Mystery Gene Reveals New Mechanism for Anxiety Disorders

Gene Mechanism For Anxiety DisorderA novel mechanism for anxiety behaviors, including a previously unrecognized inhibitory brain signal, may inspire new strategies for treating psychiatric disorders, University of Chicago researchers report.

By testing the controversial role of a gene called Glo1 in anxiety, scientists uncovered a new inhibitory factor in the brain: the metabolic by-product methylglyoxal. The system offers a tantalizing new target for drugs designed to treat conditions such as anxiety disorder, epilepsy, and sleep disorders.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, found that animals with multiple copies of the Glo1 gene were more likely to exhibit anxiety-like behavior in laboratory tests. Further experiments showed that Glo1 increased anxiety-like behavior by lowering levels of methylglyoxal (MG). Conversely, inhibiting Glo1 or raising MG levels reduced anxiety behaviors.

Full story of anxiety disorder gene at Science Daily

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Anxiety disorders have soared since credit crunch

By Laura Donnelly

Anxiety Disorder a CrutchHospital statistics show the number of outpatient appointments for those with such a diagnosis has soared since the onset of the credit crunch.

Experts said some of the rise could be explained by an expansion in counseling services, and an increase in mental health problems triggered by financial uncertainties and job stresses.

But others said doctors had become too quick to “medicalise” feelings of distress – and to label people as suffering from psychiatric disorders when their anxiety was a normal response to pressures they were facing.

The statistics, from the NHS Information Centre, show that the number of outpatient appointments for patients diagnosed with anxiety disorders and panic attacks rose from 3,754 to 17,470 between 2006/2007 and 2010/11.

Over the same period, cases admitted to hospital rose by one third, with 8,756 in-patients with such a diagnosis.

Full story at The Telegraph

Don’t let the holiday season whirl leave you more frazzled than festive

By Barbara Lazor

Christmas StressIt’s that time of the year again for friends and family gatherings, overcrowding in the kitchen, growing wish lists and adventurous parking at the grocery store and mall. The holidays are meant to be a joyful time when families come together to reflect on all the great things that everyone should be thankful for. However, at times, the holidays can bring out unwanted stress resulting in anxiety, frustration and mood change.

Here are a few simple tips to reduce your stress level and warning signs that tell you things may be getting out of hand.

Keep things in perspective. Problems often resolve on their own, given time.

Stay flexible. Lighten up and learn to compromise on occasion. Go easy on yourself and others. Allow yourself to be less than perfect.

Full story at Houston News

Pregnant? Here’s more to worry about

By Julie Deardorff

Anxiety During PregnancyPregnancy may be the mother of all guilt trips. But that anxiety doesn’t necessarily end with the birth of a healthy child. Researchers are finding that in utero exposures could be linked with behavioral or emotional problems in young children and increasedcancer risk and other problems later in life.

Here’s a look at some of the suspects:

(For background on how a mother’s pregnancy can program her child for disease, read my story, “Risk for disease partially set in womb.“)

Bisphenol A: Exposure to the chemical BPA in the womb is associated with behavior and emotional problems in young girls, new research published in the journal Pediatrics suggests. BPA, a compound present in food packages, dental sealants and some receipts made with thermal paper, is so common that nearly all Americans have traces of it in their bodies.

Full story at Chicago Tribune

Should We Be Watching Traumatic Images on TV?

By Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D.

Watching TV TraumaOn the 10th anniversary of 9/11, countless television channels will be airing replays of the traumatic events of that day. It is in your best interest, psychologically, not to watch that coverage.

When you watch disturbing events, such as 9/11, on television, you can experience feelings of anxiety, despair and panic, all while sitting in the comfort of your living room. You feel a sense of helplessness because you are witnessing events that you are not able to control or help resolve. Watching repeated television coverage of the planes hitting the towers, people falling from buildings and seeing endless human suffering can trigger the same feelings of helplessness you experienced 10 years ago. In fact, in some cases, watching replays of the events of 9/11 can make you feel even worse than you did back then. Ten years ago, you most likely experienced shock, which is a way our mind protects us from additional psychological trauma. Ten years later, you will be watching the replays of 9/11 without that psychological buffer. It may feel like time has healed some of those wounds, but as you watch television, you may find that healing being dismantled.

Full story at Huffington Post