Can Brain Stimulation Treat Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder that can be very difficult to treat, can cause a number of physical and mental health problems and even lead to death in some cases. A new study found that people who suffer from this eating disorder may benefit from brain stimulation. Transcranial stimulation is a treatment which has received approval for depression, and researchers in Britain evaluated patients who were diagnosed with anorexia nervosa both before and after the patients received the brain stimulation. According to a news release from King’s College London by researcher and first author of the study Jessica McClelland “With rTMS we targeted … an area of the brain thought to be involved in some of the self-regulation difficulties associated with anorexia.” The treatment involves magnetic pulses which are delivered to specific brain areas, and it alters the nerve cell activity in the patient’s brain.

The study on brain stimulation and anorexia nervosa was published in PloS One, a medical journal. McClelland explained “We found that one session of [brain stimulation] reduced the urge to restrict food intake, levels of feeling full and levels of feeling fat, as well as encouraging more prudent decision-making. Taken together, these findings suggest that brain stimulation may reduce symptoms of anorexia by improving cognitive control over compulsive features of the disorder.” Kings College London professor and the senior author of the study Ulrike Schmidt also commented in the news release, stating “Anorexia nervosa is thought to affect up to 4 percent of women in their lifetime. With increasing illness duration, anorexia becomes entrenched in the brain and increasingly difficult to treat. Our preliminary findings support the potential of novel brain-directed treatments for anorexia, which are desperately needed.”

Is a Natural Resilience to Life Stressors the Norm? One Study Suggests No!

Arizona State University researchers have determined that a natural resilience to life stressors is not the norm after all, although until now many have claimed that this is the case. When a life altering event occurs the researchers found that people may “struggle considerably and for longer periods of time” than previously believed. The study results and data were published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science. Study co-author and assistant professor of psychology at Arizona State University Dr. Frank Infurna explained “We show that, contrary to an extensive body of research, when individuals are confronted with major life stressors, such as spousal loss, divorce, or unemployment, they are likely to show substantial declines in well-being and these declines can linger for several years. Previous research largely claimed that individuals are typically resilient to major life stressors. Whereas when we test these assumptions more thoroughly, we find that most individuals are deeply affected and it can take several years for them to recover and get back to previous levels of functioning.”

According to Dr. Infurna the natural resilience to life stressors that has always been assumed in the past may not hold true after all, and there are many variables at play in each case. “Our findings go against the grain and show there can be more to the picture than that,” Infurna said. “It may not be the case that most people are unperturbed and doing fine. We used previous research as a basis and analyzed the data based on their specifications. Then we used our own specifications that we feel are more in line with conceptual assumptions and we found contrasting results. The previous research postulated that most people, anywhere from 50 to 70 percent, would show a trajectory characterized by no change. They are largely unperturbed by life’s major events. We found that it usually took people much longer — several years — to return to their previous levels of functioning. These are major qualitative shifts in a person’s life and it can have a lasting impact on their lives. It provides some evidence that if most people are affected, then interventions certainly should be utilized in terms of helping these individuals in response to these events.”

Those who Consider What Might Have Been Experience a Stronger Belief in God According to New Research

Some new research has determined that individuals tend to have a stronger belief in god when they consider what might have been or what could have happened, and this is especially true after a major event or life experience whose outcome could have been much worse than what it was. The study data and conclusions were published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, and the research has also concluded that rational and deliberate cognitive processes are used by believers to process evidence that backs their religious conviction. The research was performed after the lead investigator for the study, Dr. Anneke Buffone, started to be “intrigued by the question of how people perceive God as an active, trustworthy, and giving influence in their everyday lives.”

Dr. Buffone explained the study on a belief in god and what might have been by saying “Why is it that the vast majority of Americans, and many people across the globe, perceive a divine or spiritual influence in their lives and are firm believers in God, even in our modern world where many mysteries of the past have been scientifically explained?” The lead investigator went on to describe the study and stated “Counterfactuals — imagining how life would be different if a given event had not occurred — seemed like a good candidate due to its effect of making inferred connections between events seem more meaningful, surprising, and ‘meant to be’. We specifically explored how downward counterfactual thinking — thoughts about how life would be worse if an important life event had not occurred — may be a way in which believers come to perceive evidence for a God that is acting for their benefit. The results suggest that counterfactual thinking leads believers to the belief that the event did not occur by chance alone, and leads them to search for a source, in this case God, and this in turn leads to an increase in religious faith.”

How Does Depression in a Parent Impact Asthma in a Child?

A new research study has found a link between parental depression and asthma in children, showing that when a parent receives treatment for depression there is a good possibility that the child’s asthma will improve. Studies have shown that kids with asthma are more likely to experience depression, and when a caregiver or parent for a child with asthma is depressed then the child will typically experience worsening symptoms. The latest study on this topic had led researchers from the University of Texas, Dallas, and the University of Buffalo to recruit 200 individual families so that further research and studies can be performed. The studies will take place at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and the Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo.

The new research on children with asthma and depression in a parent or caregiver will screen the caregivers of children diagnosed with asthma to identify caregiver or parental depression. According to psychiatry and pediatrics professors Beatrice Wood, Ph.D. and Bruce Miller, M.D., “We are hypothesizing that an improvement in the caregiver’s depression will lead to a subsequent improvement in the child’s asthma. We have continuously found associations between emotional stress and worsening asthma, and that family relational stress plays a key role. We have specifically shown that a negative family emotional climate predicts worse asthma disease activity.”

Wood and Miller continued to explain the link with worsening asthma symptoms in children and parental depression, saying “When the parents’ depression got better, the children’s asthma got better. If a caregiver is depressed he or she may be less able to carry out the care of a child, especially a fragile child who is vulnerable with illness, They may not be able to manage the child’s medications or get the child to the doctor when necessary. At the same time our previous studies have shown that depression in the parent cascades into negative parent-child relationships, child depression, and worse asthma.”

4 Common Mistakes to Avoid with Addiction Treatment

1. Choosing the wrong type of addiction treatment facility or program is a very big mistake, one that could cost you a future of sobriety and abstinence from drugs or alcohol. The wrong treatment methods or facility type could cause you to relapse, or even to leave treatment before you are finished and on the way to recovery.

2. One of the more common mistakes when it comes to substance abuse treatment is failing to understand what addiction is or how this condition works. Extended drug or alcohol use changes the way your brain works, and the damage done could take months or even longer to reverse once you do finally seek help and go for treatment.

3. Not cultivating the right attitude towards addiction treatment can mean failing to get sober and stay that way. Recovery can be a very challenging time even when the individual is highly motivated and has the right attitude. Those who are not willing to change or who are trying to fake it just to work the program or system will not get the help they need and deserve because they have the wrong attitude.

4. Not cultivating a strong and extensive support system is one of the biggest and most common mistakes that you can make. A strong support system is necessary so that you have the support you need when your will or motivation is low or when you feel a relapse close by. You will find that some friends and loved ones make recovery harder than it can be, and these people should not be considered part of your support group because they will not help you stay strong and keep your resolve to finally beat addiction once and for all.