Self-Compassion Exercises Show Physical, Psychological Benefits

Taking some time to think kind thoughts about yourself and loved ones has psychological and physical benefits, according to a new U.K. study.
Investigators at the Universities of Exeter and Oxford discovered taking part in self-compassion exercises can ease the body’s threat response, lowering heart rate and bolstering the immune system.
“Previous research has found that self-compassion was related to higher levels of well-being and better mental health, but we didn’t know why,” said researcher Dr. Anke Karl.

How Does Religion Impact Child Development?

A new study suggests that growing up in a religious household can be a mixed blessing for childhood development. The findings, published in the journal Religions, show that children raised in religious families tend to have enhanced social and psychological skills but may perform less well academically, compared to their non-religious peers.

Serious Health Issues Often Missed in Older Adults

Nearly half of adults 65 and older have two or more of the following symptoms: pain, fatigue, depression, anxiety, breathing difficulty, sleep problems. And one in four older adults have three or more.
But these symptoms and the more serious health issues they may foreshadow are often missed by clinicians, often because patients discuss only one symptom per visit, a new study finds.
The findings are published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Study: Intensive Yoga Improves Physical, Mental Symptoms in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Eight weeks of intensive yoga practice can significantly reduce the severity of physical and mental symptoms in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a new study published in the journal Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience.
Rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic and debilitating autoimmune disease, causes inflammation in the joints and can lead to painful deformity and immobility, particularly in the fingers, wrists, ankles and feet.

Brain Aging Patterns May Occur at a Faster Rate in Psychosis Patients

People with chronic psychosis may experience accelerated brain aging in two important cognitive networks, according to a new study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.
One of these brain networks, called the frontoparietal network (FPN), was found to be normal in patients with early psychosis but reduced in those with chronic psychosis. This suggests that the decline happens after the illness has taken course. The other brain network with reduced efficiency is the cingulo-opercular network (CON).

When Parents Feel Less Stress, More Autonomy at Work, Kids’ Health May Benefit

New research suggests children’s health is less likely to be negatively affected when parents feel a sense of control over their work lives. Investigators found that simple measures to advance work-place autonomy can help parents recharge, gain a sense of control, and improve parenting.
The finding adds to prior findings that show that sick children can influence a company’s bottom line if parents are distracted or have to take time off to care for their children.

Stress and Quality of Relationships Can Impact Sleep

In a new study, University of Minnesota researchers found the quality of a person’s romantic relationships and the life stress he or she experiences in early adulthood (at age 23 and 32), are related to sleep quality and quantity in middle adulthood (at age 37).
Study findings appear in the journal Personal Relationships.
Investigators found that people who have positive relationship experiences in early adulthood experience fewer, less disruptive stressful life events at age 32, which in turn predicts better sleep quality at age 37.

Depressive Symptoms Up Risk of Death in Older Adults

Depressive symptoms in older adults are linked to an increased risk of death, including death from cardiovascular conditions such as heart disease and stroke. Yet these diseases explain only a small percentage of the deaths associated with depressive symptoms over time, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Placebo Effect Can Work as Psychological Intervention

Placebo effects are no longer just about sugar pills as a medical treatment — placebos can also work when psychological effects are attributed to them.
Psychologists from the University of Basel in Switzerland reported these findings in the journal Scientific Reports, based on three studies with over 400 participants.