New Insight Into How Brain Stimulation Eases Major Depression

For the first time, researchers understand what happens to the brain when patients with treatment-resistant depression receive repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), they showed that rTMS induces widespread alterations in functional connectivity in brain regions involved in emotion and motor control. ‘How does rTMS work?’ is one of the … Read more

Does Suicide Risk Show Up in the Blood?

Newly identified serum biomarkers have the potential to flag patients, via blood testing, with major depressive disorder (MDD) at high risk of suicide. Investigators found patients with MDD who died by suicide had a gene expression signature in blood distinct from patients with MDDwho died by other means. The signature included genes involved in stress … Read more

The Role of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in Major Depressive Disorder

This transcript has been edited for clarity. Madhukar Trivedi, MD: Hello. Welcome to the podcast. My name is Madhukar Trivedi. I’m professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern and the founding director of the Center for Depression Research and Clinical Care. Today it gives me great pleasure to introduce my colleague and friend, Dr Jonathan Downar, … 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

Can Sensitivity to Common Smells Sniff Out Depression, Anxiety?

Sensitivity to specific common odors correlates with symptoms of depression or anxiety, new research shows. A study of more than 400 participants showed that symptoms of anxiety were associated with heightened awareness of floral scents or kitchen smells, while depression was to increased awareness of linked social odors including “good” and “bad” smells of other … Read more

Mechanical Touch Therapy Device Promising for Anxiety

An at-home investigational device is a promising noninvasive therapeutic approach for anxiety disorders, results from an open-label pilot trial suggest. The small study showed users of the Mechanical Affective Touch Therapy (MATT) had improved anxiety and depression symptoms, which corresponded to positive changes in alpha and theta oscillatory activity. Dr Linda Carpenter “MATT is part … Read more

A Little-Known Option for Depression

Standard therapies for depression are antidepressants and psychotherapy. In particularly severe cases, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) may also be indicated. VNS is an approved, effective, well-tolerated, long-term therapy for chronic and therapy-resistant depression, write Christine Reif-Leonhardt, MD, and her team of researchers from the University Hospital Frankfurt am Main, Germany, in … Read more

Depression Biomarkers: Which Ones Matter Most?

Multiple biomarkers of depression involved in several brain circuits are altered in patients with unipolar depression. The first comprehensive meta-analysis of all biomarkers quantified to date in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of individuals with unipolar depression showed that several could be “clinically meaningful” because they suggest neuroimmunological alterations, disturbances in the blood–brain-barrier, hyperactivity in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal … Read more

Unexpected Effect on Quality of Life

Antidepressant use is not associated with significant improvement in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in patients with depression, new research suggests. Researchers who conducted the study admit this finding was unexpected, and outside experts say no firm conclusions can be drawn from the research. “Of course we were surprised by the results,” first author Omar … Read more

Off-Reserve First Nations Teens Face Mental Health Challenges

First Nations adolescents living off reserve in Ontario, Canada, have significantly higher levels of mental health challenges, compared with their non–First Nations peers. These mental health challenges are exacerbated by maternal distress, according to a report published online February 24 in Child Psychiatry and Human Development. “Prior to this study, we didn’t have a comprehensive … Read more