Paranoia Hinders Learning And Problem Solving

Everyone has had fleeting concerns that others might be against them at some point in their lives. Sometimes these concerns can escalate into paranoia and become debilitating. Paranoia is a common symptom in serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia. It can cause extreme distress and is linked with an increased risk of violence towards oneself or…

Are We All OCD Now, With Obsessive Hand-Washing And Technology Addiction?

One of the hallmarks of obsessive-compulsive disorder is contamination fears and excessive hand-washing. Years ago, a patient with severe OCD came to my office wearing gloves and a mask and refused to sit on any of the “contaminated” chairs. Now, these same behaviors are accepted and even encouraged to keep everyone healthy. This new normal…

Identified: How Ketamine Targets Depression

The anaesthetic drug ketamine has been shown, in low doses, to have a rapid effect on difficult-to-treat depression. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet report that they have identified a key target for the drug: specific serotonin receptors in the brain. The findings give hope for new, effective antidepressants. “In this, the largest PET study of its…

Biased Studies Linked Antidepressants During Pregnancy To Autism

Taking antidepressants during pregnancy does not appear to increase the child’s risk of autism, according to a new meta-analysis. The review[1] examines 14 studies, many of which identified a connection between antidepressant use during pregnancy and autism. However, that research failed to account for ascertainment bias, which occurs when one group of patients or subjects…

Lithium May Treat Behavior Linked To Autism Gene

The mood-stabilizing drug lithium eases repetitive behaviors seen in mice missing SHANK3, an autism gene, according to a new study. The findings[1] suggest lithium merits further study as a treatment for some people with autism, even though the drug has troublesome side effects, including tremors and impaired memory. “Lithium is, of course, a rather difficult,…

Brain Function Changes Linked To Genetic Risk In ADHD Diagnosis

New research combines genetics and functional brain imaging to find that both genetic and neural factors influence attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis. Genetic studies of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) show that it takes many common genetic variations combining together in one individual to increase risk substantially. At the same time, neuroimaging experts have found differences in how…

Whole Genome Sequencing Reveals Genetic Structural Secrets Of Schizophrenia

The University of North Carolina scientists have conducted the largest-ever whole genome sequencing study of schizophrenia to provide a more complete picture of the role the human genome plays in this disease. “Our results suggest that ultra-rare structural variants that affect the boundaries of a specific genome structure increase risk for schizophrenia. Alterations in these…

How Parasitic Infection Causes Seizures, Psychiatric Illness For Some

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 40 million Americans have varying levels of toxoplasmosma infection, although most cases are asymptomatic. Commonly passed to humans via exposure to farm animals, infected cat litter, or undercooked meat, the parasitic infection causes unnoticeable or mild, to flu-like symptoms in most healthy people. But for a…