News Round-Up: May 2009 3rd Edition

In the news round-up this week, the authors of one study reports an association between Alzheimer’s Disease and atrial fibrillation while in another there was found to be a reduction in gray matter volume in the superior temporal gyrus in older adults with hearing difficulties. Another study confirmed glucose tolerance abnormalities in first episode psychosis prior to treatment while an imaging study showed evidence of the involvement of the prefrontal cortex in Tourette’s syndrome.

Research in Dementia

In a survey of memory clinics in Australia, the researchers found that Alzheimer’s Disease and mild cognitive impairment were the most common diagnoses (Woodward and Woodward, 2009). A small study showed no evidence of  impaired cerebral autoregulation in people with Alzheimer’s Disease compared to controls although there was evidence of increased blood pressure variability (Claassen et al, 2009). White matter hyperintensity scores were found to be inversely correlated with performance on a Korean version of the MMSE and the CDR in a structural MRI study of 142 patients with Alzheimer’s Disease (Heo et al, 2009)(STT4).

Research in Mood Disorders

The authors of a prospective cohort study in general practice found that screening for depression was not effective as of the initial 1687 participants, only 17 were initiated on treatment (Baas et al, 2009)(STT3). In an imaging study (1.5T MRI) that compared 26 people with Bipolar I disorder with first-episode psychosis with 26 controls it was found that the people with Bipolar Disorder and first episode psychosis had reduced grey matter volume in a subregion of the Anterior Cingulate Cortex (Fornito et al, 2009)(STT4).

Research in Psychosis

In a 1.5T MRI study of 30 Autistic-spectrum disorder (ASD) adults (14 with psychosis ASD+P) compared to 16 controls, the ASD group had reduced grey matter in the temporal lobes and cerebellum. The ASD+P group had reduced grey matter in the frontal and occipital cortex as well as the right insular cortex (Toal et al, 2009)(STT4). In another study, IL-6 and 2 hour glucose levels were found to be increased in a group of people with non-affective psychosis prior to initiation of treatment compared to a control group (Fernandez-Egea et al, 2009). A study found an improvement in global cognitive scores in people with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders at 6 months after treatment with either Risperidone or Olanzapine compared to mixed or no treatment with antipsychotics although only 10 subjects were included in the last group (Cuesta et al, 2009)(STT5).

Miscellaneous Research

131 services providing alternatives to acute psychiatric units were characterised in one study (Johnson et al, 2009).

News in Brief

In another study with 37,000 people there was found to be an association between atrial fibrillation and Alzheimer’s Disease (also covered here). CSF markers including ABeta42 were associated with rate of progression of Alzheimer’s Disease in one study and the authors suggest that such markers could be incorporated into inclusion/exclusion criteria for future studies. Evidence from a recent study indicates that an endothelial receptor in the Blood Brain Barrier interacts with adherins on three types of bacteria that can produce meningitis and the researchers suggest that this can provide a focus for future therapeutic research. The Elder Games Project uses computer games to detect cognitive decline and provide cognitive stimulation and the researchers have been piloting this in a number of European centres. In older adults, hearing difficulties were found to be associated with reduced volume in the superior temporal gyrus.

A magnetic transfer imaging study of Tourette’s Syndrome found evidence to suggest the involvement of the prefrontal cortex. A study looking at young drinkers provided evidence that the labels on drinks indicating their strength are used to maximise alcohol intake at the lowest cost. A model of Angelman’s Syndrome which involves blocking the expression of the gene UBE3A provided evidence that synaptic plasticity is impaired as a result. The researchers found that they could reverse the impaired plasticity in their model and they plan to undertake further work in this area. The molecular mechanism by which the ciradian rhythm in cells remains temperature invariant has been elucidated through some very complex research in two studies. A lady who has an unusual visual perceptual disorder misidentifies the spatial location of objects that she sees and over two decades of research on her case has recently been published in a book.

A recent study looked at doctor-patient visits face-to-face versus virtual visits (internet) and provided supporting evidence for the latter model on a number of measures including diagnostic concordance. Another study provided evidence that values are not only passed from parents to children but also from children to parents. The father and mother were found to influence their children’s values in different ways. The discovery in Germany of what might be the oldest pieces of figurative art may cause a re-evaluation of early paleolithic artwork.


Baas KD, Wittkampf KA, van Weert HC, Lucassen P, Huyser J, van den Hoogen H, van de Lisdonk E, Bindels PE, Bockting CL, Ruhé HG, Schene AH. Screening for depression in high-risk groups: prospective cohort study in general practice. Br J Psychiatry. 2009 May;194(5):399-403.

Claassen JA, Diaz-Arrastia R, Martin-Cook K, Levine BD, Zhang R.J Alzheimers Dis. 2009 May 11. [Epub ahead of print] Altered Cerebral Hemodynamics in Early Alzheimer Disease: A Pilot Study Using Transcranial Doppler.

Cuesta MJ, Jalón EG, Campos MS, Peralta V. Cognitive effectiveness of olanzapine and risperidone in first-episode psychosis. Br J Psychiatry. 2009. May;194(5):439-45.

Fernandez-Egea E, Bernardo M, Donner T, Conget I, Parellada E, Justicia A, Esmatjes E, Garcia-Rizo C, Kirkpatrick B. Metabolic profile of antipsychotic-naive individuals with non-affective psychosis. Br J Psychiatry. 2009 May;194(5):434-8.

Fornito A, Yücel M, Wood SJ, Bechdolf A, Carter S, Adamson C, Velakoulis D, Saling MM, McGorry PD, Pantelis C. Anterior cingulate cortex abnormalities associated with a first psychotic episode in bipolar disorder. Br J Psychiatry. 2009 May;194(5):426-33.

Heo JH, Lee ST, Chu K, Park HJ, Shim JY, Kim M.J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 2009 May 11. [Epub ahead of print] White Matter Hyperintensities and Cognitive Dysfunction in Alzheimer Disease.

Toal F, Bloemen OJ, Deeley Q, Tunstall N, Daly EM, Page L, Brammer MJ, Murphy KC, Murphy DG. Psychosis and autism: magnetic resonance imaging study of brain anatomy. Br J Psychiatry. 2009 May;194(5):418-25.

Woodward MC, Woodward E.Int Psychogeriatr. 2009 May 11:1-7. [Epub ahead of print]. A national survey of memory clinics in Australia.

Steps To Treatment (STT)

STT = Steps To Treatment. An estimate of the number of steps between the results and translation into treatment. This is an opinion.


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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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