Author Interviews, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Pediatrics / 27.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Antony Loebel, M.D. Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Sunovion, Head of Global Clinical Development Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Group MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? In the six-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 347 children and adolescents (10 to 17 years of age) with bipolar depression received once-daily LATUDA flexibly dosed (20-80 mg/day) or placebo.The Phase 3 clinical study met its primary endpoint, showing statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in symptoms compared to placebo. LATUDA was generally well tolerated, with minimal effects on weight and metabolic parameters. The primary efficacy endpoint was change from baseline to week 6 on the Children Depression Rating Scale, Revised (CDRS-R) total score. LATUDA was associated with statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in bipolar depression symptoms compared to placebo, based on CDRS-R total score (-21.0 vs. -15.3; effect size = 0.45; p<0.0001) and CGI-BP-S score for depression (-1.49 vs. -1.05; effect size = 0.44; p<0.001). LATUDA also demonstrated statistically significant improvement on secondary efficacy endpoints. The most common treatment-emergent adverse events reported for LATUDA compared to placebo were nausea (16% vs. 5.8%), somnolence (9.1% vs. 4.7%), weight gain (6.9% vs. 1.7%), vomiting (6.3% vs. 3.5%), dizziness (5.7% vs. 4.7%) and insomnia (5.1% vs. 2.3%). LATUDA was associated with no increases in fasting glucose or lipids, and minimal increase in mean weight vs. placebo (+0.74 kg vs. +0.44 kg). (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Genetic Research, Schizophrenia, UCLA / 26.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Carrie Bearden, Ph.D. Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and Psychology Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior University of California, Los Angeles MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: A 22q11.2 deletion confers the highest known genetic risk for schizophrenia, but a duplication in the same region is strongly associated with autism and is less common in schizophrenia cases than in the general population. Thus, we became interested in trying to understand whether there were differences in brain development that might predispose to one condition vs. the other. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lancet, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 26.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Annie Herbert, PhD Department of Behavioural Science and Health, Institute of Epidemiology and Healthcare University College London London  UK  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: 1 in 25 adolescents (i.e. one in every classroom) will be admitted to hospital as an emergency with injuries related self-harm, drug or alcohol misuse, or violence. Currently, the guidelines for how these adolescents are managed differ greatly depending on the type of injury they come in with (whether through self-harm, drug or alcohol misuse, or violence). MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: In our study, we found that adolescents admitted with any of these injuries were at an increased risk of suicide and of drug or alcohol related death in the ten years after leaving hospital, compared to other admitted adolescents.While the overall risk is relatively low—for example, 2–3 girls out of 1000 and 7 boys out of 1000 who are admitted as an emergency to hospital with drug or alcohol related injuries die from suicide within 10 years—the rates are 5–6 times higher than among adolescents admitted to hospital following an accident. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Diabetes, McGill, Nature / 24.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ilse Gantois, PhD Research Associate Dr. Nahum Sonenberg's laboratory Department of Biochemistry McGill University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by cognitive impairment and affects 1 in 4000 males and 1 in 6000 females. About 60% of persons with Fragile X also have autism spectrum disorder. FXS is caused by absence of Fragile X protein (FMRP), which results in hyperactivation of ERK (extracellular signal-regulated kinase) and mTORC1 (mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1) signaling. We show that treatment with metformin, the most widely used FDA-approved antidiabetic drug, suppresses translation by inhibiting the ERK pathway, and alleviates a variety of behavioural deficits, including impaired social interaction and excessive grooming. In addition, metformin also reversed defects in dendritic spine morphogenesis and synaptic transmission. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Mental Health Research / 23.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Auriel Willette, M.S., Ph.D. Assistant Professor Departments of Food Science and Human Nutrition and Psychology Iowa State University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Translocase of Outer Mitochondrial Membrane 40 (TOMM40) is a gene that regulates the width of the outer mitochondrial pore, facilitating the transport of ribosomal pre-proteins into the inner mitochondrial matrix for translational modification into functional proteins. In 2010, Dr. Allen Roses, who discovered the Apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene, Dr. Michael Lutz, and other colleagues found that a variation in poly-T length at locus rs10524523 ('523) within intron 6 predicted Alzheimer's disease onset. Specifically, a "long" versus "short" poly-T length was related to earlier age of onset by 8 years. However, several multi-cohort studies either failed to replicate the findings or found the opposite relationship, where a "long" or "very long" poly-T length was related to later age of onset. The literature has remained mixed to this day. We were interested in testing factors that might change the relationship between TOMM40 and both cognitive decline and risk for having Alzheimer's disease. It is known that a family history (FH) of Alzheimer's disease has been associated with mitochondrial dysfunction. We reasoned, then, that FH may interact with TOMM40 to modulate how it was related to our outcomes of interest. We investigated this hypothesis in two separate cohorts: the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer's Prevention (WRAP), a late middle-aged cohort, and the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), a well-characterized sample of aged participants from across the Alzheimer's spectrum. (more…)
Author Interviews, PTSD / 21.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jun-Hyeong Cho, M.D., Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Cell Biology & Neuroscience University of California, Riverside Riverside, CA 92521 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In order to survive in a dynamic environment, animals develop adaptive fear responses to dangerous situations, which requires coordinated neural activity in the hippocampus, medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), and amygdala. Dysregulation of this process leads to maladaptive generalized fear in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which affects 7 percent of the U.S. population. In this study, we found that a population of hippocampal neurons project to both amygdala and medical prefrontal cortex (mPFC). We also found neural mechanisms how these double-projecting neurons efficiently convey contextual information to the amygdala and mPFC to encode and retrieve fear memory for a context associated with an aversive event. (more…)
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Psychological Science / 19.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Justin M. Kim, Ph.D Dartmouth College Advisor: Paul J. Whalen MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Anxiety (and its co-conspirator ‘worry’) is an active, energy consuming process. You haven’t given up - you are still fighting back, trying to anticipate what might happen tomorrow. The problem of course is that there are an infinite number of ‘what if…’ scenarios you can come up with. For some individuals, the uncertainty of what ‘might happen’ tomorrow, is actually worse than the negative event itself actually happening. These individuals are intolerant of uncertainty. We were interested in how uncertainty and ambiguity of potential future threat contribute to the generation of anxiety and how they might be represented in our brain. In the psychology literature, how we deal with an uncertain future can be quantified as intolerance of uncertainty (IU). As is the case with any other personality characteristic, we all have varying degrees of IU. For example, individuals high in IU display difficulty accepting the possibility of potential negative events in the future. Importantly, psychiatric disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), whose symptoms are marked with worrying/obsessing, are commonly associated elevated IU. We noticed that while much of the neuroimaging research on IU has been primarily focused on brain function, brain structural correlates of IU have received little attention so far. As such, we believed that it was an important endeavor to assess the relationship between IU and the structural properties of the brain, which can be done through the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Biomarkers / 18.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ali Yilmaz, PhD Beaumont Research Institute Beaumont Health, Royal Oak, MI MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that is characterized by the accumulation of β-amyloid plaques and tau tangles. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is progressive degree of impairment that is greater than might be attributed to normal age-related cognitive decline, but is not so severe as to merit a diagnosis of dementia. MCI is thought to be a transitional state between normal aging and AD sufferers phenotypically converting to AD at a rate of 10% per year. Currently there is no cure and few reliable diagnostic biomarkers for AD. As we live longer there is an ever increasing demand for valid and reliable biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease; not only because it will help clinicians recognize the disease in its earliest symptomatic stages but will also be important for developing novel treatment of AD. Using 1D H NMR metabolomics, we biochemically profiled saliva samples collected from healthy-controls (n = 12), mild cognitive impairment (MCI) sufferers (n = 8), and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients (n = 9). We accurately identified significant concentration changes in 22 metabolites in the saliva of MCI and AD patients compared to controls. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Depression, JAMA / 18.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Archana Singh-Manoux, PhD Research Professor (Directeur de Recherche) Epidemiology of ageing & age-related diseases INSERM  France Honorary Professor University College London, UK  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Depressive symptoms are common in dementia patients. Previous studies, based on older adults, show depressive symptoms in late life to be associated with an increased risk of dementia. These studies do not allow conclusions to be drawn on the causal nature of the association between depressive symptoms and dementia. (more…)
Author Interviews, Eating Disorders / 13.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Cynthia Bulik, PhD, FAED Founding director of the UNC Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders and Professor at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Researchers and clinicians from around the world came together to create the most powerful genome-wide association study of anorexia nervosa to date. Via this global collaboration, we were able to identify the first significant locus that influences risk for anorexia nervosa. We have known that anorexia is heritable for over a decade, but now we are actually identifying which genes are implicated. This is the first one identified! (more…)
ADHD, Author Interviews, JAMA, Karolinski Institute / 11.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Zheng Chang PhD MSc Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (MEB) Karolinska Institutet Stockholm Sweden MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: About 1.25 million people worldwide die annually because of motor vehicle crashes (MVCs). ADHD is a prevalent neurodevelopmental disorder with symptoms that include poor sustained attention, impaired impulse control and hyperactivity. ADHD affects 5 percent to 7 percent of children and adolescent and for many people it persists into adulthood. Prior studies have suggested people with ADHD are more likely to experience MVCs. Pharmacotherapy is a first-line treatment for the condition and rates of ADHD medication prescribing have increased over the last decade in the United States and in other countries. Among the more than 2.3 million patients with ADHD (average age 32.5), we found patients with ADHD had a higher risk of an MVC than a control group of people without ADHD. The use of medication in patients with ADHD was associated with reduced risk for motor vehicle crashes in both male and female patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, Emory, Mental Health Research, Technology / 10.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jessica Maples-Keller Emory University School of Medicine. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:  This manuscript is a review of the use of Virtual Reality (VR) technology within psychiatric treatment. VR refers to an advanced technological communication interface in which the user is actively participated in a computer generated 3-d virtual world that includes sensory input devices used to simulate real-world interactive experiences. VR is a powerful tool for the psychiatric community, as it allows providers to create computer-generated environments in a controlled setting, which can be used to create a sense of presence and immersion in the feared environment for individuals suffering from anxiety disorders. (more…)
Author Interviews, NYU, Schizophrenia / 08.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Donald C. Goff, MD Marvin Stern Professor Vice Chair for Research Department of Psychiatry NYU Langone Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Since their introduction in the 1950’s antipsychotic drugs have been an integral part of the treatment of schizophrenia. However, over the past decade concerns have been raised about whether these drugs might negatively affect the long-term course of the illness—either by causing supersensitivity of dopamine receptors, which might make patients more prone to psychosis and relapse, or by direct toxic effects on the brain. To address these concerns, we convened a panel of international experts to review the evidence supporting these concerns, including findings from clinical studies, brain imaging studies, post-mortem examination of the brains of people treated with these drugs, and studies in which these drugs were administered to animals. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Brain Injury, Pediatrics / 07.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Steven Daniel Hicks, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Division of Academic General Pediatrics College of Medicine Penn State Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There are about 3 million concussions in the US each year and the majority occur in children. Parents of children with concussions commonly cite length of recovery as a major concern, but pediatricians have no objective or accurate tests for addressing this concern. Our research group previously identified small regulatory molecules called microRNAs that were altered in both the spinal fluid and saliva in children with traumatic brain injuries. In this study we investigated whether those microRNAs could predict duration of concussion symptoms. In 52 children with concussion we found a set of microRNAs that predict whether concussion symptoms would last beyond one month with over 80% accuracy. This was significantly more accurate than survey based tools such as the sports concussion assessment tool or a modified concussion clinical risk score. Interestingly, the microRNAs with predictive accuracy targeted pathways involved in brain repair and showed correlations with specific concussion symptoms. (more…)
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Occupational Health, Social Issues / 07.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tarani Chandola Professor of Medical Sociology Social Statistics Disciplinary Area of the School of Social Sciences University of Manchester MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We (the authors) were particularly interested in examining evidence for the common perception that people at the top of the occupational hierarchy are the most stressed. And also what happens to people’s stress levels when they retire. We had assumed that people with poorer quality work to have decreased levels of stress when they retired. There have been other studies on this topic before, but none that have used salivary cortisol to measure physiological stress responses. We analysed changes in people’s stress levels before and after retirement, in a follow up study of over 1,000 older workers in the British civil service. Stress levels were measured by taking salivary cortisol samples across the day, from awakening until bedtime. (more…)
Author Interviews, Memory / 07.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael CTrumbo Sandia National Laboratories Department of Psychology Psychology Clinical Neuroscience Center The University of New Mexico Albuquerque, NM  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The impetus for this study can be found in claims made by several commercial enterprises that you can get cognitive benefits from brain training games intended to enhance working memory (the amount of information you can hold and manipulate in your mind at one time). However, a burgeoning body of research shows working memory training games often do not provide the benefits claimed. Research led by my colleague Laura Matzen shows evidence that working memory training may actually impair other kinds of memory. A key concept in demonstrating improvement of the working memory system is task transfer – if working memory has been improved, then that improvement should be evident when attempting tasks aside from the trained task, to the extent that these new tasks utilize working memory. Brain stimulation combined with working memory training might work when training by itself falls short because stimulation allows for manipulation of brain plasticity in brain regions that are relevant to working memory task performance. If you’re improving connectivity in a brain region involved in working memory, then you should get transfer to other tasks to the extent that they rely on that same brain region. When you’re having people do tasks in the absence of brain stimulation, it’s not clear if you’re getting this general improvement in working memory brain areas. You might be getting very selective, task kind of improvements due to use of task-specific strategy development. Therefore, the current study was designed to see if noninvasive brain stimulation paired with different types of working memory training might result in improvement not only in the trained task, but in related tasks. The findings suggest that particular parings of stimulation parameters and training programs result in working memory improvement. This is important because working memory is a critical component of many everyday tasks, such as reading and language comprehension, and working memory deficits are common in a number of disease states, such as depression. Working memory decline is also evident as part of the healthy aging process, beginning as early as your mid-20s. Therefore, a safe, reliable way to improve working memory stands to benefit both healthy and clinical populations in a variety of task domains which are critical to achieving a high quality of life. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Mental Health Research, Neurological Disorders, NIH / 03.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ronald Cannon, Ph.D. Staff scientist at NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The protein pump, P-glycoprotein, is a major obstacle to the delivery of therapeutic drugs across the blood-brain barrier and into the central nervous system (CNS). During the last 10 years, our laboratory has studied the regulation of P-glycoprotein with the hope of treating CNS diseases. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: Our most recent finding shows that the antidepressant, amitriptyline, suppresses P-glycoprotein pump activity. The discovery is significant because P-glycoprotein restricts most CNS targeted drugs from entering the brain. If fully translatable to human patients, suppression of P-glycoprotein could allow higher levels of CNS therapeutic drugs to reach their intended target. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews / 02.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Petr Kocis PhD Vice President Preclinical Development Alzheon, Inc. University of Oxford MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Researchers widely accept that amyloid plaques are the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. However, for many years, drug development has focused on the solid amyloid plaque as a primary disease culprit. Recent advances show that it is more likely that early stage soluble beta amyloid oligomers play a key role in the pathogenic process of Alzheimer’s disease. A paper recently published by Alzheon, a company developing medicines for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders, suggests a new therapeutic mechanism for targeting toxic amyloid beta oligomers with a small molecule, tramiprosate, the active agent in the drug candidate, ALZ-801. ALZ-801 is a Phase 3-ready drug candidate that is an optimized prodrug of tramiprosate, with a substantially improved pharmacokinetic and safety profile compared to tramiprosate. Alzheon scientists discovered that tramiprosate acts to inhibit the production of neurotoxic beta amyloid oligomers by ‘enveloping’ the amyloid peptide to prevent its misfolding into soluble amyloid aggregates. Beta amyloid oligomers are believed to be key drivers of the pathogenic process in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This novel enveloping mechanism of tramiprosate prevents the self-assembly of misfolded proteins into beta amyloid oligomers that lead to amyloid aggregation and, subsequently, cause neuronal toxicity and clinical progression in Alzheimer’s disease. These results were published in the medical journal, CNS Drugs, and the paper is available through Open Access here. [“Elucidating the Aß42 Anti-Aggregation Mechanism of Action of Tramiprosate in Alzheimer’s Disease: Integrating Molecular Analytical Methods, Pharmacokinetic and Clinical Data”] (more…)
ADHD, Author Interviews, Education, Gender Differences, JAMA, Pediatrics / 01.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Jill Pell MD Director of Institute (Institute of Health and Wellbeing) Associate (School of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing) University of Glasgow MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The novelty of our study lies in its scale and scope. In terms of scope, it reported on six educational outcomes and three health outcomes in the same group of children. In terms of scale, it is the first study of a whole country to compare educational outcomes of children with treated ADHD with their unaffected peers and is more than 20 times larger than previous studies on similar educational outcomes. The only previous countrywide study on health outcomes, included only children with very severe ADHD who were in psychiatric hospitals. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Surgical Research / 30.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elinore J. Kaufman, MD, MSHP Department of Surgery, New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell Medicine New York, New York MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Deaths of civilians in contact with police have recently gained national public and policy attention. However, we know very little about nonfatal injuries, which far outnumber deaths. MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? Response: Nonfatal injuries are much more pervasive than law enforcement-associated deaths, and rates have remained stable over several years, at approximately 51,000 emergency department visits and hospitalizations each year. These injuries primarily affect young men, and mental illness is a common theme. As a physician, my goal is always to get to zero preventable injuries. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, BMJ, Cognitive Issues, Exercise - Fitness / 26.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Joseph Michael Northey UC Research Institute for Sport and Exercise (UCRISE), Discipline of Sport and Exercise Science, Faculty of Health University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Physical exercise has an important role to play in maintaining cognitive function across the lifecycle. However, the benefits of implementing a physical exercise intervention were not clear. To address these issues which prevented evidence-based prescription of exercise for cognitive function, a systematic review of all the available literature up to November of 2016 in adults older than 50 was conducted. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, PTSD, Stanford / 25.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Laramie E Duncan, PhD Stanford University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that some people experience after a traumatic event, like a terrorist attack, military conflict, or violence in the home. When people have PTSD, they may experience flashbacks to the traumatic event, nightmares, and other recollections of the event that can interfere with their day-to-day lives. Before this study, not everyone was convinced that genetic factors make some people more prone to developing PTSD than others. Using a study of over 20,000 people and analyzing over two hundred billion (200,000,000,000) pieces of genetic information, we demonstrated that developing PTSD is partly genetic. We also found that genetic factors seem to play a stronger role for women than men, though for everyone, experiencing trauma is still the most important factor. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 25.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Yongfu Yu, PhD Department of Clinical Epidemiology Aarhus University Hospital Aarhus, Denmark MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Bereavement by the death of a close relative is ranked as one of the most severe life events and it is likely to cause psychological stress regardless of coping mechanisms. An increased risk of mortality and adverse health outcomes has been observed among the bereaved spouses, parents, and children. It is estimated that nearly 8% of individuals in the US experienced a sibling death in childhood but much less is known about its health consequences. Sibling relationship tends to be the longest and the most intimate in family thus the death of a sibling can be a devastating life event, especially when this event happens at early ages. However, to our knowledge, no study has investigated the effects of sibling death in childhood on subsequent mortality in bereaved siblings with a long follow-up time. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Karolinski Institute, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 22.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Charlotte Björkenstam PhD Dept of Clinical Neuroscience Karolinska Institutet Division of Insurance Medicine Stockholm MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In a prior study we revealed that exposure to childhood adversities were associated with a substantial risk increase for self-harm. The risk was even higher for those exposed to accumulated childhood adversities. This finding together with the fact that the suicide rate among young adults is increasing (as opposed to decreasing in the general population) lead us to want to examine the relationship between childhood adversities and death by suicide. We investigated 7 different childhood adversities, including familial death (suicide analyzed separately), parental substance abuse, parental psychiatric disorder, substantial parental criminality, parental separation/single-parent household, public assistance recipiency, and residential instability occurring between birth and age 14. We then followed the individuals up until age 24 at most. All adversities were entailed with an increased suicide risk from IRR: 1.6 (95% CI: 1.1 to 2.4) for residential instability to IRR: 2.9 (95% CI; 1.4 to 5.9) for familial suicide. We also found a dose-response relationship between accumulating CA and suicide risk where IRR ranged between 1.1 (95% CI: 0.9 to 1.4) for those exposed to 1 CA, to 2.6 (95% CI: 1.9 to 3.4) for those exposed to 3 or more adversities. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Depression, JAMA, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 19.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Simone Vigod, MD, MSc, FRCPC Psychiatrist and Lead, Reproductive Life Stages Program Women’s Mental Health Program Women’s College Hospital Toronto, ON MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Depression is one of the most common problems that can complicate a pregnancy. Untreated, or incompletely treated, it can be associated with significant harm to mother and child. While psychotherapies alone may be effective for women with mild (or even moderate) severity symptoms, sometimes antidepressant medication is required. In these cases, the benefits of treatment must be weighed against potential risks. Previous research suggested that there may be an increased risk for autism in children exposed to antidepressant medication during pregnancy. However, previous studies were limited in their ability to account for other potential causes of autism in their analyses. In our study, we used several different strategies to try to compare children whose pregnancy exposures were very similar, except for exposure to an antidepressant. The main finding was that after using these strategies, there was no longer a statistically significant association between in-utero antidepressant exposure and autism. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Exercise - Fitness, Mental Health Research / 18.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brian Levine, Ph.D., C.Psych, ABPP-cn Senior Scientist, Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Professor, Departments of Psychology and Medicine (Neurology) University of Toronto MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There is growing concern about the effects of concussion on brain function with aging. Retired professional athletes provide a unique perspective on this question, as many of them have a high concussion exposure before retirement in their 20’s or 30’s. Yet much of the research on professional athletes has been in post-mortem samples. There is a need for more research in retired athletes during life. (more…)
AstraZeneca, Author Interviews, Autism, Boehringer Ingelheim, Depression, Eli Lilly, J&J-Janssen, JAMA, Merck, OBGYNE / 17.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Florence Gressier MD PhD Insermk Department of psychiatry CHU de Bicêtrem Le Kremlin Bicêtre France MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Results from recent studies have suggested an increased risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) in children exposed to antidepressants in utero. We performed a systematic review of and a meta-analysis of published studies to assess the association between ASDs and fetal exposure to antidepressants during pregnancy for each trimester of pregnancy and preconception. Our systematic review and meta-analysis suggests a significant association between increased ASD risk and maternal use of antidepressants during pregnancy; however, it appears to be more consistent during the preconception period than during each trimester. In addition, the association was weaker when controlled for past maternal mental illness. Maternal psychiatric disorders in treatment before pregnancy rather than antenatal exposure to antidepressants could have a major role in the risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews / 11.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Emily Mason, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Associate Department of Neurological Surgery University of Louisville MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that currently affects one in eight Americans over the age of 65. Unfortunately, there is still no treatment that will halt or reverse the pathology associated with Alzheimer’s disease. One of the reasons for this may be that we still don’t fully understand what is happening in the very earliest stages of the disease. Previous studies have shown that one of the pathological hallmarks of the disease, called “tau tangles,” begins to accumulate in a specific area of the brain called the medial temporal lobe decades before people are typically diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. We wondered if we could use cognitive tests targeted to structures in the medial temporal lobe to pick up very subtle behavioral changes in people who were at increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease. We examined people who were in their 40s and 50s, which is a time when if any differences could be detected, it’s possible that pathology may be reversible. Using a cognitive task called “odd man out" that can be easily implemented using a computer, we found that subjects at risk for Alzheimer’s disease tended to do worse in identifying differences between objects called Greebles. These objects are highly visually similar, and most people have never seen them before. Those two things make this task very difficult. We believe that this study lays some of the groundwork in developing cognitive tests targeted at relatively young subjects who may be in the very earliest stages of the disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Johns Hopkins, Microbiome, Probiotics, Schizophrenia / 10.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Emily G. Severance PhD Stanley Division of Developmental Neurovirology Department of Pediatrics Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore, MD 21287 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previously, we found that people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder had an increased susceptibility to Candida albicans yeast infections, which was sex specific and associated with memory deficits. Also in an earlier placebo-controlled probiotic study, we found that although probiotics improved the overall bowel function of people with schizophrenia, there was no effect by this treatment on psychiatric symptoms.  Given that C. albicans infections can upset the dynamics of the human microbiome, we decided to re-evaluate the potential benefit of probiotics in the context of a patient’s C. albicans yeast status.  Not only was bowel function again enhanced following intake of probiotics, but yeast antibody levels were decreased by this treatment. Furthermore, psychiatric symptoms were actually improved over time for men receiving probiotics who did not have elevated C. albicans antibodies. Men who were positive for C. albicans exposure, however, consistently presented with worse psychiatric symptoms irrespective of probiotic or placebo treatment. (more…)