Finding ways to help people recover from a ‘moral injury’

Finding ways to help people recover from a  ‘moral injury’Being able to forgive yourself plays an important role While moral injury and post-traumatic stress-related disorders can affect anyone, veterans and military service members are at a higher risk of developing such conditions due to the nature of their service. “We appreciate that these groups are exposed to higher rates of potentially traumatic events than…

Research may lead to treatment of mood disorders, asthma

Uncover the links between microbiome, depression and immune conditions like asthma

Research may lead to treatment of mood disorders, asthmaA new University of Alberta laboratory is working to understand how altered microbiota – fungi, bacteria and viruses in the gut and lungs – are linked with mood disorders such as depression and inflammatory immune conditions such as asthma. Paul Forsythe, associate professor in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, has been named AstraZeneca Canada…

Depression didn’t spike after initial pandemic wave: social media data

Researchers who used AI to analyze keywords on Twitter say people were more resilient than anticipated

Depression didn’t spike after initial pandemic wave: social media dataResearchers who analyzed language related to depression on social media during the pandemic say the data suggest people learned to cope as the waves wore on. University of Alberta researcher Alona Fyshe and her collaborators at the University of Western Ontario hypothesized that depression-related language would spike during each wave of COVID-19. But their study shows…

Mild electrical stimulation could boost cognitive ability

Pilots, athletes, dementia patients and more could benefit from this brain boost

Mild electrical stimulation could boost cognitive abilityImagine putting on a helmet embedded with tiny electrodes that sit on your scalp, delivering a gentle electrical current to certain areas of your brain. After about 10 to 20 minutes, you might find yourself with a better ability to focus, sharper memory and a host of other cognitive benefits. That’s the idea behind a…

Canada must explore use of psychedelics in mental-health treatment

Mushrooms show long-term benefits in those who suffer from treatment-resistant depression

Canada must explore use of psychedelics in mental-health treatmentRegardless of where one stands on legalizing psychedelics for mental-health treatment, Canada is late to the party when it comes to relaxing federal regulations. And given the disturbing rise (and costs of treating) trauma, depression and other mental health disorders worldwide, we better speed up. University researchers, consumers, investors and private-sector companies aren’t waiting for…

Income inequality contributes to higher rates of adolescent depression

Teenagers have one of the highest rates of depression in Canada

Income inequality contributes to higher rates of adolescent depressionCanadian teenagers who attend schools in areas with high-income inequality are more likely to suffer from depression than those in areas with low-income inequality, according to the first study of its kind in Canada. It is already well understood that being poor can negatively affect mental health, said co-author Roman Pabayo, an epidemiologist and associate professor…

How to build resilience and boost your mental health

Seven simple tips to help you cope with anxiety and depression in trying times

How to build resilience and boost your mental healthWave after wave of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is taking a heavy toll on our collective mental health, causing depression and anxiety. “Everyone’s going through it: the amount of fear and anxiety, the fragility of life, people wondering about their own well-being and what happens if they get sick and how quickly things can change on a dime,”…

‘Male menopause’ is real and treatable, say pharmacy researchers

New guidelines helps identify and treat testosterone deficiency as men age

‘Male menopause’ is real and treatable, say pharmacy researchersFatigue, weight gain and low libido are just three of the symptoms middle-aged and older men face as their testosterone levels decline, but many don’t realize what’s going on. Sometimes referred to as “male menopause” or “manopause” in reference to the symptoms women experience when their estrogen levels drop, the medical term for men is…

Why can’t football make brain health a priority?

American society loves football so much it avoids hard discussions about the sport’s safety

Why can’t football make brain health a priority?We found out recently that a bright young man with a big heart and promising future died because of football. Twelve-year National Football League veteran and three-time pro bowler Vincent Jackson, who died at age 38 in February, had stage 2 CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) his family announced on Thursday. CTE is a degenerative brain…

New texting services support first responders’ mental health

Daily positive messages are designed to help emergency personnel cope with trauma of the job, similar to successful Text4Hope

New texting services support first responders’ mental healthTwo free text messaging services have been launched to support the mental health of Alberta’s first responders. Text4PTSI and Text4Well-being are designed to help emergency personnel cope positively with feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, disturbed sleep and suicidal thoughts, said project lead Vincent Agyapong, clinical professor of psychiatry and global mental health in the University of Alberta Faculty…

Is there a right or wrong way to grieve?

No matter how you’re moving through grief, it’s right for you

Is there a right or wrong way to grieve?Faith Wood knows how to resolve conflict. Her years in front-line law enforcement taught her how to effectively de-escalate any situation to a successful conclusion. Faith will use her knowledge of conflict management to guide you through the often stressful experiences you may encounter in your personal or professional life. Her Conflict Coach column appears…

Artificial intelligence may help diagnose depression more accurately

Project taps into big data to determine the factors involved and develop a screening tool

Artificial intelligence may help diagnose depression more accuratelyA new University of Alberta project aims to develop an artificial intelligence-based screening tool to help doctors diagnose depression more precisely. Depression affects millions of Canadians. It can affect quality of life, damage relationships, lower productivity and lead to suicide. A proper diagnosis is key to effective treatment, but making a precise diagnosis can be…

Regular exercise may help expecting moms stave off depression

Study suggests following physical activity guidelines could help a vulnerable group that is bearing the brunt of social isolation

Regular exercise may help expecting moms stave off depressionNew moms and pregnant mothers-to-be who were physically active in the early days of the pandemic had a 30 per cent less chance of experiencing depression, according to a study that also shows this already vulnerable group continues to bear the brunt of the isolation measures. “It’s not like it was a big shock that…

Daily text message service helps with stress, depression during COVID-19

More than 50,000 people have so far subscribed to the daily text service

Those who signed up to receive daily positive messages from the Text4Hope program reported lower levels of psychological distress after three months, according to newly published research results. More than 50,000 people subscribed to the daily text service, which was launched in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They received inspiring messages such as,…

Dialysis patients to be surveyed on mental health during COVID-19

Rates of depression, anxiety were 10 times higher for people with end-stage kidney disease even before the pandemic started

Dialysis patients to be surveyed on mental health during COVID-19Alberta’s 3,000 kidney failure patients who are on dialysis are being asked to report on their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. “When we talk about people who are highly vulnerable for COVID-19, that includes people living with kidney failure,” said lead researcher Kara Schick-Makaroff, associate professor in the Faculty of Nursing. “They are often older adults…

Concussions affect elite athletes’ mental health, new research suggests

U of A study shows anxiety, depression more likely among football players after a concussion than after other body injuries

Concussions affect elite athletes’ mental health, new research suggestsElite athletes report more anxiety and depression in the immediate aftermath of a concussion than those who have suffered an orthopedic injury, according to a concussion study that further builds the case that head injuries are an injury unlike any other. “Athletes get injured all the time and they have to deal with the stress of…

Tackling mental health issues in athletes

Mental health challenges also negatively impact sports performance

Tackling mental health issues in athletesAnxiety and depression are common mental health issues among college students. According to Daniel Eisenberg, an associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, one in three American college students experience significant symptoms of depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions. College athletes certainly aren’t immune to these mental health challenges. In…

Getting through a COVID-19 winter

A better future awaits if we use this period of uncertainty to work on our mental, physical and career well-being

Getting through a COVID-19 winterDread isn’t too strong a word to describe the feelings many have about the winter about to start. The COVID-19 virus is reason enough to worry. There’s not much individuals can do about that except follow all the good advice about staying safe. However, there are two other major depressing impacts of COVID-19 that we…

Eight proven ways walking improves your brain

Lower your risk of depression, improve cognitive function, reduce fatigue, spark creativity, drive blood flow, among other things

Eight proven ways walking improves your brainIt might surprise you to hear that something as simple as walking can improve your brainpower. It doesn’t even have to be full-on power walking. Even a 20- or 30-minute walk during your lunch break can have a positive impact on your brain. Walking also reduces your stress and improves your overall sense of well-being.…

Are COVID-19 safety measures protecting Canada’s health workers?

Study assessing physical, mental health effects of treating COVID-19 patients one of two U of A projects receiving federal funding

Are COVID-19 safety measures protecting Canada’s health workers?There’s heightened anxiety among physicians and jumps in depression among nurses, health-care aides and personal support workers, according to early data from a University of Alberta study. The study is looking into the effectiveness of safety measures to protect the physical and mental health of Canada’s health-care workforce treating those with COVID-19. Occupational epidemiologist Nicola Cherry,…

Use 30 minutes a day to control your worries

When you become accustomed to worrying, you have a constant stream of negative feedback and information in your brain

Use 30 minutes a day to control your worriesWorry can derail an entire day if you let it. But you have the power to stop it in just 30 minutes, freeing up the rest of the day to really live. The strategy is more straightforward than you might think. When you become accustomed to worrying, you have a constant stream of negative feedback…

Floyd Patterson: the boxer who came back

Written off as a hopeless case, he brought a ruthless, coiled fury to the ring, taking back the world championship

Floyd Patterson: the boxer who came backOn June 20, 1960, 25-year-old Floyd Patterson did something that hadn’t been done before. He became the first man to ever regain the world heavyweight boxing championship. Others had tried – including legendary figures like Jack Dempsey and Joe Louis – but none had succeeded. Conventional wisdom speculated that perhaps it couldn’t be done. Although…

Depressed after weeks of COVID-19 lockdown?

Entrepreneurs can feel extraordinary pressure. But there are steps you can take to find an emotional equilibrium

Depressed after weeks of COVID-19 lockdown?I was in a funk this week and couldn’t shake it. I was disillusioned, grumpy, lethargic. I was tired of being stuck with my family, sick of hearing the news repeat itself, worried about one of my investments and fed up with a lack of progress on some projects. At least one whole day was…

Women are twice as likely as men to experience mood disorders

Not only are women more likely to have a mood disorder, but women experience different symptoms than men

Women are twice as likely as men to experience mood disordersAlmost anyone can attest to the fact that men and women are different in many ways. Scores of books – which have achieved varying degrees of success and acclaim – have been published that attempt to quantify and explain the differences. In the field of psychiatry, gender differences are an important phenomenon as men and…

Will the economy ever recover?

The economy will bounce back, even if some businesses don’t. But don’t expect a rapid recovery after COVID-19 recedes

Will the economy ever recover?What will happen to the economy once we get through this pandemic? We’re coping day to day with social isolation and, for those of us lucky enough to still have work, the challenges of working from home or being out there in an infected world. First, we want to know when all this will end.…

We need physical distance, not social distance 

Don’t let physical distancing make loneliness worse. Here are three tips to reduce isolation and increase connection

We need physical distance, not social distance The message is simple: Work from home, don’t meet in person – or if you must get together, keep your social distance! But as we increase our efforts to fend off the spread of COVID-19, we need to watch that we aren’t worsening another threat to public health: loneliness. The ‘loneliness epidemic’ has seen rates…

Is your business getting you down?

Entrepreneurs are especially susceptible to burnout and depression. Here's how to conquer those issues, for the betterment of yourself and your business

Is your business getting you down?When winter seems to drag on with dark clouds, snow and short days, I start to feel in the doldrums. I lack energy, enthusiasm, I don’t want to be around people, my projects seem to drag on and I get a sense of dread at the thought of more work. I’m especially cynical of news…

Are you suffering mood swings or bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder affects between one and two per cent of the adult population

Are you suffering mood swings or bipolar disorder?Many of us have a friend or family member we wonder about because they seem to shift unpredictably from one mood to another. We are often worried or in awe of them because they can be on a high one day and despondent the next. While it certainly isn’t always the case, people like this…

Not all hallucinations or delusions are caused by mental illness

Psychotic episodes can occur for a variety of reasons, not all of them having to do with mental illness

Not all hallucinations or delusions are caused by mental illnessHallucinations and delusions are the first things many people imagine when they hear about mental illness. They think of people who hear voices, see imaginary people or think they are someone they’re not. While hallucinations and delusions are not the hallmark of every mental illness, they can occur as a symptom of several disorders. Schizophrenia…

When a new mom has disturbing thoughts about hurting her baby

Postpartum OCD is frequently misdiagnosed and misunderstood – but it is treatable, help is available

When a new mom has disturbing thoughts about hurting her babyBy Gina Wong Athabasca University and Nicole Letourneau University of Calgary In January of 2018, a new mother in California became part of a viral Facebook post that described her baby’s four-month postpartum checkup. As a result of the thoughts she shared with her health-care providers, the police were called and she was escorted to…