Recent News Items

On-Line Intervention Reduces Suicide Risk in Veterans, by Rick Nauert. Psych Central, December 05, 2014.  “A new study suggests a brief online intervention may help veterans reduce the risk of suicide. In their research, psychologist from Florida State University developed a simple computer-based approach to treating anxiety sensitivity. They believe the software may provide significant benefit for veterans and other groups who are considered at risk for suicide.”

How the West is cutting teen pregnancy, by Keith Moore. BBC, December 03, 2014.  “Teenage pregnancy is a problem developed Western nations have been battling for decades - and though it sometimes goes unnoticed they have made huge progress. "Here's a story of utter irresponsibility: About one-third of American girls become pregnant as teenagers," wrote columnist Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times recently. It seems like a shockingly high number. And eight years ago it was accurate. In 2006, this was the cumulative risk of a teenager becoming pregnant once between the ages of 13 and 19. It was calculated by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, a non-profit organisation, using data for births and abortions and an estimate for the number of miscarriages. Continue reading the main story “ Start Quote Truly one of the US's great success stories over the past two decades” Bill Albert National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy But when the same formula is used with the most recent figures, from 2010, it indicates that the number of teenage American girls becoming pregnant is now less than one in four, a reduction on track with changes over the past two decades.”

Study finds Depression in Pregnancy, Postpartum is Overlooked and Undertreated, by David Jacobson. UCSF School of Pharmacy, December 01, 2014.  “About 10 to 20 percent of women suffer from new-onset depression during pregnancy or after giving birth. Untreated, the impact of such illness can be profound, ranging from substance abuse, poor prenatal care, and miscarriages to impaired infant bonding and developmental delays. But a new study comparing the medical records of more than 6,000 such perinatal women—both during their pregnancies and postpartum—to those of about 57,000 non-pregnant women of the same ages (18 to 39 years) has found the perinatal group was significantly less likely to be diagnosed with depression.”

How Do Teenage Boys Perceive Their Weight? ScienceDaily, November 20, 2014.

Does Laughing Have Real Health Benefits?, by Markham Heid. Time, November 19, 2014.  “It may not be the best medicine. But laughter’s great for you, and it may even compare to a proper diet and exercise when it comes to keeping you healthy and disease free. Berk says your mind, hormone system and immune system are constantly communicating with one another in ways that impact everything from your mood to your ability to fend off sickness and disease. Take grief: “Grief induces stress hormones, which suppress your immune function, which can lead to sickness,” he says. Hardly a week goes by without new research tying stress to another major ailment.”

Is violence more common in same-sex relationships?, by Joanna Jolly. BBC, November 18, 2014.  “Last year, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released figures showing people in same-sex relationships experience levels of domestic violence just as often as those in heterosexual relationships. But the conclusions of another study this year by the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago - a review of data from four earlier studies, involving 30,000 participants - go further. "One of our startling findings was that rates of domestic violence among same-sex couples is pretty consistently higher than for opposite sex couples," says Richard Carroll, a psychologist and co-author of the report.”

Growing Up with ADHD, by Denise Foley. Time, November 12, 2014.  “Being fidgety and easily distracted are two of the most common and recognized symptoms of ADHD, often leading to poor performance in school, the most recognized fallout of the condition. But the 5% to 11% of American children 4 to 17 years of age who are diagnosed with the disorder—the numbers are up for debate depending on whom you talk to—also face a lifetime of increased risk for accidents, teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, smoking, and even dying prematurely. Overall, boys (13.2%) are more likely than girls (5.6%) to be given an ADHD diagnosis.”

Army Enlistees Similar to Civilians But Some Disorders More Prevalent, by Rick Nauert. Psych Central, October 27, 2014.  “Emerging research suggests that while military enrollees do not share the exact psychological profile as socio-demographically comparable civilians, they are more similar than previously thought. One study found that new soldiers and matched civilians are equally likely to have experienced at least one major episode of mental illness in their lifetime (38.7 percent of new soldiers; 36.5 percent of civilians).”

‘Exposure therapy’ helps patients with prolonged grief, by Kathryn Doyle. Reuters, October 23, 2014.  “Adding one-on-one sessions focused on reliving the experience of losing a loved one to regular group therapy appears to help more patients with prolonged grief, according to a new study. Most people who lose a loved one feel stress, grieve and adapt over time. But seven to 10 percent of people get stuck in the grief phase and have persistent yearning for the deceased, difficulty in accepting the death, a sense of meaninglessness, bitterness about the death and difficulty in engaging in new activities, said lead author Richard A. Bryant of the School of Psychology at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.”

Halting Schizophrenia Before It Starts, by Marvi Lacar. NPR, October 20, 2014.  “That first psychotic break can lead to a series of disasters: social isolation, hospitalization, medications with sometimes disabling side effects, and future psychotic episodes. So, what if you could intervene earlier, before any of that? Could you stop the process from snowballing? The program draws on research suggesting that schizophrenia unfolds much more slowly than might be obvious, even to families.”

The Right Way to Think About Your Ebola Risk, by Alex Lickerman. Psychology Today, October 16, 2014.  “Unfortunately, another well-established fact is that what people believe—and therefore fear—is influenced by many things other than facts. For example, we all tend to arrive at our beliefs about the frequency with which things occur not from statistical analysis but from the ease with which we can recall examples of their happening. (Daniel Kahneman’s research, detailed in his book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, clearly demonstrates this.) So if we’ve recently heard news about an airplane crash, we’re likely to believe that the likelihood of the airplane in which we’re about to fly crashing is greater than it actually is. Or, if a friend tells us about a complication he suffered following surgery, we’ll believe the likelihood of that complication happening after our own surgery to be greater than statistics would suggest.”

Why Schools Should Screen Their Students’ Mental Health, by Alexandra Sifferlin. Time, October 07, 2014.  “Schools should be a first line of defense for catching young people at risk for mental health issues from depression to ADHD, a pair of new reports says. Kids and adolescents spend a significant amount of their time in school, yet providing mental health screenings and care is not an overarching requirement for many schools. “We need to think about how to embed mental health services so they become part of the culture in schools,” says study author Dr. Mina Fazel, a child psychiatrist at the University of Oxford. “It will take a commitment from health and education.””

How Exercise May Protect Against Depression, by Gretchen Reynolds. New York Times, October 01, 2014.  “Exercise may help to safeguard the mind against depression through previously unknown effects on working muscles, according to a new study involving mice. The findings may have broad implications for anyone whose stress levels threaten to become emotionally overwhelming.”

Predicting future course of psychotic illness, by University of Adelaide. ScienceDaily, October 01, 2014.  “University of Adelaide psychiatry researchers have developed a model that could help to predict a patient's likelihood of a good outcome from treatment -- from their very first psychotic episode. The model is based on a range of factors, including clinical symptoms, cognitive abilities, MRI scans of the brain's structure, and biomarkers in the patient's blood.”

Early memory lapses may be sign of dementia, by Jen Christensen. CNN, September 24, 2014.  “The research suggests that people who feel they are forgetting more things may need to be concerned, even if bigger issues aren't yet showing up on cognitive tests. Participants who reported memory problems at the beginning of the study were more likely to have dementia down the road than those who did not”

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