Alzheimer’s: Antidepressants Increase Risk of Head and Traumatic Brain Injuries

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Heidi Taipale, PhD Pharm Senior Researcher School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland; and Department of Clinical Neuroscience Karolinska Institutet 

Dr. Taipale

Heidi Taipale, PhD Pharm
Senior Researcher
School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland; and
Department of Clinical Neuroscience
Karolinska Institutet 

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

Response: Antidepressant use among older persons has been associated with an increased risk of falling and fall-related events, such as hip fractures, in previous studies. Our previous study identified risk of hip fractures in antidepressant among persons with Alzheimer’s disease. As falling is the main causal factor for head traumas and traumatic brain injuries among older persons, we hypothesized that antidepressant use could also be associated with these injuries.

We utilized a nationwide cohort of 70,718 persons newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, identified from the Finnish registers. The risk of head injuries and traumatic brain injuries was compared between persons initiating antidepressant use and comparison persons of the same age, gender and time since they received diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease but not using antidepressants. We found a 40-percent increased risk of head injuries and 30-percent increased risk of traumatic brain injuries associated with antidepressant use. Antidepressant use was associated with a higher risk of head injuries especially at the beginning of use – during the first 30 days – but the risk persisted even longer, up to two years. The association was also confirmed in a study design comparing time periods within the same person, thus eliminating selective factors. Continue reading

Brain Imaging Confirms Boys and Girls Experience Depression Differently

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jie-Yu Chuang PhD Department of Psychiatry University of Cambridge Cambridge, United Kingdom

Dr. Jie-Yu Chuang

Jie-Yu Chuang PhD
Department of Psychiatry
University of Cambridge
Cambridge, United Kingdom 

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

Response: Men and women appear to suffer from depression differently, and this is particularly striking in adolescents. By 15 years of age, girls are twice as likely to suffer from depression as boys. There are various possible reasons for this, including body image issues, hormonal fluctuations and genetic factors, where girls are more at risk of inheriting depression. However, differences between the sexes don’t just involve the risk of experiencing depression. Men are more liable to suffer from persistent depression, whereas in women depression tends to be more episodic. Compared with women, depressed men are also more likely to suffer serious consequences from their depression, such as substance abuse and suicide. Despite this, so far, most researchers have focused on depression in women, likely because it is more common. As a result, we’d like to make people more aware of the sex difference issue in depression.

Continue reading

Study Helps Explains Why Dopamine Drugs Not Effective For Depression

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Robb B. Rutledge, PhD Max Planck University College London Centre for Computational Psychiatry  and Ageing Research University College London London, England

Dr. Rutledge

Robb B. Rutledge, PhD
Max Planck University College London Centre for Computational Psychiatry
and Ageing Research
University College London
London, England

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

Response: Depression is associated with deficits in how the brain responds to rewards, something the neurotransmitter dopamine is strongly implicated in.

Dopamine represents what is called a reward prediction error, the difference between experienced and predicted reward. This error signal is used for learning. For example, if the outcome of a decision is better than expected, you can update your expectations using this error signal and you should expect more next time. Previous research has shown that depression reduces these signals in the brain when people are learning about the world around them. We designed a task where participants did not have to learn anything during the experiment and we found that in this situation reward prediction error signals were not affected by depression. The signals we measured in the ventral striatum, a brain area with a lot of input from the dopamine neurons, looked the same in depressed and non-depressed individuals. We also found that the emotional impacts of reward prediction errors were similar in depressed and non-depressed individuals when we eliminated the need for learning during the task in both the lab and using a smartphone experiment with 1833 participants.

Continue reading

New Simultaneous Antidepressant and Benzodiazepine Use Relatively Common

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Greta A Bushnell, MSPH Doctoral Candidate, Department of Epidemiology UNC, Gillings School of Global Public Health

Greta Bushnell

Greta A Bushnell, MSPH
Doctoral Candidate, Department of Epidemiology
UNC, Gillings School of Global Public Health

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

Response: Patients with depression may be co-prescribed a benzodiazepine at antidepressant initiation for a short period for a variety of reasons. Reasons include reducing concurrent anxiety and insomnia, reducing depression severity more quickly, and improved antidepressant continuation. However, there are concerns with benzodiazepines including dependency. As such, benzodiazepines are usually recommended for only short-term treatment.

Prior to our study, little was known about a) how often new simultaneous antidepressant and benzodiazepine prescribing occurred among patients initiating antidepressant treatment for depression or b) whether new simultaneous users became long-term benzodiazepine users.

In a large commercial insurance database, we identified adults aged 18-64 years with depression who initiated an antidepressant from 2001 to 2014. We found that 11% of adults simultaneously initiated benzodiazepine treatment, which increased from 6% in 2001 to a peak at 12% in 2012. We observed similar antidepressant treatment length at six months in simultaneous new users and among patients initiating antidepressants only. The majority of simultaneous new users had only one benzodiazepine prescription fill before benzodiazepine discontinuation; however, 12% were identified as long-term benzodiazepine users.

Continue reading

Pain and Depression in ESRD- End Stage Renal Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kathy Aebel-Groesch, MSW,LCSW
Manager, Social Work Services
DaVita Inc.

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

Response: Chronic pain and depression can impact quality of life and adherence to treatment regimen among patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Previous research has demonstrated that patients with ESRD experience pain and depression more frequently than the general population. From 2016, CMS has required that all eligible ESRD patients are evaluated regularly for pain and depressive symptoms.

We assessed pain and depression symptom scores among patients of a large dialysis organization (LDO) over the period Mar-Oct 2016. Pain was assessed monthly by LDO nurses using the Wong-Baker pain scale (0-10). Depression screenings were conducted biannually by LDO social workers using the PHQ-2 (scale 0-6) and excluded patients with existing diagnosis of depression or bipolar disorder, cognitive impairment or language barrier, and those who were hospitalized or refused screening.

A total of 688,346 pain responses from 160,626 individual patients and 223,421 depression screening responses from 158,172 patients were considered. A score of 0 (no pain) was reported for 83.5% of pain responses and 65.7% of patients had a 0 score in all pain assessments. A score of 10 (most severe pain) was reported at least once during the study period by 3.0% of patients. Patients with a pain score of 10 were more frequently female (55%) and patients on peritoneal dialysis were less likely to have a pain score of 10 than those on other modalities. A depression score of 0 (patient answered “Not at all” to both “Little interest or pleasure in doing things” and “Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless”) was reported for 69.1% of all responses and 62.6% of patients had a 0 score in all assessments; 1.8% of patients had at least one score of 6 (patient responded “Nearly every day” to both questions) and 9.7% had at least one score of 3 or more. Patients with a score of 0 were more likely to be male vs. female, HHD vs. PD or ICHD, ≥ age 70 years.

The majority of ESRD patients did not report pain symptoms and, among those not excluded from screening due to an existing diagnosis of depression or other reason, the majority did not report symptoms of depression. However, routine assessment of pain and depression enables the timely identification of new or increased symptoms, thus allowing earlier implementation of interventions that may improve patient experience. The LDO has since revised its depression screening policy to remove diagnosis of depression from exclusion criteria and to administer the PHQ-9 to patients with a PHQ-2 score ≥ 3.

Continue reading

Acupuncture Therapy and Incidence of Depression After Stroke

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Chung-Yen Lu, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Sport and Health Management, Da-Yeh University, Changhua, Taiwan; Department of Chinese Medicine, Taipei Hospital, Ministry of Health and Welfare,
New Taipei, Taiwan 

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

Response: Post-stroke depression is a common mood complication of patients with stroke and may deteriorate motor function and cognitive function. Acupuncture therapy is an alternative and supplementary medical care often used worldwide. Previous studies have reported that acupuncture therapy for post-stroke depression may involve multiple therapeuticeffects including treating neurological disorders and physical disabilities following stroke, which are predictors of post-stroke depression. However, population-based evaluations on the association between acupuncture treatment and prevention of post-stroke depression are rare.  Continue reading

Microvascular Disease Linked To Late-Life Depression

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Miranda T. Schram PhD Associate professor Department of Medicine Maastrich

Dr. Schram

Miranda T. Schram PhD
Associate professor
Department of Medicine
Maastrich

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

Response: Late-life depression, also called vascular depression, is highly prevalent, recurrent and difficult to treat. Anti-depressants only relieve symptoms in about 50% of the patients. So we urgently need new treatment targets for this disease.

In this study we found that microvascular dysfunction, irrespective if you measure this by biomarkers in the blood or in the brain, is associated with an increased risk for depression. Moreover, we found evidence from longitudinal studies that microvascular dysfunction, at least of the brain, may actually be a cause of depression. To investigate this, we undertook a meta-analyses of data from over 40,000 individuals of whom over 9,000 had a depression.

Continue reading

LATUDA Phase 3 Study Demonstrates Improvement in Pediatric and Adolescent Bipolar Depression

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Antony Loebel, M.D. Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Sunovion, Head of Global Clinical Development Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Group

Dr. Loebel

Antony Loebel, M.D.
Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer
Sunovion, Head of Global Clinical Development
Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Group

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

In the six-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 347 children and adolescents (10 to 17 years of age) with bipolar depression received once-daily LATUDA flexibly dosed (20-80 mg/day) or placebo.The Phase 3 clinical study met its primary endpoint, showing statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in symptoms compared to placebo. LATUDA was generally well tolerated, with minimal effects on weight and metabolic parameters.

The primary efficacy endpoint was change from baseline to week 6 on the Children Depression Rating Scale, Revised (CDRS-R) total score. LATUDA was associated with statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in bipolar depression symptoms compared to placebo, based on CDRS-R total score (-21.0 vs. -15.3; effect size = 0.45; p<0.0001) and CGI-BP-S score for depression (-1.49 vs. -1.05; effect size = 0.44; p<0.001).

LATUDA also demonstrated statistically significant improvement on secondary efficacy endpoints.

The most common treatment-emergent adverse events reported for LATUDA compared to placebo were nausea (16% vs. 5.8%), somnolence (9.1% vs. 4.7%), weight gain (6.9% vs. 1.7%), vomiting (6.3% vs. 3.5%), dizziness (5.7% vs. 4.7%) and insomnia (5.1% vs. 2.3%). LATUDA was associated with no increases in fasting glucose or lipids, and minimal increase in mean weight vs. placebo (+0.74 kg vs. +0.44 kg).

Continue reading

Depressive Symptoms Not Found To Increase Risk of Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Archana Singh-Manoux, PhD Research Professor (Directeur de Recherche) Epidemiology of ageing & age-related diseases INSERM U1018, France Honorary Professor University College London, UK

Dr. Archana Singh-Manoux

Archana Singh-Manoux, PhD
Research Professor (Directeur de Recherche)
Epidemiology of ageing & age-related diseases
INSERM  France
Honorary Professor
University College London, UK 

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

Response: Depressive symptoms are common in dementia patients. Previous studies, based on older adults, show depressive symptoms in late life to be associated with an increased risk of dementia. These studies do not allow conclusions to be drawn on the causal nature of the association between depressive symptoms and dementia.

Continue reading

Vagus Nerve Stimulation Improved Treatment-Resistant Depression

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Scott T. Aaronson, M.D Psychiatrist, The Retreat at Sheppard Pratt Director of Clinical Research Sheppard Pratt Health System Baltimore, MD

Dr. Aaronson

Scott T. Aaronson, M.D
Psychiatrist, The Retreat at Sheppard Pratt
Director of Clinical Research
Sheppard Pratt Health System
Baltimore, MD

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

Response: This study is the largest ever conducted on patients with severe, chronic depression, a group typically ignored by clinical research in psychiatry. We looked at individuals who, on average, had received 8 unsuccessful treatment interventions in the past. These individuals were split into two groups and examined over five years. One group was given proven anti-depressant treatments (medications, psychotherapy, and/or electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)), and one group was given both anti-depressant treatments and VNS Therapy—an implantable, pacemaker-like device that stimulates the vagus nerve, which regulates mood in the brain.
• The study found that 67.9% of the VNS therapy group responded to treatment, compared to 40.9% of patients receiving treatment as usual. Importantly, the VNS therapy group reported responses earlier in treatment, and responses were sustained longer than those receiving treatment as usual.
• VNS therapy improved treatment effect in individuals whether they had unipolar or bipolar disorder, and whether or not they had responded to ECT in the past.

Continue reading