Magnetic stimulation therapy can beat depression when medication and therapy haven't worked, according to the December issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter. The therapy, called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), involves using brief powerful electromagnetic pulses to alter brain activity. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the therapy for patients whose depression hasn't improved with medications -- estimated to be from 10 to 20 percent of those with the illness. Patients treated with TMS may experience total remission of depression symptoms. A 50 percent improvement in depression symptoms is common. A typical treatment schedule involves five, one-hour sessions a week for at least three to five weeks. During a session, the patient sits in a reclining chair while the magnetic coil is positioned and activated. Patients remain awake and alert as the coil alters brain activity. No anesthesia or invasive procedures are used. The benefits gradually emerge over several weeks.
The drug flibanserin, which was originally created as an antidepressant, is effective in treating women with low libido, pooled results from three separate clinical trials have found. These trials were the first ever to test a therapy that works at the level of the brain to enhance libido in women reporting low sexual desire, said John M. Thorp Jr., M.D., McAllister distinguished professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and the principal investigator for North America in the studies. "Flibanserin was a poor antidepressant, " Thorp said. "However, astute observers noted that it increased libido in laboratory animals and human subjects. So, we conducted multiple clinical trials and the women in our studies who took it for hypoactive sexual desire disorder reported significant improvements in sexual desire and satisfactory sexual experiences. "It's essentially a Viagra-like drug for women in that diminished desire or libido is the most common feminine sexual problem, like erectile dysfunction is in men, " Thorp said.
Postmenopausal women who take antidepressants face a small but statistically significant increased risk for stroke and death compared with those who do not take the drugs. The new findings are from the federally-funded, multi-institution, Women's Health Initiative Study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, and the results are published in the December 14 online edition of Archives of Internal Medicine. Senior author Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, Ph.D., is a principal investigator in the Women's Health Initiative and is division head of epidemiology and professor of epidemiology & population health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. In addition to Einstein, other institutions involved in the study were Massachusetts General Hospital, where the lead author of the paper, Jordan W. Smoller, M.D., Sc.D., is based. He is also associate professor of psychiatry in the Harvard Medical School. Also contributing to the study are researchers from the University of California San Diego, the University of Washington, the University of Hawaii, the University of Iowa, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Emory University School of Medicine.
Patients who received telephone-delivered collaborative care for treatment of depression after coronary artery bypass graft surgery reported greater improvement in measures of quality of life, physical functioning and mood than patients who received usual care, according to a study in the November 18 issue of JAMA. The study is being released early online because of its presentation at an American Heart Association scientific conference. Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery is one of the most common and costly medical procedures performed in the United States. As many as half of CABG patients report depressive symptoms after surgery, and are also more likely to experience a decreased health-related quality of life (HRQL) and functional status, according to background information in the article. Several trials for treatment of depression have been conducted in cardiac populations, but most achieved less than anticipated benefits with regard to reducing mood symptoms. "Moreover, none used the proven effective collaborative care approach recently recommended by a National Institutes of Health expert consensus panel, " the authors write.
Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug by adolescents, with almost 42% of high school seniors admitting to having experimented with it. Continued marijuana use may result in a number of serious consequences including depression, cognitive impairment, cardiovascular disease, and certain forms of cancer. As such, it is critical to prevent marijuana use by adolescents and numerous behavioral and medical scientists have been trying to establish the best means of prevention. Many studies have focused on parents as being the best avenue for preventing adolescent marijuana use. Specifically, parental monitoring (when the parents know where their children are, who they are with, and what they are doing) has been seen as attenuating a number of negative adolescent behaviors, including gambling, sexual activity, and drug use. However, the strength of the relationship between monitoring and marijuana usage has been unclear; for example, if adolescents use marijuana, they may be more likely to hide that from their parents, compared to other behaviors.
Depressive symptoms improved among women with coronary heart disease who participated in a motivationally-enhanced cardiac rehabilitation program exclusively for women, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2009. Depression often co-occurs with heart disease and is found more often in women with heart disease than in men. Depression also interferes with adherence to lifestyle modifications and the willingness to attend rehabilitation. "Women often don't have the motivation to attend cardiac rehab particularly if they're depressed, " said Theresa Beckie, Ph.D., lead investigator and author of the study and professor at the University of South Florida's College of Nursing in Tampa, Florida. "Historically women have not been socialized to exercise and their attendance in cardiac rehabilitation programs has been consistently poor over the last several decades. This poor attendance may be partly due to mismatches in stages of readiness for behavior change with the health professional approaching from an action-oriented perspective and the women merely contemplating change - this is destined to evoke resistance.
The Transcendental Meditation technique may be an effective method to reduce blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and anger among at-risk college students, according to a new study to be published in the American Journal of Hypertension, December 2009. "The Transcendental Meditation Program, a widely-used standardized program to reduce stress, showed significant decreases in blood pressure and improved mental health in young adults at risk for hypertension, " said David Haaga, PhD, co-author of the study and professor of psychology at American University in Washington, D.C. This study was conducted at American University with 298 university students randomly allocated to either the Transcendental Meditation technique or wait-list control over a three-month intervention period. A subgroup of 159 subjects at risk for hypertension was analyzed separately. At baseline and after three months, blood pressure, psychological distress, and coping ability were assessed. For the students at risk for developing hypertension, significant improvements were observed in blood pressure, psychological distress and coping.
A study by researchers at the University of Bergen, Norway, and the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) at King's College London has found that depression is as much of a risk factor for mortality as smoking. Utilising a unique link between a survey of over 60, 000 people and a comprehensive mortality database, the researchers found that over the four years following the survey, the mortality risk was increased to a similar extent in people who were depressed as in people who were smokers. Dr Robert Stewart, who led the research team at the IoP, explains the possible reasons that may underlie these surprising findings: 'Unlike smoking, we don't know how causal the association with depression is but it does suggest that more attention should be paid to this link because the association persisted after adjusting for many other factors.' The study also shows that patients with depression face an overall increased risk of mortality, while a combination of depression and anxiety in patients lowers mortality compared with depression alone.
The British Psychological Society has welcomed the announcement of the government's New Horizons strategy to combat depression. Ms Sue Gardner, the President of the Society, says: 'the Society fully supports the New Horizons initiative and is proud to be involved in the prevention and treatment of distress as well as the enhancement of psychological well-being. 'However, much work remains to be done to ensure that everyone has access to psychological therapies, which the evidence base shows to be effective in the treatment of depression. Too often, people are offered only drug therapies when psychological therapies, or a combination of drug and psychological therapies, would produce a better outcome. 'The Society recommends that psychological therapies should be extended to all groups on both moral and economic grounds.' The Society has also signed up to the Research Mental Health petition calling for a trebling of research in this field. Source British Psychological Society
People who experience a lot of negative emotions and do not express these experience more health problems, says Dutch researcher Aline Pelle. She discovered that heart failure patients with a negative outlook reported their complaints to a physician or nurse far less often. The personality of the partner can also exert a considerable influence on these patients. Aline Pelle investigated patients with a so-called type D personality. These people experience a lot of negative emotions and do not express these for fear of being rejected by others. It was already known that such a type of personality in heart failure patients is associated with anxiety and depression and a reduced state of health. However, Aline Pelle also described which processes might contribute to this. Many of the patients with a negative outlook were found not to contact the physician or specialist nurse in the event of heart failure symptoms. As a result of this they were six times more likely to experience a worse state of health than non-type D heart failure patients.