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Booster Shots

Early signals for adult depression

September 06, 2009|Shari Roan; Patrick Goldstein; Lee Margulies; Gary Klein

Irritability in childhood has been suspected of being a potential symptom of depression. A new study confirms this link.

Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health questioned the parents of 631 teenagers, whose average age was 13.8, about irritability in their children.

Twenty years later, the same children, now adults, were assessed for mood and anxiety disorders.

The people who were irritable kids were more likely to be adults with depression or anxiety. However, irritability in adolescence did not predict later development of bipolar disorder or other serious mental health disorders.

The study found that irritability and arguing with parents and teachers were strongly linked in adolescence.

Anger or tantrums in reaction to parents' requests were strong predictors of major depression or anxiety disorders in adulthood as was arguing with teachers. Irritable youths were more likely to have a lower income and educational attainment as adults.

Irritability is the tendency to react with anger, grouchiness or tantrums that are disproportionate to the situation. Some studies estimate that about 5% of youths, ages 8 to 19, are irritable while in adults the prevalence is thought to be slightly less.

The study is published in the September issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

-- Shari Roan

From Booster Shots: Oddities, musings and news from the world of health

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Damon to get 'lifetime' award

I just keep getting older while showbiz lifetime achievement award winners just keep getting younger. We all know that in its quest for a big TV payday, the AFI has turned itself into a laughingstock in recent years by snubbing all sorts of deserving Hollywood creative giants in favor of middle-aged lightweights (this year's honoree being Michael Douglas).

But now, according to Variety, the American Cinematheque is handing out a lifetime achievement award to the still-boyish Matt Damon, who at 38 is younger than about half of the New York Yankees outfield.

The award dinner will be broadcast March 27 on ABC, which is the real tip-off to what's going on. In recent years, Cinematheque shows honoring the slightly more mature Julia Roberts and Samuel L. Jackson -- who was in his late 50s when he received his honor -- were televised on the AMC channel. But now that the Cinematheque has landed a bigger, A-list honoree, it gets to step up from the cable minor leagues to network big time.

Imagine the possibilities: If the Cinematheque could deliver Megan Fox or Kristen Stewart next year, it could probably get Fox to put the show on right after "American Idol."

-- Patrick Goldstein

From The Big Picture: Patrick Goldstein on the collision of entertainment, media and pop culture

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Classical outlet tops in its field

L.A. classical music outlet KUSC-FM (91.5) had the largest audience of any public radio station in the country last spring.

The USC-operated station released Arbitron ratings figures compiled by the Radio Research Consortium showing that an average of 737,000 people tuned in for at least five minutes each week between April 2 and June 24, tops among all public radio outlets.

Runner-up WNYC-FM in New York averaged 721,500 and San Francisco's KQED-FM had 704,300. Pasadena-based KPCC-FM (89.3) was fifth, with 548,600.

KUSC noted that the ratings only reflected listening to its broadcast signal in the Los Angeles-Orange County market.

Adding in the audience from its simulcasts on stations in Palm Springs, Thousand Oaks, Santa Barbara and Morro Bay, its average weekly tune-in was 850,000, the station said.

But just for some perspective, this is still classical music we're talking about. In the most recent Arbitron ratings for the L.A. market, covering July, KUSC ranked 28th overall in weekly listeners, with 703,200. Top-rated KIIS-FM (102.7), a Top 40 station, averaged 3,955,500.

-- Lee Margulies

From Culture Monster: All the arts, all the time

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The 'bumps' facing a USC QB

USC quarterback Mitch Mustain was not surprised when freshman Matt Barkley was named the starter, and he still believes he made the right decision to transfer to USC, despite being No. 3 on the depth chart.

"I'll enjoy it here and just hope that I get that one opportunity and that I'm able to take it from there," said Mustain, a fourth-year junior. "It may be a long shot, but that's what I have to believe. And if not, I'm prepared to go to the next level."

Mustain started eight games as a freshman at Arkansas in 2006. So I asked him what Barkley might be in for as he attempts to lead the Trojans this season.

"He's just going to have to learn to take the bumps," Mustain said. "You're going to have tough games.

"It's different when you get to a college stadium. . . . People yelling at you -- I mean just crazy stuff that you would never hear in high school. Most stadiums now don't have tracks so everybody's a lot closer to you.

"That was one thing, I know for me was one of the first shockers. . . . They're right on top of you yelling [stuff] so you have to deal with that stuff and really learn to be confident and learn to be smooth.

"I think he'll figure it out."

-- Gary Klein

From The Fabulous Forum: The who, what, where, when, why -- and why not -- of L.A. sports

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