|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 persons 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 ones 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.