HERBS FOR HEALTH MANAGEMENT

Herbs are a foundational root in medicine and health treatments, dating back thousands of years throughout every culture around the world. Modern Western herbalism comes from ancient Egypt. The Greeks developed a comprehensive philosophy of herbal medicine by 100 BCE and the Romans built upon it to create a variety of medical practices, some of which are still used today.

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE IMPACTS PSYCHOLOGICAL HARDINESS

Psychological hardiness is an individual’s resistance to stress, anxiety and depression. It includes the ability to withstand grief and accept the loss of loved ones. Alternative medicine is a more popular term for health and wellness therapies that have typically not been part of conventional Western medical approaches but are often used along with conventional medicinal protocols.  Coping and dealing with stress in a positive manner play a major role in maintaining the balance needed for health and well-being.

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ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

Interest in complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing as consumers and health care professionals search for additional ways to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Some of these remedies include:

St. John’s Wort.  More than 30 studies show it to be effective for treatment of mild forms of depression,…

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Better understanding of the type of depression a person experiences couldi mprove the effectiveness of treatment choices and the management of depressive symptoms. Depression is typically diagnosed based on verbalized symptoms patients experience. This relates to the way the symptoms are assessed and the accuracy of patient reporting.


Conor Liston, M.D., a professor of neuroscience and psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, reports his research team, using brain scans, has identified four unique subtypes of clinical depression based on distinct patterns of abnormal brain connectivity. Their findings appear currently in Nature Medicine (December 2016).


“The four subtypes of depression that we discovered vary in terms of their clinical symptoms but, more importantly, they differ in their responses to treatment,” said Liston. For psychiatric care and treatment, using brain scans may assist mental health professionals in understanding the nature of a patient’s depression.


This collaborative study included 1,180 functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scans of patients with clinical depression and healthy controls from across the country. Researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine and seven other institutions analyzed the scans and identified biomarkers linked with depression by assigning statistical weights

CURRENT RESEARCH REVEALS FOUR DEPRESSION SUBTYPES

to abnormal brain connections. They then predicted the probability the abnormal connections belonged to a particular subtype versus another. The study showed distinct patterns of abnormal connectivity in the brain differentiated among the four subtypes and were linked with specific symptoms. Reduced connectivity in the brain region that regulates fear-related behavior and reappraisal of negative emotional stimuli, for example, was most severe in two of the four subtypes, which demonstrated increased anxiety. The researchers believe their findings may be useful for identifying patients most likely to benefit from targeted neuro-stimulation therapies. In the past, efforts to characterize depression by looking at groups of verbalized symptoms that tend to co-occur and then testing neurophysiological links have produced inconsistent results.


Sources and Resources:


•  Drysdale, A.T., Grosenick, L., Downar, J., et al. (2016) Resting-state connectivity biomarkers define neurophysiological subtypes of depression. Nature Medicine, 2016 December 5.

•  Neuroimaging categorizes for depression subtypes. Weill Cornell Medicine press release, Dec. 5, 2016.

DR. THOMAS W. MILLER, PH.D, ABPP

Thomas W. Miller, Ph.D., ABPP, is a professor emeritus and senior research scientist, Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut; retired service chief from the VA Medical Center; and tenured professor in the Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky.

more articles by Dr thomas w. miller