Mental health

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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • Werther effect

Media reports of celebrity suicide linked to increased suicide rates

Media reporting of suicide, especially celebrity suicides, is associated with increases in suicide in the general population, particularly by the same method as used by the celebrity, finds an analysis of the latest evidence published by The BMJ. The researchers say their findings support the continued use and promotion of guidelines on responsible media reporting of suicide, especially when…

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News • Brain inflammation

AI could develop personalised psychosis therapies

A new multicentre study will investigate the link between brain inflammation and psychosis, and use artificial intelligence techniques to identify patients that might benefit most from novel treatments. The study, funded by UKRI Medical Research Council, is led by the Universities of Birmingham and Cambridge. Researchers will examine how and if activated inflammatory cells may act differently in…

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News • Multiple sclerosis and the psyche

Depression speeds up appearance of MS symptoms

People with multiple sclerosis (MS) who also have depression are more likely to suffer debilitating symptoms early than people with MS who are not depressed, according to a study at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden that is published in the journal Neurology. The findings highlight the need for early recognition and treatment of depressive symptoms in patients with MS. More than 2 million people…

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News • Public health in the UK

'Every Mind Matters': NHS launches mental health campaign

A new awareness campaign launched by the National Health Service (NHS) aims to tackle the growing issue of mental disorders in the UK. 'Every Mind Matters' encourages adults to be more aware of their mental health and helps them to discover simple steps to look after their mental health and wellbeing. The campaign offers free, NHS-approved mental health resources, via the One You website, which…

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News • Mental health

Does autism increase risk of suicidal behaviour?

The risk of suicide attempts and suicides among individuals with autism spectrum disorders is significantly higher than among the population in general. An especially high risk of suicidal behaviour is noted among women who in addition to autism also have ADHD. These are the findings of a population-based study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden published in the journal Psychological Medicine.…

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News • Research

Anxiety might be alleviated by regulating gut bacteria

People who experience anxiety symptoms might be helped by taking steps to regulate the microorganisms in their gut using probiotic and non-probiotic food and supplements, suggests a review of studies published in the journal General Psychiatry. Anxiety symptoms are common in people with mental diseases and a variety of physical disorders, especially in disorders that are related to stress.…

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News • Finding the connection

Can air pollution lead to psychosis in teens?

Research from King’s College London provides the first evidence of an association between air pollution and psychotic experiences in adolescence. The study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, provides a potential explanation for why growing up in cities is a risk factor for psychosis. This is the first time researchers have linked detailed geographical air pollution data with a representative sample…

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News • Obsessive compulsive disorder

Targeted deep brain stimulation reduces OCD symptoms

The debilitating behaviours and all-consuming thoughts which affect people with severe obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), could be significantly improved with targeted deep brain stimulation, according to the findings of a new study. OCD is characterised by unwanted intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive stereotyped behaviours (compulsions- sometimes called rituals) and often means…

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News • Oral contraceptives

Can birth control pills keep you from recognising emotions?

The pill could be blurring your social judgement ‒ but perhaps not enough so you'd notice. By challenging women to identify complex emotional expressions like pride or contempt, rather than basic ones like happiness or fear, scientists have revealed subtle changes in emotion recognition associated with oral contraceptive pill (OCP) use. Published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, their study found…

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News • Psychopathology

Is terrorism based on mental illness?

Were Anders Breivik’s actions the work of a madman? Is Theo van Gogh’s killer Mohammed Bouyeri a psychopath? Much is still unclear about the role of psychological disorders (psychopathology) in terrorism. While some research supports the idea that terrorists are mentally ill, other studies contradict this view. In a study commissioned by the Research and Documentation Centre/Dutch Ministry of…

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Article • Under pressure

Physician burnout cases are rising

Longer hours, more demanding working practices, complex cases and increased administration are taking their toll on physicians as growing numbers, across a range of specialties, report signs of burnout. All this despite technological advances such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to aid diagnosis, read and interpret images, improve workflow and enhance decision-making.

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News • Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat

Millennials' social media activity may increase depression risk

A new study by a team of Texas State University researchers shows that negative social media behaviors are linked to major depressive disorder (MDD) in Millennials. The findings are published in the Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research. In the study of 504 Millennials who actively use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and/or Snapchat, individuals who met the criteria for MDD scored higher on the…

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Article • Chronic peripheral inflammation and schizophrenia

The network approach to mental illness research

As European health services are pressured to provide the best possible care for best possible value, some medical fields are now very much the poor relation; this is particularly true for mental health. Mental illnesses represent a great health burden and cause huge financial and societal pressure in terms of direct and indirect costs from repeated hospitalisation and treatment failures, while…

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News • Traumatized patients

Improving treatment of anxiety disorders

Traumatic experiences can become deeply entrenched in a person's memory. How can fears following a traumatic event be reduced in the long term and prevented from becoming a permanent stress-related disorder? Researchers at the Mainz University Medical Center have recently shed new light on these questions. The key to their approach lies in firmly anchoring new, positive experiences in the…

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News • Deadly DNA

Suicide: Is it in our genes?

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, claiming more than 44,000 people in the country every year, similar to the number of deaths caused by the opioid epidemic. Previous studies show that suicide tracks in families independent of the effects from a shared environment. Researchers at the University of Utah Health are using resources unique to the state to identify…

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