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Posts Tagged ‘Depression’

Facebook is bad for you: Get a life!

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 2, 2013

Using the social network seems to make people more miserable

FacebookTHOSE who have resisted the urge to join Facebook will surely feel vindicated when they read the latest

research. A study just published by the Public Library of Science, conducted by Ethan Kross of the University of Michigan and Philippe Verduyn of Leuven University in Belgium, has shown that the more someone uses Facebook, the less satisfied he is with life.

Past investigations have found that using Facebook is associated with jealousy, social tension, isolation and depression. But these studies have all been “cross-sectional”—in other words, snapshots in time. As such, they risk confusing correlation with causation: perhaps those who spend more time on social media are more prone to negative emotions in the first place. The study conducted by Dr Kross and Dr Verduyn is the first to follow Facebook users for an extended period, to track how their emotions change.

The researchers recruited 82 Facebookers for their study. These volunteers, in their late teens or early 20s, agreed to have their Facebook activity observed for two weeks and to report, five times a day, on their state of mind and their direct social contacts (phone calls and meetings in person with other people). These reports were prompted by text messages, sent between 10am and midnight, asking them to complete a short questionnaire.

When the researchers analysed the results, they found that the more a volunteer used Facebook in the period between two questionnaires, the worse he reported feeling the next time he filled in a questionnaire. Volunteers were also asked to rate their satisfaction with life at the start and the end of the study. Those who used Facebook a lot were more likely to report a decline in satisfaction than those who visited the site infrequently. In contrast, there was a positive association between the amount of direct social contact a volunteer had and how positive he felt. In other words, the more volunteers socialised in the real world, the more positive they reported feeling the next time they filled in the questionnaire.

A volunteer’s sex had no influence on these findings; nor did the size of his (or her) social network, his stated motivation for using Facebook, his level of loneliness or depression or his self-esteem. Dr Kross and Dr Verduyn therefore conclude that, rather than enhancing well-being, Facebook undermines it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Depression Is Still a Mystery — We Need a New Model

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 3, 2013

By Deepak Chopra, M.D., Murali Doraiswamy, M.D., and Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D.

Depression-solution-blockThe magazine ScienceNews begins a recent article on depression with a blanket judgment: “A massive effort to uncover genes involved in depression has largely failed.” A general reader would probably not feel the shock waves that spread from thisassessment. Gene research is always going up and down. That doesn’t change the public’s general sense that depression is being handled pretty well. Billion-dollar antidepressants continue to flourish. Somewhere in the future, better ones will improve the situation even more.

Informed opinion on the subject is very different, however, because the model for depression that has been accepted for decades counts it as a brain disorder, and brain disorders are rooted in genetics. The failure to find the genes involved in depression strongly suggest — as more than one prominent researcher now concedes — that the genes of depressed people are not damaged or distorted compared with the genes of people who aren’t depressed. What follows from that is another false assumption. The most popular antidepressants supposedly worked by repairing chemical imbalances in the synapses — the gaps between two nerve endings — where the culprit seemed to be an imbalance of serotonin. But serotonin is directly regulated by genes, and some key research indicates that drugs aimed at fixing the serotonin problem either don’t work that way or that there wasn’t a serotonin problem in the first place.

The ScienceNews report doesn’t leave much wiggle room for a laissez-faire attitude on this point: “By combing through the DNA of 34,549 volunteers, an international team of 86 scientists hoped to uncover genetic influences that affect a person’s vulnerability to depression. But the analysis turned up nothing.” Nothing doesn’t mean something.

If the chain of explanation running from genes to the synapses and finally to the pharmaceutical lab is broken, a host of doubts arises. Is depression a brain disease in the first place, or is it — as psychiatry assumed before the arrival of modern drug treatment — a disorder of the mind? The latest theories haven’t gone back to square one. What we know isn’t black and white. There are many variables in depression, which leads to some fairly good conclusions: Read the rest of this entry »

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Dr Chintamani Yogi with a new arrivals class

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 18, 2012

watch?v=IDz13ipN8eY&feature=related

watch?v=w_1kEVvdr8Y&feature=player_embedded#!

watch?v=DVdZvM3RjuA&feature=related Read the rest of this entry »

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