Homeless and hoarding

The Atlantic Homeless and Hoarding

Hoarding, only recently recognized as a unique disorder in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), is characterized by the “persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, regardless of the value others may attribute to these possessions.” According to the American Psychiatric Association, there are two main types of treatment that help people with hoarding disorder: cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication. Given the complex social, cultural, and public health repercussions of hoarding, as described in this article, additional research and development of specific treatments are needed.


Sleep debt


“People would sometimes say they felt a kind of crystal clear consciousness when they were awake that was not familiar to them. And it made me wonder if any of us knows what it’s really like to be awake — fully awake,” Wehr says.

Tracking devices in health care

The Atlantic Stepping Down: Rethinking the Fitness Tracker. 

By 2018, there will be almost 60 million fitness trackers in use worldwide, tripling the number of the devices used in 2014, according to a report from Juniper Research. With growing data that tracking companies are generating about our bodies, companies such as Fitbit and Jawbone have already begun preparing to play a bigger role in determining individual and group health insurance schemes. While behavior tracking devices hold much potential to improve and optimize quality of life, there is also an array of unintended consequences and questions that this technology revolution invites.

For more Sara M. Watson: the Living with Data series explores how our online data is tracked, collected and used.

Depression as an inflammatory reaction


A growing number of scientists have proposed that depression is linked to a physical phenomenon. Dr. George Slavich and Dr. Michael Irwin, of the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology and Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, have offered a “social signal transduction theory of depression.” They describe how social and environmental variables activate neural, physiologic, molecular, and genomic mechanisms that lead to depression and many physical diseases that often co-occur with this disorder.

“I don’t even talk about it as a psychiatric condition any more,” Dr. Slavich says. “It does involve psychology, but it also involves equal parts of biology and physical health.”

Access their original article from May 2014.

The Super Short Workouts of 2014


With 24% of Americans saying they resolve to lose weight or exercise more in 2015, this NYT blog on the popularity of their articles on super short workouts last year comes as no surprise. A number of studies published in 2014 showed the benefits of short “exercise snacks” – three brief sessions per day of interval-style exercise, or 1-minute, intense cycling within an easy 10-minute workout.

While the evidence for these appealingly short workouts remains questionable, The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion in the US still recommends higher frequency, more intense exercise to gain the greatest health benefits.