October 1st, 2017

Study: Smartphone use linked to mental health distress

By Susan Gonsalves

College students with high smartphone use report higher levels of depression, anxiety and loneliness, poorer sleep quality and difficulties fulfilling their obligations as a student, according to a study at Assumption College, a small liberal arts school located in Worcester, Mass. Lead authors Adam Volungis, Ph.D. and Maria Kalpidou, Ph.D., emphasized that while the research shows a correlation between phone use and indicators of general symptoms of distress, no causal link was concluded. One hundred and fifty college students, 83 percent of whom were female, filled out a series of questionnaires using a range of assessment tools such as the [More]

May 1st, 2017

Study: Tablet use reduces agitation in dementia patients

By Susan Gonsalves

The idea of using tablet devices as an intervention for older adults, including those with severe dementia, was partially born at a restaurant dinner table, according to Ipsit Vahia, M.D.. He observed that his friends’ boisterous four-year-old, when handed an iPhone, was able to calm down enough so that everyone could enjoy their meals. Vahia, the medical director of Geriatric Psychiatry Outpatient Services at McLean Hospital, led a pilot study that built upon previous research showing how art, music and other therapies are viable non-pharmaceutical options for reducing dementia symptoms. The study involved using a wide range of free apps [More]

March 1st, 2015

Study: Transgender youth have more negative outcomes

By Pamela Berard

Transgender youth have a higher rate of negative mental health outcomes than non-transgender youth, according to a new study. Study results showed transgender youth had a higher probability of being diagnosed with depression when compared to non-transgender youth (50.6 percent vs. 20.6 percent); and higher probabilities of suffering from anxiety (26.7 vs. 10), attempting suicide (17.2 vs. 6.1) and engaging in self-harming activities without lethal intent (16.7 vs. 4.4). The study was based on data from the Sidney Borum Jr. Health Center in Boston, and compared the electronic health records of 180 transgender patients (ages 12 to 29) to non-transgender [More]

October 1st, 2016

Study: Women military members at risk for mental health woes

By Janine Weisman

Combat exposure increased the odds of Army enlisted women returning from Afghanistan or Iraq of developing post-deployment behavioral health problems, according to a new study led by a Brandeis University researcher. Active duty and National Guard/Reserve enlisted women had a similar prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression and at-risk drinking, reports the study published in the August issue of the Journal of Traumatic Stress. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs projects women will account for 18 percent of the veteran population by 2035, the fastest growing group. But research on military populations has generally focused on the entire population, which [More]

October 1st, 2014

Study: xenon gas could reduce or omit painful memories

By Rivkela Brodsky

There may be a new treatment for those dealing with posttraumatic stress disorder, according to a study by researchers at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass. The study, published Aug. 27 in PLOS ONE, suggests that xenon gas – used as an anesthetic and for diagnostic imaging – could reduce or erase the memories of traumatic events. Researchers studied the use of xenon gas in rats who had been conditioned to fear certain environmental stimuli by foot shocks. “We were able to block this learning and memory phenomenon called reconsolidation,” says Edward G. Meloni, Ph.D., assistant psychologist at McLean Hospital and [More]

July 1st, 2014

Study: Young children benefit from CBT

By Susan Gonsalves

Children ages five to eight with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) can benefit from family-based cognitive behavioral therapy, according to a study from the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center. Jennifer Freeman, Ph.D., staff psychologist at the center and clinical co-director of Bradley’s Intensive Program for OCD, led the five-year project which was conducted at three academic medical centers (Bradley, Duke, University of Pennsylvania) over 14 weeks in 2006-2011. Freeman explains that 127 children in that age range with a primary diagnosis of OCD and their parents were randomized to 12 sessions of either family-based cognitive behavior treatment or family-based relaxation treatment. [More]

November 4th, 2019

Study: Young Puerto Ricans experience higher rates of depression on U.S. mainland than at home

By Eileen Weber

Puerto Ricans experience higher rates of depression and anxiety on the U.S. mainland than when at home. After nearly 20 years of research and about 2,000 people interviewed, the Boricua Youth Study discovered that fact. The study compared kids ages five to 13 as they transitioned to early adulthood from 15 to 29 under similar conditions of income and exposure to violence in both Puerto Rico and the South Bronx, a region with one of the highest Puerto Rican populations on the U.S. mainland. Research focused on four categories that influence mental health: environmental/social factors, cultural and minority stress, parent/peer [More]

January 1st, 2016

Study: Youth bored and stressed

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In perhaps the largest study ever done in such a short time, the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence teamed up with Born This Way Foundation to execute a survey of more than 22,000 high school students conducted over a three-month period. Reaching out to adolescents through schools and through the social media net of the Foundation’s founder, singer Lady Gaga, researchers were able to attract an overwhelming number of responses in the set time period, far more than expected. “We had 45,000 responses in total,” said Marc Brackett, Ph.D., director of the Yale Center, “and for this study, we used [More]

June 1st, 2015

Study: youth with psychopathic traits mask intense emotions

By Susan Gonsalves

Not all psychopaths are cold, callous and unfeeling. Nor are they untreatable. A new study by University of Vermont Professor Timothy Stickle, Ph.D. and graduate student Andrew Gill showed that a subset of youth exhibiting severe anti-social behaviors who were classified as callous and unemotional (CU) are actually highly anxious, depressed and distressed. The researchers studied 150 male and female youth ages 11 to 17 housed in juvenile detention centers whose behavior puts them at risk of developing psychopathic traits as adults. The research subjects were put into three different subgroups. One group, termed “primary psychopathy,” included individuals with low [More]

May 10th, 2018

Submitted for your approval, a reunion in the Twilight Zone

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

Our son and his wife were flying to Tokyo and we had just taken them to Newark airport. They were starting a 14-hour flight that would take them 11,000 miles from home, by any measure an enormous distance. I never suspected that a brief detour on our way back would take me even farther, not just to my childhood home but, through the corridors of memory, to the core of childhood itself. Neither did I expect that, when I arrived, I would be drawn to the house of a friend who, at that very moment a thousand miles away, was [More]