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Depression. The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why? by Marcia Angell. The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth by Irving Kirsch Basic Books, 226 pp., $15.99 (paper) Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America by Robert Whitaker Crown, 404 pp., $26.00 Unhinged: The Trouble With Psychiatry—A Doctor’s Revelations About a Profession in Crisis by Daniel Carlat Free Press, 256 pp., $25.00 It seems that Americans are in the midst of a raging epidemic of mental illness, at least as judged by the increase in the numbers treated for it.

A large survey of randomly selected adults, sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and conducted between 2001 and 2003, found that an astonishing 46 percent met criteria established by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) for having had at least one mental illness within four broad categories at some time in their lives. What is going on here? The authors emphasize different aspects of the epidemic of mental illness. Abused children's brains work like soldiers' do - health - 06 December 2011. The brains of children from violent homes function like those of soldiers when it comes to detecting threats.

Abused children's brains work like soldiers' do - health - 06 December 2011

Eamon McCrory at University College London used fMRI to scan the brains of 20 outwardly healthy children who had been maltreated and 23 "controls" from safe environments. During the scans, the children, aged 12 on average, viewed a mixture of sad, neutral and angry faces. When they saw angry faces, the maltreated children showed extra activity in the amygdala and the anterior insula, known to be involved in threat detection and anticipation of pain. Combat soldiers show similar heightened activity (Current Biology, DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.10.015). "Our belief is that these changes could reflect neural adaption," says McCrory. "The studies suggest that childhood maltreatment ‘gets into the brain', and becomes biologically embedded," says Avshalom Caspi, who studies mental health at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. More From New Scientist Promoted Stories Recommended by. Does Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Require Trauma?

STRESS is an inevitable part of our life.

Does Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Require Trauma?

Yet whether our daily hassles include the incessant gripes of a nasty boss or another hectoring letter from the Internal Revenue Service, we usually find some way of contending with them. In rare instances, though, terrifying events can overwhelm our coping capacities, leaving us psychologically paralyzed. In such cases, we may be at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is an anxiety disorder marked by flashbacks, nightmares and other symptoms that impair everyday functioning. The disorder is widespread. Although PTSD is one of the best known of all psychological disorders, it is also one of the most controversial. Shell Shock PTSD did not formally enter psychiatry’s diagnostic bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), until 1980.

PTSD is now officially characterized by three sets of symptoms. Immune to Trauma? Gene Study Links Stronger Memories, PTSD. A certain genetic signature gives some people the ability to form stronger memories.

Gene Study Links Stronger Memories, PTSD

But that edge also has a dark side: increased risk of post-traumatic stress disorder. Although the genetic effect is small, the results help scientists better understand the link between especially powerful memories and sensitivity to past trauma. Scientists led by neuroscientist Dominique de Quervain of the University of Basel in Switzerland looked at how genetic differences related to a memory task.

A population of 723 healthy young Swiss adults viewed 72 photographs. After a 10-minute wait, the volunteers were asked to remember as many images as possible. Shelf-Preservation: Researchers Tap Century-Old Brain Tissue for Clues to Mental Illness. Among the bloodletting boxes, ether inhalers, kangaroo-tendon sutures and other artifacts stored at the Indiana Medical History Museum in Indianapolis are hundreds of scuffed-up canning jars full of dingy yellow liquid and chunks of human brains.

Shelf-Preservation: Researchers Tap Century-Old Brain Tissue for Clues to Mental Illness

Until the late 1960s the museum was the pathology department of the Central Indiana Hospital for the Insane. The bits of brain in the jars were collected during patient autopsies performed between 1896 and 1938. Most of the jars sat on a shelf until the summer of 2010, when Indiana University School of Medicine pathologist George Sandusky began popping off the lids.

Frustrated by a dearth of postmortem brain donations from people with mental illness, Sandusky—who is on the board of directors at the museum—seized the chance to search this neglected collection for genes that contribute to mental disorders. Sandusky is not alone. Many of the samples are preserved in celloidin, a hard, rubbery and highly flammable form of cellulose. Diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder is Often Flawed. THIS PAST JUNE renowned clinical psychologist Marsha M.

Diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder is Often Flawed

Linehan of the University of Washington made a striking admission. Known for her pioneering work on borderline personality disorder (BPD), a severe and intractable psychiatric condition, 68-year-old Linehan announced that as an adolescent, she had been hospitalized for BPD. Suicidal and self-destructive, the teenage Linehan had slashed her limbs repeatedly with knives and other sharp objects and banged her head violently against the hospital walls. The hospital’s discharge summary in 1963 described her as “one of the most disturbed patients in the hospital.”

Yet despite a second hospitalization, Linehan eventually improved and earned a Ph.D. from Chicago’s Loyola University in 1971. Many psychologists and psychiatrists were taken aback by Linehan’s courageous admission, which received high-profile coverage in the New York Times. Very Good Description of Schizophrenia stock photos images.

Study: Schizophrenia's Hallucinated Voices Drown Out Real Ones. A new finding in brain science reveals that the voices in a schizophrenia patient's head can drown out voices in the real world — and provides hope that people with the disorder can learn to ignore hallucinatory talk.

Study: Schizophrenia's Hallucinated Voices Drown Out Real Ones

The new research pulls together two threads in earlier schizophrenia studies. Many scientists have noticed that when patients hallucinate voices, neurons in brain regions associated with processing sounds spontaneously fire despite there being no sound waves to trigger this activity. That's an indication of brain overload. But when presented with real-world voices, other studies showed, hallucinating patients' brains often failed to respond at all, in contrast with healthy brains. These studies pointed to a stifling of brain signals. By analyzing all of these studies together, biological psychologist Kenneth Hugdahl of the University of Bergen in Norway found the simultaneous over-stimulation and dampening of brain signals to be two sides of the same coin. A brain paradox. Epigenetic clue to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder - health - 30 September 2011. TWIN studies have shown that people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder have changes in gene activity caused by their environment.

Epigenetic clue to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder - health - 30 September 2011

The finding provides the strongest evidence yet that such gene changes might cause the conditions. Jonathan Mill at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, and colleagues scanned the genome of 22 pairs of identical twins - chosen because one twin in each pair was diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. As expected, the twins had identical DNA. However, they showed significant differences in chemical "epigenetic" markings - changes that do not alter the sequence of DNA but leave chemical marks on genes that dictate how active they are. These changes were on genes that have been linked with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Mill's team scanned for differences in the attachment of chemical methyl groups at 27,000 sites in the genome. "We know these disorders are related, and there are clinical features shared by both," says Mill.

Schizophrenia’s Core Genetic Features Proposed. Schizophrenia’s elusive genetic roots may finally be within grasp.

Schizophrenia’s Core Genetic Features Proposed

A new, wide-ranging effort has uncovered a set of DNA signatures that are shared by people with the disease consistently enough that the set can be used to reliably predict whether someone has the disease. If replicated, the results may point out ways to diagnose schizophrenia and suggest new targets for treatment. By analyzing a battery of 542 genetic variants, researchers could predict who had schizophrenia in a group of European Americans and African Americans.

The confirmation of the result in people of varying ancestry suggests that the set of genes truly does detect the core features of the disorder, scientists report online May 15 in Molecular Psychiatry. Disrupted body clock may prime you for schizophrenia - health - 19 January 2012. Schizophrenia could be a profound form of jetlag in which the brain's central clock runs out of kilter with peripheral clocks around the rest of the body.

Disrupted body clock may prime you for schizophrenia - health - 19 January 2012

People with the illness often complain of sleeping difficulties, and last month a study of 20 people with schizophrenia confirmed that sleep disruption is common and not down to their medication or lifestyle (British Journal of Psychiatry), DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.111.096321). Now we may be closer to understanding why: a genetic mutation that triggers schizophrenia-like symptoms in mice also appears to disrupt their circadian rhythm or body clock.

Russell Foster at the University of Oxford and his colleagues had been puzzling over the link between sleep disturbances and mental illness. So they investigated circadian patterns in mice with a defect in the SNAP25 gene, often used as an animal model to study the illness. SNAP25 has also been associated with schizophrenia in humans. Light from the eyes More From New Scientist Promoted Stories. Epigenetics Offers New Clues to Mental Illness. Matt is a history teacher. his twin brother, greg, is a drug addict.

Epigenetics Offers New Clues to Mental Illness

(Their names have been changed to protect their anonymity.) Growing up in the Boston area, both boys did well in high school: they were strong students in the classroom and decent athletes on the field, and they got along with their peers. Like many young people, the brothers snuck the occasional beer or cigarette and experimented with marijuana. Then, in college, they tried cocaine. For Greg, the experience derailed his life. At first, he was able to function normally—attending classes and maintaining connections with friends.

Select an option below: Customer Sign In *You must have purchased this issue or have a qualifying subscription to access this content. Treating schizophrenia: Game on. Michael Merzenich has courted controversy with his brain-training software. Now he is trying to get it approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The intersection of Mission and Sixth streets in San Francisco's South of Market neighbourhood is considered one of the most crime-riddled in the city. Liquor shops, adult bookshops and single-resident-occupancy hotels inhabit most of the buildings. Homeless people sit on the pavements or shuffle by, many of them showing symptoms of mental illness or drug abuse. Yet behind the walls of an unassuming outpatient psychiatric clinic, researchers are conducting experiments that they believe could fundamentally change the landscape of psychiatric care.

Inside the San Francisco Citywide and Community Focus Center, in a room about the size of a large walk-in wardrobe, two people wearing headphones sit staring at computer screens. But this year, Merzenich aims to push the envelope further. Ready for action Train of thought “We will see benefits. How Violent Sex Helped Ease My PTSD - Media. It was my research editor who told me it was completely nuts to willingly get fucked at gunpoint. That's what she called me when I told her the story. We were drunk and in a karaoke bar, so at the time I came up with only a wounded face and a whiny, "I'm not completely nuuuuts!

" Upon further consideration, a more explanative response probably would have been something like: Well. You had to be there. "There" would be Haiti, where I'd just spent two weeks covering the one-year anniversary of the earthquake that shook the country into ugly chaos. There are a lot of guns in Haiti. Not anymore, anyway. I have coping mechanisms for this sort of thing. "It's okay to cry," said Meredith Broome, a brilliant Bay Area therapist who specializes in trauma, during one of our phone sessions that summer. "Everyone's going to think I'm not tough enough to do my job. " "You don't know what Anderson Cooper does when he goes home at night. " I kept working. I realize now that I was undone. "Dude," she said. The Science Behind Dreaming. For centuries people have pondered the meaning of dreams.

Early civilizations thought of dreams as a medium between our earthly world and that of the gods. In fact, the Greeks and Romans were convinced that dreams had certain prophetic powers. While there has always been a great interest in the interpretation of human dreams, it wasn’t until the end of the nineteenth century that Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung put forth some of the most widely-known modern theories of dreaming. Freud’s theory centred around the notion of repressed longing -- the idea that dreaming allows us to sort through unresolved, repressed wishes. Carl Jung (who studied under Freud) also believed that dreams had psychological importance, but proposed different theories about their meaning.

Since then, technological advancements have allowed for the development of other theories. During the first night, the students were left to sleep, allowing them to get used to the sound-proofed and temperature-controlled rooms. Sleeplessness Agitates The Brain. Study: Nicotine Is Good for You. Been There, Done That—or Did I?: Déjà Vu Found to Originate in Similar Scenes. Déjà vu—that uncanny feeling of having experienced a situation before—has eluded explanation for centuries. Now the first study to use virtual reality to model the phenomenon in the laboratory is helping demystify the spooky illusion, revealing that the layout of a scene can trigger it. Previous studies of déjà vu suggested the bizarre feeling most commonly concerns places. As such, cognitive psychologist Anne Cleary at Colorado State University in Fort Collins and her colleagues wanted to see if spaces modeled in virtual reality could experimentally replicate the striking experience.

The scientists had college students wear head-mounted video displays that immersed them in a 3-D virtual-reality depiction of a village of structures they called "Deja ville," which Cleary devised. "One reason for the jarring sense that accompanies déjà vu may be the contrast between the sense of newness and the simultaneous sense of oldness—something unfamiliar should not also feel familiar," Cleary says. Brain Injury Rate 7 Times Greater among U.S. Prisoners. Jolt To Brain Aids Language Recovery. 9-Year-Old Boy's Shrinking Brain Disorder Baffles Doctors. Explosions cause brain damage through head movement - health - 16 May 2012. Self-Worth Shattering: A Single Bomb Blast Can Saddle Soldiers with Debilitating Brain Trauma.

Cracks in the Plaques: Mysteries of Alzheimer's Slowly Yielding to New Research. Cancer Drug May Have Alzheimer's Benefits. Alzheimer's Disease Advance. Protein Tweak May Trigger Alzheimer’s. An Alzheimer’s Gene - One Family’s Saga. Like A Prion, Alzheimer's Protein Seeds Itself In The Brain. The Upside of Dyslexia. Is Pornography Driving Men Crazy? - Naomi Wolf. Cocaine Habit Ages Brain Prematurely. Elliot Krane: The mystery of chronic pain.

The Brain: A Tiny Key to a Terrible Lock. Quantum dots control brain cells for the first time - health - 14 February 2012. Going Under: What we don’t know about anesthetics. ADHD: Backlash to the Backlash. In Blur of A.D.H.D., Sleep Troubles May Be a Culprit. Not-So-Quick Fix: ADHD Behavioral Therapy May Be More Effective Than Drugs in Long Run. Listening to Xanax. Why Migraines Strike. Extreme Eaters Show Abnormal Brain Activity. Erasing Painful Memories: Drug and Behavioral Therapies Will Help Us Forget Toxic Thoughts. Gene Hunt Is On for Mental Disabilities in Children.