State Same-Sex Marriage Policies Associated With Reduced Adolescent Suicide Attempts

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Julia R.G. Raifman, ScD

Post-doctoral fellow
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents between the ages of 15 and 24 years old in the United States. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual adolescents have elevated rates of suicide attempts. In our study, we found that 29% of gay, lesbian, and bisexual adolescents reported attempting suicide in the past year relative to 6% of heterosexual adolescents.

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Role Identified for Neuronal Protein in Dementia of Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Shinsuke Ishigaki

Department of Neurology
Department of Therapeutics for Intractable Neurological Disorders
Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine
Nagoya,Japan

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a pathological process that
has been characterized by personality changes, abnormal behaviors,
language impairment, and progressive dementia. The genetic and
pathological similarities in fused in sarcoma (FUS), transactive
response (TAR) DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43), and C9orf72 in relation
to FTLD and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) have recently lead to
the recognition that the two conditions represent points on a spectrum
of a single disease entity. Additionally, Frontotemporal lobar degeneration has also been classified as a tauopathy, characterized by an accumulation of phosphorylated
microtubule-associated protein tau (tau) in affected neurons.

Our study demonstrated a biological link between FUS/SFPQ and the regulation of
tau isoforms involved in the early phase of Frontotemporal lobar degeneration.

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Paternal Depression Linked To Not Being in Relationship With Mother

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lisa Underwood, PhD
Research Fellow| Centre for Longitudinal Research
Growing Up in New Zealand | Who are Today’s Dads?
School of Population Health, Faculty of Medical & Health Sciences
University of Auckland  Auckland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This study is part of the contemporary, longitudinal study Growing Up in New Zealand, which is tracking the development of more than 6000 children born in 2009 and 2010.

In previous reports we investigated antenatal and postnatal depression symptoms among the mothers of our cohort children. In this study we looked at the partners of those mothers to explore whether men and women have different risks for depression in each perinatal period.

Our main findings were that expectant fathers were at risk if they felt stressed or were in poor health. Elevated depression symptoms following their child’s birth, were also linked to social and relationship problems.

The strongest predictor of postnatal paternal depression was no longer being in a relationship with the child’s mother.

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Ketamine Before Stressful Event May Reduce Risk of PTSD

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Christine Ann Denny, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Psychiatry Columbia University Division of Integrative Neuroscience Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Inc. New York, NY 10032-2695

Dr. Christine Ann Denny

Christine Ann Denny, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychiatry
Columbia University
Division of Integrative Neuroscience
Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Inc.
New York, NY 10032-2695

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the most common psychiatric illnesses, affecting about 8 million adult Americans, and an annual prevalence of about 3.5% worldwide. At-risk populations such as soldiers and veterans are at a higher risk to develop PTSD. Stress exposure is one of the major risk factors for PTSD and major depressive disorder (MDD), a disorder which is often co-morbid with PTSD.

There are currently very limited treatments for PTSD and MDD. In addition, these disorders are treated in a symptom-suppression approach, which only mitigate symptoms and work in only a small fraction of patients. Prevention is rarely an approach considered except in the form of behavioral intervention. However, pharmacological approaches to preventing psychiatric diseases has not yet been developed.

Our laboratory has previously found that ketamine, a general anesthetic and rapid-acting antidepressant, administered sub-anesthetically prior to stress can prevent against stress-induced depressive-like behaviors. We decided to delve into the literature to determine whether ketamine has any effects on PTSD in the clinic. We found numerous reports linking ketamine to PTSD, but the results were varied. We realized that the main difference in all of these studies was the timing of administration. We decided to systematically test the efficacy of ketamine in mice at various time points relative to a stressor to determine when would be the most effective window to buffer against heightened fear expression.

We found that ketamine administered 1 week, but not 1 month or 1 day, prior to a stressor was the most effective time point to administer the drug to buffer fear. This is critical, as it suggests that a pharmacological approach to enhance resilience can be more effective at protecting against PTSD symptoms than attempting to mitigate symptoms after it has already affected an individual.

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Brain–Computer Interface Allows Communication With Locked-In Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Ujwal Chaudhary, PhD Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neurobiology University of Tübingen Tübingen, Germany

Dr. Ujwal Chaudhary

Dr. Ujwal Chaudhary, PhD
Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neurobiology
University of Tübingen
Tübingen, Germany

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder which causes an Individual to be in Locked-in state (LIS), i.e. the patients have control of their vertical eye movement and blinking, and ultimately in Completely Locked-in state (CLIS), i.e, no control over their eye muscle. There are several assistive and augmentative (AAC) technology along with EEG based BCI which can be used be by the patients in LIS for communication but once they are in CLIS they do not have any means of communication.  Hence, there was a need to find an alternative learning paradigm and probably another neuroimaging technique to design a more effective BCI to help ALS patient in CLIS with communication.

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Executive Brain Function Predictive of Success on the Soccer Pitch

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
soccer; creative commons imageTorbjörn Vestberg

Licensed Psychologist & Researcher
Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet
Stockholm, Sweden

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The aim of our research is to study the importance of executive functions for successful behaviour. In our first study published in 2012 (Executive Functions Predict the Success of Top-Soccer Players) we showed that the level of elite soccer players’ higher executive functions was in general 2 standard deviations above the normal population. It was the same for both men and women.

Moreover, we also found a strong correlation between the capacities of higher executive functions and the number of goals and assists the player made after two and a half year.

In our new study we were interested in how the situation is at a younger age, from twelve to nineteen years of age. Because of the maturation of the brain, higher executive functions do not reach their full capacity before nineteen years of age.

On basis of this, our question was whether there were other parts of the executive functions that correlated with success in soccer. In this new study, we focused on core executive functions like the working memory, as it reaches its full capacity in the early teens. We found that there was a moderate correlation with the accuracy of the working memory and the number of goals the junior elite players made during a period of two years. When we made a composite measurement of both the demanding working memory and the test for the capacity of the higher executive functions, we found a strong correlation between these results and the number of goals that the players made during the two years of time. When we measured IQ and physical features, like length, we found out that those did not influence the results.

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Moderate Screen Time Didn’t Increase Behavioral Problems in Kids

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Christopher J. Ferguson PhD Professor of Psychology Stetson University

Dr. Christopher Ferguson

Dr. Christopher J. Ferguson PhD
Professor of Psychology
Stetson University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The degree to which screen time influences youth across a variety of behavioral outcomes has been a source of debate and contention for decades. For many years the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended to parents that they allow older children no more than 2 hours of screen time per day. However, this number was never clearly based on good data. And in 2014 one study (Przybylski, 2014 in Pediatrics) suggested that ties between screen time and behavioral outcomes were very weak, and only seen for the most extreme screen users. So I was curious to see if these results would replicate for a large sample of US youth.

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Hip Fractures Increase Mortality Risk in Cognitively Impaired Men

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ann L. Gruber-Baldini, Ph.D. Professor, Division of Gerontology Director, Program in Epidemiology and Human Genetics  Department of Epidemiology & Public Health University of Maryland School of Medicine

Dr. Ann Gruber-Baldini

Ann L. Gruber-Baldini, Ph.D.
Professor, Division of Gerontology
Director, Program in Epidemiology and Human Genetics
Department of Epidemiology & Public Health
University of Maryland School of Medicine 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: While men make up only about 25% of all hip fractures, the number of men who fracture their hip is increasing and we know men are more likely to die than women after a hip fracture. It is also known that those with cognitive impairments, typically due to delirium and Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia, are more likely to do more poorly after the fracture. The impact of both sex and cognition on outcomes after hip fracture has not been fully explored.

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When Is It Safe To Drive After a Concussion?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Julianne Schmidt, PhD, ATC Assistant Professor Department of Kinesiology The University of Georgia Athens GA

Dr. Julianne Schmidt

Julianne Schmidt, PhD, ATC
Assistant Professor
Department of Kinesiology
The University of Georgia
Athens GA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Less than half of all people with a concussion intend to reduce their driving at any point.

Current recommendations surrounding concussion focus on when it is safe to return to sport or return to the classroom, but return to driving is usually ignored and has not been studied.
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Disorder-Specific vs Nonspecific Psychotherapy for Chronic Depression

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof. Dr. phil. Elisabeth Schramm Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie

Dr. Elisabeth Schramm

Prof. Dr. phil. Elisabeth Schramm
Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Chronic depression is a highly prevalent and disabling disorder. As compared to acute episodically depressed patients, chronic depressives benefit less from psychological and pharmaceutical treatment.

Prior investigations suggest that these patients need longer treatment duration for symptom improvement.

In this randomized clinical trial including 268 adults with early onset chronic depression not taking antidepressant medication, patients treated with a disorder-specific psychological treatment (Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy; CBASP) reported significantly less severe depressive symptoms after 20 and 48 weeks as compared to a nonspecific supportive therapy. CBASP patients were also more likely to reach remission and showed significant advantages in global functioning and quality of life.

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Physically Active Children May Have Reduced Symptoms of Depression

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lars Wichstrøm, PhD
NTNU Social Reseach, Trondheim, Norway; and
Department of Psychology
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Trondheim, Norway

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Previous research has linked physical activity, and particularly moderate to vigorous physical activity to less depression in adolescents and adults, but the potential prospective relationship between physical activity and depression in middle childhood has not yet been identified.

The main findings in this study support existing research by showing that physically active children have fewer symptoms of depression two years later compared to less physically active children, but there is no relationship between sedentary behavior and depressive symptoms in middle childhood.

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Our ‘Motor Signature’ Is a Window Into Mental Health

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Piotr Słowiński</strong> Department of Mathematics College of Engineering Mathematics and Physical Sciences, Research Fellow University of Exeter

Dr. Piotr Słowiński

Dr. Piotr Słowiński
Department of Mathematics
College of Engineering
Mathematics and Physical Sciences,
Research Fellow
University of Exeter

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: In an earlier study, we have found that every person has an individual style of moving (its own individual motor signature) and that people who have similar motor signatures are better in coordinating with each other (http://rsif.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/13/116/20151093). In the current study, we show that both these characteristics, own motor signature, and quality of interaction with others, have potential to give and insight into person’s mental health condition.

Assessment of motor symptoms is already a part of a clinical interview during a neurological evaluation by an expert psychiatrist. Our method, if confirmed in clinical trials, would speed up such examination and would allow for better allocation of the valuable time of medical professionals (for example, for more advanced tests in cases of diagnostic uncertainty). Additionally, it could allow for monitoring and personalization of treatment.

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