Together, the studies offer a strong argument that seasonal mood changes, which affect about 1 in 5 people, have a biological cause.
This is great new if you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) because biological causes can be treated, and hopefully in the future, cured. The research supports light therapy as the treatment of choice–a treatment where you are exposed to light from a lamp, which over time improves mood. Now researchers know why: there’s a biological circuit triggered by photoreceptor cells in the eye. Evidently, there are at least three types of cells in the retina: rods, cones, and photoreceptor cells not found in rods and cones. It’s the third type of cell that holds the key to mood because it triggers the brain. So, if you get moody in the winter, there’s a biological cause that can be treated by more light. This is just one more excuse to go on vacation to somewhere tropical; it’s good for your health!
Source: Specialized Cells In Eye Linked To Mood Regions In Brain : Shots – Health News : NPR
Source: How to build muscle as age tears it down – CNN.
I thought this was a great article about how to avoid and even grow your muscles by lifting weights and eating protein and other healthy foods. According to the age related muscle loss (Sarcophenia) can be avoided or lessened the older we get. According to this article, muscle loss occurs more rapidly past age 50 and more rapidly through age 70. To counteract this loss, the author recommends workouts, specifically lifting weights that would be difficult to lift more than 10 to 15 times and making sure to rest in between individual sets and workouts to give muscles time to rest and grow. I enjoy working out for the mental health benefits, but this article gives one more reason to get to the gym and exercise–you’ll save or even grow your muscles as you age!
Source: The Science and History of Treating Depression – NYTimes.com.
Interesting summary about the research on depression and its treatment using serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Some of the responses are also good to read as well.
Source: Are you depressed? Find out in 90 seconds – Apr. 3, 2015.
Self-diagnosis (even by professionals) is not recommended for many reasons. One reason is that tests tend to be “one dimensional” and mental health professionals will be able to see the “big picture” and help guide people toward appropriate treatment options if appropriate. The BHM-20 may be a tool that may diagnose depression in only 20 questions; however, and may be one tool of many that can be used by professionals to help care for people. If you think you might be depressed, seek professional help before taking any test.
And the secret to happiness is….
This is a great short video by Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN.com about how happiness works in our genes as well as strategies for getting happy.
What Suffering Does – NYTimes.com.
I really like David Brooks. In this article, he simultaneously recognizes that suffering–although terrible–can turn out for good. It can mold and shape us into something else, perhaps something better. It can direct our lives toward something greater. I believe suffering can be dangerous and detrimental; but I also believe how I choose to respond to suffering often determines whether or not I become better. I don’t believe suffering always turns out for the worse. Suffering can actually turn out to be beneficial to us and others. It can be hopeful.