Health and Fitness

Antidepressants Cut Risk Of Hospital Readmission For Suicidal Youth

Suicidal adolescents who were prescribed an antidepressant medication during inpatient psychiatric hospital treatment were 85 percent less likely than others to be readmitted within a month after discharge, a new study found. The results provide additional evidence that antidepressants may play a key role in helping improve the mental health of suicidal youth, said Cynthia Fontanella, co-author of the study and assistant professor of social work at Ohio State University. The findings are especially important now, because antidepressant use dropped in 2003 after the Food and Drug Administration issued a black box warning that some antidepressants may increase the risk of suicidal behavior for pediatric patients. A black-box warning is the most serious type of warning in prescription drug labeling. "We found that antidepressant treatment had a protective effect on readmission, " Fontanella said. "Although the findings are preliminary, our results should be reassuring to child psychiatrists who may have been concerned about prescribing antidepressants since the FDA warning.

Grants From Michael J. Fox Foundation Awarded To BIDMC Scientists For Parkinson's Research

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) neurologists Alvaro Pascual-Leone, MD, PhD, and Daniel Tarsy, MD, have been awarded grants totaling more than $1.5 million from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) to conduct investigations aimed at improving the quality of life for patients with Parkinson's disease. A chronic, degenerative disorder of the nervous system that affects one in 100 individuals over age 60, Parkinson's disease results from diminished levels of dopamine, the brain's chemical messenger responsible for transmitting the signals that enable us to coordinate movements. Although Parkinson's disease typically results in tremor, rigidity and other motor symptoms, a number of non-motor symptoms, including depression, cognitive impairment, and sleep problems can also affect patients with Parkinson's disease and, in many cases, can be even more disabling than the motor symptoms. Pascual-Leone, Director of BIDMC's Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation, will oversee a three-year $1.

Naurex Inc. Initiates Phase I Clinical Trial Of Its Novel Mechanism NMDA Modulator GLYX-13 In Treatment-Resistant Depression

Naurex Inc., a new clinical stage company developing innovative treatments for depression and other CNS disorders based on its novel GFPA NMDA receptor modulators, announced that it has initiated a Phase I clinical trial of its lead compound GLYX-13 and has successfully dosed the first subjects in the study. GLYX-13, a glycine site functional partial agonist (GFPA) selective modulator of the NMDA receptor, is initially being developed as a therapy for treatment-resistant depression in severely depressed patients admitted to the hospital. Separately, Naurex announced that data presented at a recent medical meeting reported that GLYX-13 demonstrated robust antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like activity in animal models with no signs of the CNS-related side effects observed with other drugs targeting the NMDA receptor. The studies also showed that the antidepressant effects of GLYX-13 were evident within 20 minutes and demonstrated a lasting antidepressant effect of greater than four days after administration of a single dose.

Childhood Depression To Be Examined By Psychologist

Research by Binghamton University psychologist Brandon Gibb could provide new weapons for the fight against childhood depression. Working with colleagues around the country, he hopes to identify the causes of mental-health problems in kids and define trajectories of risk for depression. "We're hoping not only to identify which risk factors are most important but also to determine a developmental window that may provide the best opportunity for protective intervention, " said Gibb, associate professor of psychology and director of Binghamton University's Mood Disorders Institute. During the next five years, Gibb and his colleagues will study 250 8- to 14-year-olds and their mothers to develop a better understanding of the genetic, environmental and psychological variables that can lead to depression. Gibb is hoping that the study will provide a better understanding of the types of stress kids encounter as they enter adolescence and the factors that predict risk versus resilience in the face of this stress.

Physical Activity Reduces Disease-Related Fatigue And Depression By Increasing Self-Efficacy Or Mastery

Researchers in the US studying people with chronic diseases found that physical activity may reduce depression and fatigue by increasing self-efficacy, or the belief that one can master physical goals and attain a sense of accomplishment from applying oneself. These were the findings of a study by lead author Dr Edward McAuley, a professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois in Champaign, and colleagues, and appears in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine. A person's self-efficacy is the belief they can attain a certain goal: an example of my self-efficacy would be that I believe I can climb several flights of stairs or jog around the block without stopping. While there is lots of evidence that physical activity influences wellbeing, the reason why is less well understood. McAuley told the media that: "Physically active individuals have an increased sense of accomplishment, or situation-specific self-confidence, which in turn results in reduced depression and reduced fatigue.

Older People Urged To Look After Their Mental Health

As we are in the winter months older people in Ireland are being encouraged to look after their mental health and to seek help and support if they are feeling depressed most of the day, most days. Leading Old Age Psychiatrist Professor Brian Lawlor and advocacy group Age Action urged older people to address the issue of their mental health at the launch of the ' Mind Yourself - Depression in Later Life' leaflet today. The leaflet, produced by Lundbeck (Ireland) Ltd, provides useful information to help people recognise the symptoms of depression in later life and how to access support services and resources. The leaflet was developed following research amongst over 65 year olds, carried out by Behaviour and Attitudes on behalf of Lundbeck which shows that almost 60% of those surveyed believe that people in their age group would be reluctant to discuss depression with others. One quarter of respondents said they believed that depression is a state of mind and not an illness which could indicate a lack of understanding of depression, resulting in many older people with depression not being diagnosed or receiving the help they need.

Disease-Related Depression And Fatigue Lessened By Mastery Of Physical Goals

Physical activity is known to reduce depression and fatigue in people struggling with chronic illness. A new study indicates that this effect may stem from an individual's sense of mastery over - or belief in his or her ability to achieve - certain physical goals. The study appears in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine. "We base our arguments on fatigue being a symptom of depression, " said Edward McAuley, a professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois and lead author of the study. "Interventions to reduce depression have consistently resulted in reductions in fatigue. The opposite is not always the case." Depression and fatigue also are highly susceptible to changes in a person's sense of his or her own ability to achieve a certain goal. This belief in one's own abilities is called self-efficacy, McAuley said. The conviction that you can jog down the block or climb several flights of stairs without stopping is an example of self-efficacy. Previous studies have shown that increases in physical activity also increase self-efficacy.

USF-Patented Drug Center Of Major Deal

A drug created and patented by a team of University of South Florida researchers is at the center of Thursday's major deal between global pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca PLC and Targacept, Inc., potentially earning the university its most lucrative patent royalties to date. The drug, TC-5214, is the invention of USF researchers Paul Sanberg and Douglas Shytle, retired USF psychiatry professor Archie Silver and former student Mary Newman. AstraZeneca and Targacept have announced a collaboration and license agreement for the global development and commercialization of TC-5214 as it enters its final stages of testing. TC-5214 is viewed as a promising alternative to antidepressants currently on the market, about half of which do not work for people who suffer from depressions. Earlier studies have found TC-5214 more effective for those who have not been helped by commonly used drugs, and with fewer side effects. "This is what everybody waits for when a university is engaged in technology transfer, to get something that really makes a difference to society, " said Karen Holbrook, USF's Vice President for Research & Innovation.

Depression Survey: Implications For Diverse Communities

Americans do not believe that they know much about depression, but are highly aware of the risks of not receiving care, according to a survey released in November by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). See full survey results at, an interactive Web site that includes resources for people of diverse communities. Though depression is a common and highly treatable medical illness, research demonstrates that people of different cultural groups are at increased risk for untreated depression and suicide. - One in five Latina teenagers in the United States has seriously considered or attempted suicide. - More than 15 million Asian Americans live with depression; it's the second leading cause of death for Asian American and Pacific Islanders. - Misdiagnosis and under-treatment are common in the African American community. Only 12 percent of women seek treatment. The survey provides a "three-dimensional" measurement of responses from members of the general public who do not know anyone with depression, caregivers of adults diagnosed with depression and adults living with the illness.

Rates Of Common Mental Disorders Among American Youth Tracked By National Survey

Only about half of American children and teenagers who have certain mental disorders receive professional services, according to a nationally representative survey funded in part by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The survey also provides a comprehensive look at the prevalence of common mental disorders. The results are part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a collaboration between NIMH and the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The survey conducted from 2001 to 2004 had 3, 042 participants. These most recent results include data from children and adolescents ages 8 to 15, and were published online ahead of print December 14, 2009, in the journal Pediatrics. "Data on the prevalence of mental disorders among U.S. youth have been varied, making it difficult to truly understand how many children and teens are affected, " said NIMH Director Thomas R. Insel, M.D. "These data from the NHANES survey can serve as an important baseline as we follow trends of mental disorders in children.

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