Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

More About the Brain

Thursday, September 27th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Recent research undertaken at NYC’s State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, and published in the journal Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience, indicated that worrying may have evolved in conjunction with intelligence as a critical survival mechanism in human beings.

Scientists compared research subjects who had generalized anxiety disorder with subjects who did not have the disorder. They discovered that worry as well as high intelligence were connected with specific brain activity, measurable by changes in the brain’s white matter. The results suggest that anxiety (worry) may have evolved right alongside intelligence as an important means of survival.

In a medical center news release, Professor Jeremy Coplan said: "While excessive worry is generally seen as a negative trait and high intelligence as a positive one, worry may cause our species to avoid dangerous situations, regardless of how remote a possibility they may be… In essence, worry may make people ‘take no chances,’ and such people may have higher survival rates. Thus, like intelligence, worry may confer a benefit upon the species."

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The National Institutes of Health has information for older adults about anxiety disorders

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

The National Institutes of Health has added information about anxiety disorders to the NIHSeniorHealth.gov website. This concise resource includes “About Anxiety Disorders,” “Risk Factors and Causes,” “Symptoms and Diagnosis,” “Treatment and Research” and “Frequently Asked Questions.” It also provides links to additional resources. To view the NIH press release please click below.

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Mood and Anxiety Disorders in Older Adults

Monday, May 17th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

There’s both good news and bad regarding the incidence of mood and anxiety disorders in older adults. When researchers of the University of California at San Francisco studied a national survey of 9,282 participants ages 18 and older (including 2,575 who were ages 55 and older), they found that prevalence rates of mood and anxiety disorders tend to decline with age. However, the conditions remain very common in older persons, particularly in women.

Only non-institutionalized adults took part in the survey, which was conducted in the continental United States. Approximately five percent of the senior participants reported experiencing a mood disorder (for example, depression) during the past year, while more than 10 percent had experienced some form of anxiety disorder (for example, panic disorder). About three percent reported having had both mood and anxiety disorders.

No differences were found between race/ethnicity groups. However, women had a significantly higher rate of disorders than did men. The study’s authors wrote, "These results highlight the need for intervention and prevention strategies."

This research was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry (67:5). To read the abstract, click on http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/67/5/489.

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Funny Research

Monday, May 3rd, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Seth Borenstein, science writer for the Associated Press, recently interviewed scientists whose research goals include establishing a better understanding of laughter and its potential benefits. His resulting article notes that laughter is fundamentally a primal, social behavior often performed involuntarily. Not only do human beings laugh — so do apes, chimpanzees, dogs and even rats who, current research has disclosed, take delight in being tickled and will laugh during the pleasurable experience!

Laughter has been linked to the production of a chemical that acts as an anxiety-reducer and antidepressant. Although researchers quoted in the piece did not assert that laughter alone has been proven to provide direct health benefits, it was pointed out that this may be because it is scientifically difficult to isolate laughter from distraction and mood improvement, two variables which have been found beneficial to patients. Interviewed for the article, Baltimore neuroscientist and laughter researcher Dr. Robert Provine observed: "Isn’t the fact that laughter feels good when you do it, isn’t that enough?"

To read Borenstein’s complete article, click here.

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