Mental Health Matters: More news about mental-health
The only way you can hear about mental health news faster than in Kamloops This Week is if you are a doctor — and many will be hearing this news for the first time, right along with you.
Exciting news has been reported in the fight against cognitive loss and conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.
Although the study is too small to make wild conclusions (only 156 people were tested), the University of Washington in Seattle reported daily hormone shots dramatically improved cognitive functioning of all but one test subject.
A mini-chain reaction of hormone releases causes the body to produce more insulin and other hormones that decrease with age.
Although not a cure for conditions like Alzheimer’s, this could bring us closer to developing treatments to prevent or delay onset of them.
Another study from the busy Seattle university reported findings for a study every parent already knows: If kids watch violent media, their sleep will be disturbed.
Before you say, “Duh!” just yet, of course everybody “knows” this, but it has not been scientifically studied until now.
Violent media includes graphic video games, television and movies; sleep disturbance can be anything from nightmares to restless sleep.
All people — and children, in particular — need adequate amounts of sleep to develop and to remain healthy, both physically and mentally.
If you are an employer, help your bottom line by making your workplace mentally healthy.
According to research from Stanford, depression is the single biggest reason for sick days taken from work.
And, in a ground-breaking study out of Norway that followed more than 13,000 participants for six years, anxiety is a much more important risk factor for prolonged and frequent sick leave than previously thought.
In fact, anxiety caused more prolonged loss of work time than did depression.
Naturally, people suffering with both conditions had the highest risk of absenteeism.
Depression alone costs the American workplace $44 billion a year in sick days.
According to the British Medical Journal, even mild psychological stress increases the death rate in otherwise-healthy people.
The higher the psychological distress, the higher the death rates.
Researchers reported stress often leads to hormone dysfunction; this can create some dramatic health declines.
To the British researchers involved, this hormonal link between stress and health is what causes otherwise healthy people to die prematurely.
Interestingly enough, the World Health Organization reported families with a lower income had an earlier onset of mental disorders.
Looking at almost 40,000 people from 22 countries, a study from the University of Tokyo also found links between mental illness and earlier death.
More news about football brain, a phrase coined by the media to describe the brain damage caused by repeated blows to the head when playing sports.
Former Atlanta Falcon star Ray Easterling only played NFL football for eight years, but had significant signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy — brain and neurological damage — as the result of his football injuries and head traumas.
Our knowledge about this poorly understood area of brain health has exploded in the last few years and we are now beginning to see the effects of very small blows, repeated over time in sports, add up to major brain and mental-health impairment.
If your child or youth plays soccer, be concerned about heading the soccer ball.
It is almost unconscionable a sport that promotes use of the head to drive a ball travelling at high speeds does not promote use of helmets.
Professional sports leagues are starting to take these research reports seriously — and so should athletes and parents of athletes.
If you have a comment or question for us, write to us at Kamloops@cmha.bc.ca because we love to hear from you.