Health & WellnessS

Attention

Mental health crisis plagues New Orleans



New Orleans mental health
©Tim J. Mueller for USA TODAY
Sam Scaffidi of the New Orleans Police Homeless Assistance Unit checks in on a homeless encampment Feb. 14 under the Interstate 10 overpass.

Since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city 2½ years ago, the number of public mental health facilities and community outreach centers has decreased dramatically, leaving the mentally ill without medication and monitoring.

Eye 1

Awkward! New Study Examines our Gazes During Potentially Offensive Behavior

It's happened to all of us: While sitting at the conference table or at dinner party, a friend or colleague unleashes a questionable remark that could offend at least one person amongst the group. A hush falls and, if you're like most people, your eyes will dart towards the person most likely to take offense to the faux pas. It's a doubly unpleasant experience for the offended: Not only have you been insulted, but you have also suddenly become the center of unwelcome attention.

Bulb

When it comes to emotions, Eastern and Western cultures see things very differently: Study

A team of researchers from Canada and Japan have uncovered some remarkable results on how eastern and western cultures assess situations very differently.

Across two studies, participants viewed images, each of which consisted of one centre model and four background models in each image. The researchers manipulated the facial emotion (happy, angry, sad) in the centre or background models and asked the participants to determine the dominant emotion of the centre figure.

Bulb

Go with your gut - intuition is more than just a hunch, says Leeds research

Most of us experience 'gut feelings' we can't explain, such as instantly loving - or hating - a new property when we're househunting or the snap judgements we make on meeting new people. Now researchers at Leeds say these feelings - or intuitions - are real and we should take our hunches seriously.

According to a team led by Professor Gerard Hodgkinson of the Centre for Organisational Strategy, Learning and Change at Leeds University Business School, intuition is the result of the way our brains store, process and retrieve information on a subconscious level and so is a real psychological phenomenon which needs further study to help us harness its potential.

People

Mother-daughter conflict, low serotonin level may be deadly combination

A combination of negative mother-daughter relationships and low blood levels of serotonin, an important brain chemical for mood stability, may be lethal for adolescent girls, leaving them vulnerable to engage in self-harming behaviors such as cutting themselves.

New University of Washington research indicates that these two factors in combination account for 64 percent of the difference among adolescents, primarily girls, who engage in self-harming behaviors and those who do not.

"Girls who engage in self harm are at high risk for attempting suicide, and some of them are dying," said Theodore Beauchaine, a UW associate professor of psychology and co-author of a new study. "There is no better predictor of suicide than previous suicide attempts."

The paper, co-authored by Sheila Crowell, one of his doctoral students, appears in the current issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

Magic Wand

'Long-life' genes found in 100-year-old humans

It's not quite the elixir of life, but researchers have at last identified gene variants that make people live longer. Men may miss out, as all carriers identified so far are women. They are also slightly shorter than average.

"We are moving closer to understanding why some people live longer," says Nir Barzilai of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, New York, US, head of the team that identified the two gene mutations in centenarians of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.

Both mutations affect the receptor for insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), a driver of bodily growth and maturity, especially during puberty. By making the receptor slightly faulty, the mutations may disrupt IGF1 binding and decelerate the process of maturation and ageing.

Attention

Dental patients urged to ask about foreign lab use

In the wake of a Midwestern woman being sickened by lead-tainted dental work that was outsourced to China, consumers are being asked to inquire about the origins of their crowns, veneers, bridges and dentures.

Millions of dental prostheses are being prescribed by dentists in the United States but are made in labs in China, India, the Philippines, Mexico, Eastern Europe, Costa Rica and elsewhere. Many experts are concerned about the outsourcing because raw materials used abroad may not meet U.S. standards.

Health

Oregon holds health insurance lottery

Portland, Oregon -- Oregon is conducting a one-of-a-kind lottery, and the prize is health insurance.

Shirley Krueger
©AP / Greg Wahl-Stephens
Shirley Krueger, who suffers from diabetes, sits in her apartment in Salem, Oregon, Feb. 27, 2008. Krueger, who works part time, signed up on the first day in a one-of-a-kind state lottery for the chance of health insurance coverage.

Comment: In 1948, essentially bankrupt after the Second World War, Britain instituted the National Health Service. Many nations around the world followed suit. However, the US, apparently, doesn't have the resources to provide basic health care for its citizens. What's the real reason for this?


People

Genes hold the key to how happy we are, scientists say

Happiness in life is as much down to having the right genetic mix as it is to personal circumstances according to a recent study.

Psychologists at the University of Edinburgh working with researchers at Queensland Institute for Medical Research in Australia found that happiness is partly determined by personality traits and that both personality and happiness are largely hereditary.

Roses

Three-year study at seven major universities finds strong links between arts education and cognitive development

Learning, Arts, and the Brain, a study three years in the making, is the result of research by cognitive neuroscientists from seven leading universities across the United States. In the Dana Consortium study, released today at a news conference at the Dana Foundation's Washington, DC headquarters, researchers grappled with a fundamental question: Are smart people drawn to the arts or does arts training make people smarter?