News Round-Up: February 2009 2nd Edition

In the news this week there were a number of interesting studies.

Research in Dementia

There was a case-control study finding in 13693 twins (65 years or older), that the risk of dementia was associated with a 2-fold increase in (people with) diabetes. This is an interesting finding as there may be modifiable risk factors and also there is a relatively obscure hypothesis about potential CNS actions of insulin.  However the obvious confounders in such an argument are the cardiovascular risk factors but this must at least begin a theoretical debate in this area (STT3).

Research in Liaison Psychiatry

Childhood adversity and anxiety or depression were independently associated with adult-onset headaches in a study which pooled data from cross-sectional surveys in several continents (n=18303). The results of longitudinal studies in this area will be interesting to see (STT4).  In another study there was found to be a similar prevalence of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in Brazil and Britain although it was underdiagnosed in comparison in Brazil. The authors conclude that cultural factors may contribute to recognition of the illness by doctors (STT3).

Research in Psychosis

In a small study with 13 subjects with schizophrenia and formal thought disorder and 13 controls there was found to be a correlation between perfusion of left fronto/temporoparietal language areas and severity of formal thought disorder and between reduced temporoparietal grey matter volume and severity of formal thought disorder (*)  (STT5). In a longitudinal study there was found to be an association between length of untreated psychosis and functional outcome at 12 months with the authors suggesting that treatment options can be developed at earlier (i.e. prodromal) phases of the illness (STT3).


In the British Journal of Psychiatry, editor Peter Tyrer coins an interesting term ‘sound cite’ which is the equivalent of a sound bite which makes the listener or reader think. This idea makes a lot of sense as it offers the reader choices in the resources they invest in reading a paper particularly when prioritising. The study of how psychiatrists process research literature must surely be an area with many benefits including the optimal ‘structure’ of papers and additional methods of presenting research. For instance, authors now have methods available to them to engage with the audience in additional ways such as the creation of audio and video presentations to supplement their publications. With the availability of such media, it is only a matter of time before the scientific community’s dissemination of research crosses into a terrain more familiar to conventional media broadcasters.

* If there are associations between formal thought disorder and dysphasia then it would be interesting to see if successful treatment options (e.g. antipsychotics) were applicable to ‘neurological’ dysphasia although the risk-benefit ratio would require evaluation.


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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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