Employees tend to avoid taking breaks despite high levels of stress

Heavy workloads make employees feel a greater need for a break, but new research finds they may actually discourage employees from taking breaks at work despite causing high levels of stress, fatigue, and poor performance. Researchers from the University of Waterloo found employees often kept working despite wanting to pause. One potential reason is employees may have felt pressure to […]

What happens to our dopamine system when we experience aversive events?

It is well known that the dopamine system plays a crucial role in motivation, learning and movement. One of the main functions of dopamine is to predict the occurrence of rewarding experiences and the availability of rewards in our environment. In this context, the dopamine system informs our brains about so-called ‘reward prediction errors’ – the difference between received and […]

Older diabetes treatment appears to have anti-dementia effect

Researchers report a link between use of glitazones to treat type 2 diabetes and a 22% reduced risk of dementia. The findings appeared on Oct 11, 2022 in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care. “These findings may help inform medication selection for [older] patients with [type 2 diabetes] at high risk of dementia,” the authors said. As background, the authors noted […]

Discovery of potential biological cause for postpartum depression opens door to new treatments

Newly discovered biological changes in mothers who suffer postpartum depression may help explain the condition, yield long-sought treatments and let doctors identify those at risk even before their babies are born. Postpartum depression strikes up to 20% of new moms and can have terrible consequences for both mother and child. Roughly 20% of maternal deaths after childbirth are from suicide. […]

How do weighted blankets boost sleep?

A new study shows that using a weighted blanket at bedtime increases melatonin in young adults. This hormone increases in response to darkness, and some evidence suggests that it promotes sleep. While previous research has shown that weighted blankets may ease insomnia, the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. Researchers recruited 26 young men and women to examine if the […]

Psychotherapy found to be ineffective or unavailable for medicated patients with severe depression

Antidepressants are the first-choice treatment for severe depression. Antidepressant use is often supplemented by psychotherapy. Now a major ongoing international study has shown that adding psychotherapy treatment to antidepressant medication does not improve treatment outcomes in severely depressed patients. The study, presented at the European Congress of Psychiatry*, also found that those patients with severe depression who were also treated […]

Differences in children’s behavior predict midlife health behaviors, study finds

A recent study by the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Jyväskylä and the Gerontology Research Center (Finland) investigated the paths from childhood socioemotional behaviour to midlife health behaviour decades later. Socioemotional behaviour at age 8 predicted health behaviour both directly and indirectly through education. There are a wide variety of factors behind health behaviour and […]

‘Surprisingly simple’ arithmetic of smell

Adding and subtracting certain neurons tells researchers whether or not a locust can smell an odor. Smell it inside or outside; summer or winter; in a coffee shop with a scone; in a pizza parlor with pepperoni — even at a pizza parlor with a scone! — coffee smells like coffee. Why don’t other smells or different environmental factors “get […]

Neuroprotective mechanism altered by Alzheimer’s disease risk genes

The brain has a natural protective mechanism against Alzheimer’s disease, and researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital and collaborating institutions have discovered that gene variants associated with risk of developing the disease disturb the protective mechanism in ways that can lead to neurodegeneration. The researchers also showed in a fruit fly model of the condition that a […]

Marine omega-3 supplementation fails to prevent depression

The use of marine omega-3 supplements by adults does not appear to prevent the onset of depression, researchers reported on Dec. 21, 2021 in JAMA/Journal of the American Medical Association. “Among adults aged 50 years or older without clinically relevant depressive symptoms at baseline, treatment with omega-3 supplements compared with placebo yielded mixed results, with a small but statistically significant […]