Posts made in June, 2013

Teen Fitness May Reduce Suicide Risk Later in Life

»Posted by on Jun 27, 2013 in Alpha Blog | 0 comments

A University of Gothenburg study of over one million Swedish men has found that fitness during adolescence appears to reduce the risk of suicide in later life. “Being in poor physical shape at 18 years of age, measured as the test results on an exercise bike during their medical exam for compulsory military service, can be linked to a risk of suicidal behavior as an adult that is 1.8 times greater,” said psychologist and researcher Dr. Margda Waern. The study, published in journal Psychological Medicine, includes evidence that an increased risk of suicide was evident even 42 years after the exam for military service. It has previously been shown that physical exercise has a highly positive effect on brain function; for example, more nerve cells are developed...

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Can Software Actually Help Improve Your Social Skills?

»Posted by on Jun 17, 2013 in Alpha Blog | 0 comments

MIT scientists have developed a software system to help people improve their conversational and interview skills. Experts say that social phobias affect about 15 million adults in the United States with public speaking high on the list of such phobias. In some cases, fears of social situations can be especially acute. For example, individuals with Asperger’s syndrome often have difficulty making eye contact and reacting appropriately to social cues. But with appropriate training, such difficulties can often be overcome. MIT researchers developed the software to help people practice their interpersonal skills until they feel more comfortable with situations such as a job interview or a first date. The software, called MACH (short for My Automated Conversation...

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New Method to Measure Suicide Motivations

»Posted by on Jun 14, 2013 in Alpha Blog | 0 comments

Experts say a new study on the root cause of suicide will provide valuable insights to advance suicide prevention, improve treatments, and reduce the likelihood of further attempts. Researchers from the University of British Columbia investigated why people attempt suicide. The findings were used to develop the first scientifically tested measure for evaluating the motivations for suicide. Published in the official journal of the American Association of Suicidology, the work gives doctors and researchers important new resources. “Knowing why someone attempted suicide is crucial — it tells us how to best help them recover,” says Prof. David Klonsky, UBC Department of Psychology. “This new tool will help us to move beyond the current ‘one-size-fits-all’...

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Community Bonding Protects Your Happiness in Times of Stress

»Posted by on Jun 13, 2013 in Alpha Blog | 0 comments

Emerging research suggests that social cohesion across communities can help others cope better with crises, and improve happiness among individuals. Economist Dr. John Helliwell and colleagues from the University of British Columbia in Canada believe this shows that part of the reason for this greater resilience is the fact that humans are more than simply social beings, they are so-called “pro-social” beings. In other words, they get happiness not just from doing things with others, but from doing things both with and for others. The research is published online in the Journal of Happiness Studies. Investigators believe knowledge on the importance of a community is vital to help a nation deal with crises. “Communities and nations with better social capital,...

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Rat Study Finds Long-term Use of Antidepressants May Hinder Treatment of PTSD, Some Learning

»Posted by on Jun 12, 2013 in Alpha Blog | 0 comments

New animal research suggests long-term use of a class of medicines used to commonly treat depression may have a downside by interfering with a technique used to treat fear and stress. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, commonly called SSRIs, are antidepressants used to treat depression, as well as a range of anxiety disorders, and a number of other mental disorders. However, the long-term effect of these drugs on learning and memory are poorly understood. In a previous study, Nesha Burghardt, Ph.D., then a graduate student at New York University, and her colleagues demonstrated that long-term SSRI treatment impairs fear conditioning in rats. As a followup, they have now tested the effects of antidepressant treatment on extinction learning in rats using...

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