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March 28, 2006, 11:32 PM CT

Lost Sleep In Teens

Lost Sleep In Teens
A new poll of teenagers across the US finds that a number of of them are losing out on quality of life because of a lack of sleep. The results, announced recently by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), cite sleeping in class, lack of energy to exercise, feelings of depression, and driving while drowsy as only some of the consequences for insufficient sleep.

The poll data support prior work by three Rhode Island scientists who are at the forefront of sleep research. Prior studies from Brown Medical School, and Lifespan affiliates Bradley Hospital and Hasbro Children's Hospital, have found that adolescents are not getting enough sleep, and suggest that this can lead to many physical and emotional impairments.

Mary A. Carskadon, PhD, with Bradley Hospital and Brown Medical School, chaired the National Sleep Foundation poll taskforce and has been a leading authority on teen sleep for more than a decade. Her research on adolescent circadian rhythms indicates that the internal clocks of adolescents undergo maturational changes making them different from those of children or adults. Nevertheless, teens must adhere to increasingly earlier school start times that make it nearly impossible for them to get enough sleep.

"Our results show that the adage 'early to bed, early to rise' presents a real challenge for adolescents," says Carskadon, who directs the Bradley Hospital Sleep and Chronobiology Sleep Laboratory and is a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown Medical School.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


March 28, 2006, 10:44 PM CT

How Men And Women Use News Media To Manage Anger

How Men And Women Use News Media To Manage Anger
When men and women are angry, they both choose the news media articles they read with the goal of regulating their moods, a new study suggests.

But, in some circumstances, men choose to read articles that will fuel their anger, while women choose articles that will dissipate it.

Scientists found that when men were angered and anticipate the chance to retaliate, they chose to read negative online news stories, presumably to sustain their anger until their opportunity to get even.

Women faced with the same situation, however, chose to read more positive news to help dissipate their anger before a possible confrontation.

"For women, it is not seen as appropriate for them to retaliate when they're angry, but it is OK for men. And that's reflected in their selection of media content," said Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, co-author of the study and assistant professor of communication at Ohio State University.

"This shows that even our news consumption is not motivated just by information concerns. We use news to regulate our moods."

Knobloch-Westerwick conducted the study with Scott Alter of the University of Michigan. Their results were published in a recent issue of the journal Human Communication Research.

The study involved 86 college students. Participants thought they were participating in two unrelated experiments.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


March 22, 2006, 11:30 PM CT

"Executive" Monkeys Influenced by Other Executives

When high-ranking monkeys are shown images of other monkeys glancing one way or the other, they more readily follow the gaze of other high-ranking monkeys, Duke University Medical Center neurobiologists have discovered. By contrast, they tend to ignore glance cues from low-status monkeys; while low-status monkeys assiduously follow the gaze of all other monkeys.

The discovery represents more than a confirmation of what most people believe about their bosses, said the researchers. The findings reveal that gaze-following is more than a reflex action; that it also involves lightning-fast social perception.

Such a discovery in monkeys gives the scientists an invaluable animal model that enables them to tease apart the reflexive-versus-social mechanisms that govern behavior, they said.

In particular, they can begin to understand the physiology and neural machinery of status, they said. Further animal studies will enable them to use drugs and genetic analysis to figure out what hormonal and/or genetic influences determine who becomes the monkey or human equivalent of Donald Trump, and who becomes a Woody Allen.

The scientists -- graduate student Stephen Shepherd, postdoctoral fellow Robert Deaner and Assistant Professor of Neurobiology Michael Platt -- published their findings in the Feb. 21, 2006, issue of Current Biology. The research was supported by the Cure Autism Now Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


March 21, 2006, 9:03 PM CT

Extreme Personality Poses Risk Of ADHD

Extreme Personality Poses Risk Of ADHD
Children with personalities marked by aggressiveness, mood swings, a sense of alienation and a need for excitement may be at greater risk for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or conduct disorder, as per a new Florida State University study.

FSU psychology professors Jeanette Taylor and Chris Schatschneider, FSU doctoral student Kelly Cukrowicz and University of Minnesota Professor William Iacono found that children with ADHD or conduct disorder had more negative emotions - aggressiveness, tension and feelings of being exploited, unlucky or poorly treated - and lower constraints - a tendency to break rules and engage in thrill-seeking behavior - than children with neither of the disorders. Not surprisingly, those children who have both ADHD and conduct disorder had the most extreme personality profiles.

"This helps us to understand that personality is part of the bigger picture of these disorders," Taylor said. "That could help with initial assessments or lead to unexpected discoveries or potential interventions. We're saying to scientists and clinicians, 'Think about personality when you look at these issues.' ".

The study, reported in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, is the first to investigate personality trait patterns among children who have ADHD, conduct disorder or a combination of both. It is important to learn more about the co-occurrence of ADHD and conduct disorder because the consequences are so severe, Taylor said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


March 19, 2006, 8:00 PM CT

Females Less Susceptible To Illness And Death

Females Less Susceptible To Illness And Death
Socially isolated female rats that experience just 30 minutes of stress generate a "staggeringly stronger" response to an immune challenge than similarly isolated and stressed males, as per a new study.

The difference in the female rats' responses may stem from the demands of motherhood, scientists speculate in the study "Social isolation and the inflammatory response: sex differences in the enduring effects of a previous stressor" by Gretchen L. Hermes, Anthony Montag and Martha K. McClintock of the University of Chicago, and Louis Rosenthal of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The study appears in the recent issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, published by the American Physiological Society.

The study reinforces a growing body of evidence on health disparities between men and women and may shed light on why socially isolated men are more vulnerable to disease and death than isolated women, Hermes said.

Prior studies have established a link between stress and immune function, Hermes said. But this study looked at the long-lasting effect that three months of isolation (the equivalent of chronic social stress) and one 30-minute episode of acute physical stress had on the inflammatory response, the body's innate immune response to bacteria, viruses, and parasites. The authors found that a full two to three weeks after being subjected to isolation and the acute physical stress, male rats showed a markedly slower healing response when injected with a foreign body compared to female rats, Hermes said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


March 15, 2006, 11:45 PM CT

Abnormal Gambling Habits Run In Families

Abnormal Gambling Habits Run In Families
Problem gambling runs in families as per a University of Iowa study published online Feb. 24 in the journal Psychiatry Research. The study also found an excess of alcoholism, drug disorders and antisocial personality disorder in families with pathological gamblers.

This is the first study of its kind to include detailed family interviews of relatives of persons with pathological gambling, said Donald W. Black, M.D., professor of psychiatry in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.

"Something is being passed along in these families that increases the persons' likelihood of engaging in impulsive and ultimately self-destructive behavior. In some persons, it manifests as substance abuse, in others as antisocial behavior, and in others gambling, and often the three are combined," said Black, who has studied pathological gambling for the past eight years.

The study consisted of interviews of 31 pathological gamblers and 31 controls, and their respective first-degree relatives (parents, siblings and children).

"We looked at first-degree relatives because they theoretically share 50 percent of their genes with the pathological gambler or the control subject. If this disorder runs in families, it is most likely to cluster in those that you share more of your genes with," Black said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


March 15, 2006, 8:51 PM CT

Gene May Dictate Antidepressant Response

Gene May Dictate Antidepressant Response
Whether depressed patients will respond to an antidepressant depends, in part, on which version of a gene they inherit, a study led by researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has discovered. Having two copies of one version of a gene that codes for a component of the brain's mood-regulating system increased the odds of a favorable response to an antidepressant by up to 18 percent, compared to having two copies of the other, more common version.

Since the less common version was over 6 times more prevalent in white than in black patients - and fewer blacks responded - the scientists suggest that the gene may help to explain racial differences in the outcome of antidepressant therapy. The findings also add to evidence that the component, a receptor for the chemical messenger serotonin, plays a pivotal role in the mechanism of antidepressant action. The study, authored by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) scientists Francis J. McMahon, M.D., Silvia Buervenich, Ph.D., and Husseini Manji, M.D., along with collaborators at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), and other institutions, was posted online March 8 and will appear in the May, 2006 American Journal of Human Genetics.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


March 7, 2006, 0:21 AM CT

Separate Brain Mechanisms For Ambiguous And Risky Choices

Separate Brain Mechanisms For Ambiguous And Risky Choices
Distinct regions of the human brain are activated when people are faced with ambiguous choices versus choices involving only risk, Duke University Medical Center scientists have discovered.

The researchers found that they could predict activation of different brain areas, based on how averse study participants were toward either risk or ambiguity. The finding confirms what economists have long debated -- that different attitudes toward perceived risk and ambiguity in decision-making situations may reflect a basic distinction in brain function, the scientists said. Such fundamental knowledge of neural functioning will contribute to an understanding of why people make risky choices, and how such risk-taking can become pathological, as in addiction or compulsive gambling, they added.

Their study appears in the March 2, 2006 issue of Neuron. The research was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and Duke.

"We were able to see individual differences in brain activation depending on the person's preferences or aversions to risk and ambiguity," said Scott Huettel, Ph.D., lead author and a neuroscientist with the Brain Imaging and Analysis Center at Duke University. "People who preferred ambiguity had increased activation in the prefrontal cortex, and people who preferred risk had increased activation in the parietal cortex. This opens up the possibility that there are specific neural mechanisms for different forms of economic decision making, which is a very exciting idea."........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


March 3, 2006, 6:35 AM CT

Marital Harmony And Heart Health

Marital Harmony And Heart Health
Hardening of the coronary arteries is more likely in wives when they and their husbands express hostility during marital disagreements, and more common in husbands when either they or their wives act in a controlling manner.

Those are key findings of a study of 150 healthy, older, married couples - mostly in their 60s - conducted by Professor Tim Smith and other psychology experts from the University of Utah. Smith was scheduled to present the findings Friday March 3 in Denver during the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society, which deals with the influence of psychological factors on physical health.

"Women who are hostile are more likely to have atherosclerosis [hardening of the coronary arteries], particularly if their husbands are hostile too," Smith says. "The levels of dominance or control in women or their husbands are not correlation to women's heart health."

"In men, the hostility - their own or their wives hostility during the interaction - wasn't correlation to atherosclerosis," he adds. "But their dominance or controlling behavior - or their wives dominance - was correlation to atherosclerosis in husbands." Smith summarizes: "A low-quality relationship is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease."

Smith conducted the study with University of Utah psychology experts Cynthia Berg, a professor; Bert Uchino and Paul Florsheim, both associate professors; and Gale Pearce, a Utah postdoctoral fellow now on the faculty of Westminster College in Salt Lake City.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


March 1, 2006, 11:11 PM CT

Duty In Iraq Causes High Use Of Mental Health Services

Duty In Iraq Causes High Use Of Mental Health Services
About one-third of U.S. military personnel from the war in Iraq access mental health services after their return home, as per a research studyin the March 1 issue of JAMA.

The U.S. military has conducted population-level screening for mental health problems among all service members returning from deployment to Afghanistan, Iraq, and other locations. To date, no systematic analysis of this program has been conducted, and studies have not assessed the impact of these deployments on mental health care utilization after deployment, as per background information in the article. Such information is an important part of measuring the mental health burden of the current war and assuring that there are adequate resources to meet the mental health care needs of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Prior research conducted after other military conflicts has shown that deployment and exposure to combat result in increased risk of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depression, substance abuse, functional impairment in social and employment settings, and the increased use of health care services.

Charles W. Hoge, M.D., of Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, Md., and his colleagues conducted a study to determine the relationship between deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan and mental health care use during the first year after return home. The scientists analyzed the results of the Post-Deployment Health Assessment completed by Army soldiers and Marines between May 1, 2003, and April 30, 2004, on return from deployment to Afghanistan (n=16,318), Iraq (n=222,620), and other locations (n=64,967). Health care utilization and occupational outcomes were measured for 1 year after deployment or until leaving the service if this occurred sooner. The assessment screened for such conditions as posttraumatic stress disorder, major depression, and other mental health problems.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         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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