Tag Archives | Depression

Fetuses Can Sense Mothers’ Psychological States, Study Indicates

Fetal Face ProfileVia ScienceDaily:

As a fetus grows, it’s constantly getting messages from its mother. It’s not just hearing her heartbeat and whatever music she might play to her belly; it also gets chemical signals through the placenta. A new study, which will be published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that this includes signals about the mother’s mental state. If the mother is depressed, that affects how the baby develops after it’s born.

In recent decades, researchers have found that the environment a fetus is growing up in — the mother’s womb — is very important. Some effects are obvious. Smoking and drinking, for example, can be devastating. But others are subtler; studies have found that people who were born during the Dutch famine of 1944, most of whom had starving mothers, were likely to have health problems like obesity and diabetes later.

Curt A.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Marijuana Will Make You Sad (If You Are Prone To Be Depressed)?

Sad KeanuVia Science Daily:

Young people who are genetically vulnerable to depression should be extra careful about using cannabis: smoking cannabis leads to an increased risk of developing depressive symptoms. This has emerged from research carried out by Roy Otten at the Behavioural Science Institute of Radboud University Nijmegen that is published in the online version of the scientific journal Addiction Biology. Two-thirds of the population have the gene variant that makes one sensitive to depression.

Many young people in the Netherlands use cannabis. Nearly 30% of 16-year-olds indicate that they have used cannabis on at least one occasion, and 12% that they have used it during the past month. Besides worse performances at school, the use of cannabis also increases the risk of developing schizophrenia and psychosis. Smoking hashish and weed were thought to increase the risk of depression but no conclusive evidence for this was available to date.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

40 Percent Of Europeans Have Mental Illness

blogstagefright2The percentage will only increase, with an aging population, the stresses of modern life, et cetera, which leads to the question: What happens when the majority of the public across an entire continent are classified as ‘mentally ill’? Via Reuters:

Europeans are plagued by mental and neurological illnesses, with almost 165 million people or 38 percent of the population suffering each year from a brain disorder such as depression, anxiety, insomnia or dementia, according to a large new study.

With only about a third of cases receiving the therapy or medication needed, mental illnesses cause a huge economic and social burden — measured in the hundreds of billions of euros — as sufferers become too unwell to work and personal relationships break down.

“The immense treatment gap … for mental disorders has to be closed,” said Hans Ulrich Wittchen, director of the institute of clinical psychology and psychotherapy at Germany’s Dresden University and the lead investigator on the European study.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Anti-Depressant Patients Are More Likely to Suffer Depression Relapse

Prozac Pills

Photo: Tom Varco (CC)

From ScienceDaily:

In a paper that is likely to ignite new controversy in the hotly debated field of depression and medication, evolutionary psychologist Paul Andrews concludes that patients who have used anti-depressant medications can be nearly twice as susceptible to future episodes of major depression.

Andrews, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, is the lead author of a new paper in the journal Frontiers of Psychology.

The meta-analysis suggests that people who have not been taking any medication are at a 25 per cent risk of relapse, compared to 42 per cent or higher for those who have taken and gone off an anti-depressant.

Andrews and his colleagues studied dozens of previously published studies to compare outcomes for patients who used anti-depressants compared to those who used placebos.

They analyzed research on subjects who started on medications and were switched to placebos, subjects who were administered placebos throughout their treatment, and subjects who continued to take medication throughout their course of treatment.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Are Teens Into Music More Likely To Be Depressed?

Photo: Nishauncom

Photo: Nishauncom

Which came first, the music or the depression? They say classical music boosts your baby’s brain activity. And music has been known to soothe the savage beast. Now music may play a hand in your teenager’s depression. Via PsychCentral:

The link between media exposure and adolescent emotional health continues to be a hot research area. In a new study, researchers found that teens who spend more time listening to music, rather than  reading books, are more likely to be depressed.

Researchers said this study was unique as it sampled the behaviors of study participants in real time using a technique called ecological momentary assessment.

The method is more reliable than standard surveys and helped researchers recognize this large association between exposure to music and depression, said Brian Primack, M.D., Ed.M., M.S., assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics at Pitt’s School of Medicine, who led the study.

Some 106 teens were involved in the study, 46 of whom were diagnosed with major depressive disorder.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

For Second Straight Year, Military Suicides Outnumber Combat Deaths

AfghanistanThe U.S. military continues to experience a disturbingly high suicide rate, arguably the deadliest hazard that troops now face. Via Congress.org:

For the second year in a row, the U.S. military has lost more troops to suicide than it has to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The reasons are complicated and the accounting uncertain — for instance, should returning soldiers who take their own lives after being mustered out be included? But the suicide rate is a further indication of the stress that military personnel live under after nearly a decade of war.

Overall, the services reported 434 suicides by personnel on active duty, significantly more than the 381 suicides by active-duty personnel reported in 2009. The 2010 total is below the 462 deaths in combat, excluding accidents and illness. In 2009, active-duty suicides exceeded deaths in battle.

Last week’s figures, though, understate the problem of military suicides because the services do not report the statistics uniformly.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Depression May Stem From Your DNA

Albrecht Dürer's 'Melencolia I'

Albrecht Dürer's 'Melencolia I'

Alice Park reports on a gene that may prove to trigger depression in some people, for TIME:

As powerful as genes are in exposing clues to diseases, not even the most passionate geneticist believes that complex conditions such as depression can be reduced to a tell-tale string of DNA.

But a new study confirms earlier evidence that a particular gene, involved in ferrying a brain chemical critical to mood known as serotonin, may play a role in triggering the mental disorder in some people.

Researchers led by Dr. Srijan Sen, a professor of psychiatry at University of Michigan, report in the Archives of General Psychiatry that individuals with a particular form of the serotonin transporter gene were more vulnerable to developing depression when faced with stressful life events such as having a serious medical illness or being a victim of childhood abuse. The form of the gene that these individuals inherit prevents the mood-regulating serotonin from being re-absorbed by nerve cells in the brain.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Suicides In Japan Cost Economy $32bn

I would think the number one problem is that Japan has the highest suicide rate in the world, not the fact that it’s hurting the economy. BBC reports:

The government in Japan says suicides and depression cost its economy almost 2.7tn yen ($32bn; £21bn) last year.

The figures refer to lost incomes and the cost of treatment. It is the first time Japan has released such figures.

Japan has one of the world’s highest suicide rates, with more than 32,000 people killing themselves last year. PM Naoto Kan sees it as proof of an economic and emotional downturn.

The government is setting up a task force to try to reduce the rate.

From Friday, it will run a video clip of a footballer from the J-league on its website, urging people to be more aware of the problem.

Continues at BBC News

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Using Psychedelics To Treat Depression

Ecstasy (MDMA)

Ecstasy (MDMA)

It’s been a long struggle, more or less since the days of Timothy Leary and Albert Hofmann in the ’60s, but doctors and scientists are finally being allowed to treat depression with some of the most effective drugs known to them: psychedelics. Anne Harding reports for CNN/Health.com:

Pamela Sakuda, 57, was anxious and depressed. After two years of intensive chemotherapy for late-stage colon cancer, and having outlived her prognosis by several months, she’d finally lost hope. She was living in fear and was worried how her impending death would affect her husband.

Sakuda’s doctor prescribed antidepressants, but they didn’t do any good. So, at her wits’ end and feeling that she had nothing to lose, Sakuda volunteered for an experimental depression treatment being studied at UCLA.

In January 2005, with a pair of trained therapists at her side, Sakuda took a pill of psilocybin — a hallucinogen better known as the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms.”

It may seem far-fetched that a psychedelic drug associated with muddy hippies at Woodstock would help a cancer patient at a university hospital.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Eating Chocolate Leads To Depression

Photo: André Karwath (CC)

Photo: André Karwath (CC)

Call me strange, and many have, but I’ve never liked chocolate. I’ve never been seriously depressed, either. Now it appears there may be a link between the two, reported here by the BBC:

People who regularly eat chocolate are more depressive, experts have found. Research in Archives of Internal Medicine shows those who eat at least a bar every week are more glum than those who only eat chocolate now and again.

Many believe chocolate has the power to lift mood, and the US team say this may be true, although scientific proof for this is lacking. But they say they cannot rule out that chocolate may be a cause rather than the cure for being depressed.

In the study, which included nearly 1,000 adults, the more chocolate the men and women consumed the lower their mood. Those who ate the most – more than six regular 28g size bars a month – scored the highest on depression, using a recognised scale.

Read the rest
Continue Reading