Saturday, September 9, 2017

Research: Specialized talk therapy and antidepressants help children and teens

A specialized mental health treatment called, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been clinically shown, many times over the last few years, to help patients deal with common diagnoses such as depression, anxiety disorders, and panic disorders.
CBT is a form of talk therapy that teaches patients how to challenge negative patterns of thought, about themselves and their world; thoughts that often lead them to self-destructive decisions and behaviors.
This research looked at how CBT worked by itself, and with mental health medication, for childhood anxiety disorders.
The medications were:
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), are a class of antidepressants that work by increasing levels of serotonin (a neurotransmitter) in the brain. SSRIs slow how quickly the brain picks up serotonin from between the nerve synapsis, thus leaving more available for the nerves to use.
Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs), is a class of antidepressants that work by increasing levels of serotonin and norepinephrine (neurotransmitters) in the brain. SNRIs slow how quickly the brain picks up serotonin and norepinephrine from between the nerve synapsis, thus leaving more available for the nerves to use. SNRIs affect a wider range of neurotransmitters and are often used with multiple types of mood disorders.
Size of the study and its findings
•This meta-analysis looked at data from 7,719 patients in 115 studies. 4290 (55.6%) were female, and the mean (range) age was 9.2 (5.4-16.1) years. A meta-analysis statistically analyzes data from multiple studies.
•When SSRIs were compared to placebo pills, this study found that SSRIs significantly reduced anxiety in patients.
•Patients in this study taking Benzodiazepines and tricyclics (Older forms of anti-anxiety medication, tranquilizers.)
•Concerning CBT the researchers wrote:
When CBT was compared with wait-listing/no treatment, CBT significantly improved primary anxiety symptoms, remission, and response. Cognitive behavioral therapy reduced primary anxiety symptoms more than fluoxetine and improved remission more than sertraline. The combination of sertraline and CBT significantly reduced clinician-reported primary anxiety symptoms and response more than either treatment alone.
•It was noted that medication had some negative side effects while CBT did not:
Adverse events were common with medications, but not with CBT, and were not severe. Studies were too small or too short to assess suicidality with SSRIs or SNRIs. One trial showed a statistically nonsignificant increase in suicidal ideation with venlafaxine [antidepressant brand name Effexor XR].
• Cognitive behavioral therapy had fewer patient dropouts than placebo pills or medications.

Read the research paper
Citation: Wang Z, Whiteside SPH, Sim L, Farah W, Morrow AS, Alsawas M, Barrionuevo P, Tello M, Asi N, Beuschel B, Daraz L, Almasri J, Zaiem F, Larrea-Mantilla L, Ponce OJ, LeBlanc A, Prokop LJ, Murad MH. Comparative Effectiveness and Safety of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Pharmacotherapy for Childhood Anxiety DisordersA Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatr. Published online August 31, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.3036

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Monday, July 3, 2017

Humans, monkeys, and rats laugh, but why?

I am asked this question often, "Why do we laugh?" My common answer is, "As social animals it helps us deal with the stress of being social animals."

In this 17 minute TED Talk, Dr. Sophie Scott, talks about her own and other's research into the subject.

Most of this TED talk is information based and quite interesting, but by the end I was gasping for air in full laughter. Then she explained why. Educational and fun... not a bad way to learn.

Sophie Scott, Ph.D is the deputy director of the University College London’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Did you hear about the lady that said she was haunted in L.A. California?

In this TED talk we meet Carrie Poppy. She feared she was haunted. Her story is fascinating.

Even after a home cleansing ritual she heard voices, she felt uncomfortable, she was scared and confused... She needed to know the truth.

(13 minutes long, worth every second.)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What makes a happy and healthy life... Long term study says:

Robert Waldinger is the Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, a 77 year longitudinal study looking at what makes us happy and healthy throughout out lives.

Some of the original subjects were Harverd College men, others were the poor of the poor from inner city Boston. 

In this 13 minute TED talk you get an update on this study and what it means for you personally. What makes people happy and healthy over a lifetime isn't, money or wealth its is... 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A funny look at human perception and behavior through the eyes of an ad man.

Enjoy this TEDGlobal 2009 ·  16:39 · Filmed Jul 2009

A fun look at how we humans can be "encouraged" to act in a particular way. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Does exercise help memory of people over 50?

According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the answer is, yes. 
The researchers conducted a systematic review with multilevel meta-analysis. This is fancy speak for looking at many studies and redoing the math to see if the combined data confirmed what the individual studies showed.

The research group was just under 13,000 adults, 50-years of age and older. A total of 39 studies were evaluated. 
  • 18 studies looked at aerobic exercise (walking, running, or swimming).
  • 13 studies looked at resistance training in the form of weightlifting.
  • 10 studies focused on a combination of exercise programs.
  • The rest of the studies analyzed tai chi and yoga.
All exercises helped, but the type mattered
The analysis showed that aerobic exercise and tai chi helped overall brain function, while resistance training increased the participants’ memory.
In conclusion:
This is another study which shows that as we age it is important to keep moving. As I have said many times before, the best exercise for you is the one that you will keep doing, day after day. 
I think I will go for a walk now …

Read the full article: