltreatment in the form of child neglect contributes to 75.4% of child fatalities.
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