Mental Health



23 May 2014

Scientists map mental illness' effects on life expectancy


A new study by researchers at the University of Oxford shows that mental illnesses reduce life expectancy by 10-20 years, a loss of years that's equivalent to or worse than that for heavy smoking. Why then, ask the researchers, is mental health much less of a public health priority?

11 April 2014

Earliest roots of psychiatric disorders traced to stress effects on single gene


Babies whose mothers were exposed during pregnancy to stressors such as trauma, illness, alcohol, or drug abuse become susceptible to various psychiatric disorders later in life. Now, researchers think that it may be the stressor's effect on single gene that gives rise to conditions such as schizophrenia, PTSD, autism, and bipolar disorders...

25 January 2014

How a cold or the flu can cripple your spatial awareness


Catching a cold or the flu, which leads to inflammation in the brain, impairs our ability to form spatial memories. That's according to researchers who have been studying how brain chemistry changes with inflammation and the resulting effects on cognition...

10 December 2013

Alzheimer's may begin in childhood


The people who carry the high-risk SORL1 gene for late-onset Alzheimer's disease show changes in their brains beginning in early childhood, according to researchers from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health...

21 November 2013

Marijuana memory problems prevented with Advil


The molecular pathways responsible for the learning and memory problems associated with marijuana use have been mapped by scientists for the first time. Importantly, the new research suggests that the over-the-counter painkiller ibuprofen can prevent these debilitating side-effects of the drug...

14 November 2013

Can probiotics treat depression?


Probiotics are best known for supposedly helping maintain a healthy digestive system, but they are also increasingly the subject of neurological research to understand how microbes could supplement our gut bacteria to improve our mental health...

13 October 2013

Researchers isolate protein that delivers brain benefits of exercise


A protein produced during endurance exercise has been isolated and given to non-exercising mice, where it switched on genes that promote brain health and encouraged the growth of new nerves and synapses involved in learning and memory...

26 August 2013

Psychiatrists put their profession on the couch


The use of psychotherapy is declining rapidly in America and a wide ranging review has identified big pharma and mental health clinicians themselves as the two main reasons for the disappearing consumers...

22 August 2013

Immune cells triggering anxiety symptoms?


Researchers have discovered that during prolonged stress, cells from the immune system are recruited to the brain and promote symptoms of anxiety. The findings, from experiments with mice, offer a new explanation of how stress can lead to mood disorders...

19 August 2013

"Significant association" found between use of psychedelic drugs and better mental health


The use of LSD, magic mushrooms, or peyote does not increase a person's risk of developing mental health problems, say European researchers, who instead found a correlation between the use of psychedelic drugs and fewer mental health problems...

29 July 2013

Faulty eye signaling may be to blame for schizoid hallucinations


A simple experiment has revealed that schizophrenics have an inaccurate visual validation system, likely contributing to psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations...

22 July 2013

Love-hormone oxytocin also triggers anxiety and fear


It seems that oxytocin is two-faced. The hormone that promotes feelings of love, social bonding, and well-being can also cause emotional pain, an entirely new, darker identity for the hormone...

18 June 2013

Striking correlation found between infection and mood disorders


Researchers discover that every third person who is diagnosed for the first time with a mood disorder had been admitted to hospital with an infection prior to the diagnosis...

28 May 2013

Evidence that probiotics alter brain function


In a discovery that carries significant implications for changing brain function through dietary interventions, UCLA researchers say they now have the first evidence that bacteria ingested in food can affect how the human brain works...

30 April 2013

Study reveals "staggering" over-diagnosis and over-treatment of depression


Researchers assessing adults with clinician-identified depression found that when evaluated for major depressive episodes using a structured interview, only 38 percent of the subjects met the actual criteria for depression...

19 March 2013

Knowledge of sport no advantage in sports gambling


Sports gamblers frequently see themselves as cleverer than other gamblers, believing that their intimate knowledge of player statistics, coaching styles, and other details will give them an edge. But new research shows that neither betting experience nor knowledge of the details of the game is connected to successful sports betting outcomes...

7 March 2013

Peptide discovery could lead to happiness pill


The neurochemical changes that underlie human emotions are still largely unknown, but scientists have for the first time identified a specific peptide that is released in large quantities when subjects are happy...

14 January 2013

Are close friends on Facebook the enemy?


"Likes" or positive comments from close friends on Facebook appear to inflate users' self-esteem and reduce self-control, resulting in higher body-mass indexes and higher levels of credit-card debt...

8 December 2012

Successful clinical trial for ketamine-like antidepressant


Researchers are reporting a successful phase IIa clinical trial of GLYX-13, a first-of-its-kind ketamine-like antidepressant that takes effect within 24 hours and delivers double the antidepressant effect of traditional SSRI treatments...

12 November 2012

Revealed: how social isolation atrophies the brain


Neuroscientists report that animals that are socially isolated for prolonged periods make less myelin (the brain's white matter) in the region of the brain responsible for emotional and cognitive behavior...

3 July 2012

Toxoplasmosis linked to suicide attempts


Spread through contact with cat feces or eating undercooked meat, the parasite Toxoplasma gondii has been linked to increased rates of attempted suicide in women...

11 June 2012

Capitalism on the couch: psychoanalyzing the credit crisis


Corporations and entire Western economies displayed the same kind of manic behavior as psychologically disturbed individuals during the 2008 credit crisis, contends a new study...

4 June 2012

Energy poverty linked to cognitive deficits


Researchers have found widespread memory, problem-solving and social deficits among children in the developing world who are exposed to the smoke from open cooking fires...

23 April 2012

Parkinson's treated with Victorian era device


A 19th century "vibration chair" has been found by modern-day researchers to significantly improve some of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease...

20 March 2012

Researchers mull tobacco's restorative effects on self control


A new study that indicates smoking has a restorative effect on an individual's self-control resources has researchers pondering other self-control restoration strategies as a way to reduce smokers' dependence on tobacco...

29 February 2012

Art therapy not so therapeutic for schizophrenia


For people with schizophrenia, UK national treatment guidelines recommend group art therapy to improve mental health and social functioning, but a new study has found art therapy to be ineffectual...

21 February 2012

Female brain frazzled by mild dehydration


Mild dehydration - which occurs when the body has lost just 1.5 percent of its normal water content - can cause fatigue, tension and anxiety in both genders, but the authors of two surprising new studies say the adverse changes in mood for women were particularly dramatic...

13 February 2012

Calorie intake linked to cognitive impairment


Consuming more than 2,100 calories per day appears to double the risk of cognitive impairment in the elderly, according to a study to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting...

3 January 2012

Scientists scope effects of marijuana ingredients via MRI


Brain scans of marijuana users under the influence of either THC or cannabidiol show that one chemical increases psychotic symptoms while the other reduces them...

24 October 2011

Scientists mull brain size-Facebook correlation


People with more Facebook friends have more grey matter in their brain, but scientists aren't sure whether our online social network is driving the changes in the brain, or if people with bigger brains simply have more friends...

17 October 2011

Software identifies psychopaths


Using computer software to analyze the speech patterns of psychopathic killers shows they make readily identifiable subconscious word choices when talking, a finding with intriguing implications for law enforcement and social media networks...

6 October 2011

Zinc's role in the brain revealed


Researchers have discovered that zinc plays a critical role in regulating how the neurons in our brain communicate with one another, and it may also control how our memories form...

30 September 2011

Single dose of magic mushrooms "may create lasting personality change"


After a single dose of the hallucinogen psilocybin, lasting personality changes affecting openness, imagination, abstract ideas and broad-mindedness occurred that were larger in magnitude than changes typically observed in healthy adults over decades of life experiences, say researchers studying the effects of magic mushrooms...

13 May 2011

High incidence of placebo use in psychiatry


A recent Canadian survey found that around 20 percent of general physicians have prescribed placebos for their patients, while more than one-third of psychiatrists have prescribed them...

4 May 2011

Mirror neuron development reversed in autistic brain


The brain's mirror neuron system enables us to better understand and anticipate the actions of others, leading researchers to posit that autism may come about because of a crippled mirror neuron architecture, but new research shows that individuals with autism eventually develop a very robust mirror neuron network...

13 April 2011

Drink to remember - subconsciously, at least


According to new research, repeated ethanol exposure enhances synaptic plasticity in our subconscious brain, providing further evidence toward an emerging scientific consensus that drug and alcohol addiction is fundamentally a learning and memory disorder...

24 March 2011

Novel psychiatric drugs take aim at gut bacteria


Communication between the bacteria in our gut and our brain plays an important role in the development of psychiatric illness, say researchers who are investigating how new psychiatric drugs might directly target intestinal flora...

17 March 2011

Collecting items can trigger obsessive-compulsive disorder


Whatever you collect - shoes, porcelain dolls, precious stones, thimbles, watches or fans - your hobby could easily become a psychological disorder that researchers say affects more than 10 percent of the population...

10 March 2011

Liver, not brain, may originate Alzheimer's


Unexpected findings from a Scripps Research Institute study could completely alter prevailing notions about Alzheimer's disease - pointing to the liver instead of the brain as the original source of the brain plaques that cause the disease...

22 February 2011

Study finds no brain damage among ecstasy users


Prior studies that identified cognitive impairment in ecstasy users were flawed, say the researchers behind a new study that indicates ecstasy users show no signs of cognitive impairment attributable to drug use...

21 December 2010

Scientists manipulate immune system to produce "anti-Prozac"


Lending more weight to the theory that depression is linked to an inflammatory response in the brain; scientists have triggered the immune systems of mice to produce "despair-like" behavior that has similarities to depression in humans...

17 December 2010

Ecstasy's empathogenic properties revealed to be a sham


Researchers exploring the use of MDMA (ecstasy) in psychotherapy have discovered that the drug distorts one's perception of others rather than producing true empathy...

14 December 2010

Diet shown to trigger mental illness


Changes in diet have previously been linked to a reduction of abnormal behaviors in mentally ill people, but a new study shows that diet can also trigger the onset of mental illness in the first place...

13 December 2010

Meditation as effective as antidepressants


Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy - using meditation - provides equivalent protection against depressive relapse as antidepressant medication...

8 December 2010

Hygiene Hypothesis linked to depression


Rates of depression in younger people have steadily grown to outnumber rates of depression in older populations and researchers think it may be because of a loss of healthy bacteria contributing to an inflammatory response in the brain...

30 November 2010

A biomarker for suicidal tendencies?


The radical notion that depression is caused by inflammation of the brain is gaining traction in neuroscience circles and has prompted some European researchers to look more closely at the biochemistry of those who have made violent suicide attempts to try and isolate a biochemical marker to identify potential suicides...

24 October 2010

Love the pain away


Passionate, intense feelings of love can provide amazingly effective pain relief, claims a new Stanford University School of Medicine study which compares the physiological effects of love to opiates or cocaine...

21 October 2010

Depression caused by brain inflammation?


A radical new theory about chronic depression suggests that the debilitating mental state originates from ancient mechanisms used by the body to deal with physical injury, such as pain and tissue repair...

7 September 2010

Magic mushrooms a hit with cancer patients


Psilocybin, an hallucinogen found in magic mushrooms, can effectively and safely improve the moods of patients with advanced-stage cancer who are also suffering anxiety, claims a new study in the Archives of General Psychiatry...

20 August 2010

New link found between yoga and "feel-good" brain chemical


After finding a link between yoga postures and increased gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) levels in the brain, researchers suggest that yoga may be superior to other forms of exercise in its positive effect on mood and anxiety...

1 June 2010

New target for mood meds


The slow-working, scatter-gun style of current antidepressants may become a thing of the past, thanks to new research that has identified the specific serotonin receptor that is linked to anti-depressive and anti-anxiety behavior...

8 March 2010

Brain plasticity increased with Ritalin use


Millions of children are treated with Ritalin to improve their ability to focus on tasks, but scientists now report that Ritalin also directly enhances the speed of learning...

12 February 2010

Researchers tracing autism's roots


New research has found that in fragile X syndrome - a genetic defect that is the best-known cause of autism - there is delayed development of the sensory cortex, the part of the brain that responds to touch, which researchers speculate may trigger a domino effect and cause further problems with the wiring of the brain...

3 February 2010

Facebook use associated with depression


An alarming new study provides compelling evidence that chat rooms, online gaming and social networking sites can have a serious impact on mental health, leading to moderate to severe depression in users...

16 December 2009

Do antidepressants work through personality change?


New evidence suggests that popular SSRI antidepressant medications can substantially change patients' personalities; and researchers speculate that it is these changes in personality - rather than the supposed alleviation of depressive symptoms - that are responsible for improvements in mood...

21 January 2009

Therapy and drugs prove to be effective against body dysmorphia


A new meta-study has found that drug therapy and psychotherapy can effectively treat the condition known as body dysmorphic disorder, where sufferers obsess over exaggerated or imaginary physical defects...

9 July 2008

The Dark Side Of Dopamine


While there is a large amount of evidence to support the idea that the brain chemical dopamine mediates positive effects, such as reward, happiness and pleasure; a new study suggests that dopamine is also intimately involved in emotions like dread and fear...

14 May 2008

New Physiological Evidence For Social Anxiety Disorder


Dutch researchers report direct evidence for the involvement of the brain's dopamine regulation system in social anxiety disorder, demonstrating that social anxiety has a physical, brain dependent component...

7 May 2008

Epigenetic Changes Discovered In Abuse Victims' Brains


Scientists have discovered important differences between the brains of suicide victims who suffered abuse as children and so-called normal brains. The differences are in their epigenetic marking - a chemical coating on the DNA that is influenced by environmental factors...

2 May 2008

Lack Of A McShrinky Makes Therapy Unappealing


Television's portrayal of psychological counselors as either buffoons or unethical clods in shows like Frasier, Tell Me You Love Me and In Treatment, makes people less willing to seek professional mental health services, suggests a new study...

2 April 2008

Paranoia As Common As Depression, Anxiety


A virtual reality subway ride has been used by researchers to reveal the extent that paranoia occurs in the general public...

26 February 2008

HIV Stigmatization Still Widespread


Stereotypes and misinformation about HIV that are commonplace among the general public are also evident in a surprising number of clinical staff...

4 December 2007

Biological Cause For Body Dysmorphic Disorder?


A new imaging project reveals that the brains of people with BDD look normal, but function abnormally when processing visual details...

12 October 2007

Inventing Illness


A new book chronicles how psychiatry has created new mental disorders and "pathologized" normal behavior...

5 September 2007

Boffins Investigate Schizophrenia Genes


Scientists are trying to understand why several genes with strong associations to schizophrenia have evolved rapidly thanks to positive selection during human evolution...

23 August 2007

Uncovering Autism's Disconnects


Scientists have discovered that in autistic individuals, connections between brain cells may be deficient within single regions, and not just between regions, as was previously believed...

17 August 2007

Our Love Affair With Depression


A psychiatrist has lashed out at what he claims is the medicalization of normal human distress...

20 July 2007

ADHD Drug Affects Developing Brain


The use of Ritalin in treating attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder could cause long-term changes in children's brains...

9 May 2007

More Evidence For Brain Regeneration From Electro-Shock Treatment


Recent experiments with monkeys appear to have confirmed earlier findings that electroconvulsive shock treatment can stimulate new nerve cell growth in the brain...

3 April 2007

Dung Critter Lifts Mood


A bacterium that appears to trigger serotonin production in the brain could point the way to new antidepressants and shed light on the role that the immune system plays in depression...

9 February 2007

Strep Implicated In Psychiatric Problems


Researchers have found an intriguing association between streptococcal infection in children and behaviors that are more usually associated with neurological disorders...

26 January 2007

Quitting The Hard Way


Smokers who suffer damage to a certain region of their brain have their addiction to nicotine negated; a finding that could lead to new smoking cessation treatments...

5 December 2006

Oxytocin Could Be Used As Autism Treatment


Oxytocin, often referred to as the trust drug, appears to have significant positive effects on adult autism patients...

18 September 2006

Extreme Diet Nixes Alzheimer's


New treatments may result from the finding that caloric restriction appears to prevent Alzheimer's by triggering activity in the brain associated with longevity...

21 August 2006

Shell Toxin Could Be Effective Brain Treatment


A nerve toxin used by venomous sea snails could lead to new treatments for certain mental illnesses and brain diseases...

11 July 2006

Quantifying A Mystical Experience: Hallucinogenic Research Gets To Grips With Spirituality


An active agent contained in "sacred mushrooms" can induce strikingly similar mystical experiences in different subjects; and the experiences seem to be identical to the spontaneous epiphanies that people have reported for centuries...

14 June 2006

Trauma The Major Cause Of Schizophrenia?


Traumatic childhood maltreatment could be behind the majority of schizophrenia cases, say two psychiatrists who describe their theory as "an earthquake" that will radically change the psychiatric profession...

10 February 2006

Mice With Self Esteem Problems Help Identify Depression Gene


In mice that were conditioned to be depressed, the absence of a particular gene mimics the effects of taking antidepressants...

2 February 2006

Ritual A Critical Element Of Placebo Effect


Harvard doctors uncovered some interesting findings when they compared the "effects" of a placebo pill to those of placebo acupuncture...

4 January 2006

Adolescent Mental Health Studies Cause Alarm


Health researchers are concerned about a huge increase in psychotropic drug prescriptions for adolescents, while another study finds that one-in-five teens undergoing psychiatric treatment may be bipolar...

8 December 2005

"Trust" Hormone Negates Fear


Researchers have mapped the effects of the brain chemical oxytocin - the trust hormone - and discovered how it short circuits fear in humans...

9 November 2005

More Evidence For Link Between Mood Disorders And Creativity


Children who had bipolar disorder, were at risk of it, or had bipolar parents, scored higher on a creativity index than normal children...

4 November 2005

When Thinking Can Be Toxic


If you suffer from a neurodegenerative disease, thinking can be bad for your brain. It seems that the nerve impulses passed between brain cells can become toxic, inflicting injury on neurons...

25 October 2005

Brain Knows More Than It Lets On


Your brain may know the answer to a problem even if you don't, say scientists who have been analyzing monkey behavior...

21 October 2005

Delusions And Mental Illness


What does the concept of belief really mean? Does a delusion have to be false? Psychologists and neuroscientists are teaming up with philosophers to answer these questions and better understand human delusions and the belief systems we build around them...

25 April 2005

Microorganisms Behind Schizophrenia And Alzheimer's?


Rather than lifestyle factors, a report from the American Academy of Microbiology suggests that many chronic illnesses may be caused by infectious agents...

6 April 2005

Light Therapy As Effective As Drugs


The beneficial effects of light therapy, also known as phototherapy, are comparable to those found in many clinical studies of antidepressant drugs...

9 February 2005

Curiosity Cured The Rat


Laboratory rats who are curious about the environment around them seem to survive cancerous tumors for longer than their less curious cousins...

5 April 2004

Bark From Yohimbe Tree Has Potential To Treat Anxiety Disorders


Most commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction, bark from the African Yohimbe tree is shaping up to revolutionize the treatment of fear and anxiety disorders...

15 March 2004

New Theory On How Nicotine Protects The Brain


There's new evidence of an anti-inflammatory mechanism in the brain by which nicotine may protect against nerve cell death...

13 November 2003

Nicotine Improves Memory And Helps Brain Repair Itself


Nicotine may improve memory and protect brain cells from diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's as well as improve some of the learning and memory problems associated with hypothyroidism...

20 February 2003

The Curse Of Intelligence


Diplomats and politicians would do well to remember that humans may have nuclear technology but still only possess stone-age brains...

23 May 2002

Link Between Creative Genius And Mental Illness Established


Using personality tests, researchers found healthy artists to be more similar in personality to individuals with manic depression than to healthy people...

2 May 2002

Placebo As Effective As Prozac


Depressed patients who got better after taking a placebo for six weeks showed brain changes that were similar to patients who responded to an anti-depressant drug...

8 April 2002

Alcohol And Nicotine A Pleasurable Combination


It's no secret that smokers often drink, and drinkers often smoke. Now, a rodent study has found that low doses of alcohol and nicotine can have an additive effect on the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine...

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