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Friday Roundup – Government Doin’ The Right Thing, Brain Imaging for Childhood Depression, New Indication for Bipolar Medication, and Web-Based Therapeutic Interventions: #effective

Attention lovely readers! We at Healthshire will be providing you with a weekly Friday roundup of the latest in mental health news. Let us do all the work and be your one-stop-shop for all things current!

Government Doin’ The Right Thing, New Indication for Bipolar Medication, and Web-Based Interventions: #effective

The Latest  in Mental Health Research (and other stuff)

Will Government Rule in Favor of Mental Health?

American Psychiatric Association (APA) President, Jeffrey Lieberman, M.D., attended the White House Conference on Mental Health last month. He recently wrote about his impressions about the topics discussed at the conference and the future of mental health care services. In his letter, he voices his concern about awaiting a final decision on the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act as well as current and future reforms as dictated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He asks the appropriate question: “Will the government do the right thing?”

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Click here to read more of his wise and valid thoughts.

Brain Imaging May Detect Early Childhood Depression

According to a recent study in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, functional magnetic brain imaging (fMRI) can be helpful in recognizing early childhood depression. fMRI was used to compare the blood-flow activity in the amygdalae of a group of preschoolers with depression and a group of peers without depression. Children were shown photos of happy, sad, fearful, and neutral facial expressions.

Results showed that the children with depression had significantly more blood-flow in the amygdala no matter what facial expression was viewed than the nondepressed preschoolers. These findings indicate the earliest evidence of fluctuations in brain function in early childhood depression.

Researchers in charge of the study, at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, remark that these study findings can provide ways to identify and target depression early on in life, preventing later issues.

New Indication for Bipolar Depression

Lurasidone, an atypical antipsychotic drug, has been approved for new indications in treating patients with depressive episodes related to Bipolar I Disorder. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved lurasidone (Latuda, Sunovion) for use alone or in conjunction with lithium or valproate. Lurasidone had already been approved for individuals with schizophrenia.

As compared to other drugs in its class, lurasidone appears to cause less weight gain and fewer metabolic problems.

The new indication is seen by many psychiatrists as addressing an unmet need for alternative treatment options for clients with bipolar depression.

Computer Exercises Can Improve Memories in Seniors

As reported in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, a study finds that memories in senior citizens can be improved with the use of a computer memory-training program.

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Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles conducted a study that tested the memory and language skills of 69 older individuals with normal cognitive ability. Some participants in the study were then randomly selected to take part in an 8-week computer memory-training program. Their memory and language skills were tested two months and six months after the start date.

Individuals who participated in the computer training program showed improved delayed memory scores after six months. Those who used the program for more than 40 sessions also showed improvement in immediate memory and language skills.

According to Dilip Jeste, M.D., chair of aging at the University of California, San Diego, notes that these findings coincide with his conviction that seniors continue to function cognitively at a high level.”Studies across species have shown that brain growth and development are not restricted to childhood, but continue into old age.”

Internet Interventions Show Promise for Treating Eating Disorders

Web-based therapeutic interventions as an adjunct to intensive therapy have been tested for their efficacy by Dutch researchers. As published in this month’s Psychiatric Services, their findings show that web-based activities, used in conjunction with an intensive therapeutic program, can successfully alter eating disorder psychopathology.

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Research participants showed improvement in their attitudes about their eating habits as well as behavioral change. “Physical and mental health also improved, and patients were much more satisfied with their body image.”

Telling our Stories

In an effort to bring mental illness out of the shadows and reduce stigma, we are especially interested in hearing about you and your stories related to mental health. Be sure to visit Healthshire’s “telling our story” section. Spend some time reading the stories or submit your own!

 

 

I was going to dedicate this week’s post to Justin Bieber and a mop bucket, but instead I will frown upon Dwight Howard for leaving the Lakers. Boo on you, Dwight. Boo on you!

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