Attention lovely readers! We at Healthshire will be providing you with a weekly Friday roundup of the latest in mental health news. Let us do all the work and be your one-stop-shop for all things current!
Friday Roundup – The Latest in Mental Health News
(and other stuff)
Optimism Good for the Heart
Time.com reports on a new study that finds a link between being optimistic and heart health. Researchers from the University of Illinois found that people with a positive and pro-active attitude have significantly better cardiovascular health.
Researchers analyzed just over 5,000 adults, evaluating their mental health, physical health, and levels of optimism. Participants ranged from 45-84 years old. Cardiovascular health was determined by using scores that were compliant with the American Heart Association’s approved metrics, including body mass index and blood pressure. The study found that scores of cardiovascular health became higher as levels of optimism increased.
According to lead author, Rosalba Hernandez:
“Individuals with the highest levels of optimism have twice the odds of being in ideal cardiovascular health compared to their more pessimistic counterparts. This association remains significant, even after adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics and poor mental health.”
Experimental Treatment for Veterans with PTSD
The Washington Post reports on experimental treatment alternatives for people, particularly veterans, suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Magnetic Resonance Therapy (MRT) is a method of treatment that pulses energy from magnetic coils into the cortex. The procedure has been offered by the Brain Treatment Center, located in Newport Beach, California, to former military members at no cost.
Generally, the testimonials from veterans receiving MRT have been positive. The Washington Post article highlights the story of Jonathan Warren, a former Army staff sergeant. Warren presented with significant symptoms of PTSD as well as a traumatic brain injury (TBI) incurred during his service in Iraq. Warren states now, after MRT, his symptoms have cleared, his “frequencies set right,” and enjoys a higher quality of life. The Post article also highlights positive results with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the parents of which claim their children are communicating more effectively and behaving better.
MRT, as a treatment modality for PTSD, has yet to be “proven” or approved.
In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a similar magnetic procedure for treatment-resistant major depression. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) has been shown to be safe and effective for patients with depression, who report a significant decrease in symptoms.
More than 100 veterans have received MRT at the Brain Treatment Center.
According to the medical director, Yi Jin, “One hundred percent responded with very visible change.”
Teenage Sleep and Risky Behavior
BBC.com reports on a study that finds irregular sleep habits during teenage years may be a risk factor for problems with alcohol, drugs, and sexual behavior.
The findings, recently published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, involved analyzing 6.500 adolescents in the United States. Researchers evaluated sleeping patterns, alcohol use, drug use, and other risky behaviors between the years of 1994-2002. At the time of first evaluation, those who reported sleeping poorly were more likely to use alcohol and drugs at that time. In an effort to identify risk factors, researchers specifically focused on sleep and its link to predicting later behaviors.
The study found that adolescents who stated experiencing trouble at least once during the week were more likely to binge drink, take drugs, and participate in sexual interactions while drunk that they later regretted.
The research also found that the more troubled the sleep, the stronger the association with later risky behavior. Teens who found it difficult to sleep every day were 33% more likely to experience risky behaviors related to alcohol, drugs, and sex than teens who slept easily.
The findings also indicate the less sleep adolescents reported, the greater the likelihood that they would experience these issues later, including interpersonal relationship problems.
Researchers found the fewer the hours of sleep adolescents reported on average, the greater the odds they would subsequently experience a host of problems, including relationship issues triggered by alcohol misuse.
Project leader, Professor Maria Wong from Idaho State University, told the BBC:
“Most of the time we don’t think sleep is important. But our results show sleep is a good marker of some serious later problems. A lot of parents don’t monitor their adolescents’ sleep schedules and let them make their own decisions about when to go to bed. But parents need to start talking to their teenagers, not just about grades and extra-curricular activities but about sleep too. And they must get help if needed.”
Depression: Men vs. Women
Fox News reports on the differences between men and women who experience depression. Women are twice as likely to experience depression than are men. There are distinct differences in how men and women experience symptoms associated with depression, though the reasons for this are not always clear.
Because hormones are a significant influence on emotions ad mood, women commonly experience depressive symptoms alongside hormonal changes. Women between the ages of 40 and 60 are most likely to develop depression. Women are more likely to seek help, which in turn influences women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression, and more open to taking medication that helps depression. Women usually demonstrate depression through social withdrawal and isolation, oversleeping, and feelings of low self-worth. Outside of hormonal changes, why women demonstrate depression more than men is still unknown.
Men often experience many of the same depressive symptoms as do women, such as feeling down, a loss of energy, and not enjoying activities as much as they did in the past. Additionally, however, men tend to exhibit symptoms that are not commonly found in women, such as irritability, anger, and depression without sadness. Men also tend to have a different set of behaviors related to depression. They often escape from their feelings, spending time at work or on hobbies. Men are also more likely to develop problems with substance use and engage in violent behaviors. Men typically are uncomfortable discussing their emotions and are not as open and honest with their symptoms as are women. Because of this, men with depression go longer without treatment. Experts in the field believe this is why men with depression have a greater likelihood of attempting suicide and dying from suicide.
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of depression, please consult your primary care physician or a mental health professional.
This week’s roundup is dedicated to deflated footballs. If you don’t get it, that’s okay. Give yourself a hug.