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Three-quarters of depressed cancer patients do not receive treatment for depression; new approach could transform care

Three-quarters of depressed cancer patients do not receive treatment for depression; new approach could transform care

Three papers published in The Lancet Psychiatry, The Lancet, and The Lancet Oncology reveal that around three-quarters of cancer patients who have major depression are not currently receiving treatment for depression, and that a new integrated treatment program is strikingly more effective at reducing depression and improving quality of life than current care. An analysis of data from more than 21,000 patients attending cancer clinics in Scotland, UK, published in The Lancet Psychiatry , found that major depression is substantially more common in cancer patients than in the general population Continue reading

Xenon exposure shown to erase traumatic memories

Xenon exposure shown to erase traumatic memories

McLean Hospital researchers are reporting that xenon gas, used in humans for anesthesia and diagnostic imaging, has the potential to be a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other memory-related disorders. “In our study, we found that xenon gas has the capability of reducing memories of traumatic events,” said Edward G. Meloni, PhD, assistant psychologist at McLean Hospital and an assistant professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Continue reading

Alcohol-dependence gene linked to neurotransmitter

Alcohol-dependence gene linked to neurotransmitter

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have solved the mystery of why a specific signaling pathway can be associated with alcohol dependence. This signaling pathway is regulated by a gene, called neurofibromatosis type 1 (Nf1), which TSRI scientists found is linked with excessive drinking in mice Continue reading

Children with autism have extra synapses in brain: May be possible to prune synapses with drug after diagnosis

Children with autism have extra synapses in brain: May be possible to prune synapses with drug after diagnosis

Children and adolescents with autism have a surplus of synapses in the brain, and this excess is due to a slowdown in a normal brain “pruning” process during development, according to a study by neuroscientists at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). Continue reading

Maturing brain flips function of amygdala in regulating stress hormones

Maturing brain flips function of amygdala in regulating stress hormones

In contrast to evidence that the amygdala stimulates stress responses in adults, researchers at Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University have found that the amygdala has an inhibitory effect on stress hormones during the early development of nonhuman primates. The results are published this week in Journal of Neuroscience . The amygdala is a region of the brain known to be important for responses to threatening situations and learning about threats Continue reading

Intimacy a strong motivator for PrEP HIV prevention

Intimacy a strong motivator for PrEP HIV prevention

Men in steady same-sex relationships where both partners are HIV negative will often forgo condoms out of a desire to preserve intimacy, even if they also have sex outside the relationship. But the risk of HIV still lurks. In a new study of gay and bisexual men who reported at least one instance of condomless anal sex in the last 30 days, researchers found that the same desire for intimacy is also a strong predictor of whether men would be willing to take antiretroviral medications to prevent HIV, an emerging practice known as pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP Continue reading

Brain imaging shows brain differences in risk-taking teens

Brain imaging shows brain differences in risk-taking teens

According to the CDC, unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for adolescents. Compared to the two leading causes of death for all Americans, heart disease and cancer, a pattern of questionable decision-making in dire situations comes to light in teen mortality. New research from the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas investigating brain differences associated with risk-taking teens found that connections between certain brain regions are amplified in teens more prone to risk Continue reading

PTSD can develop even without memory of the trauma, study concludes

PTSD can develop even without memory of the trauma, study concludes

There are many forms of memory and only some of these may be critical for the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), reports a new study by researchers at the University at Albany and the University of California Los Angeles. Their findings, published in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry, suggest that even with no explicit memory of an early childhood trauma, symptoms of PTSD can still develop in adulthood. There are case reports of people who have experienced terrible life events that resulted in brain damage, some of whom developed syndromes similar to PTSD even though they had no recollection of the event itself. Continue reading

Treating mental illness by changing memories of things past

Treating mental illness by changing memories of things past

In the novel À la recherche du temps perdu (translated into English as Remembrance of Things Past ), Marcel Proust makes a compelling case that our identities and decisions are shaped in profound and ongoing ways by our memories. Continue reading

Elderly with depression, mild cognitive impairment more vulnerable to accelerated brain aging

Elderly with depression, mild cognitive impairment more vulnerable to accelerated brain aging

People who develop depression and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) after age 65 are more likely to have biological and brain imaging markers that reflect a greater vulnerability for accelerated brain aging, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The findings were published online in Molecular Psychiatry . Continue reading