Unraveling Individual Variability in Hormonal Mood Swings

Guest post by Brenda Patoine

The stereotype of women’s “inexplicable” mood swings has long provided fodder for comics and cartoonists, but for scientists trying to understand the underlying biology, hormonal depression is no joke.

Endocrine-related affective mood disorders show up in different forms in different phases of life, from premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) during otherwise normal menstrual cycling, to post-partum depression following childbirth, to mood disruptions around and after menopause. Yet these disorders don’t affect all women, and in fact, most women do not experience them.

“How is it that some women experience a change in affective state as a result of hormones whereas a majority of women do not?” Peter Schmidt, M.D. asked in a July 8 webinar sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). “That really is the million-dollar question.”

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New Successful Ageing Video Discusses Advances in Geriatric Research

Global life expectancy has gone up 39 years since 1900 and is predicted to rise at least another six years by 2050, according to a United Nations forecast. With people living longer than ever, geriatric research is of vital importance.

London’s annual Successful Ageing program, titled “Live Longer, Live Well – Seize the Day!” focused on the history of geriatric research and new, promising advances. The event was jointly organized by the European Dana Alliance for the Brain and the University of the Third Age.

Professor Richard Faragher, University of Brighton, briefed the audience on topics from genes that may lengthen life to senescent cell elimination, which could slow the effects of aging. We have come a long way in understanding the aging process and are moving towards higher quality, longer lives, he said.

Check out the full video for information on the latest advances:

For more resources on the aging brain, go to our Successful Aging & Your Brain YouTube playlist or view our Successful Aging and the Brain booklet.

– Ali Chunovic

Community-Driven Initiatives Aim to Stem Suicides Among Arctic Peoples

Guest Post by Brenda Patoine

Image courtesy of Stacy Rasmus

Image courtesy of Stacy Rasmus [click to see bigger]

In some of the most remote areas of Alaska, the suicide rate is seven times the national average, soaring to almost 18 times the U.S. average among Alaskan Native youth, where the suicide rate is 124 per 100,000 people aged 15-24, compared with 7 per 100,000 for that age group in the U.S. overall.

While it is not unusual for rural communities where people live in relative isolation to have higher-than-average rates of substance abuse, depression, and suicide, remote Arctic villages may represent a worst-case scenario. Far removed from population centers, these villages are located in some of the harshest environments in North America, are typically inaccessible by highways, and the closest hospitals are a plane ride away. Medical care is limited and mental health resources are typically nonexistent.

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Growing Older and Cognition: Your Mileage May Vary

What does current science have to offer in the way of advice on staying mentally sharp as you grow older? General guidelines and useful tips, with expectations of more to come—someday.

“Some things seem to work; exactly what doses, what combinations, and how they should be applied, is unclear,” said Marie Bernard, deputy director at the National Institute on Aging, during a forum at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, DC, on Wednesday.

aaas aging speakers

From left: Sevil Yasar, Marilyn S. Albert, and Marie Bernard at AAAS on Wednesday

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The Impact of Aging: June 15 Public Event

Aging

Image: Shutterstock

Growing Older, Cognition, and What Science Has to Offer

A Free Event
Hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Through the Support of the Dana Foundation

Wednesday, June 15
5:30 – 8:00 p.m. (ET)

AAAS Headquarters
1200 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC, 20005

*RSVP: https://www.cvent.com/c/express/84aef939-c5e8-46ef-9b55-68b7323c66b0

If we live long enough, aging is inevitable, and more people in the U.S. are living longer than ever before. Yet, age is a major risk factor for most common neurodegenerative diseases, so its consequences for individuals, families and society are anything but trivial. But how we age is not fixed. There are things we can do to mitigate the harsh effects that aging can have on our brains, on the way we think, understand, learn and remember. Continue reading

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