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July 2008 Briefing - Psychiatry

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Psychiatry for July 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.

Mouse Model of Postpartum Depression Developed

THURSDAY, July 31 (HealthDay News) -- Mice lacking a major target of neurosteroid hormones, which have been implicated in various psychiatric and neurological disorders, display abnormal postpartum behavior and may be a useful model for postpartum depression, researchers report in the July 31 issue of Neuron.

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Childhood Cancer Survivors Less Likely to Smoke

WEDNESDAY, July 30 (HealthDay News) -- English childhood cancer survivors are significantly less likely to smoke than the general British population, according to an article published online July 29 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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FDA Approves First Generic Divalproex Sodium

WEDNESDAY, July 30 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved generic versions of Depakote delayed-release tablets (divalproex sodium) for the first time, according to a press release issued by the FDA this week.

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Statin Use May Decrease Cognitive Impairment

TUESDAY, July 29 (HealthDay News) -- Statin use is associated with a significant decline in dementia and other cognitive impairment, according to the July 29 issue of Neurology.

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Dementia Linked to Both High and Low Thyrotropin Levels

TUESDAY, July 29 (HealthDay News) -- Abnormal thyrotropin levels in women are associated with the development of Alzheimer's disease, according to the July 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Dementia Rate May Be Underestimated in Some Areas

MONDAY, July 28 (HealthDay News) -- Usage of the DSM-IV may markedly underestimate the prevalence of dementia in less developed areas of the world, according to research published online July 28 in The Lancet.

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Elderly Sleep Fewer Hours Than Younger People

FRIDAY, July 25 (HealthDay News) -- The elderly have a lower tendency to sleep during the day and sleep about 1.5 hours less per day than younger people, which could have implications for age-related insomnia, researchers report in the Aug. 5 issue of Current Biology.

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Non-Pharmaceutical Fentanyl Linked to Overdose Deaths

FRIDAY, July 25 (HealthDay News) -- Illicitly manufactured non-pharmaceutical fentanyl was associated with 1,013 deaths in six U.S. counties or states from April 2005 to March 2007, according to a report published in the July 25 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Cognitive Function Poorer with Coronary Heart Disease

THURSDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- Coronary heart disease is associated with poor cognitive performance in middle age, with greater declines in cognitive function among men with increased time since first coronary event, according to an article published online July 22 in the European Heart Journal.

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'Tier 4' Drugs Raise Questions About Affordability

WEDNESDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) -- The emergence of a fourth tier of copayment for expensive drugs calls into question how Americans are going to handle the rising costs of health care, according to a perspective article in the July 24 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Consequences of Genetic Non-Discrimination Act Examined

WEDNESDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) -- The Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act (GINA), recently signed into U.S. law, creates a troublesome distinction between those at genetic risk for a disease and those with other characteristics that predispose them to a condition, according to a perspective article published in the July 24 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Physicians to Get Bonus for Electronic Prescribing

WEDNESDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors using an electronic prescriptions system will be eligible for a bonus from Medicare from 2009 onwards for four years, according to U.S. health officials.

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Drug Abuse Adds to Scotland's Excess Mortality

WEDNESDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) -- One-third of the excess mortality rate in Scotland versus England is due to drug-related deaths, according to a study published online July 22 in BMJ.

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Sildenafil May Help Women Treated for Depression

TUESDAY, July 22 (HealthDay News) -- Among women taking serotonin reuptake inhibitors for depression, sildenafil may help relieve sexual dysfunction associated with the use of the antidepressants, according to research published in the July 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Variations in Gene Linked to Depression Remission

MONDAY, July 21 (HealthDay News) -- Variations in the SLC6A4 gene are associated with remission of depressive symptoms in white non-Hispanic adults taking citalopram, according to research published online July 10 in the American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B.

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Dimebon Improves Cognition in Alzheimer's Patients

FRIDAY, July 18 (HealthDay News) -- Dimebon improved the clinical course of patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease and was both safe and well tolerated, according to the results of a study published in the July 19 issue of The Lancet.

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Ovary Removal Linked to Less Depression After Hysterectomy

FRIDAY, July 18 (HealthDay News) -- Removal of both ovaries in premenopausal women undergoing hysterectomy is associated with less depression or no change in depression depending on whether they were depressed before surgery, according to a report in the July issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Exception Reporting Improves Pay-for-Performance Benefits

THURSDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- Pay-for-performance programs benefit from use of exclusion reporting, whereby certain patients are excluded from quality calculations, and the practice of excluding patients to disguise missed targets, known as gaming, is rare, according to study findings published in the July 17 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Medical Education Must Adapt to Changing Times

THURSDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- Medical schools must adapt their admission requirements and curricula to changes in scientific theory, and are also facing a challenge to the traditional definition of who is suited to the study of medicine, according to two articles published in the July 17 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Study Points to Interaction of Stress, Glucocorticoid Receptor

THURSDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- Glucocorticoid receptors in the forebrain appear to be necessary for glucocorticoid feedback inhibition of acute psychogenic but not systemic stress responses, according to the results of a study in mice published online July 10 in Endocrinology.

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Visit Companions Improve Satisfaction with Care

WEDNESDAY, July 16 (HealthDay News) -- Visit companions are actively engaged in the care of older patients and influence patient satisfaction with physician care, according to an article published in the July 14 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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AMA Actions Fostered U.S. Medical Racial Divide

TUESDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) -- From the post-Civil War years to the civil rights era a century later, the American Medical Association (AMA) made decisions that helped support a division between white and black Americans in the field of medicine in the United States, according to an article in the July 16 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Simvastatin Not Linked to Neurofibromatosis Benefits

TUESDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) -- The use of simvastatin was not associated with cognitive improvements in children with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), contrary to findings in mouse models suggesting efficacy of this treatment, according to research published in the July 16 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Revised Mental Exam Cut Score May Benefit Well-Educated

TUESDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) -- A cut score of 27 on the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) may be more useful in identifying dementia in older patients with a college education than the traditional cut score of 24, according to research published in the July issue of the Archives of Neurology.

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Fitness May Reduce Brain Atrophy in Alzheimer's Disease

TUESDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with early Alzheimer's disease, increased cardiorespiratory fitness is associated with reduced brain atrophy, but the reasons are unclear, according to a study published in the July 15 issue of Neurology.

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Visual Impairment Raises Risk of Suicide

TUESDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) -- Visual impairment is indirectly associated with a higher risk of suicide, researchers report in the July issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

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Many People Unable to Recognize Need to Slim Down

TUESDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) -- The threshold at which overweight people perceive their weight to be cause for concern has risen dramatically over the past eight years, according to the results of a U.K. study published online July 10 in BMJ Online First.

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Self-Rated Cardiac Risk Linked to Cardiovascular Mortality

TUESDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) -- Cardiovascular mortality is lower in men -- but not in women -- who rate themselves as having a lower-than-average cardiovascular risk. Also, an integrated care intervention may improve medication adherence in older adults who are on antihypertensive and antidepressant therapy, according to two studies published in the July/August issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

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Dietary Cocktail Improves Memory in Animal Study

MONDAY, July 14 (HealthDay News) -- A dietary cocktail containing an omega-3 fatty acid significantly improves memory and learning in gerbils, suggesting that a similar cocktail may benefit patients with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, according to a report published online July 7 in the FASEB Journal: The Journal of the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology.

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Abnormal Scan Predicts Poor Prognosis in Mild Brain Injury

FRIDAY, July 11 (HealthDay News) -- Children with normal computed tomography (CT) findings perform better in multiple cognitive domains one year after mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) than children with CT evidence of intracranial pathology, according to an article published in the June issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics.

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Breast-Conserving Surgery Outcomes Affect Quality of Life

FRIDAY, July 11 (HealthDay News) -- Women with pronounced breast asymmetry after breast-conserving surgery may be at high risk of poor psychosocial functioning, according to study findings published in the July 10 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Birth Weight May Affect Adult Personality Traits

THURSDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- Young adults who were born at extremely low birth weights may be more cautious, shy, risk aversive and introverted than their normal birth weight peers, traits that could increase their risk for future psychiatric and emotional problems, according to study findings published in the July issue of Pediatrics.

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Apolipoprotein E Genotype, Cortisol, Linked to Cognition

THURSDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- APOE-ε4 genotype may play a role in an individual's susceptibility to the consequences of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis dysregulation on cognitive function, researchers report in a study published online July 1 in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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Weight Loss Trial Has Good Results At Six-Month Mark

THURSDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- In the first phase of the Weight-Loss Maintenance trial, participants made substantial progress in losing weight due to dietary changes and increased physical activity, according to a report published in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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Program Improves Insomnia After Cancer Treatment

THURSDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- A cognitive behavior therapy program consisting of small group sessions teaching stimulus control, sleep restriction and cognitive therapy strategies can improve sleep in cancer patients dealing with insomnia post-treatment, according to the results of a study published online June 30 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Health Cash Incentives for Poor People Debated

WEDNESDAY, July 9 (HealthDay News) -- Should disadvantaged people be paid to take care of their health? That's the question of a "Head to Head" debate published online July 8 in BMJ.

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Swedish Seniors Are More Sexually Active

WEDNESDAY, July 9 (HealthDay News) -- In 70-year-old Swedish men and women, both the quantity and quality of sex has significantly increased since the early 1970s, according to a report published online July 8 in BMJ.

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Antidepressants Increase Risk of Gastrointestinal Bleeding

TUESDAY, July 8 (HealthDay News) -- Antidepressant drugs that block the serotonin reuptake mechanism -- notably selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors -- increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, especially when used in conjunction with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, researchers report in the July issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Pregnancy Does Not Increase Risk of Most Mental Illnesses

TUESDAY, July 8 (HealthDay News) -- Although certain groups of women have a high prevalence of psychiatric disorders, pregnancy does not in itself increase the risk of most mental illnesses, according to a report published in the July issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Attention-Deficit Disorder Linked to Weight

MONDAY, July 7 (HealthDay News) -- Among children and adolescents with either attention-deficit disorder (ADD) or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), overweight is more common in those who do not take any medication for their condition while underweight is more common in those who do take medication, according to a report published in the July issue of Pediatrics.

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Research Supports Surgery for Refractory Depression

MONDAY, July 7 (HealthDay News) -- Mounting evidence suggests that depression is a network disorder instead of a condition related to perturbation of a single neurotransmitter or brain region, suggesting that surgical interventions such as deep brain stimulation may benefit selected patients with refractory depression, according to two studies published in the July issue of Neurosurgical Focus.

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Intervention Benefits Depressed Cancer Patients

FRIDAY, July 4 (HealthDay News) -- A nurse-delivered intervention -- Depression Care for People with Cancer -- may be a beneficial and cost-effective strategy for managing major depressive disorder in patients with cancer and other medical disorders, according to an article published in the July 5 issue of The Lancet.

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Relaxation Practices Affect Gene Expression

THURSDAY, July 3 (HealthDay News) -- Practices such as meditation, prayer and yoga that elicit the relaxation response affect gene expression, particularly genes involved in oxidative stress, even in short-term practitioners, researchers report in the July issue of PLoS ONE.

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Questionnaire Evaluates Everyday Cognition in Elderly

WEDNESDAY, July 2 (HealthDay News) -- A caregiver-rated questionnaire to evaluate everyday cognitive function in the elderly is effective and can differentiate between cognitively normal and impaired individuals, according to a report in the July issue of Neuropsychology.

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Doctors Consider Giving Up Obstetrics After Infant Death

TUESDAY, July 1 (HealthDay News) -- While the tremendous effect of perinatal death on families is well known, perinatal death has a substantive effect on obstetric providers, according to an article published in the July issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Physician's Briefing