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Browsing: Mental Health

The latest news about mental health, psychiatry, and abnormal psychology research

Need a study break to refresh? Maybe not, say Stanford researchers

It could happen to students cramming for exams, people working long hours or just about anyone burning the candle at both ends: Something tells you to take a break. Watch some TV. Have a candy bar. Goof off, tune out for a bit and come back to the task at hand when you’re feeling better. After all, you’re physically exhausted.

One in five children meet criteria for a mental disorder across their lifetime

Mental disorders in children are often difficult to identify due to the myriad of changes that occur during the normal course of maturation. For the first time, researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health have reported on the prevalence data on a broad range of mental disorders in a nationally representative sample of U.S. adolescents, which show that approximately one in five children in the U.S. meet the criteria for a mental disorder severe enough to disrupt their daily lives.

ADHD more common in offspring of mothers with genetic serotonin deficiencies

Children whose mothers are genetically predisposed to have impaired production of serotonin appear more likely to develop attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) later in life, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Faith-based interventions can encourage exercise in older African-American women

In a randomized controlled study based in Los Angeles, California, encouraging African-American women aged 60 or over to exercise, in conjunction with scripture reading and group prayer, led to a 78% increase in steps per week, equivalent to about three extra miles. This increase was four times greater than in the control group who were also encouraged to exercise but with no faith based interventions. The results are published today in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

A thirst for excitement is hidden in your genes

Sensation seeking—the urge to do exciting things—has been linked to dopamine, a chemical that carries messages in your brain. For a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, scientists analyzed genes in the dopamine system and found a group of mutations that help predict whether someone is inclined toward sensation seeking.

Youth are disproportionately affected by mental disorders

About 20 percent of U.S. youth during their lifetime are affected by some type of mental disorder to an extent that they have difficulty functioning, according to a new NIMH survey published in the October 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The data support the observation from surveys of adults that mental disorders most commonly start in early life.

The price of popularity: Drug and alcohol consumption

The consumption of drugs and alcohol by teenagers is not just about rebellion or emotional troubles. It’s about being one of the cool kids, according to a study by led by researchers at the Université de Montréal.

Young teens who play sports feel healthier and happier about life

Taking part in sports is good all round for young teens: physically, socially, and mentally, according to a new study1 by Dr. Keith Zullig and Rebecca White from West Virginia University in the US. Their research shows that middle-school teenagers who are physically active and play on sports teams are more satisfied with their life and feel healthier.

Abnormalities in brain histamine may be key factor in Tourette syndrome

Since the first case description in the 19th century, the causes of Tourette syndrome have been a mystery. Now researchers have identified a rare gene mutation responsible for the disorder in one family. The gene is needed for producing histamine, a small molecule with many roles in the body, including signaling in the brain.

Spinal cord injury, spasms, and serotonin

When people think of spinal cord injury, they tend to think of paralysis. But a spinal cord injury can also cause debilitating muscle spasms. Although the drug baclofen can control these spasms, many patients cannot tolerate its side effects, which include general sedation and dizziness. A new study sheds light on how a spinal cord injury leads to spasms, and on the promise of more precisely targeted drugs with fewer side effects.

Current decisions shape your future preferences

Psychologists have known for a long time that after you make a choice, you adjust your opinion to think better of the thing you chose. Now a new study has found that this is true even if you don’t know the options that you’re choosing between.

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