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Breathless: The impact of asthma on mental health

breathless-impact-asthma-mental-health Breathing is an activity surely taken for granted by many simply living their daily lives. It is a basic instinct, after all. The human body does it automatically. For some, the body betrays them and makes breathing difficult. The World Health Organization estimated 235 million people had asthma in 2011. To put this in perspective, that’s more people than the population of Japan and the United Kingdom combined. What causes asthma? While not entirely understood, experts believe it’s a combination of tobacco smoke, air pollution, chemical inhalants and allergens (such as pollen, mold and pet dander). Cold air, exercise and…

The last tackle: The passing of football player Adrian Robinson and coping with sudden death

last-tackle-passing-football-player-adrian-robinson-coping-sudden-death On May 16th, 2015, former NFL linebacker Adrian Robinson passed away suddenly at the age of 25. At the time of writing, the cause of death was not released to the media. Robinson was a star player at Temple University, where he started every game in his junior and senior years. He earned a Mid-American Conference player of the year award in 2009 and played for several professional football teams during his time in the NFL. His death comes as a shock for the football community. “Adrian was a beloved father, son, brother, friend and teammate. We ask that you…

Effects of depressive thoughts on memory

effects-depressive-thoughts-memory.jpg Depression surely affects many aspects of the mind and body. Aches and pains, lethargy and sadness, all of these symptoms and more can drag a person down. A recent study published in the journal Cognition and Emotion has found dysphoria, an aspect of depression that creates intense dissatisfaction, can cause reduced memory capacity in a patient. Forgetfulness has been observed anecdotally among depression patients, but these researchers took it a step further and administered tests to college students. The tasks involved memory and speed while also taking emotional states into account. “Results from these studies imply that mood-congruent information evokes…

The heart on your sleeve: Addressing mental illness stigma through creative strategy

heart-on-your-sleeve-ddressing-mental-illness-stigma-through-creative-strategy.jpg Despite the growth of knowledge and awareness surrounding mental illness, there are still insensitivities present in popular culture. Last year, the major clothing outlet Urban Outfitters (UO) published shirts with “depression” on them, possibly to be “edgy” and catch attention. Attention it did get, as customers spoke out against it, causing UO to pull it from their stores. The company is no stranger to controversy. They have also put out products making fun of transgender people, religious icons and individuals struggling with body image. Conscious instead of caustic clothing On the other side of the coin is a new clothing…

The link between genetics and nicotine addiction

link-between-genetics-nicotine-addiction.jpg Many factors contribute to the development of substance abuse and addiction, including biology, the environment, social issues and more. Understanding the various facets that influence addictive behaviors can shed greater light into prevention and treatment strategies. Genetic markers and addictive substances Research has led to more in-depth discoveries about the genetic influence of addiction, which gives a broader perspective on why an individual might be susceptible to developing substance abuse behavior. Through the study of genetics, scientists have also learned what makes an individual more likely to recover and about the specific genetic markers that make a person predisposed to…

Tears and work troubles: Working through depression

tears-work-troubles-working-through-depression As nice as it would be to have the world stop, life continues on even after depression settles in for a long stay. Being depressed at work can be a disruptive experience. It can distract the depressed person, inhibiting productivity. Depression can even reach the point of catching the attention of a person’s co-workers. Once depression reaches its peak, employees may seek out help to keep the disorder from interfering further with their careers. Jay Lynch, a medical professor at University of Florida, dealt with acute depression due to a combination of witnessing dying patients, familial stress and the loss…

To put it bluntly: “Blunted affect” and emotional detachment

to put it bluntly blunted affect and emotional detachment Blunted affect, also known as emotional numbness, is often viewed as a symptom of psychopathy, a condition characterized by enduring antisocial behavior, diminished empathy and remorse as well as disinhibited or bold behavior. However, a study published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology has found this view too narrow and possibly prohibitive to accurate diagnoses. Research focused on 150 male and female youth housed in juvenile detention centers, aged 11 to 17, who were classified as callous and unemotional, exhibiting extreme anti-social behaviors that put them at risk of psychopathic traits in the future. While some were recognized as…

The tightrope: Where anxiety and depression connect

tightrope where anxiety and depression connect There is no doubting the link between anxiety and depression. Both disorders can be debilitating on their own and, when they exist in tandem, these conditions can put someone down for the count. Treatments for depression and anxiety are similar, however, where they diverge can be surprising. First, it’s important to know the characteristics these conditions. Depression – This is a mental disorder with persistent and overwhelming feelings of low self-esteem as well as loss of pleasure in activities. Other symptoms can include insomnia, loss of appetite and psychosomatic pains in many areas of the body. The exact causes of…

Teacher troubles: Difficulty with abusive parents

teacher troubles difficulty with abusive parents Ask a prospective teacher what they expect once entering the profession and it’s unlikely abusive parents will initially enter his or her mind. Unfortunately, this is a real problem some educators must face. This Teacher Troubles article will discuss the visible rise of child abuse, its effect on the teacher’s role in a child’s life and how such intense situations are handled. In the United States, teachers are mandatory reporters, meaning educators, along with social workers, principals, law enforcement officers and others must notify a relevant agency if they suspect child abuse. While exact laws vary by state and territory,…

Teacher troubles: Teaching the hyperactive child

teacher troubles teaching the hyperactive child Teachers can have it rough. They play a key role in preparing children to enter the world. Instructors must deal with a variety of issues in their daily lives, ranging from addressing parental demands to working with special needs children. This series, Teacher Troubles, discusses the extraordinary difficulties facing this profession. ADHD, or attention-deficit hyperactive disorder (now completely replacing ADD in medical literature) is characterized by a host of symptoms that, while often mixed up with other conditions, can be quite troublesome in a school environment. These symptoms include: Difficulty paying attention to a task, especially if it’s new or…
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