In the news

NIMH Leadership Describes Suicide Prevention Research Priorities

The suicide rate in the U.S. has been steadily increasing over the past 2 decades. In 2018 alone, more than 48,000 Americans died by suicide. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is committed to bending the curve of suicide in the U.S., and together with the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, NIMH pledged to reduce the suicide rate by 20% by 2025. This commitment has shaped NIMH’s suicide prevention research agenda, leading the Institute to focus…

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Counselor considerations for disclosing LGBTQ+ identity

The question of what is appropriate to disclose about ourselves to clients is one that all counselors face, whether it be about an upcoming vacation, an emotional reaction to a client or how our own past struggles may parallel those of a client. Beyond these more common self-disclosures, we also may choose to disclose aspects of our identity that are not inherently visible, such as our sexual orientation, gender identity or even religious beliefs. These…

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How Dreaming Helps the Brain Consolidate Memories

The past century of “sleep and memory” research has established that sleep facilitates the retention of memories in both humans and animals. However, the exact brain mechanisms that help mammals consolidate memories while they sleep was unclear to neuroscientists until recently. Since the 1950s, neuroscientists have suspected that dreaming facilitates memory consolidation during the rapid-eye-movement (REM) stage of sleep. In 1957, William Dement and Nathaniel Kleitman of the University of Chicago published a landmark study (Dement & Kleitman, 1957)…

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Wearable sensor may help to assess stress in healthcare workers

A wearable biosensor may help monitor stress experienced by healthcare professionals, according to a study published in Physiological Reports. In the study of 12 healthy male volunteers, a wearable biosensor that is placed on the chest, called the VitalScout, provided an accurate assessment of physiological parameters — heart rate and respiration rate — that are used to calculate stress. Furthermore, the biosensor’s metrics correlated strongly to those obtained using breathing analyses, and they could discriminate changes…

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Expression of certain genes may affect vulnerability to post-traumatic stress disorder

Results from a new study suggest that whether certain genes are expressed — turned on or off — may play a role in susceptibility to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The study, which was conducted by an international team led by investigators at McLean Hospital and appears in the journal Cell Reports, may provide insights for PTSD prevention and treatment. In the face of repeated, prolonged, or severe trauma, some individuals seem to be more susceptible…

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Extra choline may help pregnant women decrease negative effects of COVID-19 on their newborns

Pregnant women who take extra choline supplements may mitigate the negative impact that viral respiratory infections, including COVID-19, can have on their babies, according to a new study from researchers in the Departments of Psychiatry and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Choline is a vitamin B nutrient found in various foods and dietary supplements, and is critical to fetal brain development. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)…

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Young People Are Lonelier and More Suspicious of Others

In a YouGov survey last year, pollsters asked more than 1,200 Americans, “How many friends do you have?” 22 percent of millennials said they had zero friends. Baby boomers: 9 percent. Also in the report: “Millennials are more likely than older generations to report that they have no acquaintances (25%), no close friends (27%), and no best friends (30%).” I was dismayed at these results. I decided to run a poll on Twitter, to see how my results would compare. More…

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Cyber-Politics on Social Media

Facebook is used by approximately 70% of adults. What began as a way to connect and reconnect with family and friends, share birthday announcements and cute kitty photos transitioned into a convenient method of expressing opinions about a variety of issues dear to us and become a foremost source of unreliable information. As of 2020, there are 2.6 billion monthly active Facebook users. Issues that were once considered “personal” are now open and available for public…

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Are Meat-Eating Men More Masculine?

Homer Simpson, the lovably self-unaware cartoon dad icon, once danced out a rhythm to the pro-meat mantra, “You don’t win friends with salad.” Bart and Marge joined in, giving tacit approval to the “meat-power-prestige” theory, while vegetarian-leaning daughter Maggie looked on, predictably dejected. Real Men Eat Meat At the heart of this is the age-old stereotype that “real men eat meat.” The comedy bit works because the connection between meat and masculinity, wholly embraced by Homer Simpson…

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What We’ve Learned About Emotional Eating

The internet is full of memes about gaining weight during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s no surprise: Being stuck at home without normal activities and constant access to food can easily lead to overeating. On top of boredom and proximity to food, the worries and stress that accompany a global pandemic can easily lead to emotional eating. In fact, there is an entire body of evidence on how our emotions influence our eating behaviors. Researchers have learned that emotional eating is…

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