Author Interviews, Mental Health Research / 26.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yoshinori SUGIURA Ph.D. Associate Professor Hiroshima University Graduate School of Integrated Arts and Sciences Behavioural Sciences Section Higashi-Hiroshima, Japan  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Lengthy worrying or repeated checking if the door is locked are common manifestations of anxiety in the general population. However, if their frequency, intensity, and interference become too much, they are diagnosed as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) respectively. People with OCD are tortured by repeatedly occurring negative thinking and they take some strategy to prevent i. GAD is a very pervasive type of anxiety. GAD patients worry about everything. Despite their burden, both are relatively difficult to treat. Furthermore complicated, as they are two different disorders, mental health professionals have to master separate strategies. To overcome such situation, transdiagnostic research, which seeks common causes for different disorders, is now eagerly pursued by psychologists/psychiatrists. As one of such endeavors, we predicted that inflated responsibility is the common predictor of both OCD and GAD symptoms. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 25.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lauren Breithaupt, PhD Department of Psychology George Mason University Fairfax, Virginia  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Our study provides novel insight into the relationship between the immune system and eating disorders characterized by chronic restriction (e.g., anorexia nervosa) and binge eating and/or purging (e.g., binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa). These findings also add to the growing body of literature linking the immune systems broadly and mental disorders. We found that infections in early childhood were associated with an increased risk of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and other eating disorders such as binge eating disorder in adolescence. These relationships appear to be both time and dose-dependent, meaning that the onset of eating disorder diagnosis is greatest in the first three months following the infection, and the more infections, the greater the risk.    (more…)
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research / 25.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "xIMG_6547" by platycryptus is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0 Yaakov Hoffman, PhD. Senior Lecturer and Clinical Psychologist Interdisciplinary Department of Social Sciences Max & Anna Webb St. Ramat-Gan, Israel, 5290002   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Foundation: This study was conceptualized during a conversation we had, namely, Dr. Yaakov Hoffman, Interdisciplinary department of social sciences, Bar Ilan University, and Professor Menachem Ben-Ezra School of Social Work, Ariel University, following the release of the Antman movie. We are both psychologists who are also avid Marvel  superhero fans. In this meaningful conversation we discussed the issue of fear of insects which led to the idea that positive exposure to phobic stimuli (exposure to spider or ants) within the context of Marvel superheroes will lead to robust reduction in phobic symptoms. As most of the conventional treatments for specific phobias use exposure to the phobic stimuli in neutral contexts, we thought that framing the exposure in a positive fun, albeit fantasy context would yield robust results, as well as perhaps reducing stigma. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Education, Mental Health Research / 16.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lina Begdache, PhD, RDN, CDN, CNS-S, FAND Assistant Professor Health and Wellness Studies Department GW 15 Decker School of Nursing Binghamton University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: College students engage in activities such as binge drinking, abuse of ADHD medications as "study drugs" or use of illicit drugs during a critical brain developmental window that supports maturation of the brain (the prefrontal cortex) necessary for emotional control, cognitive functions and regulation of impulsive behaviors. These activities not only affect brain function, thus mental health and cognitive functions, but may dampen brain development with potential long-lasting effects. As for findings, we were able to identify neurobehavioral patterns that associate with mental wellbeing and mental distress in young adults. Based on evidence from the literature, we constructed conceptual models that describe how one behavior may lead to another until virtuous or vicious cycles set-in.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Mental Health Research, Vanderbilt / 16.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lauren Gaydosh, PhD Assistant Professor Center for Medicine, Health, and Society Public Policy Studies Vanderbilt University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Several years ago, life expectancy at birth in the United States declined, and this decline has continued every year since. Part of the cause underlying this decline is that midlife mortality – deaths among those 45-54 – has been rising. This increase in midlife mortality has been attributed by some to the “deaths of despair” – a cluster of causes of death including suicide, drug overdose, and alcohol-related disease - and has been most pronounced among middle-aged white adults with a HS degree or less. In our research, we wanted to better understand the indicators of despair that would be predictive of these causes of death. Things like depression, substance use, and suicidal ideation. And study them in individuals before the period of elevated risk of death – in other words, before they reached middle age. Our goal was to evaluate whether these markers of despair were rising for a younger cohort, and whether this pattern was isolated to white adults with low education. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Occupational Health, Social Issues / 08.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Hefei Wen, PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Health Management & Policy University of Kentucky College of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Work requirements condition Medicaid eligibility on completing a specified number of hours of employment, work search, job training, or community service. Little is known about how behavioral health and other chronic health conditions intersect with employment status among Medicaid enrollees who may be subject to work requirements. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Genetic Research, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Schizophrenia / 03.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof Sabine Bahn MD PhD MRCPsych FRSB Cambridge Centre for Neuropsychiatric Research Jakub Tomasik, PhD Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology University of Cambridge   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Schizophrenia patients are at increased risk of impaired glucose metabolism, yet the comorbidity between the two conditions cannot be fully explained by known risk factors such as obesity, smoking, stress or antipsychotic medication. Previous family and genome-wide studies have suggested that the co-occurrence between schizophrenia and impaired glucose metabolism might be due to shared genetic factors, as exemplified by increased risk of diabetes in first-degree relatives of schizophrenia patients, but the biological mechanisms underlying this association remain unknown. We examined the association between insulin resistance, schizophrenia polygenic risk and response to treatment in 58 drug-naive schizophrenia patients and 58 matched healthy individuals while controlling for a range of demographic (age, gender, body mass index), lifestyle (smoking, alcohol and cannabis use) and clinical (psychopathology scores, treatment drug) factors. We found that insulin resistance, a key feature contributing to the development of type 2 diabetes, significantly correlated with schizophrenia polygenic risk score in patients, with higher genetic risk of schizophrenia associated with increased insulin resistance. Furthermore, we found that patients with higher insulin resistance were more likely to switch medication during the first year of treatment, which implies lower clinical response.  (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 28.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Madeleine Liljegren, MD Division of Oncology and Pathology Department of Clinical Sciences Lund University Lund, Sweden MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We know from former studies including patients with a clinical diagnosis of dementia, that criminal and socially inappropriate behaviors can be signs of dementia, sometimes even the first signs of a neurodegenerative disorder. We wanted to study this relatively large (n=220) cohort of neuropathologically verified Alzheimer disease (AD) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) patients, who had been followed clinically by specialists in cognitive medicine or geriatric psychiatry during their disease period, to see if we could confirm results from previous studies. In this paper, we further wanted to study potential differences regarding protein pathology and criminal behavior in frontotemporal dementia patients. This has, to our knowledge, never been done before. (more…)
Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 28.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “air pollution, beijing” by 大杨 is licensed under CC BY 2.0Joanne B. Newbury, PhD ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow King’s College London Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience London, United Kingdom MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Urban living is one of the most well-established risk factors for adult psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. However, less is known about the role of the urban environment in subclinical psychotic experiences in childhood and adolescence, such as hearing voices and extreme paranoia. These early psychotic experiences are a developmental risk factor for adult psychotic disorders and a range of other serious mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. It is therefore important that we understand what factors might contribute to the development of early psychotic experiences so that we might be able to intervene and prevent their onset and progression. In a cohort of over 2000 UK-born children (The Environmental Risk Longitudinal Twin Study), we have previously shown that subclinical psychotic experiences are also around twice as common among children and teenagers raised in urban versus rural settings. We have also shown that this appears to be partly explained by social features in urban neighbourhoods such as higher crime levels and lower levels of social cohesion. However, no studies have examined the potential link between air pollution and psychotic experiences. This is despite air pollution being a major health problem worldwide (particularly in cities), and despite emerging evidence linking air pollution to the brain.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, JAMA, Mental Health Research, OBGYNE / 28.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jeremy Fine B.A. in Philosophy, Neuroscience, and Psychology Washington University in St. Louis, Class of 201 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Alongside increasingly permissive marijuana use attitudes and laws, the prevalence of marijuana use among pregnant mothers has increased substantially (by 75% between 2002 and 2016), with some evidence that pregnant women may be using cannabis to combat pregnancy-related nausea. Our data came from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study, which included over 4,000 subjects with data on maternal marijuana use during pregnancy. Our main finding was that the children of mothers who used marijuana after learning they were pregnant had a small but significant increase in risk for psychosis in their future. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Mental Health Research, OBGYNE, Psychological Science / 20.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with Haley Kranstuber Horstman, Ph.D. Department of Communication University of Missouri MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Miscarriage is a prevalent health concern, with one in five pregnancies ending in miscarriage, which is a pregnancy loss before 20 weeks’ gestation. Past research has shown that women who have miscarried often suffer mental health effects such as heightened grief, depression, loneliness, and suicidality. Although much of the research on coping with miscarriage has focused on women’s health, many miscarriages occur within romantic relationships and affect the non-miscarrying partner as well. Women in heterosexual marriages report that their husband is often their top support-provider. Past research has shown that husbands suffer with mental health effects after a miscarriage, sometimes for even longer than their wives, but are not often supported in their grief because miscarriage is a “woman’s issue” and they feel uncomfortable talking about it. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Health Care Systems, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 04.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mark S. Bauer, M.D. Professor of Psychiatry, Emeritus Harvard Medical School Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research VA Boston Healthcare System-152M Boston, MA 02130 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Collaborative Chronic Care Models (CCMs) have extensive evidence for their effectiveness in a wide variety of mental health conditions.  CCMs are frameworks of care that include several or all of the following six elements:  work role redesign for anticipatory, continuous care; self-management support for individuals in treatment; provider decision support; information system support for population-based and measurement-guided care; linkage to community resources; and organization and leadership support. However, evidence for Collaborative Chronic Care Model effectiveness comes almost exclusively from highly structured clinical trials.  Little is known about whether CCMs can be implemented in general clinical practice settings, and the implementation evidence that does exist derives primarily from studies of the CCM used in primary care settings to treat depression. We conducted a randomized, stepped wedge implementation trial using implementation facilitation to establish CCMs in general mental health teams in nine US Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers. We found that establishing Collaborative Chronic Care Models was associated with reduced mental health hospitalization rates and, for individuals with complex clinical presentations, improvements in mental health status.  Additionally, standardized assessment of team clinicians indicated that facilitation improved clinician role clarity and increased focus on team goals. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pharmacology / 01.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kuan-Pin Su, MD, PhD China Medical University Taichung, Taiwan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Delirium, also known as acute confusional state, is a serious disturbance in mental abilities that results in confused thinking and reduced awareness of the environment. Delirium can often be traced to one or more contributing factors, such as a severe or chronic illness, changes in metabolic balance (such as low sodium), medication, infection, surgery, or alcohol or drug intoxication or withdrawal. It’s critically important to identify and treat delirium because some of the contributing factors could be life-threatening. However, there is no sufficient evidence for choice of medication to treat or prevent the symptoms of delirium. A recent paper, Association of Delirium Response and Safety of Pharmacological Interventions for the Management and Prevention of Delirium A Network Meta-analysis, published in JAMA Psychiatry provides important findings of this missing piece in that important clinical uncertainty. The leading author, Professor Kuan-Pin Su, at the China Medical University in Taichung, Taiwan, concludes the main finding about treatment/prevention of delirium: “In this report, we found that the combination of haloperidol and lorazepam demonstrated the best option for treatment of delirium, while ramelteon for prevention against delirium.  (more…)
ADHD, Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics, Schizophrenia / 31.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Silvia Alemany, PhD first author Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), a centre supported by "la Caixa". In collaboration with co-authors: Philip Jansen,MD, MSc and Tonya White, MD, PhD Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Individuals affected by psychiatric disorders can demonstrate morphological brain abnormalities when compared to healthy controls. Although both genetic and environmental factors can account for these brain abnormalities, we expect that genetic susceptibility for psychiatric disorders has the greatest influence on the development of the brain. Genetic susceptibility for psychiatric disorders can be estimated at the individual level by generating polygenic risk scores. Using this methodology, genetic susceptibility to psychiatric disorders and cognition has been associated with behavior problems in childhood. These findings suggest that heritable neurobiological mechanisms are at play in very early in the course of the illnesses. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, JAMA, Mental Health Research, UCSF / 31.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christina Mangurian, MD MAS Professor Department of Psychiatry, Weill Institute for Neurosciences Center for Vulnerable Populations, University of California, San Francisco Veronica Yank, MD Assistant Professor Division of General Internal Medicine Department of Medicine University of California San Francisco MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This article is about the behavioral health and burnout consequences among physician mothers who are caring for seriously ill loved ones. Our work was inspired, in part, by some of the authors’ own experiences caring for loved ones with serious illnesses while also being physician mothers themselves.  We sought to determine the proportion of physician mothers with such caregiving responsibilities beyond their patients and children and the how these additional responsibilities affected the women’s health and practice. (more…)
Author Interviews, Duke, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics, Toxin Research / 23.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aaron Reuben, MEM Department of Psychology and Neuroscience Duke University, Durham, North Carolina MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? (1)  Study members with greater lead exposure in childhood tended to endorse more psychiatric symptoms when assessed for psychiatric disorders in adulthood (between 18 and 38 years of age).
  1. These individuals tended to report more internalizing (e.g., depression, anxiety) and thought disorder (e.g., OCD, schizophrenia, mania) symptoms.
  2. Compared to other findings from this sample, the associations reported in this article are similar to those reported for lead and IQ, and are stronger than those reported for lead and criminal offending.
    1. Informants who knew Study members well reported higher levels of difficult adult personality traits among Study members with greater lead exposure in childhood.
    2. Specifically, Study members with greater blood lead levels at age 11 were rated as more neurotic, less agreeable, and less conscientious by 38 years of age.
    3. These personality traits have been previously linked to a number of poor life outcomes, including greater psychopathology, worse physical health, less job satisfaction, and troubled interpersonal relationships
  3. Psychiatric problems related to lead exposure could be detected as early as 11 years of age. In the 1980’s, parents and teachers of children with higher blood-lead levels had described them as displaying more antisocial behavior, hyperactivity, and negative emotions (e.g., sadness, anxiety).
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Author Interviews, Depression, Dermatology, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 21.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Isabelle Vallerand, PhD Epidemiologist, MD Student Department of Community Health Sciences Cumming School of Medicine University of Calgary MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: It is well known that patients with alopecia areata, a form of autoimmune hair loss, are at a higher risk of suffering from depression than the general population. But in practice, we often hear patients tell us that they believe their hair loss developed as a result of stress or problems with mental health – certainly the phrase “so stressed your hair is falling out” is something most people have heard of. Despite this, there has actually been very little research investigating the role that mental health may have on development of alopecia areata. Interestingly, depression has recently been associated with increased systemic inflammatory markers, so there is biologic plausibility that depression could increase the risk of alopecia areata. Our group was interested in addressing this question, and used a large population-level health records database with up to 26 years of follow-up to study it. We ultimately found that not only does depression increase one’s risk of alopecia areata, but that it increases their risk by nearly 90% compared to people who have never had depression. We also found that using antidepressants can significantly decrease the risk of developing alopecia areata in patients with depression. So there appears to be an important link between mental health and development of hair loss from alopecia areata. (more…)
Author Interviews, Global Health, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics, UCLA, Zika / 21.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Karin Nielsen-Saines, MD, MPH Professor of Clinical Pediatrics Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Our study used a very simple evaluation called GMA (General Movement Assessment tool) which checks baby movements at approximately 3 to 5 months of age. We examined 111 babies exposed to maternal illness during the Zika epidemic in Brazil and 333 control babies without this exposure by GMA at 3 months  and then tested them through standard neurodevelopmental tests at the age of 12 months. We found that this simple evaluation, which consists of filming a baby lying down on their back for one minute and studying their movements worked extremely well in predicting which babies would or would not have future problems in their neurodevelopment. The study advances knowledge in the area because a simple one minute video of a baby can predict neurodevelopment, something that is extremely hard to determine in young babies.  This is true even in places where sophisticated brain scans are available. By identifying which babies are at risk of developmental problems early on, professionals can rapidly refer these babies to  stimulation programs when they are very young, which increases their chances of having better outcomes. Because the brains of young children respond much better  to stimulation, the timing of interventions to improve their development is very important, that is why they need to be identified early. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Mental Health Research / 21.01.2019

gambling addictionAn addiction to gambling can be an isolating ordeal that causes havoc among someone’s personal relationships, destroys personal finances, and exacerbates any mental health issues that a person may have. Addiction is rarely an isolated incident. Typically there are many factors at play that can manifest themselves in the form of gambling. By tackling these underlying causes one can treat their addiction and eliminate the toxic habits that created it. In addition to confronting this by oneself, it is important for those who suffer from this to confide in those close to them as well as seeking advice from their doctor. One major issue brought on by any kind of addiction is the sense of alienation that someone can experience. This is where it is important for them to open up to those who are close to them, like a loved one or a close friend. It will help alleviate the burden of struggling alone and will help others to understand what they are going through. Getting in touch with self-help groups can be another means of alleviating the feelings of alienation that addicts can experience while they are treating their compulsive gambling. This provides an outlet for an addict to express what they are going through while simultaneously getting the perspective of others who have struggled in a similar fashion. One of the most important steps to take is the very first one. That is to be able to admit that there is a problem with gambling. Once this has been done, the problem becomes tangible and the addiction can be confronted directly. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Chemotherapy, Menopause, Mental Health Research / 02.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nicole J. Gervais, Ph.D. Postdoctoral fellow | Einstein lab University of Toronto, Department of Psychology Toronto, ON  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) including letrozole are given as an adjuvant therapy for postmenopausal women with hormone receptor positive breast cancer. Women taking this drug have reported a number of symptoms including hot flashes, memory complaints and mood changes. However, not all studies report memory issues. This might be due to the fact that studies in this population are hampered by confounds, such as chemotherapy/radiotherapy, stress and disease stage, all of which can also adversely impact memory. These confounds make it challenging to observe the independent effects of AIs on memory. By using a non-human primate model, we were able to examine the effects of aromatase inhibition on these symptoms as well as brain function without these confounding effects. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cannabis, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 19.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sharon Levy, MD, MPH Director, Adolescent Substance Use and Addiction Program Boston Children's Hospital Associate Professor of Pediatrics Harvard Medical School  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: ​For this study we analyzed data that were collected as part of a larger survey study that recruited a sample of adolescents who were coming to the doctor's office for routine medical care.  We asked them a lot of questions about their health, school, extracurricular activities, plans for the future, substance use patterns and problems associated with use among other things. The main finding was that among the participants who reported marijuana use in the past year, many of them, more than 40%, said that they had experienced either an hallucination, or paranoia/anxiety related to their use. Kids who used more frequently and those who met criteria for a substance use disorder were more likely to experience these symptoms, as were those who had symptoms of depression (more…)
Author Interviews, Electronic Records, Mental Health Research / 18.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Katharine Phillips, M.D. Professor of Psychiatry DeWitt Wallace Senior Scholar Residency Research Director Department of Psychiatry Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University Attending Psychiatrist, New York-Presbyterian Hospital Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior Alpert Medical School of Brown University Weill Cornell Psychiatry Specialty Center Weill Cornell Medicine I NewYork-Presbyterian MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
  • Electronic prescribing of medication by clinicians is widespread; it is required in many institutions and in some states. Electronic prescribing systems commonly use computerized decision support algorithms that give prescribers automated warnings or alerts at the time of prescribing if the system identifies a potential prescribing error.
  • Some prior studies suggest that electronic prescribing warnings/alerts may reduce prescribing errors and thus can be clinically useful. However, other prior studies caution that these alerts may have substantial limitations.
  • Despite the importance of this topic, relatively few studies have examined the accuracy of automated prescribing warnings in electronic prescribing systems; to our knowledge, no prior study has focused primarily on prescribing of medications for psychiatric conditions.
  • This report presents results from a survey of members of the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology (ASCP), a specialty society that advances the science and practice of clinical psychopharmacology, regarding automated warnings generated by electronic prescribing systems.
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Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Social Issues / 26.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "USA - NY - City of New York Police VARIATION" by conner395 is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Jordan E. DeVylder, PhD Graduate School of Social Service Fordham University, New York, New York MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study is intended to address the lack of empirical research on police violence from a public health perspective. The main findings are that police violence is relatively widespread in Baltimore and New York City, is disproportionately directed toward people of color and sexual or gender minorities, and is associated with psychological distress, suicidal behavior, and psychosis-like symptoms. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lancet, Mental Health Research, PTSD / 16.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sanford Nidich, Ed.D. Director, Center for Social-Emotional Health Maharishi University of Management Research Institute Fairfield, Iowa MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a complex and difficult-to-treat disorder, affecting 10-20% of veterans across eras. Previous research raised the question of whether a non-trauma focused treatment can be as effective as trauma exposure therapy in reducing PTSD symptoms. The overall objective of the study was to compare Transcendental Meditation (TM), a non-trauma focused practice, to prolonged exposure (PE) in a non-inferiority clinical trial, and to compare both to a PTSD health education control group. Transcendental Meditation was found to be as effective as PE in reducing PTSD symptoms severity from baseline to three-month posttest. In standard superiority comparisons, significant reductions in PTSD symptoms were found for TM vs. HE, and PE vs. HE. Percentages of participants with clinically significant improvement, as measured by the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) interview (≥10 point reduction), were TM=61%, PE=42%, and HE=32%  (more…)
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Mental Health Research, NEJM, Vanderbilt / 24.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eugene Wesley Ely, M.D. Dr. E. Wesley Ely is a Professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine with subspecialty training in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Critically ill patients are not benefitting from antipsychotic medications that have been used to treat delirium in intensive care units (ICUs) for more than four decades, according to a study released today in the New England Journal of Medicine. Each year, more than 7 million hospitalized patients in the United States experience delirium, making them disoriented, withdrawn, drowsy or difficult to wake. The large, multi-site MIND USA (Modifying the INcidence of Delirium) study sought to answer whether typical and atypical antipsychotics — haloperidol or ziprasidone —affected delirium, survival, length of stay or safety. Researchers screened nearly 21,000 patients at 16 U.S. medical centers. Of the 1,183 patients on mechanical ventilation or in shock, 566 became delirious and were randomized into groups receiving either intravenous haloperidol, ziprasidone or placebo (saline). (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, NEJM / 23.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marc Lewis, Ph.D. Klingelbeekseweg Arnhem The Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: According to the brain disease model, addiction is a chronic disease brought about by changes in brain systems that mediate the experience and anticipation of reward and higher-order systems underlying judgment and cognitive control. Its proponents propose that these changes are driven by exposure to drugs of abuse or alcohol. The brain disease model is the most prevalent model of addiction in the Western world. The disease model's narrow focus on the neurobiological substrates of addiction has diverted attention (and funding) from alternative models. Alternatives to the brain disease model highlight the social-environmental factors that contribute to addiction and the learning processes that translate these factors into negative outcomes. Learning models propose that addiction, though obviously disadvantageous, is a natural, context-sensitive response to challenging environmental contingencies, not a disease. In this review I examine addiction within a learning framework that incorporates the brain changes seen in addiction without reference to pathology or disease.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Genetic Research, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 17.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Nicole Karcher, PhD Post-doctoral scholar with the NIMH Training in Clinical Sciences fellowship Department of Psychiatry Washington University School of Medicine   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: For over fifteen years, researchers have debated the role that cannabis use plays in the development of both psychotic disorders as well as subthreshold psychotic symptoms, such as psychotic-like experiences (PLEs). There is still a lack of consensus regarding the nature of the association between cannabis use and psychosis risk, with some research finding evidence for genetic overlap, while other research finds evidence for potentially causal pathways. The current study examined data from twins and siblings from two different samples, the U.S.-based Human Connectome Project and the Australian Twin Registry, with a total of 4,674 participants. Overall, psychotic-like experiences were associated with three separate cannabis use variables [frequent (≥100 times) use, a Cannabis Use Disorder diagnosis, and current cannabis use]. Furthermore, the current research found evidence for both shared genetic and individual-specific contributions to the association between PLEs and these three cannabis use variables. More specifically, while the association between cannabis use and psychotic-like experiences was largely attributable to shared genetic factors, cannabis users were more likely to endorse PLEs in comparison to the relative who used cannabis less.  (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Omega-3 Fatty Acids / 15.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “omega 3” by Khaldaa Photographer is licensed under CC BY 2.0Yutaka MATSUOKA, MD, PhD Division Chief of Health Care Research, Behavioral Sciences and Survivorship Research Group, Center for Public Health Sciences, National Cancer Center Japan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Anxiety is the most commonly experienced psychiatric symptom. We have now two major treatment options that include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and pharmacotherapy.  However, CBT is time-consuming, costly, and limited in availability. And there is concern over potential side effects in pharmacotherapy. Evidence-based and safer treatment options are required. Omega-3 fatty acids have potential preventive and therapeutic effects on depression and anxiety. Clinical and preclinical studies support the effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acids as a treatment for anxiety disorders. Despite the largely positive findings of these trials, the clinical application of the findings is unfortunately limited by their small sample size. Improvement in anxiety symptoms were associated with omega-3 fatty acids treatment compared with controls. The anxiolytic effects of omega-3 fatty acids were also stronger in patients with clinical conditions than in subclinical populations.  (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, University of Michigan / 10.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lauren B. Gerlach, D.O. Clinical Lecturer Department of Psychiatry University of Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  Response: In this study we used data from the Supporting Seniors Receiving Treatment and Intervention or SUSTAIN program. The program provides a supplement to a Pennsylvania medication coverage program for low-income older adults. It provides behavioral health and case management services by phone across the state. This included detailed interviews to screen for mental health issues including anxiety, depression, sleep issues, and pain, as well as analysis of prescription records and other clinical data. Among older adults prescribed a new benzodiazepine prescription by a non-psychiatric provider, we determined how many then went on to long-term use of the medication and what patient and clinical characteristics predicted long-term use over the following year. (more…)