The number of people living on their own has doubled, over the last three decades, to one in three in the UK and US. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Public Health shows that the risk of depression, measured by people taking antidepressants, is almost 80% higher for those living alone compared to people living in any kind of social or family group. For women a third of this risk was attributable to sociodemographic factors, such as lack of education and low income. For men the biggest contributing factors included poor job climate, lack of support at the work place or in their private lives, and heavy drinking. It is known that living alone can increase the risk of mental health problems for the elderly, and for single parents, but little is known about the effects of isolation on working-age people.
It's said that we are social animals and now there is scientific proof. BMC Public Health, an open access, peer-reviewed journal, has an article this week from Dr Laura Pulkki-Raback, who led a research at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. Their work shows that people living alone are more likely to use antidepressant medication. Pulkki-Raback and her associates used data from the Health 2000 Study, giving her data on more than 3500 men and women. It appears there is a real risk of becoming depressed when living alone. It's an important talking point, because the number of single person households is on the rise. Pulkki-Raback says that : "This kind of study usually underestimates risk because the people who are at the most risk tend to be the people who are least likely to complete the follow up.
Studying the role of social stigma in depression for lung cancer patients, researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., have found that depression can be heightened by a lung cancer patient's sense of social rejection, internalized shame and social isolation. These factors may contribute to depression at rates higher than experienced by patients with other kinds of cancer. Their study was published in a recent issue of Psycho-Oncology (21:2012). "To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the relationship of perceived stigma to depressive symptomology in lung cancer patients, " said study co-author Paul B. Jacobsen, Ph.D., Moffitt's associate center director for Population Sciences. "Given its strong association with tobacco use, lung cancer is commonly viewed as a preventable disease.
Slacker or go-getter? Everyone knows that people vary substantially in how hard they are willing to work, but the origin of these individual differences in the brain remains a mystery. Now the veil has been pushed back by a new brain imaging study that has found an individual's willingness to work hard to earn money is strongly influenced by the chemistry in three specific areas of the brain. In addition to shedding new light on how the brain works, the research could have important implications for the treatment of attention-deficit disorder, depression, schizophrenia and other forms of mental illness characterized by decreased motivation. The study was published May 2 in the Journal of Neuroscience and was performed by a team of Vanderbilt scientists including post-doctoral student Michael Treadway and Professor of Psychology David Zald.
According to a recent study headed by scientists from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of Granada, eating commercial baked goods (fairy cakes, croissants, doughnuts, etc.) and fast food (hamburgers, hotdogs and pizza) is linked to depression. Published in the Public Health Nutrition journal, the results reveal that consumers of fast food, compared to those who eat little or none, are 51% more likely to develop depression. Furthermore, a dose-response relationship was observed. In other words this means that "the more fast food you consume, the greater the risk of depression, " explains Almudena SÃ nchez-Villegas, lead author of the study, to SINC. The study demonstrates that those participants who eat the most fast food and commercial baked goods are more likely to be single, less active and have poor dietary habits, which include eating less fruit, nuts, fish, vegetables and olive oil.