Neuroscience

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Category archives for Neuroscience

Another rTMS Update

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is  a treatment for major depression.  It was approved (PDF) by the FDA in 2008.  However, it has remained somewhat of a niche treatment.  Some providers remain unimpressed by studies of efficacy.  One problem is that most of the studies have been sponsored by the industry.  Often, the studies have…

The article describes a technique that it said to show a priori which patients are at risk for developing suicidal thoughts after starting an antidepressant.  Of course the usual interpretive caveats apply: it is a small study, needs to be replicated, etc. Brain Waves Predict Suicide Risk A new technique might help doctors foresee suicidal…

Objective diagnosis is in some ways the holy grail of medicine.  It has been maddeningly elusive in psychiatry.  Now comes a paper in which the authors suggest that they may have found this treasure. The paper details a method of using magnetoencephalography to assess human brain function.  They claim that, in a select population, it…

I’ve been mulling this over for a few days, finally deciding to write about it.  There was an article in the NYT on 13 January 2010 about an NEJM article: Morphine May Help Traumatic Stress By BENEDICT CAREY Published: January 13, 2010

Those of us who watch the drug development pipeline have been pining for a nonaddictive anti-anxiety drug.  Occasionally there are glimmers of hope.  One candidate is emapunil, aka XBD-173 or AC-5216.  In 2004, there was an article in the British Journal of Pharmacology about this.  That article described promising findings, in rats and mice.  Now,…

The article I am discussing in this post is the 2008 Heinz Lehmann Award paper, published in the open-access Canadian journal, Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience.  It really covers two topics: translational research, and antipsychotic polypharmacy in which one of the antipsychotic medications is clozapine.  Translational research is research that is intended to advance the…

The new drug is called iloperidone; the brand name in the USA will be Fanapt.  It is yet another antipsychotic that blocks D2 and 5HT2 receptors.  Although there is no universally accepted way of classifying drugs into families, it will be referred to as an atypical or second-generation antipsychotic.  This designation will indicate a loose…

Rethinking Alzheimer’s Disease

A recent report refers to the increasing number of Alzheimer patient an “emergency.”  Yet, despite an enormous amount of research, and a handful of drugs, we are not particularly close to having a robust intervention for this condition. Perhaps the reason is that we have been looking in the wrong place.  Traditionally, brain disease tend…

Poets On Prozac

Poets on Prozac is the short title of a book by psychiatrist-poet Richard M. Berlin, MD.  The full title is: Poets on Prozac: Mental Illness, Treatment, and the Creative Process.  Berlin was an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School; now he’s in private practice, and a Senior Affiliate at U…

It is refreshing to see something like this.  Both drugs are available as generics, so the financial motivation for a study like this is not great.  But the clinical benefit could e substantial, albeit for a small subset of patients. Clozapine is considered to be the most efficacious antipsychotic medication, in that it is the…