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The perfectionist epidemic and Optimum F1000Prime

12 Jan 2018

Perfectionism has become a hidden epidemic among young people in their 20s. The perfectionist character trait is generally associated with the strive to be flawless, with individuals imposing unrealistically high expectations on themselves and being harshly self-critical.

Since 1989, perfectionism has risen by 30% among young people, and researchers suggest social media and our society that drives competition at school, at university and in jobs could be the cause of this perfectionist epidemic.

The study, published in Psychological Bulletin by Thomas Curran (University of Bath) and Andrew Hill (York St John University), examined the results of 146 samples. which included 40, 000 American, British and Canadian college students who completed the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale. They  found that the majority of respondents exhibited signs of perfectionism with an irrational ideal of being the perfect self. This could account for the increase in mental-health issues in this age group, including depression, anxiety and eating disorders.

Thinking about millennials strive to achieve the myth of perfection and the detrimental effect it can have on their mental wellbeing, we highlight the top F1000Prime recommended articles on mental health, as well as sharing our usual top three articles for the month and our Hidden Jewels. Click on the images for full access to the recommendations.

F1000Prime is a literature recommendation service. The service has a peer-nominated global Faculty of more than 8,000 of the world’s leading biomedical scientists and clinicians who select those articles they think are particularly interesting and important, and write recommendations explaining their selection. From the numerical ratings awarded, we have created a unique system for quantifying the importance of individual articles.

Top 3 article recommendations on mental health

This study provides important evidence for stress hormone activation of feedback pathways within the dopamine system, which has implications for a variety of dopamine-related disorders.” – John Dani and William Doyon, University of Pennsylvania, US

This is a landmark study which has instigated a number of projects exploring how and under what circumstances the serotonin transporter polymorphism gene modulates vulnerability to stress.” – Rudolf Uher, King’s College London, UK

The fact that 5HT synthesis can be restored in germ-free mice by conventionalizing the mice with mouse or human spore forming bacteria has potential clinical implications for various neurological diseases including depression.” – Phillip Popovich, Wexner Medical Center, US

Current Top 3 recommendations

This is worth reading for all health researchers. The final paragraph starts with ‘The main question when reviewing a paper should be whether its conclusions are likely to be correct, not whether it would be important if it were true.’ Anyone who writes or reads health science literature should remember this phrase.” – Robert Platt, McGill University, Canada

Neurodegenerative diseases and ageing are commonly associated with misfolded proteins and mitochondrial dysfunction. Melentijevic et al. identify a novel organelle and protein release mechanism in C. elegans neurons.” Hugo Bellen and Berrak Ugur, Baylor College of Medicine, USThe authors used genome editing to create sequence variation in the promoters of several tomato genes associated with fruit size, inflorescence branching, and plant architecture. This approach allows the authors to generate a large number of novel alleles of these tomato genes, demonstrating that genome editing can be applied to engineer quantitative trait variation for crop improvement.” – Jiming Jiang, University of Wisconsin, US

 Hidden Jewels

If the insects go, humans will have a lot to worry about in the very short term. Last June, I recommended a journalist’s feature article published in Science entitled ‘Where have all the insects gone?’ This paper contains the actual data on which this article was based.” – Etienne Joly, National Center for Scientific Research, France

This is a huge step forward for the interpretation of maps as a whole and in particular of their less well-resolved parts. It is also one of the first examples that uses the model to modify the reconstructed map density in an iterative way, which opens new opportunities for effective model-based post-processing of EM reconstructions.” – Bettina Böttcher, University of Würzburg, Germany 

In this study, Tordesillas et al. used a non-oral desensitization route involving epicutaneous antigen delivery and showed that mice thus treated were protected from FA-related anaphylaxis. A population of gut homing (tissue-specific) regulatory T (Treg) cells that lacked Foxp3 protein but expressed latency-associated peptide were found to be selectively expanded, and these Treg cells did not suppress immunoglobulin E production but inhibited mast cell activation.” – Talal Chatila, Boston Children’s Hospital, US

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Click here to view the full article which appeared in F1000 Research