Archive for October, 2011

October 31, 2011

Magnolia and Phellodendron Extract Help Control Anxiety in Women

by Dave P.

Background
Recent research has established correlations between stress, anxiety, insomnia and excess body weight and these correlations have significant implications for health. This study measured the effects of a proprietary blend of extracts of Magnolia officinalis and Phellodendron amurense (Relora®) on anxiety, stress and sleep in healthy premenopausal women.

Methods
This randomized, parallel, placebo controlled clinical study was conducted with healthy, overweight (BMI 25 to 34.9), premenopausal female adults, between the ages of 20 and 50 years, who typically eat more in response to stressful situations and scores above the national mean for women on self-reporting anxiety. The intervention was Relora (250 mg capsules) or identical placebo 3 times daily for 6 weeks. Anxiety as measured by the Spielberger STATE-TRAIT questionnaires, salivary amylase and cortisol levels, Likert Scales/Visual Analog Scores for sleep quality and latency, appetite, and clinical markers of safety. The study was conducted by Miami Research Associates, a clinical research organization in Miami, FL.

Results
The intent-to-treat population consisted of 40 subjects with 26 participants completing the study. There were no significant adverse events. Relora was effective, in comparison to placebo, in reducing temporary, transitory anxiety as measured by the Spielberger STATE anxiety questionnaire. It was not effective in reducing long-standing feelings of anxiety or depression as measured using the Spielberger TRAIT questionnaire. Other assessments conducted in this study including salivary cortisol and amylase levels, appetite, body morphology and sleep quality/latency were not significantly changed by Relora in comparison to placebo.

Conclusion
This pilot study indicates that Relora may offer some relief for premenopausal women experiencing mild transitory anxiety. There were no safety concerns or significant adverse events observed in this study.

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October 30, 2011

Social Phobia in Teens Goes Beyond Shyness

by Dave P.

MONDAY, Oct. 17 (HealthDay News) — Social phobia is not simply shyness that has been exaggerated by psychiatrists and drug makers, according to a new study that compared rates of shyness and social phobia among American teens.

Social phobia, also called social anxiety, is a disabling condition characterized by extremely high levels of self-consciousness and anxiety. Some experts have suggested that the condition is a “medicalization” of a normal variation in shyness levels or that it has been publicized by psychiatrists and drug makers in order to increase sales of psychiatric drugs, especially among youth.

In the new study, researchers from the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health examined shyness and social phobia rates among more than 10,000 teens aged 13 to 18 who took part in a national survey.

About half of the teens said they were shy, but only 12 percent of the shy teens met the criteria for social phobia in their lifetime. The study also found that about 5 percent of teens who said they weren’t shy met criteria for social phobia.

The findings indicate that the presence of social phobia may be independent of shyness in some cases, the researchers said. The two are not necessarily directly related.

“Social phobia, or social anxiety disorder, is a serious disorder that is very different than normal human shyness,” said Dr. Alan Manevitz, a clinical psychiatrist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

He noted that the condition can take different forms. “Social phobia can be limited to only one type of situation — such as a fear of speaking in formal or informal situations, or eating or drinking in front of others — or, in its most severe form, may be so broad that a person experiences symptoms almost anytime they are around other people,” Menevitz explained. “People with social phobia have a persistent, intense and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and being embarrassed or humiliated by their own actions.”

This often manifests in physical symptoms such as blushing, sweating and nausea, he added.

“The importance of identifying and treating those adolescents with social anxiety disorder is important as they have higher levels of impairment in multiple domains, including school/work ability, social life and family relationships,” Manevitz said.

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