Saturday November 18, 2017

Eating Yogurt may help alleviate symptoms of Depression and Anxiety: Study

When lactobacillus was diminished in the gut, the levels of kynurenine went up -- and depression symptoms set in

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Yogurt, Wikimedia

New York, March 9, 2017: Eating yogurt rich in lactobacillus — a probiotic bacteria — may help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, a finding that could lead to new strategies for treating psychiatric conditions, researchers have found.

Depression is a huge problem and the treatments are not very good, because they come with huge side effects.

“The study will help us not to bother with complex drugs and side effects when we can just play with the microbiome. It would be magical just to change your diet, to change the bacteria you take, and fix your health — and your mood,” said lead researcher Alban Gaultier from the University of Virginia in the US.

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In the study, conducted on mice, the researchers have discovered a specific mechanism for how the lactobacillus bacteria affect mood, providing a direct link between the health of the gut microbiome and mental health.

For the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, the team induced depression symptoms in mice to analyse their composition of the gut microbiome and found that the major change was the loss of lactobacillus.

With the loss of lactobacillus came the onset of depression symptoms. Conversely, feeding the mice lactobacillus with their food returned them to almost normal, the researchers said.

“A single strain of lactobacillus, is able to influence mood,” Gaultier observed.

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In addition, the study found that the amount of lactobacillus in the gut affects the level of a metabolite in the blood — called kynurenine — which has been shown to drive depression.

When lactobacillus was diminished in the gut, the levels of kynurenine went up — and depression symptoms set in.

While there is no harm in people with depression eating yogurt, people receiving treatment for depression should not stop taking their medications without consulting their physicians, the researchers suggested.

Based on the findings, the researchers plan to begin studying the effect in humans as soon as possible. (IANS)

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Simple Therapy Proves to be Effective in Helping Women against Gender-Based Violence: Study

It is estimated that more than a third of women around the world have been exposed to such violence

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Gender-based violence
Women gather at a clinic at Dagahaley camp in Dadaab in Kenya's northeastern province, June 8, 2009. VOA
  • An intervention based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) was more effective than traditional therapy in helping women struggling with gender-based violence
  • WHO will begin distributing the treatment more broadly to areas with little mental health infrastructure
  • cognitive behavioral therapists work to reveal thoughts and behaviors that currently contribute to a patient’s troubles

US, August 17, 2017: An intervention based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) was found to be more effective than traditional therapy in helping women struggling with depression or anxiety after experiencing gender-based violence, research shows. It is estimated that more than a third of women around the world have been exposed to such violence, which includes rape, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence.

The intervention, developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to help anyone facing adversity, had already been proven effective for Pakistanis struggling emotionally after exposure to terrorism.

Psychologist Richard Bryant at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, developed the program with colleagues there and others from WHO and the World Vision Institute. To test its effectiveness, 421 women in Nairobi, Kenya, were treated with either five sessions of the CBT program administered by a lay health care worker or were referred to area health care centers for standard treatment administered by nurses.

The nurses had four more years of education than the lay workers, who had no previous experience with mental health care. A program simple enough for lay volunteers to administer is important in areas with little mental health infrastructure.

ALSO READIndia’s first Online Course on Infusion Therapy for Nurses launched, Aims to Train over 3,000 nurses in the Vital Medical Procedure

Reducing symptoms

The study, published Tuesday in PLOS Medicine, found that women who received the CBT treatment showed 20 percent fewer anxious and depressive symptoms five weeks after the end of treatment than the control group, and 45 percent fewer than they did before treatment. Following this work, WHO will begin distributing the treatment more broadly to areas with little mental health infrastructure.

“The vast majority of people in the world don’t get access to evidence-based care for mental health problems,” Bryant told VOA. “So there really is, from a global mental health perspective, an urgent need to have a different way of thinking about how we deliver care. And we can’t be relying on specialists. We can’t be relying on lengthy sessions, lengthy treatment durations. We can’t be relying on systems that require long trainings to upskill people.”

CBT was developed in the 1970s. Unlike psychoanalysis, which aims to reveal the historical, root causes for a patient’s problems, cognitive behavioral therapists work to reveal thoughts and behaviors that currently contribute to a patient’s troubles.

Bryant said this particular intervention was designed to be as easy to administer as possible and focuses on changing behavior. The WHO treatment coaches patients to be active, engage in social networks, and problem solve. Bryant said much of the cognitive side of CBT was left out, not only to make it easier to train practitioners but also to make the intervention shorter. That allows treating more people with less money. Traveling to treatment can be expensive and dangerous in many places, and missing work is costly, so a treatment that requires fewer sessions is beneficial to patients.

Avoiding stigma

One challenge in helping people who have been exposed to gender-based violence is finding them. Rape and abuse carry a heavy stigma, and it can be dangerous for women to speak out.

Consequently, the program wasn’t advertised as being about gender-based violence. Researchers instead looked for women experiencing anxiety and depression. However, during treatment, they found that four out of five participants had experienced some form of gender-based violence — most often from an intimate partner.

“Really, I think what this tells us is that when you go to many of these settings where we know that gender-based violence and other forms of violence are so prevalent, you can actually assist these people — alleviate many of their mental health problems in an effective way — without actually creating the problems of identifying them and exacerbating the social stigma,” Bryant said.

Since the completion of the study in 2015, 1,400 volunteer counselors in Kenya have been trained in CBT, and 3,500 women have received the treatment.

Researchers in Australia have been leaders in CBT, Bryant said. In the early 2000s, researchers at Australian National University developed MoodGYM, free software that allows anyone with an internet connection to receive online CBT treatment at any time.

Numerous studies have shown that patients who complete internet-delivered CBT fare as well as those who receive treatment in person. However, those self-administering CBT without external encouragement are much less likely to complete a full course of treatment. (VOA)

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How the verdict of Michelle Carter, the woman who urged her boyfriend to kill himself spawned legal debates across the United States

The case against Carter became something of an unusual experiment for the American judicial system, which has never witnessed anything like this before

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Suicide Case
Michelle Carter. Wikimedia
  • Michelle Carter has been sentenced to two and a half year term in a Massachusetts jail on Thursday 
  • Carter was charged with involuntary manslaughter for sending Conrad Roy, her boyfriend, text messages that encouraged him to kill himself
  • Carter’s case has spawned legal debates across the United States 

New Delhi, August 5, 2017: Michelle Carter, the young woman convicted of involuntary manslaughter, has been sentenced to a two and a half year term including 15 months in prison in a Massachusetts jail on Thursday for urging her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, to commit suicide through text messages in 2014.

The case against Carter became something of an unusual experiment for the American judicial system, which has never witnessed anything like this before.

Carter, now 20, was charged over the 2014 death of 18 year old Conrad Roy III, who she called her boyfriend. The police found Roy dead of carbon monoxide poisoning in his truck, in a Kmart parking lot in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. His death was first deemed as suicide, but the US court decided that Carter was to blame.

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Roy was depressed for long, but it was in the summer of 2014, that he started sending Carter messages about his plans to kill himself. Carter, in the beginning, suggested him to take help, however, she later started bombarding him with dozens of text messages sending him encouraging texts to kill himself.

“Don’t be scared. You already made this decision and if you don’t do it tonight you’re gonna be thinking about it all the time and stuff all the rest of your life and be miserable,” Carter wrote in one text.

“It’s OK to be scared and it’s normal. I mean, you’re about to die,” she wrote in another.

If she had a clear intention for why she did this, or it was the mental issues she was facing that made her do something like that is uncertain. However, different parties have different opinions concerning the same.

Prosecutors believed that Carter wanted to play the role of the “grieving girlfriend” in order to receive the public’s sympathy.

Also read: Russian roulette took Indian American teenager’s life in Texas.

Carter, at the time she was texting Roy, struggled with body image issues and was on medicines for depression and anxiety. “She was enmeshed in a delusional system,” psychiatrist Peter R. Breggin told The New York Times.

‘I don’t want to say any more about her beyond that she doesn’t have a conscience,’ Lynn Roy, mother of Conrad Roy told Daily Mail.

In the coming months, when the police started investigating Roy’s death, the involvement of Carter became evident by the conversations she had with Conrad through text messages, which made it apparent that she encouraged him to take his life. On July 12, 2015, A Massachusetts judge charged Carter with involuntary manslaughter for the same.

“Knowing that Mr. Roy is in the truck, knowing the condition of the truck, knowing or at least having a state of mind that 15 minutes would pass, Ms. Carter takes no action,” Judge Lawrence Moniz said to the court.

Carter’s case has surprised many legal experts, spawning legal debates across the United States, in fact, the world. Many of them felt that Carter’s distance from Roy at the time of death would help bring forth a not-guilty ruling. But this decision is, indeed, important to establish precedent in future cases of people telling others to kill themselves.

“This court must and has balanced between rehabilitation, the promise that rehabilitation would work and a punishment for the actions that have occurred,” said Bristol County Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz.

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha

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List of 8 Food Items to Battle Depression and Anxiety

Here are some foods that can help you in times of depression and anxiety

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Food
Natural food items. Pixabay
  • The ingredients present in natural foods make them natural anti-depressants
  • Natural foods can help make our mood better 
  • Whole grains, blueberries, walnuts, spinach are only a few items than can help fight anxiety and depression

July 30, 2017: It is an unknown fact that the type of food we eat affects our mood. The natural foods regulate our mood better than junk foods. The ingredients in some foods make them anti-depressants naturally. Your choices in food can have an impact on your everyday mood.

Here are some foods that can help you in times of anxiety and depression.

1. Whole grains diminish depression, anxiety and mind swings. Whole grains have large amounts of tryptophan, which is an amino acid vital for making melatonin and serotonin. Serotonin is known to lift the mood. Melatonin assists with sleep cycle, which is critical for your psychological well-being during times of depression and not obtaining appropriate rest. Whole grains likewise have abnormal amounts of Vitamin B which aids in the regulation of mood, battle PMS and slows down the pace of subjective disorders related to age. They help to keep your glucose steady, which doesn’t let you feel restless and grumpy.

Food
Whole grains help in the regulation of mood, battle PMS and slows down the pace of subjective disorders related to age.

2. Dark chocolate, often known as ‘Joy Stimulant’, helps to keep your mood good and you don’t let you wait for long to witness the impacts. Dark chocolate has serotonin. Many individuals self-medicate using dark chocolate for boosting up the mood. Ladies utilize it for feeling better amid menstrual cycles. It diminishes cortisol, the anxiety hormone. Dark chocolate stimulates the creation of endorphins that brings delight and a quiet, peaceful feeling. It has anti- oxidants which enable lower your blood pressure. If consumed in moderate sums, dark chocolate helps you improve concentration, research reveals.

Food
Dark chocolate is often called the Joy Stimulant. Pixabay

3. Blueberries are a superfood in light of the fact that it contains the most antioxidant properties out of all the fruits. Such antioxidants lessen stress levels as well as nervousness by regulation of cortisol levels. This is an anxiety hormone which can make you feel on edge. Blueberries contain Vitamin C that also brings down cortisol. Research demonstrates that consuming blueberries can enhance memory and lessen the danger of Parkinson’s illness. Blueberries are sans sodium, which is awesome for keeping a sound blood pressure. They contain high measures of water too. Water is necessary for your body and mind to work properly. Dehydration prompts poor state of mind and enhanced nervousness.

Food
It contains highest antioxidant properties of all fruits. Pixabay

ALSO READ: Prolonged Depression Can Change Structure of Your Brain

4. Walnuts battle panic attacks, anxiety and enable you to obtain proper sleep. They contain antioxidants, protein, and Omega-3 fatty acids. These are good for one’s nervous system, which can prompt better state of mind. Omega-3 helps in easing panic attacks. Vitamin B battle nervousness. Walnuts are an extraordinary contrasting option to obtaining  Omega-3 if you don’t like fish. Walnuts battle sadness by expanding serotonin. Walnuts help you improve your immunity, which makes you less inclined to exhaustion. They have melatonin which encourages you to have improved sleep patterns. Consuming walnuts will bring down blood pressure during upsetting circumstances, researchers say.

Food
Walnuts fight anxiety, and help you sleep better. Pixabay

5. Popeye was always cheerful when he had Spinach. It is a leafy dark green vegetable containing vitamins and minerals which improve mood and provide a better feeling to your body. Spinach contains loads of magnesium that is a standout amongst other minerals to battle anxiety. Magnesium directs the cortisol levels. Selenium, Omega-3, and niacin that spinach contains keep one’s mood elevated and uneasiness down. It is rich in potassium which helps in bringing down high blood pressure. Doctors recommend consuming spinach for maintaining blood pressure.

Food
Spinach is a dark leafy vegetable with vitamins and minerals. Pixabay

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6. Fish, particularly wild salmon supports your psychological capacity while diminishing tension. It contains Omega-3 unsaturated fats which help during depression. Wild salmon is the richest in Omega-3 among all fish. That is the reason it is the best fish to consume when battling nervousness, stress, or depression. Eating it can lessen nervousness, melancholy, PMS, and stress. Wild salmon has tryptophan, which is an amino corrosive that brings down anxiety hormones and decreases pulse.

Food
Fish contains Omega-3 fatty acids which help with depression. Pixabay

7. Pumpkin seeds help to battle nervousness. They contain tryptophan that helps in the making of serotonin, that maintains good state of mind. Pumpkin seeds help in obtaining a soothing sleep by permitting the creation of the rest hormone melatonin. Zinc, iron, and copper present in them are helpful in relaxation of mind. The high content of magnesium in pumpkin seeds brings down outrage, fractiousness, and uneasiness by relaxing muscles and nerves. Magnesium regulates the generation of energy which makes you energetic. They contain zinc that helps to enhance immunity.

Food
Pumpkin seeds are a great approach to battle nervousness. Pixabay

8. Often known as the mother of grains, Quinoa contains zinc, B vitamins, protein, iron, magnesium, Omega-3, and phosphorus. Quinoa helps to boost serotonin which helps to prevent depression. Quinoa has such nutrients present in it that it can even help us fight anemia and fatigue. As stated earlier, its high content of magnesium controls migraine headaches, blood pressure, PMS and mood disorders. Quinoa is gluten-free. Quinoa being a seed, helps to avoid wheat’s inflammatory effects.

Food
Quinoa is the vegan protein alternative. Pixabay

-prepared by Harsimran Kaur of NewsGram. Twitter @Hkaur1025


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