health

Can we blame procrastination on our genes?

People often assume that procrastination is a choice and that the personality trait — which sees people delay necessary tasks — is a sign of laziness. However, new research suggests that genes may play a role. Previous research has associated both biological and psychological factors with procrastination. The results of a 2018 study showed that people with a tendency to procrastinate had a bigger amygdala — the section of the brain that processes emotions. The same research team has…

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Apathy: The forgotten symptom of dementia

Apathy is the most common neuropsychiatric symptom of dementia, with a bigger impact on function than memory loss — yet it is under-researched and often forgotten in care. A new study has found that apathy is present nearly half of all people with dementia, with researchers finding it is often distinct from depression. Although common, apathy is often ignored as it is less disruptive in settings such as care homes than symptoms like aggression. Defined…

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Can a Budget Make You Happier?

Clever websites and smartphone apps have made creating a household budget easier, though it’s still an unappealing chore for some. But what if using a tool that makes you smarter about money could also make you happier? That would make budgeting a lot more attractive. What’s the connection? Budgeting causes you to rethink spending decisions, and by cutting back on some expenses that are less meaningful to you, you’ll have money to put toward things…

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Federal Grants Restricted To Fighting Opioids Miss The Mark, States Say

In his 40 years of working with people who struggle with addiction, David Crowe has seen various drugs fade in and out of popularity in Pennsylvania’s Crawford County. Methamphetamine use and distribution is a major challenge for the rural area, says Crowe, the executive director of Crawford County Drug and Alcohol Executive Commission. And opioid-related overdoses have killed at least 83 people in the county since 2015, he says. Crowe says his organization has received just…

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Insomnia: ‘Long-distance’ CBT as effective as in-person therapy

Thousands of people around the world experience insomnia, which affects their quality of life, health, and productivity. One effective way of managing insomnia is cognitive behavioral therapy, but many individuals may not have the time or money to visit a therapist’s office. So, what is the solution? Studies have shown that at least 10–30% of the world’s population, if not more, deal with insomnia, a sleep disorder in which people frequently have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or…

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What is learned helplessness?

Learned helplessness is a state that occurs after a person has experienced a stressful situation repeatedly. They come to believe that they are unable to control or change the situation, so they do not try — even when opportunities for change become available. Psychologists first described learned helplessness in 1967 after a series of experiments in animals, and they suggested that their findings could apply to humans. Learned helplessness leads to increased feelings of stress and depression. For…

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Simple test can tell if you’re stressed out

Stress is often called “the silent killer” because of its stealthy and mysterious effects on everything from heart disease to mental health. Now researchers at the University of Cincinnati have developed a new test that can easily and simply measure common stress hormones using sweat, blood, urine or saliva. Eventually, they hope to turn their ideas into a simple device that patients can use at home to monitor their health. The results were published this…

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How The Brain Shapes Pain And Links Ouch With Emotion

When Sterling Witt was a teenager in Missouri, he was diagnosed with scoliosis. Before long, the curvature of his spine started causing chronic pain. It was “this low-grade kind of menacing pain that ran through my spine and mostly my lower back and my upper right shoulder blade and then even into my neck a little bit,” Witt says. The pain was bad. But the feeling of helplessness it produced in him was even worse.…

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A moody gut often accompanies depression: New study helps explain why

For people with depression, gastrointestinal distress is a common additional burden, and a new study suggests that for some, the two conditions arise from the same glitch in neuron chemistry — low serotonin. The study, conducted in mice, shows that a shortage of serotonin in the neurons of the gut can cause constipation, just as a serotonin shortage in the brain can lead to depression. The study also found that a treatment that raises serotonin…

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What is dermatophagia?

Dermatophagia is a psychological condition in which a person compulsively bites, chews, gnaws, or eats their skin. It often affects the skin around people’s fingers. Dermatophagia is an emerging concept in mental health research. For this reason, there have been few studies into precisely what it is and how it differs from other conditions. According to the TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors, mental health specialists sometimes classify dermatophagia as an “obsessive-compulsive and related disorder.” This means that…

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