From Neuroscience Research Techniques Depression is the leading cause of disability around the world, and for several decades, scientists have believed that low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin was a major cause of depression. A new study in ACS Chemical Neuroscience questions that hypothesis, as the creation of serotonin-deficient mice did not lead to the presence of depression-like symptoms as expected. Researchers at Wayne State University found that although behavioral tests revealed that these serotonin-deficient mice were compulsive and aggressive,… Read more

Ok,  you caught me.  There’s really only one reason spread out over 13 countries. The world is graying at a break-neck pace and that’s bad news for the global economy.   By 2020, 13 countries will be “super-aged” — with more than 20% of the population over 65 — according to a report by Moody’s Investor Service.  That number will rise to 34 nations by 2030. Only three qualify now: Germany, Italy and Japan. “Demographic transition … is now upon us,”… Read more

If you’re a fan of the 50 Shades of Grey series of erotic fiction, a new study says that you might be more of an open book than you think. Young adult women who read “Fifty Shades of Grey” are more likely than nonreaders to exhibit signs of eating disorders and have a verbally abusive partner, finds a new study led by a Michigan State University researcher. Further, women who read all three books in the blockbuster “Fifty Shades” erotic romance… Read more

Caring for people for the wrong reasons can cause burnout or worse.  A new study found that nurses who gravitate to the profession out of a desire to help people  tend to burn out and experience other mental health problems at a higher rate than those who become nurses because they enjoy the work or the lifestyle afforded by the profession.  The study doesn’t just apply to nurses, but anyone in a relationship. Caring for the Right Reasons We’re all… Read more

I get a lot of questions from men wondering how they can please their wives in the bedroom.  A new study confirms my usual advice, “Make her feel loved outside of the bedroom.”  That said, it turns out that feelings of love don’t just improve the psychological experience of sex.  It also improves the physiological experience of sex. Love and commitment can make sex physically more satisfying for many women, according to a Penn State Abington sociologist.  In a series… Read more

Emotional Intelligence is a term coined by psychologist, Daniel Goleman, that refers to a person’s ability to identify, manage, understand and process emotions so that you can effectively manage stress, have healthy, rewarding relationships, handle conflict respectfully, and maintain good emotional health. As the article I linked above explains, Emotional Intelligence has been shown to be even more important than IQ in determining career success and both relationship and life satisfaction. Considering all the benefits to be gained by developing… Read more

New research from Baylor University shows that the nature of our attachment to God and the way we imagine God directly relates to the psychological & health benefits a person tends to get from prayer. Those who prayed to a loving and supportive God whom they thought would be there to comfort and protect them in times of need were less likely to show symptoms of anxiety-related disorders — symptoms such as irrational worry, fear, self-consciousness, dread in social situations,… Read more

In light of Robin Williams’ tragic death there are a lot of people saying a lot of different things about Christianity and suicide. I thought it would be useful to take a moment to consider the wisdom the Catechism has to offer. “Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide. We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By… Read more

Earlier today I offered some reflections on what people-of-faith need to know about depression.  I promised that I’d offer some additional thoughts on effective coping for emotional distress. Effective coping strategies enable a person to gather their psychological, emotional, spiritual, and relational resources so that they can respond to the problems they are facing.  By contrast, ineffective coping strategies simply allow a person to escape, withdraw, or numb themselves for a time, but when the “break” is over the person… Read more

The news of Robin Williams’ suicide has brought the insidious nature of depression front and center.   I know too many Christians who believe that they should be immune from depression because they are Christian.   While research shows that some believers can be more resistant to depression and have a somewhat easier time bouncing back when they do get depression, it is also true that some approaches to religion can be associated with higher rates of depression and emotional… Read more

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