Women more likely to develop anxiety and depression after heart attack

Geneva, Switzerland – 19 October 2014: Women are more likely to develop anxiety and depression after a heart attack (myocardial infarction; MI) than men, according to research presented at Acute Cardiovascular Care 2014 by Professor Pranas Serpytis from Lithuania.

Acute Cardiovascular Care is the annual meeting of the Acute Cardiovascular Care Association (ACCA) of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and takes place 18-20 October in Geneva, Switzerland.

Professor Serpytis said: “The World Health Organization predicts that by 2020 depression will be the second leading cause of disability and mortality in the world, surpassed only by ischaemic heart disease. Major depression follows MI in approximately 18% of cases and is an important predictor of disability and poor quality of life in the year post-MI.”

He continued: “Patients with depression are nearly 6 times more likely to die within 6 months after an MI than those without depression. The increased risk of death in patients with depression persists up to 18 months after the MI. But despite the fact that post-MI depression is common and burdensome, the condition remains under-recognised and undertreated.”

The current study investigated the impact of gender and cardiovascular disease risk factors on the risk of developing depression and anxiety after an MI.

The study included 160 patients admitted with a myocardial infarction to the Vilnius University Hospital Santariskiu Clinics in Vilnius, Lithuania. Patients were interviewed at least 1 month after the MI to collect information on demographic (including sex, age, education, marital status) and clinical characteristics (incidence of diabetes mellitus, previous treatment for hypertension, previous MI), other cardiovascular disease risk factors (smoking, physical activity), and history of mental health issues.

Depression and anxiety were both assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS): no depression and anxiety (0-7 score), possible depression and anxiety (8-10 score), mild to moderate levels of depression and anxiety symptoms (11+ score).

The researchers found that nearly one quarter of patients in the study were depressed (24.4%) and of those, 28.2% had received treatment with antidepressants (p<0.05). The average HADS score for depression was 6.87 (±4.6) in men and 8.66 (± 3.7) in women (p<0.05). For anxiety the mean score was 7.18 (±4.6) in men and 8.20 (±3.9) in women (p<0.05).

Professor Serpytis said: “We found that women were more likely to develop anxiety and depression after a heart attack than men. More research is needed to discover the possible reasons for this.”

The researchers also found an association between anxiety and smoking. In the study, 15.6% patients were current smokers and their mean HADS score for anxiety was 10.16 (±4.9). An additional 77.5% of patients had never smoked and their mean HADS score for anxiety was 7.3 (±4.1), while the 6.9% patients who had quit smoking more than 2 years ago had a mean HADS score for anxiety of 4.55 (±3.7) (p<0.05).

Professor Serpytis said: “Current smokers were more likely to have anxiety after an MI than never smokers or people who had quit smoking more than two years ago. We did not find any association between smoking and depression after an MI.”

Physically inactive patients tended to be depressed, with a mean HADS score of 8.96 (+4.1). Overall, 64% of patients with depression said they were not physically active (p<0.05).

Professor Serpytis said: “Women are misrepresented in many clinical studies on MI even though they often have worse outcomes. Our study shows that women are more likely to develop anxiety and depression after MI than men but until now this issue has been largely unnoticed. Clinicians should assess MI patients, particularly women, for anxiety and depression so that timely treatment can be started.”

He concluded: “Our study suggests that encouraging patients to quit smoking and increase their physical activity levels should reduce their risks of anxiety and depression after MI. More research is needed on the links between myocardial infarction and mental health problems.” Source

Posted in Heart Disease: Heart Attack, Human Behavior: Anxiety, Mental Health: Depression | Leave a comment

Why depression and aging are linked to increased disease risk

Berlin, 19th October 2014 Psychological stress and stress-related psychiatric disorders are associated with increased risk for aging-related diseases, but the molecular mechanisms underlying this relation are unknown. Understanding these mechanisms may contribute to the development of targeted preventive strategies and new or improved treatments for these devastating diseases. This work is presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology congress in Berlin.

Now an international group of researchers from Germany and the US has found that both ageing and depression are associated with changes in the FKBP5 gene. Genes can be regulated by the addition or removal of methyl (CH3) groups to an area of the gene. The researchers found that ageing can decrease this methylation process, causing the FKBP5 gene to be overexpressed. They also found that when someone is depressed, this demethylation process is accelerated even further.

In a second finding they found that this increased FKBP5 expression is associated with increases in biochemical markers of inflammation and cardiovascular risk.

According to lead researcher, Dr Anthony Zannas (Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Munich):

“We found that both aging and depression seem to lead to changes in how DNA is processed, and that this can control the expression of genes that regulate how we respond to stress. These changes are associated with increased inflammation, and we believe that this may lead to the increased risk for several aging-related diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases and neuropsychiatric disorders, that has been observed in chronically stressed and depressed individuals.

Our work shows that risk for aging-related diseases could be conferred by epigenetic changes of stress-related genes and resultant increases in the expression of inflammation markers. It’s too early to say that we are seeing a cause and effect, so we need to confirm the findings by using larger samples and uncover the mechanisms using animal models. If we can do that, we may have the opportunity to develop tests for age-related diseases and new ways to prevent the harmful effects of stress”.

The FKBP5 gene is found on chromosome 6 in humans. It codes the FK506 binding protein 5, also known as FKBP5. This protein is known to play a role in stress responses, immune regulation and basic cellular processes involving protein folding.

Commenting on the work for the ECNP, Professor Bill Deakin (Manchester) said:

“There is a growing realisation that depression is one expression of a set of vulnerabilities for a range of disorders associated with age including obesity, diabetes, cerebro-vascular disease and dementia. Zannas and colleagues are now beginning to unpick some of the first molecular mechanisms of the shared risk. The focus is on FKBP5 a protein transcription factor that regulates several genes relevant to depression (via stress hormones) and to disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Experiencing trauma in childhood and ageing have long-term influences on activity of the gene for FKBP5. This epigenetic regulation is abnormal in people with depression. It is early days and these findings need to be confirmed in definitively large populations. Nevertheless, the results point the way to finding molecular subtypes of depression with specific treatments targeted on transcription factors and epigenetic mechanisms”.


Main findings

  • New research shows that both ageing and depression are associated with a biochemical change in a gene on chromosome 6, the FKBP5 gene
  • This change is also associated with increases in markers of inflammation and cardiovascular risk
  • This means that we may have found one reason for why risk for ageing-related diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases and neuropsychiatric disorders, are worse in chronically stressed and depressed individuals. This may contribute to improved treatments for the diseases of ageing. Source

Posted in Aging, Mental Health: Depression | Leave a comment

Pathological gambling is associated with altered opioid system in the brain

Berlin, 19th October 2014 All humans have a natural opioid system in the brain. Now new research, presented at the ECNP Congress in Berlin, has found that the opioid system of pathological gamblers responds differently to those of normal healthy volunteers. The work was carried out by a group of UK researchers from London and Cambridge, and was funded by the Medical Research Council. This work is being presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology congress in Berlin.

Gambling is a widespread behaviour with about 70% of the British population gambling occasionally. However In some individuals, gambling spirals out of control and takes on the features of an addiction − pathological gambling, also known as problem gambling. The 2007 British Gambling Prevalence Survey1 estimated that 0.6% of UK adults have a problem with gambling, equivalent to approximately 300,000 people, which is around the total population of a town like Swansea. This condition has an estimated prevalence of 0.5−3% in Europe.

The researchers took 14 pathological gamblers and 15 healthy volunteers, and used PET scans (Positron Emission Tomography scans) to measure opioid receptor levels in the brains of the two groups. These receptors allow cell to cell communication – they are like a lock with the neurotransmitter or chemical, such as endogenous opioids called endorphins, acting like a key. The researchers found that there were no differences between the receptor levels in pathological gamblers and non-gamblers. This is different to addiction to alcohol, heroin or cocaine where increases are seen in opioid receptor levels.

All subjects were then given an amphetamine tablet which releases endorphins, which are natural opiates, in the brain and repeated the PET scan. Such a release – called an ‘endorphin rush’- is also thought to happen with alcohol or with exercise. The PET scan showed that the pathological gamblers released less endorphins than non-gambling volunteers and also that this was associated with the amphetamine inducing less euphoria as reported by the volunteers (using a self-rating questionnaire called the ‘Simplified version of the amphetamine interview rating scale’, or SAIRS).

As lead researcher Dr Inge Mick said:

“From our work, we can say two things. Firstly, the brains of pathological gamblers respond differently to this stimulation than the brains of healthy volunteers. And secondly, it seems that pathological gamblers just don’t get the same feeling of euphoria as do healthy volunteers. This may go some way to explaining why the gambling becomes an addiction”.

“This is the first PET imaging study to look at the involvement of the opioid system in pathological gambling, which is a behavioural addiction. Looking at previous work on other addictions, such as alcoholism, we anticipated that pathological gamblers would have increased opiate receptors which we did not find, but we did find the expected blunted change in endogenous opioids from an amphetamine challenge. These findings suggest the involvement of the opioid system in pathological gambling and that it may differ from addiction to substances such as alcohol. We hope that in the long run this can help us to develop new approaches to treat pathological gambling”

Speaking on behalf of the ECNP, Professor Wim van den Brink (Amsterdam), Chair of the Scientific Committee for the Berlin Congress, said:

“At the moment, we find that treatment with opioid antagonists such as naltrexone and nalmefene seem to have a positive effect in the treatment of pathological gambling, and that the best results of these medications are obtained in those problem gamblers with a family history of alcohol dependence. But this report from Dr Mick and colleagues is interesting work, and if confirmed it could open doors to new treatment methods for pathological gamblers.” Source

Posted in Human Behavior: Gambling Addiction | Leave a comment

Asbestos Likely More Widespread Than Previously Thought

Naturally occurring asbestos minerals may be more widespread than previously thought, with newly discovered sources now identified within the Las Vegas metropolitan area. The asbestos-rich areas are in locations not previously considered to be at risk, according to new report that will be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA) in Vancouver, Canada, on Sunday, 20 October.

“These minerals were found where one wouldn’t expect or think to look,” said Rodney Metcalf, associate professor of geology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and co-researcher of the study. The naturally occurring asbestos was found in Boulder City, Nevada, in the path of a construction zone to build a multi-million dollar highway called the Boulder City Bypass, the first stage of an I-11 corridor planned between Las Vegas and Arizona.

Asbestos is a family of fibrous minerals which are known to cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other serious respiratory related illnesses when the fibers are inhaled. The GSA presentation will focus on the discovery of types of asbestos that geologists call fibrous iron sodium amphiboles and fibrous actinolite in Clark County, Nevada, and the geological settings that caused the unusual asbestos formation, said Metcalf.

“[Asbestos] is like a precious metal deposit, it forms at the confluence of several geologic features, which vary at each location,” said Metcalf.

In this case, it was a geological confluence of groundwater interacting with rock salt and a cooling magma body deep below earth’s surface to form the fibers and create this type of asbestos, said Brenda Buck, a professor of geology at UNLV and co-researcher of the study.

Later the rock was brought to the surface where it now exposed to rain and wind that can disperse it. This is the first discovery of asbestos in this kind of geological setting and it suggests the minerals could occur in other similar settings around the globe, said Buck, who has a background in medical geology.

Many regulations have been created to protect people from exposure to mined and refined asbestos, like fibrous actinolite, which the scientists discovered. But some naturally occurring asbestos is not regulated or labeled toxic under federal law, though they can be just as dangerous or even more toxic to humans, said Buck.

Naturally occurring asbestos can also be harmful and difficult to control, especially when it becomes dust and can be transported on the wind.

The research is being performed while the construction for a Boulder City bypass has been delayed due to concerns about the hazard of the naturally occurring asbestos. Boulder City has about 15,000 residents, and is about 32 kilometers (20 miles) from the Las Vegas metropolitan area, home to over 1.9 million people.

Scientists are still researching the amount of asbestos that is in the soil in the construction area, its toxicity to humans, and how far it can be transported by wind.

The new research Metcalf will be presenting could help scientists locate more formations of naturally occurring asbestos in areas that were not previously considered, he said.

“This means that there could be a lot of areas in the world that could have asbestos that we don’t know about. So there are people that are being exposed that have no idea,” said Buck. Source

Posted in Cancer: Lung, Cancer: Mesothelioma, Environmental Health: Asbestos | Leave a comment

How to Stay Friends When Your Political Views Differ

Newswise — As the political posturing amps up in advance of the midterm elections, you know you can always turn off the TV or the radio when you don’t agree with the viewpoint on Obamacare, gun control or policy in the Middle East.

But how do you turn off your friend – or your family member – without hurting feelings?

It starts with telling them how you feel, no matter how uncomfortable it gets, says Sam Gladding, chair of the department of counseling at Wake Forest University. It’s probably the only way to keep the friendship.

“I think it’s a disservice not to let someone know that you really don’t want to talk politics with them because you disagree with their views,” he said. “That sets boundaries. Now, there’s always mutiny on the boundaries and it probably won’t end all discussion, but I think letting someone know what is appropriate is a real act of caring.”

He’s had the talk with some of his friends – and he knows he’ll probably need to have it again as the elections approach. To make it a little easier, he tries to inject some humor into it.

“I try to address it head-on,” he said. “Something like, ‘Hey, Jim, I like you but we disagree completely on our politics. I want to keep on liking you, so let’s talk about things that don’t have a political agenda.”

You an even make a game of it: Agree on a cue you can use, such as a crossing your arms or saying “beep, game over,” when a political conversation starts to get uncomfortable.

No matter the situation, you shouldn’t listen to political rants that make you uncomfortable or even angry.

“I think people who ride the extreme view have little social acuity and think they’re going to bowl you over with your views and get you to agree,” Gladding said. “But you have a mind that thinks, too.”

It’s all about basic interpersonal skills and respectful communication.

And if that doesn’t work? Try avoidance, Gladding said. Stop looking the person in the eye, put some distance between the two of you, and then make excuses to move on when they go on a rant.

“With some people, they’re never going to get it,” he said. “You just have to try to talk to them about other things. Let them have their own parade, but don’t be a part of it. Walk away.”

Posted in Human Behavior: Conflict, Human Behavior: Egoism, Politics | Leave a comment

Birth season affects your mood in later life

Berlin 19th October – New research shows that the season you are born has a significant impact on your risk of developing mood disorders. People born at certain times of year may have a greater chance of developing certain types of affective temperaments, which in turn can lead to mood disorders (affective disorders). This work is being presented at the European College of CNP Congress in Berlin.

Seasons of birth have traditionally been associated with certain personality traits, such as novelty seeking, and various folklore justifications, such as astrology, have sought to explain these associations. Now a group of researchers from Budapest, Hungary, are presenting a study which links birth season with temperament.

According to lead researcher, Assistant Professor Xenia Gonda:

“Biochemical studies have shown that the season in which you are born has an influence on certain monoamine neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, which is detectable even in adult life. This led us to believe that birth season may have a longer-lasting effect. Our work looked at over 400 subjects and matched their birth season to personality types in later life. Basically, it seems that when you are born may increase or decrease your chance of developing certain mood disorders”.

“We can’t yet say anything about the mechanisms involved. What we are now looking at is to see if there are genetic markers which are related to season of birth and mood disorder”.

The group found the following statistically significant trends:

  • cyclothymic temperament (characterized by rapid, frequent swings between sad and cheerful moods), is significantly higher in those born in the summer, in comparison with those born in the winter.
  • Hyperthymic temperament – a tendency to be excessively positive – were significantly higher in those born in spring and summer
  • Those born in the winter were significantly less prone to irritable temperament than those born at other times of the year.
  • Those born in autumn show a significantly lower tendency to depressive temperament than those born in winter.

Commenting for the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, Professor Eduard Vieta (Barcelona) said: “Seasons affect our mood and behavior. Even the season at our birth may influence our subsequent risk for developing certain medical conditions, including some mental disorders. What’s new from this group of researchers is the influence of season at birth and temperament. Temperaments are not disorders but biologically-driven behavioral and emotional trends. Although both genetic and environmental factors are involved in one’s temperament, now we know that the season at birth plays a role too. And the finding of “high mood” tendency (hyperthymic temperament) for those born in summer is quite intriguing.” Source


Posted in Mania, Mental Health, Mental Health: Depression, Serotonin | Leave a comment

Energy drinks may pose danger to public health

Increased consumption of energy drinks may pose danger to public health, especially among young people, warns a team of researchers from the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe in the open-access journal Frontiers in Public Health.

Energy drinks are non-alcoholic beverages that contain caffeine, vitamins, and other ingredients for example, taurine, ginseng, and guarana. They are typically marketed as boosting energy and increasing physical and mental performance.

João Breda, from the WHO Regional Office for Europe, and colleagues reviewed the literature on the health risks, consequences and policies related to energy drink consumption.

“From a review of the literature, it would appear that concerns in the scientific community and among the public regarding the potential adverse health effects of the increased consumption of energy drinks are broadly valid,” write the authors.

Energy drinks first hit European markets in 1987 and the industry has since boomed worldwide. In the US, sales increased by around 10% per year between 2008 and 2012, and almost 500 new brands hit the market in 2006. The European Food Safety Authority estimates that 30% of adults, 68% of adolescents, and 18% of children below 10 years consume energy drinks.

High Caffeine in Energy Drinks

Part of the risks of energy drinks are due to their high levels of caffeine. Energy drinks can be drunk quickly, unlike hot coffee, and as a result they are more likely to cause caffeine intoxication. In Europe, a European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) study found that the estimated contribution of energy drinks to total caffeine exposure was 43% in children, 13% in teenagers and 8% in adults.

Studies included in the review suggest that caffeine intoxication can lead to heart palpitations, hypertension, nausea and vomiting, convulsions, psychosis, and in rare cases, death. In the USA, Sweden, and Australia, several cases have been reported where people have died of heart failure or were hospitalized with seizures, from excess consumption of energy drinks.

Research has shown that adolescents who often take energy drinks are also more likely to engage in risky behaviours such as sensation seeking, substance abuse, and binge drinking.

Mixing Energy Drinks and Alcohol

Over 70% of young adults (aged 18 to 29 years) who drink energy drinks mix them with alcohol, according to an EFSA study. Numerous studies have shown that this practice is more risky than drinking alcohol only, possibly because these drinks make it harder for people to notice when they are getting drunk.

According to the National Poison Data System in the United States, between 2010 and 2011, 4854 calls to poison information centers were made about energy drinks. Almost 40% involved alcohol mixed with energy drinks. A similar study in Australia demonstrated a growth in the number of calls about energy drinks. Breda and colleagues say a similar investigation would be useful in Europe.

Energy drinks can be sold in all EU countries, but some countries have introduced regulations, including setting rules for sales to children. Hungary introduced a public health tax that includes energy drinks in 2012. In Sweden, sales of some types of energy drinks are restricted to pharmacies and sales to children are banned.

Way Forward

“As energy drink sales are rarely regulated by age, unlike alcohol and tobacco, and there is a proven potential negative effect on children, there is the potential for a significant public health problem in the future,” the authors conclude.

They make the following suggestions to minimize the potential for harm from energy drinks:

  • Establishing an upper limit for the amount of caffeine allowed in a single serving of any drink in line with available scientific evidence;
  • Regulations to enforce restriction of labelling and sales of energy drinks to children and adolescents;
  • Enforcing standards for responsible marketing to young people by the energy drink industry;
  • Training health care practitioners to be aware of the risks and symptoms of energy drinks consumption;
  • Patients with a history of diet problems and substance abuse, both alone and combined with alcohol, should be screened for the heavy consumption of energy drinks;
  • Educating the public about the risks of mixing alcohol with energy drinks consumption;
  • Further research on the potential adverse effects of energy drinks, particularly on young people. Source

Posted in Nutrition: Caffeine, Nutrition: Energy Drinks, Public Health | Leave a comment

Chemical present in broccoli, other vegetables may improve autism symptoms

A small study led by investigators at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has found evidence that daily treatment with sulforaphane – a molecule found in foods such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage – may improve some symptoms of autism spectrum disorders. In their report being published online in PNAS Early Edition, the investigators describe how participants receiving a daily dose of sulforaphane showed improvement in both behavioral and communication assessments in as little as four weeks. The authors stress that the results of this pilot study – conducted at the MGHfC-affiliated Lurie Center for Autism – must be confirmed in larger investigations before any conclusions can be drawn about sulforaphane’s therapeutic benefit.

“Over the years there have been several anecdotal reports that children with autism can have improvements in social interaction and sometimes language skills when they have a fever,” explains Andrew Zimmerman, MD, a co-corresponding author of the current report who also published a 2007 paper documenting the fever effect. “We investigated what might be behind that on a cellular level and postulated that it results from fever’s activation of the cellular stress response, in which protective cellular mechanisms that are usually held in reserve are turned on through activation of gene transcription.” Affiliated with the MGHfC Department of Neurology, Zimmerman is now based at UMass Memorial Medical Center.

Sulforaphane was first isolated in the 1990s by Paul Talalay, MD – co-corresponding author of the PNAS Early Edition paper and now a professor of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences at Johns Hopkins – and his group also found that the chemical supports key aspects of the cell stress response.  Zimmerman, who was based at Hopkins when he published the fever paper, approached members of Talalay’s team to propose investigating sulforaphane’s possible benefits for treating autism. While the mechanism underlying autism and other disorders on the autism spectrum remain largely unknown, several molecular abnormalities – including some related to the cellular stress response – have been identified. After Zimmerman moved to MGHfC in 2010, the trial was initiated at the Lurie Center in Lexington, Mass.

The study enrolled 44 young men, ages 13 to 27, who had been diagnosed with moderate to severe autism spectrum disorder. Participants were randomly assigned to a daily dose of either sulforaphane – extracted from broccoli sprouts – or a placebo, with neither investigators, participants nor their caregivers knowing who was receiving the study drug. Participants were assessed using standardized measurements of behavior and social interaction – some completed by caregivers, some by study staff – at the outset of the study and at 4, 10 and 18 weeks after treatment began. Treatment was discontinued after 18 weeks, and additional assessments of 22 participants were conducted 4 weeks later.

Study lead author Kanwaljit Singh, MD, MPH – of MGHfC, the Lurie Center and UMass – says that among the 40 participants who returned for at least one evaluation, the average scores for each of the assessments were significantly better for the 26 participants receiving sulforaphane than for the 14 who received a placebo. Even at the 4-week visit, some caregivers reported a noticeable behavioral improvement, and by the end of the study period, both study staff and family members correctly guessed the assignments of many participants. Overall, 17 of the 26 participants who received sulforaphane were judged by their caregivers to have improvements in behavior, social interaction and calmness while on active treatment.

After 18 weeks of treatment, the average scores on two assessments – the Aberrant Behavior Checklist and Social Responsiveness Scale – of those who received sulforaphane had decreased 34 and 17 percent, respectively – indicating improvement in factors such as irritability, lethargy, repetitive movements, hyperactivity, communication, motivation and mannerisms. Assessments using the Clinical Global Impression scale indicated that 46 percent of sulforaphane recipients exhibited noticeable improvement in social interaction, 54 percent in aberrant behaviors, and 42 percent in verbal communication. Most but not all of the improvements had disappeared by the 22-week reassessment, supporting the probability that changes had been the result of sulforaphane treatment.

“When we broke the code that revealed who was receiving sulforaphane and who got the placebo, the results weren’t surprising to us, since the improvements were so noticeable,” says Zimmerman, now a professor of Pediatric Neurology at UMass. “The improvements seen on the Social Responsiveness Scale were particularly remarkable, and I’ve been told this is the first time that any statistically significant improvement on the SRS has been seen for a drug study in autism spectrum disorder.

“But it’s important to note that the improvements didn’t affect everyone – about one third had no improvement – and the study must be repeated in a larger group of adults and in children, something we’re hoping to organize soon,” he adds. “Ultimately we need to get at the biology underlying the effects we have seen and study it at a cellular level. I think that will be done, and I hope it will teach us a lot about this still poorly understood disorder.”

Additional co-authors of the PNAS study are Susan Connors, MD, MGHfC, Eric Macklin, PhD, MGH Biostatistics; and Kirby Smith and Jed Fahey, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The study was supported by grants from the Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation, the Hussman Foundation, the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Foundation, the Agnes Gund Foundation, the N of One Foundation and the Brassica Foundation for Chemoprotection Research. Source

Posted in Autism, Nutrition is Medicine, Nutrition: Food: Broccoli | Tagged | Leave a comment

Omega 3 can help children with ADD

Supplements of the fatty acids omega 3 and 6 can help children and adolescents who have a certain kind of ADHD. These are the findings of a dissertation at the Sahlgrenska Academy, which also indicates that a special cognitive training program can improve problem behavior in children with ADHD.

Between three to six percent of all school age children in Sweden are estimated to have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).

ADHD is a disorder that entails a difficulty controlling impulses and temper, sitting still, waiting, or being attentive for more than short periods at a time. There are various kinds of ADHD where disturbances in attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity have varying degrees of prominence.

ADHD is often treated with stimulant medications, which are effective for most, but do not work for everyone.

In a study from Sahlgrenska Academy, Sweden, 75 children and adolescents with ADHD were given either the fatty acids omega 3 and 6 or a placebo over three months, and then they were all given omega 3/6 over three months. The study was conducted double-blind, which means that neither the researchers nor the participants were allowed to know whether they received the active capsules until afterwards.

“For the group as a whole, we did not see any major improvement, but in 35 percent of the children and adolescents who have the inattentive subtype of ADHD called ADD, the symptoms improved so much that we can talk about a clinically relevant improvement,” says Mats Johnson, doctoral student at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg.

The levels of omega 3 and omega 6 were also measured in blood samples, where those who had a clear improvement of their symptoms also showed a better balance between the blood levels of these two fatty acids.

The dissertation also indicates that a cognitive training method called Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) can be a good alternative or complement in the treatment of ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD).

With this method the children and the family receives help in training cognitive ability and solving problematic situations. The study included 17 children, whose families received up to ten weeks of CPS sessions. The families were then asked how much the behavioral problems improved directly after the treatment as well as six months afterwards.

“Our study of CPS as a treatment for ADHD and ODD is the first in Sweden. All families in our study completed the treatment, and half of them experienced a large or very large improvement of the behavioral problems,” says Mats Johnson.

The patient group that still had severe ADHD symptoms when the CPS treatment was complete were given the opportunity to supplement treatment with stimulants medication. In the follow-up six months later, 81 percent of all of the participating families experienced a large or very large improvement.

According to Mats Johnson, this indicates that CPS can improve problem-creating behavior in children ADHD and ODD, and that children with severe ADHD symptoms can be improved with a combination of CPS and ADHD medication.

The research was conducted at the Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre at the University of Gothenburg. More

Posted in ADHD, Nutrition: Omega-3 | Leave a comment

Workplace meanness: how to cope

By Amy Gallo

When a colleague is mean to you, it can be hard to know how to respond. Some people are tempted to let aggressive behavior slide in the hopes that the person will stop.

Others find themselves fighting back.

When you’re being treated poorly by a coworker how can you change the dynamic?

And if the behavior persists or worsens, how do you know when you’re dealing with a true bully?

What the Experts Say

“When it comes to bad behavior at work, there’s a broad spectrum,” with outright bullies on one end and people who are simply rude on the other, says Michele Woodward, an executive coach and host of HBR’s recent webinar: “Bullies, Jerks, and Other Annoyances: Identify and Defuse the Difficult People at Work.”

You may not know which end of the spectrum you’re dealing with until you actually address the behavior.

If it’s a bully, it can be difficult ­— if not impossible — to get the person to change, says Gary Namie, the founder of the Workplace Bullying Institute and author of The Bully at Work.

But in most cases, you can ­— and should ­— take action.

“Know that you have a solution, you’re not powerless,” says Woodward.

Here are some tactics to consider when dealing with an aggressive colleague.

Understand why More.

Posted in Human Behavior: Bullying, Human Behavior: Dignity, Human Behavior: Egoism, Human Behavior: Emotional Maturity, Human Behavior: Power, Workplace Issues | Leave a comment

7 Signs You’re in a Toxic Friendship


Filling your life with supportive friends is seriously good for your health.

In fact, one 10-year long Australian study showed that participants with solid friend groups were 22% more likely to live longer, and researchers at Harvard concluded that happiness was almost “infectious” amongst friends who lived within a mile of each other.

Every now and then, however, a friend grates at your patience, sanity, and overall happiness.

While small infractions often pass, or can be resolved by talking it out, sometimes it comes time for a friend “breakup.”

It’s something many women dread or delay—but why do we hang onto friends that are clearly no good?

“There’s a social stigma over ending friendships,” says Dr. Irene S. Levine, psychologist and author of Best Friends Forever.

“There are no scripts or rules, so people are at a loss for how to go about it.”

If you’re in denial, here are a few warning signs to watch for. Recognize a friend in one of these scenarios? It might be time to have “the talk.”

1. She needs you for absolutely everything.

While a friend who depends on you doesn’t seem like cause for concern, too much neediness can exhaust you and use up one of your most important resources: time.

“Women tend to rely on their friends more heavily for emotional sustenance,” says Levine. More.


Posted in Human Behavior: Friendship, Human Behavior: Happiness, Human Behavior: Relationships | Leave a comment

The vaccine debate: good news and bad news

Like any trench war, the fight to protect America’s kids against disease is proceeding only inch by inch. A new report shows why there’s reason for hope—and reason for worry

It’s just as well that no one knows the names of the 17,253 sets of parents in California who have opted not to have their children vaccinated, citing “philosophic” reasons for declining the shots. The same is true of the anonymous 3,097 in Colorado who have made the same choice—giving their far smaller state the dubious distinction of being dead last among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in the simple business of protecting their children against disease.

On the other hand, kudos to you, Mississippi, for finishing number one—with an overall kindergartener vaccination rate in the past school year of 99.7%—and to you, Louisiana, Texas and Utah, for finishing not far behind. Your children, by this measure at least, are the safest and healthiest in the country.

These and other findings were part of the alternately reassuring and deeply disturbing survey from the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), looking at vaccination coverage for more than 4.25 million kindergarteners and the opt-out rates for more than 3.9 million in the 2013-2014 school year

The report’s top line number seems encouraging. The national compliance rate for the three major vaccines covered in the survey ranged from 93.3% (for chicken pox) to 94.7% (measles, mumps, rubella, or MMR) to 95% (diptheria, tetanus, pertussis). More


Posted in Pediatric Health: Vaccines, Vaccinations | Leave a comment

Kids get fat because of family dinner table dynamics?

(Reuters Health) – Families who express more warmth, group enjoyment and positive reinforcement at family meals have children with reduced risk of obesity, according to a new study.

“Past research has shown that having frequent family meals is protective against youth obesity, but we don’t know why this is the case,” said lead author Jerica M. Berge of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

“The current study was designed to answer the ‘why’ question,” Berge told Reuters Health by email.

The study involved 120 children, ages six to 12, from families in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area who reported eating dinner as a family at least three times per week.

Family meals were video-recorded on iPads for an eight-day period.

They recorded types of foods, meal length, communication and interaction between parents and children and between siblings. Researchers also used parent and child surveys and interviews.

Three-quarters of the children were African American and half were overweight or obese.


Kids who were not overweight were more likely than overweight kids to have family meals last longer and to have a father or stepfather present. Overall, dinners lasted about 16 minutes, with an average of 18 minutes for healthy weight kids and 13.5 minutes for overweight kids. More



Posted in Health Care: Disparities, Obesity, Parenting | Leave a comment