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Brain Region for Overcoming Fear and Anxiety Found



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©3D4Medical.com/Getty Images

Special cells called intercalated neurons allow animals to overcome fear and anxiety by recalling similar situations when they were unafraid, new research reports. These cells are found in a region of the brain called the amygdala - seen above in a computer image of the human brain.

The finding could lead to new drugs for helping people with anxiety-related conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, scientists say.


Magic Hat

The pursuit of happiness: it's good to talk... or is it?

The belief that cognitive behaviour therapy is the most effective way of treating depression is wrong, claim leading psychotherapists.

Health

Depression Meds May Trigger GI Tract Bleeding

A class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are associated with an increased risk of upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract bleeding, particularly when combined with painkillers known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), according to a study published in the July issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, a JAMA/Archives journal.

Comment: Better yet, try dealing with inflammation naturally. That eliminates one drug at least from the picture.




Alarm Clock

US: Hospital error blamed for more infant overdoses

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - The case of 14 babies who received accidental overdoses while in intensive care has raised new questions about how a common blood-thinning medication could be given to infants repeatedly in the wrong dosage.

Einstein

How Food Affects The Brain: Omega 3 Especially Important

In addition to helping protect us from heart disease and cancer, a balanced diet and regular exercise can also protect the brain and ward off mental disorders.

"Food is like a pharmaceutical compound that affects the brain," said Fernando Gómez-Pinilla, a UCLA professor of neurosurgery and physiological science who has spent years studying the effects of food, exercise and sleep on the brain. "Diet, exercise and sleep have the potential to alter our brain health and mental function. This raises the exciting possibility that changes in diet are a viable strategy for enhancing cognitive abilities, protecting the brain from damage and counteracting the effects of aging."

Gómez-Pinilla analyzed more than 160 studies about food's affect on the brain; the results of his analysis appear in the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience.

Omega-3 fatty acids -- found in salmon, walnuts and kiwi fruit -- provide many benefits, including improving learning and memory and helping to fight against such mental disorders as depression and mood disorders, schizophrenia, and dementia, said Gómez-Pinilla, a member of UCLA's Brain Research Institute and Brain Injury Research Center.

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Brain Cells Related To Fear Identified

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that in any given year, about 40 million adults (18 or older) will suffer from some form of anxiety disorder, including debilitating conditions such as phobias, panic disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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©iStockphoto/Duncan Walker

It is estimated that nearly 15 percent of U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan develop PTSD, underscoring the urgency to develop better treatment strategies for anxiety disorders. These disorders can lead to myriad problems that hinder daily life - or ruin it altogether - such as drug abuse, alcoholism, marital problems, unemployment and suicide.

Bulb

Children are naturally prone to be empathic and moral

Children between the ages of seven and 12 appear to be naturally inclined to feel empathy for others in pain, according to researchers at the University of Chicago, who used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scans to study responses in children.

The responses on the scans were similar to those found in studies of adults. Researchers found that children, like adults, show responses to pain in the same areas of their brains. The research also found additional aspects of the brain activated in children, when youngsters saw another person intentionally hurt by another individual.

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©University of Chicago
When a child is shown a photo of someone accidentally hurting himself, portions of the brain are activated which are related to pain.

Syringe

Russia could develop AIDS vaccine within 10-15 years

Russia could develop an AIDS vaccine within the next 10 to 15 years, the chief AIDS/HIV controller at Russia's consumer rights regulator said Thursday.

"The government has so far allocated over 1 billion rubles ($42.7 million) for [vaccine development]," Rospotrebnadzor's Alexander Goliusov said during a RIA Novosti TV link between Moscow and New Delhi to discuss the fight against AIDS. "We have vaccine candidates, but there is still a lot of work to do. We could expect a vaccine within the next 10 to 15 years."

The expert said three research centers in St. Petersburg, Moscow and Novosibirsk had been incorporated into a vaccine development team, and a group of HIV-positive patients in St. Petersburg had already been selected for tests.

Health

The Anti-Inflammation Diet

As the CEO of a supplement company in Los Angeles, Andy Pham eats, breathes, and dreams nutritional supplements. In fact, he downs roughly 80 pills a day. Pham knows he's far from the norm. Heck, most people pat themselves on the back if they remember to swallow a single dietary booster, much less six dozen. So when asked to think like the average time-pressed American and choose just one nutrient to take every day, he doesn't hesitate. "Fish oil," he declares. "I take it for the omega-3 fatty acids. They're a great all-around inflammation reducer."

Whether he realizes it or not, Pham's advice is in lockstep with the latest medical buzz. Researchers are uncovering an insidious new medical reality: Inflammation, the body's most primitive weapon against infection and injury, may be at the root of some of the deadliest diseases of the 21st century, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer's.

The typical 65-year-old with arthritis, an ulcer, and heart disease goes to see three different doctors: a rheumatologist, a gastroenterologist, and a cardiologist, says Jack Challem, author of The Inflammation Syndrome. And he may walk out with three different treatment plans. "No one stops long enough to connect the dots and see the underlying inflammatory current," Challem says. As a result, what's missing is a unified voice offering patients nuts-and-bolts advice about how to stamp out inflammation before it burns out of control.

Health

Gastrointestinal: Leaky gut, molecular mimicry, microchimerism, and autoimmunity

Most autoimmune diseases are official conditions "of unknown etiology" according to conventional medical science. Genetic factors appear to predispose individuals to autoimmune diseases, yet factors in the modern lifestyle must contribute to the conditions - autoimmune diseases are rare or nonexistent in primitive humans following a traditional diet and lifestyle. The cutting edge of research into the cause or trigger for these diseases focuses on loss of the integrity of natural barriers within the organism. The most important of these is the gut barrier, which, when it becomes pathologically permeable, becomes the key to the development of "leaky gut syndrome." Factors in the modern environment that damage the gut and other physiological barriers, such as vitamin and mineral malnutrition and injurious pharmaceutical drugs, may be responsible for the onset of autoimmunity.