Is psychiatry on the right track? A statement from Tom Insel

In 2015, the news that Tom Insel, the then director of the American National Institute of Mental Health, leaves the agency and moves to Google, has triggered considerable discussions not only among American psychiatrists, but also internationally. After only 1 ½ years at Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences, a branch of Google, now Alphabet, which has committed itself to the overcoming of the most common diseases) Insel leaves the company now and moves to the Californian startup Mindstrong.
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Are antidepressants effective in children and adolescents with depression?

An important controversy has been raised by a recent high-profile meta-analysis, which has focused on the effectiveness of antidepressants in children and adolescents with depression. This meta-analysis is now critically discussed in a recent overview. The two articles – and the accompanying editorials – come to very different conclusions, which leave the clinician at first helpless.

Anne Garti / pixelio.de

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“Atypical” Antipsychotics: Finally the Better Choice?

Since the publication of the three so-called „effectiveness“-studies CATIE (Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness; Lieberman et al., N Engl J Med 2005; 353: 1209–23), CUtLASS (Cost Utility of the Latest Antipsychotic Drugs in Schizophrenia; Jones et al., Arch Gen Psychiatry 2006; 63: 1079–87) and EUFEST (European First Episode Schizophrenia Trial; Kahn et al., Lancet 2008; 371: 1085–97) between 2005 and 2008, which compared the so-called „classical“ or “conventional” (or first-generation antipsychotics, FGA) and the so-called „atypical“ antipsychotics (or second-generation antipsychotics, SGA), the discussion about the question whether the latter provide an advantage in the treatment of patients with schizophrenic disorders became more or less silent. Continue reading

What does the German Act on the Reform of the Market for Medicinal Products mean for Psychopharmacotherapy?

In the April issue of the German journal “Nervenarzt” I published an article entitled “Significance of the German Act on the Reform of the Market for Medicinal Products for psychopharmacotherapy” (Nervenarzt 2016; 87: 356-366). This law, abbreviated as AMNOG, which took effect in Germany on January 1st, 2011, had already significant effects on the availability of psychotropic drugs in Germany. The full consequences of the policy are not yet fully foreseeable, but they might in the long term be even positive not only for psychopharmacology, but for the entire field of psychiatry. The article, which is only available in German language, can be downloaded as a PDF here.

Why do I post so few articles here at the moment? I’m working on a brand new website, which will provide a much broader perspective on our profession –  and not only on psychiatry. This will take some time, and until the launch of the new website there will be unfortunately only sparse new posts. I appreciate your understanding!

Mindfulness: A new promise of salvation in psychiatry?!

„A new frontier in treatment for mental illnesses and other chronic conditions may not come from pharmaceutical companies, but from within, as mindfulness practices gain traction.“ This is the introduction to an overview in the issue of October 6th, 2015, of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), written by Laura Buchholz, a JAMA staff writer.

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Cough Syrup against Agitation in Alzheimer’s Disease

Restlessness and aggression are a particular burden not only for those affected, but especially for the caregivers of people who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. These symptoms, which include anxiety, irritability, depression, apathy, disinhibition, delusions and hallucinations, and disturbances of sleep and appetite, are summarized as Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD).
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Alzheimergate – or: How sensationalism made Alzheimer’s disease contagious

In the current issue of the prestigious British medical journal Lancet (published September 19, 2015) a remarkable editorial entitled „Alzheimergate? When miscommunication met sensationalism“ was published. In this editorial reference is made to an article that was published on September 10, 2015, in the no less prestigious science journal Nature, which apparently for many journalists suggested that Alzheimer’s disease is contagious in humans. What had happened? Continue reading

Psychosis Risk Increases with THC-Content of Cannabis

An important study on the question of the association of risk of psychosis and cannabis use has been published in the March issue of the Lancet Psychiatry by Marta Di Forti and colleagues from the Institute of Psychiatry in London, one of the world’s most prestigious institutions of schizophrenia research (Lancet Psychiatry 2015; 2: 233-238).

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© Petra Bork / pixelio.de

In that article they conclude that the use of high potency cannabis (“skunk”) is a very important risk factor for the development of psychosis. Continue reading