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Archives Of Psychology News Blog From Medicineworld.Org

August 3, 2007, 5:30 AM CT

Controlling stress helps fight chronic diseases such as Lupus

Controlling stress helps fight chronic diseases such as Lupus
Lupus is an autoimmune disease affecting more than 5 million people around the world, and makes the immune system attack the body's cells and tissue as if they were enemies.

- It especially affects women of fertile age between 15 and 44 years old.

- A study conducted at the University of Granada (Universidad de Granada) shows that reducing stress in people suffering from lupus also decreases some symptoms of this disease such as inexplicable loss of weight, feeling of fatigue, continuous fever or pain and inflammation in joints.

- Patients who received psychological treatment significantly reduced their levels of stress, anxiety and depression, achieving even lower levels than those of the general population.

C@MPUS DIGITAL Lupus is an autoimmune disease which produces antibodies causing injuries to the body's cells and tissue. It makes the immune system go out of control and the organism attack healthy cells instead of the germs on them. This pathology, which affects more than 5 million people around the world, is more developed in women of fertile age between 15 and 44 years old.

A study conducted in the Department of Medicine at the University of Granada determined that daily stress (which occurs in circumstances of little importance but of high frequency) could exacerbate the symptoms of patients suffering from lupus. In other words, controlling the stress level of those suffering from this disease allows the determination of its negative effects, such as inexplicable loss of weight, feeling of fatigue, continuous fever or pain and inflammation in joints.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

August 1, 2007, 9:20 PM CT

Sleep is the right ingredient for academic success

Sleep is the right ingredient for academic success
Returning to the classroom after a three-month break signals that summer is drawing to a close. For children and teens, the end of summer also means an end to the long daylight hours that allows them to stay out later, as well as the long lazy mornings of sleeping in. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) advises children and teens that sleep habits adopted over the summer will need to be changed when school starts in order to ensure proper sleep.

Daniel G. Glaze, MD, of Texas Childrens Hospital in Houston, a pediatric sleep expert and a member of the AASM board of directors, notes that, just as one wouldnt start a trip with a half-full tank of gas, children and teens need to obtain a proper amount of sleep during the night to complete the school day successfully.

A number of children, and particularly teens, alter their sleep-wake schedules and maintain a later bedtime, says Dr. Glaze. This works for the summer until the start of the school year. They then need to advance their bedtime to meet early school start times. It is difficult to advance your bedtime and, once a schedule has been established, it may take days or weeks to develop a new schedule. It cant be done overnight. Not unexpectedly, for the first weeks of school, a number of children and teens do not obtain a proper amount of sleep.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

July 31, 2007, 9:52 PM CT

Older Folks Don't Get The Joke

Older Folks Don't Get The Joke
It's no laughing matter that elderly adults have a tougher time understanding basic jokes than do younger adults.

It's partially due to a cognitive decline linked to age, as per Washington University in St. Louis scientists Wingyun Mak, a graduate student in psychology in Arts & Sciences, and Brian Carpenter, Ph.D., Washington University associate professor of psychology.

Humor comprehension in elderly adults functions in a different fashion than humor comprehension in younger adults. The scientists studied elderly adults from a university subject pool as well as undergraduate students. The subjects participated in tests that indicated their ability to complete jokes accurately as well as tests that indicated their cognitive capabilities in areas of abstract reasoning, short-term memory, and cognitive flexibility. Overall, elderly adults demonstrated lower performance on both tests of cognitive ability as well as tests of humor comprehension than did younger adults.

"However, just because you're an older adult does not mean that you can't understand humor. All hope is not lost," said Mak. "This is just the first step in understanding how humor comprehension functions in elderly adults." There are likely a multitude of factors, like prior experiences, preferences, and personality that also contribute to how well someone understands different types of humor.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

July 30, 2007, 9:57 PM CT

One cannabis joint equal to up to 5 cigarettes

One cannabis joint equal to up to 5 cigarettes
A single cannabis joint has the same effect on the lungs as smoking up to five cigarettes in one go, indicates research published ahead of print in the journal Thorax.

The scientists base their findings on 339 adults up to the age of 70, selected from a research study that's ongoing of respiratory health, and categorised into four different groups.

These comprised those who smoked only cannabis, equivalent to at least one joint a day for five years; those who smoked tobacco only, equivalent to a pack of cigarettes a day for at least a year; those who smoked both; and those who did not smoke either cannabis or tobacco.

All the participants had high definition x-ray scans (computed tomography) taken of their lungs and they took special breathing tests designed to assess how well their lungs worked.

They were also questioned about their smoking habits.

Seventy five people smoked only cannabis, and 91 smoked both. Eighty one people did not smoke either, and 92 smoked only tobacco.

Combined smokers tended to use less tobacco, the findings showed.

Cannabis smokers complained of wheeze, cough, chest tightness and phlegm. But emphysema, the progressive and crippling lung disease, was only seen in those who smoked tobacco, either alone or in combination.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

July 30, 2007, 8:21 PM CT

Increased White Matter And Poor Motor Skills In Children With Autism

Increased White Matter And Poor Motor Skills In Children With Autism
A study reported in the recent issue of the journal Brain demonstrates, for the first time, an association between increased white matter volume and functional impairment in children with autism. Findings from scientists at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Md. reveal that in children with autism, increased white matter volume in the motor region of the brain predicts poorer motor skills. On the other hand, in typically developing children, increased white matter volume predicts improved motor skills, with a similar association observed in children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The relationship between increased white matter volume and functional impairment, which appears to be specific to autism, may be representative of global patterns of brain abnormality in autism that not only contribute to motor dysfunction, but also to deficits in socialization and communication that define the disorder.

Children with autism are typically motorically clumsy and awkward, similar to how they are socially clumsy and awkward. They often experience difficulties with basic motor control and with learning more complex motor skills, such as riding a tricycle, pumping their legs on a swing or buttoning, zipping and tying shoe laces. Additionally, high-functioning children with autism often excel in academic areas, such as math, as opposed to athletic activities, such as baseball. Because measures of motor function are highly quantifiable and reproducible, they are much easier to study than measures of social and communication behavior. Motor signs can serve as markers for deficits in parallel brain systems important for control of socialization and communication.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

July 29, 2007, 9:54 PM CT

Work-family stress studied among immigrant Latinos

Work-family stress studied among immigrant Latinos
A new study that examined the work-family experiences of recent Latino immigrants working in low-wage, nonprofessional jobs, observed that they reported infrequent work-family conflict, as per lead author Joseph G. Grzywacz, Ph.D., of Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

The findings, would be reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology, suggest that individuals from more collective cultures experience fewer conflicts between work and family than white, middle-class workers because they view work as a necessary and vital component of assuring family well-being.

Work-family conflict refers to situations in which the demands and responsibilities of work and family roles are incompatible in some respect. It can occur in both directions. For example, family can interfere with work if a worker is distracted by marital problems or a sick child. And, work can interfere with family when work schedules make it impossible to attend family functions or complete household chores. Since the early part of 1970s when women began joining the workforce en masse, work-family conflict research has focused, almost exclusively, on professional white adults, said Grzywacz.

Work-family balance is a popular topic yet very little is known about the work-family experiences of Latinos, the fastest growing segment of the work force and a population that frequently finds themselves in difficult work arrangements, said Grzywacz.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

July 26, 2007, 5:10 AM CT

Why do people love horror movies?

Why do people love horror movies?
A bedrock assumption in theories that explain and predict human behavior is people's motivation to pursue pleasure and avoid pain. How can this be reconciled with the decision to engage in experiences known to elicit negative feelings, such as horror movies" It certainly seems counterintuitive that so a number of people would voluntarily immerse themselves in almost two hours of fear, disgust and terror. "Why do people pay for this?" "How is this enjoyable?" .

Investigators generally use one of two theories to explain why people like horror movies. The first is that the person is not actually afraid, but excited by the movie. The second explanation is that they are willing to endure the terror in order to enjoy a euphoric sense of relief at the end. But, a new study by Eduardo Andrade (University of California, Berkeley) and Joel B. Cohen (University of Florida) appearing in the recent issue of the Journal of Consumer Research argues that neither of these theories is correct.

We think that a reevaluation of the two dominant explanations for peoples willingness to consume negative experiences (both of which assume that people can not experience negative and positive emotions simultaneously) is in order, explain Andrade and Cohen in their study.

They continue: The assumption of peoples inability to experience positive and negative affect at the same time is incorrect.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

July 25, 2007, 5:04 AM CT

Autism: Women Carry the Disorder and Age is a Risk Factor

Autism: Women Carry the Disorder and Age is a Risk Factor
A new model for understanding how autism is acquired has been developed by a team of scientists led by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Autism is a developmental disorder, characterized by language impairments, social deficits, and repetitive behaviors. The scientists analyzed data on autism incidence and found a previously unrecognized pattern. The pattern can be explained by assuming that spontaneous germ-line mutation is a significant cause of the disorder. Parents, particularly women, who acquire the mutation - but do not exhibit severe symptoms of the disorder - have a 50% chance of passing the mutation on to their children. Sons often show the most severe symptoms.

Spontaneous mutations are changes in a chromosome that alter genes. Germ-line mutations are newly acquired in a germ cell of a parent, and sometimes are transmitted to offspring at conception. Men and women are equally as likely to acquire a spontaneous mutation that can cause autism, but autism is three times more likely in men, making women the more likely carriers of new mutations. "The fact that germ-line mutations increase with age places older parents at a higher risk of having children with autism, explaining a pattern that has been recently observed," said CSHL co-author of the study Michael Wigler, Ph.D.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

July 23, 2007, 5:23 PM CT

Hopelessness key component of mood disorder

Hopelessness key component of mood disorder
Theres depression, and then theres double depression.

Sound bad" It is, as per Thomas Joiner, Florida State University Distinguished Research Professor and the Bright-Burton Professor of Psychology, who has identified hopelessness as a distinguishing feature of double depression in a new paper reported in the Journal of Affective Disorders. The finding could help therapists diagnose and treat the mood disorder.

Double depression occurs when an individual who suffers from dysthymia, a persistent case of mild depression marked by low energy, falls into a major depressive state. It is not a new concept, but psychology experts know little about the characteristics that distinguish double depression from dysthymia or major depression alone, as per Joiner.

Its clinically important because it is under-recognized and harder to treat than either dysthymia or major depression by themselves, Joiner said. The hopelessness result is significant, and it suggests that therapists should particularly focus on this feature early and often in the therapy of double-depressed patients.

Joiner, along with FSU doctoral student Kathryn Gordon, Joan Cook from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia and Michel Herson from Pacific University in Oregon, studied the psychological assessments of 54 adults who entered a community-based psychiatric outpatient facility for non-psychotic adults ages 55 and older. Questionnaires were given to patients before starting therapy to measure depression, hopelessness, anxiety and their sense of control over their own lives.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

July 19, 2007, 10:30 PM CT

Self-injury in high-school students

Self-injury in high-school students
Non-Suicidal Self-Injury the deliberate, direct destruction of body tissue without conscious suicidal intent is a relatively common occurrence for adolescents in high school, a new study suggests. Led by scientists at The Miriam Hospital and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, nearly half of the teens studied endorsed some form of Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI) in the past year, most frequently biting self, cutting/carving skin, hitting self on purpose, and burning skin.

The research is reported in the August 2007 issue of Psychological Medicine.

The findings are important because it suggests that NSSI is more prevalent among adolescents in the general population than previously thought, says lead author Elizabeth Lloyd-Richardson, PhD, a psychology expert at The Miriam Hospital and assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

If this is the case - its essentially a wake-up call to take better notice of these behaviors in the community and learn how to help teens manage stress without harming themselves, adds Lloyd-Richardson.

Scientists decided to explore the frequency and breadth of NSSI engaged in by teens in the community because little is known about self-harming behavior in this particular population.........

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. Archives of psychology news blog

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