News Round-Up: November 2008 – 3rd Edition


A very interesting study looked at a standardised telephone-based service for carers of people with dementia. The service referred to as Family Intervention: Telephone Tracking – Dementia (FITT-D) delivers 23 contacts over 12 months. In this study of 33 dementia caregivers there was found to be a significant improvement in caregiver burden scores as well as an improvement in the ability to manage a number of behavioural problems (STT3). A large observational cohort study using multiple registry data  (n=1503415) found that initial purchase of at least one prescription of Lithium was associated with a relative risk of 1.47 (compared to those not taking Lithium) although continued use reduced the rate to the background level of the population (STT2).

Neurotic, Stress-related and Somatoform Disorders

People with PTSD who receive an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator have been found to have an increased risk of mortality relative to controls without PTSD. For those with PTSD there were 80 fatal events per 1000 person-years whilst in those without it was 50 fatal events per 1000.

Mood Disorders

In the Health in Men Study, looking at 3752 men over the age of 70 there was found to be an association between Homocysteine levels and depression with a 0.19 mg/L reduction in Hcy leading to a 20% reduction in the odds of depression. The authors recommend further studies (STT4). The authors of an imaging study of people with depression, amongst other results, found that when anticipating pain stimuli the Right Anterior Insula was activated along with Dorsal Anterior Cingular Cortex and Right Amygdala. The results were interpreted as having significance in terms of emotional reactivity and the ability to regulate negative affect (STT5).


A 5-year follow-up study (freely available here) of twins (MZ and DZ) with both twins healthy or with one of the twins affected by schizophrenia found that the latter group had an increased rate of frontal and temporal grey matter and whole brain volume reduction  (STT4). The East London First Episode Psychosis study has found that psychosis (affective and non-affective) was increased in black and ethnic minority groups compared to white british with only the afro-carribean group showing a relative increase in risk of second generation individuals compared to first-generation individuals (STT2).

Liaison Psychiatry

Depressed patients were found to be more likely to experience new cardiac events within 2 years of CABG than a non-depressed group in this study of 427 people who underwent CABG. There was also an association with the long allele of 5HTTLPR (STT2). A Danish study has found two possible pathways from depressive symptoms to HDL-LDL levels, one beneficial and the other detrimental to the ratio and the latter being mediated by health behaviours (STT4). A study of 12709 people found that the metabolic syndrome was significantly associated with individual and neighbourhood socioeconomic status in women and not men (STT4).


A study of 17 depressed women and 17 controls has found greater variation in pulsatile Oxytocin release in the depressed group (STT5). An analysis of 768 people in the Rotterdam study found that total cholesterol was positively correlated with sleep duration (STT4). Homo Erectus, the precursor of humans was found to have a wider pelvis in females than previously thought. This means that babies skulls could have been correspondingly larger and this has implications for how early these infants might have become independent (STT6).


The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.

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