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Friday Roundup – Mapping Out Emotions, Genetic Mutations in Schizophrenia, and Marriage Does a Body Good

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!

Mapping Out Emotions, Genetic Mutations in Schizophrenia, and Marriage Does a Body Good

The Latest  in Mental Health Research (and other stuff)

Where Do We Feel Emotion?

A common question that comes up in therapy is: “Where do you feel that emotion in your body?” Clients can quickly identify where in the body they are feeling depression, anxiety, or anger. The connection between mind and body subsequently becomes very real.

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According to NPR, a team of researchers in Finland conducted a study to map out where people felt emotions in their bodies. The results, as published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, were consistent, even across cultures.

Lauri Nummenmaa, lead researcher and psychologist at Aalto University, and his team evaluated over 700 participants from Finland, Sweden, and Taiwan. Study participants were shown two blank silhouettes of a person on a screen and were instructed to then contemplate one of 14 emotions: anger, pride, love, etc. Subjects were then asked to paint parts of the body that were stimulated by that particular emotion on one of the silhouettes. They were then asked to paint body parts that were deactivated by the emotion on the second silhouette.

While each silhouette was not painted the same, particular patterns began to emerge when scientists averaged the maps together. They found that people experienced emotions like love and happiness across the entire body. Feelings like sadness and depression diminished activity in the head, arms, and legs. Anger was one of the few emotions that triggered activity in the arms. Fear and danger manifest feelings significantly in the chest.

Next time you feel an emotion intensely, pay attention to where you are feeling it in your body. We often believe that emotions are strictly a psychological and abstract concept, but they are highly connected to us physiologically. Improving your mental health can begin with the simple awareness of the connection between your mind and body.

New Research on Genetic Mutations Offers Insight on Schizophrenia

We know that a good percentage of the genetic risk for the development of schizophrenia is inherited. A new study, recently published in Nature, finds that mutations that materialize in the individual but not the parents (known as de novo mutations) can also add to the risk. De novo mutations disorganize particular genes which encode postsynaptic proteins, and this may contribute to triggering schizophrenia.

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The team of researchers, led by Michael Owen, M.D., Ph.D., from the Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences at Britain’s Cardiff University, studied over 620 participants and their families. They found that de novo mutations were not only implicated in the development of schizophrenia but also shared a significant overlap with pathogenic mechanisms that underlie conditions such as intellectual impairment and autism.

Owen and his team concluded that identifying these mutations offers a foundation to address how synaptic mechanisms affect the brain in such a way as to generate psychopathological symptoms and disorders.

Marriage is Good for Your Bones

We have all heard the adage “Happy Wife, Happy Life.” The veracity of the saying is probably best judged by how a particular wife defines happy. New research, however, is giving more scientific credibility to the concept. While previous studies have found that marriage is generally beneficial to mental and physical health, a new study finds these advantages run straight through your bones.

Loving couple holdind on the hands and sunset

The Huffington Post reports on a study, conducted at UCLA and published in the journal Osteoporosis International. Researchers evaluated data on over 630 U.S. adults, studying the association between marital life history and bone mineral density (BMD) – which decays with age, leading to osteoporosis.

The results found that marriage was associated with a positive outcome for BMD. This was true particularly for men who were married over the age of 25, demonstrating better BMD than men who were never married, divorced, or widowed.

Researchers found that results varied for married women. While marriage itself was not linked to healthier BMD, positive marital relationships did. Women who reported they had supportive husbands were shown to have stronger bone mineral density.

Science says support your wife with a hug today. Hug, designer bag, maybe a new pair of shoes: all supportive.

Telling our Stories

In an effort to bring mental illness out of the shadows and reduce stigma, we are especially interested in hearing about you and your stories related to mental health. Be sure to visit Healthshire’s “telling our story” section. Spend some time reading the stories or submit your own! Recently, Healthshire partnered with a local mental health clinic to provide intensive outpatient services to two individuals with addiction issues. Many individuals bravely came forward to share their experiences about the complex issues that arise with substance use. You can read  their submitted stories here.

This week’s roundup is dedicated to all the disbeliebing Beliebers. Where did we go wrong with you, Justin?

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Credit: Miami-Dade Police Department

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