In the earthquake tragedy in Haiti, social media is being used to aid donations as well as to get information out to the rest of the world. This is covered in this article here. Professor Richard Williams, is interviewed in this article and discusses some of the effects that the earthquake might have on children in Haiti and approaches to responding to this.
A recent study that has attracted media interest is a murine study suggesting that looking at nerve cell death in the retina can be used to predict Alzheimer’s Disease. This is covered in more detail at the NHS Choices site where it is noted that human trials are awaited before such conclusions can be drawn. Several studies providing evidence of an association between amyloid protein-induced damage to the microtubule system in human and murine cells and Down’s Syndrome, Alzheimer’s Disease and atherosclerosis. It will be interesting to see further supporting in-vivo studies.
The Psychiatric Bulletin familiar to British Psychiatrists has been renamed ‘The Psychiatrist’ and includes articles submitted by allied mental health professionals. There are 2 interesting articles on the recovery model as well as a meta-analysis of low and high-dose quetiapine. The latter article looks includes two studies (combined n=175) and concludes from the evidence that low and high dose quetiapine show equal efficacy in schizophrenia on outcome measures including positive symptom score on the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale although these were 6-week trials (Painuly, 2010). There is another interesting article by a nurse and psychologist team reviewing the standard community mental healthcare for people with severe personality disorder. The researchers were interested in the standard management against which other treatments were compared and conclude by recommending further empirical evidence for the standard approach (Koekkoek et al, 2010).
MindHacks has another good round-up of the news and links to a number of articles including a novel drug with anxiolytic properties. Mental Nurse have another round-up of blog articles including a look at Frontier Psychiatrist’s article on antidepressant use in dogs. The grand rounds includes a link to the Dr Shock article on virtual reality therapy for PTSD.
A recent finding has been the interpretation of a 50,000 year-old Neanderthal clam shall which contains remnants of yellow and red pigmentation together with a black mineral substance. The researchers have concluded that this pigmentation was being used as make-up. Since humans did not arrive in Europe till much later, it was concluded that this is evidence of a Neanderthal culture and this adds to other evidence about Neanderthal intelligence (see here also). This also raises possible questions about the transformation of human art on entering Europe. The most interesting question however is whether Neanderthals are part of our genetic heritage and that question will hopefully be answered with the sequencing of specimens of the Neanderthal genome. The recent sequencing of the Chimpanzee y chromosome suggests that chimpanzees have between one-third and one-half of the genes in the human genome and that the y chromsome has undergone rapid changes relative to the other chromosomes which have been sequenced in both humans and chimpanzees. This should have implications for the kind of inferences we can draw.
Koekkoek B, van Meijel B and Hutschemaekers G. Community Mental Healthcare for people with severe personality disorder: narrative review. The Psychiatrist. Review Article. 34. 24-30.
Painuly N. High v low-dose quetiapine in schizophrenia: meta-analysis. The Psychiatrist. 2010. 34. 9-12.
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