Dr Neal Ranen Psychiatrist Blog

Addicted to Food by Dr. Neal Ranen

Addicted to Food by Dr. Neal Ranen

A recent study provided clues as to why people, even when overweight, crave and consume rich foods despite the negative consequences. The answer is that in this circumstance the brain needs increasingly greater amounts of rich foods just to be satisfied. It’s a vicious cycle — eating rich foods begets cravings for even more rich […]

DNA and Depression Treatment

DNA and Depression Treatment

Not only have genetic factors been associated with risk for depression, so too have they been associated with treatment response. In this case, reports have shown that variations in genes associated with the chemical messenger norepinephrine (see June 17, 2010 blog) and genes for a compound that regulates cortisol are associated with response to treatment. […]

DNA and Depression

DNA and Depression

Specific genetic variations have recently been shown to correlate with the risk for depression. As mentioned before, serotonin is an important chemical messenger in the brain associated with mood (see June 27, 2010 blog). The length of the gene for the serotonin transporter appears to be associated with depression risk. This gene essentially comes in […]

I Just Can’t Get Those Worries Out of My Head!

Recurring, intrusive, disproportionate worries are a common component of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). These worries are typically experienced as uncontrollable. In the brain, OCD represents the inability of circuits or pathways to shut off, leading to these repetitive and difficult to control thoughts and worries. The failure of the loop to shut off prevents the mind […]

Why am I taking a Headache Medication for My Depression?

Why am I taking a Headache Medication for My Depression?

A medication tends to retain the category name given to it based on the condition for which it was first used. This can be confusing when the medication comes to be used for another condition, or perhaps several other conditions. The reason the same medication may work for a variety of conditions is because medications […]

Anxiety and the Fight or Flight Response

Anxiety and the Fight or Flight Response

The Fight or Flight response, which is the body’s hard-wired way of reacting to immediate danger, plays a role in clinical anxiety. It is characterized by a release of adrenalin, causing heightened alertness and vigilance, a feeling of being on guard, and a number of physical changes including increased heart rate and breathing rate. Apropos […]

Is One Type of Diet Better than Another?

Is One Type of Diet Better than Another?

No! At least according to a well-designed study in the New England Journal of Medicine (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/360/9/859). In that study, the only important factor was eating less (consuming fewer calories) overall . The study compared 4 different diets that mirrored popular approaches including High-Protein, Low-Fat, and Low-Carbohydrate varieties. In the end, there was no difference in […]