Electrical Stimulation of the Brain and Creativity News Roundup: March 2013 3rd Edition

A Canadian meta-analysis looked at the use of high frequency repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in the treatment of Depression. This approach to treating Depression has been examined in the research setting. The authors of this study compared actual treatment with sham treatment. The meta-analysis included a cumulative total of 392 people with Major Depression. At the end of the study period for the trials the researchers found that the remission rate for treatment was higher than that for sham treatment. For those receiving the treatment there was a 53.8% remission rate compared to 38.64% in those receiving sham treatment. The odds ratio was 2.42 with a 95% confidence interval of 1.27-4.61 (p=0.007). Although the study does show benefit this does not mean that it would be used in routine clinical practice. This would depend on a number of factors including an evaluation of the technology in relevant policies.

The March 2013 edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry includes a meta-analysis of non-pharmacological interventions in Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, a meta-analysis of Metabolic Syndrome comorbidity in Bipolar Disorder and a Swedish cohort study looking at comorbidity in Schizophrenia. There is an accompanying podcast.

The February 2013 edition of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry features clinical trials of Desvenlafaxine in major Depression and Lurasidone in Schizophrenia, the use of high frequency Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (see above) as well as a prevalence study on attenuated psychotic symptoms. There is an accompanying podcast.

In America, the Associated Press have released guidelines on the coverage of mental illness. These guidelines have the potential to reduce mental illness related stigma. The guidelines state that mental illness labels should not be used to describe non-health issues and also provide guidance on other unhelpful associations.

Psychiatrist Dr Alex Mitchell gives an excellent overview of clinical Depression for the general public in this video.

A new UK Department of Health website is being launched in March 2013 and more details can be found here.

There is coverage of a remarkable technology developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology which amplifies motion in videos at the New York Times. In the examples, respiratory rate and heart rate can be determined from the processed footage. The video below illustrates the technology.


There is an interesting study in which researchers applied transcranial direct current stimulation to the Prefrontal Cortex in research subjects and measured the effect on a problem solving task. Not only did the subjects generate responses more quickly (by as much as 1 second) but they produced many more responses. There is a detailed write-up of the study here.

The Neurocritic and Vaughan Bell had guest posts at Nature Communications as part of Brain Awareness Week.


News Round-Up 2008-2011

News Round-Up 2012

Index: There are indices for the TAWOP site here and here 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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