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December 9, 2007, 5:25 PM CT

New strategy for developing antidepressants

New strategy for developing antidepressants
Scientists may be able to develop an antidepressant which takes effect almost immediately by directly targeting novel molecules in the brain instead of taking a less direct route, which can lead to longer times for medicine to take effect, as per a new study presented at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) annual meeting. The antidepressant is also believed to be effective in people for whom prior therapys have been ineffective. This human and rodent research is among the first to examine the effects of rapid antidepressant strategies.

Lead researcher and ACNP member Husseini Manji, M.D., director of the mood and anxiety disorders program at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), says one of the major limitations in existing pharmacological therapys for major depression is the time between starting to take the medication, and when it starts to alleviate the depression, often a period of one month or longer. He adds that strategies that work at much faster rates would have a tremendous impact for Americans who suffer from depression nearly 21 million annually, as per NIMH.

"Today's antidepressant medications eventually end up doing the same thing, but they go about it the long way around, with a lot of biochemical steps that take time. Now we've shown what the key targets are and that we can get at them rapidly," says Dr. Manji. This research is leading to some very real possibilities for a whole new generation of antidepressant medications."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 9, 2007, 5:23 PM CT

Psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder

Psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder
When treated within a month, survivors of a psychologically traumatic event improved significantly with psychotherapy, as per a new study presented at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) annual meeting.

Lead researcher and ACNP member Arieh Shalev, M.D., Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and founding Director of the Center for Traumatic Stress at Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem, studied 248 adults with early symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a traumatic event that had occurred no more than four weeks earlier. His goal was to determine which forms of therapy given soon after the traumatic event can prevent the development of chronic PTSD. Officially, PTSD cannot be diagnosed until four weeks after a traumatic event. However, symptoms that occur before four weeks often persist, and effective early intervention may prevent subsequent trauma-related suffering.

Patients were treated for 12 weeks with cognitive treatment (which helps people change unproductive or harmful thought patterns), cognitive behavioral treatment (which helps densensitize patients upsetting reactions to traumatic memories), an antidepressant (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) known to be helpful in treating chronic PTSD, placebo or no intervention at all.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 9, 2007, 5:21 PM CT

Genetic links between cancer and schizophrenia

Genetic links between cancer and schizophrenia
A series of studies presented today at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) annual meeting elucidates evidence that there is a genetic link between schizophrenia and cancer, providing a surprising possible scientific explanation for lower rates of cancer among patients with schizophrenia despite having poor diets and high rates of smoking and their parents.

Scientists at the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) emphasize that a number of of the genes linked to schizophrenia are the same as the genes linked to cancer, but that the cells that have these genes use them in opposite ways in the two disorders. While cancer results from changes in the genes that cause cells to go into metabolic overdrive and multiply rapidly, those same genes cause cells in schizophrenia to slow to a crawl.

We observed that a number of of the same genes are involved in schizophrenia as in cancer, but in a yin and yang way. This will provide critical insight into the molecular structure of schizophrenia, said lead researcher and ACNP member Dr. Daniel Weinberger of NIMH. Some of the genes showing this yin-yang effect include NRG1, AKT1, PIK3, COMT, PRODH and ErbB4. While these genes cant be used to predict exactly who will develop these diseases, Dr. Weinberger says they can be used to help determine risk.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 6, 2007, 8:07 PM CT

New direction for chance discovery?

New direction for chance discovery?
International Journal of Knowledge-Based and Intelligent Engineering Systems.

Credit: International Journal of Knowledge-Based and Intelligent Engineering Systems
There have been publications on the subject of chance discovery since Yukio Ohsawa proposed the concept of chance discovery in 2000, but the question arises: will the research continue in the way it is done now or shall chance discovery move towards a new direction? A special issue of the International Journal of Knowledge-Based and Intelligent Engineering Systems on the subject is being published by IOS Press in December.

The issue on chance discovery (volume 11, issue 5) is guest edited by Akinori Abe and Yukio Ohsawa. Since 2000, invited sessions on chance discovery have been organized in KES conferences (www.kesinternational.org). In this issue, nine papers which are extended version of sessions' paper and newly submitted are selected. A full list of contents can be read further on, but as a whole, the keywords for this issue are interaction, visualization and abduction that are contributive to the basic methodologies of chance discovery. And, for application, the management and discovery of risks, in which stock price movements are to be included, are appeared as core issues.

The real lives of humans are complex and the future is not predictable. In order to have better or the best- benefits, it is necessary to predict the future trends. In the usual case, data mining techniques provide us with satisfactory enough results for doing good business. However, there are exceptional events where simple data mining techniques and statistical analysis dont suffice. If the risk cant be predicted, the result may be serious. There are implicit (not noticed due to the rarity or the novelty) events which can be signs for fatal, or sometimes for an extremely beneficial, scenario. Because these signs are novel, and hard to be correlation to the result, it has been difficult to catch them for making a suitable decision at a suitable time. It is important to determine implicit symptoms to risks or benefits (opportunities). Accordingly, Ohsawa proposed chance discovery in 2000.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 4, 2007, 10:37 PM CT

Why do high school seniors drink?

Why do high school seniors drink?
Most high school seniors drink because they want to experiment with alcohol, some drink for the thrill of it, and others because it helps them relax. A new study finds that a fourth group of high school students share all those reasons for drinking, but they also drink to get away from problems and to deal with anger or frustration issues.

Kids with multiple reasons to drink, including reasons correlation to coping with life, show the heaviest and most problematic drinking behaviors, as per the study reported in the recent issue of Prevention Science, a peer-evaluated journal of the Society for Prevention Research. The data for the study came from 1,877 students from the national Monitoring the Future survey conducted annually.

Our study observed that for the graduating class of 2004, students who had multiple reasons to drink, including reasons correlation to coping, were also more likely to begin drinking at an earlier age, more likely to be drunk in the past year and more likely to drink before 4:00 pm, in comparison to students who drank to experiment with alcohol, to experience the thrill of drinking or just to relax, as per Donna Coffman, Ph.D., of Penn State.

It is important to know why high school seniors drink so parents, teachers and high school counselors can pay special attention to the needs of the small but high-risk group of seniors who offer multiple reasons for drinking and who also have anger or frustration issues. Research shows that drinking patterns established during adolescence are likely to continue through adulthood, as per Coffman.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 3, 2007, 10:18 PM CT

Novel genes for schizophrenia

Novel genes for schizophrenia
Researchers at the Zucker Hillside Hospital campus of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have identified nine genetic markers that can increase a persons risk for schizophrenia. As per a research findings published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the research team uncovered original evidence that this disabling brain disease can be inherited in a recessive manner. A recessive trait is one that is inherited from both parents.

If a person inherits identical copies of these markers from each parent, his or her risk for schizophrenia increases substantially, said Todd Lencz, PhD, associate director of research at Zucker Hillside and the lead author of the study. If these results are confirmed, they could open up new avenues for research in schizophrenia and severe mental illness, said Anil Malhotra, MD, director of psychiatric research at Zucker Hillside and senior investigator of the study.

The researchers developed a complex mathematical approach called whole genome homozygosity association (WGHA) that provides a new way of analyzing genetic information. It enables researchers to simultaneously look at genetic information derived from the patients mother and father, and identify pieces of chromosomes that are identical. They tested genetic material from 178 patients and 144 controls.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 3, 2007, 10:13 PM CT

Heavy drinking and high-risk sexual behavior

Heavy drinking and high-risk sexual behavior
Psychiatry scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have observed that a clinical diagnosis of alcohol dependence in young adults is linked to having a high number of sex partners.

"Some participants in the study reported 50 or 100 partners, and research shows - and common sense tells you - that the more sex partners you have, the more likely you'll encounter someone with an STD," says first author Patricia Cavazos-Rehg, Ph.D., research instructor in the Department of Psychiatry. "Chances also increase for unintended pregnancies and other health complications".

The study, reported in the recent issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, also found links between a conduct disorder diagnosis and high numbers of sexual partners as well as between problem drinking and more partners. Of the three, however, alcohol dependence had the most influence on number of sex partners.

Alcohol dependence is an excessive use of alcohol that's harmful to physical and mental health. Some alcohol-dependent people drink every day. Others may drink only sporadically but consume large amounts of alcohol when they do drink. That sort of binge drinking is especially common in adolescents and young adults, like those surveyed in this study. Problem drinkers, conversely, have a number of of the same symptoms, and may go on to become dependent, but they were not alcohol dependent when the study was conducted.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 2, 2007, 9:00 PM CT

Nurses working extended shifts

Nurses working extended shifts
Hospital staff nurses who work extended hours, work at night, struggle to remain awake at work, or obtain less sleep are more likely to experience a drowsy driving episode, as per a research studyreported in the December 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.

The study, authored by Linda D. Scott, PhD, of Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Mich., focused on data that were collected from 895 full-time hospital staff nurses, who completed logbooks on a daily basis for four weeks providing information concerning work hours, sleep duration, drowsy and sleep episodes at work, and drowsy driving occurrences.

As per the results, almost 67 percent of the nurses reported at least one episode of drowsy driving, and three percent reported experiencing drowsy driving following every shift worked. On average, nurses reported experiencing an episode of drowsy driving one out of every four shifts they worked.

Two-hundred eighty-one episodes of motor vehicle crashes/near-motor vehicle crashes were reported during the study period. The majority of these incidents occurred following shifts that exceeded 12.5 hours in duration. The likelihood of a motor vehicle crash/near-motor vehicle crash significantly increased with longer shift durations. The risk for a motor vehicle crash/near-motor vehicle crash almost doubled when driving following shifts that exceeded 12.5 hours.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 2, 2007, 8:52 PM CT

sleep disorders on teens' academic performance

sleep disorders on teens' academic performance
The Pediatric Daytime Sleepiness Scale (PDSS) is an independent, reliable tool in predicting the negative impact of a sleep-related breathing disorder and daytime sleepiness on a teenagers academic performance, as per a research studyreported in the December 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.

The study, authored by Daniel Perez-Chada, MD, of Hospital Universitario Austral in Buenos Aires, Argentina, focused on 2,884 students, whose answers to a Spanish version of the PDSS were provided by their parents.

As per the results, 49 percent of the students reported sleeping less than eight hours per night on weeknights while 83 percent slept less than eight hours per night on weekends. Snoring was reported by 23 percent of the subjects, occasional in 14 percent and frequent in nine percent. Witnessed apneas were witnessed in 11 percent of the cases, being frequent in four percent and occasional in seven percent. Reported snoring or apneas and the PDSS were independent predictors of poor academic performance, as snorers had lower mean grades in mathematics and language.

While students in other populations attempt to catch up on sleep debt during weekends, youngsters in our sample seemed to aggravate their sleep debt by further reducing sleep time on weekends, said Dr. Perez-Chada. Thus, this population appears to be at a strikingly high risk for chronic sleep debt. This and other sleep problems need to be confronted through education and enhanced diagnosis of a sleep related breathing disorder as well as changing poor sleep habits among adolescents.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 2, 2007, 8:46 PM CT

Mental illness and drug addiction may co-occur

Mental illness and drug addiction may co-occur
Why do mental illness and drug addiction so often go together" New research reveals that this type of dual diagnosis may stem from a common cause: developmental changes in the amygdala, a walnut-shaped part of the brain associated with fear, anxiety and other emotions. A full report on why these comorbid disorders may develop appears in the December Behavioral Neuroscience, published by the American Psychological Association (APA).

Dual diagnosis is common yet difficult to treat. Addiction of all types to nicotine, alcohol and drugs is often found in people with a wide variety of mental illnesses, including anxiety disorders, unipolar and bipolar depression, schizophrenia, and borderline and other personality disorders. Lead author Andrew Chambers, MD, cites clinical reports that at least half the people who seek help with addiction or mental-health therapy have co-occurring disorders. Epidemiological data says that from two to five of every 10 anxious or depressed people, and from four to eight of every 10 people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or antisocial personality, also have some type of addiction.

To find the scientific basis for this complex, seemingly intractable pairing, which has in the past been attributed to self-medication, Chambers team at the Indiana University medical school compared the adult mood- and drug-related behavior of two groups of adult rats: those whose amygdalas were surgically damaged in infancy and those whose amygdalas were left intact but who underwent a sham surgery, to equalize their therapy.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Too little evidence exists to recommend or rule out estrogen as a treatment for schizophrenia in women, a new review of studies finds.People diagnosed with schizophrenia suffer distorted perceptions of reality and hallucinations. Today, estrogen is strictly an experimental therapy for the psychotic symptoms associated with the mental illness.

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