Greening vacant urban land significantly reduces feelings of depression and improves overall mental health for the surrounding residents, researchers show in a new randomized, controlled study published in JAMA Network Open. The findings have implications for cities across the United States, where 15 percent of land is deemed "vacant" and often blighted or filled with trash and overgrown vegetation.
Physical conditions in a neighborhood matter. Trash, a lack of sidewalks and parks, and vacant or dilapidated spaces have been associated with depression, while living near green spaces has been associated with less depression, anxiety and stress. In Philadelphia, a citywide cluster randomized trial looked at whether greening vacant urban land by getting rid of trash, grading the land, planting new grass and some trees, and installing low wooden fencing could improve self-reported mental health.
A group of Japanese researchers has discovered that neural inflammation caused by our innate immune system plays an unexpectedly important role in stress-induced depression. This insight could potentially lead to the development of new antidepressants targeting innate immune molecules. The findings were published on July 20 (Japan Standard Time) in the online edition of Neuron.
In a first of its kind randomized trial, researchers from the UCI School of Medicine found therapy dogs to be effective in reducing the symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. The study's main outcomes were recently published by the American Psychological Association in the Society of Counseling Psychology's Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin (HAIB). Additional new findings were presented at the International Society for Anthrozoology 2018 Conference held July 2-5 in Sydney, Australia.
Those who engage in non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) often go online for information and support. The researcher measured how online comments about self-injury affected the attitudes about recovery in people who have engaged in self-injury. While there is growing concern that accessing NSSI content online may hinder recovery, the researcher found exposure to positive comments improved participants' attitudes about recovery and pessimistic comments didn't increase a sense of hopelessness.
A team of researchers from the Higher School of Economics and the RAS Vavilov Institute of General Genetics has been able to statistically monitor the impact of the monoamine oxidase A gene (MAOA) on the subjective evaluation of well-being among men. This work has been published in the article 'Association of MAOA-uVNTR Polymorphism with Subjective Well-Being in Men' and is the latest step towards an understanding of how genes can affect social phenomena. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1134/S1022795418050058
Alternative schooling programs could deliver greater learning outcomes for young people who are struggling at school.
Exploring whether hand-holding or squeezing a stress ball would reduce patient anxiety during skin cancer surgery under local anesthesia was the main focus of this randomized clinical trial. The study of 135 patients at an urban academic medical center reports that patients who used stress balls or whose hands were held weren't less anxious, didn't experience less pain and were no more satisfied with the procedure than other patients.
Childhood adversity permanently alters the peripheral and central immune systems, increasing the sensitivity of the body's immune response to cocaine, reports a study by researchers at the IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation and University of Rome 'La Sapienza', Italy.
Training teachers to focus their attention on positive conduct and to avoid jumping to correct minor disruption improves child behavior, concentration and mental health.