Showing posts with label psychiatry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label psychiatry. Show all posts

Monday 11 December 2023

The Excessive TV-Watching will cause Dementia, Depression and Parkinson’s Disease
In a digital age where screens often dominate our daily lives, a recent study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity offers a thought-provoking insight into the health implications of our viewing habits. This comprehensive analysis, led by Dr. Hanzhang Wu of Tianjin University of Traditional Medicine, China, reveals a concerning correlation between excessive television-watching and an increased risk of dementia, Parkinson's Disease (PD), and depression.

The Study: A Deep Dive into Digital Habits and Health
The research tapped into the UK Biobank, analyzing data from 473,184 individuals aged 39-72 years, followed from 2006 to either a diagnosis of dementia, PD, depression, death, or the study's end. Participants reported their non-work related activities, including exercise, TV-watching, and computer use, alongside undergoing MRI scans to measure brain volume.

The Findings: TV Time and Its Toll
The study's results paint a stark picture: those who indulged in over four hours of TV daily faced a 28% higher risk of dementia, a 35% higher risk of depression, and a 16% greater risk of PD compared to those who watched less than an hour. These figures stand as a cautionary tale against the sedentary lifestyle often associated with excessive TV consumption.

A Silver Lining: Moderate Computer Use
Contrastingly, the study found that moderate computer use (30-60 minutes per day) appeared somewhat protective, lowering the risks for dementia, PD, and depression. This finding challenges the blanket notion that all screen time is detrimental, suggesting that the content and context of digital consumption are key factors.

Exercise: A Vital Substitute
Perhaps most strikingly, replacing just 30 minutes of computer time with structured exercise significantly reduced the risks for dementia and PD. This highlights the immense value of physical activity as a cornerstone of neurological health.

Understanding the Underlying Mechanism
The researchers speculate that the negative impact of prolonged TV-watching might stem from its sedentary nature, which is linked to low-grade inflammation. This inflammation could contribute to neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration, accelerating the onset of diseases like dementia and PD.

Limitations and Considerations
While the study offers valuable insights, it's crucial to note its reliance on self-reported data, which can be subject to recall bias. Additionally, there may be other confounding variables not accounted for in the research.

The Takeaway: Rethinking Our Screen Habits
This study serves as a wake-up call to reassess our daily routines. It suggests that while moderate, purposeful screen use (like computer work) can be part of a healthy lifestyle, excessive, passive screen time (like prolonged TV-watching) might have dire health implications.

 In Practice: Balancing Screen Time with Active Living

For individuals and healthcare professionals alike, the message is clear: balance is key. Integrating regular physical activity into our routines and being mindful of our screen habits could be crucial steps in safeguarding our neurological health.

As we navigate a world increasingly oriented around digital screens, this study underscores the importance of staying active and engaged in a variety of activities. It's not just about cutting screen time; it's about enhancing our overall lifestyle to nurture our physical and mental well-being.

Tuesday 18 June 2019

Magic Mushrooms could replace Anti-depressants!

I started reading this article in the Indepedent with a curious mind! Interest in the potential medical uses for psychedelics, such as “magic mushrooms” and LSD, has rapidly increased in recent years, leading to the opening of the world’s first formal center for psychedelics research in April — and the center’s leader is already prepared to make a bold prediction about the future of psychedelics in medicine. The ideas are bloomed since the cannabis oil became a prescribed medicine recently.

Emotional Release

Carhart-Harris is currently leading a Centre for Psychedelic Research trial to compare the ability of psilocybin, or “magic,” mushrooms and leading antidepressants to treat depression.

He told The Independent that so far, participants are reporting that the psilocybin leaves them feeling like they’ve experienced an emotional “release,” while patients often criticize antidepressants for making them feel like their emotions are “blunted.”

Wishful Thinking

Given the ‘positive’ feedback from study participants and psilocybin mushrooms’ extremely low risk for overdose or addiction, it’s not hard to see why Carhart-Harris is optimistic that doctors will soon be able to use psychedelics to treat patients. Although, we know that the ‘magic’ mushrooms are abundantly available in the streets and self medicating is not uncommon in UK. 

Another psychedelics researcher, James Rucker from King’s College London, isn’t so sure about Carhart-Harris’ timeline (which I’m not comfortable either), telling The Independent that five years is “possible… but only if everything goes to plan, and you know what they say about best-laid plans.”
So next time when you travel through M1,  look out for majestic magic mushroom fields! 

READ MORE: Magic mushrooms could replace antidepressants within five years, says new psychedelic research centre [The Independent]

Friday 19 April 2019

Paedophilia Symptoms can be caused by Brain Tumours in the right orbitofrontal cortex

In 2000, a 40-year-old man was rushed to the University of Virginia Hospital emergency department while experiencing a severe headache. Perhaps he was faking it to escape the dire situation he had been in. In the previous year, he had developed an unusual increasing interest in porn, including child porn. While he had a pre-existing interest in porn dating back to his teenage years, he denied a previous attraction to children. He had been in a stable marriage for two years. He did not have a history of psychiatric disorders or prior deviant sexual behaviour.
Throughout the year 2000, he collected a large number of porn magazines and increasingly visited Internet porn sites to satisfy his obsession with child porn. He started soliciting prostitution which he had not done before.
He desperately concealed his activities but continued to act on his sexual impulses, completely unable to restrain his sexual urges. He even made subtle sexual advances toward his stepdaughter. She informed her mother and she discovered his preoccupation with child pornography.
He was removed from the home, found guilty of child molestation and was ordered to undergo rehab for sex addiction or go to jail. While in rehab, he solicited sexual favours from staff and other patients and was expelled.
Sixteen years earlier, he had had a head injury that left him unconscious for two minutes, followed by two years of migraines. During the neurologic examination, he solicited female staff for sexual favours and was unembarrassed when he peed on himself. He confessed he had had suicidal thoughts and rape fantasies. He complained of balance problems and an MRI scan was performed on him. An egg-sized brain tumour was discovered in his brain. Once it was removed, his sex obsession disappeared.[1]
The tumour was located in the right lobe of the orbitofrontal cortex, an area of the brain responsible for inhibition, judgment and impulse control. It was the first case that brain damage was linked to paedophilia. While his knowledge of right and wrong was intact, the tumour had destroyed his control of sexual impulses.
Seven months after the tumour removal and completing the rehab program, he returned home. He complained of headaches and secretly collected porn again. An MRI scan revealed that the tumour had come back and after it was removed, his behaviour disappeared.
In another similar case, a 64-year-old well-respected pediatrician was caught while enacting sexually inappropriate behaviour towards a child in a kindergarten doctor’s office. He clearly had lost all judgment because his paedophilic urges were carried out in a risky manner leaving the office door wide open. His wife observed he had gradually changed with easy frustration and irritability followed by subtle behavioural disinhibition. His MRI scan revealed a large tumour that displaced the hypothalamus, which is responsible for sexual orientation and compressed the orbitofrontal cortex. After the tumour was removed, all the abnormal behaviour including paedophilic urges, disappeared.[2]
These two cases raise an interesting question: to what extent are these two men culpable? Recent studies have estimated 25–87% of prison inmates suffered some sort of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in their life and indicated associations between TBIs and criminal-like behaviour.[3] [4] [5] TBI-related problems can complicate their management and treatment. They can experience mental health problems such as severe depression, anxiety, anger control issues, self-restraint, alcohol and substance abuse.
This makes it difficult for them to respond to disciplinary action in prison, to understand and remember rules, and anger issues can get them in dangerous incidents with other inmates. They also have a higher rate of recidivism.
The spirit of the law is that responsibility for a crime is reduced when a defendant’s cognitive ability is compromised by illness or injury. This means that people need to be tested soon after being arrested. Many people who are in prison shouldn’t be there due to this lack of diagnosis. There needs to be increased health screenings and rehab treatments and improved coordination between family, community mental health services, GPs and the school system. The justice system will have to move away from retribution and focus more on rehabilitation.
It doesn’t change the purpose of the justice system to reform their behaviour and provide safety for the rest of society. But the sentencing and treatment might have to depend on how modifiable their behaviour is. If a criminal is utterly beyond repair, brain damage or not, (s)he still needs to be locked away. But it might help many others who might benefit from treatment as the two examples in this answer.