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 

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:

Women who quit smoking reduce their chance of premature death by 300%

01 November 2012
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Recent results from a massive study of female smokers by the University of Oxford highlights the dangers and showed that even light smoking doubled early female mortality rates. The good news was that when women give up smoking, they massively increase their chances of avoiding a premature death. Read more on this study Trying to quit? Take a look at the latest advice on the BBC  

What’s it like to have ADHD?

30 October 2012
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A recent study, by biomedical ethicist Dr Ilina Singh, asking children how they feel about ADHD and possible treatment has identified that the children feel that their medication helps them control their reactions and gives them time in which to think before acting. The children also said that they wanted additional treatment options, however: long waiting lists for children’s behavioral treatments means that there is currently little alternative by rely on prescribing drug treatments. “One of the messages that children have is that they want more treatment options outside of medication,...

The brain’s face recognition centre identified?

27 October 2012
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Routine tests on an epilepsy patient led Dr. Josef Parvizi of Stanford School of Medicine to discover an area of the brain, which when stimulated caused his patient to lose the ability to see faces in the normal way. This exciting discovery could pave the way to treating people suffering from face blindness (Prosopagnosia). Read more here

Parents overestimate their children’s happiness

26 October 2012
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  It has long been recognised that parents tend to exaggerate their children’s intellectual, social and sporting abilities but a recent study indicated that parents are also inclined to see their children as less anxious and more optimistic  than they really are. Kristin Lagattuta’s research indicates that adult’s interpretations of children’s happiness can not be trusted but hopes that it will lead parents to be better attuned to their children’s emotional difficulties. Read more here

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