News Round-Up: December 3rd Edition

There is a lot of interesting research covered this week including evidence from a prospective study pointing to a protective role for statins in Alzheimer’s Disease, the cost-effectiveness of rational emotive behavioural therapy and CBT in anxiety disorders, a meta-analysis of computerised CBT packages and the finding of mirror neurons, thought to be involved in empathy in the Insular Cortex. There was also a festive issue of the BMJ with a study looking into the consequences of headbanging at rock concerts!


The authors of a systematic review of common activities of daily living scales used in dementia conclude that further data on their psychometric properties is needed to justify their widespread use (STT2). In the prospective Rotterdam study involving 6992 subjects, taking statins was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease – the Hazards Ratio was 0.57 with a 95% confidence interval of 0.37-0.90 (STT2). A 16-week double-blind placebo-controlled trial of Galantamine in 69 people with Parkinson’s Disease without dementia found no improvement on a number of cognitive, behavioural or motor outcomes although there was a statistically significant drop-out due to GI side-effects and worsening Parkinson’s Disease symptoms (STT4).


In a Romanian study involving 170 subjects there was found to be no difference in effect on Beck Depression Inventory scores for Fluoxetine, Cognitive Therapy and Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy. However the latter two were found to be more cost-effective (STT4).

Anxiety and Related Disorders

A meta-analysis of internet and computer based CBT packages found them to be superior to placebo, waiting list and therapist delivered CBT across a range of anxiety disorders although the authors comment that large scale studies are required to confirm their findings (STT4).


A new scale for measuring ruminative thought – the ruminative thought style questionnaire has been developed to reduce bias from depressive symptoms. This has been found to differ from the standard measure the Response Style Questionnaire in both the constructs being measured and also displaying improved prediction of future depression (STT2). There was a recent profession-wide statement released about the role of a doctor (STT1). At a recent European Science Foundation conference, evidence was provided that mirror neurons, which are thought to be involved in empathy, are found in the insular cortex. In a fun-packed Christmas issue of the BMJ there is a study of headbangers (!) in which the authors frequent a number of rock concerts and note that ‘it was evident that most people engaging in head banging chose to perform the up-down style’ before recommending injury prevention through use of easy listening music.


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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