When you eat something loaded with sugar, your taste buds, your gut and your brain all take notice. This activation of your reward system is not unlike how bodies process addictive substances such as alcohol or nicotine -- an overload of sugar spikes dopamine levels and leaves you craving more.
Nicole Avena explains why sweets and treats should be enjoyed in moderation.
Lesson by Nicole Avena, animation by STK Films.
Re-published from "Neuroscience News" magazine from TechnologyNetworks.
By Ruairi J Mackenzie, Science Writer for Technology Networks
Exercise might not be fun, but it’s good for your body. Over the years, science has well established that exercise can cut your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. But the ways that exercise affects the brain are still under investigation, although new research suggests it may be essential for the growth of new neurons.
Research conducted at the Università degli Studi di Milano (University of Milan) examined the effect of restricting mice from using their hind, but not their front legs, for a period of 28 days. The paper detailing the research was published in Frontiers in Neuroscience. Whilst the mice were able to eat and groom themselves as normal, and didn’t show signs of being stressed, subsequent analysis showed significant changes in the mice’s brains, including impairment of the mice’s neural stem cells. The researchers noted that the number of neural stem cells – which produce all neurons and glia during development and persist in certain areas into adulthood – that were actively producing new neurons was reduced by 70% in the restricted mice as compared to mice that hadn’t had their movement restricted.
Photo credit: Troy Benson, source: Flickr
New research shows a quarter of girls (24%) and one in 10 boys (9%) are depressed at age 14.
Researchers from the UCL Institute of Education and the University of Liverpool analysed information on more than 10,000 children born in 2000-01 who are taking part in the Millennium Cohort Study.
At ages 3, 5, 7, 11 and 14, parents reported on their children’s mental health. Then, when they reached 14, the children were themselves asked questions about their depressive symptoms.
Based on the 14-year-olds reporting of their emotional problems, 24 per cent of girls and 9 per cent of boys suffer from depression.
The research, published with the National Children’s Bureau, also investigated links between depressive symptoms and family income. Generally, 14-year-olds from better-off families were less likely to have high levels of depressive symptoms compared to their peers from poorer homes.
BY JOANNA DOLEY, PHD CANDIDATE, SCHOOL OF PSYCHOLOGY AND PUBLIC HEALTH, LA TROBE UNIVERSITY,
SUSAN J PAXTON FAPS, PROFESSOR, SCHOOL OF PSYCHOLOGY AND PUBLIC HEALTH, LA TROBE UNIVERSITY
Unhelpful stereotypes that disguise the true extent of eating disorders are present in the Netflix series
To the Bone – a film about a turning point in a young woman’s battle with anorexia nervosa – has attracted comment from mental health professionals and advocates. Critics have concerns it could cause or worsen eating disorder symptoms.
The writer-director of To the Bone assured audiences she wished to dispel myths, not do harm. So which aspects of the new film might do harm, and which might educate the audience in a positive way?
How might the film cause harm?
Striving for precision may seem like a desirable trait, but research suggests extreme perfectionism is a risk factor for depression, anxiety and eating disorders.
We live in a world dominated by the pursuit of perfection. From how we perform at school and in the workplace, to whether we win a social game of tennis and even how we choose romantic partners and raise our kids, achieving top marks or the best possible outcome has come to define our understanding of success.
There’s no doubt that setting goals and having high expectations is a healthy pattern of behaviour, but when these habits are taken to an extreme level it can increase the risk of some of our most common mental health problems.
Hand-held toys known as “fidget spinners” – marketed as “stress relievers” – have become so popular and distracting in classrooms that they are now being banned in many schools. And it’s not just kids who like to fidget. Look around your office and you will probably see people bouncing their legs up and down, turning pens over and over in their hands, chewing on things, sucking on their lower lips and pulling bits of their beard out – seemingly completely unconsciously.
But why do we fidget, and why do some people do it more than others? And if it really helps to relieve stress, does that mean we should all embrace it?
These are actually rather difficult questions to answer, as there appear to be various definitions of what fidgeting is and why it happens. However, there are some interesting, if unexpected, theories.
BY THE PSYCHLOPAEDIA TEAM - THE AUSTRALIAN PSYCHOLOGICAL SOCIETY
Photo source: Designed by Dragana_Gordic / Freepik
Complaining to friends about flabby arms or big thighs can incite comparison with other women and cultivate body dissatisfaction.
“My arms are so flabby.”
“I hate my thighs.”
“My stomach is too big.”
How often do you or women you know engage in this sort of ‘fat talk’? According to one recent Australian study, it happens much more often than you might think.
The research reveals that during an average week four out of five young women experience ‘fat talk’ about their appearance or another person’s. And even though it might seem like a harmless way to alleviate body dissatisfaction, the opposite is true – fat talk can have a negative effect on body image.