Robin Williams, Beloved Comedy Star, Dead at 63

By Haven Daley, Associated Press SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Robin Williams, the Academy Award winner and comic supernova whose explosions of pop culture riffs and impressions dazzled audiences for decades and made him a gleamy-eyed laureate for the Information Age, died Monday in an apparent suicide. He was 63. Williams was pronounced dead at his home in California on Monday, according to the sheriff’s office in Marin County, north of San Francisco. The sheriff’s office said a preliminary investigation shows …

Bright Lights, Big Emotions. To Turn Down the Heat, Turn Down the Light

By Don Campbell, University of Toronto, Futurity.org The next time you want to turn down the emotional intensity before making an important decision, you may want to dim the lights first. A new study shows that human emotions, whether they are positive or negative, are felt more intensely under bright lights. “Other evidence shows that on sunny days people are more optimistic about the stock market, report higher well-being, and are more helpful while extended exposure to dark, gloomy days …

Winter Weary? 6 Ways to Cheer Up

Sick of winter yet? The harsh winter has left schools and governments closed, thousands without power and even the usually sunny South at an icy standstill. It’s also caused a cabin fever outbreak of record proportions. Not only are we bored and craving sun; being stuck inside alone can be bad for our health. A University of Chicago study found that feelings of loneliness and isolation can lead to increased stress, higher blood pressure and other health problems. >> Sign up …

New Study Looks at Caregiving and Twins

Does caregiving cause stress? Most research shows that it does – in spades.  But a small study on a limited sample suggests how family caregivers handle distress is influenced more by their genes and family history than by the difficulty of the caregiving role. Those are the findings of Peter Vitaliano, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Washington, and his colleagues after studying more than a thousand female twins, some of whom were caregivers. According to Vitaliano, how your parents …

Meditation Rivals Medication for Depression

Want a free, easy tip for reducing anxiety, depression and pain without medications? Try meditation. New research finds that meditation may be equally as effective as antidepressants in helping to reduce anxiety, depression and pain, according to a review of studies published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers reviewed 47 randomized clinical trials with 3,515 participants and found that mindfulness meditation improved symptoms of depression by 10 to 20 percent and symptoms of anxiety by 5 to 10 percent. “This is …

Is Curing Insomnia Key to Curing Depression?

A New York Times editorial called it possibly “the most dramatic advance in treating depression in decades.” Psychologist and sleep specialist Michael Breus, writing in the Huffington Post, said it could “dramatically change and broaden treatment for millions of people who suffer the debilitating effects of depression.” The excitement is over a new report that found that treating insomnia along with depression could double a person’s chance of overcoming the mood disorder. Even more surprising, patients’ insomnia was treated not …