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Mental Health News for August 2008

Depression News, Polls and Quotes

As part of the main Information Centre, this section of the website is intended to provide month-by-month news about depression, anxiety and other related health concerns. Archives from previous months are available, and all polls from previous months remain active if you should wish to vote.

If you would like to help us to produce next month's news, polls and quotes, please click on the links by each applicable section and fill out the accompanying form.

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Quotes and Philosophical Thoughts for August 2008:

> "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." - Frank Herbert

> "If everyone feels fear when approaching something totally new in life, yet so many are out there "doing it" despite the fear, then we must conclude that fear is not the problem. The real issue is holding on to the fear."  - Susan Jeffers

> "I start to feel like I can’t maintain the facade any longer, that I may just start to show through. And I wish I knew what was wrong. Maybe something about how stupid my whole life is. I don’t know. Why does the rest of the world put up with the hypocrisy, the need to put a happy face on sorrow, the need to keep on keeping on?... I don’t know the answer, I know only that I can’t. I don't want any more vicissitudes, I don't want any more of this try, try again stuff. I just want out. I’ve had it. I am so tired. I am twenty and I am already exhausted." - Elizabeth Wurtzel

> “A lot of what passes for depression these days is nothing more than a body saying that it needs work.” -  Geoffrey Norman

> “They say they don't know when but a day is gonna come. When there won't be a moon and there won't be a sun. It will just go black. It will just go back to the way it was before.” - Conor Oberst

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Likely Cause Of Postpartum Blues And Depression Identified 8 Aug 2008, 4:00 am

Unique biochemical crosstalk that enables a fetus to get nutrition and oxygen from its mother's blood just may cause common postpartum blues, researchers say. That crosstalk allows the mother's blood to flow out of the uterine artery and get just a single cell layer away from the fetus' blood, says Dr. Puttur D. Prasad, biochemist in the Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine.

Research Helps Patients Find Antidepressants That Work 8 Aug 2008, 1:00 am

In spite of the range of medications now available, major depression remains a challenging disease to treat. Only about half of adult patients respond to the first antidepressant they try, with only one-third achieving remission, reports the August 2008 issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter. Most adults will try two or more medications before finding one that alleviates their depression.

Post-Partum Suicide Attempt Risks Studied 7 Aug 2008, 3:00 am

Although maternal suicide after giving birth is a relatively rare occurrence, suicide attempts often have long-lasting effects on the family and the infant. In a study published in the August 2008 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, researchers compared two populations of mothers and found that a history of psychiatric disorders or substance abuse was a strong predictor of post-partum suicide attempts.

Targeting Of 5-HT1A Receptors, Journal Of Neuroscience 6 Aug 2008, 4:00 am

Depression is associated with decreased binding of serotonin 5 HT1A receptors. Receptors must be targeted to the appropriate membrane domain function properly, and although trafficking mechanisms have been elucidated for some receptors, little is known about how serotonin receptors are targeted to dendrites. Because the C terminus of 5 HT1A receptors is required for targeting, Carrel et al.

Voluntary Exercise Does Not Appear To Alleviate Anxiety And Depression 5 Aug 2008, 2:00 am

Voluntary physical activity does not appear to cause a reduction in anxiety and depression, but exercise and mood may be associated through a common genetic factor, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. In the general population, regular exercise is associated with reduced anxious and depressive symptoms, according to background information in the article.

Worms Help Us Uncover Key Insights Into Origing Of Depression, Insomnia And Memory 5 Aug 2008, 2:00 am

Researchers have spent decades probing the causes of depression, schizophrenia and insomnia in humans. But a new study in this week's PLoS Biology may have uncovered key insights into the origins of these and other conditions by examining a most unlikely research subject: worms. The project, which was led by Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientist Kenneth Miller, Ph.D., examined the way eye-less microscopic worms known as C.

Depression Found To Hasten Decline In Cancer Patients 5 Aug 2008, 12:00 am

Depression causes patients with advanced cancer to die sooner than they should, say scientists at the University of Liverpool. In a six-month study patients who were found to be depressed had a 7% increased chance of dying and this percentage increased depending on the severity of the depression. Depression is common in patients with advanced cancer and in a significant number of patients it is persistent.

Increased US Prison Population Has Profound Demographic Consequences, Disproportionately Affecting Black Males 4 Aug 2008, 12:00 am

The mammoth increase in the United States' prison population since the 1970s is having profound demographic consequences that disproportionately affect black males. "This jump in incarceration rates represents a massive intervention in American families at a time when the federal government was making claims that it was less involved in their lives," according to a University of Washington researcher who will present findings Sunday (Aug.

Discovery Of Mechanism For Postpartum Depression In Mice May Lead To Better Treatments 1 Aug 2008, 12:00 am

Researchers have pinpointed a mechanism in the brains of mice that could explain why some human mothers become depressed following childbirth. The discovery could lead to improved treatment for postpartum depression. Supported in part by the National Institute of Mental Health, of the National Institutes of Health, the study used genetically engineered mice lacking a protein critical for adapting to the sex hormone fluctuations of pregnancy and the postpartum period.

Study Identifies Changes To DNA In Major Depression And Suicide 31 Jul 2008, 3:00 am

Autopsies usually point to a cause of death but now a study of brain tissue collected during these procedures, may explain an underlying cause of major depression and suicide. The international research group, led by Dr. Michael O. Poulter of Robarts Research Institute at The University of Western Ontario and Dr.

GPs Support Responsible Use Of SSRIs In Children And Adolescents - Royal Australian College Of General Practitioners 31 Jul 2008, 1:00 am

Recent media coverage has questioned the prescription and safety of a class of antidepressants called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) in children and adolescents. "General practitioners are a critical part of the mental health care system in Australia and are often the first point of contact in the health system for people with mental health concerns.

Dems Unable To End Sen. Coburn's Hold On 34 Bills, Including Postpartum Depression Measure 30 Jul 2008, 5:00 am

Senate Democrats on Monday failed to advance legislation (S 3297) that combined 34 bills that Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has blocked, CQ Today reports. The package included disease specific research measures, environmental protection legislation and measures aimed at bolstering foreign economies. Language from a measure (

N.Y. Research Team Discovers How Antidepressants And Cocaine Interact With Brain Cell Targets 30 Jul 2008, 3:00 am

In a first, scientists from Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University Medical Center have described the specifics of how brain cells process antidepressant drugs, cocaine and amphetamines. These novel findings could prove useful in the development of more targeted medication therapies for a host of psychiatric diseases, most notably in the area of addiction.

Study Of Molecular Genetics Of Depression: VCU Awarded Wellcome Trust Foundation Grant 29 Jul 2008, 4:00 am

Virginia Commonwealth University is part of an international research team that received a Wellcome Trust Foundation grant totaling more than $2.8 million to identify the genetic variants that have an impact on the risk for recurrent major depression.

The Health Benefits Of Daughters-In-Law On Chinese Elders 27 Jul 2008, 8:00 am

In a new twist on the Confucian ideal of filial piety, a study finds that the assistance of daughters-in-law - but not their own children - helps mitigate depression among older people in China. This is particularly true in rural areas, where elders may rely more heavily on family to be support providers.

Viagra Can Improve Sexual Function For Women Taking Antidepressants, Study Finds 25 Jul 2008, 8:00 am

Pfizer's erectile dysfunction medication Viagra can improve sexual function for some women who take antidepressants, according to a study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Baltimore Sun reports (Kohn, Baltimore Sun, 7/23).

Total Antidepressant Prescriptions Rise By 16 Million, USA 24 Jul 2008, 8:00 am

Prescriptions filled for antidepressant drugs increased from 154 million in 2002 to 170 million in 2005, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Among the prescriptions (not including refills) which were written after patients talked with doctors in-person or over the phone.

Mental Health Implications For Girls Experiencing Serious School Failure 24 Jul 2008, 12:00 am

Adolescent girls who had a serious school failure by the 12th grade - being expelled, suspended or dropping out - were significantly more likely to have suffered a serious bout of depression at the age of 21 than girls who did not have these problems. New research published this week in the Journal of Adolescent Health showed that girls who had early conduct problems in elementary school also were at increased risk for depression in early adulthood.

Royal College Of Psychiatrists Responds To The Healthcare Commission's Review Of NHS Acute Inpatient Mental Health Services 23 Jul 2008, 3:00 am

The Royal College of Psychiatrists welcomes this detailed review of NHS acute inpatient mental health services by the Healthcare Commission. It is encouraging to see that two-fifths of trusts exceeded the minimum level of service provision. However, it is disappointing that no trusts were scored excellent on all four of the key criteria against which performance was assessed.

Targacept Starts Phase 2b Clinical Trial Of TC-5214 As Augmentation Treatment In Major Depressive Disorder 23 Jul 2008, 3:00 am

Targacept, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRGT), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing a new class of drugs known as NNR Therapeutics™, today announced that it has initiated a Phase 2b clinical trial of TC-5214 as an augmentation therapy in subjects with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). TC-5214 is a broad spectrum neuronal nicotinic receptor (NNR) antagonist and represents a promising new mechanism in development for the treatment of MDD.

Intervention Delivered By Nurses Can Help Combat Depression In Cancer Patients 23 Jul 2008, 3:00 am

A team of Scottish researchers have shown that cancer patients offered a depression care intervention - delivered by specially trained oncology nurses with no previous psychiatric experience - showed improvements in symptoms of depression compared to patients offered usual care. The beneficial effects of the "Depression Care for People with Cancer" package (DCPC) were found to be sustained at 12 months follow-up, to the surprise of the investigators.

CO-MED Trial: Two-Drug Test Approach To Depression 23 Jul 2008, 12:00 am

Hoping to answer a question raised by the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) study, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have designed the Combining Medication to Enhance Outcomes of Depression (CO-MED) trial to test multiple-medication treatment of depression. "We are trying two active, Food and Drug Administration-marketed antidepressant medicines available by prescription from your local drugstore," said Dr.

Study Shows Promising Results In Deep Brain Stimulation For Treatment-Resistant Depression 22 Jul 2008, 4:00 am

New data from a study of patients with treatment-resistant depression who underwent deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the subcallosal cingulate region (SCG or Cg25) of the brain shows that this intervention is generally safe and provides significant improvement in patients as early as one month after treatment. The patients also experienced continued and sustained improvement over time.

PTSD Influences Levels Of Depression And Pain 22 Jul 2008, 2:00 am

Patients with accident or trauma related chronic pain often have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. What isn't clearly known, however, is how PTSD relates to mood disorders and pain severity in chronic pain patients. University of Michigan researchers examined the contribution of PTSD to the pain experience, functional disability and frequency of depressive symptoms.

NY Health Department Launches MySpace Campaign To Help Young New Yorkers Cope 22 Jul 2008, 12:00 am

The Health Department today announced a new online campaign to engage teenagers grappling with depression, drugs, and violence, and to encourage them to seek help. NYC Teen Mindspace, posted on MySpace, is the agency's first effort to promote health through Web-based social networking - a medium with great potential because of its popularity with young people. To see the campaign, visit www.myspace.


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