Psychology in the News ...

Scientists Surprised to Find No Two Neurons Are Genetically Alike   Scientific American - May 3, 2017
The genetic makeup of any given brain cell differs from all others. That realization may provide clues to a range of psychiatric diseases. The past few decades have seen intensive efforts to find the genetic roots of neurological disorders, from schizophrenia to autism. But the genes singled out so far have provided only sketchy clues. Even the most important genetic risk factors identified for autism, for example, may only account for a few percent of all cases.

In my experience as a therapist, people who suffer from PTSD were genetically predisposed to mental illness before the traumatic event happened.

First molecular genetic evidence of PTSD heritability discovered   Science Daily - April 25, 2017

The report extends previous findings that showed that there is some shared genetic overlap between PTSD and other mental disorders such as schizophrenia. It also finds that genetic risk for PTSD is strongest among women. many people exposed to even extreme traumatic events do not develop PTSD. Why is that? We believe that genetic variation is an important factor contributing to this risk or resilience

Wiring of the 'little brain' linked to multiple forms of mental illness   Medical Express - April 11, 2017

Having a single mental illness like anxiety, depression or schizophrenia is hard enough on its own. But studies consistently show that up to half of people with one mental illness also experience one or more additional forms of mental illness at the same time. The high numbers of patients who suffer from multiple forms of mental illness has many researchers shifting focus away from studying individual disorders and instead hunting for common mechanisms or risk factors that might cause all types of mental disorders. Read more at:

Why Breathing Deeply Helps You Calm Down   Live Science - March 31, 2017

Deep breaths can settle your nerves, and now scientists have discovered the neural pathway in the brain that controls this process. In an experiment on mice, scientists identified a circuit of neurons - a tiny cluster of a mere 350 nerve cells, among millions in the mouse brain - that regulate the connection between breathing and the higher-order brain activity that affects how calmly or worked up the mice behaved. When the scientists removed these cells, they found that the mice still breathed normally, but they were uncharacteristically calm. This discovery may someday lead to therapies to help people who have anxiety, stress and panic attacks

Do Schizophrenia and Autism Share the Same Root?   Scientific American - March 22, 2017

New research suggests the two conditions may be different outcomes of one genetic syndrome. In children with a deletion on chromosome 22, having autism does not boost the risk of developing schizophrenia later in life, according to a new study1. The children in the study have 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, which is linked to a 25-fold increase in the risk of developing a psychotic condition such as schizophrenia. A deletion in the region is also associated with an increased risk of autism. Some researchers have suggested that the relatively high autism prevalence in this population is the result of misdiagnoses of early signs of schizophrenia.

Patients with OCD have difficulty learning when a stimulus is safe   Medical Express - March 6, 2017
People who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) are poorer at learning about the safety of a stimulus than healthy volunteers, which may contribute to their struggles to overcome compulsive behavior. OCD is a disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts and repetitive, irrational behaviors, for example an obsession with cleanliness leading to repetitive hand washing, or a fear that something terrible will happen if they don't check the door dozens of times, making leaving the house extremely difficult.

Fractal edges shown to be key to imagery seen in Rorschach inkblots   Science Daily - February 14, 2017

Researchers have unlocked the mystery of why people have seen so many different images in Rorschach inkblots. The image associations are induced by fractal characteristics at the edges of the blots and depend on the scaling parameters of the patterns, says researcher. Fractals are objects with irregular curves or shapes and are recognizable building blocks of nature. Trees, clouds, rivers, galaxies, lungs and neurons are fractals. The new discovery isn't about improving inkblots for psychological assessments -- their use became controversial and mostly set aside in the last 20 years. It does, however, have implications for Taylor's efforts to design a fractal based retinal implant and for potentially improving materials used for camouflage.

Study reveals what happens when depression, anxiety coincide with minor injury   Medical Express - January 4, 2017

When someone breaks a leg or fractures a rib, injuries considered relatively minor, providers often don't look beyond what's initially required to help that person heal. Research revealed that someone who arrives in the emergency department needing help for a minor injury and who also expresses symptoms of depression and anxiety at that time will likely experience poorer work performance and increased health-related time in bed 12 months out.

Personality traits and psychiatric disorders linked to specific genomic locations   Medical Express - December 8, 2017

Five psychological factors are commonly used to measure individual differences in personality:

Extraversion (versus introversion) reflects talkativeness, assertiveness and a high activity level

Neuroticism (versus emotional stability) reflects negative affect, such as anxiety and depression

Agreeableness (versus antagonism) measures cooperativeness and compassion

Conscientiousness (versus undependability) indicates diligence and self-discipline

Openness to experience (versus being closed to experience) suggests intellectual curiosity and creativity

Scientists find new genetic roots of schizophrenia   Science Daily - October 20, 2017

Using a recently developed technology for analyzing DNA, scientists have found dozens of genes and two major biological pathways that are likely involved in the development of the disorder but had not been uncovered in previous genetic studies of schizophrenia. The work provides important new information about how schizophrenia originates and points the way to more detailed studies -- and possibly better treatments in the future. Schizophrenia is a chronic, disabling mental illness whose symptoms can include hallucinations, delusions and cognitive problems. The illness afflicts about 1 percent of the human population.

Scientists Can Make People Hallucinate Using Flickering Image   Live Science - October 17, 2017
How can we measure the mind? When you ask someone what they're thinking about, what they tell you is not necessarily the truth. This doesn't mean they're lying. It means many environmental, social and personal influences can change what someone tells us. If I put on a white lab coat, suit or t-shirt and ask you a bunch of questions, what I wear will change what you say. This was demonstrated in the famous Milgrim experiments in the 1960s, which showed the power of perceived authority to control others' behavior. People want to be liked, or give a certain impression. This is commonly referred to as impression management and is one of the hardest obstacles to overcome in scientific research. Neuroscientists have made notable advances in measuring the anatomy of the brain and its regions at different scales. But they've made few big advances in measuring the mind, which is what people think, feel and experience. The mind is notoriously difficult to measure; but it needs to be done as it will aid development of new treatments for mental and neurological disorders.

What's really going on in PTSD brains? Experts suggest new theory   Medical Express - October 7, 2017

All experts in the field now agree that PTSD indeed has its roots in very real, physical processes within the brain - and not in some sort of psychological "weakness". But no clear consensus has emerged about what exactly has gone "wrong" in the brain. The bottom line, they say, is that people with PTSD appear to suffer from disrupted context processing. That's a core brain function that allows people and animals to recognize that a particular stimulus may require different responses depending on the context in which it is encountered. It's what allows us to call upon the "right" emotional or physical response to the current encounter.

Do these genes make me lonely? Study finds loneliness is a heritable trait   Medical Express - September 20, 2017

Loneliness is linked to poor physical and mental health, and is an even more accurate predictor of early death than obesity. The heritability of loneliness has been examined before, in twins and other studies of both children and adults. From these, researchers estimated that 37 to 55 percent of loneliness is determined by genetics.The researchers also determined that loneliness tends to be co-inherited with neuroticism (long-term negative emotional state) and a scale of depressive symptoms. Weaker evidence suggested links between heritable loneliness and schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder. In contrast to previous studies, the researchers did not find loneliness to be associated with variations in specific candidate genes, such as those that encode dopamine or oxytocin.

The Science of Boredom   Live Science - September 20, 2017

Though boredom is as familiar a feeling as excitement or fear, science has only begun to understand what makes people bored. Recently, six scientists who emerged after living for a year in isolation on the Mauna Loa volcano as part of the HI-SEAS (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) experiment, which simulated the isolation that future space travelers might experience traveling to and living on Mars, said that boredom was their biggest challenge. Boredom "has been understudied until fairly recently, but it''s worth studying because human experience has consequences for how we interact with each our and our environment.

Is Your 'Self' Just an Illusion?   Live Science - September 8, 2017

Are "you" just an illusion, a mix of experiences and "stuff" in the universe? What is a "self," anyway? What does it mean to be a self? What are the requirements of selfhood? The nature of self is one of philosophy's perennial and persistent questions. Self is easy to describe, yet maddening to decipher. Part philosophy of the mind, part biology of the brain, it combines two elusive ideas: the philosophy of continuity (how things persist through time) and the biopsychology of psychic unity (how the brain makes us feel singular). I see; I hear; I feel. How do separate perceptions bind together into a continuing, coherent whole? How do sentient properties congeal as "me"?

The mind body connection begins at the soul level -> then spirals down to the physical mind where it is processed by the emotional body -> then is played out by the physical body. It's all about one's DNA programming for experience.

New insights into how the mind influences the body   Medical Express - August 17, 2017

Neuroscientists at the University of Pittsburgh have identified the neural networks that connect the cerebral cortex to the adrenal medulla, which is responsible for the body's rapid response in stressful situations. Specifically, the findings shed new light on how stress, depression and other mental states can alter organ function, and show that there is a real anatomical basis for psychosomatic illness. The research also provides a concrete neural substrate that may help explain why meditation and certain exercises such as yoga and Pilates can be so helpful in modulating the body's responses to physical, mental and emotional stress.

Common brain changes found in children with autism, ADHD and OCD   Science Daily - July 27, 2017

A team of scientists has found similarities in brain impairments in children with autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. The study involved brain imaging of white matter in 200 children. Many of the behaviors that contribute to impairment in autism, ADHD, and OCD, such as attention problems or social difficulties, occur across these conditions, and differ in severity from person to person. The researchers found that the brain's white matter structure was associated with a spectrum of behavioral symptoms present across these diagnoses. Children with greater brain impairment also had higher impairments in functioning in daily life, regardless of their diagnosis.

Anxiety, Depression, or Both?   Scientific American - May 22, 2017

Anxiety and depression are both challenging disorders - to make matters worse, they occur together up to 50% of the time. Depression and anxiety are fundamentally different - depression is based in hopelessness and helplessness, while anxiety is steeped in fear of the uncertain. But even though they're different, they overlap in many ways. Here are five big similarities:
#1: Irritability.
#2: Problems sleeping.
#3: Difficulty concentrating.
#4: Restlessness.
#5: No fun.

What Happens in Our Brains When We Hallucinate?   Discovery - March 14, 2017

Voices in your head? Visions of things that aren't there? You don't have to have schizophrenia or take LSD to have a hallucination, and they don't always have to be scary either. It turns out that many everyday high functioning people occasionally do have what technically is a hallucination. Researchers recently found that nearly 1 in 20 of the general population report hearing or seeing things - when fully awake - that others don't. So what is a hallucination? It's a 'false perception' of reality and it can occur with a whole range of senses, but the most common ones are visual and auditory hallucinations. Normally our brain is good at distinguishing between a sound or image that is occurring in the outside world, and one that is just a product of our mind. But occasionally something can go awry. One major theory is that hallucinations are caused when something goes wrong in the relationship between the brain's frontal lobe and the sensory cortex. (View the pictures.)

One reason is to understand and work out their own issues. Another - people with emotional problems find it boring to live with someone who is balanced and peaceful. What they don't realize is the amount of work they put into a dysfunctional relationships is overwhelming to the body, mind, and soul --> burnout.

Disordered Pairs: People More Likely to Find a Mate with a Similar Psychiatric Condition   Scientific American - March 2, 2017
New research provides evidence that partners are more similar in psychiatric status than chance would predict. The idea that 'opposites attract' may seem to hold true often enough, but it is definitely not the whole story: When it comes to choosing a partner, people actually tend to pair up with those similar to them - in qualities ranging from height and weight to education, income and personality.

7 Ways To Make Therapy More Affordable   Huffington Post - January 25, 2017

Depending on where you live and what kind of insurance you have, the price can be upwards of $80 to $200 for one 45- to 60-minute session. But here's the truth: Therapy doesn't have to expensive in order to work. There are multiple options to get the help and treatment you deserve -- and getting that help is crucial.
1. Try sliding scale therapy.
2. Look into university counseling centers.
3. Research free therapy options.
4. Look into participating in research studies.
5. Go to a community-based organization.
6. Try group therapy.
7. Look into an online program.

You Are Not Alone: A Conversation About OCD   Huffington Post - January 25, 2017

Do you hide your worrisome thoughts from others so they don't think poorly of you? Or, do you share them to relieve the intense anxiety you feel and others try to talk you out of them which you know can't work? Do you do things you do compulsively knowing they just relieve anxiety but don't make a lot of sense? Do you try to hide them so no one thinks you're crazy? (You're not.)

Brief Psychotic Breaks Remain a Mystery   Live Science - January 17, 2017

Not all psychotic episodes signal the beginning of a long-term mental health disorder like schizophrenia. In fact, when patients experience one of these short-term breaks with reality, it's not precisely clear how the individuals should be diagnosed. Now, a new study finds there are no significant differences in the prognosis for patients who have four different types of brief psychotic episodes. (Such episodes may involve hallucinations or delusions, or less severe symptoms such as disorientation, disorganized thinking or speech that doesn't make sense.) The new findings, based on a review of research covering 11,133 patients, highlight how little is understood about how psychosis may progress, the researchers said.

Light Therapy Is More Effective Than Prozac In Major Depression   Epoch Times - December 23, 2015

Bright light therapy has a proven track record of success in the treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), commonly referred to as the winter blues. A new study from the University of British Columbia shows that this simple and safe therapy is effective for non-seasonal major depression. In fact, researchers showed light therapy was much more effective than fluoxetine (Prozac).

5 Ways to Create Happier, More Meaningful Days   Huffington Post - November 27, 2015

1. Focus on less and do more.
2. Choose your food wisely.
3. Move more.
4. Sleep.
5. Cultivate relationships.

The search for happiness: Using MRI to find where happiness happens   Science Daily - November 20, 2015
Researchers have mapped out using MRI where happiness emerges in the brain. The study paves the way for measuring happiness objectively - and also provides insights on a neurologically based way of being happy. Exercising, meditating, scouring self-help books... we go out of our way to be happy, but do we really know what happiness is?

9 Sneaky Causes Of Depression   Huffington Post - November 12, 2015
For some people, sub-zero temperatures aren't the only difficult side effect of winter. Approximately 10 million Americans also experience seasonal affective disorder, a depression-related mental health condition that waxes and wanes depending on the time of year. 1. Chronic illness
2. Smoking
3. Excessive social media use
4. Your neighborhood
5. Diet
6. Too much sitting
7. A lack of sleep
8. Brain inflammation
9. Not putting your needs first

Relationship between sympathy, helping others could provide clues to development of altruism   Science Daily - September 29, 2015

Developmental psychologists long have debated whether individuals volunteer and help others because they are sympathetic or whether they are sympathetic because they are prosocial. Now, new research helps clarify some of the confusion, which could lead to better interventions to promote positive behaviors in adolescents and clues as to what makes some individuals altruistic.

10 Things Emotionally-Intelligent People Do Not Do   Huffington Post - September 10, 2015

Emotional intelligence is probably the most powerful yet undervalued trait in our society. We believe in rooting our everyday functions in logic and reason, yet we come to the same conclusions after long periods of contemplation as we do in the blink of an eye. Our leaders sorely overlook the human element of our socio-political issues and I need not cite the divorce rate for you to believe that we're not choosing the right partners (nor do we have the capacity to sustain intimate relationships for long periods of time).
1. They don't assume that the way they think and feel about a situation is the way it is in reality, nor how it will turn out in the end.
2. Their emotional base points are not external.
3. They don't assume to know what it is that will make them truly happy.
4. They don't think that being fearful is a sign they are on the wrong path.
5. They know that happiness is a choice, but they don't feel the need to make it all the time.
6. They don't allow their thoughts to be chosen for them.
7. They recognize that infallible composure is not emotional intelligence.
8. They know that a feeling will not kill them.
9. They don't just become close friends with anyone.
10. They don't confuse a bad feeling for a bad life.

  Stressed at Work? How to Beat Common Traps in the Rat Race   Epoch Times - September 8, 2015

Hunched over, hardly moving for hours on end, hitting the same buttons again and again in the hope of a future reward ... sound familiar? Repeating the same task locks our brains into autopilot and before long we are distracted and bored. Suddenly, we find we have spent several hours on Facebook, checking emails, scanning the news, all to make us feel better and more stimulated, though only for the short term. Your brain is a thinking and learning machine. When you're bored, it's screaming out for something new or challenging to think about - often the very things we choose to put off, such as tackling that 50-page report for your boss, or calling a difficult client.

7 Mental Illness Myths People Still Believe   Huffington Post - September 2, 2015

Mental illness stigma can lead to a multitude of false beliefs -- and it's about time to set the record straight. Negative stereotypes create a lot of misconceptions, which further alienate people in a community that already feels isolated. The many fallacies that surround mental health disorders can make managing them all the more difficult -- after all, research suggests stigma acts as a barrier to treatment. Below are just a few of the myths no one should believe about mental illness.
Myth 1: It's contagious.
Myth 2: Mental illness is an indication of violence.
Myth 3: It's uncommon.
Myth 4: Mental illness is "all in your head."
Myth 5: You can't recover from mental health issues.
Myth 6: Mental illness stems from a bad childhood.
Myth 7: You can't help someone suffering from a mental health disorder.

Overthinking Could Be Driving Creativity in People With Neurotic Disorders   Epoch Times - August 29, 2015

People who suffer from neuroticism - a condition characterized by anxiety, fear and negative thoughts - are extremely tuned in to looking for threats. For that reason, you may expect them to perform well in jobs requiring vigilance: stunt pilots, aviators and bomb diffusing. Yet, the evidence suggests they are actually more suited to creative jobs. Exactly what drives neuroticism and the creativity it is associated with is not known. But researchers have now come up with a theory which suggests that it could be down to the fact that people who score highly on neuroticism tests, meaning they are prone to anxiety or depression, tend to do a lot of thinking - often at the expense of concentrating at the task at hand.

Waiting for pleasure   Science Daily - August 4, 2015

Brain structures involved in delayed gratification identified; implications for range of psychiatric disorders. Researchers have clearly identified, for the first time, the specific parts of the brain involved in decisions that call for delayed gratification. They demonstrated that the hippocampus (associated with memory) and the nucleus accumbens (associated with pleasure) work together in making critical decisions of this type, where time plays a role.

5 Reasons Successful People Seek Therapy   Huffington Post - June 11, 2015

1. Imposter Syndrome
2. The Hidden Reason Behind Their Drive
3. Fear of Losing Everything
4. It's Lonely At the Top
5. Guilt that Stems from Success

Compulsive Skin-Picking And Hair-Pulling Disorders Are More Common Than You'd Think   Huffington Post - June 10, 2015
Engaging in repetitive body-focused behaviors like nail-biting, skin-picking or hair-twirling may mean you are a perfectionist. But how do you know when your habit has gone too far? A staggering 1 in 50 adults, or as much as four percent of the population, suffers from trichotillomania, or the compulsive urge to pull or twist the hair until it breaks, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. While statistics for skin-picking disorder, or dermatillomania, are less widely kept, Laura Lokers, a licensed clinical social worker and cofounder of the Anxiety and OCD Treatment Center of Ann Arbor, Michigan, estimates that between 2 and 5 percent of the population has some sort of body-focused repetitive behavior. To put the number in perspective, autism spectrum disorder affects approximately 1 out of every 68 children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Do You Bite Your Nails? It Might Mean You're A Perfectionist   Huffington Post - March 15, 2015

Are you mindlessly twisting your hair or biting your nails as you read this article? New research from the University of Montreal suggests that compulsive behaviors like these might say more about your personality than you think. People who are generally impatient, or who get bored or frustrated easily, are more likely to engage in repetitive body-focused behaviors such as skin-picking, nail-biting or eyelash-pulling, the researchers found. They are therefore prone to frustration, impatience, and dissatisfaction when they do not reach their goals. They also experience greater levels of boredom. Participants with a history of fidgety, body-focused behaviors reported greater urges to engage in those behaviors when they were feeling stressed and frustrated. But they didn't report feeling those urges while they were relaxing.

To Make Better Decisions, Pretend You're Deciding for Someone Else   Huffington Post - March 4, 2015

Perhaps the very last person you should turn to for advice is yourself, according to a new post from the Association for Psychological Science. We tend to make wiser decisions when thinking about someone else's problems than when thinking about our own issues. Think through your own decisions from a third-person perspective. People who were looking at the situation from the third-person vantage point showed better judgment, considering the issue from multiple perspectives and imagining many potential outcomes, regardless of whether they were imagining themselves or a friend in the infidelity scenario. The best way to figure out what to do next may indeed be to imagine how you'd advise a friend in the same situation.

Curtailing worry reduces key schizophrenia symptom   PhysOrg - March 4, 2015
Delusions of persecution in psychiatric patients can be reduced with just six sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a new clinical trial has found. Using CBT in this way could potentially help to prevent mental illnesses occurring in at-risk people.

Stable or in Flux? How Anxiety Can Botch Decisions   Science Daily - March 4, 2015
When things get unpredictable, people prone to high anxiety may have a harder time reading the environmental cues that could help them avoid a bad outcome. A new study hints at a glitch in the brain’s higher-order decision-making circuitry that could eventually be a target in the treatment of anxiety disorders, which affect some 40 million American adults.

Emoji That Show What It Really Feels Like To Be An Introvert   Huffington Post - February 14, 2015

It can be tough being an introvert and explaining the need to be alone and recharge without seeming annoyed or angry. Harder still? Translating that kind of information into a text message, even to those who know us best. But not anymore. Introji, considered the "emoticons for introverts," has found a way to help introverts express themselves with their very own set of emoji. The collection includes icons of traditional introvert activities like reading and gaming, as well as distress calls that indicate the person's current needs for time or space in a socially acceptable way.

Shyness and introversion are two types of personality characteristics that are very often written off as the same thing by those that don't have to deal with one, the other, or both. Introversion is one of the pairs in the Myers-Briggs personality tests that is given a higher rating if the person recharges their energy by solitary activities such as reading, writing, and reflection. Shyness defines how a person deals with others and unfamiliar situations; those who are shy have a hard time talking to and meeting new people, and are often uncomfortable in new situations. Read more

Shyness and introversion are not the same thing. Shyness is the fear of negative judgment, and introversion is a preference for quiet, minimally stimulating environments. Read more ...

This could be caused by the way he died in another lifetime, or the lifestyle of the men around him in Mexico which can be very violent, or something in the programming/coding of his brain. We used to call it the "Peter Pan Syndrome".

Boy Diagnosed With 'Fear of Growing Up'   Live Science - February 4, 2015

A 14-year-old boy in Mexico had such an intense fear of growing up that he took extreme steps to hide or curb his growth, such as restricting his food intake and distorting his voice, according to a new report of his case. The boy's phobia started when he was about 11 years old. He had learned that nutrients in food would cause him to grow - so he ate less, and lost more than 26 lbs. (about 12 kilograms), according to the report from the health workers who treated him. In addition, he stooped over to hide his height, and distorted his voice so that he spoke in a higher pitch. The boy's mother also treats him as if he were younger - for example, by singing him lullabies and choosing what he wears each day. Although the boy saw a psychologist for a year, the therapy did not help. The researchers there diagnosed the boy with gerascophobia - an excessive fear of aging - a phobia that does not appear to be very common. Just two previous cases of gerascophobia have been reported, and both cases were in adults, according to the report. Phobias often develop from a combination of biological, psychological and environmental factors

Sadness lasts longer than other emotions   Science Daily - October 31, 2014
Why is it that you can feel sad up to 240 times longer than you do feeling ashamed, surprised, irritated or even bored? It's because sadness often goes hand in hand with events of greater impact such as death or accidents. You need more time to mull over and cope with what happened to fully comprehend it, say researchers. This is the first work to provide clear evidence to explain why some emotions last a longer time than others.

Obesity and depression often twin ills, study finds   PhysOrg - October 17, 2014
Depression and obesity tend to go hand in hand, U.S. health officials reported today. The combination was so common that 43 percent of depressed adults were also obese, according to the report. That association was even more prevalent among those taking antidepressants: 55 percent of those patients were also obese.

How Psychologists Officially Handle Spiritual Matters: Are Believers Delusional?   Epoch Times - October 3, 2014
Whether someone is crazy or not can be officially determined by a manual widely used to diagnose mental illness. This psychiatrists’ “Bible” has been the subject of much debate over the years, and long before it was written philosophers pondered the how to differentiate truth from delusion. A psychologist who believes in the spiritual may be less likely to diagnose such people as mentally ill. A strict materialist, however, may say these experiences are hallucinations and signs of severe mental illness.

Teens: What Time of Day Do They Feel ...   Epoch Times - September 23, 2014

Graphic can be changed for other results...
Peoples’ woes seem to vary by day of the week, too. Wednesdays are for anxiety, while suicidal thoughts peak on Sundays. Geographically, New England seems to be the hub of anxiety, while depression is more evenly distributed throughout the country.

Scientists discover 'dimmer switch' for mood disorders   Science Daily - September 19, 2014
Researchers have identified a control mechanism for an area of the brain that processes sensory and emotive information that humans experience as "disappointment." The discovery may provide be a neurochemical antidote for feeling let-down. Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified a control mechanism for an area of the brain that processes sensory and emotive information that humans experience as "disappointment." The idea that some people see the world as a glass half empty has a chemical basis in the brain.

Schizophrenia not a single disease but multiple genetically distinct disorders   PhysOrg - September 15, 2014

New research shows that schizophrenia isn't a single disease but a group of eight genetically distinct disorders, each with its own set of symptoms. The finding could be a first step toward improved diagnosis and treatment for the debilitating psychiatric illness. About 80 percent of the risk for schizophrenia is known to be inherited, but scientists have struggled to identify specific genes for the condition. Now, in a novel approach analyzing genetic influences on more than 4,000 people with schizophrenia, the research team has identified distinct gene clusters that contribute to eight different classes of schizophrenia.

  One suicide every 40 seconds: World Health Organization report   CNN - September 7, 2014
Every 40 seconds someone in the world takes their own life, a global tally of more than 800,000 suicides a year, according to a landmark United Nations report on the subject. The research found that suicide killed more people each year than conflicts and natural catastrophes, accounting for more than half of the world's 1.5 million violent deaths annually, World Health Organization staff told reporters at its presentation in Geneva.

Our genes determine the traces that stress leaves behind on our brains   PhysOrg - August 18, 2014

Not every individual reacts in the same way to life events that produce the same degree of stress. Some grow as a result of the crisis, whereas others break down and fall ill, for example with depression. The outcome is determined by a complex interaction between depression gene versions and environmental factors. There are interactions between stressful life events and certain risk gene variants that subsequently change the volume of the hippocampus forever. The hippocampus is a switching station in the processing of emotions and acts like a central interface when dealing with stress.

New Schizophrenia Gene Links Uncovered   Live Science - July 22, 2014

A new genetic analysis of people with schizophrenia - and the largest study investigating the genetic basis of any psychiatric disorder to date - provides hints that the disease may sometimes be connected with infections as some researchers have long suggested. These findings could one day lead to new therapies for people with schizophrenia, scientists said. There have been few innovative drug treatments for schizophrenia over the last 60 years.

'Eighty new genes linked to schizophrenia'   BBC - July 22, 2014

Scientists have uncovered 80 previously unknown genes which may put people at risk of developing schizophrenia. The team says the world's largest genetic study of the disease shows it can have biological causes - putting it on a par with other medical conditions. The international group believes this could be a launch pad for new therapies and that holistic approaches to the illness must continue. Scientists have debated the relative role genes play in schizophrenia - a condition which affects more than 24 million people worldwide - for many years. Now a global consortium across 35 countries has examined the genetic make-up of more than 37,000 people with the condition, comparing them with some 110,000 people without the disease.

Brain circuits involved in emotion discovered by neuroscientists   Science Daily - April 24, 2014

A brain pathway that underlies the emotional behaviors critical for survival have been discovered by neuroscientists. The team has identified a chain of neural connections which links central survival circuits to the spinal cord, causing the body to freeze when experiencing fear. Understanding how these central neural pathways work is a fundamental step towards developing effective treatments for emotional disorders such as anxiety, panic attacks and phobias. Understanding how these central neural pathways work is a fundamental step towards developing effective treatments for emotional disorders such as anxiety, panic attacks and phobias.

Neuroscientists determine how treatment for anxiety disorders silences fear neurons   PhysOrg - November 1, 2013
Excessive fear can develop after a traumatic experience, leading to anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder and phobias. During exposure therapy, an effective and common treatment for anxiety disorders, the patient confronts a fear or memory of a traumatic event in a safe environment, which leads to a gradual loss of fear.

What Is OCD?   Live Science - October 30, 2013

Obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD, is a mental disorder characterized by recurrent, persistent thoughts (obsessions) and ritualistic behaviors (compulsions) that interfere with a person's daily life and relationships, according to the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition" (DSM-5). People with OCD often realize their compulsive behavior is irrational, but they feel powerless to stop, since that only increases their level of anxiety. The International OCD Foundation estimates that about 1 in 100 adults in the United States - and 1 in 200 children - has OCD. The condition often appears first during childhood or the teen years, and it tends to occur in men and women in roughly equal numbers.

Virtue rewarded: Helping others at work makes people happier   PhysOrg - July 30, 2013
Altruists in the workplace are more likely to help fellow employees, be more committed to their work and be less likely to quit. These workplace altruists enjoy a pretty important benefit themselves - they are happier than their fellow employees.

How to learn successfully even under stress   PhysOrg - July 30, 2013
Whenever we have to acquire new knowledge under stress, the brain deploys unconscious rather than conscious learning processes. Neuroscientists at the Ruhr-Universitat Bochum have discovered that this switch from conscious to unconscious learning systems is triggered by the intact function of mineralocorticoid receptors. These receptors are activated by hormones released in response to stress by the adrenal cortex.

Stress early in life leads to adulthood anxiety and preference for 'comfort foods'   PhysOrg - July 30, 2013
Research to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB), the foremost society for research into all aspects of eating and drinking behavior, suggests that exposure to stress in the first few days of life increases stress responses, anxiety and the consumption of palatable "comfort" foods in adulthood.

Psychotherapy via the Internet as good as if not better than face-to-face consultations   PhysOrg - July 30, 2013
Does psychotherapy via the Internet work? For the first time, clinical researchers from the University of Zurich have studied whether online psychotherapy and conventional face-to-face therapy are equally effective in experiments. Based on earlier studies, the Zurich team assumed that the two forms of therapy were on a par. Not only was their theory confirmed, the results for online therapy even exceeded their expectations.

Psychopathic criminals have empathy switch   BBC - July 25, 2013
Psychopaths do not lack empathy, rather they can switch it on at will, according to new research. Placed in a brain scanner, psychopathic criminals watched videos of one person hurting another and were asked to empathize with the individual in pain. Only when asked to imagine how the pain receiver felt did the area of the brain related to pain light up.

Compulsive No More: Clues to What Causes Compulsive Behavior Could Improve OCD Treatments   Science Daily - June 6, 2013
By activating a brain circuit that controls compulsive behavior, MIT neuroscientists have shown that they can block a compulsive behavior in mice -- a result that could help researchers develop new treatments for diseases such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Tourette's syndrome. About 1 percent of U.S. adults suffer from OCD, and patients usually receive antianxiety drugs or antidepressants, behavioral therapy, or a combination of therapy and medication. For those who do not respond to those treatments, a new alternative is deep brain stimulation, which delivers electrical impulses via a pacemaker implanted in the brain.

Changes in brain structure found after childhood abuse   PhysOrg - June 3, 2013

Different forms of childhood abuse increase the risk for mental illness as well as sexual dysfunction in adulthood, but little has been known about how that happens. Sexually abused and emotionally mistreated children exhibit specific and differential changes in the architecture of their brain that reflect the nature of the mistreatment. The results showed a correlation between specific forms of maltreatment and thinning of the cortex in precisely the regions of the brain that are involved in the perception or processing of the type of abuse. Specifically, the somatosensory cortex in the area in which the female genitals are represented was significantly thinner in women who were victims of sexual abuse in their childhood. Similarly, victims of emotional mistreatment were found to have a reduction of the thickness of the cerebral cortex in specific areas associated with self-awareness, self-evaluation and emotional regulation.

  Download Your Memories; Retrieve Them Later   Discovery - June 3, 2013

Could human memories be uploaded and stored -- just like data -- in a computer? Scientists say not now, but in the coming decades it's likely we'll be able to store our memories in a way that allows us to retrieve them later. Long the stuff of science fiction novels, this kind of merger between computer technology and the human brain is being pushed by new findings in neuroscience, as well as advances in computer science and artificial intelligence.

Clear link between perceived stress and an increased incidence of psychosomatic symptoms   PhysOrg - June 3, 2013
The latest study within the project, which focuses primarily on stress linked to psychosomatic symptoms, showed that one in five middle-aged women had experienced constant or frequent stress during the last five years. The experience of stress was highest within the 40 to 60 age range, and those women who were stressed were more often single and/or smokers. Among those women who reported stress, 40 percent had psychosomatic symptoms in the form of aches and pain in their muscles and joints, 28 percent suffered from headaches or migraines, and the same proportion reported gastrointestinal complaints.

Normal or Not? New Psychiatric Manual Stirs Controversy   Live Science - May 20, 2013

With the release of the latest edition of the mental health manual, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), LiveScience takes a close look at some of the disorders it defines. This 10-part series asks the fundamental question: What is normal, and what is not? As of May 22, many mental disorders will never be the same. The full nature of the changes - some quite controversial - will become apparent with the publication of the latest edition of the mental health manual that classifies these disorders. This guidebook, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), is an influential document. By setting forth the criteria used to diagnose disorders, it draws the line between what is normal and what is not. This diagnostic line can have many implications for people's lives; for instance, a diagnosis based on its criteria can determine whether or not someone qualifies for special education services or disability benefits.

US mental health 'bible' DSM-5 updated   BBC - May 20, 2013
An update to one of the most important manuals in mental health - known as the bible of psychiatry - has been unveiled. Controversy and criticism has surrounded work on the fifth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Critics say the rulebook turns normal behavior, like grief or childhood temper tantrums, into mental illness. It is used mainly in the US, but is influential around the world.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders   Wikipedia
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association provides a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders. The DSM is used in the United States and to various degrees around the world. It is used or relied upon by clinicians, researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and policy makers. The current version is the DSM-IV-TR (fourth edition, text revision). The current DSM is organized into a five-part axial system. The first axis incorporates clinical disorders. The second axis covers personality disorders and intellectual disabilities. The remaining axes cover medical, psychosocial, environmental, and childhood factors functionally necessary to provide diagnostic criteria for health care assessments.

Emotional strategy may influence anxiety   PhysOrg - May 13, 2013
When trouble approaches, what do you do? Run for the hills? Hide? Pretend it isn't there? Or do you focus on the promise of rain in those looming dark clouds? New research suggests that the way you regulate your emotions, in bad times and in good, can influence whether - or how much - you suffer from anxiety.

Brain System for Emotional Self-Control Discovered   Science Daily - May 9, 2013
Different brain areas are activated when we choose to suppress an emotion, compared to when we are instructed to inhibit an emotion. In this study, published in Brain Structure and Function, the researchers scanned the brains of healthy participants and found that key brain systems were activated when choosing for oneself to suppress an emotion. They had previously linked this brain area to deciding to inhibit movement. This result shows that emotional self-control involves a quite different brain system from simply being told how to respond emotionally

Connection between faulty neural activation and schizophrenia revealed   PhysOrg - May 2, 2013
By studying what happens in the normal brain when neurons fire, Australian scientists have been able to identify a finely and dynamically regulated process. They also describe how dysfunction of this process is associated with schizophrenia.

Increased brain activity predicts future onset of substance use   PhysOrg - April 18, 2013
Do people get caught in the cycle of overeating and drug addiction because their brain reward centers are over-active causing them to experience greater cravings for food or drugs? In a unique prospective study Oregon Research Institute (ORI) senior scientist Eric Stice, Ph.D., and colleagues tested this theory, called the reward surfeit model. The results indicated that elevated responsivity of reward regions in the brain increased the risk for future substance use, which has never been tested before prospectively with humans. Paradoxically, results also provide evidence that even a limited history of substance use was related to less responsivity in the reward circuitry, as has been suggested by experiments with animals.

The harms of harsh discipline are softened by a loving mother   PhysOrg - April 18, 2013
The use of harsh discipline of unwanted behavior in children has long been controversial. Whether verbal (insults, disparaging remarks, threats) or physical (slapping/spanking), harsh discipline at all stages of childhood carries a large risk of manifesting antisocial 'externalizing behaviors' in the child, including aggression, delinquency or hyperactivity.

  Reframing stress: Stage fright can be your friend   PhysOrg - April 9, 2013
Fear of public speaking tops death and spiders as the nation's number one phobia. But new research shows that learning to rethink the way we view our shaky hands, pounding heart, and sweaty palms can help people perform better both mentally and physically.

Success in patients with major depression: For the first time, physicians stimulated patients' medial forebrain bundles   PhysOrg - April 9, 2013
Researchers from the Bonn University Hospital implanted pacemaker electrodes into the medial forebrain bundle in the brains of patients suffering from major depression with amazing results: In six out of seven patients, symptoms improved both considerably and rapidly. The method of Deep Brain Stimulation had already been tested on various structures within the brain, but with clearly lesser effect.

Google searches about mental illness follow seasonal patterns   PhysOrg - April 9, 2013
Monitoring population mental illness trends has been an historic challenge for scientists and clinicians alike. Typically, telephone surveys are used to try to glimpse inside the minds of respondents, but this approach is limited because respondents may be reluctant to honestly discuss their mental health. This approach also has high material costs. As a result, investigators have not had the data they need.

Five psychiatric disorders 'linked'   BBC - March 1, 2013
Autism, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and schizophrenia all share several genetic risk factors, according to a major study. Versions of four genes increased the odds of all five disorders. Researchers hope to move the psychiatry away from describing symptoms towards fundamentally understanding what is going wrong in the brain.

Power helps you live the good life by bringing you closer to your true self   PhysOrg - January 29, 2013
How does being in a position of power at work, with friends, or in a romantic relationship influence well-being? While we might like to believe the stereotype that power leads to unhappiness or loneliness, new research indicates that this stereotype is largely untrue: Being in a position of power may actually make people happier. People who feel powerful in any context tend to be more content.

Even the brains of people with anxiety states can get used to fear   PhysOrg - January 29, 2013
Fear is a protective function against possible dangers that is designed to save our lives. Where there are problems with this fear mechanism, its positive effects are cancelled out: patients who have a social phobia become afraid of perfectly normal, everyday social situations because they are worried about behaving inappropriately or being thought of as stupid by other people.

'Moral realism' may lead to better moral behavior   PhysOrg - January 29, 2013
Getting people to think about morality as a matter of objective facts rather than subjective preferences may lead to improved moral behavior. In two experiments, one conducted in-person and the other online, participants were primed to consider a belief in either moral realism (the notion that morals are like facts) or moral antirealism (the belief that morals reflect people's preferences) during a solicitation for a charitable donation. In both experiments, those primed with moral realism pledged to give more money to the charity than those primed with antirealism or those not primed at all.

Evidence mounts for role of mutated genes in development of schizophrenia   PhysOrg - January 22, 2013
Johns Hopkins researchers have identified a rare gene mutation in a single family with a high rate of schizophrenia, adding to evidence that abnormal genes play a role in the development of the disease.

Research may explain why some people with schizophrenia do not respond to treatment   PhysOrg - November 29, 2012
Schizophrenia is known to be associated with an overactive dopamine system, meaning that the brain processes abnormally high levels of dopamine. Traditional dopamine-blocking anti-psychotic medication attempts to normalise this process. However, approximately one third of patients with schizophrenia do not respond to this treatment, and until now, no study has examined whether dopamine abnormality is present in patients resistant to antipsychotic treatment.

How Depression Shrinks the Brain   Live Science - August 13, 2012
Certain brain regions in people with major depression are smaller and less dense than those of their healthy counterparts. Now, researchers have traced the genetic reasons for this shrinkage. A series of genes linked to the function of synapses, or the gaps between brain cells crucial for cell-to-cell communication, can be controlled by a single genetic "switch" that appears to be overproduced in the brains of people with depression, a new study finds.

Zebrafish study isolates gene related to autism, schizophrenia and obesity   PhysOrg - May 17, 2012
What can a fish tell us about human brain development? Researchers at Duke University Medical Center transplanted a set of human genes into a zebrafish and then used it to identify genes responsible for head size at birth. Head size is a feature of major neurological disorders, such as schizophrenia.

Migraines Linked to Depression in Women   Live Science - February 22, 2012
Women who have had migraine headaches are more likely than other women to develop depression, according to a new finding based on 14 years of health data. The findings are to be presented today (Feb. 22) in New Orleans at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology. "This study confirms it: Having migraines increases your risk of depression, which we've suspected for many years," said Dr. Timothy A. Collins, a Duke University Medical Center neurologist who was not involved with the research. Collins specializes in headache treatment. Researchers looked at more than 36,000 women enrolled in the Women's Health Study, and found that after 14 years, depression had developed among those who suffered from migraines at a higher rate than among those who didn't get the throbbing headaches.

Taking another look at the roots of social psychology   PhysOrg - January 17, 2012
Psychology textbooks have made the same historical mistake over and over. Now the inaccuracy is pointed out in a new article published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Scientists: They are surprisingly normal   PhysOrg - January 17, 2012
A multi-media production with a musical narrative set in the day room of a psychiatric hospital, Inside a Quiet Mind brought together Cambridge Neuroscientists and mental health service users to perform side by side, in this way breaking conventional barriers that exist between the two groups.

Women soldiers see more combat than in prior eras, have same PTSD rate as men, study says   PhysOrg - January 17, 2012
Women who served in the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan were involved in combat at significantly higher rates than in previous conflicts, and screened positive for post-traumatic stress disorder at the same rate as men.

Psychopaths' brains show differences in structure and function   PhysOrg - November 25, 2011
Images of prisoners' brains show important differences between those who are diagnosed as psychopaths and those who aren't.

Study: Many Europeans have mental disorders   PhysOrg - September 6, 2011
Some 38 percent of Europeans, or 175 million people, suffer from mental illness or neurological disorders on a broad spectrum ranging from anxiety to dementia, a new study published Tuesday says. Most are not being treated, though some experts said many may not need psychiatric help.

Half of US Adults Due for Mental Illness, Study Says   Live Science - September 2, 2011
Half of the adults in the United States will develop a mental illness during their lifetime, a new report says. The most common are depression and anxiety. About 17 percent of adults report suffering depression at some point, and 11 to 12 percent report an anxiety disorder, according to the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the first compilation of data from several national surveys and information systems. The report said mental illnesses are associated with numerous other chronic health disorders, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, and that treating mental illnesses can reduce their effects.

Children of depressed mothers have a different brain   PhysOrg - August 17, 2011
Scientists worked with ten year old children whose mothers exhibited symptoms of depression throughout their lives, and discovered that the children's amygdala, a part of the brain linked to emotional responses, was enlarged. Similar changes, but of greater magnitude, have been found in the brains of adoptees initially raised in orphanages. Personalized attention to children's needs may be the key factor.

Addiction Now Defined As Brain Disorder, Not Behavior Problem   Live Science - August 15, 2011
Addiction is a chronic brain disorder and not simply a behavior problem involving alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex, experts contend in a new definition of addiction, one that is not solely related to problematic substance abuse. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) just released this new definition of addiction after a four-year process involving more than 80 experts.

Time and numbers mix together in the brain   PhysOrg - July 19, 2011
Clocks tell time in numbers -- and so do our minds, according to a new study which will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. In two experiments, scientists found that people associate small numbers with short time intervals and large numbers with longer intervals -- suggesting that these two systems are linked in the brain.

Happiness has a dark side   PhysOrg - May 17, 2011
It seems like everyone wants to be happier and the pursuit of happiness is one of the foundations of American life. But even happiness can have a dark side, according to the authors of a new review article published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. They say that happiness shouldn't be thought of as a universally good thing, and outline four ways in which this is the case. Indeed, not all types and degrees of happiness are equally good, and even pursuing happiness can make people feel worse.

Researchers identify DNA region linked to depression   PhysOrg - May 17, 2011
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and King's College London have independently identified DNA on chromosome 3 that appears to be related to depression.

Think it's easy to be macho? Psychologists show how 'precarious' manhood is ...   PhysOrg - May 2, 2011
difficult to earn and easy to lose. And when it's threatened, men see aggression as a good way to hold onto it. These are the conclusions of a new article by University of South Florida psychologists Jennifer K. Bosson and Joseph A. Vandello. The paper is published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Clearing the Mind: How the Brain Cuts the Clutter   Live Science - April 14, 2011
Newly discovered neurons in the front of the brain act as the bouncers at the doors of the senses, letting in only the most important of the trillions of signals our bodies receive. Problems with these neurons could be the source of some symptoms of diseases like attention deficit disorder and schizophrenia.

Claustrophobics Have Distorted Personal Space   Live Science - April 14, 2011
Everyone has their own "personal space" - the distance or boundary an individual needs to define their own comfort zone. New research suggests those who project their personal space too far beyond their bodies - beyond the norm of arm's reach - are more likely to experience claustrophobic fear. The study is one of the first to focus on the perceptual mechanisms of claustrophobic fear. The theory is that individuals with claustrophobic fear have problems with spatial perception.

Schizophrenic Brain Cells Created in Lab   Live Science - April 14, 2011
Skin cells taken from four individuals with schizophrenia have been turned into brain cells, or neurons, and grown in lab dishes, the first time a complex mental disorder has been examined using living brain cells.

Scientists discover anti-anxiety circuit in brain region considered the seat of fear   PhysOrg - March 10, 2011
Stimulation of a distinct brain circuit that lies within a brain structure typically associated with fearfulness produces the opposite effect: Its activity, instead of triggering or increasing anxiety, counters it.

The secrets behind stress-induced illness   PhysOrg - December 22, 2010
Both humans and animals have different reactions to stress. Ongoing exposure to stress causes some individuals to show symptoms of disease, while others are resilient and do not become ill. For a long time, the reasons behind these different reactions have been unclear. Now, scientists working with mice at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry have identified the molecular composition of the AMPA receptor, a common binding site in the central nervous system, as a possible cause of the differences. The neurotransmitter glutamate, which is responsible for the mediation of nerve impulses, binds to this receptor. In future, this discovery may help to predict individual risk for stress-related diseases.

  What makes a face look alive? Study says it's in the eyes   PhysOrg - December 21, 2010
The face of a doll is clearly not human; the face of a human clearly is. Telling the difference allows us to pay attention to faces that belong to living things, which are capable of interacting with us. But where is the line at which a face appears to be alive? A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that a face has to be quite similar to a human face in order to appear alive, and that the cues are mainly in the eyes.

Diet Linked to Mental Illness, Mouse Study Suggests   Live Science - December 15, 2010
Emerging research on mice suggests that changes in diet can both reduce and/or trigger mental illness. Prior studies have found diet linked to reduction of abnormal behaviors in mentally ill people or animals. Now, a Purdue University study shows that diet might also trigger the onset of mental illness in the first place. Joseph Garner, an associate professor of animal sciences, fed mice a diet high in sugar and tryptophan that was expected to reduce abnormal hair-pulling. Instead, mice that were already ill worsened their hair-pulling behaviors or started a new self-injurious scratching behavior, and the seemingly healthy mice developed the same abnormal behaviors.

Unlocking the secrets of our compulsions   PhysOrg - December 8, 2010
Researchers have shed new light on dopamine's role in the brain's reward system, which could provide insight into impulse control problems associated with addiction and a number of psychiatric disorders. "We were able to answer the longstanding question, 'What role does dopamine play in reward learning?'"

Schizophrenia could be revealed by distinctive sleep pattern   PhysOrg - November 24, 2010
When people with schizophrenia sleep, their brain waves show a distinctive pattern that may someday lead to one of the first biological markers for this devastating mental illness.

One in five Americans had mental illness last year: survey   PhysOrg - November 20, 2010
Nearly one in five Americans, or 45 million adults, experienced some form of mental illness last year, according to a major US government survey published on Friday. The 18-25 age group reported the most mental illness, and more women than men were afflicted, said Peter Delany, a doctor who heads behavioral research at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Researchers find key genetic trigger of depression   PhysOrg - October 18, 2010
Scientists have had a difficult time pinning down the cause of depression, which afflicts almost 17 percent of Americans in any given year and carries an annual economic burden of $100 billion. Symptoms of depression vary widely among individuals. Most now believe that multiple physiological processes are involved in major depressive disorder.

Stress can control our genes   PhysOrg - September 24, 2010
Stress has become one of the major disease states in the developed world. But what is stress? It depends on from where you look. You may experience stress as something that affects your entire body and mind, the causes of which are plentiful. But if we zoom in on the building bricks of the body, our cells, stress and its causes are defined somewhat differently. Stress can arise at the cellular level after exposure to pollution, tobacco smoke, bacterial toxins etc, where stressed cells have to react to survive and maintain their normal function. In worst case scenario, cellular stress can lead to development of disease.

Freud Was (Half) Right About Incest   Live Science - September 17, 2010
In a new study, people were more attracted to faces that resembled their own or that were preceded by a subliminal image of their opposite sex parent. But rather than suggesting we all secretly want to have sex with our family members, the results instead point to the power of familiarity in shaping who we find attractive. They also cast doubt on the idea that people have an innate repulsion toward incest. However, not all researchers are convinced the new results have such far-reaching implications.

The neural basis of the depressive self   PhysOrg - August 31, 2010
Depression is actually defined by specific clinical symptoms such as sadness, difficulty to experience pleasure, sleep problems etc., present for at least two weeks, with impairment of psychosocial functioning. These symptoms guide the physician to make a diagnosis and to select antidepressant treatment such as drugs or psychotherapy.

Freeze or run? Not that simple: Scientists discover neural switch that controls fear   PhysOrg - August 25, 2010
Fear can make you run, it can make you fight, and it can glue you to the spot. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Monterotondo, Italy and GlaxoSmithKline in Verona, Italy, have identified not only the part of the brain but the specific type of neurons that determine how mice react to a frightening stimulus. In a study published today in Neuron, they combined pharmaceutical and genetic approaches with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in mice. Their findings show that deciding whether or not to freeze to fear is a more complex task for our brains than we realized.

Psychology: Abraham Maslow's pyramid gets a much needed renovation   PhysOrg - August 19, 2010

Maslow's pyramid describes human motivations from the most basic to the most advanced. But Maslow's time tested pyramid, first proposed in the 1940s, had begun to look a bit weathered and outdated.

How Different Cultures View Work   Live Science - August 11, 2010
As companies expand worldwide, firms learn that they must develop a managerial style that can fit a variety of cultures. This means corporations should not take a "one size fits all" approach to their leadership style. A new article in a special section on Culture and Psychology in Perspectives on Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, explains that people in different cultures think about work in different ways. Being aware of the cultural environment that their coworkers come from may help people work together better.

Humans subconsciously mimic other accents - August 7, 2010
People who interact with a person with a different accent subconsciously mimic their twang because they want to empathise with their conversation partner, psychologists claim.

Thinking About God Calms Believers, Stresses Atheists   Live Science - August 6, 2010
Researchers have determined that thinking about God can help relieve anxiety associated with making mistakes. However, the finding only holds for people who believe in a God. The researchers measured brain waves for a particular kind of distress response while participants made mistakes on a test. Those who had been prepared with religious thoughts had a less prominent response to mistakes than those who hadn't. Eighty-five percent of the world has some sort of religious beliefs.

Depressed People Really Do See a Gray World   Live Science - July 20, 2010
The world really does look gray to depressed people, at least on a subconscious level, new research suggests. Researchers at the University of Freiburg in Germany had previously shown that people with depression have difficulty detecting black-and-white contrast differences. But the scientists had used a somewhat subjective measure - psychophysical tests - and others in the field had suggested perhaps depressed individuals had a harder time holding their attention and that explained the results.

Why does everything look gray when you feel blue?   PhysOrg - July 20, 2010
Regardless of culture, language, era, or individual artist, the arts consistently depict depression using darkness. Scientific findings now lend empirical support to this representation of depression that everything looks gray when you feel blue.

People Who Suppress Anger Become Violent When Drunk   Live Science - June 29, 2010
Getting drunk increases the risk for violent behavior, but only for people who have a strong tendency to suppress feelings of anger when sober, a new Scandinavian study suggests. While previous studies have found a link between drinking and aggressive or violent actions, many of these were either performed in a laboratory, which does not necessarily reflect what real-world drunkenness, or based on surveys from a single time period. Studies carried out over a longer time provide a better clue as to whether drinking actually causes violence, or the behavior is instead due to other factors, such as personality traits.

Personality shows up in brain structure   CNN - June 22, 2010
The researchers found evidence in the brain for four of the "Big Five personality traits": extroversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. They looked at the volumes of various brain regions to see how greater or smaller volumes might be connected to personality traits. But they did not find clear associations for the fifth trait: openness/intellect.

Brain Signs of Schizophrenia Found in Babies   Science Daily - June 22, 2010
Schizophrenia is a debilitating mental disorder affecting one in 100 people worldwide. Most cases aren't detected until a person starts experiencing symptoms like delusions and hallucinations as a teenager or adult. By that time, the disease has often progressed so far that it can be difficult to treat. In a paper published recently online by the American Journal of Psychiatry, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Columbia University provide the first evidence that brain abnormalities associated with schizophrenia risk are detectable in babies only a few weeks old.

Depression Leads to Weight Gain, Study Confirms   Live Science - June 11, 2010
A new study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) confirms the relationship between depression and abdominal obesity, which has been linked to an increased risk for cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Will we succeed? The science of self-motivation   PhysOrg - May 28, 2010
Can you help you? Recent research by University of Illinois Professor Dolores Albarracin and Visiting Assistant Professor Ibrahim Senay, along with Kenji Noguchi, Assistant Professor at Southern Mississippi University, has shown that those who ask themselves whether they will perform a task generally do better than those who tell themselves that they will.

10 life lessons you should unlearn - May 5, 2010
In the past 10 years, I've realized that our culture is rife with ideas that actually inhibit joy. Here are some of the things I'm most grateful to have unlearned: 1. Problems are bad

5 Minutes with Nature Can Boost Mental Health   Live Science - May 2, 2010
Just 5 minutes doing something in a park, in the woods or even in your backyard can boost mental health, a new study finds. Many studies have shown that spending active time in the great outdoors is good for the mind. Humans have a deep-seated need for contact with nature, which researchers theorize provides relaxing down time for a brain that is otherwise overtaxed by modern pressures.

Mirror Neurons Allow Us to Understand Each Other   Live Science - April 18, 2010
We can understand the actions of others because of mirror neurons cells that are located in the movement and memory sections of our brains and which help us interpret the actions of others, scientists have long suspected. Now they have evidence. Mirroring is believed to be the way in which the brain automatically interprets the actions, intentions and emotions of other people. Mirror neurons, the cells in the brain that activate when we perform a particular action or watch someone else perform that same action, were up until recently only a theory. Scientists knew that they existed deep in our minds and were responsible for making us empathize with others, but had no hard proof to show for it - until now.

Top 10 Controversial Psychiatric Disorders   Live Science - April 18, 2010

ADHD linked to interaction of genetics and psychology   PhysOrg - April 17, 2010
ADHD may be caused by alterations in the serotonin neurotransmission system combined with a tendency to experience psychosocial distress. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Behavioral and Brain Functions found that ADHD behaviors in children and adolescents were associated with interactions between low and high serotonin activity and self-blame in relation to inter-parental conflict.

Why Women Stay in Abusive Relationships   Live Science - April 14, 2010
A new study provides insights into the behavior of women entrenched in an abusive relationship with their male partner. Researchers discovered that many who live with chronic psychological abuse still see certain positive traits in their abusers - such as dependability and being affectionate - which may partly explain why they stay.

Scientists find gene linked to schizophrenia   PhysOrg - April 12, 2010
An international study led by Universite de Montreal scientists suggests that gene mutations may predispose some individuals to schizophrenia and provides new clues about the causes of this ambiguous disorder. Published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the findings demonstrate that new mutations in the SHANK3 gene are found in schizophrenic patients.

Baby Boomers ages 50-64 Beset with Disabilities   Live Science - April 8, 2010
The number of middle-aged Americans with certain mobility-related disabilities, such as trouble climbing stairs, is on the rise, according to a new study. This upward trend for baby boomers contrasts with a decline in disabilities found for people 65 and over. The study is based on data from the National Health Interview Survey, conducted annually from 1997 to 2007 and including up to 15,000 individuals each year. The results show that more than 40 percent of people aged 50 to 64 reported having problems with at least one of nine physical functions, and many reported difficulty with more than one.

Teenagers programmed to take risks   PhysOrg - March 25, 2010
Teenagers binge drink, take drugs and have unsafe sex because they are programmed to take risks, new research shows.

Emotions Key to Judging Others: New Piece to Puzzle of How Human Brain Constructs Morality from Study of Harmful Intent   Science Daily - March 25, 2010
A new study from MIT neuroscientists suggests that our ability to respond appropriately to intended harms -- that is, with outrage toward the perpetrator -- is seated in a brain region associated with regulating emotions. Patients with damage to this brain area, known as the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPC), are unable to conjure a normal emotional response to hypothetical situations in which a person tries, but fails, to kill another person. Therefore, they judge the situation based only on the outcome, and do not hold the attempted murderer morally responsible.

The little blue pills that sent Abraham Lincoln into a rage - March 23, 2010
The Blue Mass pills taken as antidepressants by Abraham Lincoln contained dangerously high levels of mercury likely to have caused his notoriously wild temper, scientists have found.

Playing on our instincts: Psychology professor says 'supernormal stimuli' drive many unnatural urges   PhysOrg - March 19, 2010
Researchers have long known that lab animals' behavior can be manipulated by artificially stimulating their natural instincts. Over-stimulating animals can provoke such extreme responses that they end up preferring artificial objects to the natural ones for which the instincts were designed.

Why We 'Play Nice' With Strangers   Live Science - March 19, 2010
In large, industrialized societies, people are surprisingly fair and trusting when it comes to dealing with strangers - shoplifters and pick-pocketers are a minority rather than the norm. But how did we come to play nice with unfamiliar individuals? After all, much of our ancestral history was spent in small, hunter-gather communities, where everyone knew each other. This pro-social behavior results from a change in social norms that allowed us to trust strangers, a new study suggests. That change is likely linked to a rise in markets where goods are exchanged for money, as well as increased participation in major world religions.

Psychopaths' brains wired to seek rewards, no matter the consequences   PhysOrg - March 15, 2010
The brains of psychopaths appear to be wired to keep seeking a reward at any cost, new research from Vanderbilt University finds. The research uncovers the role of the brain's reward system in psychopathy and opens a new area of study for understanding what drives these individuals.

Darkness encourages lying and crime - March 3, 2010
Researchers found that darkness makes people think we can get away with doing the wrong thing. They found that even wearing sunglasses made people feel they could get away with more because they assume others are unaware of what they are doing. <

Why symptoms of schizophrenia emerge in young adulthood   PhysOrg - February 26, 2010
In reports of two new studies, researchers led by Johns Hopkins say they have identified the mechanisms rooted in two anatomical brain abnormalities that may explain the onset of schizophrenia and the reason symptoms don't develop until young adulthood. Both types of anatomical glitches are influenced by a gene known as DISC1, whose mutant form was first identified in a Scottish family with a strong history of schizophrenia and related mental disorders. The findings could lead to new ways to treat, prevent or modify the disorder or its symptoms.

Study finds genetic link between misery and death   PhysOrg - February 24, 2010
In ongoing work to identify how genes interact with social environments to impact human health, UCLA researchers have discovered what they describe as a biochemical link between misery and death. In addition, they found a specific genetic variation in some individuals that seems to disconnect that link, rendering them more biologically resilient in the face of adversity.

Exercise Reduces Anxiety of Chronic Disease   Live Science - February 23, 2010
Exercise may benefit the mental well-being of those with chronic illnesses such as heart disease and cancer, a new study suggests. The results show that patients who participated in exercise training programs reported, on average, a 20 percent reduction in their anxiety symptoms compared to those who did not exercise. Such feelings of worry and nervousness are common among patients with chronic diseases and may decrease their quality of life and make them less likely to stick to treatment plans, the researchers say. However, the study indicates that exercise may offer a way to treat anxiety without using prescription drugs that may cause adverse side effects, they say.

Probing Question: What causes deja vu?   PhysOrg - February 12, 2010
f you've ever had that fleeting, mysterious sense that something new -- a city or person you're seeing for the first time -- is somehow familiar, that you've been there or known them before, then you can count yourself among those who have experienced deja vu. It's typically a brief sensation, lasting no more than 10 to 30 seconds, but 96 percent of the population claims to have experienced at least one occurrence.

Study shows popular people are influenced by others   PhysOrg - February 11, 2010
A new study by consumer behavior researchers at the Richard Ivey School of Business on social networks and influence reveals the most popular people in such networks are more likely to follow trends set by others, even if they think they are leading the pack. This contrasts with previous theories that people on the periphery of the network are most likely to be influenced by others to gain acceptance into the group and enhance their reputations. The researchers studied two networks - a students' group and seniors' club - and found being central in a network is one way consumers can diffuse new information into a social network.

Stopping Schizophrenia Before It Starts   Science Daily - January 29, 2010
The onset of schizophrenia is not easy to predict. Although it is associated with as many as 14 genes in the human genome, the prior presence of schizophrenia in the family is not enough to determine whether one will succumb to the mind-altering condition. The disease also has a significant environmental link.

Mid-life Crisis: An Outdated Myth?   Live Science - January 27, 2010
The stereotype that many middle-aged people get depressed and must perk up their lives with sports cars and affairs may be an outdated myth, scientists say. In fact, these days many people often feel more fulfilled in their middle and later years, data shows. The term "mid-life crisis" was coined 40 years ago by psychologist Elliot Jacques, who reasoned that people's quality of life generally declines after age 35 (at the time, the average lifespan was about 70 years). Jacques suggested that some extreme reactions to looming mortality were to be expected at around this time of life. But psychologist Carlo Strenger of Israel's Tel Aviv University says that's no longer true, and that studies show mid-life can be one of the happiest periods of people's lives.

Weekends Are Good For You, Study Finds   Live Science - January 15, 2010
Just about everybody - even workaholics - should look forward to the weekend, when most people get a mood boost, a new study suggests. Participants in the study often reported better moods, greater vitality, and fewer aches and pains from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon as compared with the rest of the week.

Why we can't always find what we're looking for (and sometimes find what isn't there)   PhysOrg - January 14, 2010
When people look for things that are rare, they aren't all that good at finding them. And it turns out that the reverse is also true: When people look for something common, they will often think they see it even when it isn't there. A new report published online on January 14th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, offers new insight into why this happens and may suggest some simple methods to help airport security personnel looking for weapons and radiologists looking for tumors get better at their jobs, according to the researchers.

Stress triggers tumor formation, researchers find   PhysOrg - January 13, 2010
Stress induces signals that cause cells to develop into tumors, Yale researchers have discovered. The research, published online Jan. 13 in the journal Nature, describes a novel way cancer takes hold in the body and suggests new ways to attack the deadly disease. Until now, most researchers believed that more than one cancer-causing mutation needed to take place in a single cell in order for tumors to grow. The Yale team, led by Tian Xu, professor and vice chairman of genetics and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, illustrated that cancer-causing mutations can cooperate to promote tumor development even when they are located in different cells within a tissue.

A radical treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder patients   Guardian - December 15, 2009
At Butler hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, Lindquist and colleagues put the boy in an MRI-like machine and passed beams of gamma radiation through his brain. These beams converged on a pinpoint-accurate spot where they created a lesion that damaged a tiny area of tissue, blocking the pathway that caused the OCD symptoms. This is modern psychosurgery, a hi-tech, experimental, descendant of the now infamous frontal lobotomy. It could offer hope to millions suffering from OCD, and other disorders such as severe depression.

Moral dilemma scenarios prone to biases   PhysOrg - December 14, 2009
Picture the following hypothetical scenario: A trolley is headed toward five helpless victims. The trolley can be redirected so that only one person's life is at stake. Psychologists and philosophers have been using moral dilemmas like this for years asking, would you redirect the train? Is it morally acceptable to do this? Experts usually switch up the details to see how different sub-scenarios affect moral judgment. Many researchers have come to the conclusion that an individual's moral judgment in this type of scenario is strongly guided by abstract moral principles.

Americans Are Info-Junkies   Live Science - December 14, 2009
American's are known for gorging on food, but we're also gluttons of another sort: A new study finds that the average American consumes more than 34 gigabytes of video, music, and words a day - and that's only on our free time.

Bad Memories Erased with Behavior Therapy   Live Science - December 9, 2009
In a scientific experiment that brings to mind the memory-erasing escapade in the 2004 film "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," scientists have blocked fearful recollections in human participants, sans drugs. The results challenge the view that our long-term memories are fixed and resistant to change. This isn't the first time science has endeavored to understand and vanquish our fears. But it's the first time using a behavioral technique has been proven to work in humans, as opposed to a pharmacological one. A similar study was carried out in rats and reported earlier this year.

Social scientists build case for 'survival of the kindest'   PhysOrg - December 8, 2009
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are challenging long-held beliefs that human beings are wired to be selfish. In a wide range of studies, social scientists are amassing a growing body of evidence to show we are evolving to become more compassionate and collaborative in our quest to survive and thrive.

Brain scans show distinctive patterns in people with generalized anxiety disorder   PhysOrg - December 7, 2009
Scrambled connections between the part of the brain that processes fear and emotion and other brain regions could be the hallmark of a common anxiety disorder, according to a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine. The findings could help researchers identify biological differences between types of anxiety disorders as well as such disorders as depression.

Sound Body Equals Sound Mind, Study Finds   Live Science - December 3, 2009
A new study proves the old Roman saying, "A sound mind in a sound body" the more fit one's heart is, the more one's brain seems to benefit, scientists now find. Many earlier studies have linked physical exercise with brainpower in humans and animals, but most of the research in people focused on children or older adults. The few studies of young adulthood when the brain changes rapidly, establishing many traits linked with intelligence have yielded ambiguous data.

Study Reveals the Angriest Americans   Live Science - December 3, 2009
Anger is more likely among the young, those with children at home, and the less educated, a new study finds.

Hair Reveals Ancient Peruvians Were Stressed Out   MSNBC - December 2, 2009
People in the past were very stressed out, suggests a new study that found high amounts of a stress hormone in the hair of Peruvian individuals who lived between 550 A.D. and 1532. The study, accepted for publication in the Journal of Archaeological Science, is the first to detect the stress hormone cortisol in ancient hair. Cortisol is produced in response to real and perceived threats. After its release, the hormone travels to nearly every part of the body, including to blood, saliva, urine and hair. It now may be possible to determine not only how ancient people behaved, but also how they felt.

Loneliness can be contagious   PhysOrg - December 1, 2009
Because loneliness is associated with a variety of mental and physical diseases that can shorten life, Cacioppo said it is important for people to recognize loneliness and help those people connect with their social group before the lonely individuals move to the edges.

Can the Environment Explain Schizophrenia's Hereditary Patterns?   Scientific American - November 17, 2009
Schizophrenia hides its heritability well. Although fewer than 1 percent of the general population will be diagnosed as schizophrenic based on symptoms such as hallucination and disorganized thought, for children of a schizophrenic parent, those odds jump to about one in 10. And yet the condition's genetic underpinnings have stubbornly resisted discovery. In the latest attempt, three crack teams of investigators pooled genomic data from 8,000 schizophrenics of European ancestry but could lay claim to only a handful of weak genetic risk markers.

Can thinking of a loved one reduce your pain?   PhysOrg - November 13, 2009
Schizophrenia hides its heritability well. Although fewer than 1 percent of the general population will be diagnosed as schizophrenic based on symptoms such as hallucination and disorganized thought, for children of a schizophrenic parent, those odds jump to about one in 10. And yet the condition's genetic underpinnings have stubbornly resisted discovery. In the latest attempt, three crack teams of investigators pooled genomic data from 8,000 schizophrenics of European ancestry but could lay claim to only a handful of weak genetic risk markers.

Speed Shrinking: Three-minute therapy: Can 'speed shrinking' fix your head in 180 seconds?   Independent - November 12, 2009
Three, two, one...Speed Shrink!" booms a voice over the loudspeaker. Having three minutes to spill your most intimate secrets to a stranger in a crowded room may not sound like everyone's route to good mental health, even in the world capital of psychotherapy. But for today's time - and increasingly cash - poor New Yorkers, it offers a potential quick fix that is hard to resist.

Overeaters and Drug Abusers Share Addictive Brain Chemistry   Live Science - November 9, 2009
The research supports those who believe that overeating can, in extreme cases, be considered an addiction comparable to drug abuse or gambling. Some eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, are already included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, which psychiatrists use to diagnose their patients. Overeating is a controversial candidate for inclusion in the next version of the manual.

No pain, no gain: Mastering a skill makes us stressed in the moment, happy long term   PhysOrg - October 29, 2009
Contrary to previous research, the study found that people who engage in behaviors that increase competency, for example at work, school or the gym, experience decreased happiness in the moment, lower levels of enjoyment and higher levels of momentary stress. Despite the negative effects felt on an hourly basis, participants reported that these same activities made them feel happy and satisfied when they looked back on their day as a whole. This surprising find suggests that in the process of becoming proficient at something, individuals may need to endure temporary stress to reap the happiness benefits associated with increased competency.

'Culture of we' buffers genetic tendency to depression   PhysOrg - October 28, 2009
A genetic tendency to depression is much less likely to be realized in a culture centered on collectivistic rather than individualistic values. In other words, a genetic vulnerability to depression is much more likely to be realized in a Western culture than an East Asian culture that is more about we than me-me-me.

Hunting for the Prozac gene   PhysOrg - October 27, 2009
Prozac works wonders for some depressed people, but not for others. In some cases, patients derive little benefit and at worst, it can lead to bizarre hallucinations and fits of rage. Researchers and doctors remain puzzled as to what causes the wide range of reaction to Prozac and similar antidepressants.

Rare Mutation Dramatically Increases Schizophrenia Risk   Science Daily - October 27, 2009
Schizophrenia and autism: two sides of the same coin? Taken together these studies suggest that some genes are shared between schizophrenia and autism.

Faulty 'wiring' in the brain triggers onset of schizophrenia   PhysOrg - October 26, 2009
A new study by researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP), King's College London has discovered abnormalities in the white matter of the brain that seem to be critical for the timing of schizophrenia. The white matter of the brain consists of nerve fibres that connect parts of the brain and help regulate behaviour. The normal brain develops in a back to front fashion, i.e. posterior regions mature first and the frontal lobes last. The research discovered that if there are very severe deficits in the white matter in these posterior (specifically parietal) regions, then schizophrenia develops early in adolescence. As people grow older their deficits "migrate" in a back to front manner and in adulthood, they impact the frontal lobes of the brain quite dramatically.

Sensory deprivation can produce hallucinations in only 15 minutes   PhysOrg - October 23, 2009

A new study has found that even a short period of sensory deprivation is enough to produce hallucinations even in people who are not normally prone to them.

When Parents Are Too Toxic to Tolerate   New York Times - October 22, 2009
You can divorce an abusive spouse. You can call it quits if your lover mistreats you. But what can you do if the source of your misery is your own parent?

Women outperform men when identifying emotions   PhysOrg - October 21, 2009
Women are better than men at distinguishing between emotions, especially fear and disgust. The research team studied fear and disgust because both emotions have a protective, evolutionary history. Simply put, these emotions are more important for survival of the species than other emotions such as joy.

Your personality is on display in all the stuff in your personal space   MSNBC - October 20, 2009
Your personality is on display in all the stuff you leave behind, but sometimes it takes a skilled "snoopologist" to know what to look for.

Googling Fights Dementia, Study Suggests   National Geographic - October 20, 2009
Using search engines may help stave off dementia and memory loss, a new brain-scan study suggests. Scientists found that middle-aged and older adults with little Internet experience showed increased activity in key brain regions after surfing the Web for an hour a day for just two weeks.

Using Brain Waves to Help Treat Depression   PhysOrg - September 24, 2009
Researchers conducted a study at 9 sites in the U.S. with 375 people suffering from major depression. The testing takes about 15 minutes and could help people suffering from depression find fast relief.

Why People Hoard Stuff   Live Science - September 24, 2009
People who compulsively acquire and hoard clutter to the extent that it impairs their daily activities are labeled “compulsive hoarders.” The condition is classed as a subtype of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), present in 30 to 40 percent of individuals affected with OCD. It may damage relationships, cut the individual off from society, and even endanger lives. Compulsive hoarding is distinct from bad planning and disorganization because it is believed to be a pathological brain disorder. It is often a symptom of other disorders, such as impulse control disorder or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Bereavement or another significant life event can trigger excessive hoarding behavior.

Our Emotions Can Lead Us Astray When Assessing Risks   PhysOrg - September 23, 2009
If you find yourself more concerned about highly publicized dangers that grab your immediate attention such as terrorist attacks, while forgetting about the more mundane threats such as global warming, you're not alone.

Schizophrenia gene linked with abnormal neurogenesis in adult and postnatal brain   PhysOrg - September 23, 2009
Scientists now have a better understanding of a perplexing gene that is associated with susceptibility for a wide spectrum of severely debilitating mental illnesses.

The Science (and Art) of Depression Medication   Live Science - September 22, 2009
Researchers found that they could predict whether subjects were more likely to respond to a different antidepressant, bupropion, also known as Wellbutrin XL.

The Handwriting of Liars   PhysOrg - September 21, 2009
A new study claims the best way to find out if someone is a liar is to look at their handwriting, rather than analyzing their word choice, eye movements and body language.

New Theory for Why We Cry   Live Science - August 29, 2009
We shed tears when in pain, but what purpose does crying have? A scientist now proposes a new theory for why crying evolved - tears can act as handicaps to show you have lowered your defenses. Crying is a highly evolved behavior. The shedding of tears due to emotions is unique to humans. In the past, researchers suggested that crying helps carry stressful chemicals away from the body, or that it simply makes us feel better, or that it lets babies signal health problems.

Why do we love reality television?   PhysOrg - August 27, 2009
Viewers can fantasize about becoming stars when watching ordinary people attain celebrity on shows like "Survivor." The most appealing aspect of reality television is its power to make audience members feel like part of the action. No longer mere couch potatoes, viewers join the creative production.

Neurotic? Why You're Likely to Die Prematurely   Live Science - August 19, 2009
Neuroticism can shave years off a person's life, at least in part because a nervous Nellie is more likely to smoke, a new study suggests. The finding adds to a mountain of evidence suggesting personality and psychological traits - from mellowness to anger and even degree of social engagement - help determine how long you'll live and how healthy you'll be.

Social Snubs Can Also Hurt Physically   Live Science - August 18, 2009
A social snub can deliver a seemingly painful blow. Now, it turns out that sting may be real. A gene linked with physical pain is also associated with a person's sensitivity to rejection, a new study finds. The discovery doesn't suggest that being chosen last for a pick-up ball game, say, will send you limping off the field. Rather, a rare form of the so-called mu-opioid receptor gene (OPRM1) is likely involved in the emotional aspect of physical pain - essentially, how much a person is bothered by a throbbing leg, for instance.

Worth the effort? Not if you're depressed   PhysOrg - August 13, 2009
New research indicates that decreased cravings for pleasure may be at the root of a core symptom of major depressive disorder.

Always look on the bright side of life ...   Guardian - August 11, 2009
You won't only feel better, you might get to live longer too, if the latest research is to be believed. Study: a huge new study in the US found that optimists were less likely than pessimists to develop coronary heart disease (CHD) and less likely to die

Schizophrenia waits silently until a seemingly normal child becomes a teenager or young adult   Science Daily - August 11, 2009

Scientists have not understood what causes the severe mental disorder, which affects up to 1 percent of the population and results in hallucinations, memory loss and social withdrawal. Scientists have discovered the disease symptoms are triggered by a low level of a brain protein necessary for neurons to talk to one another.

Detection of 'prolonged grief disorder' may help bereaved individuals   PhysOrg - August 4, 2009
Identification of criteria for the detection of prolonged grief disorder (PGD) appear able to identify bereaved persons at heightened risk for enduring distress and dysfunction.

Brain difference in psychopaths identified   PhysOrg - August 4, 2009
The research investigated the brain biology of psychopaths with convictions that included attempted murder, manslaughter, multiple rape with strangulation and false imprisonment. Using a powerful imaging technique (DT-MRI) the researchers have highlighted biological differences in the brain which may underpin these types of behavior and provide a more comprehensive understanding of criminal psychopathy.

Imaginary Friends: Television programs can fend off loneliness   Scientific American - July 30, 2009
Loneliness can be alleviated by simply turning on your favorite TV show. In the same way that a snack can satiate hunger in lieu of a meal, it seems that watching favorite TV shows can provide the experience of belonging without a true interpersonal interaction.

Rorschach Test: Discredited But Still Controversial   Live Science - July 31, 2009

Though the Rorschach is the most famous psychological test in the world, it is little understood outside of psychology circles. The test, in the news this week and under much debate, is a series of 10 colored ink blots created nearly a century ago by Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach.

Invisible ink? What Rorschach tests really tell us   PhysOrg - July 30, 2009
There is evidence that this tool may be useful in identifying patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and borderline personality disorder.

If bipolar disorder is over-diagnosed, what are the actual diagnoses?   PhysOrg - July 29, 2009
The results of the study also indicate that patients who had been over-diagnosed with bipolar disorder were more frequently diagnosed with major depressive disorder, antisocial personality disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and eating and impulse disorders.

Modern Insanity: What Really Makes Us Crazy   Live Science - July 29, 2009
Like heart disease and insulin resistance, mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression, autism, anxiety and bipolar disorder have all been linked to inflammation of the brain. The relative sanity of our distant ancestors should not imply they led stress-free lives. Hunting dangerous game does not exactly instill Zen-like breaths. But our remote ancestors had many factors woven into the fabric of their lives that turned off the brain's stress response - habits that in most developed countries have fallen out of fashion

Screening for childhood depressive symptoms could start in second grade   PhysOrg - July 21, 2009
New research indicates that screening children for symptoms of depression, the most common mental health disorder in the United States, can begin a lot earlier than previously thought, as early as the second grade.

A genetic basis for schizophrenia   PhysOrg - July 21, 2009
Schizophrenia is a severely debilitating psychiatric disease that is thought to have its roots in the development of the nervous system; however, major breakthroughs linking its genetics to diagnosis, prognosis and treatment are still unrealized.

Artistic tendencies linked to 'schizophrenia gene'   New Scientist - July 17, 2009
Now new research seems to show why: a genetic mutation linked to psychosis and schizophrenia also influences creativity. The finding could help to explain why mutations that increase a person's risk of developing mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar syndrome have been preserved, even preferred, during human evolution

Study Contradicts Popular Belief About Seasonality of Suicides   PhysOrg - July 8, 2009
Contrary to popular belief, more Americans commit suicide in summer than in winter, and the day of the week when individuals are more likely to take their own lives has shifted from Monday to Wednesday, researchers at the University of California, Riverside have found.

People Unsure of Beliefs Are More Close-Minded   Live Science - July 1, 2009
The studies suggested people are about twice as likely to cherry-pick information that supports their own viewpoints than to consider an opposing idea. Nearly 70 percent cherry-picked compared to about 30 percent who ponder the other side. Close-minded individuals opted for information that went along with their views 75 percent of the time.

'Life Force' (Personality) Linked To Body's Ability To Withstand Stress   Science Daily - June 18, 2009
Our ability to withstand stress-related, inflammatory diseases may be associated, not just with our race and sex, but with our personality as well.

The power of prayer?   PhysOrg - June 18, 2009
Intercessory prayer has been the subject of scientific study since at least the nineteenth century, when an English scientist, assuming that kings were prayed for more often than others, sought to find out whether those prayers were answered. He concluded that they were not, but that prayer might be a comfort to the people praying anyway.

Why People Often Get Sicker When They Are Stressed   Science Daily - March 11, 2009
A newly discovered receptor in a strain of Escherichia coli might help explain why people often get sicker when they're stressed. The receptor senses stress cues from the bacterium's host and helps the pathogen make the host ill. A receptor is a molecule on the surface of a cell that docks with other molecules, often signaling the cell to carry out a specific function.

Genetics Of Fear: Specific Genetic Variations Contribute To Anxiety Disorders, Study Suggests   Science Daily - March 11, 2009
Many symptoms of anxiety disorders are thought to be learned and research on fear conditioning (a method of learning to fear a particular stimulus) shows that individuals diagnosed with anxiety disorders are quick to learn to fear a stimulus but have a difficult time getting rid of that fear. In this study, the researchers focused on polymorphisms in two genes thought to play a role in anxiety disorders: the serotonin transporter gene and the gene for the enzyme COMT.

Feeling down and out could break your heart, literally   PhysOrg - March 9, 2009
Relatively healthy women with severe depression are at increased risk of cardiac events, including sudden cardiac death (SCD) and fatal coronary heart disease (CHD).

Children seriously affected when a parent suffers from depression   PhysOrg - March 6, 2009
Life is hard for the children of a parent suffering from depression. Children take on an enormous amount of responsibility for the ill parent and for other family members. It is therefore important for the health services to be aware of this and have support functions in place for the whole family, and not just for the person who is ill.

Power and the illusion of control   PhysOrg - March 4, 2009
Power can literally "go to one's head," causing individuals to think they have more personal control over outcomes than they, in fact, do.

Human emotions control physical health worldwide   PhysOrg - March 4, 2009
A researcher from the University of Kansas has spearheaded a new investigation into the link between emotions and health. Thus, the link between emotional health and physical health looks to be a worldwide fact, and especially so for people living with the fewest creature comforts.