News Round-Up: January 2009 3rd Edition

Research in Dementia

There have been a number of interesting developments in therapeutics. A neurosurgical study is underway which involve gene therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease. A nerve growth factor will be delivered to cells in the Basal Nucleus of Meynert using an adenovirus vector. A drug 7,8-dihydroxyflavone has been identified which acts on the trk receptors just as Brain Derived Nerve Growth factor does and may therefore stimulate neurogenesis and it will be interesting to follow further studies in this area. A molecule Nmnat2 has been identified which is necessary for survival of neurons in vitro. Increasing levels of this molecule was associated with protection of neurons against insult.

Lansoprazole, more commonly used in the treatment of gastro-oesophageal reflux and gastric ulcers has found a new use this time for research in Alzheimer’s Disease. Lansoprazole has been found to bind to a pathological form of tau-protein which is found in the plaques associated with Alzheimer’s Disease and it’s use as a radioligand in PET studies is now being investigated.

Research in Alcohol Dependence

In research into the treatment of alcohol dependence, there has been found to be a strong relationship with Corticotrophin Releasing Factor in a murine model. A number of antagonists of CRF were successful in alleviating alcohol dependence related behaviours and it will be interesting to see the results of human trials.

Research in Mood Disorders

There are preliminary reports that a proprietary combination of Buspirone and Melatonin – BCI-952 is effective in people with depression on the basis of a 6-week trial (n=142) with various outcome measures although this is a press release and it will be useful to see the study in more detail when it is formally published. The significance of this is that the combination has been shown in vivo to stimulate neurogenesis which is hypothesised to be a mechanism of antidepressant action.

News Round-ups

MindHacks has another episode of Spike Activity and includes links to a review of Jung’s Red Book and a mention of a pending meta-analysis on psychodynamic psychotherapy which apparently compares favourably other forms of psychotherapy on a range of disorders. The Clinical Cases and Images blog mentions a study comparing Lithium monotherapy, Valproate monotherapy and Lithium + Valproate in combination for prevention of Bipolar Disorder.

Psychiatry 2.0

The Hawaii Medical Association is now offering patients virtual appointments with doctors and this will no doubt be followed with interest by other organisations.

Evolutionary Psychiatry

One of the current questions in recent evolution is whether Neanderthals contributed to the human gene pool which would have many implications. A recent radiocarbon dating of a site in Portugal revises the date of the last Neanderthal remains to 37,000 years ago. This is significant in terms of the evaluation of a 30,000 year-old child’s skeleton which has properties of both Neanderthals and humans. In a recent study, Chimpanzees and Bonobos were compared on food tasks. The Chimpanzee infants performed differently to the Bonobos on tasks which involved identifying where food was located. The Bonobos were described as delayed in development relative to the Chimpanzees. Chimpanzees are more closely related to humans than Bonobos as Chimpanzees and Bonobos diverged some 1.3 million years ago. Slightly off-topic but the remains of a 7000-year old amputee in France shows evidence of surgical amputation without subsequent infection.


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.


  1. If you feel as if you may be suffering from acid reflux, it is important you consult your medical pro forthwith, otherwise you are in danger of irretrievably wounding the oesophagus, and worsening your condition.


  2. Apropos of the item on Psychiatry 2.0

    “The Hawaii Medical Association is now offering patients virtual appointments with doctors and this will no doubt be followed with interest by other organisations.”

    I have been very impressed with the efforts of American Well in this realm, which I have written about here:


    And apropos of lithium, it is such a shame that it does not seem to help ALS patients, as had been hoped a year or two ago.


    • Dear Hope,

      Thanks for your comments and the link to the great post you’ve done on this same subject. Lithium has been examined in various studies for a possible neuroprotective role and there is evidence for its efficacy in some degenerative conditions together with Lithium’s well established role as a mood stabiliser.




    • Hi Hope, Thanks. There are a few lines of evidence although it could be more robust. Regards Justin


  3. Nice roundup.

    I’d read the report on BCI’s neurogenetical properties and mood disorders. It would be nice to see a parallel study investigating an non-medicinal intervention to stimulate neurogenesis rather than BCI – such as aerobic exercise, or intensive brain training.


  4. Hello, great day! Your content is extremely inspiring. I never thought that it was probable to do something like that until after I checked out your content. You certainly gave an excellent understanding on how this kind of whole system functions. I’ll make sure to come back for more tips. Thanks!


  5. Hey I clicked on your website by chance on feedburner while trying to find something completely obscure but I am truly pleased that I did, You have just snagged yourself another subscriber. 🙂


  6. Heya i got to your site by mistake when i was searching bing for something off topic here but i do have say your site is really helpful, like the theme and the content on here…so thanks for me procrastinating from my previous task, lol


    • Thanks. There are lots of excellent bloggers around. I’ve linked to them on the right hand side. Thanks again Justin


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