Health

Fast-Fail Trial Shows New Approach to Identifying Brain Targets for Clinical Treatments

A first-of-its-kind trial has demonstrated that a receptor involved in the brain’s reward system may be a viable target for treating anhedonia (or lack of pleasure), a key symptom of several mood and anxiety disorders. This innovative fast-fail trial was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health, and the results of the trial are published in Nature Medicine. Mood and anxiety disorders are some of the most…

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How Racial Minorities View Interracial Couples

In 1958, Richard Loving, a White man, and his wife Mildred, a Black woman, were arrested for the crime of being married. Although the couple had been legally wed in the District of Columbia, they became outlaws when they moved to Virginia, where interracial marriages were then illegal. This incident eventually led the 1967 landmark case of Loving v. Virginia, in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws banning interracial marriages. Today, about 12% of American couples…

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Deconstructing anxiety

I have always found it tremendously frustrating that our rational minds can’t convince us that most of our fears and anxieties are nothing to be afraid of. Many of my clients express the same frustration. As philosopher Michel de Montaigne said, “My life has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened.” Sadly, this is true for many of us, and no amount of positive thinking, affirmation or even cognitive transformation will touch…

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It May Be Time for You to Do a Body Image Checkup

As a component of people’s identity, body image forms a central focus. Body image is defined as your internal representation of your physical self, and includes such features as self-perception of your height, age, weight, attractiveness, and functionality or your body’s ability to perform actions of importance to you. Along with these cognitive components are the emotions attached to these internal representations. Do you feel too heavy, old, unattractive, and weak or are you happy with most aspects of…

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Ricky Gervais teaches Hollywood what speaking truth to power really means

If you had “host Ricky Gervais becomes a conservative darling” in your office Golden Globes pool, congratulations, because you must have won a bundle. The rest of us will continue our slow, astonished blink as we contemplate the fact that this year’s most talked-about speech slammed not oil companies or gender inequality, but Hollywood hypocrisy: “You say you’re woke,” said Gervais, “but the companies you work for — I mean, unbelievable: Apple, Amazon, Disney. If ISIS started…

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Alcohol Consumption Worsens Global Burden of Disease

Study results published in Lancet Public Health underscores the significant worldwide burden of disease attributable to alcohol. Alcohol-attributable death rates were highest in Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, and countries with low human development indices (HDIs). Across countries, alcohol use disproportionately affected young people and men.   Kevin Shield, PhD, led study efforts to investigate global trends in the alcohol-related burden of disease. The investigators conducted a comparative risk assessment for 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015, and 2016 using alcohol exposure…

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Largest Ever Genome-Wide Association Study Finds Genetic Risk Factors for Anxiety

The largest study ever conducted on genetic risk factors for anxiety, a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 200,000 participants recently published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, found significant associations between self-reported anxiety and specific single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Daniel Levey, PhD, from the department of psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues pulled data from one of the largest biobanks in the world, the Million Veteran Program. To assess anxiety and related…

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Miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy may trigger long-term post-traumatic stress

One in six women experience long-term post-traumatic stress following miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. This is the finding of the largest ever study into the psychological impact of early-stage pregnancy loss, from scientists at Imperial College London and KU Leuven in Belgium. The research, published in the journal American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, studied over 650 women who had experienced an early pregnancy loss, of whom the majority had suffered an early miscarriage (defined as pregnancy…

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What to know about alcohol and depression

Alcohol can make a person feel depressed and may even trigger or worsen depression. Depression is also a risk factor for using alcohol, since people who feel depressed may use alcohol to ease their symptoms. Several studies, including a 2013 study that used a nationally representative sample, have found that people who drink to manage a psychiatric condition are more likely to abuse alcohol. In this article, learn more about the links between alcohol and depression, as well…

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Some surprisingly good news about anxiety

Anxiety disorders are the most common type of psychiatric illness, yet researchers know very little about factors associated with recovery. A new University of Toronto study investigated three levels of recovery in a large, representative sample of more than 2,000 Canadians with a history of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The study reports that 72% of Canadians with a history of GAD have been free of the mental health condition for at least one year. Overall,…

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