Since our founding in 1978, ACSH has stood for evidence-based science and health in combination with free markets and individual liberty. We feel that an educated public should be free to make its own decisions without a "nanny state" micromanaging our behavior. Occasionally, however, our guiding principles encounter intractable problems. Today, two of the biggest such problems involve public health.
We no longer provide treatment to drug-addicted or mentally ill people who cannot, or will not, care for themselves. Society has decided that it's more compassionate to allow these unfortunate souls to make their own choices, even if those choices are irrational, self-destructive and dangerous to the community.
Insomnia affects roughly 10% of the population. Those who suffer from this sleep disorder constitute a wide variety of personalities and family histories. The inconsistent pattern among these patients makes the condition difficult to classify, which in turn makes it difficult to understand. Now, new research has identified five insomnia subtypes based on non-sleep characteristics.
Sleep is governed by the circadian rhythm, which is typically entrained to the 24-hour solar day. As the sun rises and sets the human body's metabolism responds accordingly. But in this case study, the circadian rhythm of a patient with bipolar disorder was also linked to the 24.8-hour lunar cycle, which contributed to his manic-depressive episodes.
For every 1o C increase in temperature, the risk of suicide also increases by 1 percent to 37 percent. In general, heat tends to exacerbate previously existing mental illness and drug misuse.
Jewish people were the highest profile victims of the Nazi killing machine, but they weren't the only ones. Anybody who was "impure" was potentially targeted for extermination, including the mentally and physically handicapped. This latter group was the subject of a moving essay in The Lancet Psychiatry.
Why do smokers find such solace in cigarettes? It may be the nicotine, and as a study explains those who have a hard time controlling their emotions may turn to smoking as a way to self-medicate. New CDC data completely supports that assertion.
Researchers found that students who exhibited signs of paranoid thinking – specifically, the tendency to interpret random coincidences as highly meaningful, or to believe others are plotting against them – had a particular genetic profile.
Society has been blind to the secret suffering of many children. What appears to the rest of us as a cute albeit slightly annoying phase is actually a serious mental illness: Dinosaur Obsession Disorder.
Twitter, the social media device that often produces a toxic mixture of snark and narcissism, rarely bringing out the best in people. But scientists studying the platform are searching for a useful signal: A predictor of mental illness.
A drug used to treat depression appears to work by blocking the detrimental effects of stress on brain structure.
High-profile incidents in which a mentally ill person commits a violent crime has led to the stereotype that these struggling people all pose a dire threat to society. But a team of researchers, studying data from more than 75,000 patients, has developed a model that accurately predicts which patients are unlikely to become violent.