News Round-Up:March 2010 3rd Edition

There is a report here on two studies that looked at processing of emotions in Parkinson’s Disease. One was a meta-analysis that showed a reduction in outcomes of emotional processing across a number of tasks while the other looked at the effects of a subthalamic stimulating device on emotional processing. An Italian group provide evidence that Frontotemporal Dementia can be usefully divided into two broad groupings based on performance on neuropsychological tests (Borroni et al, 2010).

A small study (n=12) showed preliminary evidence of a benefit for methylphenidate for apathy in Alzheimer’s Disease and it will be interesting to see the results of further research (Padala et al, 2010). In a large open-label trial (n=4460) response of six symptoms to Rivastigmine in people with Alzheimer’s Disease was assessed using the CGI-C – ‘attention, apathy, anxiety, agitation, irritability and sleep disturbance’ (Gauthier et al, 2010). The authors reported a large proportion of subjects improving in these symptom categories (compared to worsening of symptoms) but the randomised control trial would avoid some of the biases noted by the authors.

Over at AlzForum, there is a report on an interesting finding that histone methylation may be associated with learning. There is also an Alzforum report on research suggesting that impaired neurogenesis could lead to an impairment in cognition preceding some of the more well-recognised pathological changes seen in Alzheimer’s Disease. By using a combination of structural imaging and psychometry, the researchers of one study provided support for a dual-process theory of familiarity and recognition (i.e that these are distinct constructs) (Wolk et al, 2010). The researchers compared controls, people with Alzheimer’s Disease and people with amnesic mild cognitive impairment. Regression provided evidence that familiarity was more closely correlated with extra-hippocampal medial temporal lobe structures while recognition was more closely correlated with hippocampal volume. It will be interesting to see further research using different approaches to investigating this relationship. The authors of one study report progress in the use of radiolabelled iodine-123-metaiodobenzylguanidine scintigraphy in Lewy Body dementia (Treglia et al, 2010). There is a commentary on an association between Alzheimer’s Disease and seizures here. Four papers in the Lancet examining the relationship between blood pressure variability and stroke are reported on in this article.

Two recent studies reported on here have provided evidence that variations in the expression of the gene for insulin-degrading enzyme are associated with risk for Alzheimer’s Disease which is thought to be mediated via the degradation of Amyloid Beta plaque. Thus higher levels of IDE were associated with reduced risk. There is a report on a relatively small study (n=35) which investigated the relationship between family history and amyloid plaque accumulation identified using a combination of Pittsburgh B compound and PET scans. Research in fruit flies has shown the efficacy of a compound – affibody – in both degrading and facilitating removal of ABeta aggregates.

The use of copy number variants in Autistic Spectrum Disorders is reported on here. Over at the Schizophrenia Forum, the schizophrenia gene database has just been updated with new features including methods for visualising the data. There is coverage of a study providing evidence of a relationship between the DISC-1 and NRG-1 genes both of which are associated with schizophrenia. The research also shows that DISC-1 is expressed in glial cells and the significance of this is discussed further in the article.

An Indian group has conducted a randomised placebo-controlled trial of Olanzapine + Placebo v Olanzapine + Topiramate (n=72; 12/52; first-episode) in Schizophrenia showing a significant weight increase versus weight loss in the respective groups  (Narula et al, 2010). These results should be interpreted in the wider context of the considered review process needed for local guidelines. A large study in Acta Scandinavica Psychiatrica (n=1213) compared people with early and late-onset schizophrenia against controls on a number of psychometric measures (Vahia et al, 2010). The authors write that

‘Early-onset schizophrenia and LOS groups differed from NCs on all measures of psychopathology and functioning, and most cognitive tests’

There were differences between the LOS and EOS groups and the authors concluded that Late-Onset schizophrenia should be considered as a subset of schizophrenia. An american study used a grounded theory approach to investigate the responses of 12 African-American families to treatment of a family member with psychosis. The authors identified a number of themes and concluded that

‘The findings suggest that due to fear of the official label of a mental illness, certain coping mechanisms may be adopted by families, which may result in a raised threshold for treatment initiation’

The authors recommend further research and suggest that this may influence future public education campaigns (Franz et al, 2010). There is a small case series (n=2) showing the effective use of fluvoxamine in the treatment of aripiprazole-induced akathisia perhaps warranting a randomised-controlled trial or pilot study (Furuse et al, 2010).

Psychiatry 2.0

Mind Hacks has another episode of Spike Activity including a mention of an article on extremes of empathy. There is a very thorough critique of a Wall Street Journal article on psychiatry at Corpus Callosum. Dr Shock writes about the positive societal benefits of gaming. Shrink Rap has a piece on trans-species psychiatry here. Blue-to-Blue has a short piece on pragmatism in psychiatry here. There is an interesting piece on cultural references to a hypnotic over at Mainstream Psychiatry. At somatosphere, there is an article on a new blog on the history of psychiatry. I could’t resist mentioning this – a Japanese robot journalist that investigates the environment, interviews people and researches a story using the internet is featured in an article over at Singularity Hub.


Borroni B, Grassi M, Agosti C, Bellelli G, Padovani A. Understanding the Underpinnings of the Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration: Evidence for Benign and Malignant Forms. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2010 Mar 2. [Epub ahead of print]

Franz L, Carter T, Leiner AS, Bergner E, Thompson NJ, Compton MT. Early Interv Psychiatry. 2010 Feb;4(1):47-56. Stigma and treatment delay in first-episode psychosis: a grounded theory study.

Furuse T, Hashimoto K. Ann Gen Psychiatry. 2010 Mar 6;9(1):11. [Epub ahead of print]. Fluvoxamine for aripiprazole-associated akathisia in patients with schizophrenia: a potential role of sigma-1 receptors.

Gauthier S, Juby A, Dalziel W, Réhel B, Schecter R. Curr Med Res Opin. 2010 Mar 15. [Epub ahead of print]. Effects of rivastigmine on common symptomatology of Alzheimer’s disease (EXPLORE).

Narula PK, Rehan HS, Unni KE, Gupta N. Schizophr Res. 2010 Mar 6. [Epub ahead of print]. Topiramate for prevention of olanzapine associated weight gain and metabolic dysfunction in schizophrenia: A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Padala PR, Burke WJ, Shostrom VK, Bhatia SC, Wengel SP, Potter JF, Petty F. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2010 Apr;18(4):371-4. Methylphenidate for apathy and functional status in dementia of the Alzheimer type.

Treglia G, Cason E, Gabellini A, Giordano A, Fagioli G.Neurol Sci. 2010 Mar 10. [Epub ahead of print]Recent developments in innervation imaging using iodine-123-metaiodobenzylguanidine scintigraphy in Lewy body diseases.

Vahia IV, Palmer BW, Depp C, Fellows I, Golshan S, Kraemer HC, Jeste DV. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2010 Feb 25. [Epub ahead of print]. Is late-onset schizophrenia a subtype of schizophrenia?

Wolk DA, Dunfee KL, Dickerson BC, Aizenstein HJ, Dekosky ST. Hippocampus. 2010 Mar 15. [Epub ahead of print]. A medial temporal lobe division of labor: Insights from memory in aging and early Alzheimer disease.


You can find an index of the site here. The page contains links to all of the articles in the blog in chronological order.


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


If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail


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.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s