Alzheimer’s is caused by a number of genes, and many people who don’t have a genetic variant associated with the condition still contract the disease. A gene called APOE e4, though, doubles the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. People who have this gene may be overwhelmed by fear of developing Alzheimer’s, but new research suggests that one simple change can reduce the effects of the so-called Alzheimer’s gene. People who exercise are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s, even if they have a gene for it.
One study, for example, found that exercising twice a week in middle age reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s 20 years later. Interestingly, people with the APOE e4 gene benefited even more from this regular exercise. Another study found that people at high risk for Alzheimer’s have increased brain activity and glucose uptake when performing a memory task if they exercise.
Children who are bullied are more likely to become bullies themselves, according to a study of 695 Canadian children. Researchers followed the children from fifth grade through high school, asking them about bullying every year. Six percent of participants began as victims and then became bullies. This same group had a higher rate of mental health problems than other children.
A study of a diverse group of 184 teens found that when parents exerted strong control over their children at 13, the children were less likely to resist peer pressure. These same children also had trouble navigating close interpersonal relationships, and had more trouble becoming independent from their parents.
A study of mice links walnuts to a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s. Researchers gave mice the mouse-sized equivalent of a human serving (one ounce) of walnuts every day for a month. At the end of the month, the mice who ate walnuts performed better on memory tests.
A study of 99 teens who had recently been discharged from a psychiatric hospital found that most of them reported feeling invalidated by their families. Researchers found that families who accepted the teens’ emotions, identity, and feelings had teens who were less likely to attempt suicide. While girls reported a higher rate of family rejection, boys were more likely to become suicidal when they felt invalidated by their families.
People typically believe that the future will be better than the present—a cognitive bias that can help people cope with emotional pain and stress. A study of middle-aged adults has found that while people with depression tend to view their lives more negatively than people without depression, even people who have depression believe that life will be better in the future.
A recent study comparing 33 people who do not experience panic attacks to 24 people who do has found that panic attacks are correlated with an aversion to bright daylight. Subjects responded to prompts such as, “My ideal house has large windows,” and then researchers calculated how study participants felt about bright light. Those who avoided bright light were more likely to have panic attacks. Previous research has found that bright fluorescent light can cause panic attacks in some people.
According to a study that looked at the birth season of 400 participants, the season that people are born in may influence their temperaments. The study evaluated tendencies toward depression and irritability, and hyperthymic (high energy, cheerful) and cyclothymic (sudden shifts between happy and sad) temperaments. People born in the summer, for example, were more likely to experience sudden and frequent mood changes than those born in winter.
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