New research finds women infected with Toxoplasma gondii have an increased risk to attempt suicide than non-infected women. Why these two are connected is still unclear.
The study, led by senior study author, Dr. Teodor Postolache, analyzed about 45,788 women in Denmark between 1992 and 1995. Postolache and colleagues found that women infected with T. gondii had one-and-a-half times higher risk of attempting suicide when compared with women did not have the parasite.
Once ingested, T. gondii can plant itself inside the brain and muscle tissues, and once inside cysts they are untouchable from the host’s immune system. Studies looking at this parasite have connected with mental health and brain problems, like schizophrenia and brain cancer. But scientists still are not sure if the parasite is a direct reason for the development of these health problems or if it is more of a side effect. Someone with the mental disorder schizophrenia, for example, might struggle to keep up with their hygiene, meaning the mental disorder could increase the risk for infection and not the other way around. (more…)
Another risk for dieters has shown itself with body dysmorphic disorder. Researched published this spring shows that the chance for suicide in those with the disorder increase by 50 percent. The study, published in the journal Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, theorizes that because it takes a high pain tolerance to essentially starve oneself, that person also has the pain tolerance to undergo a painful suicide attempt. Researchers also reported that 25 percent of people with the disorder have attempted suicide and 75 percent thought their lives were not worth living.
To have body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) means to have an obsession with a real or imagined flaw in one’s body image. This condition has long been known to be dangerous and life threatening. It’s also known as “broken mirror syndrome,” a reference to BDD sufferers’ tendency to stare at themselves in the mirror for hours agonizing over a small defect in their appearance. They often become somewhat delusional, for instance seeing great amounts of fat on their body where there is not.
Although gender stereotypes suggest that women are more likely to have this disorder, the gender ratio is fairly equal. Both men and women with BDD commonly see flaws with their facial features, skin, or weight. Patients sometimes seek to improve their appearance by extreme dieting, cosmetic surgery, or excessive amounts of exercise. (more…)
Christmas is supposedly the Season of Joy, except for many, it steals joy like the Grinch stole Christmas from the Who’s. Holiday distress can be caused by traffic, crowded shopping malls and parking lots, financial struggles, and a calendar crammed with holiday parties and events. In addition, the season shocks us with a dip in temperatures requiring extra time and bundling, the least amount of daylight in a 24 hour period of the entire year, and for many of us, complications such as snow, ice, sleet, and a wintry mix. The real culprit stealing the joy of the season for many is grief: missing a loved one during holiday celebrations, unfulfilled dreams or unmet goals, memories of old hurts, and/or family situations that do not meet the holiday ideal.
When you are feeling a bit Scroogey during the holiday season (or any time), it is extra tempting to eat fatty, sugary foods, eat larger portions, skip workouts and stay in bed longer than necessary. Depression also encourages negative thinking patterns which can lead to personal put-downs, self-doubt, and giving up on goals. They may seem basic, but these tips can help you avoid having a Blue Christmas and hold steady on your goals through the end of the year.
Can there actually be a positive associated with obesity? While there are countless obesity-related health concerns, there just may be one positive – you are less likely to successfully commit suicide.
According to a new study at Harvard School of Public Health, there were about 12 suicides per 100,000 adults in 2004 and 2005. However, with every three percent increase in obesity in any given state, there were three fewer suicides per 100,000 adults. This even took into account the fact that states with higher rates of obesity also had higher rates of gun ownership, adults who smoke, and lower rates of household income. (more…)
Recently the question has been posed to me in various variations of ‘how do we reach the teens’? As a therapist and working closely with INShape Indiana on health promotions, I understand that you cannot work harder for someone than they work for themselves, or you cannot care about their growth more than they do. Doing so would be a fast track to burnout and poor client relationships, which helps no one. I have taken to regularly texting and chatting with a few of my teen cousins to try to make sure I understand their culture and what is motivating to them. (We didn’t have texting when I was a teen!) If we find it difficult to motivate real life change in adults who generally have a wider perspective on the real costs and benefits, how do we reach teenagers and help them develop healthy habits early? (more…)