Research from Ohio State finds that acetaminophen affects our emotions.
- Previous research has shown that acetaminophen dulls both our positive and negative feelings.
- The new study finds that those taking the drug consider risks they've been presented as less scary.
- Acetaminophen is an important everyday painkiller, so it's a good idea to factor in what it may be doing to our judgement.
Walking alone in a scary part of town<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDIzNjMzMy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NDc0OTY5OX0.UZiwCiNAST22Zm-FSuhRgQlPAEQh57v7V-6N6dzctqc/img.jpg?width=980" id="c673a" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e4393f1a54fad097172ee9e92a18d3da" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="person standing on bridge at night" />
Credit: Francois Hoang/Unsplash<p>As part of the study, individuals rated the degree of risk they perceived in a range of activities such as "bungee jumping off a tall bridge" and "speaking your mind about an unpopular issue in a meeting at work." They considered these activities to be less risky than a control group not taking the medication.</p><p>In the first of the study's experiments, 189 college students took either 1,000 mg of acetaminophen — the standard dosage for headache pain — or a similar-looking placebo.</p><p>After giving the acetaminophen time to take effect, those in the study ranked the level of risk they perceived to be associated with a series of activities, on a scale of 1 to 7. Among the activities were walking alone in an unsafe area after dark, bungee jumping, changing careers in one's 30s, and taking a skydiving class. The students taking acetaminophen considered these activities less risky than the control group.</p><p>An additional three studies in which individuals participated in an <a href="http://www.impulsivity.org/measurement/BART" target="_blank">online risk game</a> confirmed this result. In this game, you click to pump up a virtual balloon — as the balloon gets bigger, you earn more money. If the balloon pops, you lose your earnings.</p><p>The acetaminophen-takers proved to be bolder than their control counterparts. People in the control group pumped less and successfully cashed out more often. Recalls Dr. Way, "for those who are on acetaminophen, as the balloon gets bigger, we believe they have less anxiety and less negative emotion about how big the balloon is getting and the possibility of it bursting." They pumped more times, and indeed popped more balloons.</p>
Takeaway<p>Acetaminophen is an important weapon in the modern medical arsenal. Dr. Way points out that it's the CDC's <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html" target="_blank">recommended go-to drug</a> for COVID-19 symptoms. In addition to calming our pounding noggins, surgeons typically prescribe acetaminophen, often with codeine, for post-surgical pain relief; your dentists may also suggest it. Its value lies in how well it works, and also that it's more gentle on our digestive systems than some other painkillers such as <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonsteroidal_anti-inflammatory_drug" target="_blank">NSAIDs</a>, drugs that contain <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibuprofen" target="_blank">ibuprofen</a>. NSAIDs taken regularly pose danger to one's digestive tract.</p><p>Given that we're unlikely to stop taking acetaminophen for our aches and pains, the study represents a helpful little wakeup call. Perhaps we should pump the brakes a bit as we consider risks when we're taking acetaminophen. Take a beat, think twice, and only then carefully secure that bungee cord before you leap.</p>
The goal of this large-scale study was to provide actionable information on how to avoid depression or decrease depressive symptoms.
- Depression is a very common mental disorder, with more than 264 million people struggling with this issue worldwide. According to WHO, depression is a leading cause of disability.
- Depression results from a complex interaction of social, psychological, and biological factors.
- A new large-scale Harvard Medical School study suggests daytime napping and frequent television-watching may be negatively contributing to depression.
This large-scale, two-stage approach study scanned a wide range of modifiable factors that could be associated with the risk of developing depression...
Photo by Pressmaster on Shutterstock<p>According to a large-scale (over 100,000 participants) study out of <a href="https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/appi.ajp.2020.19111158" target="_blank">Harvard Medical School</a>, there are many ways you can lessen the impact of depression. The study focused on the lifestyle factors that you can easily modify if you suffer from depression.</p><p>The researchers took a two-stage approach to this study. The first stage drew on a database of over 100,000 participants in the UK Biobank to systematically scan a wide range of modifiable factors that could be associated with the risk of developing depression. These modifiable factors included things like social interaction, media use, sleeping patterns, diet, physical activity, and environmental exposures. </p><p>The second stage of this study was to narrow down the field to a smaller set of promising and potentially causal targets for depression. Throughout this two-step process, they were able to determine certain behaviors that can directly influence depression. </p><p><strong>Confiding in and socializing with others could lessen depression symptoms. </strong></p><p>Lead author Jordan Smoller, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School explains to <a href="https://www.fastcompany.com/90541202/harvard-researchers-discover-the-easy-behavioral-trick-to-avoiding-depression" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Fast Company</a>: "Far and away, the most prominent of these factors was frequency of confiding in others, but also visits with family and friends, all of which highlights the important protective effect of social connection and social cohesion."</p><p>This is further backed up by previous research done on the health benefits of socializing. According to <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/living-mild-cognitive-impairment/201606/the-health-benefits-socializing" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Psychology Today</a>, interacting with others boosts feelings of well-being and decreases feelings of depression. This helpful article lists several ways you can slowly incorporate more socialization into your life, with things like Skype/Facetime calls with family and friends, taking a new class, or volunteering at a charity organization. </p><p><strong>Your television habits may be negatively impacting your depression. </strong></p><p>The study suggests certain behaviors (such as watching television) could be associated with depression, but it isn't the first of it's kind to make that connection.</p><p>In fact, there have been several studies (including <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28879072/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">this one</a> from 2017), that have suggested there is a link between how much television you watch and your mental health. Most of these studies conclude that the more television you watch, the worse your mental health can be. </p><p><strong>Daytime napping also negatively impacts depression. </strong></p><p>While it's common knowledge that a healthy sleeping pattern can positively impact your mental and physical health, did you know that having a nap during the daytime can impact depression? However, more research is needed to determine exactly why. The study suggests that both daytime napping and excessive television consumption could be proxies for sedentary behavior which would then impact your mental health. </p><p><strong>The goal of this study was to provide actionable information on preventing and avoiding depression symptoms. </strong></p><p>The research on depression and various mental health conditions has been ramping up and along with it, there will hopefully be more answers to these questions. As for this study, researchers explain that they wanted to leave readers with actionable advice on daily habits that could be contributing to their depressive symptoms. </p><p>"Depression takes an enormous toll on individuals, families, and society, yet we still know very little about how to prevent it," said Smoller <a href="https://eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-08/mgh-sis081420.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">in an interview</a>. "We hope this work will motivate further efforts to develop actionable strategies for preventing depression."</p>
Addiction is not a moral failure. It is a learning disorder, and viewing it otherwise stops communities and policy makers from the ultimate goal: harm reduction.
- "Why are some drugs legal and others illegal? ... if you ask how and why this distinction got made, what you realize when you look at the history is it has almost nothing to do with the relative risks of these drugs and almost everything to do with who used and who was perceived to use these drugs," says Ethan Nadelmann.
- In this video, Maia Szalavitz, public policy and addiction journalist; Carl Hart, professor of neuroscience and psychology at Columbia University; Ethan Nadelmann, founder of the Drug Policy Alliance; and Harvard University economist Jeffrey Miron dissect why American society's perceptions of drug addiction and its drug policies are so illogical.
- Drug addiction is not a moral failure and the stereotypes about who gets addicted are not true. Policy that is built to punish drug users for their immorality only increases harm and death rates.
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen might have discovered a cure.
How Meditation Can Manage Chronic Pain and Stress | Daniel Goleman<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="003f88caa581ddd99ae8bdae9fd40e8e"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yAd-JGbaRp8?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>A <a href="https://www.embopress.org/doi/full/10.15252/emmm.201911248" target="_blank">new study</a> at the University of Copenhagen might have uncovered a breakthrough in chronic pain relief. Published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine, researchers achieved complete pain relief in a group of mice by using a compound, Tat-P4-(C5)2, that was produced after a decade of development. </p><p>According to the team, this peptide only targets dysfunctional nerves causing the pain. In previous studies the team discovered it also helps reduce addiction. These two uses are not separate: chronic pain often leads to opioid addiction. By reducing pain, dependency on pain relievers may also be reduced. </p><p>So far, co-author Kenneth L. Madsen, Associate Professor at the Department of Neuroscience in Copenhagen, says there have been no side effects. Pain medicine often results in lethargic states, a condition not observed in the mice. Madsen hopes to turn this discovery into a business model. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Now, our next step is to work towards testing the treatment on people. The goal, for us, is to develop a drug, therefore the plan is to establish a biotech company as soon as possible so we can focus on this."</p>
Oxycodone pain pills prescribed for a patient with chronic pain lie on display on March 23, 2016 in Norwich, CT. On March 15, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), announced guidelines for doctors to reduce the amount of opioid painkillers prescribed, in an effort to curb the epidemic.
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images<p>Chronic pain is most often prevalent in the back, muscles, bones, neck, joints, and face. Associated problems include headache, sleeping problems, fatigue, and anxiety. It has been known to last anywhere from weeks to years. Other factors that lead to chronic pain include diabetes and psychological factors, such as anxiety or depression.</p><p>Self-care treatments include regular physical exercise, stress management techniques, and relaxation. A combination of cardiovascular exercise, strength training, yoga, and meditation can help mitigate chronic pain. Of course, depending on pain location and severity, some of these interventions might not be tenable. </p><p>Besides the above treatments, there are pharmaceutical interventions, such as analgesics and narcotics. The problem, as the researchers note, is the addiction that follows. These drugs do not cure the problem. They only mask symptoms. Long-term side effects sometimes turn out worse than the pain itself. </p><p>Human trials will be next in the development of this peptide. There is always the possibility that it reacts differently in humans. Still, this is a positive step forward that could help millions of people find relief from one of the most frustrating and debilitating conditions known.</p><p> --</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a>. His next book is</em> "Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</p>
Rather than trekking up a mountain, a more accurate metaphor for human development involves navigating the waters of a choppy sea.
- When we imagine Maslow's famous hierarchy of needs, we visualize a pyramid. This is all wrong, says humanistic psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman.
- This is because life isn't a video game, where you unlock new levels until you reach the final prize of self-actualization. In fact, Maslow viewed human development as a two steps forward, one step back dynamic.
- Kaufman rebuilt Maslow's hierarchy of needs, updating it for the 21st century with a solid scientific foundation. And a better metaphor for this is a sailboat.