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Exercise Can Help Beat Cocaine Addiction - Neuroscience News

Using animal models, Thanos found that regular aerobic exercise (one hour on a treadmill, five times a week) decreased stress-induced cocaine-seeking behavior. Exercise also altered behavioral and physiological responses to stress. Individuals who are addicted to cocaine have altered neural, behavioral and physiological responses to stress. Recent research by Thanos demonstrated how exercise can alter the brain’s mesolimbic dopamine pathway, which is linked to the rewarding and reinforcing properties of drugs such as cocaine. In addition, exercise has been shown to reduce stress hormones and elevate mood, which could assist in alleviating anxiety and negative emotions associated with withdrawal.

New study shows certain video games can improve health in children with obesity -- ScienceDaily

wenty-two of the 23 families in the gaming group finished the six-month program. Children and parents in the gaming group completed 94 percent of the gaming sessions and attended 93 percent of the video-chat sessions. "When you don't intervene with kids who are overweight, often their health risk factors and health behaviors worsen over time," said Dr. Staiano. "So, unfortunately, we weren't surprised to see that kids in the control group increased blood pressure and cholesterol and decreased physical activity over the six-month period." Children in the gaming group: Reduced their body mass index by about 3 percent while the control group increased their BMI by 1 percent. Reduced their cholesterol by 7 percentiles while the control group increased cholesterol by 7 percentiles. In other words, the kids in the gaming group remained in the healthy range. The increase in the control group's cholesterol levels pushed them into the borderline category for high cholesterol.

Therapy dogs effective in reducing symptoms of ADHD, study finds -- ScienceDaily

Results from Schuck's research indicate children with ADHD who received canine assisted intervention (CAI) experienced a reduction in inattention and an improvement in social skills. And, while both CAI and non-CAI interventions were ultimately found to be effective for reducing overall ADHD symptom severity after 12 weeks, the group assisted by therapy dogs fared significantly better with improved attention and social skills at only eight weeks and demonstrated fewer behavioral problems. No significant group differences, however, were reported for hyperactivity and impulsivity. "Our finding that dogs can hasten the treatment response is very meaningful," said Schuck. "In addition, the fact that parents of the children who were in the CAI group reported significantly fewer problem behaviors over time than those treated without therapy dogs is further evidence of the importance of this research."

Nature programs could put a spring in your step: New study shows that watching films set in a natural environment boosts body image -- ScienceDaily

This new study found that similar, immediate improvements in body appreciation could be achieved by watching a film depicting a natural environment. The film showing city streets had no effect, either positive or negative, on participants' body appreciation. Professor Swami said: "There are a number of possible explanations for our results, including the idea that natural environments promote 'soft fascination', which is a state of cognitive quiet that fosters self-kindness and helps individuals have a more compassionate view of their body. Views of rivers and trees are also devoid of any reminders of materialism, and so allows the viewer respite from thoughts of consumption and image. "However, more work still needs to be done to fully understand exactly how exposure to natural environments promotes improvements in body image, as well as how our findings here translate to how people view nature films outside the laboratory. For example, if we watch Springwatch on the sofa whilst at the same time checking our Twitter feed, it's possible the natural scenes might not have the same immersive effect.

Color-Changing LEDs Could Reset the Circadian Rhythm - The Atlantic

Hints of positive impacts have emerged in Texas, too, where tunable LED systems have been installed in some elementary and middle-school classrooms in Carrollton, a northern suburb of Dallas. A September DOE report on the Carrollton systems suggested that the tunable LED system had improved the overall learning environment—though the DOE noted that empirically measuring the effects of the circadian lights was beyond the scope of the project. Back in Washington, entire schools—including two Renton high schools and a brand new middle school—now have circadian lighting, and initial data out of Lindbergh High School seemed to echo the findings in Texas: The school reported a double-digit rise in SAT test scores following installation of the tunable LEDs.

Color-Changing LEDs Could Reset the Circadian Rhythm - The Atlantic

In much the same way as the ear allows us to both hear and stay balanced, the eye’s rods and cones supply us with vision while these novel intrinsic photosensitive retinal ganglion cells, or ipRGCs, perform a separate function: They sense the quality and quantity of light, with input from the rods and cones, and send that information to a master circadian clock in the brain. That clock then conducts a symphony of cellular timepieces throughout the body, ensuring they all “rise and fall with appropriate relationships to the others,” explains Berson.

Insel and "digital phenotype"

His company is working on using the technique to pre-screen for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Their initial studies were able to link the digital features from participants' phones to how well they did on neural cognitive tests.

Merciful Love Can Help Relieve the Emotional Suffering of Extreme States - Michael W. Cornwall, 2018

I do not believe such love can easily well up inside us while we are distracted by ponderous, analytical mentation. Doesn’t the “clinical gaze” that sometimes may emerge in the eyes of “mental health” caregivers reflect the detached or even defended inner emotional state of the caregiver? That impersonal clinical gaze strives to keenly identify and measure the severity of the “symptoms” of mental illness in order to ascertain definable patterns of “psychopathology.” The clinical gaze also searches for the degree of deviance from codified societal norms. But the inner clinical stance of the caregiver that fosters the caregiver’s own emotionally detached, impersonal objectifying gaze, tragically, can reinforce the inner self-judgments and the inner devaluing and self-shaming of the suffering person the caregiver would hope to help. One’s very self-identity is called into question as the inevitable psychiatric diagnosis process unfolds. We are then redefined as “disordered” beings who are fundamentally failing to pass as equals with those more “healthy” and successful persons than ourselves. A psychiatric diagnosis almost always brings a diminution of self-worth to those so often already in the grip of harsh self-judgments about their worth and inherent value (Cornwall, 2016b).

Chronobiological therapy for mood disorders: Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics: Vol 11, No 7

Alteration of the sleep–wake cycle and of the sleep structure are core symptoms of a major depressive episode, and occur both in course of bipolar disorder and of major depressive disorder. Many other circadian rhythms, such as the daily profiles of body temperature, cortisol, thyrotropin, prolactin, growth hormone, melatonin and excretion of various metabolites in the urine, are disrupted in depressed patients, both unipolar and bipolar individuals. These disrupted rhythms seem to return to normality with patient recovery. Research on circadian rhythms and sleep have led to the definition of nonpharmacological therapies of mood disorder that can be used in everyday practice. These strategies, named chronotherapeutics, are based on controlled exposures to environmental stimuli that act on biological rhythms, and demonstrate good efficacy in the treatment of illness episodes.

How Mitochondria Keep Our Brains and Minds Moving – Association for Psychological Science

Although the exact mechanisms through which mitochondria may contribute to such a range of disorders is still poorly understood, the authors wrote, studies suggest that the path to mitochondrial health is a familiar one: Exercise, getting enough sleep, eating a nutrient rich diet, and engaging in stress-reducing activities like yoga and meditation can all have a positive influence. In one study, rats who swam for 10 to 30 minutes a day for 20 weeks were found to have fewer mutations in their mitochondrial DNA than those who did not. Some research suggests that eating a ketogenic diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates and sugar may improve energy production.

Differential Experimental Effects of a Short Bout of Walking, Meditation, or Combination of Walking and Meditation on State Anxiety Among Young Adu... - PubMed - NCBI

Significant group × time interaction effects were observed ( P = .01). Post hoc paired t tests revealed that state anxiety significantly decreased from baseline to postintervention in the meditation ( P = .002), meditation then walk ( P = .002), and walk then meditation ( P = .03) groups but not the walk ( P = .75) or control ( P = .45) groups.

Study links night exposure to blue light with breast and prostate cancer: Researchers used images taken by astronauts to evaluate outdoor lighting in Madrid and Barcelona -- ScienceDaily

Results obtained for both cities show that participants exposed to higher levels of blue light had a 1.5 and 2-fold higher risk of developing breast and prostate cancer, respectively, as compared to the less-exposed population.

What Went Wrong In The First-Ever Clinical Trial Of Deep Brain Stimulation For Depression? - Digg

Finally, Mayberg has long offered her patients comprehensive, personally tailored programs of psychiatric and social-service support to help them rebuild their lives. After years of deep depression, most patients' lives, relationships and ways of thinking have been entrenched in illness and disability long and deeply enough that surgery alone was unlikely to make them whole. Like a patient with a knee repair, says Mayberg, "they need rehab to get well again." So her team helps them get psychotherapy, occupational or physical therapy to rebuild skills or physical health, and other assistance to connect them to needed social services.

Running helps brain stave off effects of chronic stress: Exercise protects vital memory and learning functions -- ScienceDaily

"Exercise is a simple and cost-effective way to eliminate the negative impacts on memory of chronic stress," said study lead author Jeff Edwards, associate professor of physiology and developmental biology at BYU. Inside the hippocampus, memory formation and recall occur optimally when the synapses or connections between neurons are strengthened over time. That process of synaptic strengthening is called long-term potentiation (LTP). Chronic or prolonged stress weakens the synapses, which decreases LTP and ultimately impacts memory. Edwards' study found that when exercise co-occurs with stress, LTP levels are not decreased, but remain normal.

Sitting-Time, Physical Activity, and Depressive Symptoms in Mid-Aged Women - American Journal of Preventive Medicine

In main effects modeling, women who sat >7 hours/day (OR=1.47, 95% CI=1.29, 1.67) and women who did no physical activity (OR=1.99, 95% CI=1.75, 2.27) were more likely to have depressive symptoms than women who sat ≤4 hours/day and who met physical activity guidelines, respectively. In interaction modeling, the likelihood of depressive symptoms in women who sat >7 hours/day and did no physical activity was triple that of women who sat ≤4 hours/day and met physical activity guidelines (OR 2.96, 95% CI=2.37, 3.69).

Sunlight May Be the Next Beet Juice | Outside Online

The study involved shining two different doses of ultraviolet light (specifically UVA light—wavelengths between 315 and 400 nanometers) on ten volunteers, then measuring its effects on a range of outcomes like blood pressure, resting metabolism, and nitrite and nitrate levels. It’s this last bit that caught my attention, because the rise of beet juice as an endurance-boosting supplement is due to its high levels of nitrate. The body converts that nitrate to nitrite and then to nitric oxide, which seems to make your muscles work more efficiently during endurance exercise. These studies have also found that boosting levels of nitric oxide has other health benefits, like acutely lowering blood pressure and regulating blood sugar. (In fact, one recent study found that using mouthwash twice a day or more, which wipes out the oral bacteria that convert nitrate to nitrite, was associated with a 50 percent increase in the risk of developing prediabetes or diabetes.)

Scientists discover evidence of early human innovation, pushing back evolutionary timeline: Evidence of innovation dates to a period when humans faced an unpredictable and uncertain environment, according to three new studies -- ScienceDaily

early humans in East Africa had -- by about 320,000 years ago -- begun trading with distant groups, using color pigments and manufacturing more sophisticated tools than those of the Early Stone Age. These newly discovered activities approximately date to the oldest known fossil record of Homo sapiens and occur tens of thousands of years earlier than previous evidence has shown in eastern Africa. These behaviors, which are characteristic of humans who lived during the Middle Stone Age, replaced technologies and ways of life that had been in place for hundreds of thousands of years.

Executive-related oculomotor control is improved following a 10-min single-bout of aerobic exercise: Evidence from the antisaccade task - ScienceDirect

hus, a 10-min bout of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic exercise benefits executive-related oculomotor control, and is a finding we attribute to an exercise-based increase in attention/arousal and/or improved task-specific activity within the frontoparietal networks supporting antisaccades.

Paroxetine, Cognitive Therapy or Their Combination in the Treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder with and without Avoidant Personality Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial - FullText - Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics 2016, Vol. 85, No. 6 - Karger Publishers

CT was superior to paroxetine alone and to pill placebo at the end of treatment, but it was not superior to the combination treatment. At the 12-month follow-up, the CT group maintained benefits and was significantly better than placebo and paroxetine alone, whereas there were no significant differences among combination treatment, paroxetine alone, and placebo. Recovery rates at 12 months were much higher in the CT group (68%) compared to 40% in the combination group, 24% in the paroxetine group, and 4% in the pill placebo group.

Living in a sunnier climate as a child and young adult may reduce risk of MS: Getting more summer sun also associated with lower risk -- ScienceDaily

They found that women who lived in sunnier climates with the highest exposure to UV-B rays had 45 percent reduced risk of developing MS across all pre-MS onset age groups when compared to those living in areas with the lowest UV-B ray exposure. When looking at specific age groups, those who lived in areas with the highest levels of UV-B rays between ages 5 to 15 had a 51 percent reduced risk of MS compared to the lowest group. A total of 33 of 147 people with MS, or 22 percent, had high exposure at ages 5 to 15, while 61 people, or 41 percent, had low exposure. In addition, those who spent more time outdoors in the summer at ages 5 to 15 in locations where exposure to UV-B rays was the highest had a 55 percent reduced risk of developing the disease compared to those in the lowest-exposure group.

Heart attack patients prescribed antidepressants have worse one-year survival -- ScienceDaily

After adjusting for baseline characteristics the researchers found that the rates of stroke and subsequent heart attacks were similar between the two groups, but patients prescribed antidepressants had significantly worse survival. The rate of all-cause mortality at one-year after discharge was 7.4% in patients prescribed antidepressants compared to 3.4% for those not prescribed antidepressants (p<0.001). Antidepressant prescription was an independent predictor for mortality, and increased the odds by 66% (odds ratio: 1.66; 95% confidence interval: 1.16 to 2.39).

Recap of sunlight with links

Although medical curiosity about the salubrious benefits of sunlight exposure can be traced to antiquity [1,2], contemporary clinical interest was ignited by the 20th-century discovery of a direct link between light exposure and circadian melatonin production [3,4]. An obvious initial candidate for bright light therapy (LT) was seasonal affective disorder [5] – a form of depressive illness typically triggered by light deprivation during the short, cold days of winter – and the intervention has proven to be efficacious across a large number of randomized controlled trials [6-8]. In fact, the efficacy of LT has now been supported across a range of other mood disorders, including non-seasonal depression [9,10,6], bipolar disorder [11,12], antepartum and postpartum depression [13,14], and premenstrual dysphoric disorder [15,16]. Light therapy (LT) has also been successfully applied to the treatment of sleep disorders [17-20], as well as circadian phase sleep disorders associated with jet lag [21,22] and shift work [23,24]. More recently, LT has shown promise as an intervention for obsessive-compulsive symptoms [25], behavioral disturbances and functioning in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease [26,27], primary and secondary features of Parkinson’s disease [28], attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [29], seasonal variations in eating disturbances associated with bulimia nervosa [30,31], and some symptoms of chronic anorexia [32].

New neurons in the adult brain are involved in sensory learning -- ScienceDaily

The scientists from the Institut Pasteur and the CNRS observed that the new neurons were able to react differently to an odor depending on the consequences associated with that sensory experience, such as whether or not there would be a reward. They also demonstrated that olfactory learning, in which the mice had to associate an odor with positive reinforcement, became easier once the new neurons had been activated. Finally, simply activating these adult-born neurons could be assimilated with a reward-predicting odor. In short, this research shows that adult-born neurons are involved in the value associated with sensory stimuli rather than just the identification of the nature of a given sensory stimulus. It demonstrates that reward-motivated learning depends largely on adult neurogenesis.

Running helps brain stave off effects of chronic stress: Exercise protects vital memory and learning functions -- ScienceDaily

"Exercise is a simple and cost-effective way to eliminate the negative impacts on memory of chronic stress," said study lead author Jeff Edwards, associate professor of physiology and developmental biology at BYU. Inside the hippocampus, memory formation and recall occur optimally when the synapses or connections between neurons are strengthened over time. That process of synaptic strengthening is called long-term potentiation (LTP). Chronic or prolonged stress weakens the synapses, which decreases LTP and ultimately impacts memory. Edwards' study found that when exercise co-occurs with stress, LTP levels are not decreased, but remain normal.

Insomnia and depression: Japanese hospital workers questionnaire survey : Open Medicine

Chronic insomnia is the one of the factors influencing the development of mental illness. In this survey, we tried to clarify the relationship between chronic insomnia and various factors. Although there is no certainty about other possible independent variables, multiple regression analyses suggested that chronic insomnia is an important factor for depression. Koyama et al. found that subjects who suffered from severe sleeping disorders, not just during depression, tended to have decreased blood flow in the frontal lobe of the brain [2]. When SIGH-D was used to evaluate sleeping disorders, an IS of 3 or higher showed that its severity and the reduced blood flow in the frontal lobe are significantly correlated. Based on this biological finding, preliminary research was conducted with 108 working participants, which included healthy participants and patients with mild to moderate depressive episodes. The result showed that the IS was significantly correlated with the severity of depression, subjective fatigue, sadness, and suicidal thoughts. Thus, an IS evaluation has the possibility of identifying depression based on a questionnaire survey related to direct mood changes [3]. There have been robust findings concerning the biology underlying the close relationship between sleep disorders and depression. For example, Buckley has found that a protracted sleep disorder, not depression, induces hyperactivity of the HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis) system [14]. Furthermore, exposure to extreme stress causes the excessive secretion of corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) —a cerebral mechanism for stress adaptation. This release of CRH inhibits the activities of the serotonin pathway in the nervous system that extends from the dorsal raphe nucleus to the prefrontal area via the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) system [15]. It is also known that CRH has a stimulant effect [14]. Therefore, it is inferred that a substantive lack of sleep will lead to a sustained activation of the HPA system once again, thus establishing a vicious cycle. On the other hand, the decline in frontal lobe function due to depression has been established by several earlier studies, including those that used functional brain imaging [15,16,17,18]. The protraction of a sleep disorder activating the HPA system and inhibiting the serotonin nervous system in the frontal lobe is believed to elicit a clinical condition similar to depression. Furthermore, the finding that the hyperactivity of the HPA system increases cortisol secretion, which inhibits the HPA system and damages hippocampal cells, further strengthens the suggested relationship between sleep disorders and depression. This biological finding strengthens the theory that a lack of sleep due to insomnia, exposure to stress, and overwork, leads to depression because of the accumulation of mental fatigue.

Clock protein controls daily cycle of gene expression by regulating chromosome loops: New understanding of Rev-erb's role has implications for metabolic disorders, cardiovascular disease, and cancer -- ScienceDaily

Human physiology works on a 24-hour cycle of gene expression (when the chromosome coding region is translated by RNA and then transcribed to make protein) and is controlled by the body's molecular clock. Core clock proteins activate or repress protein complexes that physically loop one part of a chromosome to become adjacent to a distant part of the same chromosome. The Penn team showed that daily oscillations of Rev-erb control gene expression in the mouse liver via interactions between on-and-off regions on the same chromosome. Previous work from the team demonstrated that by 5 p.m., Rev-erb increases to its highest concentration in mouse liver, where it turns off certain genes and therefore protein transcription. But as the day turns to night, its concentration steadily decreases and nearly vanishes from the liver by 5 a.m.