When Everything Hurts: The story of a grad student trying to rise above chronic pain and depression

Note to the Reader: The following article discusses material of a potentially upsetting nature. While the narrative details are fictional, the ideas and themes—both scientific and personal—are real. Information regarding resources for those in crisis can be found at the end of this article. by Emily Orwell figures by Sean Wilson I’m having one of those days. You know, the type where I accidentally slice my … Continue reading When Everything Hurts: The story of a grad student trying to rise above chronic pain and depression

What does your grip strength say about your mental health?

“A healthy mind in a health body.” It’s a saying that is often tossed around when discussing the link between exercise and brain health. Many studies have shown that exercise can improve cognitive performance. In a new study, researchers asked if body strength could be used to predict brain health. Hand grip strength has been used in a variety of studies to assess cardiovascular health, … Continue reading What does your grip strength say about your mental health?

How stress can change your DNA

A first link between chronic stress, genetics, and mental illness has recently observed in mice. Researchers have discovered that the genes of mice exposed to chronic stress change over time. Modifications were most associated with genes related to a variety of mental illnesses, such as depression, autism spectrum disorder, and schizophrenia.1-3 How exactly are genetics, stress, and mental illness related? DNA, serves as instructions for cells and is broken up into … Continue reading How stress can change your DNA

Can We Erase Painful Memories with Electroconvulsive Therapy?

by Mona Han figures by Abigail Burrus What comes to mind when you hear the term electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)? A cruel torture method for disobedient psychiatric patients portrayed in films like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest? Or a last-resort for treatment-resistant depression with less discomfort and fewer side-effects? New developments in using ECT to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder might soon give us a new way … Continue reading Can We Erase Painful Memories with Electroconvulsive Therapy?

Down, but not out: Developments in depression research

by Emily Ricq Depression affects 15 million Americans and is characterized by debilitating feelings of sadness or emptiness that interfere with the ability to lead and enjoy life [1]. The substantial personal and public health burden imposed by depression has motivated decades of intensive research by scientists, clinicians, therapists, and pharmaceutical companies alike, yet the biology underlying the cause (or causes) of the disease and … Continue reading Down, but not out: Developments in depression research

A Reanalysis: Paxil Declared Unsafe for Teens

In 2001, a famous clinical trial, Study 329, declared that the antidepressant Paxil was safe for adolescents. After a great deal of controversy, criticism, and numerous lawsuits, patient level data was finally made available by GlaxoSmithKlein for reanalysis. The original study found that adolescents on Paxil fared no better than those given a placebo on the study’s standard depression questionnaire, but did improve according to … Continue reading A Reanalysis: Paxil Declared Unsafe for Teens