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Archive for June, 2011

Text Message Support for Smokers Doubles Quit Rates

Posted by on Thursday, 30 June, 2011

By ScienceDaily

Cell phones could hold the key to people giving up smoking after a programme involving sending motivational and supportive text messages to smokers doubled quit rates at six months.

The findings of the txt2stop trial, which was led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and funded by the Medical Research Council, are published in The Lancet June 29.

Text messaging is an innovative approach to the deadly problem of smoking, which is estimated to cause more than five million deaths each year worldwide. Putting cigarettes out for good has huge implications for health but although two out of three smokers would like to give up, they often fail. Almost 6,000 people took part in the txt2stop trial, which evaluated this new way of helping smokers beat their addiction.

Full story at ScienceDaily

Mood and Experience: Life Comes at You

Posted by on Wednesday, 29 June, 2011

By ScienceDaily

Living through weddings or divorces, job losses and children’s triumphs, we sometimes feel better and sometimes feel worse. But, psychologists observe, we tend to drift back to a “set point” — a stable resting point, or baseline, in the mind’s level of contentment or unease.

Research has shown that the set points for depression and anxiety are particularly stable over time. Why?

“The overwhelming view within psychiatry and psychology is that is due to genetic factors,” says Virginia Commonwealth University psychiatrist Kenneth S. Kendler. “Yet we know that extreme environmental adversities, such as abuse in childhood or wartime trauma, have a long-term impact on people.” Kendler had a hunch that environmental experiences also influence the set points for anxiety

Full story at ScienceDaily

Brain Scans Reveal Possible Brain Damage In Young Adult Binge-Drinkers

Posted by on Tuesday, 28 June, 2011

By Christopher Fisher, PhD

It is considered a rite of passage among young people – acting out their independence through heavy, episodic drinking. But a new University of Cincinnati study, the first of its kind nationally, is showing how binge drinking among adolescents and young adults could be causing serious damage to a brain that’s still under development at this age. Researcher Tim McQueeny, a doctoral student in the UC Department of Psychology, is presenting the findings this week at the 34th annual meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism in Atlanta.

High-resolution brain scans on a sample of 29 weekend binge drinkers, aged 18 to 25, found that binge-drinking – consuming four or more drinks in one incident for females and five or more drinks for males – was linked to cortical-thinning of the pre-frontal cortex, the section of the brain related to executive functioning such as paying attention, planning and making decisions, processing emotions and controlling impulses leading to irrational behavior.

Full story at The Behavioral Medicine Report

Do Genetics or the Environment Set Our Mood?

Posted by on Monday, 27 June, 2011

By Rick Nauert, PHD

Intriguing new research investigates the influence of genetics and the environment on a person’s set-point — the baseline emotional state that sets the mind’s level of contentment or unease.

Researchers have known that while everyone struggles through life’s ups and downs, we tend to drift back to a “set point” and that this level is typically stable for depression and anxiety.

The overwhelming view within psychiatry and psychology is that the baseline is due to genetic factors, said Virginia Commonwealth University psychiatrist Kenneth S. Kendler. “Yet we know that extreme environmental adversities, such as abuse in childhood or wartime trauma, have a long-term impact on people,” he said. 

Full story at PsychCentral

How To Quit Smoking? Think About Smoking

Posted by on Saturday, 25 June, 2011

By Wray Herbert

Paradoxically, the news of the government’s plans for grisly anti-smoking ads made me crave a cigarette. I quit smoking many years ago and rarely have a craving anymore, but seeing these ads brought it all back. It also reminded me of the unpleasantness of quitting, including the obsessive thoughts. My quitting strategy was to keep my mind and body busy all the time, in order to keep my thoughts of cigarettes at bay. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t. I relapsed a few times before I finally quit for good.

There were quitters’ support groups available at the time, but the idea didn’t make sense to me. Why would I want to sit around with other dreary addicts and talk incessantly about the very thing I was trying to banish from my mind? Wouldn’t that just undermine my willpower and leave me more miserable?

Well, no, as it turns out. New science now suggests that the worst thing smokers can do is try not to think about cigarettes. Banishing cigarettes and matches and ashtrays from your neurons may lead temporarily to less smoking, but the banished thoughts quickly rebound — nudging smokers to light up even more than they do usually.

Full story at Huffington Post