Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, JAMA, Karolinski Institute, Mental Health Research / 01.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Zheng Chang PhD Dept. of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Karolinska Institutet and Seena Fazel MD Department of Psychiatry Warneford Hospital University of Oxford, Oxford, England MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There were more than 10 million prisoners worldwide in 2015, with approximately 2.2 million in the United States alone. Despite reported decreases in violence in many countries, reoffending rates remain high. From 2005 through 2010, more than one-third of released prisoners in the United States and the United Kingdom were reconvicted of a new crime within 2 years. Most programs to reduce reoffending focus on psychosocial interventions, but their effect sizes are weak to moderate. As psychiatric and substance use disorders, which increase reoffending rates, are overrepresented among jail and prison populations. This study investigated the main psychotropic medication classes prescribed to prisoners using longitudinal Swedish population registers and examined the association between prescription of psychotropic medication and risk of violent reoffending. We found that three classes of psychotropic medications were associated with substantial reductions in violent reoffending: antipsychotics, a 42% reduction; psychostimulants, 38%; and drugs used in addictive disorders, a 52% reduction. The magnitudes of these associations were as strong as and possibly stronger than those for widely disseminated psychological programs in prison. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Cannabis, Schizophrenia / 27.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Stine Mai Nielsen Copenhagen University Hospital Mental Health Center Copenhagen Gentofte, Denmark MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Several studies have tested whether use of substances can cause schizophrenia. However due to methodological limitations in the existing literature, uncertainties still remains. We aimed to investigate the association between several types of substance abuses and the risk of developing schizophrenia later in life. We did a nationwide, prospective cohort study using the detailed Danish registers, which enabled us to address some of the limitations from prior findings. Our cohort consisted of more than 3.13 mio. individuals, that we were able to follow up for more than 104 mio. years at risk. We found that dealing with a substance abuse increased the overall risk of developing schizophrenia by 6 times, with abuse of cannabis and alcohol presenting the highest associations (5 and 3 times increased risk). The risk was found to be significant even 10-15 years prior to a diagnosis of substance abuse. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Education, Lancet, Pediatrics / 26.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Tony Charman Chair in Clinical Child Psychology King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) Department of Psychology PO77, Henry Wellcome Building De Crespigny Park Denmark Hill London MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The study is a follow-up of a treatment trial on which we have previous reported. In the original Preschool Autism Communication Trial (PACT), 152 children aged 2-4 with autism were randomised to receive the 12 month early intervention or treatment as usual. The type of early intervention used in this study focuses specifically on working with parents. Through watching videos of themselves interacting with their child and receiving feedback from therapists, parents are able to enhance their awareness and response to their child’s unusual patterns of communication; they become better able to understand their child and communicate back appropriately in a focused way. Parents take part in 12 therapy sessions over 6 months, followed by monthly support sessions for the next 6 months. In addition, parents agree to do 20-30 minutes per day of planned communication and play activities with the child. The study published today is the follow-up analysis of the same children approximately 6 years after the end of treatment. The main findings are that children who had received the PACT intervention aged 2-4 had less severe overall symptoms six years later, compared to children who only received ’treatment as usual’ (TAU) with improved social communication and reduced repetitive behaviours, although no changes were seen in other areas such as language or anxiety. These findings on an international recognised and blind rated observational measure of autism symptoms were accompanied by improvements in children’s communication with their parents for the intervention group, but no differences in the language scores of children. Additionally, parents in the intervention group reported improvements in peer relationships, social communication and repetitive behaviours. However, there was no significant difference between the two groups on measures of child anxiety, challenging behaviours (eg, conduct/oppositional disorder) or depression. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, JAMA, Pediatrics / 24.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Roger Zemek, MD, FRCPC Associate Professor, Dept of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine, Clinical Research Chair in Pediatric Concussion University of Ottawa Director, Clinical Research Unit Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Ottawa, ON MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Concussion remains a major public health concern in children. Approximately 30% of affected children experience persistent post-concussive symptoms (PPCS) for at least one month post-injury. These symptoms may negatively impact their health related quality of life. Examples may include cognition, memory and attention affecting school attendance and performance, mood and social engagement, as well as physical performance. Prior to this study, there was little evidence that examined the relationship between PPCS and quality of life following concussion. This was important to better understand in order to provide appropriate interventions, expectation management and ultimately a better standard of care to affected patients and their families. (more…)
Author Interviews, Bipolar Disorder, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics, Schizophrenia / 21.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Merete Nordentoft DrMSc Professor, chief Psychiatrist University of Copenhagen Mental Health Centre Copenhagen MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We knew that children born to parents with mental illness had an increased risk for developing a mental disorder them selves, either the same disorder as their parent or another menal disorder. We also knew that some of these children would have pootrt motor function and other difficulties in functioning. However previous studies were smaller, they were not based on a representative sample, and children were at different age. That is the background for The Danish High Risk and Resilience Study-VIA 7, in which a large group of 522 children and their families were thoroughly assessed. The children were seven year old, and 202 had a parent who had schizophrenia, 120 had a parent with bipolar disorder and 200 had parent with neither of these disorders. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, JAMA, Neurological Disorders / 20.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr David Lynch MB, MRCPI Leonard Wolfson Clinical Fellow UCL Institute of Neurology Queen Square, London MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In 2011 it was discovered that mutations in a gene called CSF1R cause a rare syndrome of early onset dementia often accompanied by movement disorders, spasticity and seizures, which is named adult onset leukoencephalopathy with axonal spheroids (ALSP). The hallmarks of ALSP are a characteristic appearance on MRI imaging and findings in brain pathological specimens - axonal swellings or 'spheroids'. We manage a multidisciplinary group with expertise in leukoencephalopathies and have previously identified patients with mutations in CSF1R. However, we also found patients with a syndrome typical of ALSP who did not carry mutations in CSF1R. In this study, we showed that some of these patients carry recessive mutations in a different gene, AARS2. This included a patient with characteristic axonal spheroids in brain tissue and typical ALSP clinical and imaging features. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Hormone Therapy, JAMA, Prostate Cancer, University of Pennsylvania / 15.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kevin T. Nead, MD, MPhil Resident, Radiation Oncology Perelman School of Medicine Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Androgen deprivation therapy is a primary treatment for prostate cancer and works by lowering testosterone levels. There is a strong body of research suggesting that low testosterone can negatively impact neurovascular health and function. We were therefore interested in whether androgen deprivation therapy is associated with dementia through an adverse impact on underlying neurovascular function. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, JAMA, Schizophrenia / 14.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Panagiotis (Panos) Roussos, MD, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences and Department of Psychiatry Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology Friedman Brain Institute Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai The Leon and Norma Hess Center for Science and Medicine New York, NY 10029 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Schizophrenia is a complex neuropsychiatric illness and multiple genetic risk factors contribute to the disease. However, it is unclear how these genetic risk factors act and which molecular functions are affected in brain cells of patients with schizophrenia. In this study, we used neurons derived from pluripotent stem cells of patients with schizophrenia and control samples with no history of neuropsychiatric disease. We identified changes related to the way DNA transcribes (a.k.a. gene expression) in schizophrenia compared to controls during activation of the neurons. These changes affect genes that have been genetically associated with schizophrenia. Our study provides evidence that multiple genetic risk factors might lead to schizophrenia because of a damaging effect on the activity of neurons. (more…)
Author Interviews, Columbia, JAMA, Mental Health Research, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 13.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alan S. Brown, M.D., M.P.H. Professor of Psychiatry and Epidemiology Columbia University Medical Center Director, Program in Birth Cohort Studies, Division of Epidemiology New York State Psychiatric Institute  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Maternal use of antidepressants during pregnancy has been increasing.  A previous study from a team that I led in a national birth cohort in Finland showed that mother’s use of a serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressant is related to an increased risk of depression in offspring.  We sought to evaluate whether these medications also increased risk of speech/language, scholastic, and motor outcomes in offspring.  We found an increased risk (37% higher risk) of speech/language disorders in offspring of mothers exposed to SSRIs in pregnancy compared to mothers who were depressed during pregnancy but did not take an SSRI during pregnancy. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, End of Life Care, Geriatrics, JAMA / 12.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joan M. Teno, MD, MS Department of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence University of Washington Medicine Seattle, Washington MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: An important challenge for our health care system is effectively caring for persons that high-need, high-cost — persons afflicted with advanced dementia and severe functional impairment are among these persons, with substantial need and if hospitalized in the ICU and mechanically ventilated are high cost patients, who are unlikely to benefit from this level of care and our best evidence suggest the vast majority of persons would not want this care. In a previous study, we interviewed families of advance dementia with 96% starting the goals of care are to focus comfort. Mechanical ventilation in some cases may be life saving, but in cases such as those with advanced dementia and severe functional impairment, they may result in suffering without an improvement in survival. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Genetic Research, PNAS / 12.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Magdalena Sastre PhD Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medicine Senior Lecturer Imperial College London MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disorder, affecting over 45 million people around the world. Currently, there are no therapies to cure or stop the progression of the disease. Here, we have developed a gene therapy approach whereby we delivered a factor called PGC-1α, which regulates the expression of genes involved in metabolism, inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain of transgenic mice. This factor is also involved in the regulation of energy in the cells, because it controls the genesis of mitochondria and in the generation of amyloid-β, the main component of the neuritic plaques present in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients. We have found that the animals with Alzheimer’s pathology treated with PGC-1α develop less amyloid plaques in the brain, perform memory tasks as well as healthy mice and do not have neuronal loss in the brain areas affected by the disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Cognitive Issues, Depression, Pediatrics / 12.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elizabeth Osuch, M.D. Associate Professor; Rea Chair Department of Psychiatry FEMAP--London Health Sciences Centre London, ON    MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: As a researcher and psychiatrist doing clinical work in youth aged 16-25 with mood and anxiety disorders I often see patients who are depressed and believe that using marijuana (MJ) improves their mood.  Yet they remain depressed.  This was the clinical inspiration for this brain imaging study, where we investigated emerging adults with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).  Subject groups included patients with MDD who did and did not use MJ frequently.  Our results showed that the MDD+MJ group did not have significantly less depression than the MDD alone group, and the brain abnormalities found in MDD were not corrected by MJ use in the MDD+MJ group.  In fact, some of the brain differences were worse with the addition of MJ, while others were just different. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pharmacology, Schizophrenia / 10.10.2016

Antony Loebel, M.D. Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Sunovion, Head of Global Clinical Development for Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma GroupAntony 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? Response: Lurasidone hydrochloride (HCl) is an atypical antipsychotic approved by the FDA for the treatment of schizophrenia in 2010. There are a number of publications on lurasidone studies, pooled data that were included in a network meta-analysis of RCTs in schizophrenia. The meta-analysis compares lurasidone with other antipsychotics using RCTs where both medications were studied at the same time. Such approach (meta-analysis of similarly designed trials) allows for a state of the art review of efficacy, safety and tolerability of medications where direct head-to-head trials are not available. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Genetic Research, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 10.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Tamara Shiner MD PhD Specialist in Neurology Neurology Division Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Centre MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Although in the past believed to be sporadic, there is much emerging evidence for a significant genetic contribution to Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Hetrozygosity for common mutations in the GBA gene have been shown to be more frequent among DLB patients and Parkinson's disease patients than in the general population. We found that GBA mutations are in fact exceptionally frequent among Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) patients with Dementia with Lewy bodies. Our results indicate that one in three of all Ashkenazi DLB patients carry mutations in this specific gene (compared to approximately 6% in the general Ashkenazi Jewish population). We also found that those who carry these mutations have a more severe disease phenotype. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Mental Health Research, Pharmacology / 09.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Antony Loebel, M.D. Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Sunovion, Head of Global Clinical Development for Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma GroupAntony 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? Response: Early predictors of subsequent clinical response are important in the treatment of depression, since 6-10 weeks of treatment are often required before full antidepressant response may occur. Early identification of patients who are unlikely to eventually achieve a response permits clinicians to intervene early to adjust the dose of medication, or switch to an alternative therapy. Multiple studies in major depressive disorder (MDD, unipolar) have reported that early improvement at 2 weeks is significantly predictive of treatment response at 6-8 weeks.The most common early improvement criterion is a 20-25% reduction in the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) or the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) scores1-6. Major depressive disorder with mixed features (MDD-MF) has recently been recognized as a diagnostic subtype in DSM-5. No research we are aware of has examined the predictive value of early improvement in patients diagnosed with MDD-MF. The aim of the current post-hoc analysis was to evaluate the value of early improvement in the MADRS or the Clinical Global Impressions, Severity (CGI-S) scale as predictors of response to lurasidone in patients with MDD-MF. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 06.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Laurie Miller Brotman, PhD Bezos Family Foundation Professor of Early Childhood Development Director, Center for Early Childhood Health and Development Department of Population Health NYU Langone Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Children attending high-poverty schools are often exposed to an accumulation of stressors and adverse childhood experiences that can interfere with optimal mental health and learning. This study examines mental health and academic outcomes through second grade in nearly 800 Black and Latino children who participated in a randomized controlled trial of ParentCorps--a family-centered, school-based intervention in pre-kindergarten. In the original trial, elementary schools with pre-k programs serving primarily Black and Latino children from low-income families were randomized to receive ParentCorps or standard pre-k programming. ParentCorps includes professional development for pre-k and kindergarten teachers on family engagement, social-emotional learning, and behavioral regulation, and a program for families and pre-k students provided over four months at the school by specially trained pre-k teachers and mental health professionals. ParentCorps creates a space for families to come together, reflect on their cultural values and beliefs, and set goals for their children. Parents learn a set of evidence-based strategies and choose which ones fit for their families—such as helping children solve problems and manage strong feelings, reinforcing positive behavior, setting clear rules and expectations, and providing effective consequences for misbehavior. Teachers and parents help children learn social, emotional and behavioral regulation skills such as identifying feeling sad, mad, or scared, calming bodies during stressful situations, paying attention, and solving problems together. This three year follow-up study finds that ParentCorps as an enhancement to pre-k programming in high-poverty schools results in fewer mental health problems (behavioral and emotional problems) and better academic performance through second grade. (more…)
Author Interviews, Bone Density, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Mineral Metabolism, Pediatrics / 06.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alexis Jamie Feuer MD Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics Weill Cornell Medical College MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Osteoporosis is a debilitating disorder characterized by low bone density and increased risk of fractures. Adolescence and young adulthood are critically important times for accruing peak bone density and failure to obtain adequate bone mass by early adulthood may result in future osteoporosis. In children, the use of certain medications can lead to a decrement in the acquisition of bone mass. Past studies have shown that stimulant medications, such as those used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), may slow the rate of linear growth in children. To date, little research has been done to see what effects stimulant use may have on bone density and bone accrual in children. Stimulants exert their effects via activation of the sympathetic nervous system, and as there is mounting evidence that indicates the sympathetic nervous system plays a critical role in the acquisition of bone density, we sought to determine if there is any association between stimulant medication use and bone mass in the pediatric population. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Karolinski Institute, Mental Health Research / 05.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gustaf Brander Department of Clinical Neuroscience Karolinska Institutet MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is believed to be caused by a complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors. Whereas genetic studies are well underway, the research on environmental factors has been lagging behind. As they explain a significant portion of the variance, are potentially malleable, and are essential for understanding how the genetic component works, this area of research is of great importance. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Journal Clinical Oncology, Lung Cancer / 05.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Donald R. Sullivan, M.D., M.A. Assistant Professor, Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine Oregon Health & Science University Investigator, VA Portland Health Care System MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There is an inextricably link between physical and mental health, and all too often clinicians focus solely on the physical components of disease. A life-threatening diagnosis such as cancer often evokes significant psychological distress and lung cancer patients are at significantly risk. Up to 44% of lung cancer patients experience depression symptoms and 5-13% major depressive disorder, higher than most other cancers. Previous studies have demonstrated the development of depression or depression symptoms at lung cancer diagnosis can increase patient mortality, but there is a paucity of research exploring how longitudinal changes in depression symptoms impact patient outcomes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cognitive Issues, Education, Lancet, Leukemia, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 04.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yin Ting Cheung, PhD Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Control and Noah D Sabin, MD Department of Diagnostic Imaging St Jude Children's Research Hospital Memphis, TN MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Long-term survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) who are treated with high-dose intravenous methotrexate or intrathecal chemotherapy are at risk for neurocognitive impairment, particularly in cognitive processes such as processing speed, attention and executive function. However, many children who receive these therapies do not experience significant impairments, suggesting the need for biomarkers to identify patients at greatest risk. Prior research from our team demonstrated that, during chemotherapy, patients were at risk for white matter changes in the brain, also known as leukoencephalopathy. No studies documented the persistence or impact of brain leukoencephalopathy in long-term survivors of childhood ALL treated on contemporary chemotherapy-only protocols. In this study, we included prospective neuroimaging from active therapy to long-term follow-up, and comprehensive assessment of brain structural and functional outcomes in long-term survivors of ALL treated with contemporary risk-adapted chemotherapy. We demonstrated that survivors who developed leukoencephalopathy during therapy displayed more neurobehavioral problems at more than 5 years post-diagnosis. Moreover, these survivors also had reduced white matter integrity at long-term follow-up, and these structural abnormalities were concurrently associated with the neurobehavioral problems. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Depression, JCEM, Menopause, Sleep Disorders / 28.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Hadine Joffe, MD, MSc Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School Vice Chair for Psychiatry Research Director of Division of Women's Mental Health / Dept of Psychiatry / Brigham and Women’s Hospital Director of Psycho-Oncology Research / Dept of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care /Dana Farber Cancer Institute www.brighamwharp.org MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We conducted this study to advance our understanding about causes of mood disturbance in the menopause transition that are specifically related to menopause. We used an experimental model to dissect out the contributions of hot flashes and sleep disturbance from contribution of changing levels of estrogen because hot flashes, sleep problems, and estrogen fluctuations co-occur and are difficult to distinguish from one another. Understanding whether hot flashes and/or sleep disturbance are causally related to mood disturbance will help us identify who is at risk for mood changes during the menopause transition. This is incredibly important now that we are finding effective non-hormonal treatments for hot flashes and sleep disruption. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Genetic Research, Kidney Disease, Nature / 28.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof Adrian S. Woolf Chair, Professor of Paediatric Science University of Manchester, UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Several years ago, Laurent Fasano discovered that the Drosophila teashirt gene was needed to pattern the body of embryonic flies. He then found that this transcription factor had three similar genes in mammals. Working with Adrian Woolf in the UK, they found that Teashirt-3 (Tshz3) was needed in mice to make muscle form in the ureter When the gene was mutated, mice were born with ureters that were 'blown-up' and they failed to milk urine from the kidney with the bladder. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Memory, University Texas, Weight Research / 27.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ursala. H. Winzer-Serhan Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics Texas A&M Health Science Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Nicotine is a plant alkaloid that is naturally occurring in the tobacco plant. Smoking delivers nicotine to the brain where it acts as a stimulant. Tobacco and electronic cigarette smoking delivers many other chemicals to the body, which are harmful and can cause cancer. However, the drug nicotine by itself is relatively benign and poses few health risks for most people. Nicotine acts in the brain on nicotinic receptors, which are ion channels that are widely expressed in the brain. They play an important role in cognitive functions. Research with rodents and in humans has shown that nicotine can enhance learning and memory, and furthermore, can protect neurons during injuries and in the aging brain. With the increasingly older population, it becomes more and more important to delay cognitive decline in the elderly. Right now, there is no drug available that could delay aging of the brain. (more…)
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Brain Injury, Depression, JAMA / 26.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ricardo E. Jorge  MD Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Director Houston Translational Research Center for TBI and Stress Disorders Senior Scientist  Beth K. and Stuart C. Yudofsky Division of Neuropsychiatry Michael E DeBakey VA Medical Center Baylor College of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Depressive disorders affect between one-third and one-half of patients with traumatic brain injury. Once established, these disorders are difficult to treat and frequently follow a chronic and refractory course. Depression has a deleterious effect on TBI outcomes, particularly affecting the community reintegration of TBI patients. In this randomized clinical trial that included 94 adult patients with TBI, the hazards for developing depression for participants receiving placebo were about 4 times the hazards of participants receiving sertraline treatment. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Mental Health Research, University of Michigan / 25.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Katherine J. Gold, MD MSW MS Department of Family Medicine Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation; Depression Center University of Michigan With co-authors Louise B. Andrew MD JD; Edward B. Goldman JD; Thomas L. Schwenk MD MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: It is common knowledge that physicians are often hesitant to seek care for mental health concerns. Knowing that female physicians have increased rates of both depression and suicide, we surveyed female physicians who were mothers and who participated in a closed FaceBook group about their mental health, treatment, and opinions about licensing. More than 2100 U.S. physicians responded, representing all specialties and states. Almost half of participants reported that at some point since medical school they had met criteria for a mental illness but didn’t seek treatment. Reasons included feeling like they could get through without help (68%), did not have the time (52%), felt a diagnosis would be embarrassing or shameful (45%), did not want to ever have to report to a medical board or hospital (44%), and were afraid colleagues would find out (39%). Overall, 2/3 identified a stigma-related reason for not seeking help. Almost half reported prior diagnosis or treatment, but just 6% of these women stated they had disclosed this to a state medical board on a licensing application, though states vary on what information they require be disclosed. (more…)
Author Interviews, Memory, Scripps / 23.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ron L. Davis, PhD Professor and Chair Department of Neuroscience Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: While calcium’s importance for our bones and teeth is well known, its role in neurons—in particular, its effects on processes such as learning and memory—has been less well defined. Our new study, published in the journal Cell Reports, offers new insights how calcium in mitochondria—the powerhouse of all cells—can impact the development of the brain and adult cognition. Specifically, we show in fruit flies, a widely used model system, that blocking a channel that brings calcium to the mitochondria called “mitochondrial calcium uniporter” causes memory impairment but does not alter learning capacity. That surprised us – we thought they wouldn’t be able to learn at all. This is important because defects in the same calcium channel function have been shown to be associated with intellectual disability in humans. (more…)
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Brain Injury, Depression, JAMA / 21.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ricardo E. Jorge MD Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Director Houston Translational Research Center for TBI and Stress Disorders Senior Scientist Beth K. and Stuart C. Yudofsky Division of Neuropsychiatry Michael E DeBakey VA Medical Center Baylor College of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Depressive disorders affect between one-third and one-half of patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Once established, these disorders are difficult to treat and frequently follow a chronic and refractory course. Depression has a deleterious effect on TBI outcomes, particularly affecting the community reintegration of TBI patients. In this randomized clinical trial that included 94 adult patients with TBI, the hazards for developing depression for participants receiving placebo were about 4 times the hazards of participants receiving sertraline treatment. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Depression, JAMA, Pediatrics / 21.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Laura P. Richardson, MD, MPH Interim Chief | Division of Adolescent Medicine Director | UW Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH) Program Professor | UW Department of Pediatrics Seattle Children's | University of Washington MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Adolescent depression is one of the most common mental health conditions during adolescence. Up to one in five adolescents experience an episode of major depression by age 18. Depressed youth are at greater risk of suicide, dropping out of school and poor long-term health. Treatments, including medications and psychotherapy, have been proven to be effective but most depressed teens don’t receive any treatment. Two years ago, we showed that the Reaching Out to Adolescents in Distress (ROAD) collaborative care model (a.k.a. Reach Out 4 Teens) designed to increase support and the delivery of evidence-based treatments in primary care was effective in treating depression in teens, significantly improving outcomes. We ran a randomized clinical trial at nine of Group Health’s primary care clinics and reported effectiveness results in JAMA. The current paper represents the next step in this work, examining the cost-effectiveness of collaborative care for adolescent depression in our intervention sample of 101 adolescents with depression, ages 13-17 years. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Biomarkers, JAMA, NIH, Pediatrics / 21.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Yong Cheng, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow NIH MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of neurodevelopmental disorders which affect about 1 in 68 children in the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is an important moderator in neurodevelopment and neuroplasticity, and studies have suggested the involvement of BDNF in ASD. Although some clinical studies show abnormal expression of BDNF in children with ASD, findings have been inconsistent. Therefore, we undertook a systematic review of the scientific literature, using a meta-analysis to quantitatively summarize clinical data on blood BDNF levels in children with ASD, compared with healthy peers. (more…)