One in nine new moms struggle with depression — but single moms, immigrants, and those in low socioeconomic situations are even more susceptible. And their children, whose brains triple in size and make nearly 1,000 nerve connections in the first three years of their life, are directly affected. To combat this, UNC nurse scientist Linda Beeber has spent the past two decades developing mental health interventions that treat both the mother and the child as a unit, called the “dyad.”
A series of studies by one research group in Oregon reported that, on average, children move one full level down the autism spectrum after 20 weeks of Qigong Sensory Training (QST) — a type of massage therapy adapted from Traditional Chinese Medicine. UNC postdoc Kristin Jerger found these results so intriguing that she has published a feasibility study for a new line of research on the neural mechanisms of QST massage.
In the last 50 years, botanists have discovered more than 500 new species of plants across the Southeast. But it takes decades to actually study and record their existence — a feat that the UNC Herbarium has been tackling since its inception in 1908.
With more than 30 species of salamanders living in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Highlands Biological Station, a UNC Institute for the Environment field site, conducts several student-led studies on these agile creatures each year.
People with autism are twice as likely to use drugs and alcohol than someone without the disorder — a statistic that most people are unaware of. To educate the public on this topic, UNC autism professional Ann Palmer and addiction specialist Elizabeth Kunreuther teamed up to write a book: “Drinking, Drug Use, and Addiction in the Autism Community.”
Over the last five years alone, more than 15 UNC students have accepted jobs at Eastman, a materials and specialty additives company in Kingsport, Tennessee. On top of hiring Carolina grads, the company supports research projects across four departments within three schools at UNC, creating a successful model for how industry partnerships function at the university.
Even though more than 1.4 million American children under the age of 18 care for siblings or parents who have a chronic illness or disability, support for this demographic is in short supply. UNC geographer Elizabeth Olson and collaborators look to other countries as models for growing youth caregiver resources in the United States.
Across the nation, data indicate that meaningful conversations between teachers and students from kindergarten to third grade are limited to an average of 28 total minutes per day — something that prevents children from developing their ability to communicate in important ways. The Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute’s FirstSchool initiative strives to change that.
In October 2010, seven men embarked on a rare and unexpected journey — they joined a support group for widowed fathers. The experience was so instrumental in their healing that the group’s organizers, UNC researchers Don Rosenstein and Justin Yopp, wrote a book about it called, “The Group: Seven Widowed Fathers Reimagine Life.”
Thanks to an industry partnership with Eastman and the Eastman Foundation, UNC’s BeAM makerspace program provides the resources for free 3-D printing to all students, faculty, and staff — encouraging a culture of creativity at Carolina.