Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Goal-driven achievers less prone to Alzheimer's

Are you an achiever? Are you goal driven? Then you might just have a lower risk for developing Alzheimers Disease. A recent study (correlational!!!) found that elderly who see themselves as "self-disciplined, organized achievers have a lower risk for developing Alzheimer's disease than people who are less conscientious."!

To read more about it: http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/conditions/10/01/personality.alzheimers.ap/index.html?iref=newssearch

or go to the Archives of General Psychiatry to get a general synopsis:

Panic Attacks Linked to Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke in Women

A study published Monday in the Archives of General Psychiatry that shows a link between panic attacks and risk of heart attacks and stroke in post menopausal women! While a panic attack might feel like a heart attack to many, it is not, but new research shows that it might also "suggest heart trouble down the road."

"Women who reported at least one full-blown panic attack during a six-month period were three times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke over the next five years than women who didn't report a panic attack.

The researchers took into account other risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, inactivity and depression and still found that panic attacks raised risk." (cnn.com)

To read more, go to: http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/conditions/10/01/panic.attacks.ap/index.html?iref=newssearch

Do you know what type of study this is? Hint: it shows the relationship between variables!

Do you know the symptoms of panic disorder? According to the DSM-IV (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition) the symptoms are:

A discrete period of intense fear or discomfort, in which four (or more) of the following symptoms developed abruptly and reached a peak within 10 minutes:

1) palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate

2) sweating

3) trembling or shaking

4) sensations of shortness of breath or smothering

5) feeling of choking

6) chest pain or discomfort

7) nausea or abdominal distress

8) feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint

9) derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)

10) fear of losing control or going crazy

11) fear of dying

12) paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations)

13) chills or hot flushes


DSM IV Criteria for Panic Disorder

A) Both (1) and (2)

(1) recurrent unexpected Panic Attacks

(2) at least one of the attacks has been followed by 1 month (or more) of one (or more) of the following:

(a) persistent concern about having additional attacks

(b) worry about the implications of the attack or its consequences (e.g., losing control, having a heart attack, "going crazy")

(c) a significant change in behavior related to the attacks

B) The Panic Attacks are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., hyperthyroidism).

C) The Panic Attacks are not better accounted for by another mental disorder, such as Social Phobia (e.g., occurring on exposure to feared social situations), Specific Phobia (e.g., on exposure to a specific phobic situation), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (e.g., on exposure to dirt in someone with an obsession about contamination), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (e.g., in response to stimuli associated with a severe stressor), or Separation Anxiety Disorder (e.g., in response to being away from home or close relatives).

Panic Disorder is divided into with or without agoraphobia

DSM IV Criteria for Agoraphobia

A) anxiety about being in places or situations from which escape might be difficult (or embarrassing) or in which help may not be available in the event of having an unexpected or situationally predisposed Panic Attack or panic-like symptoms. Agoraphobic fears typically involve characteristic clusters of situations that include being outside the home alone; being in a crowd, or standing in a line; being on a bridge; and traveling in a bus, train, or automobile.

B) The situations are avoided (e.g., travel is restricted) or else are endured with marked distress or with anxiety about having a Panic Attack or panic-like symptoms, or require the presence of a companion.

C) The anxiety or phobic avoidance is not better accounted for by another mental disorder, such as Social Phobia (e.g., avoidance limited to social situations because of fear of embarrassment), Specific Phobia (e.g., avoidance limited to a single situation like elevators), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (e.g., avoidance of dirt in someone with an obsession about contamination), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (e.g., avoidance of stimuli associated with a severe stressor), or Separation Anxiety Disorder (e.g., avoidance of leaving home or relatives).

To learn more about panic, see a video diary on youtube at


Friday, February 02, 2007

Eating Disorders...should we blame the parents.

Recently, Supermodel Gisele Bundchen claimed that eating disorders are caused by "bad" families. She claimed that her family has always been supportive to her, and therefore she never developed an eating disorder! Does she really think that all women (and men!) with ED had unsupportive families?! Does she really think the only factor in developing an eating disorder is support? She lashed out against the media and recent claims that the modeling industry itself promotes eating disorders. This sociocultural perspective claims that young women see the bodies the fashion industry touts as beautiful and leads to them trying to reach that impossible ideal.
There is a wonderful article that I have posted below to show Gisele's claims have no scientific support. There is, however, interesting support that shows a genetic link in EDs.

Alert: NYC fashion shows are thinking of banning underweight models? Do you think it is a good idea or not? Spain has recently banned underweight models from runway shows...should the US follow suit? Anyone with a BMI (Body Mass Index) under 18.5 would not be allowed to work the runway!

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