Friday Roundup – Kids Fail the Pepsi Challenge, Oxytocin and Borderline Personality Disorder, and Linking Autism to Math Excellence

Attention lovely readers! We at Healthshire will be providing you with a weekly Friday roundup of the latest in mental health news. Let us do all the work and be your one-stop-shop for all things current!

Kids Fail the Pepsi Challenge, Oxytocin and Borderline Personality Disorder, and Linking Autism to Math Excellence

The Latest  in Mental Health Research (and other stuff)

Soft Drinks and Childhood Behavioral Problems

Where’s the harm in a little sip (or 20) of soda when your child has been begging, crying, and whining for the past few hours? Well, along with all of its physical harms, studies now link soft drink consumption in children to behavioral issues.


Researchers from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health studied approximately 3,000 five year-old children. They assessed the relationship between the consumption of soft drinks and difficulties with attention, aggression, and withdrawal issues. Behaviors and consumption were evaluated for two months and were reported to researchers by the primary caretakers of the participants.

The results, recently published in the Journal of Pediatrics, showed that at least one serving of soda a day was associated with attention deficits, aggression, and withdrawal. Researchers also found that children who were drinking four or more servings a day of soft drinks were more than twice as likely to destroy other people’s property, engage in physical attacks, or participate in fights.

Although researchers have yet to identify the exact mechanisms of action that link soft drinks to problematic behavior, reducing or eliminating a child’s consumption may reduce behavioral issues.

Oxytocin May Improve Social Behavior in Borderline Personality Disorder

Oxytocin is a hormone that is thought to be involved in a myriad of emotional responses, including childbirth, maternal bonding, sex, attachment, and social interaction. It’s the feel-good hormone. Studies show that oxytocin may help individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) in feeling less socially threatened, and reduce aggression and anger associated with BPD.


Researchers at the University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany conducted a placebo-controlled, random, double-blind study involving 40 adult women who have a clinical diagnosis of BPD and 41 “healthy” women. The participants took part in an emotion-classification task in which they were cued with different facial expressions. The women were then administered an intranasal dose of a placebo or oxytocin.

The study results, published in AJP in Advance, found that abnormal neural and behavioral patterns in women with BPD were normalized after the administration of oxytocin.

Autism Linked to Excelling at Math

New research shows that individuals who have high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may have an intensified cognitive ability for mathematics.


Teresa Luculano, Ph.D., and colleagues from Stanford University monitored the brains of individuals with autism as they were solving math problems. Their results, which are published in Biological Psychiatry, found that the brains of individuals with autism showed different areas of activation than those of individuals of controls.

Dr. Luculano told Psychiatric News: “The findings should remind clinicians, parents, and educators that the brains of individuals with autism could potentially be ‘gifted’ with superior abilities, math being one of them.”

Telling Our Stories: Highlighting Breaking Bad to Breaking Addiction

Working in conjunction with Healthshire, Sage Neuroscience Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is launching an awareness campaign called Breaking Addiction. They will be giving away two scholarships to an Intensive Outpatient Program for substance abuse treatment for individuals who cannot otherwise afford treatment. All you have to do to apply is write your story about addiction. Click here for details.

Healthshire is dedicated to bringing much-needed attention to the state of mental health and its treatment in New Mexico, the United States, and across the globe. We will be posting multiple blogs about addiction and its treatment every week during the contest and beyond in an effort to bridge together a supportive mental health community.

This week’s roundup is dedicated to all the victims, their families, and heroes of 9/11.


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