Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Memory / 04.12.2014

Joshua Sandry, Ph.D. Neuropsychology & Neuroscience Research Kessler Foundation, West Orange, NJ Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Rutgers New Jersey Medical SchoolMedicalResearch.com Interview with Joshua Sandry, Ph.D. Neuropsychology & Neuroscience Research Kessler Foundation, West Orange, NJ Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Sandry: We were interested in better understanding the relationship between cognitive reserve and long-term memory impairment in moderate to severe Traumatic Brain Injury, from a cognitive perspective. The theory of cognitive reserve suggests that individuals who engage in intellectually enriching activities may be less susceptible to the negative cognitive consequences of long-term memory impairment that often accompanies neurological disorders. There’s significant evidence in support of cognitive reserve; however, it’s somewhat unclear what particular cognitive processes are involved in this relationship and how those cognitive processes may differ across high and low reserve individuals. We derived our predictions on the basis of well-established cognitive theory and found that working memory capacity partially mediates the cognitive reserve – long-term memory relationship in Traumatic Brain Injury. Or to put it another way, working memory may be one underlying cognitive process involved in this relationship. Importantly, this finding corroborates some recent related work we have conducted in multiple sclerosis. (more…)
Cognitive Issues, Sleep Disorders / 30.11.2014

Daniel Sternberg PhD. Data Scientist at LumosityMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniel Sternberg PhD. Data Scientist at Lumosity Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Sternberg: We were interested in examining how lifestyle factors such as sleep, mood and time of day impact cognitive game play performance. We analyzed game play performance data on Lumosity tasks from more than 60,000 participants and found that performance on the tasks designed to challenge memory, speed, and flexibility peaked in the morning, while performance on tasks designed to challenge aspects of crystallized knowledge such as arithmetic and verbal fluency peaked in the afternoon. Overall, game performance for most tasks was highest after seven hours of sleep and with positive moods, though performance on tasks that challenged crystallized knowledge sometimes peaked with less sleep. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Johns Hopkins, Mental Health Research / 28.11.2014

Daniel Safer MD Department of Psychiatry Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore, Maryland Medicalresearch.com with: Daniel Safer MD Department of Psychiatry Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore, Maryland Medical Research: What is the nature of this study? Dr. Safer: A large national sample of annual physician office-based visits by youth (aged 2-19) covering 12 years (1999-2010), focusing on trends in psychiatric DSM-IV diagnoses, with psychiatric diagnostic data analyzed proportionally comparing diagnoses that were subthreshold (not otherwise specified) with those that met full diagnostic criteria. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, PLoS / 26.11.2014

Dr. Marcus Povitz MD Department of Community Health Sciences University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Adjunct Professor and Clinical Fellow Western University Department of Medicine, Western University, London, Ontario, CanadaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Marcus Povitz MD Department of Community Health Sciences University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Adjunct Professor and Clinical Fellow Western University Department of Medicine, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Povitz: Both depression and obstructive sleep apnea are important causes of illness and have overlapping symptoms. Both feature poor quality sleep, difficulty with concentration and memory as well as daytime sleepiness or fatigue. Previous research showed that depression is common in individuals with sleep apnea, but studies investigating the effect of treating sleep apnea on depressive symptoms have had conflicting results. Our study combined the results of all randomized controlled trials of participants who were treated for sleep apnea with CPAP or mandibular advancement devices where symptoms of depression were measured both before and after treatment. We found that in studies of individuals without a lot of symptoms of depression there was still a small improvement in these symptoms after treatment with CPAP or mandibular advancement device. In 2 studies of individuals with more symptoms of depression there was a large improvement in symptoms of depression. (more…)
Addiction, Mental Health Research / 26.11.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Melissa Anne Elin Authen Weibell Consultant Psychiatrist Helse Stavanger HF Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Weibell: Little is known about the effect of different patterns of substance use on outcomes in first-episode psychosis and the few studies that exist are often cross-sectional and heterogeneous. This new study investigated different patterns of substance use in an epidemiological first-episode psychosis (FEP) sample longitudinally, with the hypothesis that continuous use would predict poorer outcomes compared to never users or stop users. The study included 301 patients aged 16-65 with first episode non-affective psychosis included (1997-2001) from three separate catchment areas in Norway and Denmark. Four patterns of substance use were defined; never used (153 patients), persistent use(43), completely stopped use having previously used (36), and on-off use (48) during the first 2-years of follow-up. 184 patients were followed up at 10 years and compared on symptom levels and remission status. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Weight Research / 26.11.2014

Nicolas Cherbuin PhD ARC Future Fellow - Director of the NeuroImaging and Brain Lab Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing Research School of Population Health - College of Medicine Biology and Environment Australian National UniversityMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nicolas Cherbuin PhD ARC Future Fellow - Director of the NeuroImaging and Brain Lab Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing Research School of Population Health - College of Medicine Biology and Environment Australian National University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Cherbuin: A number of modifiable risk factors for cognitive aging dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have been identified with a high level of confidence by combining evidence from animal research and systematic reviews of the literature in humans that summarise the available findings without focusing on extreme findings that come about from time to time in research. One such risk factor is obesity for which we have previously conducted a systematic review (Anstey et al. 2011). This showed that obesity is associated with a two-fold increased risk of dementia and a 60% increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. What was surprising is that this effect was only detectable for obesity in middle age but not old age. This might suggest that the obesity only has an adverse effects on brain health earlier in life and that this effect fades at older ages. This is unlikely because a number of animal studies have shown that the biological mechanisms linking obesity with brain pathology do not disappear with older age but in fact appear to increase. Moreover, human studies show that thinking abilities decline faster in obese individuals. An alternative explanation is that human epidemiological studies investigating this question in older individuals include participants who do not have clinical dementia but in whom the disease is developing. Since dementia and Alzheimer’s disease pathology is associated with weight loss it is possible that estimated effects in humans have been confounded by this issue. Another possible confounder is that older people tend to lose muscle mass (sarcopenia) this may lead to the paradoxical condition in aging where a person has a normal weight but has excessive fat mass. Since it is fat tissue that is linked to risk to cerebral health it may have led to the apparently contradictory findings that obesity may not be a risk in older age. It is therefore of great interest to clarify whether obesity in early old age in individuals free of dementia is associated with poorer cerebral health. The hippocampus is one of the structures most sensitive stressors. Because obesity is known to lead to a state of chronic inflammation which is deleterious to the hippocampus, it was a logical structure to investigate. Moreover, the hippocampus is needed for memory function and mood regulation and is directly implicated in the dementia disease process. This study investigated 420 participants in their early 60s taking part in a larger longitudinal study of aging taking place in Canberra, Australia and who underwent up to three brain scans over an 8-year follow-up. These individuals were free of dementia and other neurological disorders. Associations between obesity and shrinkage of the hippocampus were investigated with longitudinal analyses which controlled for major confounders. The main findings were that overweight and obese participants had smaller volume of the hippocampus at the start of the study. In addition, the hippocampus shrunk more in these individuals over the follow-up period. (more…)
Aging, Memory, NYU, Weight Research / 24.11.2014

Stephen D. Ginsberg, Ph.D., Associate Professor Departments of Psychiatry and Physiology & Neuroscience New York University Langone Medical Center Center for Dementia Research Nathan Kline Institute Orangeburg, NY  10962MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stephen D. Ginsberg, Ph.D., Associate Professor Departments of Psychiatry and Physiology & Neuroscience New York University Langone Medical Center Center for Dementia Research Nathan Kline Institute Orangeburg, NY  10962 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Ginsberg: We tested the hypothesis that long-term calorie restriction positively alters gene expression within the hippocampus, a critical learning and memory area vulnerable in aging and Alzheimer’s disease. To test this hypothesis, we conducted experiments on female mice that were given food pellets 30% lower in calories than what was fed to the control group. The mice ate fewer calories derived from carbohydrates. Analyses were performed on mice in middle and old age to assess any differences in gene expression over time. Our data analysis revealed that the mice that were fed a lower calorie diet had fewer changes in approximately 900 genes that are linked to aging and memory. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, University of Pittsburgh, Weight Research / 23.11.2014

Michele D. Levine Ph.D. Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic Department of Statistics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PAMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michele D. Levine Ph.D. Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic Department of Statistics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PA Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Levine: Many women quit smoking as a result of pregnancy.  However, psychiatric disorders, which are prevalent among smokers can contribute to weight gain.  Thus, we sought to examine the relationship between maternal psychiatric disorders and gestational weight gain in a sample of pregnant former smokers. Results from the present study demonstrate that the rates of psychiatric disorders were high among pregnant former smokers and that more than half of women gained more weight than recommended by the IOM.  Although a history of having had any psychiatric disorder was not associated with gestational weight gain, a history of alcohol use disorder specifically was positively related to gestational weight gain. (more…)
Author Interviews, Memory, Nature / 23.11.2014

Vijay Ramanan, PhD Indiana University Center for Neuroimaging (CfN) Department of Radiology Indianapolis, IN 46202MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Vijay Ramanan, PhD Indiana University Center for Neuroimaging (CfN) Department of Radiology Indianapolis, IN 46202 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Ramanan: Impairment in episodic memory is one of the first clinical deficits in early Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia.  Among other examples, this might be reflected as an inability to recall an article recently read or as difficulty remembering what one had for dinner last night.  Unfortunately, the genetic and environmental mechanisms underlying these deficits are not fully understood.  Our goal was to discover new genes and pathways underlying memory performance to help identify potential drug targets for protecting against and ultimately reversing memory loss in dementia and normal aging. Through studying a large representative sample of older Americans, we discovered a variant (single nucleotide polymorphism or SNP) in the FASTKD2 gene associated with better memory performance and replicated this finding in independent samples.  We then integrated additional data to extend our understanding of the effect of this SNP.  For example, we know that the hippocampus is a vital brain structure for encoding and retrieving memories and it is well-understood that decreased hippocampal volume is a key early marker of Alzheimer’s disease and one that can be measured noninvasively through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).  We predicted that this new memory-protective SNP would be associated with increased hippocampal volume and this turned out to be true.  We also discovered that carriers of this memory-protective SNP exhibited lower levels of proteins involved in cell death in the cerebrospinal fluid bathing the brain and spinal cord, a striking finding given that FASTKD2 encodes a protein that appears to promote apoptosis (i.e., programmed cell death).  Together, these convergent findings are consistent with a neuroprotective effect of this novel SNP discovery.  More broadly, our results nominate FASTKD2 and its functional pathways as potential targets for modulating neurodegeneration to combat memory loss in older adults. (more…)
Memory, Sleep Disorders, University of Pennsylvania / 22.11.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jennifer Choi Tudor, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow Ted Abel Lab Department of Biology 10-17 Smilow Center for Translational Research Philadelphia, PA 19104 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Tudor: We (Dr. Tudor, Dr. Abel, and colleagues) are interested in better understanding the molecular changes that occur with sleep deprivation.  Previously, we found that the expression of over 500 genes changes with sleep deprivation and that many of the genes were involved with protein synthesis.  Upon further investigation, we found that 5 hours of sleep deprivation impairs protein synthesis in the hippocampus, a brain region critical for memory.  This impairment is due to changes in mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling and eukaryotic initiation factor 4E binding protein 2 (4EBP2) is critical to this process.  When we boosted levels of 4EBP2 in the hippocampus, mice that were sleep deprived were resistant to the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation on memory. (more…)
Cognitive Issues, Heart Disease / 17.11.2014

Dr. T. Jared Bunch, M.D Medical Director for Heart Rhythm Services Intermountain Healthcare network.MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. T. Jared Bunch, M.D Medical Director for Heart Rhythm Services Intermountain Healthcare network. Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Bunch: Approximately 5 years ago we found that atrial fibrillation was associated with all forms of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.  At that time we did not know the mechanisms behind the association.  One hypothesis that we had was brain injury in patients with atrial fibrillation is in a spectrum, large injuries result in strokes and repetitive small injuries result in dementia.  In this regard, we anticipated that anticoagulation effectiveness and use may impact dementia risk.  Early this year we published in HeartRhythm Journal that atrial fibrillation patients with no history of dementia that have used warfarin, but had high percent times outside of the therapeutic range were much more likely to develop dementia.  We gained some insight from this trial in that we saw much higher risks of the patients were either over or under anticoagulated. Amongst our atrial fibrillation patients using warfarin nearly one third are also taking aspirin, typically due to the presence of coronary artery disease or a prior myocardial infarction. We hypothesized since these patients were using two agents that increase risk of bleed that over anticoagulation with warfarin may be an even great risk for dementia.  This is was we found.  The patients over anticoagulated greater than 30 percent of the time were nearly 2 and a half times more likely to develop dementia compared to those that were over anticoagulated less that 10 percent to the time. (more…)
Author Interviews, Eating Disorders, Nature / 17.11.2014

Pietro Cottone, Ph.D. Associate Professor Departments of Pharmacology and Psychiatry Laboratory of Addictive Disorders Boston University School of Medicine Boston, MA 02118MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Pietro Cottone, Ph.D. Associate Professor Departments of Pharmacology and Psychiatry Laboratory of Addictive Disorders Boston University School of Medicine Boston, MA 02118 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Cottone: Binge-eating disorder affects over ten million people in the USA and it is characterized by excessive consumption of junk food within brief periods of time, accompanied by loss of control, uncomfortable fullness and intense feelings of disgust and embarrassment. Increasing evidence suggests that binge-eating disorder can be regarded as an addiction behavior. Memantine, a neuroprotective drug which blocks the glutamatergic system in the brain, is an Alzheimer's disease medication, and it has been shown potential to treat a variety of addictive disorders. We first developed a rodent model of binge eating by providing a sugary, chocolate diet only for one hour a day, while the control group was given the standard laboratory diet. Rats exposed to the sugary diet rapidly develop binge eating behavior, observed as a 4 fold increase in food intake compared to controls. Furthermore, binge eating rats are willing to work to a much greater extent to obtain just the cue associated with the sugary food (not the actual food), as compared to controls. In addition, binge eating subjects exhibit compulsive behavior by putting themselves in a potentially risky situation in order to get to the sugary food, while the control group obviously avoids that risk. We then tested whether administering memantine could reduce binge eating of the sugary diet, the strength of cues associated with junk food as well as the compulsiveness associated with binge eating. In addition, we studied which area of the brain was mediating the effects of memantine, by injecting the drug directly into the brain of binge eating rats. Our data show that memantine was able to block binge eating of the sugary diet, the willingness to work to obtain a cue associated with junk food, as well as the risky behavior of rats when the sugary diet was provided in a potentially unsafe environment. When we injected the drug directly into the nucleus accumbens of rats, they stopped binge eating. Importantly, the drug had no effects in control rats eating a standard laboratory diet. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Circadian Rhythm, Cognitive Issues, Metabolic Syndrome, Occupational Health / 04.11.2014

Dr. Philip Tucker Department of Psychology | Yr Adran Seicoleg College of Human and Health Sciences | Coleg y Gwyddorau Dynol ac lechyd Swansea University | Prifysgol Abertawe Singleton Park | Parc Singleton Swansea | Abertawe  Medical Research: What is the background for this stuMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Philip Tucker Department of Psychology | Yr Adran Seicoleg College of Human and Health Sciences | Coleg y Gwyddorau Dynol ac lechyd Swansea University | Prifysgol Abertawe Singleton Park | Parc Singleton Swansea | Abertawe Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Tucker: Shift work, like jet-lag, is known to disrupt workers’ normal circadian rhythms (i.e. their body clocks) and their social life. It is also associated with greater risk of developing ulcers, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, breast cancer and reproductive problems. Several studies have also shown that shift workers experience heightened fatigue and sleepiness, particularly at night, and this may affect job performance and safety. However, very little is known about the long-term consequences of shift work on cognitive abilities. We followed a large sample of shift workers and non-shift workers over 10 years, testing their cognitive performance every 5 years. We found that the shift workers’ cognitive performance was lower than that of the day workers.  The difference was greatest for those who had worked shifts for more than 10 years. The shift workers’ cognitive function recovered after they quit shift work, but this recovery took at least 5 years from time that they stopped working shifts. The effects could not be attributed to poorer sleep quality among shift workers. Rather, it seems likely that the findings reflect the disruption of the shift workers’ circadian rhythms, which as been shown by other researchers to have an impact on brain structures involved in cognition and mental health over the lifespan. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, JAMA / 03.11.2014

dr_stefan_hansenMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stefan Nygaard Hansen PhD Student, MSc Stat Section for Biostatistics Department of Public Health Aarhus University Denmark Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Response: The main finding of our study is that 60% of the observed increase in autism prevalence among children born 1980-1991 in Denmark can be explained by changes in the way diagnoses are established and changes in the subsequent registration to national health registries. In 1994, the diagnostic criteria used by clinicians to establish psychiatric diagnoses was changed. This meant the recognition of autism as a spectrum of disorders but it also meant changes in the specific symptoms that form the basis of the autism diagnosis. In 1995, the national health registries in Denmark, which are often used in Danish health research, began to also include diagnoses given in connection with outpatient consultations whereas before 1995 only diagnoses given in connection with hospitalization was reported to the registries. This could mean that we after 1995 see more of the mild autism diagnoses since they may not require hospitalization. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, McGill, Mental Health Research / 03.11.2014

Frank J. Elgar, PhD Associate Professor of Psychiatry Canada Research Chair in Social Inequalities in Child Health Institute for Health and Social Policy, McGill University Montreal, Quebec, CanadaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Frank J. Elgar, PhD Associate Professor of Psychiatry Canada Research Chair in Social Inequalities in Child Health Institute for Health and Social Policy, McGill University Montreal, Quebec, Canada Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Elgar: Our study addressed two questions. The first was whether cyberbullying has unique links to adolescent mental health, or is an extension of traditional (face-to-face) bullying. We measured various forms of bullying and found that cyberbullying does indeed have a unique impact on mental health. Our second question about protective factors in the home environment.  We examined the frequency of family dinners as potential a moderating factor - understanding, of course, that dinners are a proxy of various family characteristics that benefit adolescents, such as communication, support, and parental monitoring. We found that teens who were targeted by cyberbullying but had ate dinner with their families more often had significantly better mental health outcomes as a result. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Psychological Science / 30.10.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Lorenza S. Colzato, Assistant Professor and Dominque Lippelt, Research Master Student Cognitive Neuroscience ResearchProgram Leiden, The Netherlands Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our study aimed to investigate whether prior meditation experience could modulate the effect of two types of meditation on two aspects of creative thought. Creativity can be thought of as consisting of two main ingredients: Convergent thinking (finding one solution to a defined problem) and divergent thinking (finding many possible solutions to a problem). In a previous study we found that Open Monitoring meditation and Focused Attention meditaton (FAM) have distinguishable effects on creativity. OMM induces a control state that promotes divergent thinking while Focused Attention meditaton does not improve convergent thinking. Our results confirm and extend these findings. Open Monitoring meditation improved performance on a divergent thinking task, while Focused Attention meditaton did not, and these effects were present in both experienced and novice practitioners, suggesting that one does not have to have many years of meditation experience to benefit from its effects. However, while solving convergent thinking problems experienced practitioners tended to solve more problems through insight as opposed to using an analytical strategy, a way of problem solving that bears similarities to divergent thinking. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Sleep Disorders / 29.10.2014

Christian Benedict PhD Associate Professor of Neuroscience Uppsala University Dept. of NeuroscienceMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christian Benedict PhD Associate Professor of Neuroscience Uppsala University Dept. of Neuroscience   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Answer: Our study involved ~1500 men who were followed from 1970 to 2010. All participants were 50 years old at the start of study. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Answer: Men with reports of sleep disturbances had a 50%-higher risk to develop Alzheimer's disease during the 40-year follow-up period, than men without reports of sleep disturbances. (more…)
Author Interviews, Memory, Mental Health Research / 28.10.2014

Scott A. Small, MD Boris and Rose Katz Professor of Neurology Division of Aging and Dementia Director, Alzheimer's Disease Research Center Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain Department of Neurology, Columbia University New York, New YorkMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Scott A. Small, MD Boris and Rose Katz Professor of Neurology Division of Aging and Dementia Director, Alzheimer's Disease Research Center Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain Department of Neurology, Columbia University New York, NY Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Small: Previous work, including from my lab, had shown that changes in a specific part of the brain—the dentate gyrus—are associated with age-related memory decline. Until now, however, the evidence in humans showed only a correlational link, not a causal one. To see if the dentate gyrus is the source of age-related memory decline in humans, we tested whether compounds called cocoa flavanols can improve the function of this brain region and improve memory. Flavanols extracted from cocoa beans had previously been found to improve neuronal connections in the dentate gyrus of mice. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Cognitive Issues, JAMA, UCSF / 27.10.2014

Raquel C. Gardner, MD, Research Fellow San Francisco VA Medical Center Clinical Instructor Memory and Aging Center, Department of Neurology University of California, San FranciscoMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Raquel C. Gardner, MD, Research Fellow San Francisco VA Medical Center Clinical Instructor Memory and Aging Center, Department of Neurology University of California, San Francisco Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Gardner: We found that people who experience a  traumatic brain injury (TBI )when they are 55 or older have a 26% higher chance of getting dementia over the next 5 to 7 years compared to people who experience bodily trauma. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Gender Differences, NIH / 27.10.2014

Dr. Sunni Mumford PhD Earl Stadtman Investigator in the DESPR Epidemiology Branch Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Health and Human DevelopmentMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Sunni Mumford PhD Earl Stadtman Investigator in the DESPR Epidemiology Branch Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Health and Human Development Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Mumford: Depressive symptoms in healthy women who don’t have diagnosed clinical depression isn’t related to reproductive hormone levels, like estrogen, or impaired ovulation. Medical Research: What was most surprising about the results? Dr. Mumford: Earlier research indicates that changes in estrogen may be associated with depression, for instance during the menopausal transition. Our study identified significant associations between estrogen and depressive symptoms in models that didn’t account for confounding factors, but this relationship was completed eliminated when adjustments were made for common confounding factors like age, race, BMI, and also stress level in these premenopausal women. Another interesting finding was that a score describing mood-related menstrual symptoms indicated that such symptoms are highest in the premenstrual phase, but remain lower throughout the rest of women’s cycles. This tells us that altered mood symptoms are most frequent prior to menstruation. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Heart Disease / 24.10.2014

  MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Pranas Serpytis Vilnius University Hospital Santariskiu Clinic Vilnius, Lithuania  Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?  Professor Serpytis: The main findings of the study were that women are more likely to develop anxiety and depression after acute myocardial infarction. In our study depression was assessed by HADS scale: no depression (0-7 score), possible depression (8-10 score), definite depression (11+ score). The mean score of assessing depression were 6.87 (± 4.6) among men and 8.66 (± 3.7) among women (p <.05). Cardiovascular disease risk factors such as smoking increases patients anxiety levels, and low physical activity is associated with an increased risk to suffer from depression.  Medical Research: What was most surprising about the results?  Professor Serpytis: Most surprising about the results were that for women it is indeed more difficult to cope with the disease rather than for men. Women’s anxiety and depression rates are higher.  Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?  Professor Serpytis: Clinicians and patients should look after the possible symptoms and if needed refer the patients for psychologist or psychiatrist consultation in order get proper timely treatment. This could possibly improve the long-term treatment results.  Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?  Professor Serpytis: Most definitely more research is needed in this field. Most importantly it is crucial to look for the impact of depression on the long-term effects on survival and general well-being.   Citation:   Women more likely to develop anxiety and depression after heart attack Acute Cardiovascular Care Association (ACCA) of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and takes place 18-20 October in Geneva, Switzerland.MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Pranas Serpytis Vilnius University Hospital Santariskiu Clinic Vilnius, Lithuania Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Professor Serpytis: The main findings of the study were that women are more likely to develop anxiety and depression after acute myocardial infarction. In our study depression was assessed by HADS scale: no depression (0-7 score), possible depression (8-10 score), definite depression (11+ score). The mean score of assessing depression were 6.87 (± 4.6) among men and 8.66 (± 3.7) among women (p <.05). Cardiovascular disease risk factors such as smoking increases patients anxiety levels, and low physical activity is associated with an increased risk to suffer from depression. (more…)
Author Interviews, Bipolar Disorder, JAMA, Schizophrenia / 23.10.2014

Glenn T. Konopaske, MD McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School Boston, MassachusettsMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Glenn T. Konopaske, MD McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School Boston, Massachusetts Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Konopaske: Using postmortem human brain tissue this study did reconstructions of basilar dendrites localized to pyramidal cells in the deep layer III of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Tissue from individuals with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or controls was examined. Dendritic spine density (number of spines per μm dendrite) was significantly reduced in bipolar disorder and also reduced in schizophrenia at a trend level. The number of dendritic spines per dendrite and dendrite length were significantly reduced in subjects with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 23.10.2014

Karl Ole Köhler, Research assistant  Department of Clinical Medicine The Department of General Psychiatry Aarhus UniversityMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Karl Ole Köhler, Research assistant Department of Clinical Medicine The Department of General Psychiatry Aarhus University   Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Response:  We found that anti-inflammatory drugs and ordinary analgesics, which mainly are used against physical disorders, may have treatment effects against depression when used in combination with antidepressants. Thereby, our results furthermore support the hypothesis regarding a comorbidity between inflammatory diseases and depression, i.e. a connection between somatic and mental disorders. (more…)
Cognitive Issues, Menopause, Obstructive Sleep Apnea / 22.10.2014

Chitra Lal, MD. Assistant Professor Medical University of South CarolinaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Chitra Lal, MD. Assistant Professor Medical University of South Carolina     Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Lal: We studied the prevalence of cognitive problems in early postmenopausal women (age 45-60 years) with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS+) and without obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS-) using a questionnaire called the Mail-In Cognitive Function Screening Instrument (MCFSI). We found that the mean MCFSI scores after adjusting for depression were significantly higher in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome+ then the OSAS- group, indicating more self-reported cognitive difficulty in OSAS+ women (more…)
Author Interviews, Bipolar Disorder, Genetic Research, Nature / 21.10.2014

Edward I. Ginns, MD, PhD, Director Program in Medical Genetics and Lysosomal Disorders Treatment and Research Program University of Massachusetts Medical School Reed Rose Gordon Building, Room 137 Shrewsbury, MA 01545MedicalResearch.com: Interview with: Edward I. Ginns, MD, PhD, Director Program in Medical Genetics and Lysosomal Disorders Treatment and Research Program University of Massachusetts Medical School Reed Rose Gordon Building, Room 137 Shrewsbury, MA 01545 Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Ginns: Our study identified that sonic hedgehog signaling, an important brain pathway, is involved in bipolar affective disorder. This finding shows a mechanism and provides new targets for drug development. It suggests that sonic hedgehog signaling can be modulated to help manage bipolar symptoms in adults by using drugs already being studied in clinical trials for other medical conditions. The new findings were uncovered by decades of translational research in the Old Order Amish families of Pennsylvania, where in a few special families in the Amish Study there is a high incidence of both bipolar disorder and a rare genetic dwarfism, Ellis van‐Creveld (EvC) syndrome. No person with EvC had bipolar disorder despite forty years of documented research across multiple generations, suggesting that the genetic cause of this rare dwarfism was protective of bipolar affective disorder. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dartmouth, Mental Health Research / 18.10.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: John A. Naslund, MPH – PhD Student at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH Stuart W. Grande, PhD, MPA – Post–doctoral fellow at The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Naslund: In this study we explored whether people with severe mental illness such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorder, use a popular social media website like YouTube to naturally provide and receive peer support. We found that people with severe mental illness use YouTube to feel less alone and to find hope, to support and to defend each other, and to share personal stories and strategies for coping with day-to-day challenges.   Dr. Grande: They also sought to learn from the experiences of others about using medications and seeking mental health care.  YouTube appears to serve as a platform that helps these individuals to overcome fears associated with living with mental illness, and it also creates a sense of community among them. (more…)
ADHD, Author Interviews / 17.10.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joanna Martin, PhD student MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, Cardiff University School of Medicine, Cardiff Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Response: In this study, we found that genetic risks which are collectively important for ADHD diagnosis also predict higher levels of traits of hyperactivity/impulsiveness, inattention and  pragmatic language difficulties in childhood in the general population. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Mental Health Research / 15.10.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Phil Tully PhD Early Career Research Fellow, Discipline of Medicine University of Adelaide Australia and Abteilung für Rehabilitationspsychologie und Psychotherapie Institut für Psychologie, Universität Freiburg Freiburg Germany Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Response: The systematic review indicated that anxiety disorders ascertained by clinical interview are highly prevalent in patients with verified coronary heart disease. Also, approximately 50% of anxiety disorders were comorbid with depression. There was however some uncertainty in prevalence estimates with high level heterogeneity observed between studies. It was also evident that studies measuring generalized anxiety disorder in outpatient samples reported an increased prognostic risk for major adverse cardiac events in the longer term, when adjusted for confounding factors, however there was limited data. There were no randomized controlled trials targeting anxiety disorders in this population. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 09.10.2014

Bret R Rutherford, MD Assistant Professor ,Clinical Psychiatry Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Division of Geriatric Psychiatry New York State Psychiatric Institute New York, NY 10032MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bret R Rutherford, MD Assistant Professor ,Clinical Psychiatry Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Division of Geriatric Psychiatry New York State Psychiatric Institute New York, NY 10032 Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Rutherford: In this meta-analysis of 105 trials of acute antipsychotic drugs for schizophrenia, the placebo response was shown to be significantly increasing from 1960 to the present. Conversely, the treatment change associated with effective dose medication significantly decreased over the same time period. The average participant of a randomized clinical trial (RCT) receiving an effective dose of medication in the 1960s improved by 13.8 points in the BPRS, whereas this difference diminished to 9.7 BPRS points by the 2000s. The consequence of these divergent trends was a significant decrease in drug-placebo differences from 1960 to the present. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Schizophrenia / 09.10.2014

Christoph U. Correll, MD Professor of Psychiatry and Molecular Medicine Hofstra North Shore LIJ School of Medicine Medical Director, Recognition and Prevention (RAP) Program The Zucker Hillside Hospital Investigator Feinstein Institute for Medical Research North Shore Long Island Jewish Health SystemMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christoph U. Correll, MD Professor of Psychiatry and Molecular Medicine Hofstra North Shore LIJ School of Medicine Medical Director, Recognition and Prevention (RAP) Program The Zucker Hillside Hospital Investigator Feinstein Institute for Medical Research North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Correll: The main findings of the study of 398 patients with first-episode schizophrenia-spectrum disorders who were on average in their mid twenties are that:
  • 1) despite their young age, an average of only 47 days lifetime antipsychotic exposure and overweight/obesity figures that were comparable to similarly aged US population members, there was a clear pattern of increased smoking and several metabolic risk parameters compared to similarly aged persons in the general US population;
  • 2) dyslipidemia, a constellation of at least one relevant abnormal blood fat value, was as frequent as in a 15-20 years older general US population;
  • 3) body composition related risk markers were significantly associated with longer total psychiatric illness duration, whereas metabolic risk markers were significantly associated with the overall very short mean lifetime antipsychotic treatment duration; and
  • 4) relevant for treatment choice and recommendations for patients, significantly higher continuous metabolic risk factor values were associated with olanzapine treatment and, less so, with quetiapine treatment. (more…)