InvitoHealth: Health News Headlines

Genetic Variant + Alcohol May Trigger Impulsive, Violent Behavior

By Traci Pedersen
May 21st, 2022

While under the influence of alcohol, certain people who have a genetic difference in a brain receptor molecule may be more prone to violent, impulsive behavior.   The study, led by scientists at the National Institutes of Health, is found in the December issue of Nature. “Impulsivity, or action without foresight, is a factor in many pathological behaviors including suicide, aggression, and addiction,” says David Goldman, M.D., senior author and chief of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics at the NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). “But it is also a trait that can be of value if a [More]

Moderate Alcohol Consumption Linked to Knowledge Gain

By Rick Naurert PhD
May 21st, 2022

A new large prospective study confirms prior research that suggests modest levels of alcohol consumption can improve cognitive processes. Norwegian researchers studied over 5,000 men and women and discovered moderate wine consumption is independently associated with better performance on cognitive tests. The subjects (average age 58 and free of stroke) were followed over seven years during which they were tested with a range of cognitive function tests. Among women, there was a lower risk of a poor testing score for those who consumed wine at least four or more times over two weeks in comparison with those who drank less [More]

Brain Differences Tied to Emotional Tumult in Borderline Illness

By Rick Naurert PhD
May 20th, 2022

A new study probes  the brain anomalies that may underlie  the emotional upheaval experienced by patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD). The study appears in the journal Biological Psychiatry. The meta-analysis, or comprehensive review, was performed by Dr. Lars Schulze at Freie Universität Berlin and colleagues at Heidelberg University. The researchers focused on difficulties associated with emotional processing and related functional and structural abnormalities in patients with borderline personality disorder. Those diagnosed with BPD  have problems regulating emotional mood swings. This emotional instability leaves them  vulnerable to emotional tumult  that puts them at risk for problem behaviors, including self-destructive acts [More]

Eye Contact May Undermine Persuasion

By Rick Naurert PhD
May 20th, 2022

Provocative new research suggests making eye contact may actually be a barrier to having a listener agree to your point of view. The hypothesis is contrary to the common recommendation that eye contact is essential to business networking, personal communication, and is vital for developing a strong connection with the other party. The new research shows that eye contact may actually make people more resistant to persuasion, especially when they already disagree. “There is a lot of cultural lore about the power of eye contact as an influence tool,” said lead researcher and psychologist Dr.  Frances Chen. “But our findings [More]

Use of ADHD Meds Has Grown Steadily

By Rick Naurert PhD
May 20th, 2022

A new government report finds that using prescribed stimulants to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has grown steadily, though slowly. However, researchers note that utilization of stimulant medication varies by geographic region and by ethnicity, and that use in some regions and for some age groups, is decreasing. The study, conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), is published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. ADHD is now recognized as one of the most common childhood disorders, and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. The condition is frequently treated with [More]

How People Use Facebook

By Rick Naurert PhD
May 20th, 2022

A University of Missouri researcher has investigated the cognitive and emotional implications of social browsing versus social searching. Kevin Wise, an assistant professor of strategic communication at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, studied people’s Facebook navigation habits. Wise says previous studies on social networking sites involved merely surveying study participants. Wise conducted his study differently. “Rather than asking people to report their uses of Facebook, we wanted to see them in action,” Wise said. “We wanted to see if there is a way to categorize Facebook use, not based on what people say about it, but what they [More]

Goal Persistence, Optimism Tied to Reduced Anxiety, Depression

By Traci Pedersen
May 19th, 2022

People who persevere toward their goals and maintain a positive outlook on life tend to have less anxiety and depression over time, according to a new study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. “Perseverance cultivates a sense of purposefulness that can create resilience against or decrease current levels of major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder,” said lead author Nur Hani Zainal, MS, from The Pennsylvania State University. “Looking on the bright side of unfortunate events has the same effect because people feel that life is meaningful, understandable and manageable.” Depression, anxiety and panic disorders are common [More]

Cookie Monster Helps Kids Learn Self-Control

By Rick Naurert PhD
May 19th, 2022

An innovative study has determined that watching the Sesame Street video featuring the Cookie Monster can help children improve their executive skills. Deborah Linebarger, an associate professor at the University of Iowa, discovered that when a group of preschoolers watched videos of Cookie Monster practicing ways to control his desire to eat a bowl of chocolate chip cookies — the kids demonstrated better impulse control. “Me want it,” Cookie Monster sings in one video. “But me wait.” Linebarger found that preschoolers who viewed the Cookie Monster video were able to wait four minutes longer than their peers who watched an [More]

LGB Canadians Face More Mood & Anxiety Illness

By Rick Naurert PhD
May 19th, 2022

A new study finds that gay, lesbian, and bisexual Canadians experience more mood and anxiety disorders than other Canadians. The findings also suggest the individuals are more likely to turn to heavy drinking as compared to any other group. “Often gay, lesbian, and bisexual people are grouped together in studies, but we found there are important differences in their reported health,” said Basia Pakula, a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia. “These findings are extremely useful because this information has not been available for us in Canada until now.” Although [More]

Happiness Tends to Deter Crime

By Rick Naurert PhD
May 19th, 2022

A new study reports that a happy teen is less likely to be involved in criminal activities or use drugs. UC Davis researchers Bill McCarthy,  Ph.D., and Teresa Casey report their findings in a paper titled “Get Happy! Positive Emotion, Depression and Juvenile Crime.” “Our results suggest that the emphasis placed on happiness and well-being by positive psychologists and others is warranted,” McCarthy said. “In addition to their other benefits, programs and policies that increase childhood and adolescent happiness may have a notable effect on deterring nonviolent crime and drug use.” The researchers evaluated results from a 1995-1996 federally funded [More]