News in Brief
There is preliminary evidence that inflammation in the hippocampus may be associated with schizophrenia although it will be useful to see the results of further studies in this area. In a study (n=109) of people with depression and controls there was found to be an association between depression and overestimated retrospective recall of somatic symptoms and this is just one of many ways in which depression and physical illness may have complex interactions. There was a recent study which used a large number of outcome measures which investigated collectivist versus individualistic cultures and the authors suggest that the former are associated with a lower genetic predisposition to depression. However it is important to note that there are cultural differences in the use of diagnostic classifications (e.g. see this review).
In the BJPsych there is an interesting article by Professor Michael First who writes about the potential for harmonisation of DSM-V and ICD-11 which is a widely discussed topic (First, 2009). There are a number of points of interest in the article and he notes that there are investigators involved with revisions of both systems which should help to contribute to attempts to harmonise both systems. The discussions around these systems will no doubt increase. There is also a supplemental issue to the BJPsych which focuses on long acting injectable antipsychotic medication with review articles and original research*. Articles included a systematic review of RCT’s and observational studies of oral versus long acting injectable (LAI) depots, a review of psychopharmacology and side-effects of LAI’s, a systematic review of second-generation LAI’s and a review of UK prescribing practice amongst many other articles. There is a recent study which provides evidence of a relatively small difference in the rate of decline of memory in those with Alzheimer’s Disease with or without diabetes. Those with diabetes had a slower rate of decline (although the effect size was relatively small) and it will be interesting to see further replication studies in this area.
Technology review have a collection of images about representing 100 years of visualising the brain. A comedian has been invited to contribute a humorous perspective to a production on mental health by a primary care trust. There is a clip of the performance in the article and the argument is that the comedy can help to overcome stigma through education. You can see the responses of members of the audience in the clip. There is a recent statement from a geneticist Professor Paabo that Neanderthals and humans interbred according to analysis of the Neanderthal genome (see also here). The specific evidence base for this conclusion is not clear** and it will be useful to see further evidence when it is published. However the remaining question is whether or not the Neanderthals contributed to the modern human gene pool which is a separate although related question which may be answered with the completion of the sequencing of the Neanderthal genome. If this were so, it would have many implications. Another paper on genetic material – heterochromatin may in the future help to answer the question of whether the offspring would be sterile.
Dr Shock links to an educational video about the redesign of the PubMed interface which is useful for those undertaking literature reviews, database searches and related activities. Sandy Gautam has started a new blog – My 2 Brains and in this post he reflects on twitter including a look at how it relates to the expression of self. MindHacks has his weekly round up here. There is an article here about web-based healthcare. The Journal Cell has an article on twitter and at least one of the scientists quoted in the article found that it was useful in keeping up to date with developments in their field.
** I couldn’t identify a relevant press release at the website
*November 2009, Vol 195, Supplement 52
Michael First. Harmonisation of ICD-11 and DSM-V: Opportunities and challenges. The British Journal of Psychiatry. 2009. 195. 382-390.
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