New Data Support Electroconvulsive Therapy for Depression

Advocates and users of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) have received further scientific backing: a retrospective cohort study has provided further evidence that ECT can prevent suicide among severely depressed patients. The patient cohort comprised 27,231 men and 40,096 women who had been treated as inpatients. The average age was 45.1 years (range: 18-103 years), and 4982 … Read more

Does Noninvasive Brain Stimulation Augment CBT for Depression?

Noninvasive brain stimulation does not appear to augment cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), new research shows. Results of a multicenter, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trials showed adjunctive transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) was not superior to sham-tDCS plus CBT or CBT alone. “Combining these interventions do not lead to added … Read more

Air Pollution a Seizure Trigger for Patients With Epilepsy

Elevated concentrations of carbon monoxide (CO) due to air pollution increases the risk of epileptic seizures, a unique new study suggests. The link between daily outdoor CO exposure and seizure risk was particularly evident for subclinical seizures ― those in patients with abnormal electroencephalography (EEG) signals but no clinical symptoms. “Our findings suggest that people … Read more

TBI Linked to ‘Striking’ Risk for CVD, Endocrine, Brain Disorders

Mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) is linked to a significantly increased risk for a host of subsequent cardiovascular, endocrine, neurologic, and psychiatric disorders, new research shows. Incident of hypertension, coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke, depression, and dementia all began to increase soon after the brain injury and persisted over a decade in both mild and … Read more

Long-Term Cannabis Use Linked to Dementia Risk Factors

Long-term cannabis use is linked to hippocampal atrophy and poorer cognitive function in midlife — known risk factors for dementia. A large prospective, longitudinal study showed long-term cannabis users had an intelligence quotient (IQ) decline from age 18 to midlife (mean 5.5 IQ points), poorer learning and processing speed compared to childhood, and self-reported memory … Read more

A Novel Target in Schizophrenia?

AUT00206, a novel compound that targets potassium channels in brain interneurons, not only improves gamma oscillations in patients with schizophrenia, it also improves their symptoms, new randomized trial data suggest. In a randomized, double-blind study that included two dozen men with schizophrenia, AUT00206 compared with placebo increased the power of gamma oscillations, which were in … Read more

New Insight Into How Psychedelics Work

What causes the dramatic alterations in subjective awareness experienced during a psychedelic “trip?” A new study maps anatomical changes in specific neurotransmitter responsible systems and brain regions that may be for these effects. Investigators gathered over 6800 accounts from individuals who had taken one of 27 different psychedelic compounds. Using a machine learning strategy, they … Read more

Psilocybin ‘Rewires’ the Brain to Alleviate Depression

New research points to a general mechanism that may explain how psychedelics act on the brain to alleviate depression and potentially other psychiatric conditions marked by fixed patterns of thinking, including rumination and excessive self-focus. Led by investigators from the University of California San Francisco and Imperial College London’s Center for Psychedelic Research, the findings … Read more

Does Metformin Blunt Diabetes Link to Brain Aging?

Researchers published the study covered in this summary on medRxiv.org as a preprint that has not yet been reviewed. Key Takeaways Type 2 diabetes appears to significantly accelerate normal brain aging. Metformin use does not appear to prevent neurocognitive decline. Why This Matters Although preliminary evidence links type 2 diabetes to neurologic and cognitive decline, … Read more

Abnormal Growth of the Amygdala in Infants Tied to Autism

A new study suggests that overgrowth of the amygdala in infants during the first 6 to 12 months of life is tied to a later diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). “The faster the amygdala grew in infancy, the more social difficulties the child showed when diagnosed with autism a year later,” first author Mark … Read more