Antidepressants show potential for postoperative pain

After a systematic review of clinical trials based on administering antidepressants for acute and chronic postsurgical pain, researchers have concluded that more trials are needed to determine whether these drugs should be prescribed for postsurgical pain on a regular basis.

Dr. Ian Gilron, a professor and director of clinical pain research in the Department of Anesthesiology, and his team of seven researchers reviewed 15 trials to determine whether the use of antidepressants for pain relief post-surgery would work more effectively than painkillers such as opioids, local anesthetics, or acetaminophen.

Clinical trials are often used to answer questions about the efficacy of the off-label uses of drugs. In the case of antidepressants, their effects on postsurgical pain continue to be an area of research interest.

Full story of antidepressants and pain at Science Daily

After Great Recession, Americans are unhappy, worried, pessimistic, study finds

The protracted and uneven recovery from the Great Recession has led most Americans to conclude that the U.S. economy has undergone a permanent change for the worse, according to a new national study at Rutgers. Seven in 10 now say the recession’s impact is permanent, up from half in 2009 when the recession officially ended, according to the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development.

Among key findings in “Unhappy, Worried and Pessimistic: Americans in the Aftermath of the Great Recession,” the center’s latest Work Trends report, are:
  • Despite sustained job growth and lower levels of employment, most Americans do not think the economy has improved in the last year or that it will in the next.
  • Just one in six Americans believe that job opportunities for the next generation will be better than for theirs; five years ago, four in 10 held that view.

Full story of Americans mental health after the recession at Science Daily

Difficulty assessing effort drives motivation deficits in schizophrenia, study finds

Individuals with schizophrenia often have trouble engaging in daily tasks or setting goals for themselves, and a new study from San Francisco State University suggests the reason might be their difficulty in assessing the amount of effort required to complete tasks.

The research, detailed in an article published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, can assist health professionals in countering motivation deficits among patients with schizophrenia and help those patients function normally by breaking up larger, complex tasks into smaller, easier-to-grasp ones.

“This is one of the first studies to carefully and systematically look at the daily activities of people with schizophrenia — what those people are doing, what goals are they setting for themselves,” said David Gard, an associate professor of psychology at SF State who has spent years researching motivation and emotion. “We knew that people with schizophrenia were not engaging in a lot of goal-directed behavior. We just didn’t know why.”

Full story of motivation and schizophrenia at Science Daily

Mindfulness-based depression therapy reduces health care visits

A mindfulness-based therapy for depression has the added benefit of reducing health-care visits among patients who often see their family doctors, according to a new study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES).

The research showed that frequent health service users who received mindfulness-based cognitive therapy showed a significant reduction in non-mental health care visits over a one-year period, compared with those who received other types of group therapy.

Smartphone-loss anxiety disorder

The smart phone has changed our behavior, sometimes for the better as we are now able to connect and engage with many more people than ever before, sometimes for the worse in that we may have become over-reliant on the connectivity with the outside world that these devices afford us. Either way, there is no going back for the majority of users who can almost instantaneously connect with hundreds if not thousands of people through the various social media and other applications available on such devices and not least through the humble phone call.

However, our dependence brings anxiety. The loss of one’s smart phone not only represents an immediate disconnection from one’s online contacts but is also a potential privacy and security risk should the lost phone wend its way into the hands of a malicious third party. Writing in the International Journal of Mobile Communications, a Canadian team outlines the possible coping mechanisms that might be needed following loss or theft and the security problems that the user might face. The researchers point out that the same anxieties apply equally to lost or stolen laptops, tablet computers and other digital devices.