Ketamine could be the new drug for depression that researchers have been looking for

Erin Brodwin, provided by Published 8:04 am, Saturday, March 3, 2018 Daiana Lorenz/Youtube Ketamine is emerging as a potential new treatment for some types of depression. A new review published in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry outlines the promise and limitations of existing ketamine research. Some researchers have called the drug "the most important discovery in half a century." It's been called "the most important discovery in half a century," and for some of the people who have tried ketamine, it may feel that way too. Recommended Video: Now Playing: A fire killed 24 people in a drug abuse treatment centre in Azerbaijan's capital Baku on Friday, according to the General Prosecutor's office. A spokesman for the office said 31 people were rescued. Four people were taken to hospital, according to the country's APA news agency. The inferno started at the Republican Narcological Centre just before dawn and took firefighters around three hours to put out. Strong winds fanned the flames that could be seen raging out of windows in photographs of the scene. The fire was probably caused by a problem in the building's power network, officials said. Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev visited the centre once the blaze had been extinguished, according to local media. Media: Euronews The compound has a reputation as a party drug, but ketamine is increasingly being studied for its potential use as a rapid-fire treatment for depression. In people who live with the disease, thoughts of suicide can strike suddenly and without warning. Fast-acting, successful interventions are hard to come by. But a spate of recent research suggests that ketamine could provide quick and powerful relief — even to people whose depression has repeatedly failed to respond to other medications and to those who are suicidal. Experts say they're onto something promising. In a field that hasn't seen a new class of drugs in nearly four decades and in which patients are Continue Reading

An influential group of doctors says all teens should get screened for depression — here are some of the questions they ask

Erin Brodwin, provided by Published 12:57 pm, Monday, February 26, 2018 Daiana Lorenz/Youtube In new guidelines released Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all young people over age 12 get screened for depression. Many people, including adults, are not properly diagnosed with depression or other psychiatric diseases. If you believe you or someone you know is suffering from depression, seeing a medical professional should be your first step. Recommended Video: Now Playing: In the first change to blood pressure guidelines in 14 years, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology say that the threshold for high blood pressure should be lower Media: Time That's the premise behind a new recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics, one of the largest groups of doctors of its kind. In its new guidelines, released Monday and published in the journal Pediatrics, the group says all young people over the age of 12 should be screened for depression every year — potentially as part of their annual check-up. The statistics suggest that the group is onto something important. Only about half of all young people who have depression are diagnosed before they become adults, and as many as two-thirds of adolescents with depression do not get treated. Those numbers are not that different for adults: Of the roughly one in five Americans with anxiety, depression, or another psychiatric disease, close to two-thirds are estimated to have gone at least a year without treatment. "It's a huge problem," psychiatrist Rachel Zuckerbrot, the lead author behind the guidelines and an associate professor at Columbia University, told National Public Radio. And it appears to be getting worse. Between 2010 and 2015, the number of American teens who frequently experienced high levels of depressive symptoms like joylessness rose 33%, according to a 2017 study published in the journal Clinical Psychological Continue Reading

Depression may not be caused by a lack of serotonin: study

A lack in serotonin might not be entirely to blame for depression, new evidence suggests. It's widely believed that people with depression don't make enough serotonin-a messenger in the brain. But mice lacking serotonin did not exhibit symptoms of depression, reports a study in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience. When Prozac — which works primarily by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain — was introduced in the 1980s, scientists thought that upping serotonin levels was how to cure depression, which affects more than 350 million people and is the global leading cause of disability. Many other medications for depression came after. But researchers say that 60% to 70% of people taking these types of antidepressants, called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, still remain depressed. And a study done in the 1990s by Pedro Delgado of the University of Texas found that humans depleted of serotonin didn't get depressed. Science has since gone back and forth on serotonin's role in the debilitating illness. Donald Kuhn and his team at the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center and Wayne State University School of Medicine wanted to add their research to the conversation. Studying mice they engineered to be incapable of producing serotonin, they found that while those mice were more aggressive and compulsive than regular ones, they did not show signs of depression. They didn't even show any differences to regular mice when put under stress. And, normal mice and a one group of altered mice reacted similarly to antidepressants, suggesting that serotonin wasn't the deciding factor at play. The researchers said that their study could lead to new ways we think about treating depression. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

How valid is new study that shows HS football not a major risk for depression, cognitive impairment later in life?

A new study, using Wisconsin players from the late 1950s, shows that playing high school football isn't a major risk factor for depression and cognitive impairment later in life.The study by the Journal of American Medical Association Neurology with the help of 4,000 men who came out of Wisconsin high schools in 1957 compared high school football players with non-football players and showed that the football players didn't have as many symptoms of depression. I had a local high school coach who has studied head trauma in football extensively and a former NFL offensive lineman who has developed his own martial-arts safety techniques to help prevent head injuries to weigh in after reading the study.Tempe McClintock football coach Corbin Smith, whose dad, Larry, died at 68 and was the head coach at Arizona, Missouri and USC, had this to say:"It's hard to find validity in this study as it pertains to the impact football has on ones cognitive function and other symptoms such as depression, in today football world. Although the study offers great feedback and findings, this study does not have an impact, in my opinion, on similar studies that encompass a much younger age group."I have stated this many times: the more advanced technology becomes for football equipment, the harder players will hit and the less they will feel. Technology combined with the increasing advancement in health and nutrition, speed training and weight training programs has allowed athletes to be much bigger, faster and stronger than those that graduated high school n 1957. My own father graduated in 1957 and when he passed at age 68, he did not show any signs of any deteriorating cognitive function or depression, and he played through college and had many teeth knocked out."My point is simple: football hurts. It hurts to get hit and hurts even more to hit someone. Back in 1957, the equipment, shoulder pads and helmets, were but a mere shell of what they are today. Players felt it when Continue Reading

New initiatives for US veterans’ care coming to Colorado

DENVER - Two civilian initiatives are coming to Colorado to help veterans and their families deal with traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress and other problems, the University of Colorado said Friday.A five-year, $38 million gift from the Marcus Foundation will create the Marcus Institute for Brain Health at the university’s Anschutz Medical Campus in the Denver suburb of Aurora, helping veterans manage the lingering effects of service-related concussions.The foundation, based in Atlanta, was established by Bernard Marcus, co-founder of the Home Depot.The university also announced it will work with the Cohen Veterans Network to establish a mental health clinic for Denver-area veterans and their families. The Cohen Network committed $9.8 million over three years for the clinic.The network was started by hedge fund manager Steven A. Cohen.Both programs are separate from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which is building a $1.7 billion medical center less than a mile from the Anschutz Medical Campus in the Denver suburb of Aurora.A PTSD treatment center was part of the original plan for the VA hospital but it was cut from the first phase because the overall project ran far over budget.Officials of the new civilian programs said they will complement VA services and fill some gaps. Both will offer care to veterans who are ineligible for VA services because they received other-than-honorable discharges. More: Pride, fear, lack of info keep veterans from seeking help The Marcus Institute will treat up to 400 veterans a year using traditional and alternative medicine, said Dr. James Kelly, executive director of the institute.“The idea would be to blend very advanced, very high-tech medical care with complementary and alternative medical methods such as acupuncture and breathing techniques and relaxation and therapeutic massage, a whole variety of things that we’ve found useful,” he said.Kelly, a neurologist, led the Continue Reading

Woman with bipolar disorder joins step-by-step plan for National Alliance on Mental Illness

She's a youthful, attractive 38, with dark, spiky hair and big brown eyes. She's petite and personable. She has a mental illness. And Andreanna Magnotti is not afraid to tell people. "There's a large stigma about mental illness, but I'm a human being with an illness - I'm not an illness," she said. Next month she will take part in a very public walk to raise awareness of mental health issues and to raise funds for the National Alliance on Mental Illness' New York office. "If you said to me two years ago I'd be doing this," Magnotti said, her eyes wide, "I'd say 'Oh no!'" Magnotti, from Castle Hill, has suffered from bipolar disorder for years, although she was not diagnosed until 2007. "I was suicidal, I made several attempts," she recalled. Her life was a torment of depression. She said she had emotional problems since she was about 8 years old. But she tried to live a "normal" life. She was born and raised in New Jersey and worked for years for Hoffmann-La Roche, the big pharmaceutical firm. She married and had two sons. Her disease escalated. She got divorced. When she attempted suicide, her younger son was taken from her. Her older son also has bipolar disorder, and is in a special school. She said she was adopted, and doesn't know if her biological parents suffered from the disorder, which tends to run in families. She lost her job. She couldn't function. Getting out of bed was a major accomplishment. "The disease was sabotaging everything, destroying life," she said. "I needed to start from the bottom." She was in and out of day treatment programs, put on medication for depression, seeing a therapist, but nothing helped. She went on the Internet looking for assistance, and found the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which provides free support, education and advocacy for some 13,000 New Yorkers each year. The organization's name represents the subtle difference between saying you have a mental illness, and saying you are Continue Reading

Researchers discover gene that could be responsible for depression

Researchers have identified a gene that can cause symptoms of major depression and said it may be possible to use gene therapy to counteract its effects. They have been testing a similar gene therapy technique in the brains of patients with Parkinson's disease and may be able to quickly adapt it to depression, Michael Kaplitt of Cornell Medical College and colleagues reported Wednesday. "We potentially have a novel therapy to target what we now believe is one root cause of human depression," Kaplitt, a neurosurgeon, said in a statement. Depression affects about 121 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, and is diagnosed in at least 13 million U.S. adults each year. It is the main factor in suicide and at least 27 million Americans take antidepressant drugs. The causes are complex and different patients respond to different treatments. Kaplitt's team looked at the activity of a gene called p11 in a part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens. "This is the center of the brain for reward satisfaction," Kaplitt said in a telephone interview. "One of the major problems in depression is what is called anhedonia -- an inability to be able to be satisfied or happy or content with normally pleasurable activities in life." The p11 gene helps regulate signaling of serotonin, a brain chemical tied to mood, sleep and memory. Many antidepressants target serotonin. The research team used mice that lacked active p11 and acted depressed. DEPRESSED MICE "If you hold a mouse up by its tail, it tends to fight to get away. A mouse showing depressive behavior will just lie there," Kaplitt said. Kaplitt's team has been testing gene therapy for another brain disease, Parkinson's, in people. They used the same vector -- the virus used to carry the new gene into the body -- to make a gene therapy replacement for p11. It transformed the behavior of the depressed mice, they reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine. But Continue Reading

New meaning for ‘placebo effect’? Docs find faux pills have physical effects on patients

Popping a placebo may actually have a biological effect on the body after all.Researchers are finding evidence that faux treatments may actually result in physical changes.A review of placebo research appeared online Friday in Lancet, the British medical journal. Reviewing the research, international experts feel that the placebo effect may not just be all in the mind.“It’s not that placebos or inert substances help,” British Psychological Society spokeswoman and psychologist Linda Blair told The Associated Press. “It’s that people’s belief in inert substances helps.”Writing in the Lancet, researchers pointed to studies where Parkinson’s disease patients took dummy pills that caused their brains to release the feel-good chemical dopamine. Other changes in brain activity also took place.“When you think you’re going to get a drug that helps, your brain reacts as if it’s getting relief,” Walter Brown, clinical professor of psychiatry at Brown University and Tufts University, told The Associated Press. “But we don’t know how that thought that you’re going to get better actually translates into something happening in the brain.”Doctors are attempting to determine how they could capitalize on the placebo’s biological effect without being unethical, according to The Associated Press.If doctors are totally truthful with their patients and tell them they’re getting a placebo, this might erode the patients’ belief in the pill and undermine any health benefit, according to Blair. But Brown said that with some patients, such as those who are mildly anxious or depressed, placebos were likely to work as well as conventional medications."If physicians say they’re giving a patient a placebo and that it could help them, it might actually just work,” said Brown. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

City of Miracles: New Yorkers make comebacks after terrible tragedies

Victims of terrible illnesses and freak accidents beat the odds, astonishing their doctors and families. They walk when they were told they never would, push themselves to regain their lives, survive when there was once no hope. Joseph Tiralosi, a Brooklyn chauffeur, is one of these odds-defying survivors. Tiralosi, whose amazing story appeared in the Daily News last week, went home to his family just weeks after his heart stopped for a stunning 45 minutes. His is just one of the many inspirational tales of people who faced down death and lived to tell about it. Can't stop an ironman The prospect of completing an Ironman Triathlon is daunting for most people, let alone someone who nearly died. Firefighter Matthew Long, struck by a bus during the transit strike in 2005, finished the grueling race just under the 17-hour cutoff — an unthinkable accomplishment in the dark days after the accident. "It felt really awesome to do something people thought I would never do again," said Long, 43. "It gave me that sense of being a competitive athlete again." On the morning of Dec. 23, 2005, in the middle of the transit strike, Long was cycling to work at the FDNY Academy on Randalls Island when a charter bus made an illegal right turn, striking him. Long nearly died from his injuries, including internal bleeding, a shattered pelvis, a broken leg and arm. He lost 50 pounds, didn't regain consciousness for a month and was hospitalized for five. At first, even walking was difficult. But Long, a life-long competitive athlete who completed a 2005 Ironman in just 11 hours, set manageable goals for himself. He worked his way up to running the ING-New York City Marathon last year. As soon as he crossed the finished line, he was determined to ride a bike again and, eventually, complete an Ironman. "It's amazing that I was able to keep moving for 17 hours," he said of the competition in Lake Placid on July 26. "It's a huge force of will." After 40 Continue Reading

THE BIONIC HORSE. Racing moves toward new medical frontier

Even people who don't know horses like horses. Few sights are as beautiful as a thoroughbred in full flight. Few sights are as appalling as that same magnificent creature in distress. Americans who can't tell a forelock from a fetlock or a bay from a chestnut were swept up in the drama of the potentially fatal broken leg suffered by Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro shortly after the start of the Preakness at Pimlico a week ago yesterday, and may have wondered, "They shoot horses, don't they? But, why? " Racehorses aren't shot - at least not in the grisly "Old Yeller" shotgun sense - but the depressing reality is that a veterinarian may have to humanely put down a horse via injection, an unavoidable choice once a horse has badly broken a leg or dislocated a joint. "If I know there's no salvaging the injury, it's cruel to delay euthanizing a horse," says Dr. Anthony Verderosa, the chief examining veterinarian for the New York Racing Association. "I know what's repairable and what isn't. There are a lot of criteria involved, but for me, if something is compound, and it's through the skin, things fall apart from there. Once your horse has an open fracture, it is impossible to stave off infection. " Cold, hard, economic reality also enters into decisions whether to save or euthanize a horse. Racehorses are insured - Barbaro for an estimated $25 million in case of death or the loss of breeding services, but he doesn't have Blue Cross. Owners Gretchen and Roy Jackson are bearing all of the medical costs themselves. Although some companies offer medical insurance for small pets like dogs and cats, equine health insurance is virtually nonexistent. Even minor leg surgery on a racehorse can run anywhere from $4,000 to $15,000. "I would think it would be very hard to get health insurance on a racehorse," says Dr. Michelle Congelosi, a private veterinarian who practices at major tracks. "They all have wear and tear. Usually it's not a matter of if something's going Continue Reading