News Round-Up: November 2009 3rd Edition

newspaperAn independent report by Professor Sube Banerjee, commissioned and funded by the Department of Health on the use of antipsychotics in dementia has been published (freely available here). Professor Banerjee has considered the evidence base including systematic reviews and meta-analyses regarding the use of antipsychotics in dementia and the report contains an estimate of the national morbidity and mortality associated with the use of antipsychotics in dementia. The report recognises the need for antipsychotics in certain situations and goes on to make a series of recommendations which focus in particular on clinical governance, recommendations which should lead to an improvement in the quality of care. The government have produced their response to this document (freely available here) and support these recommendations indicating that a national audit of antipsychotic use in dementia will be undertaken initially at six-months and then annually for at least three years and that the National Clinical Director for Dementia will take on a leadership role in this area. The Royal College of Psychiatrists has welcomed the report and responded here emphasising the need for input of specialist older adult mental health services. The response of the Alzheimer’s Society who have also welcomed the report is here. NHS choices have coverage of the report here.

The 26th Annual Pittsburgh Schizophrenia Conference took place on November 13th 2009. An 11.7T MRI scanner is being developed in France through a pan-European partnership and is due to begin operating in 2012. In a press release from the company that undertook the researhc, in conjunction with university researchers, the gene product for the gene Rps23r1 was associated with a reduction in two Alzheimer’s Disease related proteins amyloid beta and tau in a murine model. A recent study involved 205 Norwegian couples and used ‘client feedback’ therapy during problematic episodes in their relationship. At 6-months after the last session, the researchers reported a 50% reduction in divorce or separation rates compared to those who did not receive this intervention. The approach is described as patient focused research (the Research Advocacy Network has more information on this).

News Round-Ups

The ‘Heal My PTSD’ blog has a news round-up which includes the use of telemedicine for PTSD. Mind Hacks has another episode of Spike Activity where he reviews the news including a link to a study showing an association between creativity and horizontal eye movements, adding to previous research suggesting an association with recall of information.

Psychiatry 2.0

The FDA has convened the social media hearings to examine the issue of regulation of pharmaceutical companies use of social media and this has been widely discussed in the mainstream media, the blogosphere and the twittersphere. An article here has lots of discussion in the comments section.

This BBC article looks at Google Wave and includes a interview with the founders and some examples of use. Google wave is a collaborative tool that is described as facilitating the linking of ideas and data, allowing for instance data to be inserted relatively easily by multiple authors into a collaborative document. There is further coverage of Google Wave applications in this article which contains an embedded video and lists uses including research where Google Wave has provided benefits. The ICS healthcare blog has an article on how the doctor-patient relationship might be changing due to the influence of factors such as health 2.0. Ted Eytan in his blog has coverage of a study published in May that involved a focus group of patients who use the internet. The findings included an expressed interest by the people in the study to have access to their medical records. ‘360 digital influence’ discuss trends in the use of social media by doctors here including a look at research in this area. John Grohol has an article at PsychCentral on how ‘first impressions count’ online and argues that these impressions are formed through inspection of photographs and he also reports on a study looking at Facebook use which is due for publication next year. There is a presentation available here on how web 2.0 might affect education. The Gov 2.0 conference is due to take place online on December 10th 2009. Biomedcentral has an open-access article on a ‘database of everything’. A German petition is currently underway requesting that all publicly funded studies should be made available through open-access articles. The ZZoot blog has coverage of a recent workshop on the future of the semantic web for scientific communication. In this article there is a look at an organisation which matches researchers with research participants.

Evolutionary Psychiatry

Dr Shock has a link to a video showing that squirrels work together to recall where food is located in the environment. The combination of social cooperation and memory abilities displayed here may be important in understanding similar abilities in primates including humans. Recent evidence suggests that the Sahara may have experienced wet periods roughly 120,000 years ago and 50,000 years ago and that this may have facilitated the migration of early humans across the Sahara. There is an article at Live Science on the decreasing size of the human brain over the last 10,000 years which asks the intriguing question ‘is our evolution accelerating?’. The FOX-P2 gene product in chimpanzees was found to behave differently to the gene product in humans in a recent study which might contribute to an explanation for the absence of spoken language in chimpanzees.


You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link


You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast).

TAWOP Channel

You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link


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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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