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Researchers Identify Gene Linked to PTSD

The Compassionate Mind

Violence: An American Archetype

Alone: The Mental Health Effects of Solitary Confinement

People See Sexy Pictures of Women as Objects, Not People

Children in U.S. and U.K. Share Risk Factors for Behavior Problems

Kudzu May Curb Binge Drinking, New Study Suggests

The Pain of Social Rejection: As far as the brain is concerned, a broken heart may not be so different from a broken arm.

Foul-Mouthed Characters in Teen Books Have It All


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hugs and health

 

 

 

Hugs Help Protect against Stress and Infection, Says Study


PITTSBURGH; December 17, 2014—Instead of an apple, could a hug-a-day keep the doctor away? According to new research from Carnegie Mellon University, that may not be that far-fetched of an idea.

Led by Sheldon Cohen, the Robert E. Doherty University Professor of Psychology in CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the researchers tested whether hugs act as a form of social support, protecting stressed people from getting sick. Published in Psychological Science, they found that greater social support and more frequent hugs protected people from the increased susceptibility to infection associated with being stressed and resulted in less severe illness symptoms.
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Certain Parenting Tactics Could Lead to Materialistic Attitudes in Adulthood

COLUMBIA, MO; December 16, 2014—With the holiday season in full swing, many parents may be tempted to give children all the toys and gadgets they ask for or use the expectation of gifts to manage children’s behavior. Now, a new study from the University of Missouri and the University of Illinois at Chicago suggests that parents who overuse material goods as part of their parenting strategy may be setting children up for difficulties later in adulthood.
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Social Connections Keep Workers on Board

December 15, 2014—Contrary to popular belief, new research suggests that some employees adapt well to pressures caused by changes in the workplace, but only if they are well connected at work socially and are a good fit for the organization.
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Study Sheds New Light on Relationship between Personality and Health

December 11, 2014— Researchers have found new evidence that explains how some aspects of our personality may affect our health and wellbeing, supporting long-observed associations between aspects of human character, physical health and longevity.
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The Ups and Downs of Support from Friends When Teens Experience Peer Victimization

 

New study looks at depressive symptoms and delinquency among harassed youth

December 10, 2014—There are pros and cons to the support that victimized teenagers get from their friends. Depending on the type of aggression they are exposed to, such support may reduce youth’s risk for depressive symptoms. On the other hand, it may make some young people follow the delinquent example of their friends, says a team of researchers from the University of Kansas in the US, led by John Cooley. Their findings are published in Springer’s Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment.
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Half of US Kids Exposed to Traumatic Social or Family Experiences during Childhood

 

Adverse childhood experiences impact child health and school outcomes

December 8, 2014—Nearly half of all children in the United States are exposed to at least one social or family experience that can lead to traumatic stress and impact their healthy development—be it having their parents divorce, a parent die or living with someone who abuses alcohol or drugs—increasing the risk of negative long-term health consequences or of falling behind in school, suggests new research led by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
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Evidence for ‘Bilingual Advantage’ May Be Less Conclusive Than Previously Thought

December 5, 2014—Study results that challenge the idea that bilingual speakers have a cognitive advantage are less likely to be published than those that support the bilingual-advantage theory, according to new research published inPsychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. This research suggests that a publication bias in favor of positive results may skew the overall literature on bilingualism and cognitive function.
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Brain Research Reveals New Hope for Patients with Anorexia Nervosa

 

Dresdner neuroimaging study of anorexia nervosa uncovers a positive side effect of weight restoration therapy: Brain shrinkage is reversible

December 3, 2014—Researchers from TU Dresden have uncovered good news for anorexia sufferers. Their novel findings obtained by measuring "cortical thickness" for the first time in the eating disorder are now published in the renowned journal "Biological Psychiatry."
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Girls, Boys Affected Differently by Witnessing Parental Violence

December 2, 2014—Witnessing violence by parents or a parent’s intimate partner can trigger for some children a chain of negative behaviors that follows them from preschool to kindergarten and beyond, according to researchers at Case Western Reserve University.
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Brain Representations of Social Thoughts Accurately Predict Autism Diagnosis

 

New findings from Carnegie Mellon identify altered 'thought-markers' of autism

PITTSBURGH, PA; December 2, 2014—Psychiatric disorders—including autism—are characterized and diagnosed based on a clinical assessment of verbal and physical behavior. However, brain imaging and cognitive neuroscience are poised to provide a powerful advanced new tool. Carnegie Mellon University researchers have created brain-reading techniques to use neural representations of social thoughts to predict autism diagnoses with 97 percent accuracy. This establishes the first biologically based diagnostic tool that measures a person's thoughts to detect the disorder that affects many children and adults worldwide.
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Perceptions, Referrals by Medical Providers Affect Mental-Health Treatment Disparities

December 2, 2014—Disparities in mental-health treatment are known to be associated with patients' racial and ethnic backgrounds. Now, a large study by researchers with UC Davis has found one possible reason for those disparities: Some racial and ethnic minorities are less likely to be assessed and referred for treatment by their medical providers.
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How Early Trauma Influences Behaviour

Traumatic and stressful events during childhood increase the risk to develop psychiatric disorders, but to a certain extent, they can also help better deal with difficult situations later in life. Researchers have studied this phenomenon in mice to learn how these effects could be transmitted to the next generation.

December 1, 2014—Traumatic events leave their mark. People exposed to a traumatic experience early in life are more likely to be affected by illnesses such as borderline personality disorder or depression. However such experience can also have positive effects in certain circumstances. Thus, moderate stress in childhood may help a person develop strategies to better cope with stress in adulthood.
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Fathers' Engagement with Baby Depends on Mother

 

When moms are well-prepared for parenthood, fathers less involved

COLUMBUS, OH; November 19, 2014—Fathers’ involvement with their newborns depends on mothers’ preparation for parenthood, even for fathers who show the most parenting skills, a new study suggests.
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Pain from Rejection and Physical Pain Show Some Differences

November 18, 2014—Over the last decade, neuroscientists have largely come to believe that physical pain and social pain are processed by the brain in much the same way. But a new study led by the University of Colorado shows that the two kinds of pain actually use distinct neural circuits, a finding that could lead to more targeted treatments and a better understanding of how the two kinds of pain interact.
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Fatigue, Irritability, and Demoralization Can Affect Your Heart Health

 

Mount Sinai study shows vital exhaustion may raise risk of cardiovascular disease

November 17, 2014—Fatigue, increased irritability, and feeling demoralized, may raise a healthy man or woman's risk of first-time cardiovascular disease by 36 percent, according to a study led by researchers at Mount Sinai St. Luke's and Mount Sinai Roosevelt hospitals presented on Nov. 17 at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2014 in Chicago, IL.
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Oxytocin Helps in Overcoming Fear

 

Researchers at the University of Bonn Hospital show that the bonding hormone inhibits the fear center in the brain

November 13, 2014—Frightening experiences do not quickly fade from memory. A team of researchers under the guidance of the University of Bonn Hospital has now been able to demonstrate in a study that the bonding hormone oxytocin inhibits the fear center in the brain and allows fear stimuli to subside more easily. This basic research could also usher in a new era in the treatment of anxiety disorders. The study has been published online in the journal Biological Psychiatry.
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Facial Motion a Clue to Difficulties in Social Interaction among Autistic Adults

 

People with ASD struggle to recognise changing facial expressions


November 13, 2014—People on the autistic spectrum may struggle to recognise social cues, unfamiliar people or even someone's gender because of an inability to interpret changing facial expressions, new research has found.
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How Does the Brain Develop in Individuals with Autism?

 

New mouse model for autism: Mutated gene causes parts of the brain to degenerate, leading to behavioral deficits, geneticists from Heidelberg publish study in Molecular Psychiatry, better understanding can help deal with disease

November 12, 2014—Geneticists at Heidelberg University Hospital's Department of Molecular Human Genetics have used a new mouse model to demonstrate the way a certain genetic mutation is linked to a type of autism in humans and affects brain development and behavior.
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Federal Legislation Ignores PTSD Toll on Civilians

November 11, 2014— Federal laws explicitly addressing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have overwhelmingly focused on the needs of military personnel and veterans, according to a new analysis published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress.
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Progress in Understanding Bipolar Disorder

 

Experts review advances in understanding and treatment of bipolar disorder

November 11, 2014—Several lines of research have opened exciting new frontiers in scientific understanding and clinical management of bipolar disorder (formerly referred to as manic-depression). Recent advances in bipolar disorder research are described in this month's special issue of Harvard Review of Psychiatry. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.
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Skin-to-Skin Contact between Mothers and Infants Is Important after Cesarean Birth

 

Skin-to-skin contact supports breastfeeding, bonding and better health outcomes

November 11, 2014—Research during the past 30 years has found many benefits of skin-to-skin contact between mothers and newborns immediately after birth, particularly with aiding breastfeeding. However, in some hospitals, skin-to-skin contact following cesarean birth is not implemented, due to practices around the surgery. A recent Quality Improvement (QI) project demonstrated that women's birth experiences were improved by implementing skin-to-skin contact after cesarean surgery.
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Why 'I'm so Happy I Could Cry' Makes Sense

New Haven, CT; November 11, 2014—The phrase "tears of joy" never made much sense to Yale psychologist Oriana Aragon. But after conducting a series of studies of such seemingly incongruous expressions, she now understands better why people cry when they are happy.
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Reminders of Emotional Support Silence the Brain's Response to Threat

November 7, 2014—Being shown pictures of others being loved and cared for reduces the brain's response to threat, new research from the University of Exeter has found.
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Sense of Meaning and Purpose in Life Linked to Longer Lifespan

November 6, 2014—A UCL-led study of 9,050 English people with an average age of 65 found that the people with the greatest wellbeing were 30% less likely to die during the average eight and a half year follow-up period than those with the least wellbeing.
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New Knowledge about the Human Brain's Plasticity

November 6, 2014—The brain's plasticity and its adaptability to new situations do not function the way researchers previously thought, according to a new study published in the journal Cell. Earlier theories are based on laboratory animals, but now researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have studied the human brain. The results show that a type of support cell, the oligodendrocyte, which plays an important role in the cell-cell communication in the nervous system, is more sophisticated in humans than in rats and mice—a fact that may contribute to the superior plasticity of the human brain.
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Compensation and Punishment: "Justice" Depends on Whether or Not We're a Victim

October 28, 2014—We’re more likely to punish wrongdoing as a third party to a non-violent offense than when we’re victimized by it, according to a new study by New York University psychology researchers. The findings, which appear in the journal Nature Communications, may offer insights into how juries differ from plaintiffs in seeking to restore justice.
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Menopausal Symptoms May Be Lessened with Young Children in the House

BLOOMINGTON, IN; October 27, 2014—A new study by researchers at The Kinsey Institute and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has found that the timeless, multicultural tradition of grandmothering might have an unexpected benefit: helping some women temper their hot flashes and night sweats during menopause.
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Receiving Gossip about Others Promotes Self-Reflection and Growth

October 24, 2014—Gossip is pervasive in our society, and our penchant for gossip can be found in most of our everyday conversations. Why are individuals interested in hearing gossip about others' achievements and failures? Researchers at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands studied the effect positive and negative gossip has on how the recipient evaluates him or herself. The study is published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
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Relationships Benefit When Parents, Adult Children Connect through Multiple Channels

LAWRENCE, KS; October 24, 2014—"Call your mother" may be the familiar refrain, but research from the University of Kansas shows that being able to text, email and 'Facebook' dad may be just as important for young adults.  
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Two Days Later: Adolescents' Conflicts Spill Over between Home and School

October 23, 2014—The lives of adolescents at home and at school may seem quite separate, but recent research has highlighted important connections. Family conflict and problems at school tend to occur together on the same day and sometimes even spill over in both directions to the next day, with family conflict increasing the likelihood of problems at school and vice versa. Now a new study has found that conflicts at home spill over to school and school problems influence problems at home up to two days later, and that negative mood and psychological symptoms are important factors in the process.
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Daydreaming Can Help Boost Mental Performance

October 23, 2014—New research led by Cornell University neuroscientist Nathan Spreng shows for the first time that engaging brain areas linked to so-called “off-task” mental activities (such as mind-wandering and reminiscing) can actually boost performance on some challenging mental tasks. The results advance our understanding of how externally and internally focused neural networks interact to facilitate complex thought, the authors say.
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Teens Whose Parents Exert More Psychological Control Have Trouble with Closeness, Independence

October 23, 2014—For teenagers, learning to establish a healthy degree of autonomy and closeness in relationships (rather than easily giving in to peer pressure) is an important task. A new longitudinal study has found one reason adolescents struggle with balancing autonomy and closeness in relationships: parents' psychological control. Teens whose parents exerted more psychological control over them when they were 13 had more problems establishing friendships and romantic relationships that balanced closeness and independence, both in adolescence and into early adulthood.
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Association between Air Toxicants and Childhood Autism

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 22, 2014 – Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were more likely to have been exposed to higher levels of certain air toxicants during their mothers' pregnancies and the first two years of life compared to children without the condition, according to the preliminary findings of a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health investigation of children in southwestern Pennsylvania.
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Bullying in Schools Is Still Prevalent, American Report Says

CLEMSON; October 22, 2014—Despite a dramatic increase in public awareness and anti-bullying legislation nationwide, the prevalence of bullying is still one of the most pressing issues facing American youth, according to a report by researchers from Clemson University and Professional Data Analysts Inc., and published by the Hazelden Foundation.
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Might versus Right: Bullies, Allies and Victims

October 21, 2014—Every year when the World Day of Bullying Prevention peeks over the October horizon, the year’s bullying research gets a thorough going-over by school administrators, parents and politicians. It isn’t that no one cares the rest of the year; rather, having an “awareness day” gives everyone a chance to take stock. How far have we come? What have we learned? Are we all on the same page?
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Even Depressed People Believe That Life Gets Better

October 21, 2014—Adults typically believe that life gets better—today is better than yesterday was and tomorrow will be even better than today. A new study shows that even depressed individuals believe in a brighter future, but this optimistic belief may not lead to better outcomes. The findings are published in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
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Siblings of Children with Autism Can Show Signs at 18 Months

October 20, 2014—About 20% of younger siblings of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) will develop the condition by age 3. A new study by Yale School of Medicine researchers has found that 57% of these younger siblings who later develop the condition already showed symptoms at age 18 months.
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Orphanage Care Linked to Thinner Brain Tissue in Regions Related to ADHD

October 14, 2014—Under the rule of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, thousands of Romanian children were placed in overcrowded orphanages with bleak conditions and minimal human contact. Even after the 1989 revolution, the legacy of institutionalization continued. Only recently has research and public concern over early childhood environments caused changes in policies.
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Not Playing Politics: How to Stay Friends When Your Views Differ

October 13, 2014—As the political posturing amps up in advance of the midterm elections, you know you can always turn off the TV or the radio when you don’t agree with the viewpoint on Obamacare, gun control or policy in the Middle East.
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Trying to Share Our 'Epic' Moments May Leave Us Feeling Left Out

October 6, 2014—We might love to reminisce and tell others about our extraordinary experiences—that time we climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, got to taste a rare wine, or ran into a celebrity on the street—but new research suggests that sharing these extraordinary experiences may come at a social cost. The findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
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How Curiosity Changes the Brain to Enhance Learning

October 2, 2014—The more curious we are about a topic, the easier it is to learn information about that topic. New research publishing online October 2 in the Cell Press journal Neuron provides insights into what happens in our brains when curiosity is piqued. The findings could help scientists find ways to enhance overall learning and memory in both healthy individuals and those with neurological conditions.
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Support from Grandparents Reduces Behavioral Problems, But May Lead to Children's Weight Gain

 

Overall, Grandparents' support linked to parents' willingness to have additional children and child well-being

October 2, 2014—Grandparents can significantly influence parents' decisions to have additional children and the well-being of grandchildren, according to a recent study completed at the University of Eastern Finland.
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Bullying Prevention: An Interview with Researcher Dieter Wolke

October 1, 2014—Dieter Wolke is professor of developmental psychology and individual differences at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. He is the principal investigator of the precursors and consequences of peer bullying; the goal of his research is to understand why and how some children develop psychological problems while others are more resilient to adverse influences. In this interview, Wolke discusses some of his team’s most recent findings, and the role parents can play in preventing the problem.
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Who Are the Men and Boys Suffering from Anorexia?

September 29, 2014—A new study by researchers from the University of Montreal reveals the current state of knowledge about anorexia in men and boys. "Most of the knowledge about anorexia pertains to females. However, about 10% of persons affected are males, and we believe this figure is underestimated," says Laurence Corbeil-Serre, lead author of the study. "Our results show that there appear to be similarities between the behavioural symptoms of males and females, but certain particularities can be identified in males, especially related to personality, gender identity, and sexual orientation."
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How Empathy Can Spark Aggression

September 26, 2014—Empathy is typically seen as eliciting warmth and compassion—a generally positive state that makes people do good things to others. However, empathy may also motivate aggression on behalf of the vulnerable other. Researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo, examined whether assessed or elicited empathy would lead to situation-specific aggression on behalf of another person, and to explore the potential role of two neurohormones in explaining a connection between empathy and aggression. The study is published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
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Talk Therapy, Not Medication, Best for Social Anxiety Disorder, Large Study Finds

 

But many lack access to trained therapists, choose medication or nothing at all to treat the common mental illness

September 25, 2014—While antidepressants are the most commonly used treatment for social anxiety disorder, new research suggests that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is more effective and, unlike medication, can have lasting effects long after treatment has stopped.
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Family-Based Therapies Can Treat Anorexia in Teens, Study Finds

September 24, 2014—Two different family-based therapies are both effective at combating anorexia nervosa in teenagers, according to the largest study ever to compare two such treatments for the life-threatening eating disorder.
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Hold On, Tiger Mom

 

Research by a UC Riverside assistant professor refutes the idea that the traditional, strict 'Chinese' upbringing, advocated for in the book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, is superior

September 22, 2014—Less supportive and punitive parenting techniques used by some Chinese parents might lead to the development of skewed self-understanding and school adjustment difficulties in their children and leave them vulnerable to depression and problem behaviors, according to a paper recently published by a University of California, Riverside assistant professor and other researchers.
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Fighting Parents Hurt Children’s Ability to Recognize and Regulate Emotions

September 17, 2014—Exposure to verbal and physical aggression between parents may hurt a child’s ability to identify and control emotions, according to a longitudinal study led by NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.
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Evidence of Genetic Link to PTSD in Soldiers Exposed to Childhood Trauma

September 16, 2014—While abnormalities in the adrenergic and noradrenergic systems, both integral in the fight-or-flight response, are thought to play a role in the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), until now there has been no genetic evidence of this connection. A collaborative study just released by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and the University of Michigan found an interaction between the ADRB2 gene and childhood adversity. For individuals with two or more experiences of childhood trauma, such as abuse, genotype was associated with risk for adult PTSD symptoms. These findings are significant for the study of the physiology of PTSD, for the treatment and prevention of stress-related illnesses, and may have implications for treating pain, which has also been linked to the ADRB2 gene.
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A Wife’s Happiness is More Crucial than Her Husband’s in Keeping Marriage on Track

 

Rutgers Study Finds Research offers insight into link between marital quality and well-being later in life

September 12, 2014—When it comes to a happy marriage, a new Rutgers study finds that the more content the wife is with the long-term union, the happier the husband is with his life no matter how he feels about their nuptials.
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World Suicide Prevention Day: Young People Who Have Attempted Suicide Disadvantaged on the Job Market

September 8, 2014—People who have attempted suicide when young are less likely to have a successful professional career later in life. This was discovered in a joint study by the Swedish Karolinska Institutet and MedUni Vienna. The prospect of long-term unemployment later in life threatens many people who have attempted suicide once or more. However, they make up an even larger proportion of the statistics for long-term sick leave and disability pensions.
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Stigma as a Barrier to Mental Health Care

September 5, 2014—Over 60 million Americans are thought to experience mental illness in a given year, and the impacts of mental illness are undoubtedly felt by millions more in the form of family members, friends, and coworkers. Despite the availability of effective evidence-based treatment, about 40% of individuals with serious mental illness do not receive care and many who begin an intervention fail to complete it. A new report, published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, investigates stigma as a significant barrier to care for many individuals with mental illness.While stigma is one of many factors that may influence care seeking, it is one that has profound effects for those who suffer from mental illness:
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Reacting to Personal Setbacks: Do You Bounce Back or Give Up?

 

Rutgers researchers find the ability to persist may depend on how the news is delivered

September 4, 2014—Sometimes when people get upsetting news—such as a failing exam grade or a negative job review—they decide instantly to do better the next time. In other situations that are equally disappointing, the same people may feel inclined to just give up.
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Dad Is Important for His Children's Development

September 3, 2014—A sensitive and attentive father has a positive influence on his child’s development, but only if he spends a considerable amount of time with the child during its first year.
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Experiences Make You Happier than Possessions: Before and After

September 2, 2014—To get the most enjoyment out of our dollar, science tells us to focus our discretionary spending on experiences such as travel over material goods. A new Cornell University study shows that the enjoyment we derive from experiential purchases may begin even before we buy.
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Rediscovering Our Mundane Moments Brings Us Unexpected Pleasure

September 2, 2014—We like to document the exciting and momentous occasions in our lives, but new research suggests there is value in capturing our more mundane, everyday experiences, which can bring us unexpected joy in the future.
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Why Plants in the Office Make Us More Productive

August 31, 2014—'Green' offices with plants make staff happier and more productive than 'lean' designs stripped of greenery, new research shows.
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Meaningful Relationships Can Help You Thrive

August 29, 2014—Deep and meaningful relationships play a vital role in overall well-being, says new research. Past studies have shown that individuals with supportive and rewarding relationships have better mental health, higher levels of subjective well-being and lower rates of morbidity and mortality. A paper published in Personality and Social Psychology Review provides an important perspective on thriving through relationships.
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Warm Thanks: Gratitude Can Win You New Friends

August 28, 2014—Parents have long told their children to mind their Ps and Qs, and remember to say thank you. Now the evidence is in on why it matters. But a new UNSW Australia-led study has shown for the first time that thanking a new acquaintance for their help makes them more likely to seek an ongoing social relationship with you.
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Outsourcing Parenthood? It Takes a Village and the Marketplace to Raise a Child

August 26, 2014—Ask any parent raising kids in today's fast-paced society and chances are they would agree that there are only so many hours in the day. Recognizing a need for help, many businesses now offer traditional caregiving services ranging from planning birthday parties to teaching children how to ride a bike. According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, by outsourcing traditional parental duties, modern-day parents feel they are ultimately protecting parenthood.
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How Parents of Anxious Children Can Avoid the 'Protection Trap'

 

Anxiety in kids one of the most common disorders

Tempe, AZ; Aug. 25, 2014—Parents naturally comfort their children when they are scared, but new research shows that some reactions may actually reinforce their children's feelings of anxiety.
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Learning by Watching, Toddlers Show Intuitive Understanding of Probability

August 25, 2014— Most people know children learn many skills simply by watching people around them. Without explicit instructions youngsters know to do things like press a button to operate the television and twist a knob to open a door. Now researchers have taken this further, finding that children as young as age 2 intuitively use mathematical concepts such as probability to help make sense of the world around them.
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