January 2008 Briefing - Psychiatry

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Psychiatry for January 2008. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

Study Highlights Brain Injuries Among U.S. Soldiers

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Among U.S. soldiers who have served in Iraq, mild traumatic brain injuries have been linked to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and physical health problems, according to a study published in the Jan. 31 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Depressive Symptoms Linked to Smoking Relapse

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Among smokers hospitalized for acute cardiovascular disease, the presence of depressive symptoms during hospitalization is associated with an increased likelihood of smoking relapse following discharge, according to an article published in the Jan. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Use of Depression Drugs Plus Coumarins Increases Bleeding

TUESDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- In patients taking coumarin blood thinners, concomitant use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) appears to increase the risk of major non-gastrointestinal bleeding, but does not increase gastrointestinal bleeding complications, according to an article published in the Jan. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Gene Variants May Influence Efficacy of Antidepressants

FRIDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Genetic variants in the ABCB1 gene can account for differences in the clinical efficacy of antidepressant drugs, most likely by influencing their access to the brain, researchers report in the Jan. 24 issue of Neuron.

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Rate of Student Homicides in Schools Is Decreasing

TUESDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- The rate of school-associated student homicides decreased between July 1992 and June 2006. While these events receive significant media attention, particularly those involving multiple victims such as the Columbine High School shooting, they occur rarely and most incidents involve a single perpetrator and one victim, according to a report published Jan. 18 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Short Birth Length Increases Suicide Risk in Men

MONDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Men whose birth length was less than 47 centimeters are more likely to attempt suicide than their counterparts born with normal length for gestational age, and they are also more likely to attempt violent suicide, according to a study published in the February issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

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Study Reports Selective Publishing of Drug Studies

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Clinical trials of antidepressant drugs are more likely to be published if the results are positive, and are sometimes published in a manner that suggests they are positive when reviews by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have concluded otherwise, researchers report in the Jan. 17 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Risk of Post-Traumatic Stress Triples in U.S. Combat Forces

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Among U.S. military personnel, the incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder is three times higher in those who have seen combat in Afghanistan and Iraq than in other soldiers, according to research published online Jan. 15 in BMJ Online First.

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Flexible Working Hours Aid Healthy Lifestyle

FRIDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- People who perceive themselves as having jobs with sufficiently flexible working hours tend to have lifestyle behaviors that support better health, according to a report published in the December issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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Allele Predicts Treatment Response in Schizophrenia

FRIDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Among patients with schizophrenia, variations in the regulator of G-protein signaling 4 (RGS4) gene appear to correlate with severity of symptoms, and may be used to predict response to particular antipsychotic treatments, reports an article published in the January issue of Biological Psychiatry.

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Estimates Given for Survival After Onset of Dementia

FRIDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- The median survival time for people aged 65 years and older who develop incident dementia is 4.5 years from onset, according to a report published Jan. 10 in the Online First edition of BMJ.

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Researchers Debate Merits of Prescription Heroin for Addicts

FRIDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- In the management of patients with heroin addiction, prescription heroin may or may not be an ideal strategy, according to a "Head to Head" debate published in the Jan. 12 issue of the BMJ.

Pro: Rehm and Fischer
Con: McKeganey

New Insights Gained into Huntington's Disease

FRIDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Using a Drosophila fly model of Huntington's disease, researchers have discovered that increased neurotransmission caused by the abnormal huntingtin protein leads to neuronal degeneration long before huntingtin aggregates accumulate in neurons, according to an article published in the Jan. 10 issue of Neuron.

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Gene Deletion on Chromosome 16 Linked to Autism

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Deletions or duplications of a region of chromosome 16p11.2 appear to increase susceptibility to autism, according to an article published online Jan. 9 in advance of publication in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Maternal Food Control Leads to Lower Weight in Toddlers

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Controlling an infant's eating habits can have a significant impact on the child's weight at 2 years of age, researchers report in the January issue of Pediatrics.

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Interventions Help Reduce Weight Gain in Schizophrenics

TUESDAY, Jan. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Medication-related weight gain and insulin resistance in schizophrenic patients can be attenuated with metformin and lifestyle interventions, alone or in combination, researchers report in the Jan. 9/16 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Anxiety Predicts Heart Attacks in Older Men

TUESDAY, Jan. 8 (HealthDay News) -- In older men, anxiety appears to be an independent risk factor for myocardial infarction, according to research published in the Jan. 15 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Movie Smoking May Influence Both Children and Adolescents

TUESDAY, Jan. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to smoking in movies significantly increases the risk that elementary school children will begin smoking, according to a report published in the January issue of Pediatrics. A second report finds that European adolescents are more likely to try smoking after being exposed to smoking in American movies.

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Frequent Bad Dreams Rare Among Preschoolers

TUESDAY, Jan. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Bad dreams among preschoolers are less prevalent than was previously thought, but those who have them are likely to continue to be afflicted over a number of years, according to a study published in the January edition of Sleep.

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Social Status, Family Meals Affect Girls' Eating Habits

MONDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Adolescent girls may be at higher risk of weight gain if they perceive themselves as having a low social status, while they are at a lower risk of extreme weight control behaviors if they eat regular family meals, according to two studies published in the January issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

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No Link Between Mercury in Childhood Vaccines and Autism

MONDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- In California children, the prevalence of autism has continued to increase despite the removal of thimerosal from most vaccines, suggesting that mercury exposure is not a primary cause of autism, according to an article published in the January issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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9/11 Stress Linked to Cardiovascular Ailments

MONDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who experienced high levels of acute stress after the 9/11 terrorist attacks may be at increased risk of subsequent physician-diagnosed cardiovascular ailments, according to a study published in the January issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Zolpidem Trial for Insomnia Shows Good Results

MONDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- A 12.5-mg dose of extended-release zolpidem administered between three and seven nights a week for up to six months improves sleep onset and maintenance while reducing morning sleepiness and improving next-day concentration, researchers report in the January edition of Sleep.

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Antipsychotics Don't Curb Aggressive Behaviors

FRIDAY, Jan. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Though commonly used with the goal of curtailing aggressive behaviors in intellectually disabled individuals, antipsychotic drugs may actually be inferior to placebo at reducing aggression and should no longer be recommended, according to the results of a randomized trial published in the Jan. 5 issue of The Lancet.

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Physician's Briefing