NATIONAL SURVEY CONFIRMS THAT YOUTH ARE DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECTED BY MENTAL DISORDERS

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About 20 percent of U.S. youth during their lifetime are affected by some type of mental disorder to an extent that they have difficulty functioning, according to a new NIMH survey published in the October 2010 issue of the Journal of The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The data support the observation from surveys of adults that mental disorders most commonly start in early life.

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/science-news/2010/national-survey-confirms-that-youth-are-disproportionately-affected-by-mental-disorders.shtml

SHOULD YOU TALK TO SOMEONE ABOUT A DRUG, ALCOHOL, OR MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEM?

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This brochure lists questions consumers can ask themselves to help them decide whether to seek help for a substance abuse problem, a mental health issue, or both. It also urges those who answer “yes” to any of the questions to seek help and lists resources for more information.
http://store.samhsa.gov/product/SMA10-4585

NATIONAL SURVEY REVEALS INCREASES IN SUBSTANCE USE FROM 2008 TO 2009: MARIJUANA USE RISES; PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE AND ECSTASY USE ALSO UP

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The use of illicit drugs among Americans increased between 2008 and 2009 according to a national survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that the overall rate of current illicit drug use in the United States rose from 8.0 percent of the population age 12 and older in 2008 to 8.7 percent in 2009. This rise in overall drug use was driven in large part by increases in marijuana use.
Press Release: http://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/advisories/1009152021.aspx

Smoking Ban at Psychiatric Hospital Linked to Increase in Involuntary Admissions

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The rate of involuntary admissions at Canada’s largest psychiatric hospital jumped by 63% in the weeks following the implementation of a no-smoking policy at the institution, according to a study presented here at the Canadian Psychiatric Association 60th Annual Conference.

“When you tell people they have to stay they really feel like they’re being imprisoned because of their smoking habit,” said Paul Kurdyak, MD, head of Emergency Crisis Services at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and lead investigator of the study.

“There’s a time and a place for everything. For me the issue is that people are coming in crisis and it’s a really tough time to ask them to stop smoking.”

The study compared emergency department records for the 12 weeks preceding and following the no-smoking policy, which was implemented at CAMH in September 2005.

A study previously published by Dr. Kurdyak and colleagues documented a 15% decrease in overall visits to the emergency department after a provincewide smoking ban in public places (Can J Psychiatry. 2008;53:779-789).

Reported by Kate Johnson
Medscape Medical News
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/729700

Submitted by Anna

Link Between Urban Living and Psychosis May Be Due to Increased Social Fragmentation

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The link between urban living and nonaffective psychoses, including schizophrenia, may be a reflection of increased social fragmentation and isolation, according to a new longitudinal study that looked at data for more than 200,000 people from Sweden.

“What we found suggests that although most risks for psychoses are conferred by individual characteristics, the reason for variation between urban-rural areas and variation within cities seems to be due to neighborhood levels of social fragmentation,” lead study author Stanley Zammit, PhD, clinical senior lecturer in Psychiatric Epidemiology at Cardiff University, Wales, and at the University of Bristol, England, told Medscape Medical News.

Dr. Zammit said that these study results are important for understanding etiology and “how the context you are brought up in could influence the way you perceive and think about the world, and how this, over time, could translate into paranoid beliefs and psychotic experiences.”

In addition, the investigators note that the findings may have important implications for informing social policy.

The study was published online September 6 in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Reported by Deborah Brauser
Medscape Medical News
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/728718

Submitted by Anna

Armodafinil Does Not Improve Cognitive Deficits in Schizophrenia

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NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Sep 15 – Adjunctive armodafinil, the longer-lasting isomer of modafinil, doesn’t improve cognitive deficits in patients with schizophrenia, researchers report in an August 24th online paper in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Dr. John M. Kane, of The Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, New York, and colleagues randomized 60 patients (mean age 43 years) with stable schizophrenia to adjunctive treatment with once-daily placebo or armodafinil 50, 100, or 200 mg.

Fifteen patients were assigned to each group; 49 (82%) completed the 4-week study. Changes in cognitive deficits from baseline to the final visit were similar following armodafinil or placebo, as measured by the Measurement and Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia (MATRICS) composite score. Mean changes ranged from 1.9 with 50 mg to 2.9 with 200 mg; scores in the placebo group fell in the middle.

In two previous trials, modafinil-treated patients didn’t differ from placebo-treated patients in the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS) scores. Similarly, in the current study, there were no clinically meaningful reductions in the SANS total score.

Armodafinil was generally well tolerated. The most common adverse events were diarrhea and headache. Treatment did not cause psychosis to worsen.

Patients who received armodafinil 200 mg did have greater improvement in the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale for Schizophrenia (PANSS) than those who received placebo, but the results were not statistically significant.

The mechanism of action of armodafinil is not known. “A weak DAT (dopamine transporter) inhibitor such as armodafinil, which may preferentially influence the dopaminergic activity in the prefrontal cortex but not in the limbic system, could, hypothetically, reduce negative symptoms without worsening positive symptoms–the effect suggested in this study,” Dr. Kane and colleagues write.

They also say that “treating negative symptoms of schizophrenia is important because these symptoms are debilitating for patients and because antipsychotic therapies are often not adequate to treat them.”

Their conclusion is that more study is needed to determine the potential efficacy of modafinil on negative symptoms.

The study was sponsored by Cephalon, the manufacturer of armodafinil, which either employs or has financial relationships with all the paper’s seven authors.

Reuters Health Information
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/728630

Submitted by Anna

HHS AWARDS $26.2 MILLION TO EXPAND PRIMARY CARE TO INDIVIDUALS WITH BEHAVIORAL HEALTH DISORDERS: GRANTS AWARDED TO 43 COMMUNITY AGENCIES NATIONWIDE

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded more than $26.2 million in grants to support and promote better primary care and behavioral health services for individuals with mental illnesses or substance use disorders. The majority of the grants are funded by the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund to improve health status by improving the coordination of healthcare services delivered in publicly funded community mental health and other community-based behavioral health settings. Press Release: http://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/advisories/1009245435.aspx

RAPID ANTIDEPRESSANT WORKS BY BOOSTING BRAIN’S CONNECTIONS: SINGLE DOSE SPROUTS BUDDING SYNAPSES WITHIN HOURS IN RAT BRAIN

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An experimental drug that lifts depression in hours likely works by rapidly stimulating connections between brain cells, a study in rats has revealed. The drug, called ketamine, quickly generated such synapses in a brain circuit implicated in human depression by triggering a key enzyme. “Discovery of this cellular mechanism helps point the way to development of a ketamine-like agent that could become a practical, rapid-acting treatment for depression,” said Dr. Ronald Duman, of Yale University, who led the research team supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Duman and his colleagues report on their findings in the August 20, 2010 issue of the journal Science. Science News: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/science-news/2010/rapid-antidepressant-works-by-boosting-brains-connections.shtml

$40 MILLION AWARDED TO TRACE HUMAN BRAIN’S CONNECTIONS—SOUPED-UP SCANNERS TO REVEAL INTRICATE CIRCUITRY IN HIGH RESOLUTION

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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded grants totaling $40 million to map the human brain’s connections in high resolution. Better understanding of such connectivity promises improved diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders. The grants are the first awarded under the Human Connectome Project. They will support two collaborating research consortia. The first will be led by researchers at Washington University, St. Louis, and the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. The other will be led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard University, Boston, and the University of California Los Angeles.
Press Release: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/science-news/2010/40-million-awarded-to-trace-human-brains-connections.shtml

Submitted by Anna

Beyond Antipsychotics: Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Psychosis

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Individualized single-session interventions and group cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are legitimate considerations for psychotic patients who do not respond adequately to antipsychotic therapy, according to 2 studies presented here at the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) 60th Annual Conference.

Traditionally, schizophrenic spectrum disorders (SSDs) were believed to be amenable to medication only, noted Ian Weinroth, MD, a clinical fellow in psychotherapy at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

However, up to 50% of patients do not respond or respond poorly to antipsychotics — leaving a treatment gap that CBT can sometimes fill.

Single-session drop-in therapy delivered by a multidisciplinary team of psychologists, nurses, social workers, and family therapists can provide effective therapy and ease the burden on psychiatric services, 2 nurse therapists reported at the meeting.

“Single-session therapy is not assessment or triage — we are actually doing an intervention,” explained Maureen Osis, RN, MN, a marriage and family therapist at the South Calgary Health Center, a community mental health walk-in Clinic in Alberta, Canada.

“We don’t diagnose. We have people coming in with diagnoses, and we help them identify internal and external resources that have helped them in the past,” said Pat Carruthers, RPN, PhD, a clinical nurse specialist at the clinic.

The clinic opened 6 years ago and now receives 800 visits per year, with 77% of clients waiting less than 20 minutes to be seen, the group reported. “We divert patients from other services and provide an alternative to the use of hospital emergency departments [EDs],” said Dr. Carruthers.

Reported by Kate Johnson
Medscape Medical News
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/729456

Submitted by Anna