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Virtual Reality And Other Technologies Offer Hope For PTSD

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) threatens to overload healthcare and social support systems worldwide as the number of cases rises and existing treatments are not sufficiently effective. New approaches to treatment are relying on technology, such as virtual reality, to alleviate the psychologically damaging effects of PTSD, and these innovative solutions are explored in a special issue of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. The special issue is available free online (http://www.liebertpub.com/cyber). PTSD is common in soldiers returning from combat duty and may also result from sexual or physical assault, imprisonment or hostage situations, terrorism, surviving an accident or disaster, or diagnosis with a life-threatening illness.

Impact Of Sleep Deprivation On Brain Functioning Different Than Previously Thought

What goes on in your brain when you're sleep deprived and how does it affect your ability to process information and make decisions? A research study conducted at Washington State University into the effects of sleep deprivation on executive functioning the ability to initiate, monitor and stop actions to achieve objectives has yielded surprising results and caused a shift in the current thinking on this topic. Published in the January 2010 issue of the journal "SLEEP, " the study found that sleep deprivation affects distinct cognitive processes in different ways. The researchers found that working memory a key element of executive functioning was essentially unaffected by as much as 51 hours of total sleep deprivation.

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Impairment Of Self-Control In Type 2 Diabetics

Type-2 diabetes, an increasingly common complication of obesity, is associated with poor impulse control. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal BioPsychoSocial Medicine suggest that neurological changes result in this inability to resist temptation, which may in turn exacerbate diabetes. Hiroaki Kumano, from Waseda University, Japan, worked with a team of researchers to assess response inhibition, a measure of self-control, in 27 patients with type-2 diabetes and 27 healthy controls. He said, "Patients with type 2 diabetes are required to make strict daily decisions; for example, they should resist the temptation of high-fat, high-calorie food, which is frequently cued by specific people, places and events.

New Proposed Changes Posted For Leading Manual Of Mental Disorders

The American Psychiatric Association today released the proposed draft diagnostic criteria for the fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The draft criteria represent content changes under consideration for DSM, which is the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health and other health professionals, and is used for diagnostic and research purposes. "These draft criteria represent a decade of work by the APA in reviewing and revising DSM, " said APA President Alan Schatzberg, M.D. "But it is important to note that DSM-5 is still very much a work in progress - and these proposed revisions are by no means final.

The Brain's Handling Of Low-Priority Ideas Revealed By fMRIs

When we put an idea on the back burner, it goes into a processing area of the brain called the default-mode network. This network enables us to hold the low-priority idea in abeyance until a time when we aren't busy with something else. "The default-mode network appears to be the brain's back burner for social decision making, " said Peter T. Fox, M.D., director of the Research Imaging Institute at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. "Usually these back-burner ideas relate to interpersonal interactions and decisions that can't readily be quantified and shouldn't be rushed." Dr. Fox likened this to putting a computer batch job into background processing to wait until the system is less busy.

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Psychosocial Problems Are Common In Children With Dental Fear

Children and adolescents with severe dental fear often come from families with a turbulent background. It is also more common that they have had counselling contact with a psychologist. These are the conclusions of research carried out at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Annika Gustafsson, specialist in child dentistry, has studied children and adolescents of school age who have received specialist dental care because they develop many cavities and also suffer from severe dental fear. "I wanted to investigate how children and adolescents with dental behaviour management problems who received specialist dental care differed from patients of the same age within ordinary dental care.

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