Health & Wellness


Discovery Of Cell Linked To Learning And Memory

Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) neuroscientists at The University of Queensland have discovered a fundamental component of the process that regulates memory formation.

QBI Director Professor Perry Bartlett said the discovery explains, for the first time, how new nerve cells form in an area of the brain associated with learning and memory -- which is known to deteriorate in people with stroke and dementia.

"The hippocampus is the region of the brain involved in important brain functions such as learning and memory and loss of neuronal production in the hippocampus is associated with a range of neurodegenerative conditions, and is particularly evident in ageing dementia." Professor Bartlett said.

Having less power impairs the mind and ability to get ahead, study shows

New research appearing in the May issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggests that being put in a low-power role may impair a person's basic cognitive functioning and thus, their ability to get ahead.

In their article, Pamela Smith of Radboud University Nijmegen, and colleagues Nils B. Jostmann of VU University Amsterdam, Adam Galinsky of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and Wilco W. van Dijk of VU University Amsterdam, focus on a set of cognitive processes called executive functions. Executive functions help people maintain and pursue their goals in difficult, distracting situations. The researchers found that lacking power impaired people's ability to keep track of ever-changing information, to parse out irrelevant information, and to successfully plan ahead to achieve their goals.

Culture affects how teen girls see sexual harassment

Teenage girls of all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds still experience sexism and sexual harassment - but cultural factors may control whether they perceive sexism as an environmental problem or as evidence of their own shortcomings.

A study of 600 girls between the ages of 12 and 18, from California and Georgia, included young women who identified as Latina (49 percent), White (23 percent ), African-American (9 percent), Asian American (7.5 percent) and multi-ethnic or other (7.5 percent) was conducted by researchers Christia Brown, assistant professor, Department of Psychology, University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, and Campbell Leaper, professor, Department of Psychology, University of California Santa Cruz. Participants were asked about experiences with sexual harassment and any discouraging comments they received in traditionally male-dominated areas such as math, science, computers and sports.

Electric shocks can cause neurologic and neuropsychological symptoms

Canadian researchers have shown that an electric shock ranging from 120 to 52,000 volts can cause neurologic and neuropsychological symptoms in humans.

Following an electrical injury, some patients may show various emotional and behavioral aftereffects, such as memory loss and symptoms of depression.

The study, supported by a grant from Hydro-Québec and conducted by clinicians from the Université de Montréal's Faculty of Medicine and Sainte-Justine Hospital, is published in the May edition of the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.

ER pediatrician and toxicologist Dr. Benoit Bailey, in collaboration with pediatricians Pierre Gaudreault and Robert Thivierge, assessed the prevalence of short-term neurologic and neuropsychological symptoms as well as one year after an electric shock severe enough to require 24-hour cardiac monitoring. Their goal was to explore whether any symptoms were associated with risk factors such as transthoracic current, neuromuscular spasms (tetany), loss of consciousness or shock of 1000 volts or more.

Young children with OCD benefit from family-based treatment

Although children as young as 5 can be diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), few research studies have looked at treatments specifically geared toward young children with this disorder. Now, a new study from the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center provides some of the first evidence-based data on a successful intervention for early childhood OCD.

According to the study's findings, published in the May issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, children with OCD between the ages of 5 and 8 may benefit from a form of psychotherapy, known as family-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), that is uniquely tailored to the child's developmental needs and family context. The overall focus of family-based CBT is to provide both child and parents with a set of tools to help them understand, manage and reduce OCD symptoms.

"If left untreated, early childhood OCD can severely disrupt and impair a child's development and functioning and can extend into adulthood. Despite this risk, clinicians do not have a proven treatment model for these young children," says lead author Jennifer B. Freeman, Ph.D., of the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center and an assistant professor of psychiatry/human behavior (research) at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
Red Flag

Genetically modified human embryo stirs criticism

News that scientists have for the first time genetically altered a human embryo is drawing fire from some watchdog groups that say it's a step toward creating "designer babies."

But an author of the study says the work was focused on stem cells. He notes that the researchers used an abnormal embryo that could never have developed into a baby anyway.

"None of us wants to make designer babies," said Dr. Zev Rosenwaks, director of the Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Errors in Psychiatric Diagnoses and Drugs Plague Strained Immigration System

Peasant farmer Jose Lopez-Gregorio, 32, left his wife and five children behind in Guatemala with two bags of corn, barely enough food for one month, when he decided to find work in the United States. Detained crossing the Mexican border and held in an Arizona immigration center, he felt guilty, he told guards, eating three meals a day. Lopez had been inside one month and eight days when he strangled himself with a bedsheet. Five days earlier, the staff had placed him on suicide watch, only to be overruled within hours by the center's psychologist.

Afghanistan: WHO confirms 'charmak' disease in Herat Province

Kabul - Confirmed cases of hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD) - also known as "camel belly" or 'charmak' disease - in Gulran District of Herat Province, western Afghanistan, have surpassed 190, and 17 people have died so far, provincial health officials said.

How We Lost Knowledge of Where Food Comes from and Why We Need to Get It Back

The following is excerpted from Kitchen Literacy by Ann Vileisis, copyright 2008 by the author. Reproduced by permission of Island Press, Washington D.C.

Has it ever occurred to you just how odd it is that we know so little about what we eat? Each day we feast on cereal, bread, salad, soup, chicken, cheese, apples, ice cream, and more. Over the course of our lives, each of us has eaten thousands of different foods. We have tasted their saltiness and sweetness, crunched their crispness, chewed their fleshiness, swallowed them, and incorporated their nutriment into our bones.Yet despite this biologically intimate and everyday physical connection, most of us have little idea where our foods come from, who raised them, and what went into making them.

'Mad Pride' Fights a Stigma -

IN the YouTube video, Liz Spikol is smiling and animated, the light glinting off her large hoop earrings. Deadpan, she holds up a diaper. It is not, she explains, a hygienic item for a giantess, but rather a prop to illustrate how much control people lose when they undergo electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, as she did 12 years ago.

In other videos and blog postings, Ms. Spikol, a 39-year-old writer in Philadelphia who has bipolar disorder, describes a period of psychosis so severe she jumped out of her mother's car and ran away like a scared dog.

In lectures across the country, Elyn Saks, a law professor and associate dean at the University of Southern California, recounts the florid visions she has experienced during her lifelong battle with schizophrenia - dancing ashtrays, houses that spoke to her - and hospitalizations where she was strapped down with leather restraints and force-fed medications.