Brain and genes to improve anxiety treatment

U-M researchers look at cannabinoids, genes, medicines and brain scans to find better anxiety treatments. – Right now, about half of all people who take medicine for an anxiety disorder don’t get much help from it. And doctors have no definitive way to predict who will, and who won’t, benefit from each anti-anxiety prescription they write.

Obesity in midlife increases dementia risk

Kaiser Permanente Study Shows That a Larger Abdomen in Midlife Increases Risk of Dementia; Overweight and obese individuals with large bellies have double or triple the risk of dementia – People in their 40s with larger stomachs have a higher risk for dementia when they reach their 70s, according to a study published in the March 26, 2008, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Aromatherapy makes you feel good only

One of the most comprehensive investigations done to date on aromatherapy failed to show any improvement in either immune status, wound healing or pain control among people exposed to two often-touted scents. – Aromatherapy failed to show any improvement in either immune status, wound healing or pain control among people exposed to two often-touted scents, revealed by researchers in a recent study.

Low testosterone levels linked to depression in older men

Low free testosterone concentration as a potentially treatable cause of depressive symptoms in older men – Older men with lower free testosterone levels in their blood appear to have higher prevalence of depression, according to a report in the March issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Memory loss, less common in older Americans

Good news on gray matter: Memory loss and other cognitive impairment becoming less common in older Americans, U-M study finds; Better education, finances & cardiovascular care may be boosting brain health. – It appears that memory loss and thinking problems are becoming less common among older Americans. A new study shows a downward trend in the rate of “cognitive impairment” – the umbrella term for everything from significant memory loss to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease – among people aged 70 and older.

Vitamin B12, folate deficiency raises dementia risk

Changes in folate, vitamin B12 and homocysteine associated with incident dementia. – Folate deficiency is associated with a tripling in the risk of developing dementia among elderly people, suggests research published ahead of print in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

Stress in pregnancy may lead to schizophrenia in offspring

This population-based study suggests that severe stress to a mother during the first trimester may alter the risk of schizophrenia in offspring. This finding is consistent with ecological evidence from whole populations exposed to severe stressors and suggests that environment may influence neurodevelopment at the feto-placental-maternal interface. – Most societies believe that a mother’s psychological state can influence her unborn baby. Children of women who undergo an extremely stressful event-such as the death of a close relative-during the first trimester of pregnancy appear more likely to develop schizophrenia, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Depression and anxiety can double heart disease risk

Anxiety and depression are associated with mechanisms that promote atherosclerosis. Most recent studies of emotional disturbances in coronary artery disease (CAD) have focused on depression only. Anxiety and depression predict greater MACE (Major adverse cardiac events) risk in patients with stable CAD (Coronary Artery Disease). – Matters of the mind can affect matters of the heart. A new study from Universit? de Montr?al and McGill University researchers has found that major anxiety and/or depression, can double a coronary artery disease patient’s chances of repeated heart ailments. This is one of the first studies to focus on patients with stable coronary artery disease ? not those who were hospitalized for events such as a heart attack.

Brain strong during waking hours, weaken during sleep

Sleep’s main function is to keep our brains and all its synapses lean and efficient. Brain is more strong during waking hours, weaken during sleep. – Most people know it from experience: After so many hours of being awake, your brain feels unable to absorb any more, and several hours of sleep will refresh it. Now new research from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health clarifies this phenomenon, supporting the idea that sleep plays a critical role in the brain’s ability to change in response to its environment. This ability, called plasticity, is at the heart of learning.

Selective reporting of antidepressant trials may have adverse consequences

Evidence-based medicine is valuable to the extent that the evidence base is complete and unbiased. Selective publication of clinical trials ? and the outcomes within those trials ? can lead to unrealistic estimates of drug effectiveness and alter the apparent risk?benefit ratio. – Selective publication in reporting results of antidepressant trials exaggerates the effectiveness of the drugs, and may have adverse consequences for researchers, study participants, health care professionals, and patients, revealed in a new study.