News Round-Up: November 2010 1st Edition

One paper that has been widely reported in the media (see here, here and here)  is the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation in a group of students which was associated with improvements in performance on mathematics tasks. The paper is freely available here. This looks like a pilot study as the sample size is small (n=15). Five students were adminstered a current in one direction across a region including the parietal lobe, another group received the current in the reverse direction and a third group acted as controls receiving a small current which was considered to have no effect. There were 3 tasks involving learning the value of symbols which must be discriminated according to magnitude, discriminating symbols according to size and mapping symbols to physical space. There were six training sessions over 7 days and the stimulation was applied during the course of the training session. There were clear and significant advantages for one treatment group over the controls in the symbol learning task but in the other tasks the results were complex and different learning effects were described in all three groups. The researchers have generated a clear hypothesis which has been reported widely in the media and it would be interesting to test this specific hypothesis with ‘real-world’ examples in a larger sample sufficiently powered to investigate the effects of age.

In a murine model of abnormal amyloid deposition, the researchers found that interrupting the pathway between entorhinal cortex and hippocampus was associated with a lower deposition of plaque. There is a write-up at the Alzheimer’s Forum and the inference is that A Beta peptide is transmitted through synapses and in the comments it is noted that a constant supply is required to maintain plaques.

One study examined the experience and opinions of psychiatrists on drug-drug interactions for oral antipsychotics while a large study (n=18,154) compared the incidence of adverse events for Ziprasidone and Olanzapine.

The researchers in a french study drew a number of conclusions about the ‘Activities of Daily Living Scale’ and suggested areas for improvement.

There was a recent conference on Frontotemporal Dementia which is reported on at the Alzheimer’s Forum and includes interviews with some of the participants.

Vaughan Bell at Mind Hacks has another episode of Spike Activity linking to a story on social media and relationships amongst other news items.

Ed Yong has another installment of ‘Missing Links’ including a link to a brief but useful piece on discussing prognosis

Index: An index of the site can be found here. The page contains links to all of the articles in the blog in chronological order. Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link. Podcast: 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). It is available for a limited period. TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link. Responses: If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk. Disclaimer: 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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