Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 06.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_48428" align="alignleft" width="200"]Hefei Wen, PhDAssistant Professor, Department of Health Management & PolicyUniversity of Kentucky College of Public Health Dr. Wen[/caption] Hefei Wen, PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Health Management & Policy University of Kentucky College of Public Health  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Medicaid is the principal payer of behavioral health services in the U.S. and expected to play an increasing role in financing behavioral health services following Medicaid expansions under the ACA.
Author Interviews, Infections, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 25.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_48823" align="alignleft" width="150"]Lauren Breithaupt, PhDDepartment of PsychologyGeorge Mason UniversityFairfax, Virginia Dr. Breithaupt[/caption] Lauren Breithaupt, PhD Department of Psychology George Mason University Fairfax, Virginia  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Our study provides novel insight into the relationship between the immune system and eating disorders characterized by chronic restriction (e.g., anorexia nervosa) and binge eating and/or purging (e.g., binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa). These findings also add to the growing body of literature linking the immune systems broadly and mental disorders. We found that infections in early childhood were associated with an increased risk of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and other eating disorders such as binge eating disorder in adolescence. These relationships appear to be both time and dose-dependent, meaning that the onset of eating disorder diagnosis is greatest in the first three months following the infection, and the more infections, the greater the risk.   
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pharmacology / 01.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_47717" align="alignleft" width="125"]Kuan-Pin Su, MD, PhDChina Medical UniversityTaichung, Taiwan Dr. Kuan-Pin Su[/caption] Kuan-Pin Su, MD, PhD China Medical University Taichung, Taiwan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Delirium, also known as acute confusional state, is a serious disturbance in mental abilities that results in confused thinking and reduced awareness of the environment. Delirium can often be traced to one or more contributing factors, such as a severe or chronic illness, changes in metabolic balance (such as low sodium), medication, infection, surgery, or alcohol or drug intoxication or withdrawal. It’s critically important to identify and treat delirium because some of the contributing factors could be life-threatening. However, there is no sufficient evidence for choice of medication to treat or prevent the symptoms of delirium. A recent paper, Association of Delirium Response and Safety of Pharmacological Interventions for the Management and Prevention of Delirium A Network Meta-analysis, published in JAMA Psychiatry provides important findings of this missing piece in that important clinical uncertainty. The leading author, Professor Kuan-Pin Su, at the China Medical University in Taichung, Taiwan, concludes the main finding about treatment/prevention of delirium: “In this report, we found that the combination of haloperidol and lorazepam demonstrated the best option for treatment of delirium, while ramelteon for prevention against delirium. 
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Genetic Research, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 17.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Nicole Karcher, PhD Post-doctoral scholar with the NIMH Training in Clinical Sciences fellowship Department of Psychiatry Washington University School of Medicine   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: For over fifteen years, researchers have debated the role that cannabis use plays in the development of both psychotic disorders as well as subthreshold psychotic symptoms, such as psychotic-like experiences (PLEs). There is still a lack of consensus regarding the nature of the association between cannabis use and psychosis risk, with some research finding evidence for genetic overlap, while other research finds evidence for potentially causal pathways. The current study examined data from twins and siblings from two different samples, the U.S.-based Human Connectome Project and the Australian Twin Registry, with a total of 4,674 participants. Overall, psychotic-like experiences were associated with three separate cannabis use variables [frequent (≥100 times) use, a Cannabis Use Disorder diagnosis, and current cannabis use]. Furthermore, the current research found evidence for both shared genetic and individual-specific contributions to the association between PLEs and these three cannabis use variables. More specifically, while the association between cannabis use and psychotic-like experiences was largely attributable to shared genetic factors, cannabis users were more likely to endorse PLEs in comparison to the relative who used cannabis less. 
Addiction, Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, University of Michigan / 10.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_44382" align="alignleft" width="133"]Lauren B. Gerlach, D.O. Clinical Lecturer Department of Psychiatry University of Michigan Dr. Gerlach[/caption] Lauren B. Gerlach, D.O. Clinical Lecturer Department of Psychiatry University of Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  Response: In this study we used data from the Supporting Seniors Receiving Treatment and Intervention or SUSTAIN program. The program provides a supplement to a Pennsylvania medication coverage program for low-income older adults. It provides behavioral health and case management services by phone across the state. This included detailed interviews to screen for mental health issues including anxiety, depression, sleep issues, and pain, as well as analysis of prescription records and other clinical data. Among older adults prescribed a new benzodiazepine prescription by a non-psychiatric provider, we determined how many then went on to long-term use of the medication and what patient and clinical characteristics predicted long-term use over the following year.
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Nature, University of Pennsylvania / 08.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Theodore Satterthwaite MD Assistant professor in the department of Psychiatry, and Cedric Xia, a MD-PhD candidate Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Unlike other branches of modern medicine, psychiatry still solely replies on patient reports and physician observations for clinical decision-making. Without biologically-based tests, the diagnostic categories for mental health do not carve nature at its joint. This is evident in the high levels of co-morbidity across disorders and heterogeneity within disorders. Through this research, we studied a large sample of adolescents who completed MRI-based functional imaging, and used recently-developed machine learning techniques to uncover specific abnormalities that are highly predictive of a wide variety of psychiatric symptoms. Essentially, we tried to find brain patterns that were predictive of different types of psychiatric symptoms. We discovered four such brain-guided dimensions of psychopathology: mood, psychosis, fear, and disruptive behavior. While each of these dimensions exhibits a unique pattern of brain connectivity, a common feature of brain anomaly is shared across the dimensions. Notably, in all linked dimensions, the default mode network and fronto-parietal network, two brain regions that usually become increasingly distinct as the brain matures, were abnormally connected. This loss of normal brain network segregation supports the hypothesis that many psychiatric illnesses may be disorders of brain development. MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? Response: This study shows that we can start to use the brain to guide our understanding of psychiatric disorders in a way that’s fundamentally different than grouping symptoms into clinical diagnostic categories. By moving away from clinical labels developed decades ago, we can begin to let the biology speak for itself. Our ultimate hope is that understanding the biology of mental illnesses will allow us to develop better treatments for our patients. MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? Response: This study demonstrates the importance of incorporating vast amounts of biological data to study mental illness across clinical diagnostic boundaries. Moving forward, we hope to integrate genomic data in order to describe pathways from genes to brain to symptoms, which could ultimately be the basis for novel treatments for mental illness. MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? Response: Future breakthroughs in brain science to understand mental illness requires large amount of data. While the current study takes advantage of one of the largest samples of youth, the size (n=999) remains dwarfed by the complexity of the brain. The neuroscience community is actively working towards collecting higher quality data in even larger samples, so we can validate and build upon the findings. Citation: Cedric Huchuan Xia, Zongming Ma, Rastko Ciric, Shi Gu, Richard F. Betzel, Antonia N. Kaczkurkin, Monica E. Calkins, Philip A. Cook, Angel García de la Garza, Simon N. Vandekar, Zaixu Cui, Tyler M. Moore, David R. Roalf, Kosha Ruparel, Daniel H. Wolf, Christos Davatzikos, Ruben C. Gur, Raquel E. Gur, Russell T. Shinohara, Danielle S. Bassett, Theodore D. Satterthwaite. Linked dimensions of psychopathology and connectivity in functional brain networks. Nature Communications, 2018; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-05317-y [wysija_form id="3"] [last-modified] The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.Dr. Theodore Satterthwaite MD Assistant professor in the department of Psychiatry, and Cedric Xia, a MD-PhD candidate Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Unlike other branches of modern medicine, psychiatry still solely replies on patient reports and physician observations for clinical decision-making. Without biologically-based tests, the diagnostic categories for mental health do not carve nature at its joint. This is evident in the high levels of co-morbidity across disorders and heterogeneity within disorders. Through this research, we studied a large sample of adolescents who completed MRI-based functional imaging, and used recently-developed machine learning techniques to uncover specific abnormalities that are highly predictive of a wide variety of psychiatric symptoms. Essentially, we tried to find brain patterns that were predictive of different types of psychiatric symptoms. We discovered four such brain-guided dimensions of psychopathology: mood, psychosis, fear, and disruptive behavior. While each of these dimensions exhibits a unique pattern of brain connectivity, a common feature of brain anomaly is shared across the dimensions. Notably, in all linked dimensions, the default mode network and fronto-parietal network, two brain regions that usually become increasingly distinct as the brain matures, were abnormally connected. This loss of normal brain network segregation supports the hypothesis that many psychiatric illnesses may be disorders of brain development.
Author Interviews, Schizophrenia, Technology / 13.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_43153" align="alignleft" width="125"]Bo Cao, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Psychiatry Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry University of Alberta Edmonton Dr. Bo Cao[/caption] Bo Cao, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Psychiatry Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry University of Alberta Edmonton MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric disorder that comes with delusions, hallucinations, poor motivation, cognitive impairments. The economic burden of schizophrenia was estimated at $155.7 billion in 2013 alone in the United States. Schizophrenia usually emerges early in life and can potentially become a lifetime burden for some patients. Repeated untreated psychotic episodes may be associated with irreversible alterations of the brain. Thus, it is crucial to identify schizophrenia early and provide effective treatment. However, identifying biomarkers in schizophrenia during the first episode without the confounding effects of treatment has been challenging. Limited progress has been made in leveraging these biomarkers to establish diagnosis and make individualized predictions of future treatment responses to antipsychotics. In a recent study by Dr. Cao and his colleagues, they successfully identified the first-episode drug-naïve schizophrenia patients (accuracy 78.6%) and predict their responses to antipsychotic treatment (accuracy 82.5%) at an individual level by using a machine learning algorithm and the functional connections of a brain region called the superior temporal cortex. 
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Nutrition, OBGYNE / 05.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_42888" align="alignleft" width="135"]Joshua L. Roffman, MD Department of Psychiatry Mass General Hospital Dr. Roffman[/caption] Joshua L. Roffman, MD Department of Psychiatry Mass General Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Autism, schizophrenia, and other serious mental illness affecting young people are chronic, debilitating, and incurable at present.  Recent public health studies have associated prenatal exposure to folic acid, a B-vitamin, with reduced subsequent risk of these illnesses.  However, until this point, biological evidence supporting a causal relationship between prenatal folic acid exposure and reduced psychiatric risk has remained elusive. We leveraged the rollout of government-mandated folic acid fortification of grain products in the U.S. from 1996-98 as a "natural experiment" to determine whether increased prenatal folic acid exposure influenced subsequent brain development.  This intervention, implemented to reduce risk of spina bifida and other disabling neural tube defects in infants, rapidly doubled blood folate levels among women of childbearing age in surveillance studies. Across two large, independent cohorts of youths age 8 to 18 who received MRI scans, we observed increased cortical thickness, and a delay in age-related cortical thinning, in brain regions associated with schizophrenia risk among individuals who were born during or after the fortification rollout, compared to those born just before it.  Further, delayed cortical thinning also predicted reduced risk of psychosis spectrum symptoms, a finding that suggests biological plausibility in light of previous work demonstrating early and accelerated cortical thinning among school-aged individuals with autism or psychosis.
Addiction, Author Interviews, Cannabis, Mental Health Research / 15.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Cannabis sativa” by Manuel is licensed under CC BY 2.0 Leen Naji, BHSc, MD Family Medicine Resident McMaster University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Cannabis use has consistently been linked to suicide attempt in the general population, but little data exists linking the association between cannabis use and suicide attempt amongst patients with psychiatric disorders. This is important data as we know that patients with psychiatric disorders are both more likely to use cannabis and to attempt suicide. Therefore, our goal was to study the association between cannabis use and suicide attempt amongst patients with psychiatric disorders. Additionally, since we know that women are more likely to suffer from mental health disorders, are more likely to attempt suicide and are more likely to incur the deleterious consequences of drug use at lower doses, we sought to compare the association between cannabis use and suicide attempt in men and women amongst our study population. We conducted our analysis on a large sample of over 900 adults with psychiatric disorders (465 men, 444 women), of whom 112 men and 158 women had attempted suicide. The average age of our study sample was 40 years. We found that cannabis use is not associated with an increased risk of suicide in patients with psychiatric disorders, though this association may vary when looking at specific subpopulations and/or amount of cannabis use. For instance, we found that heavier cannabis use is associated with an increased risk of suicide attempt amongst men with psychiatric disorders. Specifically, there was a 3% increased risk of suicide attempt for every day of cannabis use per month in men with psychiatric disorders. We also found that amongst those with psychiatric conditions, women, unemployed individuals and those with a mood disorder were at increased risk of suicide attempt.  
Author Interviews, JAMA, PTSD / 23.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Man’s best friend helps NC Guardsman with PTSD [Image 1 of 8]” by DVIDSHUB is licensed under CC BY 2.0, PhD Professor of Psychiatry Director, Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pa 19104 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: As much as 10 to 20 percent of military members deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan following the September 11th attacks suffer from PTSD, which is often chronic and incapacitating. A constant increase in the number of individuals suffering from PTSD as a result of massive natural disasters, terror attacks, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has prompted an urgent need for effective and efficient evidence-based treatments for PTSD. Prolong exposure (PE) is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy that involves exposure to trauma memories and daily life trauma reminders. Previous studies have proven PE is quite effective for treating civilians and veterans with PTSD. In this five-year study, the researchers sought to determine whether PE could have similar success with active-duty military personnel. The researchers examined the benefit of various methods for delivering PE including Massed-PE, (10 therapy sessions administered over two weeks) and Spaced-PE (10 sessions administered over 8 weeks), as well as Present Centered Therapy (PCT), a non-trauma-focused therapy that involves identifying and discussing daily stressors in 10 sessions over eight weeks, and Minimal Contact Control (MCC), which included supportive phone calls from therapists once weekly for four weeks. Patients who received Massed-PE therapy, delivered over two weeks, saw a greater reduction in PTSD symptoms than those who received MCC. Importantly, Massed-PE therapy was found to be equally effective to Spaced-PE in reducing PTSD symptom severity. The researchers also found that PCT might be an effective treatment option for PTSD in active military personnel although it was less effective than PE in veteran and civilian PTSD sufferers. 
Author Interviews, JAMA, Psychological Science / 18.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38996" align="alignleft" width="100"]Dr. Foltynie Dr. Foltynie[/caption] Thomas Foltynie MD PhD Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Neurologist Unit of Functional Neurosurgery Institute of Neurology and National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery University College London MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Stimulation of the Nucleus Basalis of Meynert can enhance cholinergic innervation of the cortex in animal models and has been previously reported to have beneficial cognitive effects in a single patient with Parkinson’s Disease dementia. In this double blind crossover trial, six patients with Parkinson’s Disease underwent low frequency stimulation to the NBM bilaterally.  While there were no consistent objective improvements in cognitive performance, there was a marked reduction in visual hallucinations in two of the participants. .
Abuse and Neglect, Author Interviews, BMJ, Exercise - Fitness, Mental Health Research / 02.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_33615" align="alignleft" width="134"]Tine Vertommen, Criminologist Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Universiteitsplein 1 Antwerp, Belgium Tine Vertommen[/caption] 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.
Addiction, Alcohol, Author Interviews, Cannabis, Mental Health Research / 03.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_32622" align="alignleft" width="175"]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[/caption] 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.
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Depression, JAMA / 03.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Zahinoor Ismail MD FRCPC Clinical Associate Professor, Hotchkiss Brain Institute University of Calgary MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Depression and depressive symptoms are common in mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Evidence suggests that depression in MCI increases the likelihood of progression from MCI to dementia, compared to non-depressed people with MCI. In the newer construct of mild behavioural impairment (MBI), which describes the relationship between later life onset of sustained and impactful neuropsychiatric symptoms and the risk of cognitive decline and dementia, depression is an important subdomain (in addition to apathy, impulse control, social cognition and psychotic symptoms). Thus, depression and depressive symptoms are a significant risk factor for cognitive, behavioural and functional outcomes in older adults who have at most mild cognitive impairment. As the importance of neuropsychiatric symptoms in older adults emerges, good prevalence estimates are required to inform clinicians and researchers as well as public health policy and decision makers. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine the best estimate of prevalence of depression in  mild cognitive impairment. We included 57 studies, representing 20,892 participants in the analysis. While we determined that the omnibus prevalence estimate was 32%, there was significant heterogeneity in this sample based on setting. In community samples, the rate was 25%, but in clinical samples this was higher at 40%. Additionally, different case ascertainment methods for depression (self report, clinician administered or caregiver report) and different MCI criteria didn't change the prevalence estimates.
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 19.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Guillermo Horga, MD, PhD Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry Columbia University Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Some people who eventually develop schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders have early “prodromal” symptoms such as subtle perceptual abnormalities and unusual thoughts that precede the onset of these disorders by months or even years. These subtle symptoms are typically not fully formed or met with full conviction, which distinguishes them from full-blown symptoms of psychosis. The “prodromal” phase has been the subject of intense study as researchers believe it can provide an invaluable window into the neurobiological processes that cause psychotic disorders as well as an opportunity to develop early preventive interventions. Persons who experience “prodromal” symptoms (known as “clinical high-risk” individuals) tend to report a variety of relatively subtle perceptual abnormalities (e.g., heightened sensitivity to sounds, distortions in how objects are perceived, momentarily hearing voices of speakers who are not present), unusual thoughts, and disorganized speech, some of which have been shown to be particularly informative in distinguishing who among these persons will eventually develop a full-blown psychotic disorder, a prediction that is clinically important as it may indicate the need for close monitoring of individuals who are at the greatest risk. Even though subtle perceptual abnormalities are common in this population, the available research indicates that they are as a whole uninformative for clinical prediction purposes. However, previous research in this area had never examined in detail whether assessing perceptual abnormalities in different sensory domains (such as visual versus auditory abnormalities) separately could be more informative than assessing them as a whole.
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 04.01.2016

[caption id="attachment_20411" align="alignleft" width="200"]Josephine Mollon MSc Department of Psychosis Studies Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience King’s College London London, England Josephine Mollon[/caption] MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Josephine Mollon MSc Department of Psychosis Studies Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience King’s College London London, England  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mollon: Psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions, are core features of psychotic disorders. A significant minority of the general population also reports subclinical psychotic experiences. Evidence suggests that these experiences may lie on a continuum with clinically significant psychotic symptoms. For example, cognitive deficits, which are a hallmark of psychotic disorders, are also seen in people with subclinical psychotic experiences. We used population-based survey data to characterize cognitive functioning in adults with psychotic experiences while adjusting for important sociodemographic characteristics and investigating the effect of age. The 171 (9.7%) adults with psychotic experiences showed significant memory and verbal deficits, but not IQ or processing speed deficits. Only participants 50 years and older with psychotic experiences showed medium to large impairments in general IQ, verbal knowledge, working memory and memory after adjusting for socioeconomic status, cannabis use, and common mental disorders.
Author Interviews, JAMA, Psychological Science, University of Pittsburgh / 25.07.2014

John Blosnich, Ph.D., M.P.H., Post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System. MedicalResearch.com Interview with: John Blosnich, Ph.D., M.P.H., Post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System. Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Blosnich: I think there are two main findings from our study: First, since the beginning of the All-Volunteer U.S. military in 1973, there has been a shift in childhood experiences among men who have served in the military. Second, the childhood experiences of women who have served in the military have been largely similar across the Draft and All-Volunteer Eras.