Pulse 124: Hope Is an Important Mechanism in Therapy

21 October 2019
Giulio Prisco

Hope Hand Pointing at Sun

Hope is an important mechanism for therapists to help patients move forward toward recovery, according to a recent study (see below).

“Our results can lead to a better understanding of how people are recovering and it’s something therapists can monitor,” said lead author Matthew Gallagher, a professor of psychology at University of Houston.

“If a therapist is working with a client who isn’t making progress, or is stuck in some way, hope might be an important mechanism to guide the patient forward toward recovery.”

A press release notes that hope represents the capacity of patients to identify strategies or pathways to achieve goals and the motivation to effectively pursue those pathways.

Significantly, the results of this study indicate that hope gradually increases during the course of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). And increases in hope were greater for those in active treatment than for those in the waitlist comparison.

Hope is closely related to other positive psychology constructs, such as self-efficacy and optimism, that have also been shown to have clear relevance to promoting resilience to and recovery from emotional disorders, added Gallagher.

The idea that hope and optimism can help with recovery from other conditions, besides those addressed by the study, and that psychotherapy can help, seems plausible to me.

Hope Predicts Resilience and Recovery in Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Psychologists at SUNY, University of Boston, and University of Houston, have found that hope predicts resilience and recovery from anxiety disorders.

A study published in Behavior Therapy examined the role of hope in predicting recovery in a clinical trial of 223 adults in cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for one of four common anxiety disorders: social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The research results indicate that psychotherapy can result in clear increases in hope, and that changes in hope are associated with changes in anxiety symptoms.

Better and Cheaper Ways to Administer Gene Therapy

Scientists at Scripps Research Institute have suggested a way to sidestep some of the current difficulties in the standard process for administering gene therapy, resulting in a more efficient gene delivery method that would save money and improve treatment outcomes.

The new technique, described in a research paper published in Blood, is based on caraphenol A, a small molecule closely related to resveratrol, which is a natural compound produced by grapes and other plants and found in red wine.

By adding the caraphenol A to human stem cells, along with viral vectors, the cells let down their natural defenses and allowed vectors to enter more easily.

Compound Offers Hope to Cure Chemotherapy-Resistant Cancers

Researchers at Hokkaido University, FUJIFILM Corporation, and National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), have identified a compound effective in killing chemotherapy-resistant glioblastoma-initiating cells (GICs), raising hopes of producing drugs capable of eradicating refractory tumors with low toxicity.

In a study published in Neuro-Oncology, the researchers describe “compound 10580” as a promising candidate for developing drugs against glioblastoma and other recurring cancers.

Toward Next-Generation Therapies for Diabetes

Researchers at University of Geneva have identified a protein called S100A9 that, under certain conditions, seems to act as a blood sugar and lipid regulator while avoiding the most harmful side effects of insulin.

According to the researchers, this discovery, described in a paper published in Nature Communications, paves the way for better treatment of diabetes and could significantly improve the quality of life for tens of millions of people affected by insulin deficiency.

New Therapeutic Methods for Victims of a Heart Attack

Scientists at University of Geneva, University of Lyon, and INSERM, have discovered that the synthesis of a lipid, called deoxydihydroceramide, provokes tissue necrosis in patients with a heart attack.

This lipid accumulates in the absence of oxygen and blocks cellular functions. By inhibiting its synthesis in a mouse suffering a heart attack, the biologists were able to reduce the tissue damage by 30 percent.

The research results, published in Nature Metabolism, suggest a new model of treatment for victims of a heart attack or stroke.

New Cancer Immunotherapy Finds Hidden Cancer Cells

Researchers at Yale University have developed a new form of immunotherapy that can make cancer cells stand out from the crowd and help the immune system spot and eliminate tumors that other forms of immunotherapies might miss.

The new system, called Multiplexed Activation of Endogenous Genes as Immunotherapy (MAEGI), combines gene therapy and CRISPR gene-editing technology.

Instead of finding and editing pieces of DNA and inserting new genes, MAEGI launches a massive hunt of tens of thousands of cancer-related genes and then acts like a GPS to mark their location and amplify the signals.

In a study published in Nature Immunology, the researchers report that MAEGI reduced or eliminated melanoma and triple-negative breast and pancreatic tumors in mice, even those located far from the primary tumor source.

Subscribe to Pulse

Don't miss a beat! Thrivous curates the most important news on health science and human enhancement, so you can stay informed without wasting time on hype and trivia. It's part of the free Thrivous newsletter. We'll email you about human enhancement, nootropics, and geroprotectors, as well as company news and deals.