InvitoHealth: Health News Headlines

Impact of Bullying Lessens Over Time — Resiliency Important

By Rick Naurert PhD
October 22nd, 2021

A new study from the UK confirms that bullying can influence the development of anxiety and depression years later. However, University College London investigators also found that the detrimental effects of bullying decreased over time, which the authors say shows the potential for resilience in children exposed to bullying. “Previous studies have shown that bullied children are more likely to suffer mental health issues, but give little evidence of a causal link, as pre-existing vulnerabilities can make children both more likely to be bullied and experience worse mental health outcomes. We used a robust study design to identify causation,” said [More]

Gut Bacteria May Influence Cravings, Moods

By Traci Pedersen
October 22nd, 2021

The bacteria found in our digestive tracts may be affecting both our cravings and moods, and may even push us toward obesity, according to a new analysis published in the journal BioEssays. Based on a review of recent scientific literature, researchers from University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Arizona State University, and University of New Mexico found that the microbes living in our digestive tracts cause us to crave the particular nutrients they need to grow on, rather than passively living off whatever nutrients we happen to consume. Each bacterial species thrives on specific nutrients. Some prefer fat, and others sugar, for [More]

Many Iraq, Afghanistan Vets Reporting Chronic Illness Symptoms

By Traci Pedersen
October 21st, 2021

A majority of veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan are reporting symptoms of a condition known as chronic multisymptom illness (CMI), according to a new Veterans Affairs study of more than 300 enlisted Army National Guard and Army Reserve troops. The data was collected one year after their return. The condition presents itself as a combination of chronic symptoms, including memory problems, insomnia, fatigue, headache, dizziness, joint pain, indigestion, and breathing problems. “As a whole, CMI can be challenging to evaluate and manage,” said lead author Dr. Lisa McAndrew from the University at Albany. “CMI is distinct from PTSD [More]

Low Intensity Methods Aid Depression

By Jane Collingwood
October 21st, 2021

Recent findings show that self-help books and Internet-based help can benefit even severely depressed people. “Depression is a major cause of disability,” said Professor Peter Bower of Manchester University, UK, and colleagues in the British Medical Journal. “Effective management is a key challenge for healthcare systems,” they write. So-called “low intensity” psychological interventions are frequently used as a first-line treatment. These are often based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and were defined in the study as interventions designed to help patients manage depressive symptoms such as self-help books or interactive websites, often with limited guidance support from a health professional. [More]

Kids’ Genius Used to Enhance Computer Intelligence

By Rick Naurert PhD
October 21st, 2021

In what some may see as a role reversal, scientists are studying the way children learn in an effort to improve artificial intelligence systems used in computers. Although computers are highly efficient at sorting and aggregating information, current information systems have problems handling nebulous and conflicting scenarios. “Children are the greatest learning machines in the universe. Imagine if computers could learn as much and as quickly as they do,” said Dr. Alison Gopnik, a developmental psychologist at UC Berkeley. In a wide range of experiments involving lollipops, flashing and spinning toys, and music makers, among other props, UC Berkeley researchers [More]

Obsessive Fears Arise in Response to Compulsions in OCD

By Rick Naurert PhD
October 21st, 2021

The chicken-and-egg question regarding obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), for the most part, is usually answered by identifying obsessive fears as driving the behaviors such as repetitive hand-washing. A new study effectively reverses the order, finding that the repetitive behaviors themselves (the compulsions) might be the precursors to the disorder, and that obsessions may simply be the brain’s way of justifying these behaviors. New research suggests performance of repetitive behaviors may lead to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This interpretation goes against popular beliefs that behaviors  found that in the case of OCD the behaviors themselves (the compulsions) might be the precursors to the disorder, [More]

Higher Risk of Mental Illness Among Daughters of WWII Evacuees

By Traci Pedersen
October 20th, 2021

Mental illness related to early childhood trauma may be passed from generation to generation, according to new research appearing in JAMA Psychiatry. The study, which looked at adults whose parents had either evacuated or remained in Finland as children during World War II, found that daughters of female evacuees had the same high risk for mental health disorders as their mothers, even though they had not faced the same trauma. The study was conducted by researchers at the National Institutes of Health, Uppsala University in Sweden, and Helsinki University in Finland. Although the study did not determine why this risk [More]

Media Coverage of Natural Disasters Can Impact Kids’ Trauma Symptoms

By Rick Naurert PhD
October 20th, 2021

Incessant media coverage during the course of a natural disaster has led some parents to fear that young children may become overexposed to distress and carnage. For adults, the stories are often so compelling that we relish the opportunity to be on ground zero to witness and literally feel the effects of the disaster, first hand. But this version of reality television may be problematic to children who often have schedules that allow them to stay glued to the TV for hours on end. Still, new research suggests the relationship between this kind of exposure and symptoms of traumatic stress in [More]

E-Cigarettes Less Addictive Than Cigarettes

By Traci Pedersen
October 20th, 2021

For former tobacco smokers, e-cigarettes appear to be less addictive than regular cigarettes, and this could shed new light on the role that various nicotine delivery devices play on addiction, according to a new study published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research. “We found that e-cigarettes appear to be less addictive than tobacco cigarettes in a large sample of long-term users,” said Jonathan Foulds, professor of public health sciences and psychiatry at Penn State College of Medicine. More than 3,500 current users of e-cigs who were ex-cigarette smokers completed the Pennsylvania State Cigarette Dependence Index and the Penn State Electronic [More]

Maternal Depression Eased With Brief Treatment

By Rochelle Oliver, Associate News Editor
October 20th, 2021

Postpartum depression can be experienced shortly after giving birth and last for months thereafter. However new studies show that moderate to severe depression symptoms are prevalent in disadvantaged women well after the postpartum period has passed. Women were experiencing depression even though their children were in their toddler years. While this news may be alarming, Dr. Carol Weitzman and her colleagues at Yale University School of Medicine suggest that these symptoms can be quickly identified, as well as treated. Brief cognitive behavioral therapy, she says, is more beneficial than assistance provided by case management and social workers. “Depression in underserved [More]