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Fri, 25 Sep 2020
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Health

New research shows how chronic stress worsens neurodegenerative disease course

The evidence is accumulating on how bad stress is for health. Chronic stress can intensify inflammation and increase a person's risk for developing central nervous system infections, neurodegenerative diseases, like multiple sclerosis (MS), and other inflammatory diseases, say researchers presenting at the 115th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (APA). These researchers have demonstrated for the first time that stress-related increases in central nervous system inflammation are behind the adverse effects of stress in an animal model of MS.

Researchers from Texas A & M University used mice to show what role social stress plays in the immune process to influence the course of an MS-like disease. They proposed that stress-induced increases of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are proteins that regulate immune and inflammatory functions, inhibit the clearing of a virus and allow the inflammatory process to run amok. Stress, say the authors, may interact with viral infections to increase vulnerability to diseases such as MS. Meta-analysis of studies investigating the impact of stressful events in patients with MS show an increased risk of worsening symptoms of the disease.

Health

Loneliness is bad for your health

Two University of Chicago psychologists, Louise Hawkley and John Cacioppo, have been trying to disentangle social isolation, loneliness, and the physical deterioration and diseases of aging, right down to the cellular level.

The researchers suspected that while the toll of loneliness may be mild and unremarkable in early life, it accumulates with time. To test this idea, the scientists studied a group of college-age individuals and continued an annual study of a group of people who joined when they were between 50 and 68 years old.

Their findings, reported in the August issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, are revealing. Consider stress, for example. The more years you live, the more stressful experiences you are going to have: new jobs, marriage and divorce, parenting, financial worries, illness. It's inevitable.

Arrow Down

UK: 'Thousands wrongly being treated for depression'

DOCTORS are over-diagnosing depression, resulting in thousands of people wrongly being prescribed drugs to treat it, an expert warns today.

Professor Gordon Parker says the current threshold for what is considered to be "clinical depression" is too low and he fears that it might lead to the condition becoming less credible.

Evil Rays

A Brave New World! New Drug Deletes Bad Memories

Do you have a really bad memory, or past heartache, that you would prefer to forget?

Researchers at Harvard and McGill University (in Montreal) are working on an amnesia drug that blocks or deletes bad memories. The technique seems to allow psychiatrists to disrupt the biochemical pathways that allow a memory to be recalled.

Comment: Don't feel, remember or learn. Become a machine via the happy drug.


Syringe

US tumbles down the world ratings list for life expectancy

A combination of expensive health insurance and an ever-increasing rate of obesity appear to be behind a startling fall by the US in the world rankings of life expectancy.

Despite being one of the richest countries in the world, America has dropped from 11th to 42nd place in 20 years, according to official US figures.

Comment: The American people have largely been duped into the belief that they now have more important things to worry about, like "terror" and huge military operations in other countries thousands of miles away. National resources and taxes paid by ordinary Americans has been diverted to a highly spurious project called "the war on terror", while politicians and their business associates earn huge sums of money along the way.


Heart

Has California's Anti-Smoking Campaign Reduced Lung Cancer Rates?

California authorities have recently claimed that, as a result of their anti-smoking campaigns, there has been a marked reduction in lung cancer death rates (LCDRs) in California. No doubt, there has been a reduction, but I suggest that it's entirely unrelated to smoking!

Sheeple

Babies Learn To Like Junk Food In The Womb

Pregnant women who "eat for two" by upping their intake of fatty and sugary food could unwittingly be putting their children at risk of obesity, new research suggests.

Bulb

Brain imaging reveals breakdown of normal emotional processing

Brain imaging has revealed a breakdown in normal patterns of emotional processing that impairs the ability of people with clinical depression to suppress negative emotional states. Efforts by depressed patients to suppress their feelings when viewing emotionally negative images enhanced activity in several brain areas, including the amygdala, known to play a role in generating emotion, according to a report in the August 15 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

"Identifying areas in the nervous system that correlate to pathological mood states is one of the pressing questions in mental illness today," says Carol Tamminga, MD, of the University of Texas Southwest Medical Center. Tamminga was not involved in the study.

Health

Health experts continue to investigate mystery bug bites

Health experts are still trying to identify what's behind a bug invasion that's left hundreds of people with itchy, red welts. It's usually just a nuisance, but ABC7's Kevin Roy found out Tuesday the bites can be serious.

When ABC7 first reported this story Monday night, doctors said there were no other symptoms, except for the aggravating itching that comes from those ugly red spots. But ABC7 talked to one man Tuesday whose case was so severe he was hospitalized and says he has never been that sick before.

Bulb

Researchers find brain's 'ordering centre'

Researchers at McGill University's Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) have pinpointed the previously unknown part of the human brain responsible for perceiving and storing ordered visual information. This capacity is fundamental to high-level planning and is unique to humans and other primates like monkeys and chimpanzees, said study co-author Dr. Michael Petrides, director of the MNI's Neuropsychology/Cognitive Neuroscience Unit.

"Our capacity to plan and manipulate information in the mind is dependent on our ability to take in the precise order of things." continued Petrides. "Dogs and cats and rats and squirrels have a lot of memory capacity, but their brains probably do not have the ability to capture the precise order of sequences of items. Approximate order is perceived based on salient features such as the stronger impression of the most recently seen item."