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Processing In The Brain's Reward Pathways May Be Affected By Childhood Adversity

New research shows that childhood adversity is associated with diminished neural activity in brain regions implicated in the anticipation of possible rewards. Scientists at Harvard University used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to monitor brain activity as participants played a game involving cues that predicted monetary rewards and penalties. "We found that, in comparison to community controls, young adults who had experienced childhood adversity showed weaker responses to reward-predicting cues in left hemisphere regions of the basal ganglia, a part of the brain that is important for orchestrating goal-directed actions, " says Diego Pizzagalli, the John and Ruth Hazel Associate Professor of the Social Sciences in the Department of Psychology at Harvard.

Targacept's TC-5214 Achieves All Primary And Secondary Outcome Measures In Phase 2b Trial As Augmentation Treatment For Major Depressive Disorder

Targacept, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRGT) today announced positive top-line results from a double blind, placebo controlled, flexible dose Phase 2b clinical trial of TC-5214 as an augmentation (add-on) treatment for major depressive disorder, or MDD, in subjects who did not respond adequately to first-line treatment with citalopram alone. The result on the primary outcome measure for the trial, mean change between treatment (TC-5214 + citalopram) and placebo (placebo + citalopram) from baseline on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression-17, or HAM-D, was highly statistically significant in favor of TC-5214 (p < 0.0001) on an intent to treat basis.

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Bill Fuels Debate Over Universal Screening For Postpartum Depression

A bill ( HR 20, S 324 ) in Congress that would mandate funding for research, services and public education related to postpartum depression has sparked debate over whether all women should be screened for the condition, Time reports. The Melanie Blocker-Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care Act, also known as the Mothers Act, passed the House and is before the Senate. The bill does not specifically include funding for PPD testing, though an earlier version did; regardless, critics say it would still lead to greater screening. According to Time, the issue at the center of the debate is whether PPD screening identifies actual cases "or simply contribute[s] to the potentially dangerous medicalization of motherhood.

In Postpartum Women, Poor Sleep Is Independently Associated With Depression

A study in the July 1 issue of the journal SLEEP suggests that postpartum depression may aggravate an already impaired sleep quality, as experiencing difficulties with sleep is a symptom of depression. Twenty-one percent of depressed postpartum women included in the study reported having also been depressed during pregnancy and 46 percent reported at least one previous depressive episode prior to conception, suggesting that new mothers diagnosed with postpartum depression are not merely reporting symptoms of chronic sleep deprivation. Results indicate that two months after delivery, poor sleep was associated with depression when adjusted for other significant risk factors, such as poor partner relationship, previous depression, depression during pregnancy and stressful life events.

News From The Annals Of Family Medicine: July August 2009

The Primary Care Paradox and the Need to Integrate Primary and Specialty Care to Improve the Quality of Healthcare The third in a seven-part series of commentaries to understand health and healthcare With the healthcare reform debate heating up in Washington, D.C., Annals of Family Medicine editor Kurt Stange, M.D., Ph.D., continues his seven-part series of commentaries designed to help make sense of the problems and opportunities we face for understanding and improving healthcare and health. The July/August issue of the Annals features the series' third installment, which explores the paradox of primary care - the fact that when compared with specialty care, primary care is associated with poorer quality care for individual diseases, yet higher value health care at the level of the whole person, and better health, greater equity, lower costs and better quality of care at the level of populations.

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Suicide Rates Lowest On Record, England

The number of suicides in England are at an all-time low, Care Services Minister Phil Hope announced as he published the latest annual report on suicide prevention. The new figures out today show: - The suicide rate for 2007, the most recent available, was the lowest recorded at 7.5 deaths per 100, 000 population. - There continues to be a sustained fall in the rate of suicide among young men under the age of 35. - There has also been a further reduction in suicides amongst mental health in-patients, from 216 in 1997 to 136 in 2006 (latest data). - There has been a fall in suicides in prisons, from 65 in 1997 to 60 in 2008. The 2008 figure is down from 88 in 2007, although trend has fluctuated.

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