Coronavirus and the imposition of lockdown this year 'significantly raised' mental health challenges, particularly so for the most vulnerable groups, including those shielding, according to the first study to look at people's coping styles in face of the pandemic.
Forthcoming in the Journal of Applied Psychology, a study of subjects during the outset of the COVID-19 crisis shows that psychological recovery can take place even while a person is still in the throes of a stressful experience. That's significant; previous research has suggested that recovery processes start after stressors abate.
Tension while waiting for test results, the fear of not making it, the feeling of being under pressure. These illnesses are all associated with anxiety. While there is no definite cure for anxiety, neuro-scientific research is making progress to develop new diagnostic tools and more efficient treatments. The study, which has just been published in Scientific Reports, helps draw a line between different aspects of anxiety and to find the best treatment for each one.
Researchers in Japan have revealed that DNA methylation occurs in the serotonin transporter gene that regulates neurotransmitter transmission in schizophrenia and bipolar patients. Particularly prominent in males and patients with certain genetic polymorphisms, this methylation is inversely correlated to amygdala volume. This work is expected to lead to a better understanding of the pathophysiology of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It may also help to develop therapeutic agents and diagnostic/therapeutic markers that target epigenetic conditions.
Many think they're doing good by texting with others to stay connected while physically distancing during the pandemic, but a national survey by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shows more meaningful connections happen when people can hear or see the person they're interacting with. Passively scrolling through social media was associated with more negative feelings, the survey shows.
By studying an individual with an extremely rare brain anomaly that prevents him from seeing certain numbers, Johns Hopkins University researchers provided new evidence that a robust brain response to something like a face or a word does not mean a person is aware of it.
Much of what we know about the actions of neuromodulators like oxytocin comes from behavioral studies of lab animals in standard lab conditions. These conditions are strictly controlled and artificial, in part so that researchers can limit the number of variables affecting behavior. A number of recent studies suggest that the actions of a mouse in a semi-natural environment can teach us much more about natural behavior, and maybe apply those findings to humans.
Authors of an opinion piece, based on a review of evidence and published in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health journal, are urging policymakers to consider the effects of physical distancing measures introduced to tackle the spread of COVID-19 on young people's social development and wellbeing.
Depression, anxiety and PTSD might not be disorders at all, according to a recent paper by Washington State University biological anthropologists. In the paper, the researchers propose a new approach to mental illness that would be informed by human evolution, noting that modern psychology, and in particular its use of drugs like antidepressants, has largely failed to reduce the prevalence of mental disorders.
Autistic burnout has been a matter of extreme and under-examined urgency for far too long. I hope our work opens a new avenue of research into understanding, relieving, and preventing it in our community.