Thursday, October 29, 2009

Humour - Why can't I tickle myself?

This is a little off the beaten laughter path, but believe it or not, some research is being conducted in this area. In fact, researchers at the University of California in San Diego have even constructed a "tickle machine."
Some scientists believe that laughing caused by tickling is a built-in reflex. If this is true, then, theoretically, you should be able to tickle yourself. But you can't -- not even in the same area and the same way someone else tickles you into hysteria! The information sent to your spinal cord and brain should be exactly the same. But apparently, for tickling to work, the brain needs tension and surprise -- something that's obviously missing when you tickle yourself. How the brain uses this information about tension and surprise is still a mystery.

Advocacy - The older we get the more we help out

Seems the older we get, particularly as we can no longer physically do what we used to do, the more we are prepared to help out others, as this study reveals.

Source: J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2009 Nov;64(6):723-32. Epub 2009 Oct 13. This study examined 'felt obligation' to help others in two domains (close others and society) as protective factors against losses in psychological well-being following functional decline. Lagged-dependent regression models were estimated using data from 849 respondents aged 35-74 years and without any functional limitations at baseline in the 1995-2005 National Survey of Midlife in the United States.
Greater felt obligation to help close others protected against declining self-acceptance in the face of more severe functional decline, and greater felt obligation to help society protected against declining personal growth and self-acceptance.
Greater felt obligation to help close others and society protected against increasing depressive symptoms at younger ages in adulthood.
Findings suggest the importance for additional research on how aspects of altruism can promote psychological adaptation to declining functional health in middle and later life.

Advocacy - Seniors do not access mental health help enough

Seniors who were hospitalised for a psychiatric illness were less likely to get recommended follow-up care if their Medicare plans required that they pay more for mental health care than for other medical care, researchers have found.
“We have solid evidence that people who get appropriate care after leaving the hospital are less likely to be readmitted to the hospital and have better mental health outcomes,” said Dr. Amal N. Trivedi, assistant professor of community health at the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University and an author of the study.
“What our study found is that these co-payments act as a pretty potent barrier to getting appropriate care,” he added.
The study, published recently in The Journal of the American Medical Association, reviewed the records of 43,892 Medicare beneficiaries who had been hospitalised for a mental illness between 2001 and 2006.
Beneficiaries who incurred the same out-of-pocket costs for mental health visits as for any other doctor visit were 10.9 percent more likely to get recommended follow-up care within a week of being released from a psychiatric hospital than were those who had to pay more for mental health care, the researchers found.
Overall rates of follow-up care were low, however. Only 45 percent of seniors who had parity in coverage — meaning they paid the same for mental health visits as for other doctor visits — obtained follow-up treatment within seven days of discharge from a psychiatric hospitalization, compared to 32 percent of those who did not have parity.
The gap was nearly 11 percent after figures were adjusted for differences in patients’ gender, race and socioeconomic status, the researchers said.
The vast majority of Medicare plans require patients to pay more for mental health care visits than for other care, the study found. That should change by 2010, when a new federal law requiring parity in cost-sharing for mental health services goes into effect.

From a report in the New York Times

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Childhood cheeseburgers and adult weight gain

If you have trouble keeping weight off and you're wondering why – the surprising answer may well be the cheeseburgers you ate – when you were a toddler.

To view the full article click on the link below

Omega 3 Fatty Acids and feeling good

In a study of 106 healthy volunteers, researchers found that participants who had lower blood levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids were more likely to report mild or moderate symptoms of depression, a more negative outlook and be more impulsive. Conversely, those with higher blood levels of omega-3s were found to be more agreeable.

To view the full article click on the link

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Anxiety - Longtitudinal Study
Here's is an excellent magazine article, based on a longtitudinal study into Temperement. If you have wanted to know, in an easy to read manner, a lot about anxiety, this is an article for you.

Click on the link for the full article

Mediterranean Diet Improves Mental Health

Eating a Mediterranean-style diet — packed with fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, olive oil and fish — is good for your heart, many studies have found. Now scientists are suggesting the diet may be good for your mental health, too.

For the full article click on the link