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DEPRESSION PAIN: Partners of people with depression are more likely to suffer from chronic pain, a new study suggests.

Research led by Edinburgh University revealed chronic pain is caused partly by a person’s genetic make-up and partly by as-yet-unidentified risk factors that are shared by partners living in the same environment. 

The team also identified significant overlaps between the risk factors for chronic pain and depression.

Chronic pain is a common cause of disability and scientists hope the research will help explain why some people suffer from the condition and not others.

Professor Andrew McIntosh, chair of biological psychiatry at Edinburgh University, said: “We hope our research will encourage people to think about the relationship between chronic pain and depression, and whether physical and mental illnesses are as separate as some believe.”

OPTIMISM BIAS: For decades experts have believed it is normal to expect good things to happen in the future and underestimate the possibility of bad outcomes — a trait known as “irrational optimism bias”.

But a new study suggests this assumption may be based on flawed research. 

After re-assessing the evidence scientists concluded there was no basis for the claim that optimism bias is fundamental to human psychology.

Study co-author Punit Shah, from King’s College London, said: “There is ample evidence for optimism bias in various real-world situations but these instances simply show that certain people might be optimistic in certain situations; not that they are generally optimistic.”

INFECTION TIMES: People are more susceptible to infection at certain times of the day, research from the University of Cambridge suggests.

Academics found that the body clock affected the ability of viruses to replicate and spread between cells, with those in a resting phase or with a disrupted body clock more likely to succumb to illness. 

The findings in the Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences, may help explain why shift workers, whose body clocks are disrupted, are more prone to health problems, including infections and disease.


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