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Psychological and Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Headlines

Five Disorders Share Genetic Risk Factors, Study Finds

Treatment for OCD and Related Conditions

Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz's 4 Steps of OCD Self-Treatment

Mental Disorders as Brain Disorders: Thomas Insel at TEDxCalTech

Personality Disorders: Treatment for the 'Untreatable'

The Distinction between Personality Disorder and Mental Illness

Can Proper Nutrition Regulate Mood Swings in Bipolar Depression?

Can Faulty Wiring Lead to Impulsive Violence?

Alone: The Mental Health Effects of Solitary Confinement

Facts About Mental Health Issues and Violence

Violent Crime Doesn't Fit in the Autism Puzzle

 

Image courtesy Manchester University

 

 

Why People with Bipolar Disorder Are Bigger Risk-Takers

July 9, 2014—Researchers at the Universities of Manchester and Liverpool have discovered that circuits in the brain involved in pursuing and relishing rewarding experiences are more strongly activated in people with bipolar disorder—guiding them towards riskier gambles and away from safer ones.

The study by the Universities of Manchester and Liverpool, published today [Wednesday 9 July] in the journal Brain, used brain imaging to identify neural pathways that are responsible for the symptoms of the disorder. 

The findings will help to design, evaluate and monitor therapies for bipolar disorder.

Patients with bipolar disorder experience episodes of depression and mania (periods of intense excitement and irritability, often leading to very risky behaviour) which occur unpredictably. It is one of the most serious and difficult to treat forms of mental illness, associated with reduced life expectancy, a high risk of suicide, and sometimes persistent impairment of work and social relationships.
(Full story . . . )

Researchers Identify Genetic Marker Linked to OCD

 

Finding likely to advance research in little-understood disorder

May 13, 2014—A group of researchers led by Johns Hopkins scientists say they have identified a genetic marker that may be associated with the development of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), whose causes and mechanisms are among the least understood among mental illnesses.
(Full story . . . )

Study Finds Family-Based Exposure Therapy Effective Treatment for Young Children with OCD

 

Children 5 to 8 years old with emerging OCD can benefit from therapies used for older children

PROVIDENCE, RI; May 5, 2014—A new study from the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center has found that family-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is beneficial to young children between the ages of five and eight with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The study, now published online in JAMA Psychiatry, found developmentally sensitive family-based CBT that included exposure/response prevention (EX/RP) was more effective in reducing OCD symptoms and functional impairment in this age group than a similarly structured relaxation program.
(Full story . . . )

The Surprising Truth about Obsessive-Compulsive Thinking


International study finds that 94 percent of people experience unwanted, intrusive thoughts

Montreal, April 8, 2014—People who check whether their hands are clean or imagine their house might be on fire are not alone. New research from Concordia University and 15 other universities worldwide shows that 94 per cent of people experience unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images and/or impulses.
(Full story . . . )

DNA Changes Found in Blood That Are Directly Related to Changes in the Brain

 

Research linked to stress in mice confirms blood-brain comparison is valid

April 8, 2014—Johns Hopkins researchers say they have confirmed suspicions that DNA modifications found in the blood of mice exposed to high levels of stress hormone—and showing signs of anxiety—are directly related to changes found in their brain tissues.
(Full story . . . )

Study Identifies Most Common, Costly Reasons for Mental Health Hospitalizations for Kids

March 17, 2014—Nearly one in 10 children are hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of a mental health condition, and depression alone accounts for $1.33 billion in hospital charges annually, according to a new analysis led by the University of California, San Francisco, Benioff Children's Hospital.
(Full story . . . )

Brain Mapping Confirms Patients with Schizophrenia Have Impaired Ability to Imitate

March 14, 2014—According to George Bernard Shaw, "Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery – it's the sincerest form of learning." According to psychologists, imitation is something that we all do whenever we learn a new skill, whether it is dancing or how to behave in specific social situations.
(Full story . . . )

'Love Hormone' Could Provide New Treatment for Anorexia

March 12, 2014—Oxytocin, also known as the 'love hormone', could provide a new treatment for anorexia nervosa, according to new research by a team of British and Korean scientists.
(Full story . . . )

Frequent Childhood Nightmares May Indicate an Increased Risk of Psychotic Traits

February 28, 2014—Children who suffer from frequent nightmares or bouts of night terrors may be at an increased risk of psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to new research from the University of Warwick.
(Full story . . . )

Researchers Pinpoint Brain Region Essential for Social Memory

 

Potential target for treating autism, schizophrenia, and other brain disorders

NEW YORK, NY; February 23, 2014—Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) researchers have determined that a small region of the hippocampus known as CA2 is essential for social memory, the ability of an animal to recognize another of the same species. A better grasp of the function of CA2 could prove useful in understanding and treating disorders characterized by altered social behaviors, such as autism, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. The findings, made in mice, were published today in the online edition of Nature.
(Full story . . . )

Psychological Side-Effects of Anti-Depressants Worse than Thought

LIVERPOOL, UK; February 26, 2014—A University of Liverpool researcher has shown that thoughts of suicide, sexual difficulties and emotional numbness as a result of anti-depressants may be more widespread than previously thought.
(Full story . . . )

Understanding the Basic Biology of Bipolar Disorder

 

Scientists from UCLA, UC San Francisco, Costa Rica and Colombia take steps to identify genetic component to mental illness

February 12, 2014—Scientists know there is a strong genetic component to bipolar disorder, but they have had an extremely difficult time identifying the genes that cause it. So, in an effort to better understand the illness's genetic causes, researchers at UCLA tried a new approach.
(Full story . . . )

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Benefits Patients with Body Dysmorphic Disorder

 

Patients reported considerable improvements in symptoms and disability

PROVIDENCE, RI; February 11, 2014—In a recent study, researchers at Rhode Island Hospital found significant benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy as a treatment modality for patients with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD).
(Full story . . . )

Alcohol, Tobacco, Drug Use Far Higher in Severely Mentally Ill

St. Louis, MO; January 1, 2014—In the largest ever assessment of substance use among people with severe psychiatric illness, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of Southern California have found that rates of smoking, drinking and drug use are significantly higher among those who have psychotic disorders than among those in the general population.
(Full story . . . )

Toward a Molecular Explanation for Schizophrenia

Researchers find inhibition of a basic cellular process may contribute to the mysterious disease

December 30, 2013—Surprisingly little is known about schizophrenia. It was only recognized as a medical condition in the past few decades, and its exact causes remain unclear. Since there is no objective test for schizophrenia, its diagnosis is based on an assortment of reported symptoms. The standard treatment, antipsychotic medication, works less than half the time and becomes increasingly ineffective over time. Now, researchers have discovered that an important cell-maintenance process called autophagy is reduced in the brains of schizophrenic patients.
(Full story . . . )

Eating Disorders More Common in Males than Realized

 

Broader diagnostic criteria could help identify illness in boys

BOSTON, MA; November 4, 2013—Parents and doctors assume eating disorders very rarely affect males. However, a study of 5,527 teenage males from across the U.S., published Nov.4 in JAMA Pediatrics, challenges this belief. Boston Children's Hospital researchers found 17.9 percent of adolescent boys were extremely concerned about their weight and physique. These boys were more likely to start engaging in risky behaviors, including drug use and frequent binge drinking.
(Full story . . . )

Lefties More Likely to Have Psychotic Disorders Such as Schizophrenia

October 31, 2013—Being left-handed has been linked to many mental disorders, but Yale researcher Jadon Webb and his colleagues have found that among those with mental illnesses, people with psychotic disorders like schizophrenia are much more likely to be left-handed than those with mood disorders like depression or bipolar syndrome.
(Full story . . . )

Exposure to Cortisol-Like Medications Before Birth May Contribute to Emotional Problems and Brain Changes

October 31, 2013—Cortisol-like drugs called glucocorticoids are administered frequently to women in preterm labor to accelerate their babies' lung maturation prior to birth. In this study, children with fetal glucocorticoid exposure showed significant cortical thinning, and a thinner cortex also predicted more emotional problems. In one particularly affected part of the brain, the rostral anterior cingulate cortex, it was 8–9 percent thinner among children exposed to glucocorticoids. Interestingly, other studies have shown that this region of the brain is affected in individuals diagnosed with mood and anxiety disorders.
(Full story . . . )

Schizophrenia Linked to Abnormal Brain Waves

CAMBRIDGE, MA; October 17, 2013—Schizophrenia patients usually suffer from a breakdown of organized thought, often accompanied by delusions or hallucinations. For the first time, neuroscientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have observed the neural activity that appears to produce this disordered thinking.
(Full story . . . )

Exposure/Ritual Prevention Therapy Boosts Antidepressant Treatment of OCD

 

Trumps antipsychotic, amending current guidelines

September 12, 2013—Grantees at the National Institute of Mental Health have demonstrated that a form of behavioral therapy can augment antidepressant treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) better than an antipsychotic. The researchers recommend that this specific form of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)—exposure and ritual prevention (ERT) —be offered to OCD patients who don't respond adequately to treatment with an antidepressant alone, which is often the case. Current guidelines favor augmentation with antipsychotics.
(Full story . . . )

Psychotherapy Lags as Evidence Goes Unheeded

PROVIDENCE, RI; August 20, 2013—Psychotherapy has issues. Evidence shows that some psychosocial treatments work well for common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression and that consumers often prefer them to medication. Yet the use of psychotherapy is on a clear decline in the United States. In a set of research review papers in the November issue of the journal Clinical Psychology Review, psychologists put psychotherapy on the proverbial couch to examine why it’s foundering.
(Full story . . . )

How a Cancer Drug Unties Knots in the Chromosome That Causes Angelman and Prader-Willi Syndromes

SACRAMENTO, CA; August 5, 2013— UC Davis researchers have identified how and where in the genome a cancer chemotherapy agent acts on and 'un-silences' the epigenetically silenced gene that causes Angelman syndrome, a rare neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by severe intellectual disability, seizures, motor impairments, and laughing and smiling.
(Full story . . . )

Neuroscientists Find Protein Linked to Cognitive Deficits in Angelman Syndrome

August 1, 2013—A team of neuroscientists has identified a protein in laboratory mice linked to impairments similar to those afflicted with Angelman syndrome (AS)—a condition associated with symptoms that include autism, intellectual disability, and motor abnormalities.
(Full story . . . )

Psychotherapy via Internet as Good Or Better than Face-to-Face Consultations

July 30, 2013—Online psychotherapy is just as efficient as conventional therapy. Three months after the end of the therapy, patients given online treatment even displayed fewer symptoms. For the first time, clinical researchers from the University of Zurich (UZH) provide scientific evidence of the equal value of internet-based psychotherapy.

Does psychotherapy via the Internet work? For the first time, clinical researchers from UZH have studied whether online psychotherapy and conventional face-to-face therapy are equally effective in an experiment. 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.
(Full story . . . )

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