A new clue to the genetics of bipolar disorder: Piccolo

Understanding the genetics of bipolar disorder could lead to new treatments, but identifying specific genetic variations associated with this disorder has been challenging. A new study in Biological Psychiatry implicates a brain protein called Piccolo in the risk for inheriting bipolar disorder.

Can online peer support groups help those with mental illness?

Millions of people dealing with health issues have found comfort sharing their stories online with others who experience similar ailments, but research on their clinical effectiveness is limited, and findings are mixed. Among people with mental illnesses, the results are sparser, even though research has shown that this group prefers online peer support groups over face-to-face support groups.

Babies and toddlers can suffer mental illness, seldom get treatment

Infants and toddlers can suffer serious mental health disorders, yet they are unlikely to receive treatment that could prevent lasting developmental problems, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

The brain as a ‘task machine’

The portion of the brain responsible for visual reading doesn’t require vision at all, according to a new study published online on February 17 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication. Brain imaging studies of blind people as they read words in Braille show activity in precisely the same part of the brain that lights up when sighted readers read. The findings challenge the textbook notion that the brain is divided up into regions that are specialized for processing information coming in via one sense or another, the researchers say.

Deep brain stimulation helps severe OCD, but pioneer advises caution

When obsessive-compulsive disorder is of crippling severity and drugs and behavior therapy can’t help, there has been for just over a year a thread — or rather a wire — of hope. By inserting a thin electrode deep into the brain, doctors can precisely deliver an electrical current to a cord of the brain’s wiring and soften the severity of the symptoms. “Deep brain stimulation” therapy for OCD won Food and Drug Administration approval in 2009 for extreme cases under its humanitarian device exemption.

Therapeutic lifestyle changes offer many mental health benefits

Lifestyle changes—such as getting more exercise, time in nature, or helping others—can be as effective as drugs or counseling to treat an array of mental illnesses, according to a new paper published by the American Psychological Association.

One in three have tried dating websites with middle-aged suitors using them most

In Oxford University study suggests that nearly one in three of us who use the internet have visited online dating sites. An international survey of 24,000 men and women who are presently online found that just six per cent had gone to dating websites in 1997 but by 2009, 30 per cent of the sample had tried them with 15 per cent finding their current partner that way.

Human sentence processing unconcerned by sentence structure

The hierarchical structure of sentences appears to be less important in human sentence processing than hitherto assumed. Readers seem to pay attention to simple word sequences above all. These are the conclusions of research conducted by Dr. Stefan Frank and Prof. Rens Bod from the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Their findings, which run counter to the prevailing view, will soon be published in the renowned scientific journal Psychological Science.

Female topics encourage girls to study science

Girls are more interested in studying science if topics are presented in a female friendly way. This is one of the findings of Dr Sylvie Kerger the University of Luxembourg whose research is published online the British Journal of Educational Psychology by BPS Journals in partnership with Wiley-Blackwell.

Gene important for daily rhythms of the sleep-wake cycle

Northwestern University scientists have discovered a new mechanism in the core gears of the circadian clock. They found the loss of a certain gene, dubbed “twenty-four,” messes up the rhythm of the common fruit fly’s sleep-wake cycle, making it harder for the flies to awaken.