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November 10, 2010, 7:33 AM CT

Timely Depression Diagnosis Critical

Timely Depression Diagnosis Critical
Lorraine Phillips, assistant professor in the Sinclair School of Nursing.
Depression affects approximately 30 to 40 percent of nursing home residents, but it often goes unrecognized, as per American Geriatrics Society, which can lead to lower quality of life or even suicide. Now, scientists at the University of Missouri have found a series of indicators, other than changes in mood that are linked to the development of depression in nursing home residents.

"Prompt diagnosis and therapy of depression is essential to improve the quality of life for nursing home residents," said Lorraine Phillips, assistant professor in the Sinclair School of Nursing. "A number of elderly people develop certain clinical characteristics at the same time they develop depression. Understanding these changes is essential to quickly and accurately diagnosing depression in nursing home residents".

Changes in characteristics that Phillips found to be linked to the development of depression include increased verbal aggression, urinary incontinence, increased pain, weight loss, changes in care needs, reduced cognitive ability and decline in performance of daily living activities.

"Depression is currently diagnosed using several methods that emphasize mood symptoms including interviewing and self-reporting of depression symptoms," Phillips said. "However, since elderly depression may appear with non-mood symptoms, these characteristics identified in this study can help diagnose depression that appears to be overlooked by traditional screening methods".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 10, 2010, 7:24 AM CT

Attacking the drinking culture on college campuses

Attacking the drinking culture on college campuses
A multi-tiered effort designed to stem binge drinking at a large university and to change the drinking culture among its students produced notable results during the 2.5 years of an Indiana University study.

Freshmen living on campus showed significant drops in the average number of drinks consumed in a week; in the percentage who drank at least once a week in the last year; and in the proportion of students who engaged in binge drinking in the prior week.

Heavy drinking by college students and the associated consequences -- poor health and academic performance, riskier and more irresponsible behavior -- are problems on university campuses and in college towns nationwide. The program assessed by the IU study attacked the problem at three levels -- at the individual level through a mandated online class, at the peer level, through special training for resident assistants, and at an environmental level with educational campaigns that combined community and university resources.

"An ecologically guided, multi-tiered approach may be critical for success," said Dong-Chul Seo, associate professor in the Department of Applied Health Science at IU's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. "The Task Force of the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism concluded in 2002 that to significantly reduce drinking on college campuses, the culture must be changed and that all the three tiers (individual, peer, and environment) must be intervened. This has been widely advocated by college administrators and researchers. But, there is still a paucity of data on the effectiveness of such interventions."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 9, 2010, 10:52 PM CT

Overcoming the IVF Baby Blues

Overcoming the IVF Baby Blues
Between 20 and 30 percent of women who undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures suffer from significant symptoms of depression. A number of practitioners think that the hormone treatment involved in IVF procedures is primarily responsible for this. But new research from Tel Aviv University shows that, while this is true, other factors are even more influential.

As per Dr. Miki Bloch of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv, stress, pre-existing depression, and anxiety are more likely than hormone treatment to impact a woman's depression levels when undergoing IVF. Combined, these factors may also affect IVF success rates - so diagnosis and therapy of this depression is very important.

Recently published in the Journal of Fertility and Sterility, Dr. Bloch's research clarifies the involvement of different hormonal states as triggers for depression during IVF, both for long- and short-term protocols.

The long and short stories

In the long-term IVF protocol, explains Dr. Bloch, women receive injections which block ovulation, resulting in a sharp decline in estrogen and progesterone levels. This state continues for a two-week period before the patient is injected with hormones to stimulate ovulation, at which point the eggs are harvested and fertilized before being replanted into the womb. The short-term IVF protocol, conversely, does not include the initial two-week period of induction of a low hormonal state.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


November 1, 2010, 8:00 AM CT

Women with anorexia and unplanned pregnancies

Women with anorexia and unplanned pregnancies
Image source: Norwegian Institute of Public Health
A newly released study by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Norwegian scientists has observed that women with anorexia nervosa are much more likely to have both unplanned pregnancies and induced abortions than women who don't have the serious eating disorder.

These results appears to be driven by a mistaken belief among women with anorexia that they can't get pregnant because they are either not having menstrual periods at all or are having irregular periods, said Cynthia M. Bulik, PhD, the study's main author and director of the UNC Eating Disorders Program.

"Anorexia is not a good contraceptive," Bulik said. "Just because you're not menstruating, or because you're menstruating irregularly, doesn't mean you're not at risk for becoming pregnant".

Physicians and other health care providers need to be aware of this as well, Bulik said. Doctors who treat women and adolescent girls, in particular, "need to make sure that they have the conversation about sexuality and contraception as clearly with patients with anorexia as they do with all other girls and women".

In addition, providers who take care of pregnant women need to know when their patients have an eating disorder in order to provide appropriate care. Screening for eating disorders during prenatal visits would be an excellent first step, Bulik said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 1, 2010, 7:05 AM CT

Self awareness can help in relationships

Self awareness can help in relationships
A little self-awareness can help people struggling in the world of relationships, says Jeffrey Hall, assistant professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas.

Hall recently completed a study into styles of flirting among dating adults, surveying more than 5,100 people regarding their methods of communicating romantic interest.

"Knowing something about the way you communicate attraction says something about challenges you might have had in your past dating life," Hall said. "Hopefully, this awareness can help people avoid those mistakes and succeed in courtship".

He identified five styles of flirting: physical, traditional, polite, sincere and playful.
  • Physical flirting involves the expression of sexual interest in a potential partner. People who scored high in this form of flirting often develop relationships quickly, have more sexual chemistry and have a greater emotional connection to their partners.
  • Traditional flirts think men should make the first move and women should not pursue men. Because they adopt a more passive role in dating, women with this style are likely to report trouble getting men's attention and are less likely to flirt or be flattered by flirting. Traditional men often know a potential partner for a longer time before approaching them. Both genders tend to be introverted and prefer a more intimate dating scene.........

    Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 28, 2010, 7:27 AM CT

Sex Differences in the Brain Are Overblown

Sex Differences in the Brain Are Overblown
People love to speculate about differences between the sexes, and neuroscience has brought a new technology to this pastime. Brain imaging studies are published at a great rate, and some report sex differences in brain structure or patterns of neural activity. But we should be skeptical about reports of brain differences between the sexes, writes psychological scientist Cordelia Fine in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The results from these studies may not necessarily withstand the tests of larger sample sizes or improved analysis techniques-and it's too soon to know for sure what such results, even if they prove to be reliable, might mean for differences in male and female minds.

Bookstores are full of popular books on the differences between men's and women's brains. Fine, who works at Macquarie University in Australia, first got interested in the issue as a parent. She was reading a book about how the differences between boys' and girls' brains mean they should be taught differently. But as an academic, she was curious about the research on which these claims were based, and looked up the original studies.

"There were huge discrepancies between what the neuroimaging studies showed and the conclusions and claims that were being drawn from them," she says. In the article and her new book, Delusions of Gender, Fine dissects the ways that research goes astray between the scanning machine and the sound bite.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 18, 2010, 7:43 AM CT

Adverse life events can make us stronger

Adverse life events can make us stronger
A study by University at Buffalo psychologist Mark Seery has found that it's true what they say: Whatever doesn't kill us makes us stronger.

Credit: University at Buffalo

We've all heard the adage that whatever doesn't kill us makes us stronger, but until now the preponderance of scientific evidence has offered little support for it.

However, a new national multi-year longitudinal study of the effects of adverse life events on mental health has observed that adverse experiences do, in fact, appear to foster subsequent adaptability and resilience, with resulting advantages for mental health and well being.

The study, "Whatever Does Not Kill Us: Cumulative Lifetime Adversity, Vulnerability and Resilience," to be reported in the forthcoming issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, is available on the website of the American Psychological Association at http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/2010-21218-001/.

It examined a national sample of people who reported their lifetime history of adverse experiences and several measures of current mental health and well being.

Authors are Mark Seery, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at the University at Buffalo; E. Alison Holman, PhD, assistant professor of nursing sciences, University of California, Irvine; and Roxane Cohen Silver, PhD, professor of psychology and social behavior and medicine at UC Irvine.

Seery, senior author of the study, says prior research indicates that exposure to adverse life events typically predicts negative effects on mental health and well-being, such that more adversity predicts worse outcomes.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 18, 2010, 7:26 AM CT

Key genetic trigger of depression

Key genetic trigger of depression
Yale University scientists have found a gene that seems to be a key contributor to the onset of depression and is a promising target for a new class of antidepressants, they report Oct. 17 in the journal Nature Medicine

"This could be a primary cause, or at least a major contributing factor, to the signaling abnormalities that lead to depression," said Ronald S. Duman, professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at Yale and senior author of the study.

Researchers have had a difficult time pinning down the cause of depression, which afflicts almost 16 percent of Americans in any given year and carries an annual economic burden of $100 billion.

Symptoms of depression vary widely among individuals. Most now think that multiple physiological processes are involved in major depressive disorder. That explains why people respond differently to most usually prescribed antidepressants, which work by manipulating the uptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin. However, as a number of as 40 percent of depressed patients do not respond to currently available medications, which take weeks to months to produce a therapeutic response.

Duman's team did whole genome scans on tissue samples from 21 deceased individuals who had been diagnosed with depression and compared gene expression levels to those of 18 individuals who had not been diagnosed with depression. They observed that one gene called MKP-1 was increased more than two hundred percent in the brain tissues of depressed individuals.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 15, 2010, 6:57 AM CT

Need a study break to refresh?

Need a study break to refresh?
The Stanford researchers' study suggests that the need to take a break to clear your mind is all in your head
It could happen to students cramming for exams, people working long hours or just about anyone burning the candle at both ends: Something tells you to take a break. Watch some TV. Have a candy bar. Goof off, tune out for a bit and come back to the task at hand when you're feeling better. After all, you're physically exhausted.

But a newly released study from Stanford psychology experts suggests the urge to refresh (or just procrastinate) is - well - all in your head.

In a paper published this week in Psychological Science, the scientists challenge a long-held theory that willpower - defined as the ability to resist temptation and stay focused on a demanding task - is a limited resource. Researchers have argued that when willpower is drained, the only way to restore it is by recharging our bodies with rest, food or some other physical distraction that takes you away from whatever is burning you out.

Not so, says the Stanford team. Instead, they've observed that a person's mindset and personal beliefs about willpower determine how long and how well they'll be able to work on a tough mental exercise.

"If you think of willpower as something that's biologically limited, you're more likely to be tired when you perform a difficult task," said Veronika Job, the paper's main author. "But if you think of willpower as something that is not easily depleted, you can go on and on".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 11, 2010, 7:35 AM CT

Computer time and psychological problems

Computer time and psychological problems
Children who spend longer than two hours in front of a computer or television screen are more likely to suffer psychological difficulties, regardless of how physically active they are.

The PEACH project, a study of over a 1,000 children aged between ten and 11, measured the time children spent in front of a screen as well as their psychological well being. In addition, an activity monitor recorded both children's sedentary time and moderate physical activity. The results showed that more than two hours per day of both television viewing and recreational computer use were correlation to higher psychological difficulty scores, regardless of how much time the children spent on physical activity.

The authors of the report, reported in the November edition of the American journal Pediatrics, conclude that limiting children's screen time appears to be important for ensuring children's future health and wellbeing.

As per the activity monitor, the children in the study who spent more time sedentary had better psychological scores overall. Those children who did more moderate physical activity fared better in certain psychological areas, including emotional and peer problems, but fared worse in some areas correlation to behaviour, including hyperactivity.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Too little evidence exists to recommend or rule out estrogen as a treatment for schizophrenia in women, a new review of studies finds.People diagnosed with schizophrenia suffer distorted perceptions of reality and hallucinations. Today, estrogen is strictly an experimental therapy for the psychotic symptoms associated with the mental illness.

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