News Round-up: March 2010 4th Edition

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has launched a four-step general election manifesto for mental health available here. The manifesto has four points

‘1. Stop harmful cuts to mental health services

2. Treble mental health research funding

3. Invest in early intervention

4. Put mental health at the heart of public health’

and relevant groups including psychiatrists, patients and carers are being encouraged to discuss this with their local parliamentary candidates as the election approaches. Further details on how to engage are given at the College general election page.

The Alzheimer’s forum (AF) has an interesting post on the relationship between metabolic disease and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). There is a recent meta-analysis looking at the use of augmentation with acetylcholinesterase inhibitors in schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder involving six open-label and 24 double-blind RCT’s with the authors showing benefits for memory and performance on the Trail Making Test Part A (Ribeiz et al, 2010) .

Psychiatry 2.0

Dr D has an article on attachment disorder and how this relates to her own experience with her baby. I think Dr D’s blog is one to watch. Dr D relates the theory to her own experience and in this way is able to engage with parents and is already beginning to build up a wider audience. Shrink Rap have a discussion of the recent passage of President Obama’s health bill with 11 comments at the time of writing. The AJNR blog has a discussion of a case study of a lady with a ‘six week(s) history of odd behavior, increasing apathy, expressive aphasia, and mild headache’ with images included here. There is an article on the Everyday Sociology blog about how researchers use census data to advance knowledge about sociology. The Mental Nurse has a thoughtful look at coverage of mental illness in the media. The Neurocritic reviews an interesting Cortex paper on ‘paranormal phenomenon’ related to seizure activity. A useful diagram showing the transentorhinal cortex where AD pathology first appears is presented at the Neuropathology blog. At PsychCentral there is a post featuring an interview on the topic of highly sensitive individuals. Singularity Hub has an interesting piece on science publishing and social media. MS Views and Related news has a link to an article by a blogger with Multiple Sclerosis who has recent undergone an experimental surgical procedure and writes about his experience. There is a mention (and photo) of the ‘father’ of the MMSE, Dr Folstein at the Tangled Neuron. Dr Shock reports on a web behaviour test at the BBC website. Buckeye psychiatry has a brief look at the antidepressant Vilazodone which is due to be reviewed by the FDA. Mind Hacks has another Spike Activity including a link to a NYTimes article on the mental health system in Haiti following the earthquake.

There is a fascinating look at a study investigating how ‘fast food’ may generate psychological responses that modify behaviour at ‘We’re Only Human’. The subjects in the study were asked to look at a computer screen and solve a task while very rapid images of fast-food related symbols were flashed up in the periphery. When these symbols were presented (priming) the subjects would respond more rapidly and this was interpreted as they were feeling ‘time pressure where there was none’. There were additional stages in the experiment. When subjects were primed with the fast food symbols they would select more efficient household item designs e.g a four-slice toaster rather than a two-slice toaster.

Finally the subjects primed with the fast food symbols were more likely to accept a small amount of money in the present rather than delay acceptance of a larger amount of money.

So the term ‘fast-food culture’ takes on a new meaning.

Evolutionary Psychiatry

A possible new hominin species has been discovered and the findings reported in the journal Nature. A finger bone was found in Siberia and an analysis of the mitochondrial DNA was undertaken. There is a suggestion that this species would have lived 30,000 years ago and could have coexisted with humans, neanderthals and Homo Floresiensi. There is detailed coverage in this article and a critical perspective is given here. If the above is confirmed by further analysis then it has been suggested that there were multiple waves of migration out of Africa rather than the two classically described. The relationship to mental illness is more tenuous as these findings are relevant to generic models of human evolution e.g adaptation to cohabitation with a competing hominin species which in turn can be used to interpret illness.


Ribeiz SR, Bassitt DP, Arrais JA, Avila R, Steffens DC, Bottino CM.CNS Drugs. 2010 Apr;24(4):303-17. Cholinesterase inhibitors as adjunctive therapy in patients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder: a review and meta-analysis of the literature.


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 )

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