Psychology

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Patient-focused radiography

Dementia and autism patients in the MRI: not aggressive, just lost

Patients with neurological conditions such as dementia or autism can prove especially challenging for radiographers. A session at the ECR overture in March gave insights to a patient-focused approach.

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Workforce exodus

A third of GPs plan to jump ship within five years

Around 33% of GPs are likely to quit direct patient care within five years, according to a UK survey. The high percentage of young physicians is especially alarming.

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Coronavirus after-effects

Severe Covid-19 linked to increased anxiety and depression risk

People who were bedridden for at least a week due to Covid-19 are more likely to experience anxiety and depression for up to 16 months after the infection, a new study shows.

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Decrease in wellbeing

Covid-19 pandemic has devastating effect on mental health, study shows

The Covid pandemic might be responsible for a “substantial decrease” in mental wellbeing in the UK, according to new research from the University of East Anglia and University of York.

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UK study reveals

Many women feel 'brushed aside' by the healthcare system

Many women feel they are not being listened to about their health needs – and experience a lack of empathy around problems relating to menstruation, fertility, childbirth and menopause.

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Chatbots & co

E-mental health: A solution for a rising challenge

E-mental health services could provide a response to these challenges and offer effective ways for prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and aftercare.

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Addressing coronavirus vaccine hesitancy

Covid-19: Could a chatbot help overcome vaccine concerns?

French researchers have found that addressing concerns related to the Covid-19 vaccination via a chatbot interface might be capable of swaying the vaccine-hesitant. Vaccine hesitancy is one of the major challenges in containing the Covid-19 pandemic. Previous studies have revealed that mass communication—through short messages relayed by television or radio—is not a very effective means of…

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SARS-CoV-2 in the media

Does 'beautifying' the Coronavirus make us underestimate its danger?

Colourful, 3D rendered scientific images are fascinating - but can they deceive viewers? New research from Spain suggests this might be the case. According to the study by the Instituto de Radio Televisión Española and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona conducted during the Covid-19 lockdown, black and white images of SARS-CoV-2 make the virus seem more infectious. The results, published on…

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Immersive imaging distraction

VR system to reduce MRI scan anxiety

Claustrophobia or anxiety can overwhelm small children and people with cognitive difficulties, especially in a confining and noisy MRI scanner tube. Their restless reactions can then render scan images useless. To help such patients to relax during scanning, a team from King’s College London (KCL) has designed an immersive environment with a special virtual reality (VR) headset for use with MRI…

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Psychology of the pandemic

How gamification helps us cope with Covid-19

A pandemic is not a game. Yet, human response in dealing with Covid-19 resembles patterns known from games: people hoard resources, compare leaderboards and graphs, play certain social roles, establish a good-versus-evil narrative, and align themselves with prominent hero figures. The reasoning behind this is simple.

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Stress, depression, anxiety

Suppress or sustain? How our brain handles traumatic memories

Two clusters of brain cells compete to promote either the persistence or disappearance of traumatic memories, according to a new study conducted in mice. The findings could provide important insights into human conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, and associated problems such as alcohol use disorder (AUD) that can arise from the persistence of traumatic…

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Post-traumatic stress disorder

Is PTSD on the rise - or just overdiagnosed?

Some clinicians are concerned that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis has risen throughout Western society since the late 1980s. Is this correct? And if so, has the true incidence of PTSD really spiralled out of control, or has it simply become overdiagnosed? Experts debate the issue in The BMJ this week. PTSD is a serious and uncommon condition resulting from severe trauma, but it…

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Sex differences in medication

A drug that could help men help cope with fear (but might make things worse for women)

A research team from the Institut de Neurociències at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (INc-UAB) has showed that inhibition through a drug of the Tac2 neuronal circuit, involved in the formation of the memory of fear, has opposite effects on the ability to remember aversive events in mice according to sex: it is reduced in male mice and increased in female mice.

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Reducing hospital-related stress and anxiety

Website helps children and parents to prepare for hospitalization

Every year, millions of children around the world are admitted to hospital for having anaesthesia and surgery. Many of them experience preoperative anxiety which negatively affects both their hospital experience and medical outcome, as well as their future relationships with healthcare services from both a short-term and long-term point of view. A new, internationally aimed website offers…

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Gesundheit!

Why stress relief is also allergy relief

Increased allergic reactions may be tied to the corticotropin-releasing stress hormone (CRH), suggests a new study. These findings may help clarify the mechanism by which CRH induces proliferation of mast cells (MC) – agents involved in the development of allergies in the human nasal cavity.

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Prevalence of depression and anxiety

Covid-19 pandemic impacts mental health worldwide, study finds

A study conducted by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health researchers reports a high global prevalence of both depression and anxiety during the Covid-19 pandemic. It also shows how the implementation of mitigation strategies including public transportation and school closures, and stay-at-home orders impacted such disorders. Results are published in Psychological Medicine.

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How our brain handles the pandemic

Fear of Covid-19: The psychology of the pandemic

During pandemics, protective behaviors need to be motivated by effective communication. A critical factor in understanding a population’s response to such a threat is the fear it elicits, since fear both contributes to motivating protective responses, but can also lead to panic-driven behaviors. Furthermore, lockdown measures affect well-being, making it important to identify protective factors…

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Detecting depression, psychosis

Machine learning could aid mental health diagnoses

A way of using machine learning to more accurately identify patients with a mix of psychotic and depressive symptoms has been developed by researchers at the University of Birmingham. Patients with depression or psychosis rarely experience symptoms of purely one or the other illness. Historically, this has meant that mental health clinicians give a diagnosis of a ‘primary’ illness, but with…

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Pandemic side-effects

Do I Know You? How masks disrupt facial perception

The identification of people wearing masks has often presented a unique challenge during the pandemic. A new study by researchers from BGU and York University in Canada reveals the impact of this predicament and its potentially significant repercussions. The findings were just published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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Psychotherapy delivery

Chatbots can 'nudge' patients away from opioid use after surgery

Patients who need surgery to fix major bone fractures use fewer opioid pills after their procedure if they're reminded of their values – and those reminders don't necessarily need to come from a doctor, according to a new study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. “We showed that opioid medication utilization could be decreased by more than a third in an at-risk patient…

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Wearable technology

Smart watches and fitness trackers: useful, but may increase anxiety

Is my heart beating slightly fast? Is a heart attack coming? I didn’t sleep as much as I thought I had last night – is that bad for my heart? Health apps and fitness watches can shed considerable light on how our bodies work and make recommendations for a healthy lifestyle. However, self-measuring can have a downside too, according to a new study that examined the experiences of 27 heart…

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Physical contact research

Two people, one MRI: The science of cuddling

Researchers at Aalto University and Turku PET Centre have developed a new method for simultaneous imaging brain activity from two people, allowing them to study social interaction. In a recent study, the researchers scanned brain activity from 10 couples. Each couple spent 45 minutes inside the MRI scanner in physical contact with each other. The objective of the study was to examine how social…

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Depression medication

New research may lead to more effective antidepressants

Depression is a common psychiatric disorder and one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. Antidepressants are the first-line treatment for moderate to severe major depressive episodes. Despite their effectiveness, only 40% of patients respond to the first antidepressant they try. A recent paper in Nature Communication strongly suggests that a particular protein, GPR56, is involved in the…

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