STAYING FIT AND HEALTHY DURING THE HOLIDAYS

With the holidays coming up, the highlight for many people during this season is gathering with family and friends and enjoying favorite holiday treats. Here are some tips that will help you enjoy your holidays to the fullest while not increasing your waistline.

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MAKING AND KEEPING NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

Only 8 percent of individuals achieved their resolutions in 2016, according to Statistic Brain. This is likely due to most people having unrealistic expectations about the speed, ease and consequences of the resolutions they make. People attempting self-change rarely succeed the first time; most need five or six attempts, according to a paper published in American Psychologist by Janet Polivy and Peter Herman. The authors suggest false hope syndrome is the cause for failure.

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HEALTHY HOLIDAY OPTIONS

The holidays are a wonderful time to gather with family and friends to celebrate. These celebrations often consist of many delicious treats and hardy meals. You can still maintain a healthy diet with a little thought and planning in advance. Research from a recent Web-based survey found 18 percent of people feel they cannot eat healthily during the holidays because they don’t want to miss out on their favorite foods. You can still eat the foods you enjoy this season, just in moderation.

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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