Brain and Behavior

How Immune Systems Can Influence Social Behavior


The immune system is our main defense mechanism against disease. Dysfunctions in the immune system are therefore associated with a myriad of complications, including several neurological and mental disorders.

Yet, for a long time the brain and the immune system were considered to be isolated from each other -- it was believed that the brain was not supplied by the lymphatic system (which carries white blood cells and other immune cells through a network of vessels and tissues) because no evidence of lymphatic supply to the brain had ever been found.
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Addiction

New Study Reports Diabetes Medication Could Treat Addiction


A relatively new class of drugs, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, have had much success in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Now, these drugs may offer support in the treatment of addiction and drug abuse.

A new study, published in Translational Psychiatry, reports that GLP-1 receptors may be a target for treating drug abuse. The study was conducted in mice, but it calls attention to previous reports with similar findings.
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ADHD and ADD

Psychology Around the Net: November 5, 2016


I'm going to the mountains today; in fact, I might be there by the time you read this.

Of course, this isn't exactly unusual, given my state is fairly well known for its mountains. I'm sort of always surrounded by mountains, even when I'm grocery shopping. Nevertheless, earlier this week, a friend of mine sent a random text asking if I'd be interested in spending a day in an especially beautiful area of the state a couple of hours away.

"YES."

Without hesitation.

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Anxiety and Panic

5 Times to Embrace the Power of Negative Thinking


Yes, REALLY.

My whole life I have been told to embrace the power of positive thinking. This was something a lot of adults said to me, a negative, nervous little girl, riddled with anxiety.

Well, that and "stop worrying or you'll give yourself an ulcer."

Thanks, Mrs. Nicholson! Ulcers don't work that way! Anxiety is more than something other than an annoyance for you to deal with from 9 to 3! Fourth grade was a living nightmare and also I hate you!

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Books

Psychology Around the Net: October 29, 2016


Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

This week's Psychology Around the Net covers a myriad of interesting topics, if I do say so myself!

Keep reading for information on how the way you twist your paperclips could highlight your personality (yes, really), a new three-second brain exercises to help you find joy (it's a lot deeper, and yet just as simple, as it sounds), a few misconceptions some of us might have about male sexuality, and more.

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Brain and Behavior

IQ Can Be Linked to Physical and Psychiatric Disorders


The idea that how smart you are might be connected with how healthy you are is not new. Those who studied social sciences have probably seen the published works on the subject dating back to 1980s.

The problem is not so easy to study academically, though. It is hard to separate the influence of various social factors on both intelligence level and health from a pure connection between health and brightness. As a result, many of the existing studies have been inconclusive. Factors such as age, sex, social and economic level, and education of the study cohort may seriously affect the conclusions. However, when these factors are taken into account, or the study groups are designed in a way minimizing their influence, rather interesting findings emerge.

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Children and Teens

Psychology Around the Net: October 22, 2016


Once again, my friends, I come to you from behind a computer screen with a box of tissues on one side and a trash can on the other. Tears are running down my cheeks, I can't stop sneezing, and even though I can't breathe my nostrils aren't too stopped up to -- well, I won't get gross.

Wasn't it just a few months ago I was suffering from allergies? Can you even get allergies in the fall? According to WebMD, you sure can, and thanks to a myriad of potential culprits (mold spores and pollen hiding out in fallen leaves and dust mites triggered from turning the heat on for the first time), I am once again down for the count.

Still, that hasn't stopped me from bringing you this week's latest in mental health news! Keep reading for healthy tips for how to break off a friendship, Instagram's new mental health "flagging" feature, ways you can beat election stress, and more.

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Brain Blogger

Lucid Dreaming Can Improve Physical Skills, Scientists Say


Can we significantly improve physical skills by practicing them while we sleep? Yes, scientists say. New research published in the Journal of Sports Sciences confirms that practicing motor skills while lucid dreaming can lead to real life improvements in skill performance that can be equivalent to practice in waking life.

Lucid dreaming is when the dreamer becomes aware that he or she is actually dreaming. This awareness typically comes hand in hand with greater control of what one’s dream self is doing, as well as the content of the dream.

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Brain and Behavior

Can We Improve Brain Function With Moderate Alcohol Consumption?


It is well documented that excessive consumption of alcohol is linked to various serious health problems. Heavy drinking is a known risk factor for diseases such as cardiovascular problems, some types of cancer, cirrhosis, dementia, depression, pancreatitis and high blood pressure, among others. But what about low-to-moderate alcohol consumption?

A number of studies published in recent years present a view rather different from the traditional negative assumptions. Contrary to popular beliefs, they claim that moderate alcohol intake can be beneficial.

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Brain and Behavior

ADRA2B: The Genetic Variation that Determines Our Emotional Reactions


A new scientific study validates how truly awesome we are.

It's a tough world out there for a person who is super sensitive.

If you're a woman and you're sensitive, people think of you as being fragile or crazy. If you're a man and you're too sensitive, people might think you're weak or, god forbid, womanly.

But a recent study about the brains of sensitive people proves that there's nothing wrong with sensitive people, we're just programmed differently. In fact, our sensitivity is a great thing!

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Books

Psychology Around the Net: October 8, 2016


If the image didn't give it away...today is my birthday!

I've been celebrating since last night -- not because I'm a person who likes a big deal made out of her birthday, but because I have family members and friends who love me and want to celebrate life with me.

I'm blessed, and I'm eternally grateful for it.

So, while I take a break this morning and check out What Science Has to Say About Being in Your 30s (much of which I'm pretty used to at this point, I'm sure), why don't you check out some of this week's latest in mental health news such as how psychology explains our fear of clowns, how we're sabotaging ourselves during the pursuit of happiness, how our personalities can help us choose the best careers, and more!

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