Mastodon Scientific Frontline: Psychiatry
Showing posts with label Psychiatry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Psychiatry. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

NIH researchers unlock pattern of gene activity for ADHD

A new study uses postmortem brain tissues to understand genomic differences in individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Image Credit: Gerd Altmann

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have successfully identified differences in gene activity in the brains of people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The study, led by scientists at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of NIH, found that individuals diagnosed with ADHD had differences in genes that code for known chemicals that brain cells use to communicate. The results of the findings, published in Molecular Psychiatry, show how genomic differences might contribute to symptoms.

To date, this is the first study to use postmortem human brain tissue to investigate ADHD. Other approaches to studying mental health conditions include non-invasively scanning the brain, which allows researchers to examine the structure and activation of brain areas. However, these studies lack information at the level of genes and how they might influence cell function and give rise to symptoms.

The researchers used a genomic technique called RNA sequencing to probe how specific genes are turned on or off, also known as gene expression. They studied two connected brain regions associated with ADHD: the caudate and the frontal cortex. These regions are known to be critical in controlling a person’s attention. Previous research found differences in the structure and activity of these brain regions in individuals with ADHD.

In utero exposure to flame retardants increases anxiety symptoms in adolescents

Dr. Strawn.
Photo Credit: Colleen Kelley/UC Marketing + Brand.

New research led by the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center sheds light on the connection between exposure to environmental toxins in utero and the later development of anxiety during adolescence.

Lead author Jeffrey Strawn, MD, and his colleagues recently published the study in the journal Depression & Anxiety.

Strawn said researchers are increasingly interested in learning more about risk factors for anxiety and depression in children, particularly since there has been a surge of these symptoms during the pandemic. Even prior to the pandemic, anxiety disorders were among the most prevalent and earliest presenting mental health conditions for children, he said.

“We know a lot about early risk factors, including psychological risk factors, temperament, behaviors and family relationships,” said Strawn, professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience in UC’s College of Medicine and a UC Health child and adolescent psychiatrist. “But we know incredibly little about the effects of environmental factors like air pollution and other environmental toxicants on anxiety.”

The study focused on a class of chemicals called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) that were used as flame retardants for products like furniture foam padding, insulation, rugs, upholstery, computers and appliances. Exposure to PBDEs during early brain development has been associated with cognitive deficits, reduced language skills and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and the chemicals were banned in the United States in 2004.

Friday, November 4, 2022

Substance use disorders linked to poor health outcomes in wide range of physical health conditions

Photo Credit: Concord90

In a study published today in The Lancet Psychiatry, researchers looked at the risk of mortality and loss of life-years among people who developed 28 different physical health conditions, comparing those who had previously been hospitalized with substance use disorder against those who had not.

They found that patients with the most health conditions were more likely than their counterparts to die during the study period if they had been hospitalized with substance use disorder prior to the development of these conditions. For most subsequent health conditions, people with substance use disorders also had shorter life-expectancies than did individuals without substance use disorders.

One in twenty people worldwide aged 15 years or older lives with alcohol use disorder, while around one in 100 people have psychoactive drug use disorders. Although substance use disorders have considerable direct effects on health, they are also linked to a number of physical and mental health conditions. Consequently, the presence of these contributes to higher risk of mortality and shorter lifespan in people with substance use disorders.

To explore this link further, researchers analyzed patient records from Czech nationwide registers of all-cause hospitalizations and deaths during the period from 1994-2017. They used a novel design, estimating the risk of death and life-years lost after the onset of multiple specific physical health conditions in individuals with a history of hospitalization for substance use disorders, when compared with matched counterparts without substance use disorder but with the same physical health condition.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Daytime Naps Reinforce Memories of Emotional Trauma and Anxiety

According to Yuri Pavlov, the positive effect of sleep on memory can be observed years later.
Photo Credit: Nadezhda Pavlova

Scientists from Ural Federal University and the University of Tübingen (Germany) studied the effect of sleep on the formation and translation of primary memories of something scary into long-term memory. Neurobiologists discovered that sleeping during the day strengthens memory of disturbing and frightening events, but a similar effect of memory strengthening is also observed after a period of calm wakefulness. The findings will be useful for developing rehabilitation strategies for people who have been emotionally traumatized by disasters, warfare, and violence. The study was published in the journal Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience.

Memory consolidation - the transition of memories from short-term memory to long-term memory - occurs primarily during sleep. Studies show that sleep after learning can have positive effects that are superior to passive wakefulness. This occurs by reactivating important memories, which may also be reflected in dreams. The positive effects of dreaming can be observed even years later. However, there are currently no studies that analyze whether sleep enhances the effect of remembering emotionally difficult events. Therefore, scientists decided to find out how sleep affects the memory of a person's experience of fear.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

‘A silent killer’ - COVID-19 shown to trigger inflammation in the brain

A COVID-19 infected mouse brain showing 'angry' microglia in green and SARS-CoV-2 in red.
Source/Credit: University of Queensland

Research led by The University of Queensland has found COVID-19 activates the same inflammatory response in the brain as Parkinson’s disease.

The discovery identified a potential future risk for neurodegenerative conditions in people who’ve had COVID-19, but also a possible treatment.

The UQ team was led by Professor Trent Woodruff and Dr Eduardo Albornoz Balmaceda from UQ’s School of Biomedical Sciences, and virologists from the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences.

“We studied the effect of the virus on the brain’s immune cells, ‘microglia’ which are the key cells involved in the progression of brain diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s,” Professor Woodruff said.

“Our team grew human microglia in the laboratory and infected the cells with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

“We found the cells effectively became ‘angry’, activating the same pathway that Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s proteins can activate in disease, the inflammasomes.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Autistic women have increased risk of mental illness

Photo credit: Alexander Grey

Young men and women with autism are more affected by psychiatric conditions and are at increased risk of being threatened as a result of their mental illness, compared to people without autism. Practically vulnerable are autistic women. This is shown by researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in a study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

People with autism have an increased risk of suffering from mental illness. Current data indicates that women with autism are more vulnerable than autistic but are, but few studies have been able to establish that there are gender differences.

Researchers from Karolinska Institutet have now done a register-based cohort study with just over 1.3 million people in Sweden, which was followed from 16 to 24 years between 2001 and 2013. More than 20,000 of these were diagnosed with autism.

The researchers could see that by the age of 25, 77 out of 100 women with autism, compared to 62 out of 100 but with autism, had received at least one psychiatric diagnosis.

We saw an increased risk of eleven different psychiatric conditions, including depression, anxiety syndrome, self-harm behavior and insomnia, says Miriam Martini, PhD student in psychiatric epidemiology at Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatics at Karolinska Institutet and first author of the study.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Electroshock Therapy More Successful for Depression than Ketamine

Electroconvulsive therapy, often viewed with skepticism by members of the public, outperforms the drug ketamine in treating depression, according to a new report.
Credit: Tiago Bandeira

An analysis of six studies found that electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is better at quickly relieving major depression than ketamine, a team of researchers report in JAMA Psychiatry on October 19.

Depression is a common illness affecting about 5% of adults worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Feeling sad, irritable, losing pleasure in activities that used to be enjoyable, and sometimes experiencing unexplained pain or fatigue for weeks at a time are all symptoms of depression. Most people diagnosed with depression are offered an oral antidepressant (in combination with psychotherapy) as a first-line treatment option. But if oral antidepressants don’t help, or if the person is at imminent risk of hurting themselves, there are other, more rapid treatment options: ECT, and more recently ketamine or esketamine.

Esketamine, a nasal spray approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat depression, is more commonly used in the US than ketamine. But there are no studies comparing esketamine’s effectiveness with ECT. There are studies done with ketamine, a sister drug to esketamine. Ketamine is commonly used in medicine as an injected anesthetic but has recently been tested as a fast-acting intervention to help people with major depression.

Covid-19 is linked to increased degradation of connections between nerve cells in a new brain model

Postdoctoral fellow Samudyata and doctoral student Susmita Malwade.
Source: Karolinska Institutet

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have used cellular reprogramming in a new study to create human three-dimensional brain models and infected them with SARS-CoV-2. In infected models, the brain's immune cells showed an excessive elimination of connections between the nerve cells. The gene expression of these cells also mimicked changes observed in neurodegenerative diseases. The results hope to identify new treatments for cognitive symptoms after Covid-19 infection.

Several studies have reported persistent cognitive symptoms following a covid-19 infection, but the underlying mechanisms for this are still unknown. The researchers behind the study, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, have created from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) three-dimensional models of the brain in test tubes, so-called brain organoids. The model differs from previous organoid models in that they also contain microglia - the brain's immune cells. In the infected models, microglia regulated genes involved in phagocytosis, "cell-eating," the researchers could also see how microglia contained an increased amount of proteins from brain cell connections, so-called synapses. The developed model and results of the study can help guide future efforts to address cognitive symptoms in the aftermath of COVID-19 and other neuroinvasive viral infections.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Genetic and environmental factors contribute to the overlap between depression and endocrine metabolic diseases

Credit: Pixabay

Depression is common in individuals with endocrine-metabolic disorders and vice versa. In a study of 2.2 million individuals in the Swedish population, researchers at Karolinska Institutet saw that those with endocrine-metabolic diseases also have an increased incidence of depression. The researchers also found higher frequencies of depression in the group's siblings. The study is published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Further analyzes described the relative contribution of genetic and environmental factors underlying the concomitant occurrence of depression for a variety of endocrine-metabolic diseases. It is already known that there is an increased simultaneous occurrence of endocrine-metabolic diseases and depression, but the relationships are still unclear.

Whether the overlap between these conditions is mainly genetic or environmental has consequences for whether the development of pharmacological or behavioral interventions would be more effective for treatment or prevention, says Sarah Bergen, senior researcher at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Karolinska Institutet, who led the study.

Adverse health outcomes associated with long-term antidepressant use

Long-term antidepressant use may double the risk of heart disease, finds the most comprehensive epidemiological study to date to investigate the health consequences from using the medication over ten years. The University of Bristol-led study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry Open, analyzed data on over 200,000 people.

Antidepressants are one of the most widely prescribed drugs in England. In 2018, over 70-million antidepressant prescriptions were dispensed. The striking rise in prescribing (nearly doubling in a decade) is due mainly to long-term treatment rather than increased diagnosis. However, little is known about the health consequences of long-term use of these medicines.

Researchers from Bristol’s Centre for Academic Mental Health aimed to find out if long-term antidepressant use (over five and ten years) was associated with the onset of six health problems: diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke and related syndromes, and two mortality outcomes (death from cardiovascular disease and from any cause).

Using data from UK Biobank, a large-scale biomedical database and research resource containing anonymized genetic, lifestyle and health information from half a million UK participants, the team linked comprehensive health data with prescription and disease data (using GP records) on 222,121 adults aged between 40 to 69-years old.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

A new understanding of the neurobiology of impulsivity News

Photo Credit: Vitolda Klein

While not all impulsive behavior speaks of mental illness, a wide range of mental health disorders which often emerge in adolescence, including depression and substance abuse, have been linked to impulsivity. So, finding a way to identify and treat those who may be particularly vulnerable to impulsivity early in life is especially important.

A group of researchers, led by scholars at McGill University, have developed a genetically based score which could help identify, with a high degree of accuracy (greater than that of any impulsivity scores currently in use), the young children who are most at risk of impulsive behavior.

Their findings are especially compelling because the score they have developed was able to detect those at a higher risk of impulsivity within three ethnically diverse community samples of children, from a cohort of close to 6,000 children.

This discovery of a novel score for impulsivity in early life can inform prevention strategies and programs for children and adolescents who are at risk for psychiatric disorders. In addition, by describing the function of the gene networks comprising the score, the study can stimulate the development of new therapies in the future.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Study finds white children more likely to be overdiagnosed for ADHD

A new study by Professor Paul Morgan finds that white children are more likely to be overdiagnosed for ADHD than children of color.
Photo credit: Ben White on Unsplash

A new study led by Paul Morgan, Harry and Marion Eberly Faculty Fellow and professor of education (educational theory and policy) and demography, and published in the Journal of Learning Disabilities, examines which sociodemographic groups of children are more likely to be overdiagnosed and overtreated for ADHD. The researchers analyzed data from 1,070 U.S. elementary school children who had previously displayed above-average behavioral, academic or executive functioning the year before their initial ADHD diagnoses. The team said those children were considered unlikely to have ADHD by the researchers because children diagnosed and treated for ADHD should displaychronically inattentive, hyperactive or impulsive behaviors that impair their functioning and result in below-average academic or social development.

A problem with ADHD overdiagnosis, Morgan said, is that it contributes to stigma and skepticism toward those experiencing more serious impairments.

“It undermines a confidence in the disorder,” he said. “If anyone can be diagnosed with ADHD, then what is ADHD? For those who have significant impairments, they may experience greater skepticism about the condition. Mental health resources are already scarce, those with serious impairments could lose out.”

Thursday, September 8, 2022

New study finds subtle structural brain alterations in youth with suicidal behaviors

ENGIMA-STB aims to identify neurobiological variations associated with suicidal ideations and behaviors, to ultimately leverage information from brain structure, function, along with clinical and demographic factors, to predict the likelihood of a future suicidal attempt.
Image credit: USC Stevens INI

The ENIGMA Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors (ENIGMA-STB) consortium gathered and analyzed neuroimaging data from 18 different studies worldwide to examine associations between brain structure and suicide attempt in young people with major depressive disorder.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in the United States for young people from the age of 10 up to 33. Tragically, the number of suicide attempts among children and adolescents has continued to increase despite national and international prevention efforts. Collaborative research where specialists all over the world work together is needed to advance our understanding of the complex nature of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and ultimately, to develop better interventions and preventions.

A new study by a global team of researchers including Neda Jahanshad, PhD, of the Keck School of Medicine of USC’s Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute (Stevens INI), has revealed subtle alterations in the size of the brain’s prefrontal region in young people with mood disorders and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The study was recently published in Molecular Psychiatry.

New knowledge about the link between infection during pregnancy and autism

Credit: Mart Production

Infections in pregnant women have been linked to increased risk of neuropsychiatric conditions, such as autism, in the child later in life. But it does not appear to be the infections themselves that cause autism, researchers from Karolinska Institutet show in a study published in The Lancet Psychiatry.

Our results can reassure future parents by showing that infections during pregnancy may not pose as much risk to the child's brain as previously thought, say Håkan Karlsson, researchers at Department of Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet and the study's last author.

Previous studies have shown a link between infections of the future mother during pregnancy and increased risk of autism and intellectual disability in the child later in life.

But they have not been able to say whether it is really the infection of the mother that is the cause, or whether other factors are behind it. Researchers from Karolinska Institutet have now studied this more closely.

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