Sunday, February 25, 2018

IpadAndIphoneRVAJanFeb2018click here for the latest digital edition of OurHealth magazine

Taylor Roberts was a 20-year-old college sophomore when her life was changed in the twisted metal of a devastating car crash. Three miles from her family’s home, the Virginia Commonwealth University student was hit by a man who ran a stop sign. He plowed into her car, which flipped before crashing head-on into a telephone pole.

VCU Dental Care’s Pediatric Practice, located on the MCV Campus of Virginia Commonwealth University, will offer free services to children in need of dental care who do not have dental insurance on Give Kids a Smile Day.

The event will take place Friday, February 3, 2017 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., in the Wood Memorial Building, 521 N. 11th St., Suite 315.

Pediatric dental specialists provide exams, cleanings, X-rays, fillings, extractions and minor restorations for children ages 0-18 years old.

Give Kids a Smile Day, created by the American Dental Association, is an annual focus of National Children’s Dental Health Month and is observed every year during the month of February.

The program was designed to provide education, preventative and restorative oral healthcare for children.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call 804-828-9095. Walk-ins are welcome; however, are not guaranteed to be seen. Appointments are highly encouraged.

In the largest and most comprehensive study of its kind, researchers have successfully identified two novel genetic variants that could increase risk for the five primary anxiety disorders. The findings are the result of an international collaboration among 34 researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University and throughout academic institutions in the United States, Europe and Australia.

The international research team looked at genetic risk factors that are common across the five primary anxiety disorders identified in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which are generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia and specific phobias. Through a genome-wide association analysis of more than 18,000 subjects of European descent, the team was able to isolate two chromosomal regions that are associated with anxiety disorder risk.  

The study, “Meta-Analysis of Genome-Wide Association Studies of Anxiety Disorders,” was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry on Jan. 12.

“These findings are important because the two genetic regions were not previously known to be associated with anxiety disorder risk,” said senior author Jack Hettema, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the VCU School of Medicine and faculty at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Geneticsat VCU. Hettema directs the VCU Health Anxiety Disorders Specialty Clinic, where he trains advanced psychiatric residents in the assessment and treatment of anxiety and comorbid disorders.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults between the ages of 18 to 54 years old, or more than 18 percent of the population. Currently, anxiety disorders are treated pharmacologically either with antidepressants or sedatives as well as non-pharmacologically using cognitive behavioral therapies.

“Our gene-finding studies provide a new perspective on the neurobiological mechanisms by which anxiety disorders arise and point the way towards new ways to treat and possibly prevent them,” Hettema said.

While the findings are encouraging, they will need to be replicated in large independent samples before researchers can have complete confidence in the results. Hettema is currently working on replicating and further extending the findings from the study that was published this month.

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 225 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Seventy-nine of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. The only academic medical center and Level I trauma center in the region, VCU Health comprises five health sciences schools (Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy), VCU Medical Center, Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, VCU Massey Cancer Center and Virginia Premier. For more, please visit and