News Round-up: December 2008 1st Edition

Recent studies have shown a successful predictive model in depression, depression associated with higher visceral fat and decreased heart rate variability.

Mood Disorders

In the PredictD study, King and colleagues used a model predicting risk of depression in people attending a general practice that had been developed in Europe and used this in a population in Chile. The model incorporates 10 factors including age, sex, Short Form 12 mental health subscores and highest level of  education (STT2). Vogelzangs and colleagues in a study of 2088 people, found that depression measured at baseline was significantly associated with increased visceral fat and sagittal diameter at 5 years (STT2).

Liaison Psychiatry

Licht and colleagues found decreased heart rate variability in 774 people with major depression in remission, 1075 with current major depression versus 524 controls in the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety and that this was correlated with use of antidepressants (STT4). Rathore and colleagues found in a study of 53,314 people receiving Medicare that those with a mental illness diagnosis had a higher 1-year mortality (41% v 36.2%) (STT2).


A new in vivo screening process for compounds which interfere with the development of ABeta plaques has been developed involving the use of folate (STT4).


In a study of 15 people with schizophrenia, a benzodiazepine-like compound acting at the GABAa receptor was found to improve markers of prefrontal cortical function including performance on the N-back task (an open source game based on this task is freely available here) and in EEG gamma oscillations during preparation for tasks (STT4).


A Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy study of 31 children with ADHD who had not been treated with psychostimulants and 36 healthy controls found that membrane phospholipid precursor levels in the prefrontal cortex were  decreased in the ADHD group and were higher in the inferior parietal region. The authors interpreted this to mean this as a developmental dysfunction in cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical networks (STT5). In a Norwegian twin study involving 2794 members of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health Twin Panel, one of the genetic factors was found to predispose generally to Personality Disorder rather than to specific subtypes while two others related to high impulsivity and introversion (STT4). An earlier twin study by the same group looking at personality disorders was covered previously. In the Health Services Journal, Helen Bevan who has experience of over 70 national improvement initiatives writes very positively about the ‘Productive Ward’ covered earlier in the blog (STT1-5).


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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