Articles

Stephen Hawking, who shined a light on black holes, dies at age 76

Stephen Hawking, the prodigious British theoretical cosmologist who became an international celebrity, died at his home in Cambridge, U.K., early today, at the age of 76. Hawking, who spent his entire career at the University of Cambridge, suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a degenerative nerve disease with which he was diagnosed in his 20s. The disease confined Hawking to a wheelchair for most of his adult life and eventually rendered him capable of speaking only through a computer-controlled voice synthesizer. ...

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Research Discovers Three New Genetic Risk Markers of Depression

Hinxton, (Scicasts) — A study published today (March 2) in the American Journal of Psychiatry details the discovery of three additional genetic risk markers for depression, building on the discovery of two genetic risk factors in 2015.

Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University, the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and Wellcome Sanger Institute have found that the contribution of genetic variations to depression may differ between people who have experienced serious adversities in their life and those who haven’t. By carrying out a genome-wide ...

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Major mental illnesses unexpectedly share brain gene activity, raising hope for better diagnostics and therapies

Mental illness affects one in six U.S. adults, but scientists’ sense of the underlying biology of most psychiatric disorders remains nebulous. That’s frustrating for physicians treating the diseases, who must also make diagnoses based on symptoms that may only appear sporadically. No laboratory blood test or brain scan can yet distinguish whether someone has depression or bipolar disorder, for example.

Now, however, a large-scale analysis of postmortem brains is revealing distinctive molecular traces in people with mental illness. This week, an ...

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VCU researchers recognized for being in the top 1 percent of most cited authors for 2017

Three Virginia Commonwealth University faculty have been recognized in a list of the top 1 percent of most-cited researchers in 2017. The list was aggregated by Clarivate Analytics, which uses data from Web of Science, a major scientific citation indexing service, to identify qualifying researchers.

VCU faculty on the Highly Cited Researcher list for 2017 include Arun Sanyal, M.D., a professor of internal medicine in the School of Medicine; Thomas Eissenberg, Ph.D., a professor of psychology ...

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VCU, Swedish study finds genetics and environment equally contribute to major depression transmission

Parent-to-offspring transmission of risk for major depression is the result of genetic factors and child-rearing experiences to an approximately equal degree, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and Lund University in Sweden. The discovery is the result of the first large-scale adoption study of major depression.

The study, “Sources of Parent-Offspring Resemblance for Major Depression in a National Swedish Extended Adoption Study,” published Dec. 13 in JAMA Psychiatry, a monthly, peer-reviewed medical journal ...

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MCV Foundation Publishes NEXT Magazine, Illuminating Innovation at VCU Health

The MCV Campus at VCU Health is a hub of discovery and innovation that has borne life-saving patient care, catalytic research and formative education for nearly 180 years. Historically, it has led the nation in areas such as burn care, transplantation and curriculum development.

Today, the MCV Campus is one of the top academic health centers in the country, linking five schools of health sciences, the region’s only full-service children’s hospital, a Level I trauma center and one of only two ...

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Genetic Overlap Between Major Depression and Obesity In Some Patients

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Patients with major depressive disorder who experience increases in appetite, weight, or both have a higher genetic risk for obesity-related traits such as high body-mass index (BMI) and elevated levels of leptin and inflammation, researchers suggest.

“As clinicians, we are well aware that depression is highly heterogeneous, and patients with the same diagnosis of major depressive disorder may present with very different symptom profiles,” Dr. Yuri Milaneschi of VU University Medical Center Amsterdam in the Netherlands ...

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Why does divorce run in families? The answer may be genetics

Children of divorced parents are more likely to get divorced when compared to those who grew up in two-parent families — and genetic factors are the primary explanation, according to a new study by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and Lund University in Sweden.

“Genetics, the Rearing Environment, and the Intergenerational Transmission of Divorce: A Swedish National Adoption Study,” which will be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science, analyzed Swedish population registries and found ...

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Researchers at VCU and Sweden’s Lund University Conclude Pregnancy is Powerful in Ending Drug Abuse

Researchers in Sweden and at Virginia Commonwealth University, have concluded that pregnancy can be a powerful motivator to quit drug abuse.

VCU’s Kenneth Kendler, MD, Professor of psychiatry and first author of the study of 150 thousand women showing pregnancy played a powerful role, “The main results of this study were that rates of drug abuse declined 78% during pregnancy…similarly strong effects were found to extend after pregnancy when the women had little toddlers that they had to care for.”

Dr. ...

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Is love really like a drug? VCU course examines science behind media portrayals of romance and substance abuse

As part of a new course at Virginia Commonwealth University, students have authored papers analyzing pop songs — “Your Love is my Drug” by Kesha, “Drunk on a Plane” by Dierks Bentley, and Huey Lewis and the News’ “I Want a New Drug” among them — that deal with themes and metaphors related to romantic relationships and drug and alcohol abuse.

“I analyzed Justin Timberlake’s ‘Pusher Love Girl,’” said Ashley Stewart, a senior in the Department of Psychology in the College ...

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