Fine-tuning Motivation In The Brain

Fine-tuning motivation in the brain

Neuroscientists have discovered a set of brain cells that influence the motivation of mice to perform tasks for rewards. Increasing the cells' activity makes a mouse work harder or more vigorously. The neurons come with a feature that prevents the mouse from overdoing it and becoming addicted to the reward. The findings reveal new possible therapeutic strategies for treating mental illnesses like depression that impair motivation.
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A New Understanding Of Mental Illness

A new understanding of mental illness

The causes of psychiatric disorders are poorly understood. Now there is evidence that a wide range of early onset psychiatric problems (from depression, anxiety and addictions to dyslexia, bulimia, and ADHD) may be largely due to the combination of just three factors. The first is biological --i n the form of individual variability in the brain's dopamine reward pathway. The second is social -- and points to the important role of early childhood neglect or abuse. And the third is psychological--and relates to temperament, and particularly to tendencies toward impulsivity and difficulty controlling emotions. These findings have implications for understanding both the causes of a wide range of psychiatric disorders and the features worth targeting in early intervention efforts.
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Talk Therapy By US Psychiatrists Declined By Half Since 1990s

Talk therapy by US psychiatrists declined by half since 1990s

Researchers analyzing 21 years of data found that the percentage of psychiatrist visits involving psychotherapy has declined by half -- dropping to only 21.6 % of patient visits. Over half of U.S. psychiatrists no longer practice any psychotherapy at all. The study found that for rural, Black, Hispanic, and Medicaid patients psychiatrists' provision of psychotherapy was exceedingly rare.
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Stress Makes Life’s Clock Tick Faster: Chilling Out Slows It Down

Stress makes life’s clock tick faster: Chilling out slows it down

Scientists in recent years have developed ways to measure biological age by tracking chemical changes in DNA that occur naturally as people age but occur at different times in different people. These so-called 'epigenetic clocks' have proved to be better predictors of lifespan and health than chronological age. In a new study, Yale researchers used one such clock, appropriately named "GrimAge," to ask two questions: How much does chronic stress accelerate that biological clock? And are there ways to slow it down and extend a healthy lifespan?
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