Allergan’s VRAYLAR (carprazine) Receives FDA Approval For Maintenance Treatment of Schizophrenia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. David Nicholson PhD EVP and Chief R&D Officer Allergan

Dr. Nicholson

Dr. David Nicholson PhD
EVP and Chief R&D Officer
Allergan

Discusses Allergan’s announcement that:
New Data Shows Long-Term VRAYLAR Therapy Delayed Time to Relapse Compared to Placebo Over the Course of up to 72 Weeks and has received FDA approval for the Maintenance Treatment of Schizophrenia

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this FDA approval?

Response: As many clinicians know, schizophrenia is among one of the most challenging mental health disorders to manage – due to the complexity of patient symptoms, varying response to treatment and high rates of relapse. Schizophrenia requires long-term medication management, and without maintenance treatment, 60 – 70% of schizophrenia patients relapse within one year.

The approval of Vraylar (carprazine) for the maintenance treatment of schizophrenia was based upon the results of a clinical trial, which found long-term cariprazine therapy delayed time to relapse compared to placebo over the course of up to 72 weeks.

MedicalResearch.com: What does this extended indication mean for people living with schizophrenia? 

Response: Schizophrenia affects about 2.4 million American adults, and there remains serious unmet needs in the treatment of schizophrenia. The differences in how patients with schizophrenia respond to treatment underscore the importance of having more treatment options available. With its proven efficacy and well-characterized safety profile, cariprazine provides another treatment option for patients and clinicians. This study demonstrates cariprazine efficacy in the long-term (i.e., maintenance) treatment of schizophrenia.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from this announcement?

Response: As a chronic disease and disabling disorder, schizophrenia requires long-term medication management. Cariprazine is a safe and effective treatment for schizophrenia in both the short and long-term management of the illness. 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add about this FDA approval and what it means for the mental health community?

Response: On behalf of Allergan as Chief Research & Development Officer at the company, we are pleased that the FDA has recognized the benefits of cariprazine for maintenance treatment of adults with schizophrenia. This approval demonstrates our continued investment in cariprazine, as well as our commitment to developing treatments that address unmet needs facing people living with mental illness. Additionally, VRAYLAR is also approved in the U.S. in adults for the acute treatment of schizophrenia and acute treatment of manic or mixed episodes of bipolar I disorder.

David Nicholson is the Chief R&D Officer, and has served in this role since March 2015. Dr. Nicholson joined the company (then Actavis) as Senior Vice President, Global Brands R&D in August 2014. He has been in research and development in the pharmaceutical industry since 1978.

Previously, he served as Chief Technology Officer and EVP, R&D for Bayer CropScience from March 2012 to August 2014; Senior Vice President of Licensing and Knowledge Management at Merck from 2009 to December 2011; and Senior Vice President, responsible for Global Project Management and Drug Safety at Schering-Plough from 2007 to 2009. From 1988 to 2007, Dr. Nicholson held various leadership positions at Organon, where he most recently served as Executive Vice President, R&D and was a member of the company’s Executive Management Committee.

Dr. Nicholson earned his B.Sc. from the University of Manchester and his Ph.D. from the University of Wales.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Allergan Receives FDA Approval For Use of VRAYLAR™ (cariprazine) in the Maintenance Treatment of Schizophrenia

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

 

 

 

 

 

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Associated With Educational Underachievment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ana Pérez-Vigil MD Department of Clinical Neuroscience Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Research Center Karolinska Institutet

Dr. Perez-Vigil

Ana Pérez-Vigil MD
Department of Clinical Neuroscience
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Research Center
Karolinska Institutet

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

Response: Everyone who regularly works with persons who have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has seen that their patients often struggle with school work. It is not uncommon for these individuals to have poor school attendance and severe patients can be out of the education system altogether. This applies to persons of all ages, from school children to young adults who may be at university.

On the other hand there is a group of patients who, against all odds, working 10 times as hard as everybody else, manage to stay in education and eventually get a degree. So we have long suspected that OCD has a detrimental impact on the person’s education, with all the consequences that this entails (worse chances to enter the labour market and have a high paid job). But we did not really know to what extent OCD impacts education. So we wanted to know what is the actual impact of OCD on educational attainment using objectively collected information from the unique Swedish national registers. Previous work had been primarily based on small clinical samples from specialist clinics, using either self or parent report and cross-sectional designs. Previous work also tended not to control for important confounders such as psychiatric comorbidity or familial factors (genetic and environmental factors that could explain both OCD and the outcomes of interest).

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Starting School Before 8:30 AM Associated With More Anxiety and Depression in Adolescents

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jack Peltz, Ph.D.

Clinical assistant professor in Psychiatry
Rochester Medical Center

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

Response: Approximately 90% of high-school aged adolescents get either
insufficient sleep during school nights or barely meet the required
amount of sleep (ie, 8–10 hours) expected for healthy functioning.(1)

In fact, sleep problems and insufficient sleep are so pervasive for
adolescents that they could be considered an epidemic due to their
adverse impact on adolescent mental and physical health.(2–5)

As a result,addressing insufficient adolescent sleep represents a critical
point of study and intervention. The growing body of evidence suggests
that later school start times (SST), 8:30 AM or later as recommended
by the American Academy of Pediatricians,6 convey
multiple benefits on adolescents, including improved sleep, better
mental and physical health, and improved academic outcomes.(7–10)

This research, however, has focused on the direct effects of delaying
school start times, or specifically how moving SST back directly predicts changes
in an outcome (eg, mental health, academic achievement). This
type of analysis precludes examining the important role that SST
might play as a condition or context under which other sleeprelated
processes take place. For instance, earlier school start times might exacerbate
the impact of sleep-related processes on adolescent behavioral
health outcomes. Thus, incorporating school start times as a larger contextual variable
that might moderate models of sleep and adolescent functioning
represents a gap in the literature and a unique opportunity to advance
conceptual models. Accordingly, the current study examines
the moderating role of school start times on the associations between sleep hygiene,
sleep quality, and mental health.

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Gay and Bisexual Men With Less Education and Income At Greater Risk of Suicide

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Oliver Ferlatte PhD

Men’s Health Research Program
University of British Columbia
Vancouver , British Columbia , Canada

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

Response: Suicide, like many other health inequities, is unevenly distributed among the population, with marginalized groups being most affected. In Canada, suicide has been found to particularly affect gay and bisexual men, aboriginal people and people living in rural and remote communities.

While the populations affected by suicide are not mutually exclusive – for example someone can be a bisexual Aboriginal man living in a remote community – much of the suicide prevention literature tends to treat these groups as such. Moreso, very little attention is given in suicide prevention research to diversity within groups: for example, we know very little about which gay and bisexual men are most at risk of attempting suicide. This situation creates a vacuum of knowledge about suicide among gay and bisexual and deprives us of critical information for the development of effective suicide prevention activities.

We therefore investigated in a survey of Canadian gay and bisexual men (Sex Now Survey), which gay and bisexual men are at increased risk of reporting a recent suicide attempt. The large sample of gay and bisexual men with 8493 participants allows for this unique analysis focused on the multiple, intersecting identities of the survey participants.

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Childhood Tackle Football Linked To Increased Risk of Depression and Cognitive Issues In Adulthood

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michael Alosco, PhD NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease & CTE Center Boston University School of Medicine 

Dr. Alosco

Michael Alosco, PhD
NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow
Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease & CTE Center
Boston University School of Medicine 

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

Response: TThe goal of this study was to investigate whether playing youth tackle football, particularly before the age of 12, is associated with worse emotional, behavioral, and cognitive difficulties later in life. Participants in this study included 214 former amateur and professional American football players who were part of the LEGEND study at Boston University. Participants had an average age of 51. 43 played high school football, 103 played college football, and there were 68 professional American football players. The former players were divided into two groups: those who began playing tackle football before age 12 and those who began at age 12 or older. Participants received telephone-administered cognitive tests and completed online measures of depression, behavioral regulation, apathy, and executive functioning, such as initiating activity, problem-solving, planning, and organization. Results from former players who started playing tackle football before the age of 12 were compared to those of participants who started playing at age 12 or later.

The study showed that participation in tackle football before age 12 increased the odds for having problems with behavioral regulation, apathy and executive functioning by two-fold and increased the odds for clinically elevated depression scores by three-fold. These findings were independent of the total number of years the participants played football or at what level they played, such as high school, college, or professional. Even when a specific age cutoff was not used, younger age of exposure to tackle football corresponded with worse clinical status.

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Educational Interventions May Head Off Anxiety Attacks

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Patricia Moreno-Peral, PhD Research Unit, Primary Care District of Málaga-Guadalhorce Prevention and Health Promotion Research Network Institute of Biomedical Research in Málaga Málaga, Spain 

Dr. Moreno-Peral

Dr. Patricia Moreno-Peral, PhD
Research Unit, Primary Care District of Málaga-Guadalhorce
Prevention and Health Promotion Research Network
Institute of Biomedical Research in Málaga Málaga, Spain 

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

Response:  No systematic reviews or meta-analyses have been performed on the effectiveness of preventive psychological and/or educational interventions for anxiety in varied populations. Previously, other systematic reviews have been focused on prevention efficacy in specific interventions (e.g. cognitive behavior interventions) or age groups (e.g. adolescents).

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Serotonin Receptors Tied To Weight Gain From Atypical Antipsychotic Medications

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Chen Liu, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Departments of Internal Medicine and Neuroscience Division of Hypothalamic Research The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, Texas 75390-9077

Dr. Chen Liu

Chen Liu, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Departments of Internal Medicine and Neuroscience
Division of Hypothalamic Research
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Dallas, Texas 75390-9077 

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

Response: Atypical antipsychotics are second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) that have been increasingly used to treat a variety of neuropsychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia, depression, and autism. Many patients taking these medications, however, are left in an agonizing dilemma.

On one hand, they rely on these drugs’ psychotropic effect for normal functioning in daily life. On the other, many SGAs, including the most widely prescribed olanzapine and clozapine, can cause a metabolic syndrome that is known for excessive weight gain, dyslipidemia, and type-2 diabetes_ENREF_2. Notably, while full-blown type 2 diabetes and morbid obesity typically take years to unfold in the general population, these conditions progress at a much faster pace (within months) following second-generation antipsychotics treatment. Other factors such as ethnicity, age, and sex can also aggravate SGA-induced metabolic syndrome. Together, these peculiar features strongly suggest a distinct etiology underlying SGA-induced metabolic syndrome that has yet been fully elucidated. Currently, there is no medication specifically targeting SGA-induced metabolic syndrome. For many youths and adults taking second-generation antipsychotics, metabolic complications are difficult to manage as lifestyle changes, nutritional consulting, and commonly used anti-diabetic medications only provide limited relief.

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Sex Differences In Brain Structure of Boys and Girls With Conduct Disorder

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Areti Smaragdi, PhD University of Southampton Southampton, UK

Dr. Smaragdi

Areti Smaragdi, PhD
University of Southampton
Southampton, UK

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

Response: Conduct Disorder is a psychiatric disorder that involves severe antisocial behavior – symptoms of the condition include behaviors like physical fighting, pathological lying, and serious theft. The disorder affects around 5% of school-aged children and adolescents, and is up to three times more common in boys than girls. Because of this, very little research has focused on the possible brain basis of the disorder in girls.

We used MRI scanning methods to measure the brain structure of 48 boys and 48 girls with Conduct Disorder (14-18 years old) and 52 boys and 52 girls without severe antisocial behavior. We found that boys and girls with Conduct Disorder had reduced thickness and more folding in the prefrontal cortex, an area at the front of the brain which is responsible for reward and punishment processing and helping us to control our emotions and impulses. In contrast, in some other areas such as the superior frontal gyrus, which is involved in short-term memory, boys and girls with Conduct Disorder showed structural changes in opposite directions (e.g., more versus less folding) compared with controls. This suggests that there are common abnormalities in brain structure in boys and girls with Conduct Disorder, but also some sex differences that might indicate that the causes of the disorder are partly different in boys and girls.

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Risk of Suicide Attempts With Methylphenidate Treatment for ADHD

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Professor Ian Chi Kei Wong and
Kenneth KC Man, Senior Research Assistant
Department of Social Work and Social Administration, Faculty of Social Science
Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy, LKS Faculty of Medicine
The University of Hong Kong

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

Response: Patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at higher risk of various mental health problems. Previous studies suggested that individuals with ADHD are having a higher chance of both attempted and completed suicide. Methylphenidate is a psychostimulant that is recommended for the treatment of ADHD. With the increasing usage of methylphenidate over the past decade, there are concerns about the safety of the medication, in particular, psychiatric adverse effects such as suicide attempt.

The current study looked into over 25,000 patients aged 6 to 25 years in Hong Kong who were receiving methylphenidate in 2001 to 2015. Using the self-controlled case series design, in which the patients act as their own control, we found that the risk of suicide attempt was 6.5 fold higher during a 90-day period before methylphenidate was initiated, remained elevated 4-fold during the first 90 days of treatment, and returned to the normal level during ongoing treatment.

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Military Units With One Suicide Attempt At Greater Risk of Additional Attempts

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Robert J. Ursano, M.D. Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience Director, Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (CSTS) Dept of Psychiatry Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences   Bethesda, MD

Dr. Ursano

Robert J. Ursano, M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience
Director, Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress
Dept of Psychiatry
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Bethesda, MD 

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

Response: This study is part of the STARRS study- a study to identify risk and protective factors for suicide in US Army. Originally funded by NIMH it is not funded by DoD. It has been called the “Framingham study” for suicide and has been highly productive.

In this study we report that units with one suicide attempt are at increased risk of a second- indicating clustering of suicide attempts.

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Changes in Hospital Inpatient Stays Over Ten Years: Less Cardiac Care, More Mental Health and Sepsis Admissions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ruirui Sun, Service Fellow, Economist
Center for Delivery, Organization and Markets
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

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

Response: Hospital inpatient care has experienced changes due to factors such as population growth, rising of prevalence of chronic disease and efforts to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations. We generated information from the National Hospital Utilization and Costs path on Fast Stats (https://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/faststats/landing.jsp ), to present the trends on national hospitalization and costs from 2005 to 2014, as well as the most common diagnoses among inpatient stays over the 10-year period.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

  • Between 2005 and 2014, the inflation-adjusted mean cost per inpatient stay increased by 12.7 percent, from $9,500 to $10,900.
  • Inflation-adjusted cost per stay for patients covered by private insurance or Medicaid increased 16-18 percent. Cost per stay for Medicare-covered patients and the uninsured changed minimally.
  • The rate of inpatient stays decreased the most among patients in the highest income quartiles (15-20 percent decrease).
  • The proportion of Medicaid-covered inpatient stays increased by 15.7 percent, whereas the proportion paid by private insurance and that were uninsured decreased by 12.5 and 13.0 percent, respectively.
  • Mental health/substance use accounted for nearly 6 percent of all inpatient stays in 2014, up 20.1 percent from 2005.
  • Between 2005 and 2014, septicemia and osteoarthritis became two of the five most common reasons for inpatient stays. Septicemia hospital stays almost tripled.
  • Nonspecific chest pain and coronary atherosclerosis decreased by more than 60 percent from 2005 to 2014, falling off the list of top 10 reasons for hospitalization. 

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Higher Cost Sharing For Mental Health Services Could Increase Downstream Costs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Bastian Ravesteijn PhD Department of Health Care Policy Harvard Medical School

Dr. Ravesteijn

Bastian Ravesteijn PhD
Department of Health Care Policy
Harvard Medical School 

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

Response: We find that higher out-of-pocket costs for mental health care could have the unintended consequence of increasing the use of acute and involuntary mental health care among those suffering from the most debilitating disorders. 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.

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Long-acting Injectable Medications Reduce Relapse and Rehospitalizations in Schizophrenia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jari Tiihonen, MD, PhD Professor, Department of Clinical Neuroscience Karolinska Institutet Stockholm, Sweden

Prof. Tiihonen

Jari Tiihonen, MD, PhD
Professor, Department of Clinical Neuroscience
Karolinska Institutet
Stockholm, Sweden 

MedicalResearch.com: What are the limitations of existing analyses of the comparative effectiveness of antipsychotics?

Response: It has remained unclear if there are clinically meaningful differences between antipsychotic treatments in relapse prevention of schizophrenia, due to the impossibility of including large unselected patient populations in randomized controlled trials, and due to residual confounding from selection biases in observational studies.

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Gender Minorities More Likely To Report Physical and Mental Health Challenges

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Carl G Streed Jr. M.D. Pronouns: he, him, his, himself Fellow, Division General Internal Medicine & Primary Care Brigham & Women’s Hospital

Dr. Streed

Carl G Streed Jr. M.D.
Pronouns: he, him, his, himself
Fellow, Division General Internal Medicine & Primary Care 
Brigham & Women’s Hospital

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

Response: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has underscored the need to better understand the health of gender minorities, including transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. Prior investigations of gender minorities are limited by the lack of national gender identity data. In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed a gender identity question for the Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System (BRFSS); states had the option to administer this module beginning 2014. Our study aims to examine the health status of gender minorities in the US compared to cisgender peers.

Compared to cisgender adults, gender minority adults are younger, less likely to be non-Hispanic white, married or living with a partner, have a minor child in the household, or be English speaking; but are more likely to have lower income, be unemployed, be uninsured, have unmet medical care due to cost, be overweight, and report depression.

Gender minority adults, compared to cisgender adults, are more likely to report: poor or fair health; difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions; and being limited in any way. These outcomes remained significant after adjustment.

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Suicide Rates After Discharge From Psychiatric Facilities Surprisingly High

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Michael Large, BSc, MBBS, FRANZCP, DMedSci
School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, 
The Prince of Wales Hospitals, Randwick
New South Wales, Australia

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

Response: It has been increasingly recognized that recently discharged patients have an increased suicide risk. We synthesized the global research over the last half century finding a dramatically elevated suicide rate in the months post discharge and a surprisingly high and enduring rate over much longer periods.

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Adolescents Admitted For Self Harm At Risk For Further Self Harming Behavior

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Annie Herbert, PhD Department of Behavioural Science and Health, Institute of Epidemiology and Healthcare University College London London  UK

Dr. Herbert

Dr Annie Herbert, PhD
Department of Behavioural Science and Health, Institute of Epidemiology and Healthcare
University College London
London  UK 

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

Response: 1 in 25 adolescents (i.e. one in every classroom) will be admitted to hospital as an emergency with injuries related self-harm, drug or alcohol misuse, or violence. Currently, the guidelines for how these adolescents are managed differ greatly depending on the type of injury they come in with (whether through self-harm, drug or alcohol misuse, or violence).

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: In our study, we found that adolescents admitted with any of these injuries were at an increased risk of suicide and of drug or alcohol related death in the ten years after leaving hospital, compared to other admitted adolescents.While the overall risk is relatively low—for example, 2–3 girls out of 1000 and 7 boys out of 1000 who are admitted as an emergency to hospital with drug or alcohol related injuries die from suicide within 10 years—the rates are 5–6 times higher than among adolescents admitted to hospital following an accident.

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Fear of Uncertain Future Linked To Brain Region Associated With OCD

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Justin M. Kim, Ph.D

Dartmouth College
Advisor: Paul J. Whalen

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

Response: Anxiety (and its co-conspirator ‘worry’) is an active, energy consuming process. You haven’t given up – you are still fighting back, trying to anticipate what might happen tomorrow. The problem of course is that there are an infinite number of ‘what if…’ scenarios you can come up with. For some individuals, the uncertainty of what ‘might happen’ tomorrow, is actually worse than the negative event itself actually happening. These individuals are intolerant of uncertainty.

We were interested in how uncertainty and ambiguity of potential future threat contribute to the generation of anxiety and how they might be represented in our brain. In the psychology literature, how we deal with an uncertain future can be quantified as intolerance of uncertainty (IU). As is the case with any other personality characteristic, we all have varying degrees of IU. For example, individuals high in IU display difficulty accepting the possibility of potential negative events in the future. Importantly, psychiatric disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), whose symptoms are marked with worrying/obsessing, are commonly associated elevated IU. We noticed that while much of the neuroimaging research on IU has been primarily focused on brain function, brain structural correlates of IU have received little attention so far. As such, we believed that it was an important endeavor to assess the relationship between IU and the structural properties of the brain, which can be done through the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques.

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Genetic Links Indicate Anorexia Has Both Psychiatric and Metabolic Roots

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cynthia Bulik, PhD

Cynthia Bulik, PhD

Cynthia Bulik, PhD, FAED
Founding director of the UNC Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders and
Professor at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.

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

Response: Researchers and clinicians from around the world came together to create the most powerful genome-wide association study of anorexia nervosa to date. Via this global collaboration, we were able to identify the first significant locus that influences risk for anorexia nervosa. We have known that anorexia is heritable for over a decade, but now we are actually identifying which genes are implicated. This is the first one identified!

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Virtual Reality Environments Can Advance Psychiatric Treatment and Research

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jessica Maples-Keller Emory University School of Medicine.

Jessica Maples-Keller

Jessica Maples-Keller
Emory University School of Medicine.

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

Response:  This manuscript is a review of the use of Virtual Reality (VR) technology within psychiatric treatment. VR refers to an advanced technological communication interface in which the user is actively participated in a computer generated 3-d virtual world that includes sensory input devices used to simulate real-world interactive experiences. VR is a powerful tool for the psychiatric community, as it allows providers to create computer-generated environments in a controlled setting, which can be used to create a sense of presence and immersion in the feared environment for individuals suffering from anxiety disorders.
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Strong Evidence That Antipsychotics Are Effective For Acute Psychosis and Prevent Relapse

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Donald C. Goff, MD Marvin Stern Professor Vice Chair for Research Department of Psychiatry NYU Langone Medical Center

Dr. Goff

Donald C. Goff, MD
Marvin Stern Professor
Vice Chair for Research
Department of Psychiatry
NYU Langone Medical Center

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

Response: Since their introduction in the 1950’s antipsychotic drugs have been an integral part of the treatment of schizophrenia. However, over the past decade concerns have been raised about whether these drugs might negatively affect the long-term course of the illness—either by causing supersensitivity of dopamine receptors, which might make patients more prone to psychosis and relapse, or by direct toxic effects on the brain.

To address these concerns, we convened a panel of international experts to review the evidence supporting these concerns, including findings from clinical studies, brain imaging studies, post-mortem examination of the brains of people treated with these drugs, and studies in which these drugs were administered to animals.

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Childhood Adversities Linked To Increased Suicide Risk in Adolescents and Young Adults

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Charlotte Björkenstam PhD

Dept of Clinical Neuroscience
Karolinska Institutet
Division of Insurance Medicine
Stockholm

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

Response: In a prior study we revealed that exposure to childhood adversities were associated with a substantial risk increase for self-harm. The risk was even higher for those exposed to accumulated childhood adversities. This finding together with the fact that the suicide rate among young adults is increasing (as opposed to decreasing in the general population) lead us to want to examine the relationship between childhood adversities and death by suicide.

We investigated 7 different childhood adversities, including familial death (suicide analyzed separately), parental substance abuse, parental psychiatric disorder, substantial parental criminality, parental separation/single-parent household, public assistance recipiency, and residential instability occurring between birth and age 14. We then followed the individuals up until age 24 at most. All adversities were entailed with an increased suicide risk from IRR: 1.6 (95% CI: 1.1 to 2.4) for residential instability to IRR: 2.9 (95% CI; 1.4 to 5.9) for familial suicide. We also found a dose-response relationship between accumulating CA and suicide risk where IRR ranged between 1.1 (95% CI: 0.9 to 1.4) for those exposed to 1 CA, to 2.6 (95% CI: 1.9 to 3.4) for those exposed to 3 or more adversities.

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Deliberate Self-harm Associated With Violent Criminality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hanna Sahlin MSc, Lic psychologist, Lic psychotherapist Specialist in clinical psychology PhD-student Departement of Clinical Neuroscience Karolinska Institutet National Self-harm project Centre for Psychiatry Research, CPF Stockholm, Sweden

Hanna Sahlin

Hanna Sahlin
MSc, Lic psychologist, Lic psychotherapist
Specialist in clinical psychology
PhD-student
Departement of Clinical Neuroscience
Karolinska Institutet
National Self-harm project
Centre for Psychiatry Research, CPF
Stockholm, Sweden

What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This study is the result of wanting to find a more conclusive answer to whether individuals who engage in non-fatal deliberate self-harm are more prone to aggression towards others. There has long been a debate on whether aggression to oneself and aggression towards others co-occur, but the studies that have been conducted thus far have been on smaller samples or with clinical or forensic cohorts. Also, the studies have had great variability regarding the definition of both “deliberate self-harm” and “violence”. Thus, it has been difficult to establish an ”overall” effect size for this association, or to draw firmer conclusions on how and if this association plays out in the general population.

We had the opportunity to study this association in several large nationwide population-based registries including all Swedish citizens, and with high specificity regarding the ingoing variables of interest – i.e., non-fatal deliberate self-harm (as registered in the National Patient Register) and violent crime convictions (as registered in the National Crime Register).

We found a five times increased crude risk (hazard) of being convicted of a violent crime if one had received self-harm associated clinical care, and vice-versa, that there was an equally increased risk of self-harm if one had been convicted of a violent crime. After controlling for relevant psychiatric comorbidities and socio-economic status, an almost doubled risk of violent crime conviction remained among self-harming men and women compared to individuals not exposed to self-harm. It is important to notice that our study did not find any evidence suggesting that self-harm behaviours cause violent criminality. Therefore, we conclude that the engagement in violence towards oneself and towards others share an underlying vulnerability to impulsive and aggressive behaviours.

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Regular Marijuana Use is Costly Healthwise, Especially When Started As Teenager

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

James McIntosh PhD Economics Department Concordia University Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Dr. McIntosh

James McIntosh PhD
Economics Department
Concordia University
Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study

Response: Marijuana is about to become legal in Canada. Consequently, an analysis of its effects on users is a high priority. This issue has been explored by Canadian researchers to some extent but there are gaps in what is known about the effects of using marijuana. Most of the Canadian studies focus on youth or adolescent use. This is clearly important but adult use is as well. Establishing the link between early usage and the effects of use over an individual’s lifetime was a major objective of the study.
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Suicide Risk Increased in Cancer Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Raffaella Calati, Psy.D., Ph.D. University of Montpellier INSERM U 1061: Neuropsychiatry: Epidemiological and Clinical Research Department of Emergency Psychiatry and Post Acute Care Lapeyronie Hospital, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Montpellier, France

Dr. Calati

Raffaella Calati, Psy.D., Ph.D.
University of Montpellier
INSERM U 1061: Neuropsychiatry: Epidemiological and Clinical Research
Department of Emergency Psychiatry and Post Acute Care
Lapeyronie Hospital, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire
Montpellier, France

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

Response: A number of previous original studies investigated suicidal thoughts and behaviours in cancer patients, finding them to be higher than those in the general population. However, to our knowledge, we performed the first meta-analysis on this link, pooling all the published data to calculate the size of this increased risk.

Our main finding is an increased suicide risk in patients with cancer compared to individuals without it.

It should be underlined that the analyses presented are the first stage in our work, since at the moment we are analyzing a higher number of studies and we are planning to control for confounders, not considered in our first analyses. This means that the exact strength of this association will be more precisely known.

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Consequences of Interpersonal Violence Against Child Athletes Persist into Adulthood

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Tine Vertommen, Criminologist Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Universiteitsplein 1 Antwerp, Belgium

Tine Vertommen

Tine Vertommen, Criminologist
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Universiteitsplein 1
Antwerp, Belgium

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

Response: A recent prevalence study into interpersonal violence against child athletes in the Netherlands and Belgium showed that 6% experienced severe sexual violence, 8% experienced severe physical violence, and 9% of respondents experienced severe psychological violence in sport (Vertommen et al., 2016). While general literature has repeatedly shown that exposure to interpersonal violence during childhood is associated with mental health problems in adulthood, this relationship has not yet been demonstrated in (former) athletes. Thus, the objective of the current study is to assess the long-term consequences of these experiences on adult mental health and quality of life.

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Autism Increases Risk of Death From Injury, Especially Drowning

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Joseph Guan

MPH Candidate in Epidemiology, Certificate in Chronic Diseases Epidemiology
Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

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

Response: The prevalence of autism has been increasing especially in the past two decades. With an estimate of more than 3.5 million people living with autism in the US, approximately 500,000 of them are children under 15 years old. Current studies show that males are approximately four times as likely than females to be diagnosed with autism. There is also evidence that people with autism are at a heightened risk of injury. However, the research on the relationship between autism and injury is understudied.

We found that 28% of deaths in individuals with autism were due to injury, compared to 7% of deaths in the general population. Injury deaths in individuals with autism occurred at a much younger age (29.1 years) on average compared to injury deaths in the general population (54.7 years). Our study show that drowning was the leading cause of injury death among individuals with autism, followed by suffocation and asphyxiation. Children under the age of 15 years were 160 times more likely to die from drowning.

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Psychiatric Side Effects of 5 Alpha Reductase Inhibitors for BPH

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Blayne Welk, MD, FRCSC Assistant Professor of Surgery Western University

Dr. Blayne Welk

Blayne Welk, MD, FRCSC
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Western University

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

Response: Concerns have been raised by regulatory agencies and patients about possible serious psychiatric side effects associated with the use of 5 alpha reductase inhibitors. These medications can be used for both enlarged prostates and alopecia.

We used administrative data to assess for potential psychiatric side effects associated with finasteride and dutasteride usage in older men with benign prostatic enlargement.

In our study we found that there was no increased risk of suicide associated with the use of these medications. However, there was a small increase in both self-harm and new onset depression associated with the use of 5 alpha reductase inhibitors.
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Marked Increase in Premature Mortality After First Psychiatric Admission

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Florian Walter MSc
Centre for Mental Health and Safety
University of Manchester, Manchester, England
Dr Roger Webb PhD and
Reader in Mental Health Epidemiology
Senior Postgraduate Research Tutor
Division of Psychology and Mental Health
Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health
The University of Manchester

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

Response: Mental disorders are associated with an elevated risk of premature mortality, and risk is especially heightened soon after discharge from inpatient psychiatric services. Previous studies have focused on single causes of death, whereas our study considered a comprehensive array of cause-specific mortality outcomes.

We analysed over 1.7 million Danish residents in our national interlinked registry study, which was conducted collaboratively by the Centre of Mental Health and Safety, University of Manchester, UK and the National Centre for Register-based Research, Aarhus University, Denmark. We compared the risk of dying from specific natural and unnatural causes of death among patients following their first discharge from inpatient psychiatric care versus people not admitted.

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No Increased Health Consequences After Chinese Famine Except Schizophrenia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

L. H. Lumey, MD, PhD Professor of Epidemiology Mailman School of Public Health Columbia University

Dr. Lumey

L. H. Lumey, MD, PhD
Professor of Epidemiology
Mailman School of Public Health
Columbia University

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

Response: The Chinese Great Leap Forward Famine in 1959-1961 is the largest famine in human history. Earlier studies have reported that overweight, type 2 diabetes, hyperglycemia, the metabolic syndrome and schizophrenia were more common among adults who were exposed to the famine. Our re-analysis of all previous studies shows no increases in diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic conditions among famine births except for schizophrenia.

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Cannabidiol Reduces Fear and Anxiety in Various Preclinical Models

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Carl Stevenson, PhD

Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
BSc Animal Science Admissions Tutor
Local Group Rep, British Neuroscience Association
School of Biosciences
University of Nottingham
Loughborough, UK

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

Response: Anxiety-related and substance abuse disorders can be serious forms of mental illness that are not always treated effectively by psychological therapies or medications. One strategy to enhance their treatment is to boost the effects of psychological therapy by combining it with medication.

This study reviewed the literature on the effects of cannabidiol, a chemical found in the cannabis plant, in preclinical models of these disorders. Cannabidiol is safe to use in humans and doesn’t cause the ‘high’ associated with cannabis. This means that cannabidiol might be useful for treating certain symptoms without the unwanted side effects linked to medical cannabis.

Our review confirmed that cannabidiol reduces fear and anxiety in various preclinical models, when given on its own or in conjunction with behavioural interventions that model psychological treatment for anxiety-related disorders. Our review suggested that it can also reduce relapse in some preclinical models of addiction, although research looking at the effects of cannabidiol in substance abuse disorders is still in its infancy.

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Is Trust in Mental Health Clinicians Affected Among Patients Who Access Clinical Notes Online?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Steven K. Dobscha, M.D. Professor, Department of Psychiatry, OHSU Director, VAPORHCS Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care Oregon Health & Science University

Dr. Dobscha

Steven K. Dobscha, M.D.
Professor, Department of Psychiatry, OHSU
Director, VAPORHCS Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care
Oregon Health & Science University

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

Response: Several health care systems across the United States now offer patients online access to all of their clinical notes (sometimes referred to as progress notes) through electronic health record portals; this type of access has been referred to as OpenNotes (see www.opennotes.org for more information on the national OpenNotes initiative). Veterans have been able to use OpenNotes in the Veterans Health Care (VHA) system since 2013. However, some individuals have expressed concern that online access to clinical notes related to mental health could cause some patient harms.

We are conducting a VA-funded research project with several objectives:
1) to examine benefits and unintended negative consequences of OpenNotes use as perceived by veterans receiving VHA mental health care and by VHA mental health clinicians, and
2) to develop and evaluate brief web-based courses designed to help veterans and clinicians use OpenNotes in ways that optimize Veteran-clinician collaboration and minimize unintended consequences.

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Intermittent Explosive Disorder Linked To Higher Risk of Substance Abuse

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Emil F. Coccaro, M.D. Ellen C. Manning Professor Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience The University of Chicago Chicago, Illinois 60637

Dr. Emil Coccaro

Emil F. Coccaro, M.D.
Ellen C. Manning Professor
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience
The University of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois 60637

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

Response: Aggressive behavior and drug use have been related for years but this study shows people with problematic aggression (Intermittent Explosive Disorder: IED) are in fact at risk for developing alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis use disorders and that the onset of problematic aggression (IED) begins before the onset of the drug use.

The increased risk for alcohol use disorder was nearly six-fold higher, the increased risk for cannabis use disorder was seven-fold higher, and the increased risk for tobacco use disorder  was four-fold higher. In addition, the presence of IED increased the severity of the substance use disorder.

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Environmental Pyrethroids May Be Associated With Behavioral Problems in Children

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Professor Jean-Francois Viel
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health
University Hospital
Rennes, France

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

Response: The use of pyrethroid insecticides has increased substantially throughout the world over the past several decades, replacing organophosphate and carbamate insecticides, because of their chemical potency against many pests, their relatively low mammalian toxicity and their favorable environmental profiles. However, despite the neurotoxicity of these insecticides at high doses, the potential impact of environmental exposure to pyrethroid insecticides on child neurodevelopment has only just started to receive attention.

Using a longitudinal design (PELAGIE mother-child cohort), we were able to assess pyrethroid exposure (trough urine concentrations) both prenatally and during childhood (at 6 years of age). We showed that increased prenatal concentrations of one pyrethroid metabolite (cis-DCCA, a metabolite of permethrin, cypermethrin and cyfluthrin) were associated with internalising difficulties (children showing behaviours that are inhibited and over-controlled).

Moreover, for childhood 3-PBA (a common metabolite of up to 20 synthetic pyrethroid insecticides) concentrations, a positive association was observed with externalising difficulties (children showing behaviours that are under-controlled and having generally a more challenging temperament).

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Ketamine Before Stressful Event May Reduce Risk of PTSD

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Christine Ann Denny, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Psychiatry Columbia University Division of Integrative Neuroscience Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Inc. New York, NY 10032-2695

Dr. Christine Ann Denny

Christine Ann Denny, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychiatry
Columbia University
Division of Integrative Neuroscience
Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Inc.
New York, NY 10032-2695

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

Response: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the most common psychiatric illnesses, affecting about 8 million adult Americans, and an annual prevalence of about 3.5% worldwide. At-risk populations such as soldiers and veterans are at a higher risk to develop PTSD. Stress exposure is one of the major risk factors for PTSD and major depressive disorder (MDD), a disorder which is often co-morbid with PTSD.

There are currently very limited treatments for PTSD and MDD. In addition, these disorders are treated in a symptom-suppression approach, which only mitigate symptoms and work in only a small fraction of patients. Prevention is rarely an approach considered except in the form of behavioral intervention. However, pharmacological approaches to preventing psychiatric diseases has not yet been developed.

Our laboratory has previously found that ketamine, a general anesthetic and rapid-acting antidepressant, administered sub-anesthetically prior to stress can prevent against stress-induced depressive-like behaviors. We decided to delve into the literature to determine whether ketamine has any effects on PTSD in the clinic. We found numerous reports linking ketamine to PTSD, but the results were varied. We realized that the main difference in all of these studies was the timing of administration. We decided to systematically test the efficacy of ketamine in mice at various time points relative to a stressor to determine when would be the most effective window to buffer against heightened fear expression.

We found that ketamine administered 1 week, but not 1 month or 1 day, prior to a stressor was the most effective time point to administer the drug to buffer fear. This is critical, as it suggests that a pharmacological approach to enhance resilience can be more effective at protecting against PTSD symptoms than attempting to mitigate symptoms after it has already affected an individual.

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Our ‘Motor Signature’ Is a Window Into Mental Health

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Piotr Słowiński</strong> Department of Mathematics College of Engineering Mathematics and Physical Sciences, Research Fellow University of Exeter

Dr. Piotr Słowiński

Dr. Piotr Słowiński
Department of Mathematics
College of Engineering
Mathematics and Physical Sciences,
Research Fellow
University of Exeter

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: In an earlier study, we have found that every person has an individual style of moving (its own individual motor signature) and that people who have similar motor signatures are better in coordinating with each other (http://rsif.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/13/116/20151093). In the current study, we show that both these characteristics, own motor signature, and quality of interaction with others, have potential to give and insight into person’s mental health condition.

Assessment of motor symptoms is already a part of a clinical interview during a neurological evaluation by an expert psychiatrist. Our method, if confirmed in clinical trials, would speed up such examination and would allow for better allocation of the valuable time of medical professionals (for example, for more advanced tests in cases of diagnostic uncertainty). Additionally, it could allow for monitoring and personalization of treatment.

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Cognitive Behavior Therapy Most Effective Treatment for OCD, Anxiety and PTSD

David Mataix-Cols

Prof. Mataix-Cols

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
David Mataix-Cols PhD
Centre for Psychiatry Research, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm Health Care Services, Stockholm County Council
Stockholm, Sweden

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

Response: Exposure-based Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is the treatment of choice for patients with anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorders. Some patients do not respond sufficiently to such treatment. This has led researchers to find ways to augment (enhance) CBT with pharmacological agents, such as D-cycloserine (DCS).

Because CBT is such a powerful treatment for most patients, we suspected that the effects of DCS would probably be small. This means that very large samples of patients are needed to show statistically significant differences between groups. Previous studies and meta-analyses were underpowered to detect such small effects. Combining the raw data from all available studies to date gave us the power we needed to address the question of whether DCS is an efficacious augmenting strategy, over and above CBT.

We also had a second research question. Previous research from our group had suggested that there may be undesirable interactions between DCS and antidepressants, whereby patients taking both types of drugs would have significantly worse outcomes (see Andersson et al JAMA Psychiatry. 2015 Jul;72(7):659-67.
doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.0546).

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Mental and Physical Disorders Linked at Early Age

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Gunther-Meinlschmidt.jpg

Prof. Dr. Gunther Meinlschmidt, Psych
University of Basel, Department of Psychology, Division of Clinical Psychology and Epidemiology
Faculty of Medicine
Switzerland

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

Response: Physical diseases and mental disorders affect a person’s quality of life. Further, they present a huge challenge for the healthcare system. It has been reported that physical and mental disorders systematically co-occur already early in life. What we wanted to know is whether there are certain temporal patterns between mental disorders and physical diseases during childhood and adolescence. A better understanding of such patterns may help to reveal processes that could be relevant both to the origins of physical diseases and mental disorders and to their treatment.

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Specific Genetic Mutations Present in Many Children With ADHD

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Josephine Elia, M.D.

Neuroscience Center
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Nemours/Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children

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

Response: Glutamate neurotransmission may play an important role in ADHD and other neuropsychiatric disorders. The purpose of this study is to determine the frequency of genetic mutations involving specific genes (GRM network genes) which influence glutamatergic neurotransmission. A total of 23 study sites across the USA enrolled 1,013 children, aged 6-17 years who had been previously diagnosed with ADHD. Saliva samples were submitted to The Center for Applied Genomics (CAG) at CHOP for analysis of mutations of interest. Information on medical history, including other neuropsychiatric diagnoses and family history as well as areas of academic and social concern were also collected.

Overall, the mutation frequency was 22%, with a higher prevalence of 25% observed in patients aged 6-12. When compared to mutation negative ADHD patients, the patients with the mutations of interest were more likely to have concerns about anger control and disruptive behaviors.

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Prescription of Psychotropic Medications Reduced Violent Reoffending After Prison Release

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Zheng Chang PhD
Dept. of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Karolinska Institutet and
Seena Fazel MD
Department of Psychiatry Warneford Hospital
University of Oxford, Oxford, England

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

Response: There were more than 10 million prisoners worldwide in 2015, with approximately 2.2 million in the United States alone. Despite reported decreases in violence in many countries, reoffending rates remain high. From 2005 through 2010, more than one-third of released prisoners in the United States and the United Kingdom were reconvicted of a new crime within 2 years. Most programs to reduce reoffending focus on psychosocial interventions, but their effect sizes are weak to moderate. As psychiatric and substance use disorders, which increase reoffending rates, are overrepresented among jail and prison populations.

This study investigated the main psychotropic medication classes prescribed to prisoners using longitudinal Swedish population registers and examined the association between prescription of psychotropic medication and risk of violent reoffending. We found that three classes of psychotropic medications were associated with substantial reductions in violent reoffending: antipsychotics, a 42% reduction; psychostimulants, 38%; and drugs used in addictive disorders, a 52% reduction. The magnitudes of these associations were as strong as and possibly stronger than those for widely disseminated psychological programs in prison.

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Alcohol and Cannabis Abuse Linked To Increased Risk of Schizophrenia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Stine Mai Nielsen

Copenhagen University Hospital
Mental Health Center Copenhagen
Gentofte, Denmark

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

Response: Several studies have tested whether use of substances can cause schizophrenia. However due to methodological limitations in the existing literature, uncertainties still remains. We aimed to investigate the association between several types of substance abuses and the risk of developing schizophrenia later in life. We did a nationwide, prospective cohort study using the detailed Danish registers, which enabled us to address some of the limitations from prior findings. Our cohort consisted of more than 3.13 mio. individuals, that we were able to follow up for more than 104 mio. years at risk. We found that dealing with a substance abuse increased the overall risk of developing schizophrenia by 6 times, with abuse of cannabis and alcohol presenting the highest associations (5 and 3 times increased risk). The risk was found to be significant even 10-15 years prior to a diagnosis of substance abuse.

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Children born to parents with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia more likely to suffer mental health issues by age 7

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Merete Nordentoft DrMSc
Professor, chief Psychiatrist
University of Copenhagen
Mental Health Centre Copenhagen

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

Response: We knew that children born to parents with mental illness had an increased risk for developing a mental disorder them selves, either the same disorder as their parent or another menal disorder. We also knew that some of these children would have pootrt motor function and other difficulties in functioning. However previous studies were smaller, they were not based on a representative sample, and children were at different age. That is the background for The Danish High Risk and Resilience Study-VIA 7, in which a large group of 522 children and their families were thoroughly assessed. The children were seven year old, and 202 had a parent who had schizophrenia, 120 had a parent with bipolar disorder and 200 had parent with neither of these disorders.

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Efficacy of Lurasidone in treatment of MDD-MF

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Antony Loebel, M.D. Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Sunovion, Head of Global Clinical Development for Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma GroupAntony Loebel, M.D.
Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer
Sunovion
Head of Global Clinical Development
Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Group

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

Response: Early predictors of subsequent clinical response are important in the treatment of depression, since 6-10 weeks of treatment are often required before full antidepressant response may occur. Early identification of patients who are unlikely to eventually achieve a response permits clinicians to intervene early to adjust the dose of medication, or switch to an alternative therapy.

Multiple studies in major depressive disorder (MDD, unipolar) have reported that early improvement at 2 weeks is significantly predictive of treatment response at 6-8 weeks.The most common early improvement criterion is a 20-25% reduction in the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) or the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) scores1-6.

Major depressive disorder with mixed features (MDD-MF) has recently been recognized as a diagnostic subtype in DSM-5. No research we are aware of has examined the predictive value of early improvement in patients diagnosed with MDD-MF.

The aim of the current post-hoc analysis was to evaluate the value of early improvement in the MADRS or the Clinical Global Impressions, Severity (CGI-S) scale as predictors of response to lurasidone in patients with MDD-MF.

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Pre-K ParentCorps Reduces Educational Disparities and Mental Health Issues

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Laurie Miller Brotman, PhD Bezos Family Foundation Professor of Early Childhood Development Director, Center for Early Childhood Health and Development Department of Population Health NYU Langone Medical Center

Dr. Laurie Brotman

Laurie Miller Brotman, PhD
Bezos Family Foundation Professor of Early Childhood Development
Director, Center for Early Childhood Health and Development
Department of Population Health
NYU Langone Medical Center

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

Response: Children attending high-poverty schools are often exposed to an accumulation of stressors and adverse childhood experiences that can interfere with optimal mental health and learning. This study examines mental health and academic outcomes through second grade in nearly 800 Black and Latino children who participated in a randomized controlled trial of ParentCorps–a family-centered, school-based intervention in pre-kindergarten.

In the original trial, elementary schools with pre-k programs serving primarily Black and Latino children from low-income families were randomized to receive ParentCorps or standard pre-k programming. ParentCorps includes professional development for pre-k and kindergarten teachers on family engagement, social-emotional learning, and behavioral regulation, and a program for families and pre-k students provided over four months at the school by specially trained pre-k teachers and mental health professionals. ParentCorps creates a space for families to come together, reflect on their cultural values and beliefs, and set goals for their children. Parents learn a set of evidence-based strategies and choose which ones fit for their families—such as helping children solve problems and manage strong feelings, reinforcing positive behavior, setting clear rules and expectations, and providing effective consequences for misbehavior. Teachers and parents help children learn social, emotional and behavioral regulation skills such as identifying feeling sad, mad, or scared, calming bodies during stressful situations, paying attention, and solving problems together.

This three year follow-up study finds that ParentCorps as an enhancement to pre-k programming in high-poverty schools results in fewer mental health problems (behavioral and emotional problems) and better academic performance through second grade.

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Children using stimulant medications may be at risk for lower bone density

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Alexis Jamie Feuer MD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
Weill Cornell Medical College

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

Response: Osteoporosis is a debilitating disorder characterized by low bone density and increased risk of fractures. Adolescence and young adulthood are critically important times for accruing peak bone density and failure to obtain adequate bone mass by early adulthood may result in future osteoporosis. In children, the use of certain medications can lead to a decrement in the acquisition of bone mass. Past studies have shown that stimulant medications, such as those used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), may slow the rate of linear growth in children. To date, little research has been done to see what effects stimulant use may have on bone density and bone accrual in children. Stimulants exert their effects via activation of the sympathetic nervous system, and as there is mounting evidence that indicates the sympathetic nervous system plays a critical role in the acquisition of bone density, we sought to determine if there is any association between stimulant medication use and bone mass in the pediatric population.

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Doctors: “I would never want to have a mental health diagnosis on my record”


MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Katherine J. Gold, MD MSW MS Department of Family Medicine Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation; Depression Center University of Michigan

Dr. Katherine Jo Gold

Katherine J. Gold, MD MSW MS
Department of Family Medicine
Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation; Depression Center
University of Michigan

With co-authors Louise B. Andrew MD JD; Edward B. Goldman JD; Thomas L. Schwenk MD

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

Response: It is common knowledge that physicians are often hesitant to seek care for mental health concerns. Knowing that female physicians have increased rates of both depression and suicide, we surveyed female physicians who were mothers and who participated in a closed FaceBook group about their mental health, treatment, and opinions about licensing. More than 2100 U.S. physicians responded, representing all specialties and states.

Almost half of participants reported that at some point since medical school they had met criteria for a mental illness but didn’t seek treatment. Reasons included feeling like they could get through without help (68%), did not have the time (52%), felt a diagnosis would be embarrassing or shameful (45%), did not want to ever have to report to a medical board or hospital (44%), and were afraid colleagues would find out (39%). Overall, 2/3 identified a stigma-related reason for not seeking help.

Almost half reported prior diagnosis or treatment, but just 6% of these women stated they had disclosed this to a state medical board on a licensing application, though states vary on what information they require be disclosed.

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Taking Happy Photos Can Improve Mood and Reduce Stress

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Yu Chen, Ph.D. Post-doc researcher Department of Informatics University of California, Irvine

Dr. Yu Chen

Yu Chen, Ph.D.
Post-doc researcher
Department of Informatics
University of California, Irvine

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

Response: College students are facing increasing amount of stress these days. We are interested in leveraging information technology to help them become happier. We week to implement happiness-boosting exercises in positive psychology using technology in a lightweight way. Since college students frequently take photos using their smartphones, we started to investigate how to use smartphone photography to help students conduct the happiness-boosting exercises.

Participants were divided into three groups and instructed to take a photo per day in one of the following three conditions:

1) a smiling selfie;
2) a photo of something that makes himself/herself happy;
3) a photo of something that makes another person happy, which is then sent to that person.

We found that participants have become more positive after purposefully taking the assigned type of photo for three weeks. Participants who took photos that make others happy also became calmer. Some participants who took smiling selfies reported becoming more confident and comfortable with their smiles. Those who took photos to make themselves happy reported becoming more reflective and appreciative. Participants who took photos to make others happy found connecting with strong ties help them reduce stress.

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How Does Poor Sleep Affect Risk of Suicide?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Donna Littlewood PhD
School of Health Sciences
Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health
The University of Manchester

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

Response: This was the first qualitative study to examine the role of sleep problems in relation to suicidal thoughts and behaviours. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 participants, who all had experienced major depressive episode(s) and suicidal thoughts and behaviours.

Data were analysed with thematic analysis which identified three interrelated pathways whereby sleep contributed to suicidal thoughts and behaviours.

The first was that being awake at night heightened the risks of suicidal thoughts and attempts, which in part was seen as a consequence of the lack of help or resources available at night.

Secondly, the research found that a prolonged failure to achieve a good night’s sleep made life harder for respondents, adding to depression, as well as increasing negative thinking, attention difficulties and inactivity.

Finally, participants said sleep acted as an alternative to suicide, providing an escape from their problems. However, the desire to use sleep as an avoidance tactic led to increased day time sleeping which in turn caused disturbed sleeping patterns – reinforcing the first two pathways.

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Deaths from Self-Injury Increase 65% Over 15 Year Period

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ian Rockett, PhD, MPH, FACE Professor, Department of Epidemiology School of Public Health West Virginia University Morgantown, WV

Dr. Ian Rockett

Ian Rockett, PhD, MPH, FACE
Professor, Department of Epidemiology
School of Public Health
West Virginia University
Morgantown, WV

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

Response: Self-injury deaths in the United States are seriously underestimated because they are officially limited to registered suicides, and exclude non-suicide deaths from drug self-intoxication. Suicides themselves are undercounted due primarily to under-resourcing of medical examiner and coroner offices and associated challenges in detecting drug suicides. Although most drug-intoxication deaths involve deliberate behaviors that markedly elevate risk of premature death, they are formally classified, but mischaracterized, as “accidents” on death certificates. Representing self-injury mortality (SIM) as a combination of registered suicides and estimated deaths from drug self-intoxication (DDSI), this study compared its national trends and patterns with those of 3 proximally ranked top 10 causes of death.

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Most Antipsychotics Found To Not Raise Risk of Congenital Malformations

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Krista F. Huybrechts, M.S., Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School Epidemiologist in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Boston, MA 02120

Dr. Krista Huybrechts

Krista F. Huybrechts, M.S., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Epidemiologist
Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston, MA 02120

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

Response: The use of antipsychotic medications during pregnancy has doubled in the last decade. Yet, information on the safety of antipsychotic medication use during pregnancy for the developing fetus is very limited: existing studies tend to be small (the largest study available to date includes 570 exposed women) and findings have been inconsistent. Concerns have been raised about a potential association with congenital malformations.

The objective of our study was to examine the risk of congenital malformations overall, as well as cardiac malformations given findings from earlier studies, in a large cohort of pregnant women. We used a nationwide sample of 1.3 mln pregnant women insured through Medicaid between 2000-2010, of which 9,258 used an atypical antipsychotic and 733 used a typical antipsychotic during the first trimester, the etiologically relevant period for organogenesis. We also examined the risks associated with the most commonly used individual medications.

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