Premature birth appears to weaken brain connections​

Babies born prematurely face an increased risk of neurological and psychiatric problems that may be due to weakened connections in brain networks linked to attention, communication and the processing of emotions, according to new School of Medicine research led by Cynthia Rogers, MD. 

Exploring the brain’s role in stress-induced anxiety​​​

Calming a neural circuit in the brain can alleviate stress in mice, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis that lays the foundation for understanding stress and anxiety in people. The researchers also showed they could shine a light into the brain to activate the stress response in mice that had not been exposed to stressful situations.

Smoking cessation may improve mental health

Although many health professionals who treat people with psychiatric problems overlook their patients’ smoking habits, new research at the School of Medicine shows that people who struggle with mood problems or addiction can safely quit smoking and that kicking the habit is associated with improved mental health.

Campus Author: Kathryn (Tristan) Liszewski

Kathryn Liszewski, a research scientist on the faculty at Washington University School of Medicine, has written her second book, Why Worry? Stop Coping and Start Living, to help others confront anxiety. 

Anger drives support for wartime presidents

It’s no secret that Americans tend to throw their support behind a sitting U.S. president when the nation is thrust into a war or other potentially violent conflict with a foreign foe. But new research from Washington University in St. Louis is the first to show that these “rally effects” represent a collective reaction to a specific human emotion – anger.

Research offers clues for dealing with anxiety, childhood depression, schizophrenia

Research is shedding new light on what happens in the brains of children and adults affected by clinical depression, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia, according to Washington University in St. Louis studies presented at a recent mental health symposium. The findings, which come as America celebrates Mental Health Awareness Month, point to new treatment options for preschool-aged children with significant clinical depression and for severely depressed adults who don’t respond to standard treatments, such as antidepressants and psychotherapy.

Tips for taking the stress out of holiday shopping

Photo courtesy of HerPlanet Inc.Avoid a holiday-shopping nightmare.Whether it’s a last-minute rush to the mall or a year-long obsession, the quest for the “perfect gift” has the potential to turn holiday shopping into an annual nightmare. A psychologist at Washington University in St. Louis who is an expert on helping people gain control of personal habits, such as smoking and overeating, says many of the same techniques can be used to get a grip on holiday shopping.

Depression, suicide are the major health issues facing college students, says student health director

One in three college students is depressed.The numbers are startling. National studies have shown that one in three college students is depressed and one in four contemplates suicide. Why are young people so much more anxious and stressed than previous generations? What can be done to solve this problem? Alan Glass, M.D., director of Student Health and Counseling at Washington University in St. Louis, says recognizing the signs of depression and suicidal tendencies and keeping the lines of communication open are key to diverting a tragedy.