Increased risk of Alzheimer’s for anxiety sufferers.

Anxiety can damage brain:Accelerate conversion toAlzheimer’s for those with mild cognitive impairment

Depression
Credit: George Hodan/Public Domain
People with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are at increased risk of converting to Alzheimer’s disease within a few years, but a new study warns the risk increases significantly if they suffer from anxiety.

The findings were reported on Oct. 29 online by The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, ahead of print publication, scheduled for May 2015.

Led by researchers at Baycrest Health Sciences’ Rotman Research Institute, the study has shown clearly for the first time that anxiety symptoms in individuals diagnosed with MCI increase the risk of a speedier decline in cognitive functions – independent of depression (another risk marker). For MCI patients with mild, moderate or severe anxiety, Alzheimer’s risk increased by 33%, 78% and 135% respectively.

The research team also found that MCI patients who had reported anxiety symptoms at any time over the follow-up period had greater rates of atrophy in the medial temporal lobe regions of the brain, which are essential for creating memories and which are implicated in Alzheimer’s.

Until now, anxiety as a potentially significant risk marker for Alzheimer’s in people diagnosed with MCI has never been isolated for a longitudinal study to gain a clearer picture of just how damaging anxiety symptoms can be on cognition and brain structure over a period of time. There is a growing body of literature that has identified late-life depression as a significant risk marker for Alzheimer’s. Anxiety has historically tended to be subsumed under the rubric of depression in psychiatry. Depression is routinely screened for in assessment and follow-up of memory clinic patients; anxiety is not routinely assessed.

“Our findings suggest that clinicians should routinely screen for anxiety in people who have memory problems because anxiety signals that these people are at greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s,” said Dr. Linda Mah, principal investigator on the study, clinician-scientist with Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute, and assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. Dr. Mah is also a co-investigator in a multi-site study lead by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and partially funded by federal dollars (Brain Canada), to prevent Alzheimer’s in people with late-life depression or MCI who are at high risk for developing the progressive brain disease.

“While there is no published evidence to demonstrate whether drug treatments used in psychiatry for treating anxiety would be helpful in managing anxiety symptoms in people with or in reducing their risk of conversion to Alzheimer’s, we think that at the very least behavioural stress management programs could be recommended. In particular, there has been research on the use of mindfulness-based stress reduction in treating anxiety and other psychiatric symptoms in Alzheimer’s —and this is showing promise,” said Dr. Mah.

The Baycrest study accessed data from the large population-based Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative to analyze anxiety, depression, cognitive and brain structural changes in 376 adults, aged 55 – 91, over a three-year period. Those changes were monitored every six months. All of the adults had a clinical diagnosis of amnestic MCI and a low score on the depression rating scale, indicating that were not part of clinical .

MCI is considered a risk marker for converting to Alzheimer’s disease within a few years. It is estimated that half-a-million Canadians aged 65-and-older have MCI, although many go undiagnosed. Not all MCI sufferers will convert to Alzheimer’s – some will stabilize and others may even improve in their cognitive powers.

The Baycrest study has yielded important evidence that anxiety is a “predictive factor” of whether an individual with MCI will convert to Alzheimer’s or not, said Dr. Mah. Studies have shown that in MCI is associated with abnormal concentrations of plasma amyloid protein levels and T-tau proteins in cerebrospinal fluid, which are biomarkers of Alzheimer’s. Depression and chronic stress have also been linked to smaller hippocampal volume and increased risk of dementia.

Here’s a link….

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-11-anxiety-brain-conversion-alzheimer-mild.html

I’ll be expanding more on this tomorrow. It’s nothing to worry about, just something to be aware of!

A dedication to my inspiration

Every idea starts with an influence.

My main influence for this blog, is my best friend.
For weeks I told her she is more than welcome to live with me and my dysfunctional parents, but it takes a little more than persuasion when you have to leave a three year relationship, and a cat. So, after a very reluctant struggle, I finally managed to convince her to move away from her abusive boyfriend.

But, picking up the pieces that her boyfriend left behind, was not an easy task, especially when I was broken myself. Can you fix something that is already broken? Of course, all you need is super glue or some gaffe tape. Or in my case, a best friend.

And as her best friend, I told her honestly that I was suffering with depression and anxiety, so I needed her support as well. Then I said, “it’ll be like a project, l’ll help you become yourself again and you can help me become myself again”.

We all lose ourselves at some point, but we can become ourselves again if we try.

-Me and my best friend.
jess

The digital age and depression

Mental health of children and young people ‘at risk in digital age’

Cyberbullying and rise in self-harm highlighted by MPs voicing concern over violent video games and sexting.

digital mental health
Cyberbullying and websites advocating anorexia and self-harm are posing a danger to the mental wellbeing of children and young people, MPs found. Photograph: Alamy

Violent video games, the sharing of indecent images on mobile phones, and other types of digital communications, are harming young people’s mental health, MPs warned on Wednesday, amid evidence of big increases in self-harm and serious psychological problems among the under-18s.

Cyberbullying and websites advocating anorexia and self-harm are also posing a danger to the mental wellbeing of children and young people, the Commons health select committee says in its report.

Sarah Wollaston, chair of the committee, who was a GP for 24 years before becoming a Tory MP in 2010, said: “In the past if you were being bullied it might just be in the classroom. Now it follows [you] way beyond the walk home from school. It is there all the time. Voluntary bodies have not suggested stopping young people using the internet. But for some young people it’s clearly a new source of stress.”

However, the MPs said they had found no evidence that the emerging digital culture was behind the worrying rise, of up to 25% to 30% a year, in numbers of children and young people seeking treatment for mental health problems.

The cross-party group acknowledges that forms of online and social communication are now central to the lives of under-18s, but says that a government inquiry into the effects is needed because of the potential for harm.

“For today’s children and young people, digital culture and social media are an integral part of life … this has the potential to significantly increase stress and to amplify the effects of bullying,” the committee’s report says.

Some young people experience “bullying, harassment and threats of violence” when online, the MPs say. While they did not look into internet regulation in depth during their six-month inquiry, they concluded: “In our view sufficient concern has been raised to warrant a more detailed consideration of the impact of the internet on children’s and young people’s mental health, and in particular the use of social media and impact of pro-anorexia, self-harm and other inappropriate websites.”

It calls on the Department of Health and NHS England’s joint taskforce, now investigating, alongside bodies such as the UK Council for Child Internet Safety, the mental health of under-18s, to assess the impact of social media.

The MPs appreciate the move for e-safety to be taught at all four education key-stages in England. But they also want the Department for Education, as part of a review of mental health education in schools, to “ensure that links between online safety, cyberbullying, and maintaining and protecting emotional wellbeing and mental health are fully articulated”.

Wollaston voiced concern that “sexting” (sharing indecent photographs) could be traumatic for vulnerable young women persuaded to pose for intimate pictures then finding the shots shared widely. Some would end up being harassed, she said. Sexting had “become normalised in some school environments”, she said. “We need much better education about the dangers of sexting.” She also expressed unease about the impact of violent video games played by young people. Parents, she said, should do more to check what their offspring were doing online in their free time and talk to them because “if they are spending two hours a night doing that, is that harming their child?”

Lucie Russell, director of campaigns and media at the charity Young Minds, said: “The 24/7 online world has the potential to massively increase young people’s stress levels and multiplies the opportunities for them to connect with others in similar distress. Websites like Tumblr, where there has been recent media focus on self-harm blogs, must do all they can to limit triggering content and that which encourages self-harming behaviour.”

Russell backed the committee’s view that the internet could also be “a valuable source of support for children and young people with mental health problems”. But, she added that “many professionals feel completely out of touch with, even intimidated by, social media and the net”.

The report paints a grim picture of the growing number of under-18s needing care, often struggling to access it, or becoming an inpatient hundreds of miles from home, as children’s and adolescents’ mental health services tried to cope with budget cuts, lack of staff and too few beds.

“Major problems” in accessing services ends with “children and young people’s safety being compromised while they wait for a bed to become available”, say the MPs.

Services are under such pressure that in some parts of England children only get seen by a psychiatrist if they have already tried to take their own lives at least once.

Despite growing need, criteria for being referred for NHS treatment have been tightened in most of England, the MPs say.

Liz Myers, a consultant psychiatrist with the Cornwall Partnership NHS foundation trust, told the inquiry that its services for the young were receiving 4,000 referrals a year, though were only commissioned by the NHS to do 2,000.

“This has meant that we are necessarily having to prioritise those who have the most urgent and pressing need, and we have no capacity for earlier intervention and very little capacity for seeing those perhaps with the less life-threatening or urgent risky presentations.

“There are increasing waits. It is not okay. We do not want that for our children and young people, but we have to just keep prioritising.”

Hilary Cass, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said failure to tackle emerging problems with young people’s mental health meant the issue was now “a hidden epidemic”.

What do I think?

I find it sickening that ‘Pro-anorexia’ and self harm websites actually promote a sense of normality in acting on these issues. Countless tips and advice on ‘how to starve yourself without your parents knowing’, and so on. I understand that the point of such websites is to make anorexics, or self harmers, feel belonged in a community that advocates the same intentions as their own. However, if that is the purpose, then surely making one another realise the long term harm they are inflicting upon themselves, and creating a website that promotes togetherness rather than harm, is the answer.

Although, I do think that the internet does have many positive aspects to consider, with helping young people. In a way, the internet encouraged me to get help for my own depression because, unlike schools, the internet actually teaches me a significant amount more about mental health conditions. I was able to distinguish what attributes of mine were depressive, and which ones were just a normal part of human behaviour. Not to mention, the mental health forums and countless discussions on Mind about getting help. I think the internet encourages young people (like myself) to talk about depression. After all, it does affect one in four of us.

I understand that aspects such as porn and cyber-bullying completely demoralize young people (and anyone, for that matter) but all the dark features of the internet simply boil down to the weak security of the website provider. All you need to do is click the box ‘Yes, I am over 18’ and then bob’s your uncle, you have access to porn. And abusive comments on social media sites driving victims to suicide, is again down to weak control over allowing the content online (and of course, the bully). I don’t have an answer for this, or a perfectly feasible solution. I just have a voice, and that is to give every young person their own voice in mental health awareness.

Lib Dems: On reforming mental health services for young people

Reforming young people’s mental health services is a crucial mission for us in delivering a fairer society

Liberal Democrat Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb writes about the work he is doing in government to reform mental health care services for children and young people.

“Imagine for a minute you are a teenager, perhaps working hard for your a-level exams, struggling with relationships and all the social and academic pressures of school.  And on top of this, you might be among the 1 in 10 of your peers suffering from depression, an eating disorder, or another mental health problem.

key_young_person.jpg

“But if mental health services are the “Cinderella service” of our NHS, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are the Cinderella Service of Cinderella Services.  Effective support for a young person experiencing a mental health problem can have a transformative effect on the course of their entire life.  But the current CAMHS system too often is woefully inadequate.

“Earlier this year, I launched a CAMHS Task Force involving experts in the field, and also young people who have experience of mental health problems themselves.  The Task Force will look at how we can modernise children’s mental health service, making the best use of the resources available, and reforming services to end the “cliff edge” which occurs when young people move from under-18 care to adult services. It will look at how we can improve access – including through the use of exciting new online services – and how we can reduce the stigma of mental health services.

“The Health Select Committee has just published a new report which reinforces my view that the current service model is failing to give vulnerable young people the support they need.  They highlighted a range of areas where services are sometimes completely unacceptable.

“We are already tackling the unacceptable practice of holding some young people with severe mental ill-health in a police cell as a “place of safety”.  Local services like the NHS and the Police in each part of the country have now been asked to sign up to new standards for mental health crisis treatment.  A key requirement is to end the use of police cells for children with mental health problems.  As Liberal Democrats we can be incredibly proud that we are leading the fight to end this outrageous practice. In every part of the country, we should challenge services which fail to act.

“And the programme to increase access to talking therapies for children and young people, to replace, wherever possible, the practice of using drugs to control young people’s behaviour, has now reached the point where services are covering 60% of the 0-19 population.

“But this is just the start in delivering the improvements needed to CAMHS.  And we have to recognise that, in too many areas, local authorities and clinical commissioning groups have cut funding for children’s mental health services.

“I will be working closely with the Task Force over the coming months as they explore ways of improving the current system.  And I am determined to see their recommendations put into practice so we make sure young people receive the support they need.

“There are few things more distressing to see than a young person whose childhood has been scarred because they didn’t get the support they needed for a mental health condition.  This can go on to impact on the entire course of someone’s life if their education and social development is damaged.  Reforming young people’s mental health services is a crucial mission for us in delivering a fairer society, where everyone has the opportunity to live the life they choose.  And it is happening because of Liberal Democrats in government.”

I feel that young mental health sufferers are less inclined to use any services to begin with, unless we treat the mental health sector as important as physical health services.

What do you think?

Step Two explained: Stop thinking about what people think.

The number one rule for ignoring what people think, is to ignore your surroundings.

Now, imagine yourself in an empty room.

There are no people. There are no faces. There are absolutely no worries.
Just concentrate on something else, such as a car.
You don’t care what the car is thinking, you don’t care whether or not the car likes you or not, are you? (Don’t worry, I seriously doubt that the Peugeot 206 you’ve been staring at for the past two minutes is going to re-enact a scene from Transformers)

Oh, and you should acknowledge some of your surroundings, otherwise you might become victim to a car accident.

The reality is, people don’t analyse you nearly as much as you analyse yourself. Depending on what anxiety or depression you have (I have partial social anxiety) caring what people think when you walk in the room or become the centre of attention is quite a big deal. So, rather than observing, think of something else. It could be, what you’re having for lunch or whether or not you should ask out your love interest.

To summarise,
don’t care about what the people around you think, care about what you think.

TV DRAMAS BOOST MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS

TV Dramas Boost Mental Health Awareness

Top TV dramas have been taking on mental health story lines – and they are making a difference, researchers say.

The Duchess Of Cornwall - Coronation Street Visitsky news

More realistic storylines are helping viewers of top TV dramas understand mental health better.

Researchers looked at programmes like Coronation Street, EastEnders and Homeland as part of the study.

Mental health issues are now appearing more often in programmes and are more likely to encourage people to seek help, said campaign group Time To Change.

A spokesman said: “It’s important that some of the country’s best-loved soaps and drama series are taking on mental health storylines, doing them accurately, not fuelling stigma and helping improve understanding.”

More than 2,000 viewers were questioned, with more than half (54%) saying that seeing a well-known character on screen portrayed as having a mental health problem improved their understanding of what it involved.

Almost half (48%) said it helped change their opinion about who can develop such problems.

Nearly a third (31%) said they had discussed storylines with their friends or family.

Coronation Street is set to feature a story where one of its best-known characters, Steve McDonald, is diagnosed with depression.

Producer Stuart Blackburn said: “A particular challenge we faced with Steve and his depression is the audience’s fear that the Steve they loved is gone for good.

“We’ve got to find a way to tell the truth about this, warts and all, and entertain the audience.

“You hope a show like Corrie can genuinely make a difference to tens if not hundreds of thousands of people, who’ll be watching with different eyes or thinking ‘Maybe I should go to the doctor’ – but we won’t get through to them if they’re turning off.”

 

Let’s spread the word!