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June 2006 Briefing - Psychiatry

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Psychiatry for June 2006. 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.

Memory Loss May Affect Several Brain Regions

FRIDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), there may be altered functionality in both the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, according to a study in the July issue of Radiology.

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FDA Approves Generic Zoloft, Macular Degeneration Drug

FRIDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a generic version of sertraline tablets (Zoloft) as well as a new drug, ranibizumab injection (Lucentis), for treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration.

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Having Biological Brothers Linked to Male Homosexuality

THURSDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- Having more biological older brothers, regardless of the amount of time spent raised together, is associated with male homosexuality, suggesting a prenatal origin to sexual orientation, according to a report published online June 28 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Reducing Homocysteine Does Not Improve Cognition

WEDNESDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- In healthy older people, B-vitamin therapy to reduce blood levels of homocysteine does not appear to improve cognitive function, according to a study in the June 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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FDA Approves First Treatment for Parkinson's Dementia

WEDNESDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- Exelon (rivastigmine tartrate) was approved June 27 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the first treatment for mild to moderate dementia in Parkinson disease. The FDA had previously approved the drug for the treatment of mild to moderate dementia in Alzheimer disease.

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Behavioral Therapy Effective in Treating Insomnia

TUESDAY, June 27 (HealthDay News) -- Behavioral therapy can be more effective than sleep medication in treating insomnia, improving sleep efficiency and reducing the time spent awake at night, according to a report in the June 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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One-Third of Elderly Have Alzheimer's Signs in Brain

TUESDAY, June 27 (HealthDay News) -- More than a third of elderly individuals without dementia or cognitive impairment have evidence of Alzheimer disease in their brains post-mortem, which may be related to deficits in episodic memory, according to a report in the June 27 issue of Neurology.

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QT Prolongation Linked to Methadone Therapy

MONDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- Intravenous drug users who receive methadone maintenance therapy to curb their habit are at an increased risk for developing long QT syndrome, according to a report in the June 26 Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Factors Associated with Aggression in Elders Identified

MONDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- Depression, delusions and hallucinations may be associated with physically and verbally aggressive behavior among nursing home residents, according to a study in the June 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Targeted Programs Effective for Childhood Depression

MONDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- Selective and indicated programs targeting children at risk for depression are better for treatment and prevention of the disease than universal programs, according to a report in the June issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

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Job Loss Later in Life Doubles Myocardial Infarction Risk

MONDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who lose their jobs after the age of 50 are at double the risk of myocardial infarction and stroke compared to their employed counterparts, according to a study published online June 23 in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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Acupuncture May Relieve Fibromyalgia Fatigue, Anxiety

THURSDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- Acupuncture may relieve fatigue and anxiety in fibromyalgia patients more so than a placebo acupuncture-like procedure, according to a report in the June issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

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Aggression in Children Linked to Serotonin Gene Variants

WEDNESDAY, June 21 (HealthDay News) -- Extreme, persistent aggression in children is associated with "low expressing" polymorphisms in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter gene, according to a report in the June issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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Verbal Abuse May Have Greater Impact Than Physical Abuse

TUESDAY, June 20 (HealthDay News) -- Young adults who were verbally abused in childhood report more dissociation, depression and other symptoms of maltreatment than those who were physically abused, and have symptoms on par with those who witnessed domestic violence or were sexually abused by a non-family member, according to a report in the June issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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Brain Lesion Causes Cessation of Drug Craving in Patient

TUESDAY, June 20 (HealthDay News) -- A 34-year-old man who sustained hypoxia-related bilateral damage to the globus pallidus during a drug overdose, developed a syndrome characterized by loss of drug cravings, severe depression, extrapyramidal symptoms and anhedonia, according to a case study published in the May issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry. The brain region is known to play a key role in the reward circuit, the authors note.

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Prenatal SSRI Exposure Not Linked to Anxiety in Children

TUESDAY, June 20 (HealthDay News) -- Prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, is not associated with a greater risk of internalizing behavior at ages 4 to 5, according to a study in the June issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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Feelings for Frozen Embryos Affect Disposal Choices

THURSDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- Infertility patients' decisions about disposal of excess cryopreserved embryos are affected by feelings of responsibility to society and the embryos, with many patients feeling that the available disposal options are inadequate, according to a report in the June issue of Fertility and Sterility. Some patients expressed a wish to hold a disposal ceremony for the embryos rather than donate them for research or to other couples, or to thaw and discard them.

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Spinal 'Pain Amplifier' May Enhance Pain Sensitivity

THURSDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- A "pain amplifier" in the spinal cord turned on by low-level, irregular pain inputs may be the origin of inflammation and hyperalgesia, according to a study in rats in the June 16 issue of Science.

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FDA Targets Unclear Medical Abbreviations

THURSDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) has launched a national health professional education campaign to eliminate a common but preventable cause of medication errors: unclear and potentially confusing abbreviations written by health care professionals and others.

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Blacks at Greater Risk of Dementia Than Other Patients

WEDNESDAY, June 14 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly black patients in the United States have a higher risk of dementia than white patients even after adjustment for education and other potential confounders, and the racial disparity is especially pronounced after adjustment for baseline cognitive screening scores, according to a study in the June issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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Fluoxetine Does Not Help Anorexics Recover

TUESDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- Fluoxetine does not help anorexia nervosa patients recover and maintain a healthy weight, according to a report in the June 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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FDA Approves Wellbutrin XL for Seasonal Affective Disorder

TUESDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- Wellbutrin XL has become the first drug to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The drug, approved on June 12, can be used for the prevention of major depressive episodes in SAD patients.

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Meditation Shows Promise for Heart Disease Patients

TUESDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- Transcendental meditation can improve blood pressure and insulin resistance components of the metabolic syndrome in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD), according to a report in the June 12 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Psychogenic, Epileptic Seizures Distinguished in Three Studies

MONDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- Three studies in the June 13 issue of Neurology may help identify the nearly 30 percent of patients diagnosed with epilepsy who actually have psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES).

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Median Nerve Not Always Key in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

THURSDAY, June 8 (HealthDay News) -- About 40 percent of patients with suspected carpal tunnel syndrome do not present with involvement of the median nerve, suggesting the importance of more awareness of all patterns of presentation, according to a study in the June issue of Pain.

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Parenting Style May Affect Child's Weight Gain

TUESDAY, June 6 (HealthDay News) -- First graders with strict, authoritarian mothers are more likely to be overweight than children of authoritative mothers who have high expectations for their child's self-control but are also respectful of their child's opinion, according to a study in the June issue of Pediatrics.

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Early Schizophrenia Detection Reduces Suicide Risk

TUESDAY, June 6 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with schizophrenia, early-detection programs that bring first-episode patients into treatment may reduce the later risk of suicidal behavior, according to a study published in the May issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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High Temperatures Increase Risk of Death By a Third

TUESDAY, June 6 (HealthDay News) -- High temperatures can increase the overall risk of death by about a third, with the elderly, women, widows, widowers and those with certain medical conditions being most vulnerable, according to a study in the May issue of Epidemiology.

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Diagnosis of Autism at Age 2 Usually Confirmed at Age 9

TUESDAY, June 6 (HealthDay News) -- Children diagnosed with autism by the age of 2 years are likely to have that diagnosis confirmed at age 9, according to a study published in the June issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Sharp Rise in Antipsychotics Prescribed for Children, Teens

MONDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- Office-based physicians have sharply increased prescription of antipsychotic medication for children and adolescents in recent years, according to a study published in the June issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Teens with Bipolar Disorder Misinterpret Facial Expressions

FRIDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- Adolescents with bipolar disorder are more likely than healthy teens to interpret neutral facial expressions as displaying hostility, identifying a deficient link between attention and emotion centers of the brain, according to a report in the June 6 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Ethnicity of Lupus, Arthritis Patients Affects Trust in Doctor

FRIDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- The ethnic group and gender of a patient with systemic lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis can affect their trust in physicians, with black and Hispanic patients less likely than whites to trust their physicians, according to a study published in the June 15 issue of Arthritis Care & Research. In addition, black and Hispanic men with such diseases are less likely than women of the same ethnicity to trust their physician.

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SSRIs Linked to Short-Term Suicide Risk in Elderly

THURSDAY, June 1 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly patients who begin taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may have an increased risk for suicide during the first months of therapy, according to a report in the May issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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Boys Without Siblings Watch More TV Than Others Their Age

THURSDAY, June 1 (HealthDay News) -- Boys who have no siblings and girls in single-parent families watch more television than boys with siblings or girls living with two parents, researchers report in the May issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

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Behavioral Weight-Loss Program Effective

THURSDAY, June 1 (HealthDay News) -- A behavioral weight-loss program that addresses physical activity self-efficacy, behavioral strategies and barriers to weight management can be effective in overweight sedentary women, according to a study in the May issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

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