How Vitamin D Affects Depression

Two years ago, I spent nine months with sinus infections. I had one after another, and if I didn’t go to the doctor and get antibiotics, I got so sick that I would throw up. None of the doctors I saw could figure out why all of a sudden I was so prone to sinus infections. I saw an ear, nose and throat doctor and an infectious diseases doctor, as well as seeing almost every doctor and nurse practitioner at my GP’s practice. I had every test you can imagine. And no one could figure out what the problem was.

Finally, when I was on one of my (by now) bi-weekly visits to my GP to get a prescription for antibiotics to fight the most recent infection, the nurse practitioner said, “Why don’t we check your Vitamin D level.” Sure enough, I was extremely deficient. The standard range is 32-100 ng/mL. Mine was 20. I was put on prescription Vitamin D and voila! No more sinus infections.

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Gene Linked to Optimism and Self-Esteem – NIH Research Matters – National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Why can some people make it through difficult times with little trouble while others crumble under the same circumstances? A new study suggests that the answer lies—at least in part—in your genes.

Photo of an optimistic young Japanese woman

Scientists have long known that people with certain psychological traits, or resources, can fare better in challenging situations. Three of the most widely studied psychological resources—optimism, self-esteem and mastery (the feeling that you can master your environment and achieve what you want)—are good predictors of a person’s physical and psychological health. These 3 resources have been shown to help people weather stressful events and beat back depression. Because these psychological resources tend to run in families, scientists had suspected a genetic component.

via Gene Linked to Optimism and Self-Esteem – NIH Research Matters – National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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Lots of Coffee Might Lower Depression Risk: Study

HealthDay News — Coffee lovers, take heart: Women who drink four or more cups of caffeinated coffee daily seem to have a lower risk of depression than those who don’t drink java or stop at one cup a day, a new study suggests.Although it’s way too early to start recommending regular coffee consumption as a way to prevent depression, the findings may comfort those who feel guilty about their habit.

via Lots of Coffee Might Lower Depression Risk: Study.

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Depression After Cancer Keeps Some From Follow-Up Care

(HealthDay News) — New research suggests that depression and other factors may keep Hispanic women who have survived breast cancer from getting screenings that could pick up signs of colorectal or ovarian cancer.

“Depression can make people more inattentive to potential risks to their health and more likely to ignore recommendations to reduce their risk,” said study researcher Amelie G. Ramirez, professor and director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the Cancer Therapy and Research Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

via Depression After Cancer Keeps Some From Follow-Up Care.

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Depression May Boost Risk of Stroke 45% – – TIME Healthland

Depression may go hand in hand with a number of other physical health problems, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Now the latest evidence suggests that depression may also increase the risk of stroke.

Reporting in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that depression increased the risk of stroke by 45% and the risk of dying from a stroke by 55%.

via Depression May Boost Risk of Stroke 45% – – TIME Healthland.

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People Tend to Choose Friends Just Like Themselves

(HealthDay News) — In large and diverse groups, people with similar beliefs, values and interests tend to stick together, establishing both friendships and romantic relationships with like-minded people, a new study suggests.

The more choices people have in who they become close to, the researchers found, the more uniform their social circle becomes.

via People Tend to Choose Friends Just Like Themselves.

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ADHD Symptoms May Add to Burden of Autism

(HealthDay News) — Attention and hyperactivity problems worsen quality of life for many children with autism, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 2,000 children and adolescents in the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network’s Registry and found that more than half of them had symptoms of either attention or hyperactivity problems. More than a third had significant symptoms of both.

via ADHD Symptoms May Add to Burden of Autism.

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Prescribing Exercise to Treat Depression – NYTimes.com

Can a stroll help ease depression? That question preoccupied Dr. Madhukar H. Trivedi, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, after several of his patients, all suffering from serious depression, mentioned that they felt happier if they went for a walk. The patients in question were taking the widely prescribed antidepressants known as S.S.R.I.’s, for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, but not responding fully. They remained, by clinical standards, depressed. Dr. Trivedi and his colleagues began to wonder if adding a formal “dose” of exercise would increase their chances of getting better.

Certainly the possibility was worth investigating. Clinical depression, as anyone who has experienced or watched a loved one struggle with the condition knows, can be stubbornly intractable. Even if patients have been taking an antidepressant for months, recovery rates tend to hover below 50 percent.

via Prescribing Exercise to Treat Depression – NYTimes.com.

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Informed Patient: Screening Teens for Mental-Health Problems – Health Blog – WSJ

With growing concern about mental health issues and suicide among adolescents, more schools and communities are using voluntary screening programs to identify at-risk kids, today’s Informed Patient column reports.The programs rely on free questionnaires that have been shown to be reliable indicators of depression in adolescents including the Columbia University-developed TeenScreen and the Patient Health Questionnaire-9. But mental-health screenings are opposed by certain groups and legislation has been introduced to prevent their mandatory use. Some mental health advocates say large-scale screening programs are not as cost-effective as relying on teachers, school health officials, primary-care doctors and parents to identify and intervene with troubled teens.

via Informed Patient: Screening Teens for Mental-Health Problems – Health Blog – WSJ.

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Response to sad movies linked to depression relapse – msnbc.com

The brains of people who relapse into depression differ from those of people who maintain a recovery, a new study shows.

The results may provide insight into why some people relapse and why certain therapies may help, the researchers said.

Researchers at the University of Toronto used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study the brains of 16 people who had successfully completed treatment for major depression, along with 16 people who hadn’t been depressed,and followed them for 18 months.

They found that the areas of the brain that lit up when the formerly depressed people watched a sad movie corresponded with whether the patients ultimately needed more treatment.

via Response to sad movies linked to depression relapse – Health – Mental health – msnbc.com.

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