mind & brain


Eating 7-8 Fruits And Vegetables Per Day Will Make You Happier [STUDY]

BI – Eating fruits and vegetables is strongly associated with peak mental well-being, according to a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research. David G. Blanchflower, Andrew J. Oswald and Sarah Stewart-Brown have written one of the first studies on the potential influence of the different kinds of food people eat on feelings of happiness. Read article

Exercising in your 70s ‘may stop brain shrinkage’

BBC – Exercising in your 70s may stop your brain from shrinking and showing the signs of ageing linked to dementia, say experts from Edinburgh University. Brain scans of 638 people past the age of retirement showed those who were most physically active had less brain shrinkage over a three-year period. Read article

US Army grants $3 million for anti-suicide nasal spray research

RT – For those feeling down in the dumps, the US military now has a solution: an anti-suicidal nasal spray that delivers antidepressant chemicals to the brain. The US Army has awarded a scientist at the Indiana University School of Medicine $3 million to develop a nasal spray that eclipses suicidal thoughts. Dr. Michael Kubek and his research team will have three years to ascertain whether the nasal spray is a safe and effective method of preventing suicides. Read article

Study Says Children With ADHD Like Taking Anti-psychotic Drugs

Reuters – Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who take stimulants such as Ritalin tend to feel the drugs help them control their behaviour and do not turn them into “robots” as many sceptics assume, a study found on Monday. The research, which for the first time asked children taking ADHD drugs what they felt about their treatment and its effects, found that many said medication helped them manage their impulsivity and make better decisions. “With medication, it’s not that you’re a different person. You’re still the same person, but you just act a little better,” said Angie, an 11-year-old from the United States who took part in the study and was quoted in a report about its findings. The results are likely to further fuel the debate in the United States and Europe about whether children with ADHD, some as young as four years old, should be given stimulants. Read Article

Study exposes the negative effects of increasing computerized surveillance

Defense Talk – Researchers at the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT finish the first longitudinal study on the effects of ubiquitous surveillance in the home. To understand the effects of continuous computerized surveillance on individuals, researchers at HIIT instrumented ten Finnish households with video cameras, microphones, and logging software for personal computers, wireless networks, smartphones, TVs, and DVDs. The twelve participants filled monthly questionnaires to report on stress levels and were interviewed at six and twelve months. Read Article

Rare Genetic Disorder Points to Molecules That May Play Role in Schizophrenia

ScienceDaily — Scientists studying a rare genetic disorder have identified a molecular pathway that may play a role in schizophrenia, according to new research in the Oct. 10 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. The findings may one day guide researchers to new treatment options for people with schizophrenia — a devastating disease that affects approximately 1 percent of the world’s population. Read article

UK: Half of hospital patients with eating disorder are children… and some are aged just FIVE

Daily Mail – More than half of all patients admitted to hospital with an eating disorder last year were aged ten to 18, NHS figures show – some of them as young as five years old. It is the first time the number of under-19s taken to hospital with severe anorexia or bulimia has been so high, having risen by a third in a year. Read article

UK: One in three of us is scared of dementia sufferers – even if they are a friend or family member

Daily Mail – One person in three is scared of talking to someone with dementia, a survey has found. And one in five say they don’t understand the symptoms of the disease and would be fearful of meeting someone with it. Read article

Useful terms: Bupa

Deadly brain-eating disease kills 10 in Pakistan

ABC – A brain-eating amoeba has killed at least 10 people in Pakistan’s most populous city since May, a World Health Organisation official said on Tuesday. Naegleria fowleri has a fatality rate of more than 98 per cent. It is transmitted when contaminated water enters the body through the nose and cannot be passed person-to-person. Read article

Mom’s fish, mercury intake tied to kids’ ADHD risk

Reuters – Children’s risk of developing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) later on in life may be tied to how much fish their mothers ate while pregnant, according to a new study. Researchers found that eating at least two servings of fish per week was linked to about a 60 percent lower risk of kids developing certain ADHD-like symptoms. However, elevated mercury levels, which can come from eating more fish, were tied to a higher risk of developing the symptoms, such as hyperactivity, impulsiveness and inattentiveness. Read article

Genetic Variants’ Role in Increasing Parkinson’s Disease Risk Investigated

ScienceDaily — Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) investigators have led the first genome-wide evaluation of genetic variants associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD). The study, which is published online in PLOS ONE, points to the involvement of specific genes and alterations in their expression as influencing the risk for developing PD. Read article

‘Workplace psychopaths’ more common than generally thought

JP – An Australian psychotherapist has asked employers to watch out for workplace psychopaths, who ‘are more common’ than generally thought. According to Doctor John Clarke can isolate and mentally destroy the staff around them. Dr Clarke said the only way to win the war against these psychopaths is to refuse to tolerate their damaging behaviour, a daily reports. “When people think of psychopath, they think of a serial killer or a rapist. And they are fairly similar things,” he said during the Tasmanian Work Health & Safety Conference. Read article

Mum’s hypertension ‘lowers child IQ’, study suggests

BBC – A mother’s high blood pressure during pregnancy may affect her child’s brain power throughout its life, the American Academy of Neurology journal suggests. About 400 men had their cognitive ability tested at the age of 20 and then again at the average age of 69. Read article

‘I’m bored!’ — Research on attention sheds light on the unengaged mind

EurekAlert – You’re waiting in the reception area of your doctor’s office. The magazines are uninteresting. The pictures on the wall are dull. The second hand on the wall clock moves so excruciatingly slowly that you’re sure it must be broken. You feel depleted and irritated about being stuck in this seemingly endless moment. You want to be engaged by something—anything—when a thought, so familiar from childhood, comes to mind: “I’m bored!” Although boredom is often seen as a trivial and temporary discomfort that can be alleviated by a simple change in circumstances, it can also be a chronic and pervasive stresor that can have significant consequences for health and well-being. Read article

IQ linked to levels of happiness

BBC – People with lower intelligence are more likely to be unhappy than their brighter colleagues, according to UK researchers. Their study of 6,870 people showed low intelligence was often linked with lower income and poor mental health, which contributed to unhappiness. The researchers are calling for more help and support to be targeted at people with lower IQs. Read article

Doubts on Ginkgo Biloba as a Memory Aid

NY Times – Ginkgo biloba extract is widely marketed as a preventive for Alzheimer’s disease, but a new randomized placebo-controlled study indicates it does not work. French researchers studied 2,820 mentally healthy people over age 70 who had complained to their family physicians of memory problems, randomly assigning 1,406 to take the plant extract and 1,414 to take an identical placebo. Read article

War causes mental illness in soldiers

EurekAlert – One in every two cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in soldiers remains undiagnosed. This is the conclusion reached by a working group led by Hans-Ulrich Wittchen et al. They report their study in the current issue of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2012; 109(35): 559), which is a special issue focusing on the prevalence of psychological stress in German army soldiers. In a second original article, results reported by Jens T Kowalski and colleagues show that more female soldiers contact the psychosocial support services provided by Germany’s armed forces than their male colleagues (Dtsch Arztbl Int 2012; 109 (35): 559). Read article

A generation may be at higher risk of suicide – researchers

BBC – A generation of UK men born in the 1960s and 1970s may be more likely to take their own lives because of attitudes around the role of men at the time, Samaritans researchers have said. Suicide rates are now highest in middle-age men, after years of falling rates in young people. Read article

Behavior Issues Are a Bigger Headache for Children With Migraines, Research Reveals

ScienceDaily — Kids who get migraine headaches are much more likely than other children to also have behavioral difficulties, including social and attention issues, and anxiety and depression. The more frequent the headaches, the greater the effect, according to research out now in the journal Cephalagia, published by SAGE. The authors say that this is the first large, community based study of its kind to look at how children’s behavioural and emotional symptoms correlate with migraine and tension-type headaches (TTH), and to incorporate data on headache frequency. Read article

US: Pfizer’s Wyeth ordered to face class-action over Pristiq

Reuters – A federal judge has granted class-action status to former Wyeth Inc shareholders who accused the company, now part of Pfizer Inc, of misleading them about risks associated with the antidepressant Pristiq. The decision issued Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan in Manhattan is a victory for shareholders led by the Pipefitters Union Local 537 Pension Fund in Boston. Read article

Mystery of How Social Isolation Messes with Brain Solved

Live Science – Social isolation in youth may wreak havoc on the brain by disrupting a protein crucial to the development of the nervous system’s support cells, new research finds. A new study in mice finds that when the animals are isolated during a crucial early period, brain cells called oligodendrocytes fail to mature properly. Oligodendrocytes build the fatty, insulating sheathes that cushion neurons, and their dysfunction seems to cause long-lasting behavioral changes. Read article

Psychopatic traits make good presidents

Discovery – Craziness might not be the most scientific word for it. But a new study found that those who do well as presidents tend to score high on measures of a personality trait that they share in common with psychopaths. The trait, known as fearless dominance, describes people who are socially and physically bold, as well as emotionally resilient — an outlook on life well summarized by Teddy Roosevelt’s motto: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” Throughout our nation’s history, the study found, bold presidents seem to have been particularly persuasive, driven by vision, and good at managing crises. Read article