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Parent's Depression May Harm Child's Grades, Study Finds

Posted 7 days ago by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 3, 2016 – A child's grades in school might suffer if a parent is suffering from depression, according to a new study. Researchers found that Swedish teens received lower grades during their final year in school if either of their parents had previously been diagnosed with depression. The difference in grades was noticeable but not huge, said senior author Brian Lee, an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Drexel University's Dornsife School of Public Health in Philadelphia. "It's not an entire letter grade drop, but at the same time it might be the difference between a student passing or failing," Lee said. Parents' depression could affect the children's home lives, causing stress that impacts their academic performance, Lee said. "Depression is a social disease," he said. "It doesn't just affect you. It affects your relationships as well. If there's ... Read more

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Study Finds No Proof of 'Seasonal' Depression

Posted 13 days ago by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Jan. 28, 2016 – A new study cast doubts on the existence of seasonal depression – a mood disorder linked to reduced sunlight in the winter months. This form of depression – known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and recognized by the mental health community for nearly 30 years – "is not supported by objective data," the new study claims. Depression comes and goes, said study lead researcher Steven LoBello. If someone experiences depression in the fall and winter, "it doesn't mean that seasonal changes have caused the depression," added LoBello, a professor of psychology at Auburn University at Montgomery, Ala. For the study, LoBello and colleagues used data from a telephone survey of more than 34,000 U.S. adults asked about depression and then gathered information on time of year, latitude and more when measuring depression. LoBello noted the study found no evidence ... Read more

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Prenatal Antidepressant Use Not Linked to Infant Heart Defects: Study

Posted 13 days ago by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Jan. 28, 2016 – Taking antidepressants during pregnancy does not appear to increase the risk of having a baby with heart birth defects, a new British study suggests. This week, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended screening for depression during pregnancy and the period after giving birth, and treating those who meet the criteria. Women may wonder how depression medication might affect their unborn child. Some previous research has suggested a link between selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs – the most widely used antidepressants in pregnancy) and heart birth defects. This class of medications includes Paxil (paroxetine), Lexapro (escitalopram) and Zoloft (sertraline). But many of those studies did not take into account other risk factors that could cause such birth defects, according to the authors of the new review, researchers at University ... Read more

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Did Studies Lack Key Data on Link Between Antidepressants, Youth Suicides?

Posted 14 days ago by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 27, 2016 – Antidepressants appear to be much more dangerous for children and teens than reported in medical journals, because initial published results from clinical trials did not accurately note instances of suicide and aggression, a new study suggests. Young people actually have a doubled risk of aggression and suicide when taking one of the five most commonly prescribed antidepressants, according to the new analysis published in the Jan. 27 issue of BMJ. Earlier published drug trial results masked those risks by not accurately reporting suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts, and by not emphasizing instances of increased aggression, said study author Tarang Sharma, a researcher with the Nordic Cochrane Centre at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. The new analysis revealed these risks by skipping the published studies, and instead gathering information from ... Read more

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Can Early Menopause Trigger Depression Later in Life?

Posted 6 Jan 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 6, 2016 – Premature menopause may increase a woman's later risk of depression, a new review suggests. If further studies confirm the findings, doctors might try to identify women most likely to need psychiatric or hormonal treatment after their periods end, the researchers said. For the study, published online Jan. 6 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, researchers analyzed the results of 14 studies that included nearly 68,000 older women. Those whose menopause began when they were 40 and older had a lower risk of depression later in life than those with premature menopause, the study found. Women who are older when menopause begins and have a longer reproductive life have greater exposure to the hormone estrogen, the study authors said in a journal news release. The findings suggest "a potentially protective effect of increasing duration of exposure to [natural] estrogens ... Read more

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Antidepressants in Pregnancy May Raise Autism Risk, Study Suggests

Posted 14 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Dec. 14, 2015 – Women who take antidepressants during the final two trimesters of pregnancy may put their children at risk for autism spectrum disorder, a new Canadian study suggests. Researchers said it seemed that children had an 87 percent increased risk of autism if their mothers used antidepressants during the second and third trimester. The risk of autism rose even higher if a mother took a type of antidepressant called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI, the study found. These drugs include escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft). However, experts noted that the study findings don't establish a clear cause-and-effect link between antidepressants and autism. Pregnant women should not stop taking prescribed antidepressants without consulting their doctor, the experts said. "It is critical to caution currently pregnant women who ... Read more

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Ways to Beat the Holiday Blues

Posted 14 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

SATURDAY, Dec. 12, 2015 – Celebrating is the last thing some people feel like doing during the holiday season. "The holidays can be an especially difficult time for people who are depressed or grieving," Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, president and CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, said in a foundation news release. "People who are sad or lonely often feel out of sync when everyone else seems to be celebrating, and the holidays can exacerbate these feelings," he explained. If you are depressed, don't try to deal with it on your own. If you are not in treatment, seek help. If you are already receiving treatment, it's especially important to continue during the holidays, he said. "The holidays are challenging for many people, but symptoms of depression are a sign to seek professional help. The most important take-home message is that depression is treatable and people should not ... Read more

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Depression May Be Tied to Lower Breast Cancer Survival

Posted 10 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Dec. 10, 2015 – Breast cancer patients with depression may have a much higher risk of death than those without the mental illness, a new study suggests. "Low mood and depression are understandable reactions to a breast cancer diagnosis. Clinicians generally know to look out for this, but these findings emphasize the need to ask patients with cancer about their mood and for women to know it's OK to ask for help," Elizabeth Davies, of the division of health and social care research and cancer studies at King's College London, said in a school news release. "It is important women feel they can talk about these feelings and do not feel guilty about difficulty coping or depression, which can be a natural response to cancer diagnosis," she added. Although this study found a link between depression and breast cancer survival, it's important to note that the research can't prove ... Read more

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Talk Therapy, Antidepressants Offer Similar Results for Major Depression

Posted 9 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Dec. 8, 2015 – Talk therapy and antidepressants could both be equally effective as stand-alone treatments for major depressive disorder, new research indicates. A review of 11 previously conducted studies that collectively tracked treatment outcomes for more than 1,500 patients found no difference in how well patients responded to treatment. "We don't think this finding is particularly surprising, because each treatment has its own evidence base that shows they're effective in treating major depressive disorder," said study lead author Halle Amick, a research associate with the Research Triangle Institute-University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. "But this is one of the few studies to actually compare them head to head. And the finding is important because many doctors don't have an understanding of cognitive behavioral therapy, and often don't feel fully comfortable ... Read more

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More Than a Quarter of New Doctors May Be Depressed

Posted 8 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Dec. 8, 2015 – More than one in four doctors-in-training may be depressed, which could put their patients at risk, a new study suggests. Researchers reviewed 54 studies involving 17,500 medical residents conducted worldwide over 50 years. They found that nearly 29 percent of the residents showed signs of depression, and that the rate of depression among medical residents is on the rise. The grind of medical training may help explain the finding, the researchers said. However, "the increase in depression is surprising and important, especially in light of reforms that have been implemented over the years with the intent of improving the mental health of residents and the health of patients," study senior author Dr. Srijan Sen, a University of Michigan Medical School psychiatrist, said in a university news release. These findings show that medical schools and hospitals must do ... Read more

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New Type of Antidepressant Shows Promise in Early Trial

Posted 8 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Dec. 8, 2015 – Millions of Americans battle depression, and many search for a medication that can help ease the condition. Now, researchers report in a small, early trial that an experimental antidepressant may be a safe and effective new option. "We need more treatments for depression," said Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, president of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation in New York City. "Current treatments for depression are effective for many people, but they don't work for everyone." "This study looks at a new, potential medication with a different mechanism of action than currently available antidepressants," said Borenstein, who was not involved in the study. The drug, known only as NSI-189, is meant to stimulate production of new brain cells – a process called neurogenesis. This phase 1 study included 24 adults with major depression who were randomly assigned to take ... Read more

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Safe to Take Antidepressants With Tamoxifen: Study

Posted 4 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Dec. 4, 2015 – Breast cancer survivors who take antidepressants while on the cancer drug tamoxifen are not at increased risk for a return of their cancer, a new study finds. Tamoxifen is widely used to reduce the risk of breast cancer returning. But it can cause unpleasant side effects, including hot flashes and depression. As a result, nearly half of the 2.4 million breast cancer survivors in the United States take antidepressants, the study authors said. "Given that thousands of breast cancer survivors struggle with depression, sleep disturbance and other side effects while on tamoxifen, our study should help alleviate any concerns physicians have about prescribing antidepressants to their breast cancer patients to help improve their quality of life," Reina Haque, a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente Southern California, said in a Kaiser news release. Previous research ... Read more

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Online Psychotherapy May Help Some With Emotional Problems

Posted 3 Nov 2015 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Nov. 3, 2015 – The Internet has made it possible for people to work and study from home, and new research suggests that a staple of mental health care may also be headed to a computer near you. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a mix of two disciplines that aims to help a person improve the way he or she thinks about problems and problem-solving, while also tackling unhealthy behaviors. For now, online versions of CBT remain rare in North America, with a few pilot programs underway in Toronto, Ohio and Kentucky, said researcher Dr. David Gratzer. He is a psychiatrist and physician-in-charge of mental health inpatient services at Scarborough Hospital in Toronto. "The long and the short of it," he said, "[is that] we love our iPhones here in North America, but we are failing to take advantage of technology for mental health services the way the Swedes and Australians have." ... Read more

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Face-to-Face Contact May Beat Email, Phone for Staving Off Depression

Posted 6 Oct 2015 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Oct. 6, 2015 – While your days may be filled with electronic communications, a new study suggests that face-to-face contact may have more power to keep depression at bay, at least if you are older. The research doesn't prove that personal conversations are more valuable than email and phone calls. Still, study author Dr. Alan Teo, a staff psychiatrist at VA Portland Health Care System, is convinced there's a connection. "Meeting friends and family face-to-face is strong preventive medicine for depression," said Teo, who's also an assistant professor of psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University. "Think of it like taking your vitamins, and make sure you get a regular dose of it," he said. It may seem obvious that interacting with other people – in a positive way – is good for your health. Indeed, "from prior studies we know that having social support and staying ... Read more

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'Placebo Effect' Might Help Predict Response to Depression Treatment

Posted 30 Sep 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 30, 2015 – People with depression who show improvement when taking fake drugs get the greatest benefit from real medications, a new study finds. It appears that patients who can use their brain's own chemical forces to fight depression get more benefit when taking antidepressants than those who lack that ability, the University of Michigan Medical School researchers found. "We need to find out how to enhance the natural resiliency that some people appear to have," said research team leader Dr. Jon-Kar Zubieta, a former Michigan faculty member who is now at the University of Utah. The findings could help explain why responses to medications vary among depression patients and help lead to new treatments, he and his colleagues said. For the study, 35 people with untreated major depression were told they were receiving a new depression drug before receiving existing ... Read more

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