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June 2012



Recent Posts


The Brains Of Anxious Girls Work Harder

Article Date: 07 Jun 2012 – 1:00 PDT

In a discovery that could help in the identification and treatment of anxiety disorders, Michigan State University scientists say the brains of anxious girls work much harder than those of boys.


The finding stems from an experiment in which college students performed a relatively simple task while their brain activity was measured by an electrode cap. Only girls who identified themselves as particularly anxious or big worriers recorded high brain activity when they made mistakes during the task.


Jason Moser, lead investigator on the project, said the findings may ultimately help mental health professionals determine which girls may be prone to anxiety problems such as obsessive compulsive disorder or generalized anxiety disorder.


“This may help predict the development of anxiety issues later in life for girls,” said Moser, assistant professor of psychology. “It’s one more piece of the puzzle for us to figure out why women in general have more anxiety disorders.”

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Stress Shown to Impact Brain Development

By Janice Wood Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on June 7, 2012

Stress may affect brain development in children, according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The researchers note there has been a lot of work in animals linking stress to changes in the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in complex cognitive abilities.

“We have now found similar associations in humans, and found that more exposure to stress is related to more issues with certain kinds of cognitive processes,” said Jamie Hanson, a UW-Madison psychology graduate student.

Children who experienced more intense and lasting stressful events posted lower scores on tests of spatial working memory, the researchers said. The children had more trouble navigating tests of short-term memory, such as finding a token in a series of boxes, according to the study, which was published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

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Hunger Anxiety on the Rise Among U.S. Senior Citizens

By Traci Pedersen Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on June 3, 2012

The possibility of senior citizens in the U.S. not having enough to eat is a developing crisis that will probably lead to new public health challenges, says a University of Illinois economist who studies the effectiveness of food assistance programs on public health.

More than one in seven seniors faced the threat of hunger in 2010, according to research by Craig Gundersen, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics.

This is up significantly from 2005, when one in nine seniors went hungry.

“The Great Recession has caused extreme hardship on many families in the U.S., and senior citizens are no exception,” said Gundersen, who also is the executive director of the National Soybean Research Laboratory at Illinois.

“This report demonstrates that our seniors may face more challenges than initially thought.”

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