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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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 /

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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!