In a paper in the British Journal of Psychiatry, the researchers reviewed a number of meta-analyses of drug efficacy for both physical and mental illnesses. The researchers found that in general medications for both types of illness were roughly equivalent in their efficacy. However they concluded by saying that while outcome measures can be useful the efficacy of a drug needs to be contextualised by other factors including the severity and natural course of the illness.
In a follow-up study of 4037 people diagnosed with a Myocardial Infarct researchers found that when there was comorbid depression the all-cause mortality was highest compared to the non-depressed group. Importantly when there was insufficient treatment of depression there was a 3.04-fold increase in the risk of mortality compared to people with depression that was treated (Confidence Interval – 95% CI 2.12-4.35). These findings emphasise the importance of both identifying depression and ensuring adequate treatment in this population.
The Alzheimer’s Disease Research Forum has an interesting piece on radiolabelled tracer compounds. Several radiolabelled tracer compounds used in Positron Emission Tomography neuroimaging are being considered by the USA regulatory authority – the FDA – for approval for use in the clinical evaluation of Alzheimer’s Disease. However there has been a vigorous academic debate in the Journal of European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging and also in correspondence from many scientists on both sides of the argument. Debates are useful both for stimulating new lines of inquiry in a subject area as well as helping beginners in the field to quickly gain insights and an overview of the subject. In this debate the researchers are focusing on whether the tracer compounds can be effective in the clinical workup of Alzheimer’s Disease. The arguments include a debate on the resolution of the PET scans in relation to the size of the plaques, the use of the compounds in Mild Cognitive Impairment and the specificity of the compounds for their target.
A report by Age UK states that there is a reduction in the social care spending on older adults in the UK with an estimate of a 4.5% reduction in spending by councils. Care services minister Paul Burstow is quoted in this piece as saying that there is sufficient funding to maintain ‘access and eligibility’ and goes on to suggest ways in which this can be met. Age UK have also been reminding people of the importance of older adults keeping their houses warm in the cold weather following a Met Office Cold Alert.
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