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Daily Breaking News &#; Information &#; Sept &#; Dec

January 1,

Sept &#; Dec


News & Information for December 31,

&#;Happier people live longer&#;: UBC prof to study how you can boost your happiness levels

For the good of your health, a UBC psychology professor wants you to have to a happier life — and it won’t require a lottery win, a bigger house or all new people. Dr. Nancy Sin, a health psychologist, says a happier life, even a happier holiday season, might just be found in recognizing the small, good things that happen in the course of an ordinary day. A dog walk. A chat with a neighbour. A smile from a child through the window of a passing car. “Happier people live longer,” assistant professor Nancy Sin said in a phone interview with Postmedia. “Scientific research over the last decade has exploded around the connection between positive emotions and health outcomes.”

New Year’s resolution: 10 ways to feel less stressful this year

According to Gallup’s data on emotional states, Americans are among the most stressed out populations in the world. Fifty-five percent (yes, more than half) of the American population reports experiencing stress during the day—every day. This is 20% higher than the world average of 35%. So it’s safe to say that a noble, necessary, and healthy goal to set for yourself in the new year is to take a deep breath, evaluate your life, and calm down a bit. To help you do that, we’ve gathered the top scientifically proven ways to reduce your anxiety. Here’s how to kick off a more relaxed decade in

First-of-its-kind study from University of Penn links job loss to opioid deaths

A new study from the University of Pennsylvania links eroding economic opportunity to opioid deaths. Many have wondered what is causing the opioid epidemic and this study makes a connection that health officials might miss. Researchers at the University of Penn found when factories close or when there is widespread job loss in a community, deaths from opioid overdoses soar. The opioid epidemic has hit the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia especially hard, but doctors say substance abuse is everywhere.


News & Information for December 30,

★The whistleblower and Penn: a final accounting of study

Although the general story of ghostwriting in trials of psychiatric drugs is now pretty well known, the details of the corruption in specific trials are still emerging into the public record, often a decade or more after the original sin of fraudulent publication. The latest study to finally see the full light of day is GlaxoSmithKline’s study Perhaps the most infamous ghostwritten study is GSK’s study , which, in a report published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, falsely touted paroxetine (Paxil) as an effective treatment for adolescent depression. The company paid over $3 billion in penalties for fraud. [&#;] As of this writing, the ghostwritten article, with its misleading conclusions about the data in study , remains a part of the research literature. It hasn’t been retracted, or even corrected, by The American Journal of Psychiatry. After its publication in , the article was cited in hundeds of medical journals, textbooks and practice guidelines as evidence that Paxil could be beneficial in the treatment of bipolar depression. It may still be cited for that “finding,” and in that way, the corruption lives on.  

4 ways journaling can boost your mental health in

Studies consistently show the surprising health benefits that come from keeping a journal. Personally, I’ve seen improvements in my own life from keeping a journal for nearly a decade; and professionally, I’ve seen thousands of examples of others whose lives have improved by using my company’s digital journaling app. Drawing on those experiences, here are four ways journaling can help you increase your mental health in [&#;] The mental and physical health benefits that come from journaling are compelling, but even more, having a record of your life, your accomplishments, your trials and even the most ordinary memories is invaluable for anyone. 

Dietary research on coffee: Improving adjustment for confounding

Meta-analyses have reported higher levels of coffee consumption to be associated with lower mortality. In contrast, some systematic reviews have linked coffee consumption to increased risks for lung cancer and hypertension. Given these inconsistencies, this narrative review critically evaluated the methods and analyses of cohort studies investigating coffee and mortality. A specific focus was adjustment for confounding related to smoking, healthy and unhealthy foods and alcohol. Assessment of 36 cohort samples showed many did not adequately adjust for smoking. Consuming 1–5 cups of coffee per day was related to lower mortality among never smokers, in studies which adjusted for pack-years of smoking, and studies adjusting for healthy and unhealthy foods. Possible reduced health benefits for coffee with added sugar have not been adequately investigated. Research on coffee and health should report separate analyses for never smokers, adjust for consumption of healthy and unhealthy foods, and for sugar added to coffee.

Taking a short break from Instagram: the effects on subjective well-being

This study investigated whether abstaining from Instagram (Ig) affects subjective well-being among young men and women. By comparing an intervention group (40 participants who take a break from Ig for a week) with a control group (40 participants who kept using Ig), we found that women who quitted Ig reported significantly higher levels of life satisfaction and positive affect than women who kept using it. Whereas positive affect increment depended on social appearance comparison, life satisfaction rose independent of the tendency to compare one&#;s own appearance with others. It is possible that users who are no longer exposed to direct evaluative feedback about their images on Ig—be it related to their appearance, habits, or opinions—can witness an increase in their global satisfaction levels. No significant effects were found among men.

Why do we feel guilty about taking breaks & how to take restorative breaks

Do you find yourself feeling guilty for taking time off? Or constantly feel like you have to tell people how busy you are in order to feel valued? In this mini episode I discuss why we feel guilty for something our brains and bodies need, how to take effective breaks that will boost mental and brain health, what I do to relax and recharge, and how to avoid burnout.

People are not very good at keeping their promises for self-improvement 

Using an idiographic-nomothetic methodology, we assessed individuals’ ability to change their personality traits without therapeutic or experimental involvement. Participants from internet and college populations completed trait measures and reported current personality change desires. Self-reported traits as well as perceptions of trait change were collected after 1-year (Internet) and 6-months (College). In large part, volitional personality change desires did not predict actual change. When desires did predict change, (a) desired increases in Extraversion, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness corresponded with decreases in corresponding traits, (b) participants perceived more change than actually occurred, and (c) decreases in Emotional Stability predicted perceptions of personality change. Results illustrate the difficulty in purposefully changing one’s traits when left to one’s own devices. 

News & Information for December ,

Mindfulness linked to acceptance and self-compassion in response to stressful experiences

A study recently published in the journal Emotion provides new insight into the relationship between mindfulness and coping with stress. The findings indicate that accepting stressful experiences is associated with one’s propensity to experience positive emotions. “We were interested in learning more about why mindfulness might be a helpful resource for stress management — especially for first-semester university students undergoing the stressful transition to college life,” said study author Lucy Finkelstein-Fox, a doctoral candidate at the University of Connecticut and member of the Meaning, Spirituality, and Health Lab. “Earlier studies have shown that individuals with high levels of mindfulness demonstrate acceptance, self-compassion, distress tolerance, and flexibility, but we still know very little about how these mindful qualities actually build positive and negative affect in the context of stressful situations.”

Evolutionary Psychology of Intrasexual Competition & Moral Typecasting

Study identifies factors of microbiome composition in endometrial cancer

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic have identified a microbiome signature associated with endometrial cancer, according to a study published in Scientific Reports. The signature is in part driven by postmenopausal status, along with additional known risk factors for endometrial cancer such as obesity and high vaginal pH (>), which together significantly modify the composition of the reproductive tract biome and leads to an increased diversity. Previous studies have demonstrated that healthy vaginal microbiota is most commonly low in diversity and dominated by Lactobacilli species. “Of the 17 taxa we found enriched in (endometrial cancer) patients, 8 were also enriched by postmenopause,” said the researchers. “Because postmenopausal status is a main risk factor for endometrial cancer, this system can be thought of as an ecological succession towards a disease state.”

Study: Owning a dog during childhood may reduce risk of mental health problems

A new study reveals that owning a dog can help children stay healthier. Researchers at Baltimore’s Sheppard Pratt Health System discovered that having a dog during childhood can minimize the risk of mental health problems during adulthood, the New York Times reports. The study found that having a dog in the home as a child reduces a person&#;s chance of having schizophrenia by 24%. More than half of the subjects in the study grew up with canines prior to becoming a teenager. Researchers say that percentage more than doubled for babies who were around dogs. The lead researcher on the study is still working to determine why there’s an apparent link between dogs and schizophrenia.

How to address the mental health crisis in Generation Z

Recent studies have revealed a troubling trend among Generation Z (those born from to ), as rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide in this cohort are markedly higher than in previous generations. For example, a study found that among undergraduate students, “rates of depression, anxiety, … and suicide attempts markedly increased [from to ], with rates doubling over the period in many cases.” These increases have been found for both males and females, though they’re especially pronounced among girls and young women. I find these developments concerning both as a clinical psychologist who specializes in treating anxiety and depression, and as the dad of three Gen Z kids (including two daughters). Some have argued that these trends are not real, but instead reflect this generation’s greater openness about their mental health symptoms. However, there is evidence that these numbers reflect a disturbing reality; for example, it’s hard to argue that the increased rates of suicide attempts and completed suicide are simply a self-reporting bias.

Mindfulness training may lower blood pressure

There is anecdotal evidence that meditation and mindfulness training may be able to reduce high blood pressure and hypertension. However, clinical confirmation of these claims has been scarce until last month, when researchers published a new study in the journal PLOS One. The authors report the results of a Mindfulness-Based Blood Pressure Reduction (MB-BP) program specifically designed to &#;evaluate acceptability, feasibility, and effects on hypothesized proximal self-regulation mechanisms.&#; [&#;] &#;We know enough about hypertension that we can theoretically control it in everybody — yet in about half of all people diagnosed, it is still out of control,&#; according to lead author Eric Loucks, associate professor of epidemiology, behavioral and social sciences, and medicine at Brown University in Providence, RI.

Meditation prevents abnormal heart enlargement and failure

A randomized controlled study recently published in Ethnicity & Disease in their Autumn Hypertension issue found that the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique helps to prevent abnormal enlargement of the heart compared to health education (HE) controls. Also known as left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), it can lead to chronic heart failure and death, and is especially prevalent among African Americans. [&#;] &#;This is a form of heart disease where nondrug treatments are relatively understudied,&#; said Professor Robert Schneider, MD, FACC, first author. &#;Since the physiology of stress contributes to cardiac enlargement, we hypothesized that managing one&#;s mind-body connection with Transcendental Meditation might prevent the disease process.&#;

This type of chocolate may help prevent depression

Newresearch published in the journal Depression & Anxietysuggests that eating dark chocolate could lower the risk of depression. A cross-sectional survey of 13, adults found that after eating dark chocolate, people experienced less depressive symptoms. People who ate dark chocolate in the past 24 hours were 70% less likely to experience depression. Depression symptoms were measured using Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ‐9) scores. People experienced less depression even with a small amount of dark chocolate as low as 12 grams a day (an average-sized chocolate bar is 43 grams). Overall, % reported that they ate chocolate, but only % reporting eating dark chocolate. Dark chocolate was defined as chocolate with at least 45% cocoa.

Religion may be a lifeline for some low-income seniors

Seniors in rental flats who are not religious have a higher risk of visiting the emergency room than those who are religious, a local study has found. It also noted that seniors in rental flats who are employed have a lower risk of going to the emergency room or being hospitalised than those who are not working. The study, which surveyed residents aged 60 and above in public rental housing blocks between December and March , aims to plug a gap when it comes to information on the socio-demographic characteristics of patients who are the most in need. [&#;] Data analysis also showed that those who felt loneliness were more likely to have visited emergency rooms in the previous six months. &#;Perhaps lonely residents in disadvantaged rental flat populations utilise healthcare more frequently because smaller social networks provide less reserves of support to fall back on in the event of illness,&#; the study said.


News & Information for December 27,

Flashback Friday: Dr. Breggin on Medication Madness ()

Milestones in gut microbiome science in

The human microbiome has not only captured the attention of scientists, but also healthcare practitioners and the lay press. [&#;] Most of what we know about the relationship between gut microbes and mental health has been explored in animal studies. In , Valles-Colomer and colleagues strengthened the link between changes in gut microbiota composition and depression and quality of life scores in two large population cohorts. The researchers also curated from literature 56 gut-brain modules related to neuroactive compounds, which represents a leap forward in mental health research. However, scientists still struggle to elucidate the mechanistic underpinnings of gut-brain communication. Writing in Nature, Chu and colleagues have unraveled, in unprecedented detail, mechanisms by which the gut microbiota affects mice fear conditioning.

Mindfulness video game changes areas of the brain associated with attention

A research team at the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the University of California, Irvine, designed a video game to improve mindfulness in middle schoolers and found that when young people played the game, they showed changes in areas of their brains that underlie attention. “Most educational video games are focused on presenting declarative information: various facts about a particular subject, like biology or chemistry,” says Elena Patsenko, a research scientist at the Center for Healthy Minds and lead author on the recently published paper. “Our aim is different. We want to actually change the cognitive or emotional processes — how people think or process information they’re trying to learn.” [&#;] Researchers found that adolescents in the Tenacity group had changes in the connectivity between their left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the left inferior parietal cortex in the brain, which are two areas critical for attention. These changes in the brain were associated with improvements on an attention task in the lab and were found only in the group playing Tenacity. Kids who played Fruit Ninja showed none of these changes.

A series of meta-analytic tests of the efficacy of long-term psychoanalytic psychotherapy

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Sharissa issues free mp3 download