Health and Fitness

Depressed Women Can Lose Weight As Successfully As Others Do

Women with major depression were no less likely than were women without it to have successful results with a weight loss program, according to an article in the Winter 2009 Behavioral Medicine. Group Health Research Institute Senior Research Associate Evette J. Ludman, PhD, the study leader, concluded that weight loss programs should not exclude depressed people. Dr. Ludman's study included 190 female Group Health patients age 40 to 65 with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more: 65 with major depressive disorder and 125 without it. The women had not been seeking treatment, but they enrolled in a one-year behavioral weight loss intervention involving 26 group sessions. The intervention, developed at the University of Minnesota over the past 20 years, has proven at least as good as any other currently available non-medical treatment. Some previous research had hinted that depression might worsen outcomes in behavioral weight loss programs. That's why trials of weight loss interventions typically exclude people with major depression.

Preventing Risk-Taking And Self-Destructive Behavior In Young People

At the beginning of 2010, the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department at the Center for Psychosocial Medicine at Heidelberg University Hospital will conduct a study named "Saving and Empowering Young Lives in Europe (SEYLE) - promoting the health of young people through the prevention of risk-taking and self-destructive behavior" in cooperation with twelve centers in other EU countries and Israel. The 12-month study, which will receive some 3 million euros in funding from the European Union, was presented in Heidelberg on November 24, 2009. The Karolinska Institute in Stockholm will assume the Europe-wide direction of the study. Promote health, reduce injurious behavior Risk-taking and self-destructive behavior is understood to mean alcohol and drug consumption, self-injury and suicidal actions, aggression, anxiety, depression, and various dangerous situations that youth in particular expose themselves to. The primary objective of the study is to promote the psychological health of youth at schools.

Key Target Of Clinical Depression Missed By Most Antidepressants

A key brain protein called monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) - is highly elevated during clinical depression yet is unaffected by treatment with commonly used antidepressants, according to an important study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. The study has important implications for our understanding of why antidepressants don't always work. Researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) used an advanced brain imaging method to measure levels of the brain protein MAO-A. MAO-A digests multiple brain chemicals, including serotonin, that help maintain healthy mood. High MAO-A levels excessively remove these brain chemicals. Antidepressant medications are the most commonly prescribed treatments in North America, yet 50 per cent of people do not respond adequately to antidepressant treatment. Dr. Jeffrey Meyer the lead investigator explains, "Mismatches between treatment and disease are important for understanding why treatments don't always work. Rather than reversing the problem of MAO-A breaking down several chemicals, most antidepressants only raise serotonin.

Childhood Traumas Linger As Health Risk Factors For Adults

Research from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London has found that negative experiences in childhood may alter not only mental health but also physical health, into middle age and beyond. 1, 000 individuals have been followed from birth to age 32 as part of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study in New Zealand. This latest research from the study suggests that sustained health risks stem from childhood abuse, neglect, social isolation or economic hardship. The findings, which appear in the December issue of Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, suggest that childhood experiences can affect nervous, immune and endocrine functioning, which agrees with earlier findings in animal experiments. At age 32, the study subjects who had experienced these childhood traumas were more likely to exhibit depression, chronic inflammation and metabolic markers of increased health risk. These three factors are known to be associated with the physiology of stress-response systems, and predict higher risk for age-related illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia.

Young Adults' Blood Lead Levels Linked To Depression, Panic Disorder

Young adults with higher blood lead levels appear more likely to have major depression and panic disorders, even if they have exposure to lead levels generally considered safe, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. "Lead is a well-known neurotoxicant that is ubiquitous in the environment, found in air, soil, dust and water, " the authors write as background information in the article. Eliminating lead from gasoline has led to a dramatic decline in average blood levels, but remaining sources of exposure include paint, industrial processes, pottery and contaminated water. "Research on the neurotoxic effects of low-level lead exposure has focused on the in utero and early childhood periods. In adult populations, the neurotoxic effects of lead have been studied mainly in the context of occupational exposures, with levels of exposure orders of magnitude greater than that experienced by the general population.

Antiepileptic Drugs Not Associated With Increased Risk Of Suicide Attempts In Patients With Bipolar Disorder

Despite government warnings about an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and actions while taking antiepileptic drugs, these medications do not appear to be associated with increased risk of suicide attempts in individuals with bipolar disorder, and may have a possible protective effect, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Antiepileptic drugs are life-saving for those with seizure disorders and are also used to treat many other conditions, including mood disorders and nerve pain, the authors write as background information in the article. The 11 antiepileptic drugs include gabapentin, pregabalin, topiramate and carbamazepine. "On Jan. 31, 2008, the Food and Drug Administration issued an alert regarding increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior related to use of antiepileptic drugs, " the authors write. "On July 10, 2008, a Food and Drug Administration scientific advisory committee voted that, yes, there was a significant positive association between antiepileptic drugs and suicidality but voted against placing a black box warning on antiepileptic drugs for suicidality.

Antidepressant May Change Personality While Relieving Symptoms

Individuals taking a medication to treat depression may experience changes in their personality separate from the alleviation of depressive symptoms, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Two personality traits, neuroticism and extraversion, have been related to depression risk, according to background information in the article. Individuals who are neurotic tend to experience negative emotions and emotional instability, whereas extraversion refers not only to socially outgoing behavior but also to dominance and a tendency to experience positive emotions. Both traits have been linked to the brain's serotonin system, which is also targeted by the class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Tony Z. Tang, Ph.D., of Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., and colleagues studied the effects of one particular SSRI, paroxetine, in a placebo-controlled trial involving 240 adults with major depressive disorder.

Higher Blood Lead Levels Associated With Depression, Panic Disorder In Young Adults With Low Levels Of Lead Exposure

Young adults with higher blood lead levels appear more likely to have major depression and panic disorders, even if they have exposure to lead levels generally considered safe, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. "Lead is a well-known neurotoxicant that is ubiquitous in the environment, found in air, soil, dust and water, " the authors write as background information in the article. Eliminating lead from gasoline has led to a dramatic decline in average blood levels, but remaining sources of exposure include paint, industrial processes, pottery and contaminated water. "Research on the neurotoxic effects of low-level lead exposure has focused on the in utero and early childhood periods. In adult populations, the neurotoxic effects of lead have been studied mainly in the context of occupational exposures, with levels of exposure orders of magnitude greater than that experienced by the general population.

A New Mental Treatment Based On Attention Improves Anxiety And Depression In Secondary Education Teachers

A doctoral thesis carried out at the University of Granada has proved that a mental training based on mindfulness - an emotional self-regulating tool that consists in focusing on what we are doing, thinking about or feeling at every moment - helps to fight against psychological diseases such as anxiety, depression, concern or complaints about health, very common among secondary education teachers, and is very positive for emotional regulation. This research work has analysed the psycho-physiological mechanisms related to the mindfulness, checking the effectiveness of a training programme that works as an emotional self-regulating tool. Mindfulness is a type of mental training increasingly popular in the U.S., based on the practice of self-awareness and in terms such as attention, awareness and the reference to a specific moment. The work, developed by Luis Carlos Delgado Pastor and supervised by professor Jaime Vila Castellar, of the department of Personality, Assessment and Psychological Treatment, has confirmed the effectiveness of training mindfulness abilities applying it to two different groups with defined features: a 20-girls sample with high-level concern and a group of 25 secondary education teachers.

US FDA Approves SEROQUEL XR R For Add-On Treatment Of Major Depressive Disorder

AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved once-daily SEROQUEL XR® (quetiapine fumarate) Extended Release Tablets as adjunctive (add-on) treatment to antidepressants in adults with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). SEROQUEL XR is the only medication in its class approved by the FDA to treat both major depressive disorder as adjunctive therapy and acute depressive episodes associated with bipolar disorder as monotherapy.(1)(2) MDD affects approximately 14.2 million American adults in a given year, and today it is often treated with antidepressants(3). Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are among the most commonly prescribed class of antidepressant medications for depression; however, in many cases patients fail to respond adequately to treatment(4). Results from a National Institute of Mental Health study, STAR*D, showed that approximately 63% of patients did not achieve remission with the SSRI citalopram when used as a first-line treatment(4).

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