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Why ‘uncertainty of safety’ is driving your brain bananas right now

Photo: Jessica Tan/Unsplash

After a year of terrifying news, we’re finally seeing some lights at the end of the tunnel: three(!) vaccines; almost 70 million doses already administered; a new administration that seems to actually listen to scientists. But it’s also clear that the scary times are far from over: New mutations of SARS-CoV-2 are circulating (not unusual for a virus but still concerning); folks in some of the most vulnerable groups aren’t getting nearly enough priority in the vaccine distribution process; and after promising declines, cases are rising again in the U.S. and around the world.

If this push-pull of good and…

Illustration: Matija Medved

One Day at a Time

Daily insights on life in the face of uncertainty, by psychiatrist and habit change specialist Dr. Jud Brewer

These are strange days.

Do you find yourself compulsively checking your favorite news sites over and over — looking for the latest news? Repeatedly these past few weeks, I was asked to help folks with this. It seems we’re all struggling with it, so I wanted to explain why this happens and what you can do about it.

Here’s the science.

Our brains are wired to plan for the future. Why? So we can remember where to find food. Imagine our ancient ancestors out on the savanna foraging for food. …

Earlier and more frequent screenings are now advised to catch more children who might fall through the cracks

Photo by Stephen Andrews on Unsplash

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children get screened for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at their 18- and 24-month well-child checkups. Last week, those recommendations were significantly enhanced.

The new guidelines now recommend developmental and behavioral surveillance at nine, 18, and 30 months in addition to the standardized ASD screening at 18 and 24 months.

I am hopeful that this shift will reduce the number of children who experience social, academic, and behavioral challenges but miss out on early intervention therapies because they lack an actual ASD diagnosis.

This is what happened to me.

When I was…


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