There is a nice write-up of a very interesting study published in Nature Communications at Psych Central. A research group wanted to take a closer look at the function of a peptide known as Hypocretin as well as the peptide Melanin Concentrating Hormone. The researchers looked at a group of subjects who were due to undergo brain surgery. The people in the study had electrodes implanted in the brain in order to identify areas of brain tissue which would be spared or targeted during surgery. The researchers used other equipment with the electrodes to monitor the levels of the peptides through the day. Subjects kept a diary of their subjective mood. The researchers found that levels of Hypocretin were increased during periods of higher rated subjective mood. They also found that Melanin Concentrating Hormone levels were decreased during social interaction. The write-up contains further details about the study.
There is an article into Journal of medical case reports where the researchers document a case of delusional parasitosis associated with hyperthyroidism. In Delusional Parasitosis a person believes that they have a parasitic infestation. This is a rare type of delusion. Few people with Hyperthyroidism would get this delusion and few people with this delusion would have Hyperthyroidism. That is what makes this case so interesting although the relationship with Hyperthyroidism had been previously documented. In this case study the researchers had followed the patient up over a prolonged period of time and identified the resolution and relapse of the delusion with the remission and relapse of Hyperthyroidism. The chronic course of this relationship strengthened the hypothesis that the Hyperthyroidism was linked. Nevertheless single case studies are usually interpreted with caution as there are many confounding factors which can also play a role.
Current Psychiatry Online has a review which discusses how to adapt Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to older adults.
Researchers in this study (n=419, 70-90 years of age) looked at the relationship between Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and the risk of falls. The researchers found that non-amnestic MCI was associated with an odds ratio of 1.98 for falls (95% Confidence Interval 1.11-3.53) compared to those without MCI.
Researchers in this study looked at risk factors associated with Mild Cognitive Impairment in their sample of 757 older adults aged 70-90 living in the community. The researchers found a variation in risk factors according to age and gender. In all group the APOE4 allele was a risk factor as were high Homocysteine levels and lower performance on identification of odours (although this can be confounded by smoking).
In this study, the researchers looked at risk factors for conversion from amnestic MCI to Dementia. There is a lot of research in this area. The researchers identified two aspects of memory function which were strong predictors of conversion to Dementia and to a lesser extent other factors such as age.
Dr David Kupfer, head of the DSM-V planning committee gives an overview of the progress on DSM-V to date in the video below. The references to an electronic version and DSM-V as a ‘living document’ are particularly interesting.
March 11-17 is Brain Awareness Week. Readers can find out more information at the DANA Foundation website here.
Detailed brain scans being used in the Human Connectome Project are discussed in this piece. There is a discussion about how a more detailed neuroanatomical knowledge might help to improve the understanding of mental illness.
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