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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

 

anorexia in males

 

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."

The researchers conducted a review of the literature comparing 24 studies conducted over 15 years and involving 279 participants aged between 11 and 36 years. From this review, they identified seven relevant cited variables, either because of their recurrence in the literature or because of divergent results found in the research, and were able to identify major trends among these variables. The variables are clinical presentation, pre-existing conditions to the disorder, personality characteristics, sexual orientation and activity, gender identity, and comorbid disorders.
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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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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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Stuck in Neutral: Brain Defect Traps Schizophrenics in Twilight Zone

August 17, 2014—People with schizophrenia struggle to turn goals into actions because brain structures governing desire and emotion are less active and fail to pass goal-directed messages to cortical regions affecting human decision-making, new research reveals.
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Anorexia Fueled by Pride About Weight Loss

 

Rutgers study finds that positive emotions could play a role in the deadly disorder

August 4, 2014—Positive emotions—even those viewed through a distorted lens—may play an exacerbating role in fueling eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, which has a death rate 12 times higher for females between the ages of 15 and 24 than all other causes of death combined, according to a Rutgers study.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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'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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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).
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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International Study Provides New Genetic Clue to Anorexia

LA JOLLA, CA; September 11, 2013—The largest DNA-sequencing study of anorexia nervosa has linked the eating disorder to variants in a gene coding for an enzyme that regulates cholesterol metabolism. The finding suggests that anorexia could be caused in part by a disruption in the normal processing of cholesterol, which may disrupt mood and eating behavior.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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