November 9, 2011

Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Research reveals that people that experience recurring episodes of depression or those that are exposed to chronic stress have shorter telomeres in their white blood cells.

“A telomere is a region of repetitive DNA sequences at the end of a chromosome, which protects the end of the chromosome from deterioration or from fusion with neighboring chromosomes.” Consequently, as we age, telomeres, the outermost part of the chromosome, shorten.

Moreover, research suggests that oxidative stress and inflammation can accelerate this process. The lengths of telomeres are suggestive of our biological age and have been associated with age-related diseases, unhealthy lifestyle, and longevity. Additionally, new studies now show that the shortening of telomeres is also linked to recurrent depression and exposure to chronic stress.

To demonstrate, researchers studied 91 patients with recurrent depression and 451 healthy patients by measuring the telomere length in their white blood cells.

Results showed that telomeres were shorter among the patients with recurrent depression. Also, by examining the participants' stress regulation using a dexamethasone suppression test, researchers again revealed that cortisol levels, indicative of chronic stress, were also associated with shorter telomeres in both depressed participants and healthy ones.

“The fact that depressed patients as a group have shorter telomere lengths compared to healthy individuals can be largely explained by the fact that more depressed people than healthy people have disturbed cortisol regulation, which underscores that cortisol regulation and stress play a major role in depressive disorders” says Mikael Wikgren, a doctoral candidate in the research group.

Accordingly, people could experience age-related complications much earlier in life; therefore properly treating and managing stress and/or depression may significantly impact the quality of life throughout the lifetime.

Depression and Chronic Stress Accelerates Aging


September 11, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Although most of us remember 9/11 through media coverage, a vast amount of victims and heroes now remain permanently scarred from witnessing the tragedy first-hand. Many are still physically suffering from their exposure to a mix of fibers, metals, concrete, noxious chemicals and gases. Yet many others are suffering mentally from their experiences on that day and the days following.
“Officially, as many as 10,000 firefighters, police officers and civilians who were at the disaster site here have been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Other figures suggest more than 60,000 of the 409,000 who were at Ground Zero have shown elements of PTSD.”
In the past 10 years, there has been more research and attention given to the very real PTSD and the stigma of mental illness and seeking treatment has also diminished somewhat.

So today, many of us are not only remembering where we were or what we were doing on that day, but those that perished, lost their lives trying to save lives and those still affected.

For more on PTSD, visit this past post:

Our faded memories of 9-11


September 4, 2011

Sunday, September 04, 2011
New research suggests that infants can be trained to improve their concentration skills much earlier than once thought, which, unlike adults, can lead to improvements on unrelated tasks. Such abilities could lead to greater academic success, especially for those infants that may not be expected to thrive.
"Research suggests that differences in attentional control abilities emerge early in development and that children with better attentional control subsequently learn better in academic settings," said Sam Wass of the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development at Birkbeck, University of London.
In other words, infants that can more readily concentrate on a specific object while ignoring other distractions are better equipped to learn. To test this theory, researchers observed 42 eleven-month-old infants on 5 occasions over 15 days. The cognitive abilities of each child were tested at the beginning and end of the 15 day period. Half of the babies watched TV, while the other half explored images on a computer screen. The latter half were tested to see how long they could watch a butterfly that flew only as long as they kept their eyes on it, meanwhile other distracting elements appeared on the screen.

Results showed that, “trained infants rapidly improved their ability to focus their attention for longer periods and to shift their attention from one point to another. They also showed improvements in their ability to spot patterns and small but significant changes in their spontaneous looking behavior while playing with toys”.

Consequently, the ability to stay focused on a task or to quickly shift attention can facilitate learning and social interactions, which can significantly impact abilities later in life.

Although the plasticity of the infant brain might allow training to occur at an earlier age, it remains a mystery whether infants might lose their novel skills just as quickly as they were learned.

Infants Trained to Concentrate Show Added Benefits


August 7, 2011

Sunday, August 07, 2011
According to Larry D. Rosen, PhD, professor of psychology at California State University, Dominguez Hills, the effects of social media are becoming more and more visible.

Some of their findings suggest that the more time spent on Facebook is related to a greater tendency toward narcissistic behaviors among teenagers. Also, it has been discovered that young adults that spend excessive amounts of time on Facebook show more signs of other psychological disorders, including antisocial behaviors, mania and aggressive tendencies.

Additionally, studies have revealed that excessive daily use of social media can negatively affect the health of children, preteens and teenagers alike as they are more prone to anxiety, depression and other psychological disorders as well as more susceptible to future general health problems.

Furthermore, it is clear that school grades will suffer when spending too much time on Facebook as valuable study time is lost. “Studies found that middle school, high school and college students who checked Facebook at least once during a 15-minute study period achieved lower grades.”

Besides, some studies suggest that so-called teenage “hyper-social networkers” are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as smoking, drinking, drug use, fighting and promiscuity.

Consequently, Rosen claims that parents who secretly monitor their child’s social media usage are wasting their time. Instead he suggests that active, but overt, monitoring and open communication about appropriate usage is the key so that when questions or issues arise such as bullying, a child will feel comfortable communicating with their parents. This active role could prevent serious consequences such as depression, anxiety or even suicide. It is also important for parents to stay abreast with online trends and the latest technologies, websites and applications.

On the other hand, research has shown that, despite the numerous negative effects, Facebook can help young adults to express their virtual empathy and facilitate socialization among introverted teens. Also, “social networking can provide tools for teaching in compelling ways that engage young students.”

It seems, like most things in life, everything in moderation is best.

Social Networking's Good and Bad Impacts On Kids
Texting and Social Websites Associated With Risky Behaviors Among Teens


July 23, 2011

Saturday, July 23, 2011
In recent news, scientists have uncovered the molecular pathway involved in the onset of schizophrenia as well as a potential new treatment for the illness. By observing the effects of a cancer drug called MS-275 in mice, researchers discovered that symptoms of schizophrenia were successfully alleviated.

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by disintegration of thought processes and emotional responsiveness. It is most commonly manifested as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking. The onset of symptoms typically occurs in young adulthood. Schizophrenia is accompanied by significant social or occupational dysfunction.

Additionally, the disease is said to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Those with a diagnosis of schizophrenia have changes in both brain structure and chemistry. Studies using neuropsychological tests and brain imaging technologies such as fMRI and PET to examine functional differences in brain activity have shown that differences seem to most commonly occur in the frontal lobes, hippocampus and temporal lobes.

The greatest risk for developing schizophrenia is having a first-degree relative with the disease. Environmental factors associated with the development of schizophrenia include the living environment, drug use and prenatal stressors. Factors such as hypoxia and infection, or stress and malnutrition in the mother during fetal development, may result in a slight increase in the risk of schizophrenia later in life. A number of drugs have been associated with the development of schizophrenia including cannabis, cocaine and amphetamines.
“According to the World Health Organization, 90% of people with untreated schizophrenia are in developing countries. Current treatments for schizophrenia include both psychological treatments such as psychotherapy, counselling or cognitive behaviour therapy and/or medication. However, many of the antipsychotic drugs or major tranquillisers used to treat or manage the illness have very bad side-effects.”
Schizophrenia is said to affect about 24 million people worldwide.

Medications prescribed to treat schizophrenia include:
    • Chlorpromazine (Thorazine)
    • Haloperidol (Haldol)
    • Perphenazine (generic only)
    • Fluphenazine (generic only)
    • clozapine (Clozaril)
    • Risperidone (Risperdal)
    • Olanzapine (Zyprexa)
    • Quetiapine (Seroquel)
    • Ziprasidone (Geodon)
    • Aripiprazole (Abilify)
    • Aliperidone (Invega)
Typical side effects include:
    • Drowsiness
    • Dizziness when changing positions
    • Blurred vision
    • Rapid heartbeat
    • Sensitivity to the sun
    • Skin rashes
    • Menstrual problems for women
    • Rigidity
    • Persistent muscle spasms
    • Tremors
    • Restlessness
Professor Peter Giese at King's College London discovered that individuals with schizophrenia had a reduction in the enzyme activator called p35. By manipulating the level of this enzyme in mice, the researchers were able to mirror typical cognitive impairments found in those with schizophrenia. Consequently, human post-mortem brains revealed that schizophrenic patients had approximately 50% less p35 in their brains.

That being said, the brain requires, among other things, the activation of a protein call Cdk5 to assist in proper development and this protein can only be activated in the presence of the p35 enzyme.

Therefore, by manipulating the level of p35 enzyme in mice, researchers noted that “the mice showed a reduction in synaptic proteins -- important in maintaining neural connections -- and displayed symptoms associated with schizophrenia, including learning impairments and inability to react to sensory stimuli.”

Subsequently, Professor Giese and his research team noticed that the reduction of the p35 enzyme altered molecules in the brain that are targeted by the cancer drug MS-275. To their delight, the molecular changes were corrected and the schizophrenic symptoms were alleviated by this drug.

With any luck, more research will prove that this drug is more beneficial than current medications with intolerable side-effects.

Cancer Drugs May Help Treatment of Schizophrenia
Mental Health Medications


July 3, 2011

Sunday, July 03, 2011
Researchers of the CRASH-2 Intracranial Bleeding Study have uncovered the possibility that tranexamic acid may be able to prevent people from dying of head injuries. This hypothesis was derived from the examination of 270 adult trauma patients with traumatic brain injury and with, or at risk of, significant extracranial bleeding within 8 hours of injury. Results of the study were persuasive enough that a CRASH-3 study is needed to test the reliability of this drug among patients with head trauma.

Tranexamic acid, otherwise known as Lysteda or Cyklokapron in the U.S., is often prescribed for excessive bleeding. “It is an antifibrinolytic that competitively inhibits the activation of plasminogen to plasmin, a molecule responsible for the degradation of fibrin. Fibrin is the basic framework for the formation of a blood clot in hemostasis.” In addition to its value for treating trauma patients, it has been used to treat cases of excessive menstrual bleeding, to reduce blood loss during orthopedic surgery, as a mouthwash following dental surgery, as well as in obstetrics, cardiac surgery, hemophilia and hereditary angioedema.

If approved, tranexamic acid could be used immediately following trauma when bleeding typically progresses and causes more and more brain damage by reducing the breakdown of blood clots and decreasing the amount of bleeding into the brain thereby preventing brain damage and even death.
“Although the results are not definitive they provide hope about the potential effectiveness of this simple drug for head injury patients. If such an inexpensive and widely practicable treatment were found to improve patient outcomes after head injury this would have major implications for clinical care” Said Dr Pablo Perel.
Hopefully, CRASH-3 trials will unveil conclusive results so that such a simple treatment could be incorporated immediately following traumatic brain injuries to increase survival rates and reduce disability, not to mention avoiding extensive and challenging rehabilitation.

Potential of Simple Injection On Patients With Head Injury
Tranexamic acid


May 31, 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011
According to researchers of the Centre for Studies on Human Stress of Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital at the University of Montreal, our brain loses its ability to associate negative emotions with painful memories while using the drug metyrapone.
“‘Metyrapone is a drug that significantly decreases the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that is involved in memory recall,’ explained lead author Marie-France Marin. Manipulating cortisol close to the time of forming new memories can decrease the negative emotions that may be associated with them. "The results show that when we decrease stress hormone levels at the time of recall of a negative event, we can impair the memory for this negative event with a long-lasting effect," said Dr. Sonia Lupien, who directed the research.”
Researchers taught 33 men a story that consisted of neutral and negative events. They separated the men into different groups and observed them 3 days later. A third of the participants received a single dose of metyrapone, another third received a double dose and the final third received a placebo. Researchers asked the participants to recall the story while under the influence of the drug they were given. Their memory of the story was evaluated while using the drug and again 4 days later when the drug was no longer circulating in their bloodstream.
“‘We found that the men in the group who received two doses of metyrapone were impaired when retrieving the negative events of the story, while they showed no impairment recalling the neutral parts of the story,’ Marin explained. ‘We were surprised that the decreased memory of negative information was still present once cortisol levels had returned to normal.’”
Consequently, such research could be very useful in treating mental illness. Not only could this drug be successful in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but it could help many people with mental health issues resulting from traumatic experiences.

Unfortunately, metyrapone is no longer commercially produced; however research on the impact of certain compounds on cortisol levels can only lead to a better understanding of the way in which our brain processes negative emotions and memories. Additionally, this type of research may lead to the discovery of other medications that are currently available or potentially more successful in erasing our bad memories.

On the other hand, use of such a drug could lead to abuse as many of us could certainly pinpoint at least one painful memory that we would be willing to let go. Also, despite those whose lives have been seriously disrupted from past trauma, it is our experiences, both positive and negative, that molds us into the person we have become. Therefore, erasing our experience of negative emotions from certain memories may be toying with our personality and possibly creating havoc in our society.

Drug May Help Overwrite Bad Memories


May 28, 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011
A great deal of research boasts about the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil supplements. Now researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine have found that it could also be beneficial in treating alcoholism and psychiatric disorders.
“In a multi-year study, researchers showed conclusive behavioral and molecular benefits for omega 3 fatty acid given to mice models of bipolar disorder. The fatty acid DHA, which is one of the main active ingredients in fish oil, "normalized their behavior," according to Alexander B. Niculescu, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and the lead author of the study reported online in the Nature Publishing Group journal Translational Psychiatry.”
Researchers were able to draw such conclusions by studying the effects of Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) on mice with characteristic bipolar symptoms including depression and manic episodes when exposed to stress.

Results showed that DHA normalized the behavior of the mice as they showed no signs of depression and experienced no periods of mania when under stress. Furthermore, molecular changes in their brain resulting from DHA correlate with molecular markers found in the blood, suggesting that DHA works similarly to psychiatric medications in the brain. According to Dr. Niculescu, "with these biomarker findings, we can now move forward as a field and do more targeted clinical studies in humans".

In addition, while studying the effects of DHA on the brain, researchers discovered that mice given DHA had less desire for alcohol.
“'These bipolar mice, like some bipolar patients, love alcohol. The mice on DHA drank much less; it curtailed their alcohol abusive behavior,' he said, adding that this is a completely novel finding. To verify this finding, the researchers studied another well-established animal model of alcoholism, the alcohol preferring P rats, and obtained similar results.”
Perhaps fish oil supplements may soon be used to treat bipolar disorder and alcoholism either exclusively or in conjunction with other treatment methods, thereby reducing unpleasant side effects of psychiatric medications while potentially improving overall health.

Fish Oil May Have Positive Effects on Mood, Alcohol Craving, New Study Shows


April 27, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has uncovered data suggesting that cholesterol-lowering drugs, known as statins, may help clot-busting drugs treat strokes.

Already, statins are well-known for lowering cholesterol, however they have also been recognized for producing other beneficial effects, such as maintaining the health of cells that line our blood vessel walls and increasing our production of nitric oxide, which dilates our blood vessels.

Researchers studied 31 patients that suffered an ischemic stroke, in which a clot blocks blood flow to part of the brain. It was observed that 12 of the 31 subjects already prescribed statins to control cholesterol, experienced more rapid and complete return of blood flow to the blocked areas of the brain.
"We've known that patients on statins have better stroke outcomes, but the data in this study suggest a new reason why: Statins may help improve blood flow to brain regions at risk of dying during ischemic stroke," says senior author Jin-Moo Lee, MD, PhD, director of the cerebrovascular disease section in the Department of Neurology. "If that turns out to be the case, we may want to consider adding statins to the clot-busting drugs we normally give to acute stroke patients."
To study this possibility, patients experiencing an ischemic stroke were treated with a clot-busting drug and followed up with an MRI. This scan was performed during treatment and again three hours later to assess the effectiveness of the clot-busting drug to restore blood flow to the blocked areas.
"To our knowledge, this is the first time someone has looked at the effects of statins on restoration of blood flow using brain tissue-based measurements instead of looking at the opening of blood vessels," says lead author Andria Ford, MD, assistant professor of neurology. "It's harder to do, but we feel it gives us more accurate measurements."
In only a short 3 hour window, twelve of the patients that were already being treated with statins averaged about 50% restored blood flow to affected areas of the brain, whereas the remaining 19 patients that were not already being treated with statins only averaged roughly 13% restored blood flow.

In addition, physicians tested these patients using the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, which evaluates speech, movement, attention and sensation, upon arrival at the hospital and at one month following their stroke. These results also demonstrated that patients treated with statins showed more improvement in their scores when assessed a month after their stroke occurred.

Although results appear promising, researchers have not yet determined whether regular doses of statins or merely treatment of stroke with statins produces such results. Further investigation may prove to have a positive impact on society’s number one disabler.

Cholesterol Drugs May Improve Blood Flow After Stroke


April 13, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011
“The halo effect is a cognitive bias whereby the perception of one trait (i.e. a characteristic of a person or object) is influenced by the perception of another trait (or several traits) of that person or object. An example would be judging a good-looking person as more intelligent.”
Research conducted by Jenny Wan-chen Lee, a graduate student in Cornell University's Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, has studied the fact that a positive characteristic attributed to certain foods can radiate a "halo" around it so that we may misperceive all other characteristics associated with those foods as positive. The halo effect can not only influence what we eat, but how much we eat.
“For instance, research has shown that people tend to consume more calories at fast-food restaurants claiming to serve "healthier" foods, compared to the amount they eat at a typical burger-and-fry joint. The reasoning is that when people perceive a food to be more nutritious, they tend to let their guard down when it comes to being careful about counting calories -- ultimately leading them to overeat or feel entitled to indulge.“
Furthermore, this theory also applies to many types of foods that are said to be healthy. Quite often, people will assume that an organic product is healthier merely for the simple fact that it carries the “organic” label.

To test this hypothesis, Lee asked 144 subjects at a local mall to compare what they thought were conventionally and organically produced chocolate sandwich cookies, plain yogurt, and potato chips. Lee ensured that all products were identical, however labeled some items as organic and others as regular. Each participant was asked to rate, on a scale of 1-9, ten different attributes of each food item, such as overall taste, perception of fat content etc. Participants were also asked to estimate the number of calories and the price they would be willing to pay for each item.

Results showed that subjects mostly preferred the taste of the organically-labeled foods and reported that these same foods were lower in calories, lower in fat, higher in fiber and worth a higher price. Even organically labeled chips and cookies were considered more nutritious.

The bottom line is that many people are deceived by fancy labels, such as “organic”, and truly believe that they are eating healthy when in reality; they may be just as unhealthy as the rest.

Halo effect
Health Halo Effect: Don't Judge a Food by Its Organic Label


March 27, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

According to researchers at Temple University's School of Medicine, the popular asthma drug, Zileuton, has shown potential in treating Alzheimer’s disease. This medication works by reducing the amount of amyloid beta that develops and accumulates in the aging brain. Amyloid beta is a peptide that has been known to be involved in the development of Alzheimer's disease.
“In previous studies, the Temple researchers discovered that 5-lipoxygenase, an enzyme long known to exist in the brain, controls the activation state of gamma secretase, another enzyme that is necessary and responsible for the final production of amyloid beta. When produced in excess, amyloid beta causes neuronal death and forms plaques in the brain. The amount of these amyloid plaques in the brain is used as a measurement of the severity of Alzheimer's.”
“Zileuton (trade name ZYFLO) is an orally active inhibitor of 5-lipoxygenase, and thus inhibits leukotrienes (LTB4, LTC4, LTD4, and LTE4) formation.“

Domenico Praticò and fellow researchers tested the effects of this drug on genetically engineered mice with Alzheimer's disease. Results showed that amyloid production and build-up in the brain was reduced by 50% by treating the mice with Zileuton.

Researchers are already aware of substances that can block gamma secretase’s production of amyloid, however completely eliminating a vital function may result in other health problems, such as developing cancer. “Unlike classical gamma secretase inhibitors, Zileuton only modulates the protein expression levels, which keeps some of its vital functions in tact while blocking many of its bad effects, which in this case is the development of the amyloid plaques.”

Fortunately, if clinic trials effectively demonstrate Zileuton’s ability to treat Alzheimer’s disease, the medication could be readily available to patients as it is already FDA-approved and on the market.

In addition, further research may uncover treatments for other untreatable diseases resulting from amyloid plaques accumulating in the brain, such as cerebral amyloid angiopathy, a neurological condition that occurs when amyloid proteins build up on the walls of the arteries in the brain, which increases the risk of hemorrhagic stroke and dementia.

Asthma Drug Could Help Control or Treat Alzheimer's Disease
Cerebral amyloid angiopathy


March 5, 2011

Saturday, March 05, 2011

According to a recent study, the pitch of one’s voice, as heard by the opposite sex, can give away their likelihood of cheating on their partner. For instance, women believe that cheating is more likely, the lower a man’s voice, whereas men believe that cheating is more likely, the higher a women’s voice.
"In terms of sexual strategy, we found that men and women will use voice pitch as a warning sign of future betrayal. So the more attractive the voice -- a higher pitch for women and lower pitch for men -- the more likely the chances he or she will cheat," says Jillian O'Connor, a graduate student in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour at McMaster University and lead author of the study.
In the study, subjects were asked to listen to recordings of a male and female with higher pitched voices, followed by recordings of a male and female with lower pitched voices. From these clips, participants were then asked to evaluate the couples by deciding which of the two were most likely to cheat.
"The reason voice pitch influences perceptions of cheating is likely due to the relationship between pitch, hormones and infidelity," explains David Feinberg, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour and advisor on the study.
Physiologically, men with higher testosterone levels typically have lower pitched voices and women with higher estrogen levels tend to have higher pitched voices. Meanwhile, higher levels of such hormones in men and women tend to be associated with elevated sex drive, as well as, adultery, according to this study.

In a nut shell, this study was seeking to uncover, from an evolutionary perspective, some sort of motivating factor in how people choose their mates so that any future financial or emotional costs associated with infidelity can be avoided.

At this moment, most of us are asking ourselves how this research might apply to individuals of other sexual orientations, in addition to comparing our partner’s voice to others…

Can You Predict Your Mate Will Cheat by Their Voice?


February 19, 2011

Saturday, February 19, 2011
A recent study, published in the journal Psychological Science, has discovered a link between the way in which couples' recover from conflict and their attachment patterns as infants.
“Attachment theory describes the dynamics of long-term relationships between humans especially as in families and life-long friends. Its most important tenet is that an infant needs to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for social and emotional development to occur normally, and that further relationships build on the patterns developed in the first relationships.”
From this theory, Mary Ainsworth, a developmental psychologist, identified three attachment styles, or patterns, that a child may have with attachment figures. These include secure, anxious-avoidant (insecure) and anxious-ambivalent or resistant (insecure). A fourth pattern, disorganized attachment, was identified later.
“Attachment theory was extended to adult romantic relationships in the late 1980s by Cindy Hazan and Phillip Shaver. Four styles of attachment have been identified in adults: secure, anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant and fearful-avoidant. These roughly correspond to infant classifications: secure, insecure-ambivalent, insecure-avoidant and disorganized/disoriented.”
Accordingly, researchers at the University of Minnesota studied a cohort of couples born in the mid-seventies while they engaged in a discussion about a subject they disagreed on followed by a “cool down” discussion about a subject they agreed upon. Researchers noticed an interesting phenomenon during the so-called cool down period. Some couples were fully capable of making the transition from the disagreed upon subject to the agreed upon subject, while other partners or couples could not move on from the conflict discussion.

Interestingly, a look back at the observations of these participants in the seventies at age 12 to 18 months of age suggests that their current behaviour is associated with their attachment type as infants. “People who were more securely attached to their caregivers as infants were better at recovering from conflict 20 years later. This means that if your caregiver is better at regulating your negative emotions as an infant, you tend to do a better job of regulating your own negative emotions in the moments following a conflict as an adult.”

Fortunately, researchers also uncovered evidence to suggest that those individuals that were categorized as insecurely attached infants who are in relationships that recover well from conflict are couples that are most likely to stay together so long as one partner can quickly disengage from the conflict and avoid dwelling on any resulting negative thoughts and emotions.

“This is some of the first evidence that romantic partners play an important role in buffering the potential harmful effects from poor experiences earlier in life.” It is refreshing to know that the people in our lives can play such an important role in altering the consequences of our earlier life experiences.

Attachment Patterns

How Couples Recover After an Argument Stems from Their Infant Relationships
Attachment theory


January 16, 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011
Researchers have examined twenty years of mortality data from counties across the United States and discovered that those living at higher altitudes were at greater risk of suicide. Geographically speaking, altitude refers to the height above mean sea level. High altitudes mean low air pressure, lower temperatures and less oxygen.
Barry Brenner, MD, PhD, and David Cheng, MD, University Hospitals Case Medical Center (Cleveland, OH), and coauthors Sunday Clark, MPH, ScD, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (PA), and Carlos Camargo Jr., MD, DrPH, Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston), examined cause-of-death data from all 2,584 U.S. counties between 1979 and 1998 and found that, as a group, people living at higher elevations had a statistically significant higher rate of suicide.
In addition, a link was still evident when all other factors, such as age, gender, race and level of income were held constant. Furthermore, researchers’ uncovered evidence that this correlation was not in any way linked to higher death tolls resulting from other causes. In reality, residents of higher altitude locations were found to have significantly lower rates of overall mortality.

What could be contributing to this elevated risk of suicide? Could it be that the locations are simply less densely populated? Are there higher rates of addiction among the residents? Could it be that a cold climate increases this risk? Are residents in these areas more likely to own guns? Or could it really be that a lack of oxygen to the brain, especially for those already struggling with mental illness, is the contributing risk factor?

Top 10 highest cities worldwide:

10. Mizma, Ethiopia – 11483 ft
9. Apartaderos, Venezuela – 11502 ft
8. Raíces, Mexico – 11919 ft
7. Laya, Bhutan – 12533 ft
6. Olacapato, Argentina – 13153 ft
5. Dolpa, Nepal – 14301 ft
4. Parinacota, Chile – 14435 ft
3. Komic, Lahaul-Spiti district, India – 15049 ft
2. Colquechaca, Bolivia – 15393 ft
1. La Rinconada, Peru and/or Wenzhuan, China – 16728 ft

Suicide Risk Greater for People Living at Higher Elevations, Study Finds
List of highest towns by country


January 12, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

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