Getting rid of a protein increases the birth of new nerve cells and shortens the time it takes for antidepressants to take effect, according to an animal study in the Journal of Neuroscience. The protein, neurofibromin 1, normally helps prevent uncontrolled cell growth. The findings suggest therapeutic strategies aimed at stimulating new nerve cell birth may help treat depression better than current antidepressants that commonly take several weeks to reach full efficacy. Throughout life, a section of the hippocampus - the brain's learning and memory center - produces new nerve cells. This process, called neurogenesis, is made possible by specialized cells called neural progenitor cells (NPCs). While previous studies show adult neurogenesis declines with age and stress, therapies known to alleviate symptoms of depression, such as exercise and antidepressants, increase neurogenesis.
If your boss is giving you a hard time - lying, making fun of you in public and generally putting you down, he or she may benefit from some exercise, according to a new study by James Burton from Northern Illinois University in the US and his team. Their work shows that stressed supervisors, struggling with time pressures, vent their frustrations on their employees less when they get regular, moderate exercise. The research is published online in Springer's Journal of Business and Psychology. In the current economic climate, it is not unusual to come across stressed supervisors. But does that mean that they have to transfer their frustrations onto the people they supervise? Research shows that when a supervisor experiences workplace stress, his or her subordinates feel they bear the brunt of that frustration.
Survivors of Hurricane Katrina have struggled with poor mental health for years after the storm, according to a new study of low-income mothers in the New Orleans area. The study's lead author, Christina Paxson of Princeton University, said that the results were a departure from other surveys both in the design and the results. The researchers were able to collect data on the participants before Katrina and nearly five years after the August 2005 storm, finding a persistence of poor mental health and gaining insights into how different types of hurricane-related stressors affect mental health. "On average, people were not back to baseline mental health and they were showing pretty high levels of post-traumatic stress symptoms. There aren't many studies that trace people for this long, but the very few that there are suggest faster recovery than what we're finding here, " said Paxson, who is Princeton's Hughes-Rogers Professor of Economics and Public Affairs and dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
A worker experiencing the stress of intense workdays might develop somatic symptoms, such as stomach ache or headache, which will eventually lead to taking leave of absence. But when the individual's supervisor offers emotional and instrumental support, the employee is more likely to recover without needing to take that extra afternoon or day off. This has been shown in a new study from the University of Haifa, soon to be published in the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology. In earlier studies, scholars have shown that workers who experience stress at the workplace, due to, for example, high job demands and low control, develop psychological strain that translates into physiological symptoms, such as headaches, stomach aches and fatigue. These are often relieved when the individuals have some time away from work to recover.
More and more people being cared for on ventilators are conscious during the treatment, but what is it like to be fully conscious without being able to communicate with the world around you? A thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, has lifted the lid on a world of panic, breathlessness and unheard pain. It has been far more common since the beginning of the 21st century for patients to be conscious during ventilator treatment. There are medical benefits to be gained from not sedating patients, not least when it comes to shortening the amount of time spent on ventilator treatment as well as in hospital. But lying fully conscious on a mechanical ventilator is a traumatic experience, reveals a thesis from Veronika Karlsson at the University of Gothenburg's Sahlgrenska Academy, where she interviewed patients and relatives during and after ventilator treatment.