Turning Off Stress

By Medical News Today


Post-traumatic stress disorder can affect soldiers after combat or ordinary people who have undergone harrowing experiences. Of course, feelings of anxiety are normal and even desirable – they are part of what helps us survive in a world of real threats. But no less crucial is the return to normal – the slowing of the heartbeat and relaxation of tension – after the threat has passed. People who have a hard time “turning off” their stress response are candidates for post-traumatic stress syndrome, as well as anorexia, anxiety disorders and depression.

How does the body recover from responding to shock or acute stress? This question is at the heart of research conducted by Dr. Alon Chen of the Institute’s Neurobiology Department. The response to stress begins in the brain, and Chen concentrates on a family of proteins that play a prominent role in regulating this mechanism. One protein in the family – CRF – is known to initiate a chain of events that occurs when we cope with pressure, and scientists have hypothesized that other members of the family are involved in shutting down that chain. In research that appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Chen and his team have now, for the first time, provided sound evidence that three family members known as urocortin 1, 2 and 3 – are responsible for turning off the stress response.

Full story at Medical News Today

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Progress Made in Developing Methamphetamine Vaccine

By Rick Nauert, PhD


Researchers report promising advances in the lab toward the development of a vaccine to treat methamphetamine addiction.

Although the abuse of “speed” or methamphetamines is under the radar screen for many, the costs associated with the addiction are astronomical exceeding $23 billion annually. Expenditures include medical and law enforcement outlays as well as lost productivity.

In the paper, Kim Janda, Ph.D., and colleagues note that “meth” or “crystal meth” can cause a variety of problems including cardiovascular damage and death. Meth is highly addictive, and users in conventional behavioral treatment programs often relapse.

Full story at PsychCentral

Treatment of Maternal Depression Improves Child Behavior

By Rick Nauert, PhD


When moms are successfully treated for depression, their children progressively show marked improvement in behavior as much as a year after the end of treatment.

That is the finding of a new study in the American Journal of Psychiatry that also found the faster mothers got better, the faster their kids improved – and the greater the degree of improvement.

“If you treat the mother when she is depressed and don’t even go through the process of treating the children of these mothers, they still get better as their mothers get better,” said Dr. Madhukar Trivedi, a co-author of the study. “It is very rare to treat a patient and have an impact on people around the patient that is this significant.”

Full story at PsychCentral

Personality Affects How Likely We Are To Take Our Medication

By Christopher Fisher, PhD


The results of a unique study from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, show that personality has an impact on how likely people are to take their medication. This is the first major study of its kind to be published in the online open access journal PloS ONE. Check the end of this report for a link to download the original, full-text study.

The study was based on 749 people with chronic diseases who responded to a questionnaire on medication adherence behavior – or in other words, whether they take their medicine. Their personalities were also assessed using another questionnaire, the Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI), which comprises 60 statements with five different responses. The questionnaire was based on five personality traits: neuroticism, extroversion, openness to experiences, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.

Full story at The Behavioral Medicine Report

NICOTINE CAUSES COMPLICATIONS FOR DIABETICS

By Addition Treatment Magazine


Smoking is responsible for elevating multiple health risks, including heart disease and several types of cancer. For diabetics, however, the stakes are especially high. A new study has revealed that nicotine is responsible for blood sugar levels remaining high over an extended period of time in those who have diabetes and smoke.

The study was presented at the 241st National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society. The lead author, Xiao-Chuan Liu, PhD, is a researcher at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona California and presented the study’s results at the meeting. Liu stressed the importance of the findings, indicating that the results are the first to establish a clear link between nicotine and complications for diabetics.

Full story at Addiction Treatment Magazine

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