Can Mental Health Apps Work for Depression?

Today’s more than 20,000 mental health apps have a wide range of functionalities and business models. Many of them can be useful for depression.

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Even before the pandemic created a need for more telehealth options, depression was a hot area of research for app developers. Given the high prevalence of depression and its connection to suicidality — especially among today’s teenagers and young adults who grew up with mobile devices, use them often, and experience these conditions with alarming frequency — apps for depression could be not only useful but lifesaving.

“For people who are not depressed, but have been depressed in the past, the apps can be helpful for maintaining positive thinking and behaviors,” said Andrea K. Wittenborn, PhD, director of the Couple and Family Therapy Doctoral Program and a professor in human development and family studies at Michigan State University. “For people who are mildly to severely depressed, apps can be a useful complement to working with a mental health professional.”

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L. Michael Posey
A pharmacist-editor-journalist since 1980, L. Michael Posey is a regular writer and editor for The Gerontological Society of America, Postgraduate Healthcare Education’s PowerPak.com website, and other clients. The author of several books and many news and journal articles, Posey is a founding editor of a landmark textbook in pharmacy, Pharmacotherapy: A Pathophysiologic Approach, a McGraw Hill title now in its 11th edition. He holds a master's degree in health and medical journalism and baccalaureate degrees in pharmacy and microbiology from the University of Georgia. Posey is the father of four sons and a daughter and resides in the Wine Country north of San Francisco. Follow him on Twitter @lmposey.
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Scientists Are Studying How to Help Dogs Have Longer Lives, in a Bid to Further Our Own

Feeding dogs only once a day is showing health benefits in a large study, scientists report.

Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

The sad eyes. The wagging tail. The frustrated whine. The excited bark. Dogs know how to get their owners to fork over the food more often.

The extra calories dogs get from feeding patterns now used by many Americans may not be good for them from a health and longevity viewpoint. In research from a large study called the Dog Aging Project, canines fed once a day had better scores on cognition tests and lower odds of developing diseases of organs throughout the body: intestinal tract, mouth and teeth, bones and joints, kidneys and bladder, and liver and pancreas.

Fewer than 1 in 10 dog owners fed their furry friends once daily, while nearly three fourths provided two daily meals.

“Most veterinarians have been led to believe that feeding dogs twice a day is optimal, but this is a relatively new idea that has developed over the past few decades with little supportive evidence from a health standpoint,” said Matt Kaeberlein, PhD, Co-Director of the Dog Aging Project, a professor of pathology and Director of the Healthy Aging and Longevity Research Institute at the University of Washington. Kaeberlein studies basic mechanisms of aging to find ways of extending the healthspan, the number of years of life lived free of disease. It’s not enough to extend the lifespan unless declines in biological function and risks of age-related diseases are also studied, he believes, hence the healthspan.

Keep Reading Keep Reading
L. Michael Posey
A pharmacist-editor-journalist since 1980, L. Michael Posey is a regular writer and editor for The Gerontological Society of America, Postgraduate Healthcare Education’s PowerPak.com website, and other clients. The author of several books and many news and journal articles, Posey is a founding editor of a landmark textbook in pharmacy, Pharmacotherapy: A Pathophysiologic Approach, a McGraw Hill title now in its 11th edition. He holds a master's degree in health and medical journalism and baccalaureate degrees in pharmacy and microbiology from the University of Georgia. Posey is the father of four sons and a daughter and resides in the Wine Country north of San Francisco. Follow him on Twitter @lmposey.