Mental and Emotional Problem News

Browse our library of news below or learn more about mood disorder symptoms, diagnosis and causes.

Weather and mental health: sunshine found to be key

Overcast Sky

Sunshine matters. A lot. The idea isn't exactly new, but according to a recent study, when it comes to your mental and emotional health, the amount of time between sunrise and sunset is the weather variable that matters most, and not just for Seasonal Affective Disorder sufferers.

Your day might be filled with irritatingly hot temperatures, thick air pollution and maybe even pockets of rainclouds, but that won't necessarily get you down. If you're able to soak up enough sunlight, your level of emotional distress should remain stable. Reduce sun exposure time, though, and your levels of distress can spike.

Depression risk increased by oxidative and nitrosative stress and resulting autoimmunity

White Blood CellsA recent study sheds new light on the previously noted association between oxidative and nitrosative stress and depressive illness, pointing the finger squarely at autoimmune reactions.
 
The research was conducted at the Maes Clinics in Bangkok, Thailand. Michael Maes has been instrumental in establishing patterns of immune system dysfunction in chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and other environmental illnesses and here turns his attention to the immune components of major depression. 

Previously, investigators have discovered that people diagnosed with major depression have a high degree of oxidative and nitrosative stress (O&NS) in their bodies. What this means is that highly reactive molecules based on oxygen and nitrogen are present in quantities greater than their bodies can neutralize with antioxidants. O&NS is known to cause damage to cells and tissues of the body. This latest study looked at how the immune system of depressed patients responded to such damage and how this related to depressive symptoms.

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Insomnia relieved naturally by brain cooling cap

Skull Cap Induces Sleep​It has been demonstrated that using a device incorporated into a cap and designed to cool the brain of the wearer during sleep is a safe and effective treatment for primary insomnia.
 
Researchers explain that a reduction in metabolic activity in the brain's frontal cortex occurs while falling asleep and is required for restorative sleep. However, insomnia is associated with increased activity in this same brain region. One way to reduce cerebral metabolism is to use frontal cerebral thermal transfer to cool the brain, a process known as "cerebral hypothermia."

The findings of the research were presented at SLEEP 2011, the 25th Anniversary Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS), by Dr. Eric Nofzinger, professor and director of the Sleep Neuroimaging Research Program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

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Junk food diet linked to depression and anxiety

Burgers & FriesFor the first time scientists have shown that, in women at least, the consumption of a poor quality diet, high in junk foods, increases the risk for depression and anxiety.
 
The findings suggest that making healthy dietary choices such as regularly consuming fresh fruits and vegetables and eating whole grains, nuts and seeds, and oily fish, while limiting processed and junk foods, may help to prevent mood disorders. 

The scope of the study did not allow the researchers to determine whether women already suffering from depression and/or anxiety may benefit from switching to a healthier diet but plans for a study that will answer this question are being prepared and funding sought. Previous research has suggested that individual nutrients obtained in adequate amounts through consumption of a healthy and balanced diet (e.g. omega-3 fatty acids from oily fish) might be beneficial in the treatment of mood disorders.

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Yoga relieves depression by boosting calming neurotransmitter levels

Yoga Under A SunsetIncreasing evidence indicates that regular practice of yoga is effective in reducing stress and its effects and even appears to relieve the symptoms of clinical depression.
 
Yoga is a traditional practice originating in India designed to help the practitioner achieve and maintain both good physical and mental health, as well as fostering spritual enlightenment. The practice incorporates elements of physical exercise, meditation and breathing regulation. 

This ancient Eastern discipline continues to gain in popularity in the West for its wide-ranging benefits and medical researchers are taking an increasing interest in its potential to contribute to the prevention and treatment of a diverse collection of physical and mental ailments.

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