Botox to aenethetise patients from disgust or sadness

12 April 2013
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In an update on our recent post about the social and health impact of smiles, Cardif University has just released a paper at the British Psychological Society’s annual conference in Harrogate which has confirmed that the use of Botox to reduce facial lines has a significant impact on the feelings associated with the facial expressions which are impacted by the treatment. For example, where crows feet were treated with the toxin, subjects were less able to produce an intense smile, as a result of they reported being more depressed. The same facial feedback loop that effects us when we smile...

Seeing a smile is a reward in itself.

11 April 2013
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Many studies have shown that smiling is ‘contagious’ in both humans and monkeys, to the extent that when presented by a smiling face some test subjects not only naturally smiled, but found it difficult to form a frown. This empathic and automatic social response offers many social and health benefits. Smiling releases endorphins, which can in turn reduce stress, heart rate and blood pressure as well as giving us a feeling of well being. A recent study at the Wayne State University analysed the intensity of smiles of professional baseball players in a 1952 yearbook and compared their...

Last resort treatment for the most severe cases of Anorexia Nervosa

07 March 2013
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A recent, small scale, human trial by the Krembil Neuroscience Centre and University Health Network in Canada, has had measured success in treating patients suffering from severe Anorexia Nervosa, who had failed to respond to traditional treatments. The study, involved providing deep brain stimulation, via implanted electrodes, a treatment which has previously had success with treating Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s patients as well as those suffering from obsessive compulsive disorders. The results of this study were varied, but with three patients having gained and sustained weight,...

A wake for the five stages of grief myth.

21 February 2013
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Several recent studies have undermined popular acceptance in the idea of their being five stages in our grieving for loved ones: a theory originating in the 1960s by the work of John Bowlby. A Yale University study highlights the greater importance of acceptance and depression and an overall lack of a recognisable sequence in these feelings. A Columbia University study of elderly, bereaved spouses surprisingly demonstrated that some of the sample showed a marked improvement in mental health and that 45% experienced little distress. Read more here 

Eating breakfast raises child IQ

18 February 2013
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A new research study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing indicates that children whom regularly eat breakfast had “significantly higher full scale, verbal, and performance IQ test scores.” The researchers suggested that this may be the combined effect of the brain’s fuel intake and the associated social interaction during this meal. The study was conducted on over 1250 Chinese children. Read more here

It pays to praise your toddler’s efforts.

14 February 2013
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New research paper “Parent Praise to 1-3 Year Olds Predicts Children’s Motivational Frameworks 5 years Later” from the University of Chicago highlights the importance of praising young children for their efforts, rather than just praising the child for their attributes. Those children who received ‘process praise” such as “good idea” and “good effort” went on, five years later, to have more positive attitudes about their abilities to overcome problems and develop strategies. Read more here

The Divided Brain – Reloaded

23 January 2013
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Renowned psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist provides a succinct and fascinating account of the divided brain theory from a contemporary and social perspective, accompanied by the animated illustration of Andrew Park. Watch the film on the RSA website here:

ADHD diagnosis on the rise

22 January 2013
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A recent study of 840,000 children in California has indicated a significant rise, of 24%, in the number of children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Dr. Darios Getahun, researcher at the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Medical Group, confirmed that the instances of ADHD in boys within the study was three times as high as in girls and that it was more prevalent in higher income families: although that this might be accounted for by greater parental interest in their school performance. Dr Benjamin Lahey of the University of Chicago suggests that the study is more...

Therapy apps on smart phones. Do they work?

08 January 2013
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With depression on the rise and 50% of the US population owning a smartphone, it is unsurprising that a search on the Apple App Store brings up a huge number of solutions, targeted at relieving stress, or fighting depression. The question is if these techniques work and if mental health practitioners can implement solutions of this kind into their treatment programmes. Read more on the BBC here

Nine ways to stay happily married

03 November 2012
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With divorce rates in the US heading for 40% researchers have identified 9 indicators for a successful union, from good humour and a healthy sex life to emotional separation from biological family. Read all nine here

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