Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) frequently experience high rates of PTSD along with symptoms of depression and pain. However, little is known about why these symptoms occur together or the most effective treatments that can be used to alleviate them. One approach that may yield new insights is to search for biomarkers -- indicators of a biological state that can be easily and reliably measured in people with an illness -- to see if their presence or absence can predict symptoms that an individual will experience and identify optimal treatment strategies. Dr. Christine Marx and her team at Duke University and the Durham VA Medical Center sought to determine if there are biomarkers associated with PTSD symptoms.
The British Psychological Society has welcomed the announcement of the government's New Horizons strategy to combat depression. Ms Sue Gardner, the President of the Society, says: 'the Society fully supports the New Horizons initiative and is proud to be involved in the prevention and treatment of distress as well as the enhancement of psychological well-being. 'However, much work remains to be done to ensure that everyone has access to psychological therapies, which the evidence base shows to be effective in the treatment of depression. Too often, people are offered only drug therapies when psychological therapies, or a combination of drug and psychological therapies, would produce a better outcome.
Antiepileptic Drugs Not Associated With Increased Risk Of Suicide Attempts In Patients With Bipolar Disorder
Despite government warnings about an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and actions while taking antiepileptic drugs, these medications do not appear to be associated with increased risk of suicide attempts in individuals with bipolar disorder, and may have a possible protective effect, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Antiepileptic drugs are life-saving for those with seizure disorders and are also used to treat many other conditions, including mood disorders and nerve pain, the authors write as background information in the article. The 11 antiepileptic drugs include gabapentin, pregabalin, topiramate and carbamazepine.
A new US study found that socially isolated female rats developed more breast cancer tumors, including a higher number of malignant tumors, leading the researchers to suspect that the stress of isolation from a group triggered fear and anxiety which in turn increased susceptibility to and the deadliness of breast cancer. The results suggest there is a likelihood of a similar link in humans because like rats, we are a gregarious, social species. The study is to be published in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and is the work of researchers at Yale University and the University of Chicago. First author, Dr Gretchen Hermes, formerly a researcher at the University of Chicago, and now a resident in the Neurosciences Research Training Program in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, told the media that: "There is a growing interest in relationships between the environment, emotion and disease.
Middle-aged parents are more involved in their grown children's lives than ever, according to new research from Purdue University. "We found that middle-aged parents help each of their grown children with many types of support at least every few weeks, " said Karen Fingerman, the Berner-Hanley Professor in Gerontology, Developmental and Family Studies. "This is a dramatic increase from 20 years ago, when young adults received much less support from their parents." Not all grown children get the same support, and which children parents help most may surprise some people, Fingerman said. Most people expect parents to help their youngest child or one that is struggling, but the family studies expert found that parents also are more eager to help the child they consider most successful.
"Why is it that men can be bastards and women must wear pearls and smile?" wrote author Lynn Hecht Schafran. The answer, according to an article in the Journal of Vision, may lie in our interpretation of facial expressions. In two studies, researchers asked subjects to identify the sex of a series of faces. In the first study, androgynous faces with lowered eyebrows and tight lips (angry expressions) were more likely to be identified as male, and faces with smiles and raised eyebrows (expressions of happiness and fear) were often labeled feminine. The second study used male and female faces wearing expressions of happiness, anger, sadness, fear or a neutral expression.