Concern Grows Over ‘Medical Aid in Dying for Mental Illness’ Law

Amid growing concern among the public, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals, the Canadian government is seeking to delay the legalization of its proposed medical assistance in dying (MAID) for mental illness law that is slated to pass on March 17. Canada already has the largest number of deaths by MAID of any nation, with … Read more

Do Buddhist Teachings Protect Against Depression?

Following five key Buddhist teachings may help protect against depression, new research shows. A study from Thailand showed that among people who observed what are known as the Five Precepts of Buddhism ― not to kill, steal, engage in sexual misconduct, tell ill-intentioned lies, or use intoxicants ― rates of depressive symptoms were significantly lower … Read more

Which Patients Are at Risk for Depression During Pandemic?

A history of depression was “strongly” linked to having depression in the fall of 2020, data suggest. In an adjusted analysis of more than 22,000 participants in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA), patients with a history of depression were 3.79 times more likely to have depression during the pandemic, compared with those with … Read more

Poor Visual Acuity Linked to Depression, Brain Structure Changes

Poor visual acuity, defined as difficulty discerning letters or numbers at a given distance, is associated with depression in middle-aged and older individuals, new research suggests. After multiple adjustments, analysis of data from more than 114,000 participants in the UK Biobank Study showed that visual impairment was linked to a 19% higher risk for depression. … Read more

Suicide Notes Are ‘Unique Window’ Into Motives, Risks in the Elderly

Suicide notes left by elderly people provide a unique opportunity to better understand and prevent suicide in this often vulnerable population. A new analysis of notes penned by seniors who died by suicide reveals several common themes. These include feeling as if they were a burden, feelings of guilt, experiencing mental illness, loneliness, or isolation, … Read more

Urgent Need for Research Into Psychedelic Tx for Older Adults

Older age is associated with many health conditions that could potentially benefit from psychedelic-assisted therapy, yet very few older adults have been included in clinical trials of psychedelics, new research shows. “Geriatric psychiatrists and others caring for older adults are interested in how much is known about psychedelic use in older adults,” study investigator C. … Read more

Yoga, CBT Provide Long-Term Improvement in Insomnia, Worry

Both yoga and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) provide meaningful improvements in worry, anxiety, and insomnia in older adults that last even 6 months after discontinuing treatment, new research suggests. The study is the first to compare the long-term effects from the two interventions; And the results offer clinicians and patients two effective choices for researchers … Read more

A Novel Target to Improve Outcomes in Late-Life Depression?

A new study sheds light on the neurologic underpinnings of late-life depression (LLD) with apathy and its frequently poor response to treatment. Investigators headed by Faith Gunning, PhD, of the Institute of Geriatric Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, analyzed baseline and posttreatment brain MRIs and functional MRIs (fMRIs) of older adults with depression who … Read more

Opioid Use in the Elderly a Dementia Risk Factor?

Opioid use in the elderly is associated with an almost 40% increased risk of dementia, in new findings that suggest exposure to these drugs may be another modifiable risk factor for dementia. “Clinicians and others may want to consider that opioid exposure in those aged 75-80 increases dementia risk, and to balance the potential benefits … Read more

Virtual Reality an ‘Exciting Opportunity’ for Geriatric Psychiatry

Researchers are reality turning their attention to virtual VR for the treatment of psychiatric disorders in older adults. Recent studies have highlighted the usefulness of VR in treating depression and loneliness in older patients who may be socially isolated because of their age, comorbidities, or the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr Harmehr Sekhon “The unique capability of … Read more