Well, it’s that time again. Every so often I like to bring you a “3 or 4 for 1” article special. Truth is, sometimes I can’t land on just one topic for a piece, so two years ago I decided to go with the “Chips Off…” mini-articles thing. Readers say they like it, and so do I. What say we get busy…

And if the work can be replicated in clinical trials, we could be looking at probiotic-based immunizations that protect us from PTSD and anxiety, even new interventions for depression.

Okay, we have three “Chips Off the Old Block” to handle. We’ll dig-in to a brand new digital mental wellness app (with a free trial), a probiotic that could one day be a stress vaccine, and how allergies in adolescents may result in life-long mood and anxiety challenges.

Let’s get after it…

Supportiv: The Digital Group Support App

Online treatment for depressionThis is cool. I mean, imagine having access to an anonymous peer support group 24/7. The concept and dynamics are extraordinary.

Say you’re stressed-out, anxious, ticked-off, depressed, burned-out, disgusted with a partner or family member, or just plain need to talk. In the moment, all you have to do is open the Supportiv app and let their natural language processing and proprietary similarity matching capabilities direct you to a group of people experiencing exactly what you’re going through. And the parachute opens.

And feel safe in knowing Supportiv is anonymous and secure, judgment and troll-free, has live highly-trained moderators, offers helpful resources (including emergency numbers) – and will always be there for you.

Now, is there a fee? Sure there is, but it’s only $0.15/minute. And now for that free trial. The folk at Supportiv are willing to let Chipur readers try the app for free for 30 minutes. Yep, just type the code Chipur on the payment screen and off you go.

This is powerful stuff, people. Fact is, 90% of 48,000 pre-launch users reported mental wellness improvement. Um, good – very good.

The Supportiv app is available in the App Store and Google Play. And be sure to check-out their site.

Is a Stress Vaccine Coming Down the Pike? (Hint: Probiotic)

New treatments for depressionResearchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have published a new study in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity that suggests one particular beneficial bacteria can have long-lasting anti-inflammatory effects on the brain. And that makes the old grey/white matter more resilient to the physical and behavioral effects of stress.

And if the work can be replicated in clinical trials, we could be looking at probiotic-based immunizations that protect us from PTSD and anxiety, even new interventions for depression. See, it’s all about mounting research indicating that stress-induced brain inflammation can increase the risk of mood and anxiety disorders by influencing neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and dopamine.

Lead author Matthew Frank said the team found that the bacterium, Mycobacterium vaccae, shifts the environment of the brain in rodents toward an anti-inflammatory state. And he reasons if the same could be done in humans, it could have huge impact upon all sorts of neuroinflammatory diseases.

Now, M. vaccae isn’t commercially available, but lots of studies are cookin’ that may one day change that. In fact, senior study author Christopher Lowry can see a day when M. vaccae or another beneficial bacteria could be administered to folk at high risk of PTSD, such as soldiers being deployed or, say, ER workers – to buffer the effects of stress on the brain and body.

We’ve discussed probiotics numerous times here on Chipur, and I have a “gut”-feeling we’ll continue to do so as time goes on.

Be sure to read the full article on the CU website. Well worth your time.

Adolescent Allergies: A Mood & Anxiety Disorder Trigger

What causes teenage depressionIf you suffer from allergies, you know they can cause all sorts of misery. But maybe you didn’t know that for adolescents there may be serious and long-lasting consequences, well beyond the nose-blowing, sneezing, and watery eyes.

In a new study published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, allergist and lead author Dr. Michael Blaiss lays it right out: “Three of the studies in our review examined how adolescents are emotionally affected by hay fever (allergic rhinitis) and hay fever with eye allergies (allergic rhinoconjunctivitis). They found adolescents with hay fever had higher rates of anxiety and depression, and a lower resistance to stress. The adolescents also exhibited more hostility, impulsivity and changed their minds often.”

Dr. Blaiss goes on to point-out that poor, or lack of, sleep are big-time issues for adolescents, and both peak when struggling with the symptoms of hay fever. And, of course, in addition to triggering mood and anxiety woes, sleep problems can have a not-so-good impact upon school attendance, performance and academic achievement.

The bottom-line is, Dr. Blaiss knows that adolescents aren’t “big children” or “small adults,” so they have very specific needs. That said, if you have an adolescent suffering from allergies in your household, do all you can to help her/him find symptom relief. Truth is, you may well be saving them from a life-lasting struggle with a mood or anxiety disorder.

Way more in the full article.

Over and Out

Well, that’ll do it for this edition of “Chips Off the Old Block.” The Supportiv app, more incredibly hopeful probiotic news, and a heads-up for adolescent allergy sufferers and their parents and caregivers.

Hoping you found the scoops interesting and relevant…

Oh, one last thing. Hundreds of Chipur mood and anxiety-related articles, like a cold drink on a hot day, are always here for you. Peruse the titles.

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