Feeling depressed? Mahjong might be the answer

When it comes to boosting mental health among older Chinese, it might be as simple as a game of mahjong, according to a new study from the University of Georgia.

Regularly playing the popular tile-based strategy game was one of several types of social participation linked to reduced rates of depression among middle-aged and older adults in China in the study appearing in Social Science & Medicine.

“Global economic and epidemiologic trends have led to significant increases in the burden of mental health among older adults, especially in the low- and middle-income countries,” said Adam Chen, an associate professor of health policy and management at UGA’s College of Public Health and study co-author.

Full story at Science Daily

WHO: Global suicide crisis calls for widespread preventive action

Ahead of the World Mental Health Day on October 10, the World Health Organization are drawing attention to the high rates of death by suicide worldwide, calling for more preventive action across all countries.

September 10 was World Suicide Prevention Day, and to mark the occasion and spread awareness of the global suicide crisis, the World Health Organization (WHO) have launched a campaign — called “40 seconds of action.” The campaign will culminate on October 10 — World Mental Health Day.

In 2019, the WHO decided that their focus would be on suicide prevention. The organization point out that suicide has become the second most common cause of premature death among teens and young adults — from ages 15 to 29 years old — in particular.

Full story at Medical News Today

LH dipeptide may improve mental health

A research group led by Professor Tomoyuki Furuyashiki and Associate Professor Shiho Kitaoka (Graduate School of Medicine) in collaboration with researcher Yasuhisa Ano of Kirin Holdings has made discoveries regarding the effect of the dipeptide Leucine-Histidine (LH) in suppressing microglial activation and depression-associated emotional disturbances. LH dipeptide is found in fermented foods such as blue cheese and natto (fermented soy beans). Foods rich in LH dipeptide may be a safe, preventive method for maintaining good mental health.

These research results were first reported in the online academic journal Nutrients on September 9 2019.

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders and remains difficult to treat, as numerous patients don’t respond to available psychological or pharmacological treatments. Consequently, possible methods of preventing depression in daily life, such as nutritional approaches, are gaining increasing attention.

Full story at Science Daily

External stimuli may affect how well antidepressants work

Antidepressants are more effective for some people than they are for others, but what factors influence how well they work? Research in mice suggests that exposure to external stimuli may play a key role.

“Antidepressants” is the term by which people usually refer to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a class of drugs that doctors usually prescribe to treat conditions such as major depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Yet, these drugs do not work for everyone, and they do not necessarily work as well all the time. Sometimes, it can take a lot of trials and adjustments for a person to find the drug dosage and combination that is best for them.

Full story at Medical News Today

People with PTSD could benefit from fear reducing medication

Post-traumatic stress disorder has proved difficult to treat in the long term. Mixing psychological therapy with a novel drug could help.

In June, researchers carried out a review to determine whether medication or psychological therapy was the best treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Due to a lack of comparative studies, the researchers were unable to form a conclusion. However, a new study aims to see whether a combination of the two treatment forms could be more effective.

Full story at Medical News Today

How to induce vomiting: What to know

Vomiting is one of the body’s natural defenses against germs, poisons, and drugs. Some people wish to induce vomiting to relieve nausea, whether the cause is an illness or a substance such as alcohol. Others induce vomiting if they believe that they have overeaten — this is a sign of an eating disorder.

However, vomiting carries risks. In particular, it is not safe to induce vomiting to prevent or treat poisoning.

People used to induce vomiting in children who swallowed poison. Parents and caregivers should not gag children or give them syrup of ipecac when they suspect poisoning or believe that the child has eaten rotten food. Instead, they should go to the emergency room or contact a poison control center.

Full story at Medical News Today

Feeling angry: Mental health and what to do

Anger is a normal emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. However, if a person feels unable to control their anger, it can cause problems in relationships and at work. It might also affect their quality of life.

Anger is an integral part of the body’s “fight, flight, or freeze” system, which helps protect us from threats or danger.

However, high levels of unresolved anger may have a negative impact on health. According to the American Psychological Association, anger has links with inflammation in older adults. This could lead to chronic diseases.

Research from 2015 suggests that the overall lifetime prevalence of intense, inappropriate, or poorly controlled anger in the general population in the United States is 7.8%. Anger seems to affect more men than women, and it also seems more prevalent among younger adults.

Full story at Medical News Today

Buttigieg unveils plan to improve mental health care and fight addiction

Ahead of a campaign trip to New Hampshire, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg released a plan to expand mental health care services and fight addiction, with the goal of preventing 1 million deaths over the next nine years.

The plan would strengthen enforcement of “parity” requirements between mental health care and other services and substantially reduce the number of people incarcerated due to mental illness and addiction.

The policy aims to prevent 1 million “deaths of despair” by 2028, including deaths due to drugs, alcohol and suicide. The plan would also ensure that at least 75% of people who need mental health care and addiction treatment get the care they need by the end of Buttigieg’s first term in office.

Full story at CBS News

Cigarettes Can’t Be Advertised On TV. Should Juul Ads Be Permitted?

Why does e-cigarette maker Juul advertise its product on TV when cigarette ads are banned? The short answer: Because it can.

For nearly 50 years, cigarette advertising has been banned from TV and radio. But electronic cigarettes — those battery-operated devices that often resemble oversized USB flash drives with flavored nicotine “pods” that clip in on the end — aren’t addressed in the law.

Since launching its product in 2015, Juul Labs, based in San Francisco, have come to dominate the e-cigarette market, now accounting for 75 percent of e-cig sales at convenience stores and mass retail outlets, according to Bonnie Herzog, a senior analyst at Wells Fargo Securities. Until recently, TV ads haven’t played a role in Juul’s marketing, which relied primarily on social media.

Full story at NPR

Among Hurdles For Those With Opioid Addictions: Getting The Drug To Treat It

Louis Morano knew what he needed, and he knew where to get it.

He made his way to a mobile medical clinic parked on a corner of Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood, in the geographical heart of the city’s overdose crisis. People call it “the bupe bus.”

Morano, 29, has done seven stints in rehab for opioid addiction in the past 15 years.

Buprenorphine is a drug that curbs cravings and treats the symptoms of withdrawal from opioid addiction. One of the common brand name drugs that contains it, Suboxone, blends buprenorphine with naloxone.

Combined with cognitive behavioral therapy, it is one of the three FDA-approved medicines considered the gold standard for opioid-addiction treatment.

Full story at Kaiser Health News