This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Test for depression, Granny's gut jumps generation and raising the 'bar' on psychology research

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines on Tuesday 18 February.

GPs may be able to prevent depression in young men by testing their cortisol levels, reports the Telegraph this morning. Researchers have found that teenage boys who have depressive symptoms and high levels of cortisol were 14 times more likely to be clinically depressed than those who had each symptom separately.

Study lead, Professor Ian Goodyear of the University of Cambridge said: ‘This will help us strategically target preventions and interventions at these individuals and hopefully help reduce their risk of serious episodes of depression and their consequences in adult life.’

The Independent reports that a woman’s eating habits during preganancy could be felt a generation down the line,as researchers have identified a potential impact on their grandchildren’s birth weight.

The study of 3,000 women in the Philippines identified that grandmas who ate well during pregnancy had daughters who gave birth to heavier children. Dr Christopher Kuzawa of Northwester University, Chicago, said: ‘One possibility is that the nutrition that a female foetus experiences while in utero has an intergenerational effect, influencing in utero growth in her future offspring.’

And finally, a mock pub that allows psychologists to bridge the lab-life gap, has been set up to provide a better understanding of how social and environmental factors impact our decision making while drinking.

The Guardian reports the South Bank University psychology department built the £20,000 la-bar-atory to give a more accurate environment than the conventional ‘four grey walls’. Head of psychology Dr Tony Moss, told the paper the room was perfect for testing the placebo-effect, he said: ‘The glass will smell of alcohol, but whether there is any actual alcohol in the drink will depend.’

Have your say