Poor Posture Increases Pain Sensitivity

Poor Posture Increases Pain Sensitivity

By Rick Nauert, PHD

It turns out Mom was right when she warned of the ill effects of bad posture: A new study finds that poor posture can increase sensitivity to pain.

Likewise, adopting dominant versus submissive postures actually decreases your sensitivity to pain, said Scott Wiltermuth, Ph.D., and Vanessa K. Bohns, postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto.

The new study found that by simply adopting more dominant poses, people feel more powerful, in control and able to tolerate more distress.

Out of the individuals studied, those who used the most dominant posture were able to comfortably handle more pain than those assigned a more neutral or submissive stance.

Full story at PsychCentral

Study Will Test Transplantation Of Gene-Modified Cells To Explore A Potential Cure For HIV Infection

By Medical News Today

Whether a stem cell transplant using an HIV-infected person’s own genetically modified immune cells can become a cure for the disease is the focus of a new $20 million, five-year research grant award announced today by the National Institutes of Health to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Hutchinson Center researchers will use the grant to lead a multifaceted team of scientists and institutions to study whether a person’s own stem cells can be engineered to deny HIV entry into the body’s blood cells. The researchers also will work to develop tools to eradicate existing reservoirs of infection in the body.

"Funding for research to find a cure for HIV-infected persons represents a paradigm shift," said Keith Jerome, M.D., Ph.D., an expert in viral infections and co-principal investigator of the grant. "HIV has been an incurable, lifelong infection that at best sentences people to a lifetime of complex drug therapies. Now the research field is shifting to address the possibility of a cure. No one would have talked about this approach five years ago."

Full story at Medical News Today

Brain Stimulation Reduces Competition Between Memories

By Traci Pederson

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is able to minimize forgetfulness by disrupting targeted brain regions as they compete between memories, according to a new study at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

“For the last 100 years, it has been appreciated that trying to learn facts and skills in quick succession can be a frustrating exercise,” explains Edwin Robertson, MD, DPhil, an Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. “Because no sooner has a new memory been acquired than its retention is jeopardized by learning another fact or skill.”

Robertson, along with neurologist and co-author Daniel Cohen, MD, observed 120 college-age students who participated in two memory tests.

Full story at PsychCentral

The Biology Behind Alcohol-Induced Blackouts

By ScienceDaily

A person who drinks too much alcohol may be able to perform complicated tasks, such as dancing, carrying on a conversation or even driving a car, but later have no memory of those escapades. These periods of amnesia, commonly known as "blackouts," can last from a few minutes to several hours.

Now, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, neuroscientists have identified the brain cells involved in blackouts and the molecular mechanism that appears to underlie them. They report July 6, 2011, in The Journal of Neuroscience, that exposure to large amounts of alcohol does not necessarily kill brain cells as once was thought. Rather, alcohol interferes with key receptors in the brain, which in turn manufacture steroids that inhibit long-term potentiation (LTP), a process that strengthens the connections between neurons and is crucial to learning and memory.

Better understanding of what occurs when memory formation is inhibited by alcohol exposure could lead to strategies to improve memory.

Full story at ScienceDaily

People who grew up poor more likely to take risks for immediate rewards

BY News Medical

When faced with threat, people who grew up poor are more likely to make risky financial choices in search of a quick windfall, according to new research from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management.

Published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, "The Influence of Mortality and Socioeconomic Status on Risk and Delayed Rewards: A Life History Approach" by Carlson School assistant professor of marketing Vladas Griskevicius found that people respond to feeling threatened differently depending on whether people grew up in relatively resource-scarce or resource-plentiful environments.

Full story at News Medical

Dealing With Negative Emotions By Distracting Yourself Or Thinking It Over

By Medical News Today

A big part of coping with life is having a flexible reaction to the ups and downs. Now, a study which will be published in an upcoming issue ofPsychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that people choose to respond differently depending on how intense an emotion is. When confronted with high-intensity negative emotions, they tend to choose to turn their attention away, but with something lower-intensity, they tend to think it over and neutralize the feeling that way.

Emotions are useful – for example, fear tells your body to get ready to escape or fight in a dangerous situation. But emotions can also become problematic – for example, for people with depression who can’t stop thinking about negative thoughts, says Gal Sheppes of Stanford University, who cowrote the study with Stanford colleagues Gaurav Suri and James J. Gross, and Susanne Scheibe of the University of Groningen. "Luckily, our emotions can be adjusted in various ways," he says.

Full story at Medical News Today

Positive Life Satisfaction Appears To Be Protective Against Heart Disease

By Christopher Fisher, PhD

While depression and anxiety have long been recognized as risk factors for heart disease, there is less certainty over the beneficial effects of a ‘positive’ psychological state. Following a study of almost 8000 British civil servants, researchers can now say that a satisfying life is indeed good for the heart. The results of the study are published online today by the European Heart Journal.

The civil servants, who were all members of the Whitehall II study cohort in the UK with an average age of 49 years, were questioned about seven specific areas of their everyday lives: love relationships, leisure activities, standard of living, job, family, sex, and one’s self. They were asked to rate their satisfaction in each domain on a scale of 1 (‘very dissatisfied’) to 7 (‘very satisfied’). Ratings for each domain were also combined to provide an average satisfaction score for their overall lives.

The participants’ health records were then examined for coronary related deaths, non-fatal heart attack, and clinically verified angina over a follow-up period of around six years.

Full story at The Behavioral Medicine Report

Potential Of Simple Injection On Patients With Head Injury

By Medical News Today

New research has suggested that tranexamic acid has the potential to prevent people dying from head injuries. The CRASH-2 Intracranial Bleeding Study highlights the potential of the cheap, off-patent drug to help people suffering from brain trauma and is published online by the BMJ today.

According to the collaborators led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine the results provide strong grounds to test the effect of this treatment in a larger and definitive study. The forthcoming CRASH-3 trial will determine reliably the effectiveness of tranexamic acid in patients with head injury.

Full story at Medical News Today

Effects of head trauma scaring Turley

By Michael Silver

When Kyle Turley(notes) reflects on the most significant concussion of his nine-year NFL career, he has to work hard to suppress his laughter.

While playing for the St. Louis Rams in 2003, the ultraphysical tackle took a blow to the helmet and lost consciousness on the final play of the third quarter. He spent the rest of the game – which seemed, to him, like it lasted five minutes – on the sideline in a daze. He wanted to wave to his wife, Stacy, but was unable to remember the location of the luxury box where she was regularly stationed and eventually gave up. At game’s end he retreated to the locker room with his teammates, and then things got even blurrier.

“I went into the shower, and as the story was told to me later, I was sitting at my locker, butt-naked, when our owner [Georgia Frontiere] came in to congratulate us,” Turley says. “I don’t remember doing this, but everybody said I stood up and hugged her, totally naked, right there in the middle of the room.”

Full story at Yahoo Sports

Patients With Traumatic Brain Injury Benefit From Religion

By Christopher Fisher, PhD

Brigid Waldron-Perrine, Ph.D., a recent graduate from Wayne State University, and her mentor, Lisa J. Rapport, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Wayne State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, found that if traumatic brain injury (TBI) victims feel close to a higher power, it can help them rehabilitate. The study was recently published in Rehabilitation Psychology.

Traumatic brain injury is a disruption of normal brain function after a head injury and affects 1.7 million Americans annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those struggling with the long-term effects of TBI are at a heightened risk for mental and physical problems. Such problems can significantly inhibit rehabilitation outcomes and are therefore important to address in the context of rehabilitation efforts. And when TBI leaves people feeling stressed, less satisfied with life, and functionally dependent on others, rehabilitation is the only option.

Full story at The Behavioral Medicine Report