Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Anxiety’ Category

The New York Times (12/17, Bhanoo, http://tinyurl.com/fearamygdala) reportsIn the 1930s, researchers discovered that when a certain part of monkeys’ brains was removed, the animals became fearless.  Now, scientists have confirmed that a missing amygdala results in similar behavior in humans, according to a study in the journal Current Biology. Patient SM, because of a rare condition called lipoid proteinosis, has holes where her amygdala would normally reside. Researchers found that she, like the monkeys, has no fear of creatures like snakes and spiders, which ordinarily alarm most people.  SM put her life at risk several times.  In one instance, she walked through a park alone at night and was attacked by a man with a knife. The following day, she walked through the same park again.   Shw was exposed  to snakes and spiders at a pet store, shown clips of horror movies like The Shining and The Blair Witch Project, and taken through a haunted house in a former sanatorium.   SM’s fear response was nonexistent.   What’s more, she “relished cuddling snakes and had to be stopped from reaching for a tarantula.”   Understanding how the mind of a patient like SM works could help researchers develop therapies for individuals who express excessive amounts of fear, like war veterans.

Read Full Post »

The UK’s Daily Mail // (1/11, Ferrier http://tinyurl.com/adrenal-gland-fatigue) reports a  new syndrome coined Adrenal Fatigue is now so commonplace it has been recognized by the World Health Organization.  The umbrella term for a group of non-specific symptoms affects significantly more women than men.  Adrenal Fatigue occurs because the adrenals – walnut-sized glands that sit just above the kidneys – get overworked.  The adrenals are expected to churn out high levels of the hormone cortisol, traditionally during short-term periods of high stress. People suffering from adrenal fatigue often have to use coffee, colas and other stimulants to get going in the morning and to prop themselves up during the day.   When we are children, our cortisol levels fluctuate as we get excited and nervous, but as we get older, some of us live with permanently raised levels.  This wreaks havoc with our bodies and leaves many of us feeling deflated and anxious – and never more so than around the Christmas and New Year period, when we’re grappling with all manner of stress-inducing situations, from worrying about that upcoming credit card bill to dealing with in-laws.  The increasing prevalence of the syndrome presents one of the most interesting medical paradigms of our time.  First coined by Canadian alternative medicine specialist Dr James Wilson in 1998, the term Adrenal Fatigue is beginning to be recognized by mainstream health organizations.   The condition is difficult to diagnose because adrenal function is measured on a sliding scale, a bit like thyroid function. It’s only if a test shows you to have levels in the highest or lowest 2 per cent that you’ll be deemed ‘abnormal’.    So if your cortisol levels are in the lowest 5 per cent and you are suffering significant symptoms, it still wouldn’t be deemed a medical issue.   A good diet may be helpful in treating Adrenal Fatigue, including wholegrains, oily fish and fruit, supplemented by magnesium, B5 and vitamins C and B12. 

Read Full Post »

According to a study in the Archives of General Psychiatry (http://tinyurl.com/lead-and-psychiatry), in young adults with low levels of lead exposure, higher blood lead levels were associated with increased odds of major depression and panic disorders. Exposure to lead at levels generally considered safe could result in adverse mental health outcomes.  The mean blood lead level was 1.61 µg/dL.  Increasing blood lead levels were associated with higher odds of major depression and panic disorder but not generalized anxiety disorder.  Persons with blood lead levels in the highest quintile had 2.3 times the odds of major depressive disorder  and 4.9 times the odds of panic disorder as those in the lowest quintile.  Cigarette smoking was associated with higher blood lead levels and outcome, but models that excluded current smokers also resulted in significantly increased odds of major depression and panic disorder with higher blood lead quintiles.

Read Full Post »

junkfoodHealthDay (http://tinyurl.com/high-calorie-diet-crash 11/12, Dotinga) reported that, according to a study published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine found that “rats weaned off a high-calorie diet showed the same effects on the brain as withdrawing from drugs and alcohol.” After giving “rats a regular diet for five days and then” switching “them to a chocolate-flavored food that was high in sugar,” investigators found that the animals “didn’t want to switch back to the ordinary chow after…dining on the equivalent of rat junk food.” And, “when deprived of the sugary food, they showed signs of anxiety, and their brains acted as if they were withdrawing from alcohol or drugs.”

Read Full Post »

squamous_cell_cancerHealthDay (9/25, Preidt) reported that, according to a study published online Sept. 16 on the website of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, “periods of short-term stress boost the immune system and protect against a certain type of skin cancer in mice.” Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine exposed mice “for 10 weeks to doses of cancer-causing ultraviolet light. Some of the mice were subjected to nine periods of short-term stress.” The team found that “fewer of the acutely stressed mice developed…squamous cell carcinoma during weeks 11 through 21,” and stressed rodents “that did develop skin cancer had [fewer] tumors than the non-stressed mice.” However, “the protective effect of the acute stress wasn’t permanent,” and “acute stress did not lower tumor burden beyond week 26.”

Read Full Post »

The UK’s Daily Mail (8/28) reports that researchers at Australia’s University of Queensland, after discovering “a chemical released by a mown lawn makes people feel happy and relaxed,” have formulated “a perfume which ‘smells like a freshly-cut lawn’ which relieves stress and help boost memory.” The perfume, called Serenascent, appears to affect “the emotional and memory parts of the brain known as the amygdala and the hippocampus,” the two areas of the brain “responsible for the flight or fight response and the endocrine system, which controls the releasing of stress hormones like corticosteroids.” In experiments, the investigators “found that animals exposed to stress-buckeye psychiatry — which combines three chemicals released when green leaves are cut — escaped damage to the hippocampus.” Next month, the perfume “will go into production…and sell for around £4 a bottle.”

Read Full Post »

HealthDay (8/5, Preidt) reported, “Social stress may cause the body to deposit more fat in the abdomen, which increases the risk of heart disease,” according to a Wake Forest study of female monkeys. The “monkeys were fed a Western-style diet tfat-monkeyhat contained fat and cholesterol,” while being “housed in groups” where they “naturally established a pecking order from dominant to subordinate.” However, “the subordinate monkeys were not included in group grooming sessions as often as dominant monkeys, and were often the target of aggression.” Eventually, the team noted that the “subordinate monkeys…developed more fat in the abdominal cavity than other monkeys.” According to the paper appearing in Obesity, “this abdominal (visceral) fat promotes the build-up of plaque in blood vessels that leads to heart disease.”

Read Full Post »

cpHealthDay (6/29, Edelson) reported that, according to a study published online June 29 in the journal Circulation, “anxiety and depression can increase the incidence of angina.” For the study, a team led by Mark Sullivan, MD, PhD, of the University of Washington, followed “191 people with known ischemia who underwent stress testing and heart imaging. They found that 36 percent reported no angina in the previous month, with 35 percent reporting monthly incidents.” Of the group “who had daily or weekly angina, psychological assessments, including a self-reporting anxiety and depression questionnaire, showed that 44 percent had significant anxiety and two-thirds had significant depression.” It remained unclear “whether the psychological problems were heightening the effect of angina or vice versa,” but Dr. Sullivan said that “physicians treating people with angina can use ‘fairly simple screening tests’ to determine the presence of anxiety or depression and treat those conditions, if necessary.”

Read Full Post »

Researchers say brains of non-believers, religious people may differ in reaction to errors.  UPI (3/6) reports that a recent study “found distinct brain differences between believers in God and non-believers.” Canadian researchers said that, “even after controlling for personality and cognitive ability, when asked to perform tasks while wearing electrodes, those having faith in God showed significantly less activity than those without belief, in the anterior cingulate cortex of the brain — a portion of the brain that helps modify behavior by signaling when attention and control are needed, usually as a result of some anxiety-producing event.” According to lead author Michael Inzlicht, PhD, of the University of Toronto, “We found that religious people or even people who simply believe in the existence of God show significantly less brain activity in relation to their own errors. … They’re much less anxious and feel less stressed when they have made an error.”

Read Full Post »

The Wall Street Journal (2/24, Dorman) reported, “Pfizer Inc. has ended development of two late-stage drugs, as part of its previously stated strategy to allocate resources to higher-potential efforts, including pursuing additional uses for its blockbuster fibromyalgia drug Lyrica [pregabalin].” One of the medications, esreboxetine, “was…developed to treat fibromyalgia and the other [known as PD 332,334] was one for generalized anxiety disorder.” Pfizer “will continue to pursue Lyrica as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder.” According to the AP (2/25, Johnson), “Neither compound had been seen as a likely blockbuster because other drugs to treat those conditions already are on the market.” The company “said it reviewed results from the first late-stage study for PD 332,334 and all the data for esreboxetine, ‘along with current market dynamics,’ before making the decision.” Pedro Lichtinger, president and general manager of Pfizer’s Primary Care Business Unit, said that “‘while confident in the safety of these compounds, we don’t believe that they provide significant benefit over other therapies’ on the market.”

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »