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You are here : 3-RX.com > Home > Bowel ProblemsPsychiatry / Psychology


Psychiatry / Psychology

An underlying cause for psychopathic behavior?

Psychiatry / PsychologyApr 27 10

Psychopaths are known to be characterized by callousness, diminished capacity for remorse, and lack of empathy. However, the exact cause of these personality traits is an area of scientific debate. The results of a new study, reported in the May 2010 issue of Elsevier’s Cortex (http://www.elsevier.com/locate/cortex), show striking similarities between the mental impairments observed in psychopaths and those seen in patients with frontal lobe damage.

One previous explanation for psychopathic tendencies has been a reduced capacity to make inferences about the mental states of other people, an ability known as Theory of Mind (ToM). On the other hand, psychopaths are also known to be extremely good manipulators and deceivers, which would imply that they have good skills in inferring the knowledge, needs, intentions, and beliefs of other people. Therefore, it has been suggested recently that ToM is made up of different aspects: a cognitive part, which requires inferences about knowledge and beliefs, and another part which requires the understanding of emotions.

Dr Simone Shamay-Tsoory, from the University of Haifa in Israel, along with colleagues from The Shalvata Mental Health Care Center and the Rambam Medical Center, tested the hypothesis that impairment in the emotional aspects of these abilities may account for psychopathic behaviour.

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Treating daughter’s eating disorder must involve entire family

Psychiatry / PsychologyMar 06 10

My lovely daughter, now 24, is bright and personable and she graduated with excellent grades from a private high school and a well-known college, but for the past eight years she has suffered from anxiety, has been in therapy and has struggled with an eating disorder.

She now works full time at a job she loves, shares an apartment with a college friend and lives near us, so we see her often. She is close to us and her siblings and gets support at home and at work, but she seems more anxious and weighs less than she ever has.

We have discussed residential treatment since the beginning, but her doctors thought she would recover and it was never something she wanted to do. It is heartbreaking to watch her decline and we are feeling more and more desperate. How can we help her get over anorexia nervosa?

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If children won’t go to school

Children's Health • • Psychiatry / PsychologyFeb 11 10

Children and adolescents who refuse to attend school should not be given doctors’ sick notes. In the current issue of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2010; 107[4]), child and adolescent psychiatrist Martin Knollmann and colleagues explain the causes of school avoidance and describe measures to tackle the problem.

Truancy assumes psychiatric relevance only if it occurs frequently and is accompanied by psychiatric symptoms. Children typically play truant for the first time at the age of about 11 years, whereas anxiety related school avoidance occurs in children as young as 6 years. School avoiders seem to be exposed to more stressful life events, but physical disorders such as asthma or obesity may also play a part.

In contrast to truancy, of which parents are usually unaware, children displaying school avoiding behavior often stay at home. They often express fears and anxieties, especially in the morning, and complain of diffuse physical symptoms.

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Association Discovered Between Eczema in Early Childhood and Psychological Problems

Allergies • • Psychiatry / Psychology • • Skin CareFeb 10 10

Association Discovered Between Eczema in Early Childhood and Psychological Problems in Children at Age 10 Years

Neuherberg, February 10., 2010. Eczema in early childhood may influence behavior and mental health later in life. This is a key finding of a prospective birth cohort study to which scientists of Helmholtz Zentrum München contributed. In cooperation with colleagues of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU), Technische Universität München (TUM) and Marien-Hospital in Wesel, North Rhine-Westphalia this study followed 5,991 children who were born between 1995 and 1998. The study has been published in the current issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 125 (2010); 404-410.

Researchers, led by Assistant Professor Jochen Schmitt of Dresden University Hospital, Dr. Christian Apfelbacher (Heidelberg University Hospital) and Dr. Joachim Heinrich of the Institute of Epidemiology of Helmholtz Zentrum München, discovered that children who suffered from eczema during the first two years of life were more likely to demonstrate psychological abnormalities, in particular emotional problems, at age ten years than children of the same age who had not suffered from the disease. “This indicates that eczema can precede and lead to behavioral and psychological problems in children,” Dr. Heinrich explained.

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Medical journal retracts autism paper 12 years on

Children's Health • • Psychiatry / PsychologyFeb 03 10

The Lancet medical journal formally retracted a paper on Tuesday that caused a 12-year international battle over links between the three-in-one childhood MMR vaccine and autism.

The paper, published in 1998 and written by British doctor Andrew Wakefield, suggested the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) shot might be linked to autism and bowel disease.

His assertion, since widely discredited, caused one of the biggest medical rows in a generation and led to a steep drop in the number of vaccinations in the United States, Britain and other parts of Europe, prompting a rise in cases of measles.

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Mammograms may be overused in women with dementia

Cancer • • Breast Cancer • • Psychiatry / PsychologyFeb 01 10

Some elderly women with severe cognitive impairment are getting mammography breast cancer screening even though they are unlikely to ever benefit from it, a new study finds.

Researchers found that among more than 2,100 U.S. women age 70 and older, 18 percent of those with advanced cognitive impairment had received a screening mammogram in the past two years.

This was despite the fact that these women would likely fall into a group that, according to guidelines, should not routinely have mammography screening.

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Disclosing sexual abuse is critical

Psychiatry / PsychologyJan 19 10

Half of sexual abuse survivors wait up to five years before disclosing they were victimized, according to a collaborative study from the Université de Montréal, the Université du Québec à Montréal and the Université de Sherbrooke published in The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.

“The number of victims who never reveal their secret or who wait many years to do so is very high,” says co-author Mireille Cyr, a psychology professor of the Université de Montréal. “This is regrettable because the longer they wait to reveal the abuse, the harder and more enduring the consequences will be.”

The research team surveyed 800 Quebec men and women and found 25 percent of respondents never divulged being sexually abused as children. The scientists also found a sharp contrast between genders: 16 percent of women remain quiet about abuse, while 34 percent of men never share their secret.

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Mental health expert testifies on the effects of Prop. 8

Psychiatry / PsychologyJan 15 10

In an effort to show that Proposition 8 caused harm, lawyers for two same-sex couples presented expert testimony today that the ballot measure represented the kind of prejudice that has made gays and lesbians twice as likely as heterosexuals to suffer mood disorders and substance abuse.

Proposition 8, which resurrected a California ban on same-sex marriage, “sends a message that gay relationships are not respected, that they are of secondary value if they are of any value at all,” testified Columbia University Professor Ilan H. Meyer, an expert in mental health issues among gays, lesbians and bisexuals.

Meyer, who teaches in Columbia’s public health department, said Proposition 8 also sent a public message that it was OK “to designate gay people as a different class of people in terms of their intimate relationships.”

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At-risk college students reduce HBP, anxiety, depression through Transcendental Meditation

Depression • • Psychiatry / PsychologyNov 19 09

The Transcendental Meditation® technique may be an effective method to reduce blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and anger among at-risk college students, according to a new study to be published in the American Journal of Hypertension, December 2009.

“The Transcendental Meditation Program, a widely-used standardized program to reduce stress, showed significant decreases in blood pressure and improved mental health in young adults at risk for hypertension,” said David Haaga, PhD, co-author of the study and professor of psychology at American University in Washington, D.C.

This study was conducted at American University with 298 university students randomly allocated to either the Transcendental Meditation technique or wait-list control over a three-month intervention period. A subgroup of 159 subjects at risk for hypertension was analyzed separately. At baseline and after three months, blood pressure, psychological distress, and coping ability were assessed.

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In binge-tolerant Japan, alcoholism not seen as disease

Psychiatry / Psychology • • Public HealthNov 17 09

When Japanese civil servant Yoshiyuki Takeuchi saw himself lagging behind his peers at work, alcohol was the only thing he felt he could turn to, becoming the latest victim of an addiction poorly understood in Japan.

“People who started after me would go further in their careers just because they finished college,” said Takeuchi, 50, who had to quit university as his family couldn’t afford it.

“I tried to stop that sense of ‘why always me?’ by drinking.”

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Potential for criminal behavior evident at age 3

Children's Health • • Psychiatry / PsychologyNov 16 09

Children who don’t show normal fear responses to loud, unpleasant sounds at the age of 3 may be more likely to commit crimes as adults, according to a new study.

Yu Gao and colleagues in the United States and the United Kingdom compared results from a study of almost 1,800 children born in 1969 and 1970 on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius to criminal records of group members 20 years later.

At age 3, the children were tested to gauge their level of “fear conditioning,” or fear of consequences. The idea is that children who associate unpleasant sounds or other unpleasant experiences with fear will be less likely to commit antisocial acts because they will link such experiences with punishments for those acts.

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New TMS Clinic at Rush University Medical Center Offers Non-Invasive Treatment for Major Depression

Depression • • Psychiatry / PsychologyNov 05 09

Rush University Medical Center has opened the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Clinic to offer patients suffering from major depression a safe, effective, non-drug treatment. TMS therapy is the first FDA-approved, non-invasive antidepressant device-based treatment clinically proven for treatment of depression.

Psychiatrists at Rush University Medical Center were among the first to test the technique and Dr. Philip Janicak, professor of psychiatry and lead investigator at Rush for the clinical trials of TMS, helped to develop this therapy.

The TMS therapy system delivers highly focused magnetic field pulses to a specific portion of the brain, the left prefrontal cortex, in order to stimulate the areas of the brain linked to depression. The repeated short bursts of magnetic energy introduced through the scalp excite neurons in the brain.

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Genes key in compulsive urge to hoard

Psychiatry / PsychologyOct 29 09

People who have a compulsive urge to collect and clutter their homes with junk can partly attribute their problem to genes, a new study confirms.

In a twin study, researchers found that genetic predisposition explained a large amount of the risk for compulsive hoarding—a mental health problem in which people have an overwhelming desire to accumulate items normally considered useless, like old newspapers or junk mail.

Of the more than 5,000 twins in the study, roughly 2 percent showed symptoms of compulsive hoarding. And genes appeared to account for half of the variance in risk.

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New chromosomal abnormality identified in leukemia associated with Down syndrome

Cancer • • Genetics • • Psychiatry / PsychologyOct 19 09

Researchers identified a new chromosomal abnormality in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) that appears to work in concert with another mutation to give rise to cancer. This latest anomaly is particularly common in children with Down syndrome.

The findings have already resulted in new diagnostic tests and potential tools for tracking a patient’s response to treatment. The research, led by scientists from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, also highlights a new potential ALL treatment. Clinicians are already planning trials of an experimental medication targeting one of the altered genes.

This study is published in the October 18 online edition of Nature Genetics.

“A substantial proportion of children with ALL lack one of the previously identified, common chromosomal abnormalities. Also, children with Down syndrome have an increased risk of ALL, but the reasons why are unclear,” said Charles Mullighan, M.D., Ph.D., assistant member in the St. Jude Department of Pathology. Mullighan is senior author of the study, which involved scientists from 10 institutions in the U.S. and Italy. “Our results have provided important data regarding the mechanisms contributing to leukemia in these cases,” he said.

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Substance abuse diagnostic test for teens can also predict high risk sexual behavior

Psychiatry / Psychology • • Sexual HealthOct 16 09

Alcohol and drug use are known contributors to adolescents engaging in dangerous sexual activity; leading to substantial health risks such as unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted illnesses, drug overdoses and alcohol poisonings. Yet, research suggests that fewer than half of pediatricians report screening patients for substance use and at-risk sexual behavior. CRAFFT, the diagnostic test developed and currently being employed at Children’s Hospital Boston, allows primary care physicians to accurately screen teens for high risk drug and alcohol use in a matter of minutes. Now, according to a new study appearing in the Journal of Adolescent Health, Children’s researchers have established that the CRAFFT diagnostic test can also identify teens that are more likely to be engaging in high risk sexual behaviors.

The studies researchers found that teens who screened positive for substance use had significantly greater odds of having sexual contact after using drugs or alcohol. According to the findings, these teens were more likely to have unprotected sex, multiple sexual partners and even a sexually transmitted illness.

The cross-sectional survey consisted of 305 adolescents from ages 12- to 18-years-old in 3 different urban clinics. Participants were asked the CRAFFT questions, and also completed a self-administered questionnaire about high risk sexual behaviors. Of those who screened positive, 42.6% reported having sexual contact without a condom, 26.1% after drinking alcohol, 15.6% after drug use and 21.7% with a partner who had been drinking alcohol.

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