Abuse and Neglect, Author Interviews, BMJ, Exercise - Fitness, Mental Health Research / 02.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Autism, Columbia / 22.03.2017

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. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Urology / 21.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 19.03.2017

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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Columbia, Global Health, Schizophrenia / 16.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Mental Health Research / 10.03.2017

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. This could show that exploring the option of cbd for anxiety could be a step forward in treating the condition. 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Electronic Records, Mental Health Research / 04.03.2017

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 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. (more…)
Addiction, Alcohol, Author Interviews, Cannabis, Mental Health Research / 03.03.2017

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 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Environmental Risks, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics, Toxin Research / 02.03.2017

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). (more…)
Author Interviews, Columbia, Mental Health Research, Nature, PTSD / 14.02.2017

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 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Nature, Schizophrenia / 06.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, PTSD / 27.01.2017

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). (more…)
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, PLoS, Psychological Science / 02.12.2016

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. (more…)
ADHD, Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Pediatrics / 01.11.2016

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. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, JAMA, Karolinski Institute, Mental Health Research / 01.11.2016

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

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Stine Mai Nielsen Copenhagen University Hospital Mental Health Center Copenhagen Gentofte, Denmark MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Several studies have tested whether use of substances can cause schizophrenia. However due to methodological limitations in the existing literature, uncertainties still remains. We aimed to investigate the association between several types of substance abuses and the risk of developing schizophrenia later in life. We did a nationwide, prospective cohort study using the detailed Danish registers, which enabled us to address some of the limitations from prior findings. Our cohort consisted of more than 3.13 mio. individuals, that we were able to follow up for more than 104 mio. years at risk. We found that dealing with a substance abuse increased the overall risk of developing schizophrenia by 6 times, with abuse of cannabis and alcohol presenting the highest associations (5 and 3 times increased risk). The risk was found to be significant even 10-15 years prior to a diagnosis of substance abuse. (more…)
Author Interviews, Bipolar Disorder, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics, Schizophrenia / 21.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Merete Nordentoft DrMSc Professor, chief Psychiatrist University of Copenhagen Mental Health Centre Copenhagen MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We knew that children born to parents with mental illness had an increased risk for developing a mental disorder them selves, either the same disorder as their parent or another menal disorder. We also knew that some of these children would have pootrt motor function and other difficulties in functioning. However previous studies were smaller, they were not based on a representative sample, and children were at different age. That is the background for The Danish High Risk and Resilience Study-VIA 7, in which a large group of 522 children and their families were thoroughly assessed. The children were seven year old, and 202 had a parent who had schizophrenia, 120 had a parent with bipolar disorder and 200 had parent with neither of these disorders. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Mental Health Research, Pharmacology / 09.10.2016

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

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

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alexis Jamie Feuer MD Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics Weill Cornell Medical College MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Osteoporosis is a debilitating disorder characterized by low bone density and increased risk of fractures. Adolescence and young adulthood are critically important times for accruing peak bone density and failure to obtain adequate bone mass by early adulthood may result in future osteoporosis. In children, the use of certain medications can lead to a decrement in the acquisition of bone mass. Past studies have shown that stimulant medications, such as those used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), may slow the rate of linear growth in children. To date, little research has been done to see what effects stimulant use may have on bone density and bone accrual in children. Stimulants exert their effects via activation of the sympathetic nervous system, and as there is mounting evidence that indicates the sympathetic nervous system plays a critical role in the acquisition of bone density, we sought to determine if there is any association between stimulant medication use and bone mass in the pediatric population. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Mental Health Research, University of Michigan / 25.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Katherine J. Gold, MD MSW MS Department of Family Medicine Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation; Depression Center University of Michigan With co-authors Louise B. Andrew MD JD; Edward B. Goldman JD; Thomas L. Schwenk MD MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: It is common knowledge that physicians are often hesitant to seek care for mental health concerns. Knowing that female physicians have increased rates of both depression and suicide, we surveyed female physicians who were mothers and who participated in a closed FaceBook group about their mental health, treatment, and opinions about licensing. More than 2100 U.S. physicians responded, representing all specialties and states. Almost half of participants reported that at some point since medical school they had met criteria for a mental illness but didn’t seek treatment. Reasons included feeling like they could get through without help (68%), did not have the time (52%), felt a diagnosis would be embarrassing or shameful (45%), did not want to ever have to report to a medical board or hospital (44%), and were afraid colleagues would find out (39%). Overall, 2/3 identified a stigma-related reason for not seeking help. Almost half reported prior diagnosis or treatment, but just 6% of these women stated they had disclosed this to a state medical board on a licensing application, though states vary on what information they require be disclosed. (more…)
Abuse and Neglect, Mental Health Research, Psychological Science, Technology / 15.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Mental Health Research, Sleep Disorders / 26.08.2016

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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research / 25.08.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Mental Health Research, OBGYNE / 19.08.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Gender Differences, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 17.08.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Edith Chen, Ph.D. Professor Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research Northwestern University Department of Psychology Evanston, IL 60208-2710 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous research has documented psychiatric consequences of childhood abuse, but less is known about possible physical health consequences. The main finding is that women who self-reported childhood abuse (in adulthood) were at greater risk for all-cause mortality compared to those who did not report abuse. (more…)
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Infections, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 11.08.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Helene Lund-Sørensen BM Department of Biomedical Sciences Section of Cellular and Metabolic Research University of Copenhagen MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Accumulating research has shown that inflammation and infections are associated with psychiatric diagnoses and interactions between infectious agents, known to affect the brain, and suicidal behavior have been reported. We find an increased risk of death by suicide among individuals hospitalized with infections. The risk of suicide increased in a dose-response relationship with the number of hospitalizations with infections and with the number of days hospitalized with infections. We also examined the risk of suicide association with the time since the last hospitalization with infection and found that infection was linked to an elevated risk with the strongest effect after 1 and 2 years compared with those without infections. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Mental Health Research, Primary Care / 09.08.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David S. Kroll, MD Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry Brigham and Women's Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our primary care clinic has the capacity to provide 9 psychiatry evaluations per week, but before we started this project nearly half of the evaluation appointments went unused due to no-shows, and meanwhile the waiting time was two months. We had tried appointment reminders but this had very little impact on the problem—it turns out that forgetting is only a small part of why patients miss their appointments and that instead they have competing obligations—family, housing, legal, etc. Since the traditional model of scheduling and keeping appointments wasn’t working for so many patients, we implemented a referral-based walk-in clinic instead and found that this significantly increased the number of patients who were seen while virtually eliminating our wait list. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Columbia, Mental Health Research / 29.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: J. John Mann MD Paul Janssen Professor of Translational Neuroscience Director, Molecular Imaging and Neuropathology Division Department of Psychiatry Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In 2014 there were 21,000 firearm suicides in the USA. Overseas, programs that have resulted in major reductions in firearm availability have reduced firearm suicide rates which have also been shown in the USA to be closely correlated with risk of firearm suicide. Reducing access to firearms to those at risk for suicide would help reduce firearm suicide rates in the USA. Most such suicides involve a firearm purchased many years earlier. We recommend methods for reducing such access including improved gun safety and smart gun technology. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Medical Imaging, Mental Health Research, Radiology / 29.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maria A. Oquendo, M.D. Professor of Psychiatry Vice Chair for Education Columbia University Medical Center American Psychiatric Association, President International Academy of Suicide Research, President MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our team has worked for years on identifying the biological underpinnings of both risk for suicidal behavior (SB) and for predicting the lethality or medical consequences of suicidal behavior. We have shown that if you compare those who are depressed and have had SB to those who are depressed but do not have suicidal behavior, you can see clear differences in the serotonin system using Positron Emission Tomography and a molecule tagged with radioactivity. We predicted that if you could see these differences cross-sectionally, then their presence might also predict suicidal behavior and its lethality in the future. Our study showed that those with higher serotonin 1a binding in the raphe nuclei, which likely indicates low serotonin functioning, made more medically damaging suicide attempts in the two years that followed. They also suffered from more pronounced suicidal ideation in the subsequent year. (more…)