Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Wanted: happy people

Normal’ folks needed in study aimed at fighting depression

May 18, 2006

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Ruthann Atchley is looking for 30 adults - young and old - who've managed to live happy, normal lives.

"We have money to pay them," she said.

Atchley, a psychology professor at Kansas University, is working on a research project aimed at learning how people with depression process words differently from those who have not battled the disorder.

Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center has put her in contact with people who are dealing with depression.

But she doesn't have a way to randomly find participants for a depression-free control group.

"We need people," she said.

Participants will be paid $12 an hour for two, two-and-a-half-hour sessions now and two more in about three months.

Austin Fitts wears specially designed head gear that records how he reacts to certain words. A psychological study at Kansas University is looking at how people with depression process words differently from people without depression. KU psychologists hope to use their findings to better identify those at risk for depression. Their research is the subject of a three-year, $650,000 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Austin Fitts wears specially designed head gear that records how he reacts to certain words. A psychological study at Kansas University is looking at how people with depression process words differently from people without depression. KU psychologists hope to use their findings to better identify those at risk for depression. Their research is the subject of a three-year, $650,000 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.

The sessions involve being hooked to a machine that measures brain waves while responding to words and images on a computer screen. The process is painless and does not involve electrical current.

Studies have found that while negative words register with a depressed person's brain, positive words are dismissed.

"If we give people sentences to read - like 'I am a loser,' 'I am a winner,' and 'I am a wagon' - it's obvious that wagon is nonsense," Atchley said. "But a depressed person's brain responds to wagon the same way it responds to winner."

That's because both words - winner and wagon - are unexpected, said Steve Ilardi, a KU psychology professor who's partnering with Atchley on the project.

"If you read a sentence like 'This pizza is too hot to cry,' the word 'cry' would trigger a telltale brain-wave pattern that says 'I wasn't expecting that,'" Ilardi said.

Unexpected words, he said, are processed differently from those that are expected.

"So if a depressed person reads a sentence 'I am a success,' the word 'success' triggers a brain-wave pattern showing the patient doesn't see himself that way at all," Ilardi said. "If the person isn't depressed, the brain-wave reaction will be just the opposite."

Ilardi and Atchley hope to use their findings to better identify people at risk for depression. Their research is the subject of a three-year, $650,000 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.





Do you qualify?

To qualify for the depression-free control group, participants must: ¢ Have 20:20 vision - with or without corrective lenses - in both eyes. ¢ Not have a history of seizures. ¢ Be between ages 18 and 65. ¢ Be right-handed.

To qualify for the depression-free control group, participants must:

¢ Have 20:20 vision - with or without corrective lenses - in both eyes.

¢ Not have a history of seizures.

¢ Be between ages 18 and 65.

¢ Be right-handed.

"For most right-handers, the left hemisphere of the brain is the dominant hemisphere for processing language," said Genevieve Garratt, a graduate student in charge of coordinating the control group.

"It's different for left-handers," she said. "So we're limiting the group to right-handers to keep from going in too many different directions."

Anyone interested in taking part in the control group is asked to call Garratt, 764-6524.

Comments

Mike Curtis 9 years ago

Good luck finding qualified people!!!...

trinity 9 years ago

HAH!!! i woulda been great until the right handed thingie.

DISCRIMINATION AGAINST US LEFTIES, I SAY BAN RIGHT HANDED PEOPLE!
;)

craigers 9 years ago

We should ban hands. If we did, then that lady the other day wouldn't have been offended of the picture of the mother with a wedding ring on her finger and we wouldn't have had to read her letter in the paper. Hands suck.

Linda Endicott 9 years ago

What does perfect eyesight have to do with being depressed or happy?

ms_canada 9 years ago

No lefties, pywacket - let's you and I go have coffee and hold the cups in our good old left hands. We'll show the world that they work just fine. What do you say? I can't believe this.

mztrendy 9 years ago

I wonder how many people will go thinking they're normal but come home to realize they're just as crazy as the rest of us??

yellowhouse 9 years ago

Hey you want happy people, just come into the Yellow HOuse! Our customers are always happy 'cause they are getting the new dream Refrigerator or Major Appliance they could not have afforded otherwise! Or they are able to sell us their unwanted goods for a profit! (as long as its not stolen) WOW We really have great stuff and a fun attitude!

life don't get any better than this!

trinity 9 years ago

left on! can i come for coffee too, ms? 'specially if i bring along my left-handers coffee mug?? has a hole in it that, if used with a right hand, will dump hot beverage all over ya! :p

we ARE the only ones in our right mind. believe that. ;)

southerngirl 9 years ago

Left handers international used to be based in Topeka, not sure if it is there anymore. Shout out to my fellow lefties!

scary_manilow 9 years ago

This whole BS about how left handed people aren't "normal" reminds me of those long lost days of kindergarten, when my teacher tried to force me to write with my right hand. She eventually gave up (I was a stubborn little kid), but I'm sure this ridiculous practice still continues in grade schools all over the country...

ms_canada 9 years ago

trinity - bring your cup and join the fun!

Christine Pennewell Davis 9 years ago

nope not for my kid it did not his teacher tried to find someone left handed to help him with his writing and he has a left handed aunt so he lucked out has better hand writing than me thank goodness

trinity 9 years ago

lefties rule, righties drool, hahahaaaaaaaaa...

i have one kid out of three who is a leftie; and out of five in my family only one brother who's also gifted with the left thing. my dad used to tell that in elementary school his teachers tried&tried to force him in to righthandedness; he did mostly write that way but could write&draw with both hands-and the drawings&sketches were absolutely better, left-handed!

i'm trolling for Klondike bars! :)

xenophonschild 9 years ago

I bat and throw right-handed, but write leftie. Writing left-handed is an invaluable boost to playing handball, for you get acclimated to using your left much easier than natural righties.

southerngirl: Keep the faith, babe! I read somewhere - one of those magazines in a doctor's office - that left-handed girls have more intense orgasms than righties.

J Good Good 9 years ago

No one except maybe old school Catholic nuns tries to discourage left handedness anymore in this part of the world anyway - it was just a bad idea.

dacs23 9 years ago

As a shrink, normal is simply defined as majority. If the majority of men wore dresses it would be normal. Sorry to say that lefties, being the minority, are abnormal or as mom taught me to say, special. ; )

Sandra Willis 9 years ago

Xenons; that's pretty interesting, I wonder if you aren correct ... as a lefty myself, how could I compare?

mom_of_three 9 years ago

I was born a right handed kid, but learned to use my left hand at age 12, when my right arm was in a cast for 9 out of 12 months. I still open bottles and jars with my left hand, and write with it occasionally. I wonder if that would throw off the test??

Harry_Manback 9 years ago

Umm...is this news or an advertisement? Seems more like an ad to me.

trinity 9 years ago

oh, dangit das, you done went&explained things rationally&understandably! dang you! ;)

i was having a field day feeling trodden upon 'cos i'm a leftie. :)

(btw-thanks; i sucked in research!)

xenophonschild 9 years ago

Bodan:

Been racking the ol' gray matter for an answer, to no avail. Scientists have machines that measure oscillations, convulsions in human organs in the body; maybe we could hook up a rightie and a leftie, have some kind of similar stimulation, and watch the ticker tape.

Kaw Pickinton 9 years ago

Good luck finding any 'normal' people.

party_boy 9 years ago

Come on, give us Righties a break. If you can throw a fastball a measly 90mph, and get a decent breaking pitch over the plate HALF THE TIME, then you are a candidate for a $5M a year job. Winters off.

KSChick1 9 years ago

is that post by yellow house for real sounds like damage control after how asinine they were being on here the other day

Shane Garrett 9 years ago

Drive by shooter. Shoot me. Shoot my wife. Kill us all cause we can't write. With grace I accept the 45's. Take my life cause I can't drive.

East LA. Tin sheds and a Cava-lier,-dough! Smoking a blunt while rollin up on a broke window. 60 footer with Tie downs. Remote Exterior storm shelter. Can I get a Helter Skelter?
Word........Peace out On the Stand.

Morain, love you man.

bearded_gnome 9 years ago

OKAY! WHOEVER RIPPED OFF WILLIETHEWALRAT'S LITHIUM, PLEASE RETURN IT TO HIM!

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