Depression affects over 80,000 young people in the UK every year. It can have a devastating impact on their daily lives, social and academic functioning, and family. As one young person in our research project put it: “I felt like I was missing out on being a teenager”.
A series of coordinated attacks in Paris left 130 people dead. A week later, armed gunmen stormed a hotel in Mali, seizing hostages while also firing indiscriminately at guests, killing 27 people.
Until fairly lately, it was unusual to see the words “cancer” and “cured” used in the same sentence. Now, it’s much more common. Reports that toddler Layla Richards had been cured of what was thought to be an incurable form of leukaemia were followed with news that former US president Jimmy Carter was cured of brain cancer – a melanoma that had spread from his liver.
Most researchers agree that the key difference between human brains and those of other animals is the size and complexity of our cerebral cortex, the brain’s outer layer of neural tissue. We therefore tend to focus our attention on this area, believing that our unique mental life is due to this masterpiece of evolution.
As the days get shorter and the nights grow longer, sometimes it can seem like we barely get a chance to see the sun. For most people, this can be frustrating; and for others, the slide into winter can actually lead to a subset of depression called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.
European societies are living longer but as the older population increases, are these extra years healthy ones? Research we recently published in The Lancet suggests that the answer to this question crucially depends on what you mean by “healthy”.
Most of us will have experienced diarrhoea or Delhi Belly and spent an unpleasant 48 hours in bed or on the toilet, often while travelling. Studies show that if severe, these infections can sometimes change your gut microbes permanently.
About one third of people with depression have high levels of inflammation markers in their blood. New research indicates that persistent inflammation affects the brain in ways that are connected with stubborn symptoms of depression, such as anhedonia, the inability to experience pleasure.
Many people are not aware that while reducing your sugar intake does reduce your risk of dental decay, the chemical mix of acids in some foods and drinks can cause the equally damaging condition of dental erosion.
Heart disease is the single leading cause of death in the United States, with nearly one in four Americans dying from heart-related chronic illnesses each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There is clearly a Mind-Body Connection and when you start to feel something coming on always visualize yourself as being healthy, strong, and confident. Imagine yourself feeling good when you suddenly realize that you are being challenged. I always carry an “Emergency Kit” when I travel and...
XLR-11, PB-22, AB-FUBINACA, MAB-CHMINACA, 5F-AMB. These are the cryptic and sometimes unpronounceable names of the most dangerous drugs you’ve never heard of. They are responsible for kidney injury, psychosis, seizures, coma and death.
Bipolar disorder is a diagnosis given to people who experience periods of intense low mood but also periods of elation and increased energy which can lead to impaired judgement and risky behaviour. The Royal College of Psychiatrists estimates that around 1% of the adult population experience bipolar symptoms at some point in their life.
Cancers have many strategies for avoiding attacks from the immune system. And now scientists have identified a new one.
"Yoga may be especially well-suited to people with arthritis," says Susan J. Bartlett. "It combines physical activity with potent stress management and relaxation techniques, and focuses on respecting limitations that can change from day to day."
In this excerpt, Ewald Kliegel provides reflexology techniques for one of the most common human ailments – the headache. The head is prone to different problems – from throbbing temples with the sensation of being trapped in a vice, while a jackhammer is busy at work in the background, to having a brain that feels as though it is made of cotton wool.
One in six Australians will have a stroke in their lifetime. That’s about 51,000 strokes per year, or one every ten minutes. Worldwide, stroke is the second most common cause of premature death, after heart disease, and is the leading cause of disability among adults.
A major new initiative called Choosing Wisely has been launched by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. This initiative aims to address a culture of over-medicalisation in health, where treatments are prescribed – not always with much clinical value – when other, better solutions may exist.
Autism is commonly, if mistakenly, associated more with logical thinking than creative expression. But new research suggests we might need to rethink our views on creativity and autism.
Conditions affecting the gastrointestinal tract are common in modern humans and many are on the rise. The gastrointestinal tract extends from the mouth to the anus, via the stomach and the bowels, which include the small intestine and the large intestine (colon).
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder that causes overwhelming recollections of traumatic events. These can be triggered by sights, sounds or smells that serve as reminders of the incident. Sufferers also report severe nightmares, emotional numbness and withdrawal from social interactions.
Looking around at a 20th high school reunion, you might notice something puzzling about your classmates. Although they were all born within months of each other, these 38-year-olds appear to be aging at different rates.
Anyone who battles addiction knows that it's so much more than a bad habit or a moral shortcoming. Addiction is a compulsion so beyond our control, that we may as well be a feather fighting against a gale-force wind. Until...one day the wind subsides.
Most people feel down, tired and inactive when they’re injured or ill. This “sickness behaviour” is caused by the activation of the body’s immune response. It’s the brain’s way of conserving energy so the body can heal.
We have known for some time the people suffering from schizophrenia and other psychoses smoke more than the general population. The explanation that is usually offered is the so-called “self-medication hypothesis”
This is more than the number of hospitalizations for heart attack and stroke combined. Most Americans have never heard of it, but according to new federal data, sepsis is the most expensive cause of hospitalization in the US
A new study finds quantifiable evidence that walking in nature could lead to a lower risk of depression. “These results suggest that accessible natural areas may be vital for mental health in our rapidly urbanizing world,” says coauthor Gretchen Daily, professor in environmental science and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.
Cancer cells are survival artists with a strong criminal streak. They surround themselves with a protective shield of extra-cellular material and then secure supply lines by attracting new blood vessels.
The effects of postnatal depression on children’s emotional development can be profound. These children have more mental health and behavioural problems as they grow up. And in low-income countries, the effects of maternal depression extend to higher rates of childhood stunting and physical illness.
“When we think about quality of life for older adults, and improving quality of life, it seems like targeting the individual is only part of the story, and our findings suggests that for older adults, a larger part of individual well-being is defined by our partner’s health and cognitive functioning as well,” says David Sbarra, associate professor of psychology at the University of Arizona.
A dollop of peanut butter and a ruler might be a way to confirm a diagnosis of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Jennifer Stamps, a graduate student in the McKnight Brain Institute Center for Smell and Taste and the University of Florida, came up with the idea of using peanut butter to test for smell sensitivity when she was working with Kenneth Heilman, a professor of neurology at the University of Florida.
Every 67 seconds someone in the United States is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and new estimates suggest that it may be the third leading cause of death of older people. Alzheimer’s disease is associated with losses in memory in older people that become severe enough over time to interfere with normal daily functions.
For most of the common cancers, a major cause has been identified: smoking causes 90% of lung cancer worldwide, hepatitis viruses cause most liver cancer, H pylori bacteria causes stomach cancer, Human papillomavirus causes almost all cases of cervical cancer, colon cancer is largely explained by physical activity, diet and family history.
Scientists knew that oleocanthal killed some cancer cells, but weren’t really sure how. They thought the compound might be targeting a key protein in cancer cells that triggers a programmed cell death, known as apoptosis, and decided to test their hypothesis.
The way we talk about illness matters. This is perhaps no more evident than in the many passionate critiques of the metaphor of the “fight” against cancer, which many of us will eventually “lose”. In the 1970s, Susan Sontag famously exposed the negative implications for patients of this “military rhetoric about cancer”.
“Our goal is to prevent or reduce obesity and in this paper we’ve shown how to do this in principle,” says Phipps. “We believe that weight gain is not necessarily just a result of eating more and exercising less. Our focus is on the intricate network involved in fat cell development.”
Our body loves us, but it needs to know we love our lives in order for it to do all it can to help us survive. The change in body energy activated by the love alters our internal chemistry and makes a difference. When you are willing to do the work, and live in your heart, magic can happen.
Common over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, can decrease risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma, according to a study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. Squamous cell carcinoma is one of the most common types of skin cancer. The results mean these drugs may have potential as skin cancer preventative agents, especially for high-risk people.
Might the economic burden and individual suffering associated with Alzheimer’s disease be reduced by the simple and inexpensive expedient of prescribing B-vitamins to those with high levels of homocysteine?
Scientists say a new biomarker that predicts the risk of developing dementia can be detected with a simple blood test—a test they hope will be applicable in clinical practice.
Women whose mothers smoked while pregnant are two to three times as likely to be diabetic as adults. Fathers who smoked while their daughter was in utero also contribute to an increased diabetes risk, but more research is needed to establish the true effect.
What causes cancer? This deceptively simple question has a devilishly complex answer. So when US researchers proposed a relatively simple mathematical formula to explain a long-standing conundrum in cancer earlier this year, it was bound to get a lot of attention.
Marijuana appears to ease symptoms of depression caused by chronic stress, new research with animals suggests. The study focused on endocannabinoids, which are brain chemicals similar to substances found in marijuana.
We all have a poor night’s sleep from time to time: those nights when you lie awake for hours trying desperately to go to sleep but can’t stop worrying about tomorrow. Or when you repeatedly wake up throughout the night, or can’t get back to sleep in the early hours of the morning.
The human brain is the most extraordinary and complex object in the known universe. So it’s a little surprising that only recently has the concept of brain health begun to emerge. After all, if the body is a “temple”, then surely the brain must be the “high altar” as it generates all our thoughts, feelings and movements.
Income, race, and ethnic origin have far more impact on a child’s risk for asthma than whether or not they live in an urban neighborhood, research shows.
How quickly your body breaks down nicotine may determine if a pill or a patch will be the most effective way to quit smoking. “In this new trial, we’ve shown that it is possible to optimize quit rates for smokers, while minimizing side effects, by selecting treatment based on whether people break down nicotine slowly or normally
Drug use is common, drug addiction is rare. About one adult in three will use an illegal drug in their lifetime and just under 3m people will do so this year in England and Wales alone. Most will suffer no long-term harm.
We’ve all experienced the abdominal cramps and the urge to get to a toilet – quickly! When the stomach and intestinal tract become inflamed, our bodies respond with the sudden onset of diarrhoea, associated nausea and vomiting, abdominal cramping and pain.
Scorpion venom has been gaining interest as a source of new drugs. It contains a mixture of biological chemicals called peptides, some of which are known to trigger cell death by forming pores in biological membranes. Cell death can be useful if we are able to target, say, tumour cells to auto-destruct.
Each cell has its own biological clock that controls its individual rate of repair, replication, and death. Cancer cells are part of your body. At one time, they functioned perfectly well. For mostly unknown causes, a cell of any tissue type may...
Experts have been studying the eye from many different angles for over a couple of centuries, yet the researchers seem no closer to understanding how vision really works than when the quest first started. At least nineteen theories have been postulated about the cause of myopia. Opinions also vary widely on how to treat myopia...
Researchers gained new insight into how an immune cell involved in several autoimmune disorders is regulated. Among their discoveries was a potential link with salt consumption....
Sometimes Joyce and I laugh about the possibility of our future grown-up grandchildren being paid by our children to accompany me on a river trip... Then one of my grandchildren will approach me and enthusiastically ask, “Grandpa, can I please go with you on your next river trip?”
Individuals who we would expect to be exposed to more infections as a result of their socially orientated nature (i.e., extraverts) appear to have immune systems that we would expect can deal effectively with infection. While individuals who may be less exposed to infections because of their cautious...
Feelings are very much like the indicator lights on the dashboard of your car — if you are out of gas, the low-fuel light will turn on. If you are focusing on something unwanted, a negative feeling will show up. Your emotional state indicates what you are giving attention to, even if you are not aware of it.
In the run-up to Christmas we find our to-do lists bloated with added chores: present shopping, card writing, preparing to travel or receive guests. We are bombarded with adverts telling us what to buy and where. We tackle the shopping crowds searching for the perfect gift
It’s that time of the year again. You probably think I mean Christmas, but as a virologist the sight of glitter, fairy lights and moulting pine trees immediately makes me think of the flu season. And if there’s one thing that can ruin your family’s Christmas, it’s the arrival of that particular unwanted guest.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD), the catch-all term for diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels – including heart attack and stroke – is the leading global killer. And bad heart health can lead to health impairments from loss of body function to mental disturbances that can greatly affect our quality of life.
Americans who live in the suburbs seem to be happier than those who live in rural areas and inner cities—unless they have a long commute to work. A recent study also shows that residents in the most unhappy communities say they spent 8.3 days a month in a negative mood.
Dementia and memory loss are some of the most devastating hallmarks of ageing, for the elderly, their families, and the healthcare system. This is why researchers want to find ways to rejuvenate the brain and therefore maintain the young mind and cognition in old age.
Modern life can feel defined by low-level anxiety swirling through society. Continual reports about terrorism and war. A struggle to stay on top of family finances and hold onto jobs. At the heart of issues like these lies uncertainty – the unknown likelihood of how ongoing crises will evolve over time.
For years, conventional wisdom held that growing older tends to be bad news for brains. Past behavioral data largely pointed to loss in cognitive – that is, thinking – abilities with age, including poorer memory and greater distractibility. Physical measures of brain structure also showed...
Placebos are sham treatments that work even though they lack an active ingredient. Pills made of sugar or corn starch have improved Parkinson’s disease, anxiety and pain. Now research suggests placebos may be as good as real drugs for treating depression...
How old would you be if you didn't know your age? It’s an interesting thought isn’t it? Why not test it for yourself. How would you feel if you didn’t know your age? Would you be 20, 17, 95 or 5?
“On a scale from one to ten, with one being no pain at all and ten being unbearable pain, how would you rate your pain today?” It was the umpteenth time I had heard that question. Because of my ongoing battle with chronic pain...
Unfortunately, there is no universally miraculous herbal cold cure. However, herbal medicine can do more than most therapies in treating and preventing this all too common problem. Herbs can be selected to fit the individual’s unique needs, while at the same time immune support...
If you’re an adult and have ever visited a doctor, you’ve probably had your blood pressure measured. General practitioners tend to obsess over blood pressure.
Masculinity plays an important role in dealing with problems such as depression. Men often don’t feel able to reach out for assistance because both the symptoms of depression and the act of seeking help goes against a stereotypical view of how us blokes should or shouldn’t behave.
A recent survey suggests that yoga can be a substantial help for people with bipolar disorder, though the practice isn’t without risks. “There is no scientific literature on hatha yoga for bipolar disorder,” says lead author Lisa Uebelacker, associate professor (research) of psychiatry and human behavior...
In the time that it will take you to read this article, millions of your body’s cells will have died via a self-destruct mechanism known as programmed cell death. This process is part of your body’s normal healthy function and is used to eliminate cells that are no longer needed or which have been damaged...
Mindfulness training eases depression and improves sleep and quality of life for both people with early-stage dementia and their caregivers, research shows.
We are too awake, rather than not sleepy enough. The result, combined with a genetic propensity toward anxiety, makes for a chronic insomniac. While most of us who struggle with sleep fall short of that label, I suspect the same...
One morning more than 26 years ago, Kathy Lubbers woke up and found that she could not bear to lift the sheet from her body because the pain was so great. Although she had been experiencing pain in both hands, nothing had prepared her for this.
Just as foods we are sensitive or allergic to can cause reactions in our digestive tract and lead to chronic inflammation, chemicals in our environment can also contribute to poor mood and physical problems. We have long known the correlation between neurological problems and toxic chemicals...
Chronic pain, defined as disabling pain that persists despite attempts at treatment and often without obvious cause, has become a serious challenge for health professionals. It is not surprising that someone suffering from this level of pain might become depressed, but most studies consider depression a “comorbidity”...
There is a process going on inside me all the time that I don’t like to talk about, but which must be mentioned for the sake of completion. This is my identity of pain: the pattern of suffering that marks me out from everyone else as definitively as my fingerprints....
Can you imagine being so desperate for food that you would eat yourself to survive? Our cells do exactly this. When cells are deprived of energy and nutrients from their external environment, they look internally, packaging up and consuming their own components to survive until an energy source becomes available...
Today is the day you can ease your alarm about sudden memory gaps and quiet your fear that you’re on the cusp of dementia. Changes in memory and concentration at midlife are very common, but you don’t have to live with them. You can improve your...
Before I got sober, just shy of my twenty-fourth birthday, the last thing I felt was the freedom and happiness that the promises speak of. I was sick: not just physically sick from the amount of chemicals in my system, but soul-sick, completely bereft of a sense of...
Most American adults say that they believe in God and that their religious beliefs affect how they live their lives. However, people have different ideas about life after death, belief in miracles, and other religious beliefs...
Teen smokers are better at getting friends to start than nonsmokers are at getting friends to quit.“What we found is that social influence matters, it leads nonsmoking friends into smoking and nonsmoking friends can turn smoking friends into nonsmokers,
An awareness of our own death is potentially extremely distressing. Go ahead and contemplate your own mortality. How does it feel? Would you be surprised to learn that it can potentially improve your mental health to think about your death more often?
Oxytocin is released with a warm hug, a grasped hand, or a loving gaze, and it increases libido. The hormone kicks into high gear during and after childbirth, helping new mothers bond with and breastfeed their new babies. While oxytocin is found in both young boys and girls, it is not yet known when levels of the hormone start to decline in humans, and what levels are necessary for maintaining healthy tissues.
It’s often said that no-one really knows what sleep is for. Sometimes it’s as if this lack of surety means its functions are relatively unimportant or even vestigial, like an appendix to the story of our life. How we evaluate life has long since focused on the daytime – what we think and feel when we’re awake.
Factors such as sleep, exercise, nutrition, stress reduction, and spiritual connection provide the foundation for a strong immune response. Everything you do -- everything you touch, breathe, eat, and think affects your immunity. How you live your life is the most powerful resource...
Our bodies change physiologically, continually altering the amount of sleep we need, the kind we get, and the time of day we are best able to get it as we progress through the life cycle. We assume and relinquish many responsibilities, encounter differing environmental conditions, and make lifestyle choices that impact...
For those of us who suffer from migraine disease, chronic stress can drain our energy and lead to adrenal crisis. Meditation, coupled with deep abdominal breathing, can be helpful in regulating our response to stressful situations, as well as in aborting and preventing migraine attacks and strengthening our kidneys.
Different measures of physical abilities can be assessed to determine how old someone is including walking speed, standing balance, the speed they can rise from sitting. We found that hand grip strength, a measure of upper-body strength, is consistently a good indicator of future mortality and susceptibility to disease.
There is a metal metabolism defect, often present in autism, which makes mercury especially toxic for autistic children. Even with a normal system, an infant can't handle mercury. Bile is needed for the process of eliminating mercury from the body, but an infant's liver does not produce bile.
Just as there is no single cause of cancer, there is no single remedy. Therefore when approaching a complex disease like cancer it is important to formulate a balanced protocol that addresses: the characteristics of the disease; diet, environment, and lifestyle; organ weaknesses and the overall deficiency or excess of the person.
Tai chi, a traditional Chinese form of exercise, may help older adults avoid getting shingles by increasing immunity to varicella-zoster virus and boosting the immune response to varicella vaccine, according to research supported by the National Institute on Aging and NCCAM.
At first glance, one would think that the causes of diseases are as numerous and diverse as the diseases themselves. However, careful observation will show that, fundamentally, all illnesses share one cause: the deterioration of the terrain, the body’s internal cellular environment...
You are in bed, sweating and trembling, dosed up on a selection of painkillers and herbal tranquillizers. Noises outside make you jump. Your heart beats frantically, furiously, unremittingly. You sleep for brief periods, twenty minutes, ten minutes. A police siren goes past and you wake up with a start...
Big Pharma’s focus on blockbuster cancer drugs squeezes out research into potential treatments that are more affordable. Says one researcher: “What is scientific and sexy is driven by what can be monetized.”
Despite the obvious challenges of recovering from a heart attack, the blessings of this bizarre sequence of events are greater than the drawbacks. Suddenly being awakened to the presence of my physical heart has triggered a process of what I can only describe as re-heartening...
There’s plenty of nonsense out there suggesting that we poor old menopausal biddies just can’t cope with the loss of our youth and fertility or our children leaving home — don’t buy into that for a minute. You haven’t gotten this far in life without...
Occasional insomnia is not a serious problem because our bodies do their best to make it up as quickly as possible. However, several consecutive nights without enough sleep can begin to wreak havoc, especially for those who...
To reduce the frequency and severity of your migraine attacks, it’s important to identify your triggers. Triggers are the stimuli that excite oversensitive neurons and initiate the chain of events that lead to our migraine attacks. Although you may find...