Scientific News

WHO Analysis Expands on Trauma, PTSD Association (Source, Liu H, et al. JAMA Psychiatry, 04.01.2017)

Previous traumatic experiences were generally associated with PTSD. This is the analysis result of a large cross-national community sample which indicated that generalized risk was limited to previous exposure to violence and sexual assault.

Researchers concluded that results are valuable in advancing understanding of complex ways in which specific traumatic experiences and histories are associated with PTSD. There are questions unresolved about casual pathways and mechanisms but this contributes in providing a foundation for more focused investigations.

Read more in the chapter Disorders/Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Adolescent depression treatments, comparison of efficacy and cost

(Source: Healio Psychiatric Annals 8.12.2016)

Recent findings showed comparable medium-term efficacy and cost among cognitive behavioral therapy, short-term psychoanalytical therapy and a brief psychosocial intervention for depression in adolescents.

Ian Goodyer, MD, of the University of Cambridge says that depression impairs seriously people’s lives, and in many cases begins their teenage years. ,” Ian Goodyer, MD, of the University of Cambridge, said in a press release. Depression detected I and treated in early reduces to big extend the chances of severe depression returning later. His team compared the efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy, short-term psychoanalytical therapy or a reference brief psychological intervention. He wanted to see if two new treatments would be as effective as CBT, and if their effects would last beyond end of treatment. The result was that the total costs did not significantly differ between treatment groups.

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/ Depression

Depression in Pregnancy May ‘Age’ Children’s Brains, Source: Medscape 21.11, 2016

Higher levels of maternal depressive symptoms prenatally and postpartum have been linked to the thinning of the cerebral cortex in young children, new research shows.

The findings suggest that maternal depression in pregnancy could adversely affect a child’s brain development, underscoring the importance of treating depression in pregnant women, said author Catherine Lebel, PhD, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

It has been found an association between brain structure in the kids and maternal depressive symptoms.

We know that prenatal and postpartum depression in moms has negative consequences for kids in terms of things like behavior and learning, and in fact, the kids have higher risks of mental health problems themselves, so the brain structure is of interest because it can tell us a little bit about potential mechanisms, help us understand why maternal depression is associated with such outcomes in kids.

Read more on Disorders/Post-partum Depression

Age, Education, Health Status Predict Depression Risk in Women with Diabetes

(Source: HCPLive, 17.11.2016)

Prior studies have shown that adults with diabetes are more prone to depression than the population at large. Roughly 28% of diabetic women had suffered comorbid depression, while only 18% of diabetic men did. It’s expected that individuals with diabetes to be twice as likely to be depressed than otherwise similar nondiabetic individuals in similar settings.

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/Depression

Antiamyloid Drug Shows Gene-Dose Effect in Alzheimer’s, Source: Medscape, 17.11.2016

The oral antiamyloid drug tramiprosate benefits a subgroup of patients with ε4 alleles of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene, without increasing vasogenic brain edema, a side effect linked to other drugs that target amyloid.

The study showed a gene dose-related benefit of tramiprosate, with the largest effect among APOE ε4 homozygotes (2 alleles), intermediate benefit for APOE ε4 heterozygotes (1 allele), and no benefit in APOE ε4 noncarriers (0 alleles).

It makes sense that people with more amyloid would respond better to an amyloid-targeting drug, according to lead study author Susan Abushakra, MD, chief medical officer of Alzheon, the company developing a prodrug of tramiprosate.

While 95% of homozygous persons have amyloid in the brain, about 80% of heterozygous persons have amyloid and only up to 60% of APOE ε4 noncarriers have amyloid, she said.

In this new analysis, homozygous patients taking the higher-dose drug “had clinically relevant efficacy on cognition and function without having the side effect of vasogenic edema, which would limit the dose you can give them,” said Dr Abushakra.

Read more on Disorders/Dementia

Lithium Linked to Reduced Cancer Risk (Source: Medscape, 15.11.2016)

“Bipolar patients who took 0.90 average daily defined dose of lithium would have 57.5% less chance of developing cancer as compared to bipolar patients who took anticonvulsants only,” said Dr Yang.

For lithium users, there were trends of decreased cancer risks with respect to all site-specific cancers with the exception of bone, skin, and connective and other soft tissue cancer (HR = 3.012; 95% CI, 0.798 – 11.365) and genitourinary cancer (HR = 1.014; 95% CI, 0.472 – 2.179).

Read more in the chapter Disorders/Bipolar Disorder

Depression a Growing, Deadly Threat for Teens, Young Adults (Source: Medscape, 15.11.2016)

Female adolescents appear most vulnerable for major depression. Coupled with “little change” in mental health treatments, a growing number of young people have untreated depression. Among those aged 12 to 17 years, the 12-month prevalence of major depressive episodes (MDEs) jumped 37% from 8.7% in 2005 to 11.3% in 2014. This aligns with past studies that also found a larger increase in depressive symptoms in girls than boys in more recent years. The increase in the prevalence of MDE was more modest among young adults aged 18 to 25 years, rising from 8.8% in 2005 to 9.6% in 2014.

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/Depression

Preschool ADHD Diagnoses Stabilize After Guideline (Source: Medscape, 15.11.2016)

The increasing rate of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnoses in preschool-aged children stabilized after release of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ practice guideline in 2011, a new study shows. Meanwhile, the overall rate of stimulant prescriptions, which had declined before the guideline release, remained the same.

These are reassuring results given that a standardized approach to diagnosis was recommended and stimulant treatment is not recommended as first-line therapy for this age group.

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/ADHD

Cognitive Trouble a ‘Robust’ Predictor of Psychosis (Source: Medscape, 11.11.2016)

Neurocognitive impairment, particularly involving attention and memory, is a “robust” characteristic of individuals at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis, especially those who transition to psychosis later on, a landmark study suggests.

The findings support theoretical models hypothesizing attention and working memory abilities impairments and, even more strongly, impaired declarative memory abilities as central to the CHR stage,”

Read more in the chapter Disorders: Schizophrenia

Methamphetamine in Pregnancy Delays Infant Brain Development (Source: Medscape, 09.11.2016)

Infants exposed in utero to methamphetamine or whose mother smoked tobacco while pregnant display delays in motor development and white matter maturation, a new study found.

The findings provide additional evidence that maternal use of methamphetamine and tobacco during pregnancy may lead to altered brain development in fetuses that are evident on the quantitative neurological examination in neonates.

Women who are pregnant should avoid smoking stimulants, such as methamphetamine and tobacco. Although some of these abnormalities that we found normalized, other findings may persist into early childhood or later in life, which we will continue to follow over time.

Read more in the chapter Disorders: Addictions

ADHD Likely Due to Genes, Not Parenting or Environment (Source: Medscape 01.11.2016)

The recent research suggests that Glutamate neurotransmission plays an important role in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

It has been found that that a particular genetic mutations involving glutamate receptor metabotropic (GRM) network genes are present in more than 20% of children and adolescents with ADHD.

The study shows that ADHD is most likely related to the genes. It’s not due to parenting, or some environmental causes.

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/ ADHD

Few Adults with Depression Receive Treatment (Source: HCP Live, 12.10.2016)

Depression is widely under treated. The researchers noted that although antidepressant use has increased in the country, people are still apprehensive that many adults with depression are still not receiving adequate treatment. In some cases, adults receive treatment that does not match the severity of their disease.

Read more in the chapter Disorders: Depression

Animal Study Hints at Gene Therapy’s Possible Promise for Alzheimer’s 

(Source Imperial College London, news release, 10.10.2016.)

A new research in mice suggests that Gene therapy might one day offer a way to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists at Imperial College London used a modified virus to deliver a gene called PGC1-alpha into the brain cells of mice. Previous research suggests this gene may prevent the formation of a protein called amyloid-beta peptide.

Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia. It causes memory loss, confusion, and changes in mood and personality. There is no cure. According to David Reynolds, chief scientific officer for Alzheimer’s Research UK, research sets a foundation for exploring gene therapy as a treatment strategy for Alzheimer’s disease.

Read more on in the chapter Disorders: Dementia/Dementias

Perinatal complications associated with increased risk for OCD

(Source: Brander G, et al. JAMA Psychiatry, 05.10.2016)

Recent findings showed smoking 10 or more cigarettes per day during pregnancy, breech presentation, delivery by cesarean section, preterm birth and other perinatal factors were associated with increased risk for obsessive-compulsive disorder.

According to Gustaf Brander, MSc, of Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, and colleagues, complications in the perinatal period, including delivery by cesarean section, delivery using vacuum extraction, preterm birth, and low birth weight, have been associated with a range of psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder. The findings of the study will continue to increase our understanding of the etiology of OCD and inform novel interventions to alleviate and potentially prevent the debilitating effects of OCD.

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Report Highlights Challenges People Face When Seeking Care for Borderline Personality Disorder Source: American Psychiatric Association 03.10.2016

This study provided a broad overview of the experiences and preferences of BPD care seekers and highlights important focal areas for improving BPD services,” wrote the study authors. “These insights offer targets for future efforts to improve BPD services and outcomes. “Researchers at the Dartmouth Centers for Health and Aging analyzed the transcripts from more than 6,000 resource requests made to the Borderline Personality Disorder Resource Center (BPDRC) at New York Presbyterian Hospital between 2008 and 2015. From these transcripts, the authors were able to determine the frequency of the type of service requested.

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/Borderline Personality Disorder

Nighttime Hot Flashes Linked to Depression in Menopause

(Source Medpagetoday by Alexandria Bachert 28.09.2016)

A new study has revealed that menopausal women who experience hot flushes at night are more at risk of depression.
The study’s first author Dr Hadine Joffe, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA, said: “When women were awake long enough to later recall nighttime hot flushes, that perception contributed to mood disturbance in women whose estrogen levels had fallen.

“The association was independent of sleep disruption that the women experienced.”

A total of 29 healthy pre-menopausal women aged between 18 and 45 took part in the study. They were given medication to suppress estrogen production, a treatment that mimics menopause and induces menopausal symptoms to varying degrees of intensity.

Before and after the four-week timeframe, researchers monitored the participants’ sleep and hormone levels. The researchers found that women who reported experiencing frequent hot flushes at night were more likely to experience mild symptoms of depression than those who reported fewer or no hot flushes during the night.

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/Depression

ADHD Symptoms from Childhood May Lead to Greater Challenges for Adults

(Source: Psychiatric News: American Psychiatric Association, 08.09.2016.)

The outcomes of adults, who were diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as children generally tend to report greater social and emotional challenges than those who were not diagnosed with ADHD, vary widely. A study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry now suggests that persisting ADHD symptoms in adulthood are associated with greater functional impairments.

According to Lily Hechtman, M.D., and colleagues, the study suggests that functional outcomes in adults who were diagnosed with ADHD in childhood are not uniform but differ across domains, giving rise to different patterns of outcomes.

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/ADHD

Researchers Confront an Epidemic of Loneliness

(Source The New York Times 05.09.2016)

Loneliness, which Emily Dickinson described as “the Horror not to be surveyed,” is a quiet devastation. But in Britain, it is increasingly being viewed as something more: a serious public health issue deserving of public funds and national attention.

Working with local governments and the National Health Service, programs aimed at mitigating loneliness have sprung up in dozens of cities and towns. Even fire brigades have been trained to inspect homes not just for fire safety but for signs of social isolation.

An explosion of public awareness from local authorities to the Department of Health to the media,” said Paul Cann, chief executive of Age UK Oxfordshire and a founder of The Campaign to End Loneliness, a five-year-old group based in London. “Loneliness has to be everybody’s business.”

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/Depression

Can Positive Parental Reinforcement Counter Genetic Risk for Callous-Unemotional Behavior?

(Source American Journal for Psychiatry 01.09.2016)

Conduct problems are a common reason for a childhood referral to mental health and educational services and represent a substantial public health cost. Callous-unemotional behaviors, indicative of lack of empathy and remorse, characterize children who are at risk of developing persistent conduct problems. Previous research indicates that callous-unemotional behaviors are moderately to highly heritable and that conduct problems that co-occur with high levels of callous-unemotional behaviors may be more heritable than conduct problems that do not co-occur with these behaviors.

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/Personality Disorder

Many with depression have something else in common (Source: CBS NEWS, 29.08.2016)

It is recommended that everyone over 18 should be routinely screened for depression. Researchers from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, in New York, wanted to find out if people who’d come up positive for depression in routine screening tests were getting treatment for their mental health condition. Those who have depression aren’t actually getting the treatment they need, a new study suggests.

Read more in Chapter: Depression

Prenatal depression may be the most severe form of maternal depression (Source: The Washington Post News 29.08.2016)

Pregnancy is supposed to be one of the happiest times of a woman’s life, but for many women this is a time of fear, stress, confusion and a constant stream of worries through their mind.

Postpartum depression (PPD), the mental health disorder that affects up to 20 percent of new mothers but there are many women who may not be aware that depression often begins during pregnancy, not just after giving birth. Similar to postpartum depression, prenatal depression is accompanied by feelings of worry, sadness and anxiety. Women who develop depression before or during their pregnancies suffer from a more severe version of this mental-health concern and experience more intense feelings of sadness, along with sleep concerns and, in rare instances, paranoia.

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/Depression

Meds May Curb Risky Behaviors for Kids with ADHD (Source: HealthDay News; 17.08.2016)

A new research suggests that stimulants used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are linked with less risky behaviors in teens, despite concerns that it might raise the risk of drug abuse. Anna Chorniy, a postdoctoral associate at Princeton University in New Jersey, stated that ADHD medications are “effective in reducing the probability of these events”. Young people with ADHD tend to have problems with self-control and discount the future more heavily than their healthy peers, Chornly said. This makes them more injury-prone and more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as dangerous driving and substance abuse. The disorder can be managed with behavioral therapy and stimulants.

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/ADHD

Metabolic Problems in The Brain May Help (Source: American Journal of Psychiatry, 14.08.2016)

For the second cause of disability worldwide, we know strangely little about how depression works, and what goings-on in the brain actually underlie it. A fascinating new study lends some further insight, however, finding that certain metabolic glitches may explain at least some forms of treatment-resistant depression. Abnormalities in how the brain processes chemicals would affect the synthesis of neurotransmitters, which, if off kilter, could lead to depression that’s resistant to the usual meds. So the new study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, points to some interesting new avenues for depression. It also underscores the very physical nature of depression, which should go a long way in reducing the lingering stigma.

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/Depression

Depression Can Stalk Families Through Generations (Source: Health Day News; 10.08.2016)

A new research found that people whose parents and grandparents suffered from depression are at much higher risk of developing the illness.  The study suggest that if a person’s grandparent and parent each had depression, their own odds for the disorder tripled.

Dr. Victor Fornari, Director for child and adolescent psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y., believes that intervening early may help prevent or treat depression. He stated, “obtaining the family history of depression in children and adolescents beyond two generations is now clearly important.”

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/Depression

New research data about postpartum depression (Source: American Psychiatric Association; 01.08.2016)

Postpartum depression is a common disorder that can adversely affect the health of both the mother and child. A study was made on May 28, 2016 about the onset time of depression diagnosed in a postpartum woman and its implications for the potential severity of the disease and how it should be treated. It was found out that women who had depression before they became pregnant were more likely to have experienced paranoia, insomnia, or hypersomnia during the course of illness, whereas obsessive-compulsive symptoms were most pronounced in women who developed depression in the postpartum period and least pronounced in those with an onset during pregnancy.

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/Postpartum Depression

Updates in Women’s Health: Psychopharmacologic Approaches in the Perinatal Period: 

Mood Stabilizers and Antipsychotics (Source: American Psychiatric Association; 01.08.2016)

Psychiatric disorders during pregnancy and the postpartum period are common and as such, psychiatrists are often asked to evaluate and treat pregnant and postpartum women.

Unfortunately, psychiatrists often do not feel well-equipped to manage treatment of perinatal patients, especially with the use of mood stabilizers and antipsychotics due to the concerns about the potential impact of medications on the fetus, pregnancy and delivery itself, and/or lactation. Managing Bipolar disorders is most difficult especially when pregnancy is unplanned. There is a high risk for recurrence of Bipolar disorder during pregnancy when abrupt discontinuation of medication is implemented. Thus, careful study about psychopharmacologic approaches in the perinatal period is of extreme importance.

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/Postpartum Depression

Heritable and Nonheritable Pathways to Early Callous-Unemotional Behaviors

(Source: American Journal of Psychiatry, 08.04.2016)

Compelling evidence that severe maternal antisocial behavior increases risk for early callous-unemotional behaviors in offspring via genetic pathways. However, positive reinforcement from adoptive mothers was a nonheritable predictor of lower levels of callous-unemotional behaviors, and it buffered against heritable risk. These findings highlight a specific gene-environment interaction in the development of callous-unemotional behaviors and emphasize that positive parenting can reduce risk for early warning signs of future antisocial behavior. This conclusion emphasizes the importance of positive reinforcement in parenting-based interventions for callous-unemotional behaviors and provides a critical message for parents and others working with children with early antisocial behavior: Early callous-unemotional behaviors are heritable and can identify those at risk for continued antisocial behavior; however, these behaviors are malleable, and positive reinforcement from parents can alter these risky pathways.

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/Personality Disorders

At-risk individuals show possible treatment targets for bipolar disorder

Souce: J Psychiatr Res 2015; Advance online publication 26.02.2015

Depressive, Anxiety, Behavioral Disorders May Be Risk Factor For Bipolar Disorder. It may be important preceding clinical features in the onset of bipolar disorder, with the potential for targeted preventive care of at-risk individuals.

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/Bipolar

Study documents unexpected links in timing, severity of maternal depression symptoms (Source: The Lancet Psychiatry, 03.02.2015)

A study published in the January issue of The Lancet Psychiatry has documented unexpected links in the timing and severity of symptoms of maternal depression, which could help mothers and doctors better anticipate and treat the condition. After following some 8,200 women from 19 centers in seven countries, researchers found that in women with the severest symptoms — suicidal thoughts, panic, frequent crying — depression most often began during pregnancy, not after giving birth, as is often assumed. Women with moderate depression, however, often developed their symptoms postpartum, and were more likely than severely depressed women to have experienced complications during pregnancy like pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes or hypertension.

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/Postpartum Depression

Schizophrenia or Schizophrenias? The Challenge of Genetic Parsing of a Complex Disorder (Centre for Clinical Research in Neuropsychiatry and the School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Western Australia, Perth, 2015, February)

Schizophrenia is a broad clinical entity defined by arrays of subjective symptoms, behavioral signs, and variable patterns of course. Bleuler coined the term schizophrenia due to the non- uniformity of its clinical presentation. He stated that, “it is not a disease in the strict sense, but appears to be a group of diseases”. The symptoms of schizophrenia span a wide range of psychopathology and display an extraordinary amount of inter-individual variability and temporal inconstancy. Diagnosis is based primarily on the interpretation of subjective experiences as reported by the patient.

Schizophrenia geneticists are facing a particularly difficult task, seeking to discover specific variants and genes contributing to an over inclusive diagnostic category for which no specific biological substrate has yet been identified.

Importantly, the Arnedo et al. study suggests that the perennial problem of “missing” or hidden heritability of schizophrenia may eventually be resolved by partitioning the totality of associated polymorphisms or genomic markers into “natural” subsets with particular phenotypic features. The study finds tentative support for the proposition that schizophrenia is not a nosological monolith but a collection of partially overlapping clinical syndromes, each of them associated with a relatively discrete set of genetic polymorphisms.

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/Schizophrenia

Rate of nicotine metabolism may predict best way to quit smoking

(Source: American Psychiatric Association, Psychiatric News 12.01.2015)

How quickly a smoker metabolizes nicotine could determine which type of cessation strategy has the best chance of success, according to a new study that represents one of the largest pharmacogenetic analyses of tobacco dependence to date.

The study found that smokers with normal metabolism levels had better quit rates with varenicline therapy, which does not involve nicotine replacement, compared to a nicotine patch. For people with slow nicotine metabolism, the patch may be the better option.

Read more in the chapter: Articles/ Tobacco Addiction

Patients With First-Episode Schizophrenia Disorders Show Greater Body Fat, Cardiovascular Risk, Study Finds (Psychiatric News, 02.01.2015)

The duration of psychiatric illness and treatment for patients after first-episode schizophrenia spectrum disorders (FES) appears to be associated with weight gain and having other cardiometabolic abnormalities, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

Data showed that when evaluated after experiencing FES, nearly 50% were obese or overweight, 40% had prehypertension, 10% had hypertension, and 13.2% had some form of metabolic syndrome. Longer psychiatric illness duration correlated significantly with higher body mass index, fat percentage, and waist circumference. Treatment with antipsychotic medications, such as olanzapine and quetiapine, was associated with higher triglyceride levels in the blood.

The researchers concluded that “in patients with FES, cardiometabolic risk factors and abnormalities are present early in the illness and likely related to the underlying illness, unhealthy lifestyle, and [use of] antipsychotic medications, which interact with each other. Prevention of and early interventions for psychiatric illness and treatment with lower-risk agents, routine antipsychotic adverse effect monitoring, and smoking-cessation interventions are needed from the earliest illness phases.”

Combination treatment with Varenicline and Bupropion in an adaptive smoking cessation

(Source: American Journal of Psychiatry; 11.11.2014)

In an assessment of initial smoking reduction prior to the quit date, authors assessed the efficacy and safety of combination treatment with Varenicline and sustained-releases bupropion for smokers. They were deemed unlikely to achieve abstinence using nicotine patch treatment. Results show that participants who received the combination treatment (Varenicline and Bupropion) had a significantly higher abstinence rate than those who received Varenicline plus placebo.

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/Addictions

Risk for Substance Abuse in ADHD Relatives Due to Genetics

Source: Liam Davenport October 29, 2014

The increased risk for substance use disorders (SUDs) among the relatives of patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is due to shared genetic factors between the disorders.

The researchers, led by Charlote Skoglund, MD, from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, found that the first-degree relatives of ADHD probands had an increased risk for SUDs, and that the risk was lower in second-degree relatives. Crucially, the association was unaffected by coexisting psychiatric disorders.

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/ ADHD 

Depression Should Be Listed as Heart Disease Risk, Says AHA Panel

(Source: Clinical and Research News, Vabren Watts, 10.10.2014)

The American Heart Association’s new recommendation illustrates the continuing progress in integrating mental health care with general medical care. “The AHA recommendation emphasizes that depression is a whole-body illness. This is very important to consider in terms of future reimbursements for treating depression. It’s not just treating a mental health condition; it’s also reducing the risk of heart disease.”

Darrel Regier, M.D., former APA director of research, discusses APA’s involvement with the AHA’s recommendation to consider depression as a major risk factor for heart disease.  Despite publication of numerous studies and meta-analyses showing a link between depression and cardiovascular disease, the American Heart Association (AHA) has yet to formally recognize depression as a risk factor for a poor prognosis in patients with heart disease.

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/ Depression

Internet Addiction Shows Up In the Brain (Source: The Little Black Book of Billionaire Secrets, 17.01.2012)

Earlier research has found some changes in the brain of people who are hooked on the Web, and a new study shows reductions in volume of certain areas of the brain and in its white matter – the highways of connection between brain cells – of young people who are addicted to the Internet.

People who suffer from IAD don’t just spend a lot of time on the computer, but the authors say they also have significant problems in life, like “impaired individual psychological well-being, academic failure and reduced work performance.” Brains could be predisposed (genetically and physiologically) to addiction, then addiction develops, then brain changes exaggerate – and so on and so forth.

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/Addiction

The Perfect Marriage: Science Begins To Explain Why Antidepressants and Talk

(Source: American Journal of Psychiatry, 26.12.2011)

Antidepressants have been used for years to treat mood disorders like depression and anxiety, and we’re relying on them more and more as the go-to treatmentA new study explains why when paired together, antidepressants and talk therapy are so much more effective than either method alone.

This study is important since it’s really the first to take a stab at an explanation for why drug-psychotherapy combo is more effective than either method alone. Theoretically, the explanation makes a lot of sense, but more research will need to be done to explore the mechanism more fully – especially in humans.

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/Depression

ADHD Diagnosis, Treatment Differ Across the Globe

(Source: American Psychiatric Association May 2011)

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has received wide international recognition as a chronic neurodevelopmental disorder leading to high levels of impairment and requiring effective service delivery. Concerns have been raised about cross-national variation in the prevalence of ADHD, under the assumption that cultural differences are likely to underlie disparities between countries. However, a meta-regression analysis by Polanczyk and colleagues showed that despite international variation in prevalence estimates for ADHD (around an overall mean of slightly more than 5%), most of the cross-country variation was attributable to methodological differences—such as diverging definitions of the disorder or different algorithms for combining assessment information—rather than to cultural or national-level factors.

Read more in the chapter: Disorders/ADHD