Does your life have purpose?

On July 27, 2017, Howard Koh and colleagues from Harvard University, Boston, in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), highlighted the importance of spirituality and religiosity for the health of humans in their article entitled “Health and Spirituality” (VanderWeele et al., JAMA online 27.7.2017, here free online access).

D. Kreienkamp /

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Nutrition: a Mega Theme for Psychiatry of the Future

In several articles I have in the past pointed out in this blog the importance of nutritional factors for mental health. Now the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research (ISNPR) has underscored this by conducting its first international congress, which is currently taking place in Bethesda, Maryland, USA (July 30 to August 2, 2017).

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How medical education creates its own patients

It has been a while – in December 2015 – that the renowned Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has published a systematic review and meta-analysis on the prevalence of depression and depressive symptoms among medical residents (Mata et al., JAMA 2015; 314: 2373-2383). I was already aware of this article, but would like to take the opportunity of a recent communication I had with a medical student whose mentor I am as part of a mentoring program at the Aachen Medical Faculty, to report on this paper. The results of the first analysis were also confirmed by a similar study in medical students, published more recently also in JAMA by the same group (Rotenstein et al., JAMA 2016; 316: 2214-2236).

Picture: Ligamenta Wirbelsäulenzentrum  /

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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 /

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News about the Cardiac Safety of Citalopram

In the January issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry two editorials have been published that deal again with the cardiac safety of citalopram. I have posted a contribution to the discussion last year. In my post from May 4th, 2013, I had discussed the study by Zivin et al. (2013), which had also been published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Continue reading

Is the Glycine Transporter Inhibitor Sarcosine also Effective in Depression?

Inhibitors of the glycine transporter type 1 (GlyT1) are currently among the most promising substances for drug treatment of psychiatric disorders. Their application in schizophrenic disorders is the most developed, the GlyT1 inhibitor from Roche (Bitopertin®) is in clinical phase III trials. Continue reading

Depression in Pregnancy: To Treat or not to Treat?

The occurrence of depression in pregnancy poses a particular therapeutic challenge, since the benefits and risks of a pharmacotherapy have to be particularly carefully weighed against each other. If the indication is checked for an antidepressant pharmacotherapy during pregnancy, one tends to forget that not only the drug therapy is associated with risks, but also a potential non-treatment. Continue reading

Reports from the 51. ACNP Congress — I. Botulinum Toxin A as an Antidepressant

At the 51st Congress of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP), 2nd – 6th December 2012 in Hollywood, Florida, Eric Finzi and Norman Rosenthal  from Chevy Chase Cosmetic Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland, reported today at the “Hot Topics” session on the results of their double-blind, placebo-controlled study of botulinum toxin A in patients with depression. Charles Darwin suggested that a person’s mood is not necessarily reflected in its facial expression, but that, conversely, the latter can have effects on mood and emotion. This hypothesis was later expanded by the American psychologist William James to the “facial feedback hypothesis”. It was again Darwin, who described that depressed people suffer from an over-activity of the corrugator (musculus corrugator supercilii, the “front-or brow corrugator”). Injection of botulinum toxin into the Glabella region (the region above the root of the nose) leads to effective paralysis of the muscle for about three months.

Finzi included patients with a depressive disorder into his study. Continue reading