Scientists Find A Brain Circuit That Could Explain Seasonal Depression

Just in time for the winter solstice, scientists may have figured out how short days can lead to dark moods. Two recent studies suggest the culprit is a brain circuit that connects special light-sensing cells in the retina with brain areas that affect whether you are happy or sad.

Together, the studies offer a strong argument that seasonal mood changes, which affect about 1 in 5 people, have a biological cause. The research also adds to the evidence that support light therapy as an appropriate treatment.

This article and audio can be found on NPR’s website, here.

Omikron /Getty Images/Science Source

Omikron /Getty Images/Science Source

Lack of sleep looks the same as severe anxiety in the brain

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If you’ve ever found that a poor night’s sleep has left you feeling not only a bit groggy, but also on edge, you aren’t alone. People with insomnia have double the risk of developing an anxiety disorder, and 70 to 80 percent of people with clinical anxiety have trouble either falling or staying asleep. However, until now, how this relationship works in the brain was unknown.

The article can be found here.

For Kids With Concussions, Less Time Alone in a Dark Room

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a major new guideline on diagnosing and managing head injuries in children on Sept. 4, the product of years of work and extensive evidence review by a large working group of specialists in fields ranging from emergency medicine and epidemiology to sports injuries to neurology and neurosurgery.

The guideline, which is the first from the C.D.C. that is specific to mild brain injury in children, advises against the long recovery period, isolated in a dark, quiet room, that has sometimes been used in treatment.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/17/well/family/children-concussions-brain-injuries-cdc-guidelines.html