The Wall Street Journal published “A Computer That Can Hear a Marriage in Trouble” on 12-23-15. The article reports on a study that used a computer program that analyzed speech of couples to see if it the results could help therapists understand how couples communicate, and possibly to predict whether the relationship would improve, worsen or stay the same. This study compared predictions from the computer program with trained human rates, and found the computer program to be slightly (2%) more accurate. The ultimate goal of this type of research is to use technology to study subtle changes of voice,
The Journal of Affective Disorders, online edition, published “Combining pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy or monotherapy for major depression? A meta-analysis on the long-term effects” on 1-19-16. This study is a meta-analysis of 23 trials with a total of over 2,000 participants. The focus was on the effect of “combined treatment” (antidepressant medication and therapy) compared to either psychotherapy or medication alone during the “acute phase” of treatment.
The Lancet Psychiatry published ”Long-term effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of cognitive behavioural therapy as an adjunct to pharmacotherapy for treatment-resistant depression in primary care: follow-up of the CoBalT randomised controlled trial” on 1-6-16. This study focuses on assessing the long term benefits of CBT as an adjunctive treatment to “the usual and customary medication” prescribed by PCPs for patients whose depression has not responded to antidepressants.
Richard Friedman, MD, is a progressive psychiatrist who also a contributing op-ed writer for the New York Times. He consistently writes thoughtful and provocative commentaries about mental health issues, and often is critical of the psychiatric status quo, and supportive of behavioral treatments. The NYT published his commentary “A Drug to Cure Fear” on 1-22-16. This is a detailed discussion of the limitations of current treatments for anxiety disorders, including severe PTSD, including both medication and psychological/behavioral therapies. He goes on to describe recent research using medication that seem to effectively erase the emotional fear response in healthy people with
The Wall Street Journal published “Can Meditation Gadgets Help You Reduce Your Stress- and Find Happiness?” on 12-31-15. This is a thorough article written by a technology journalist who is also a long-term meditator which discusses devices that claim to help with meditation. EEG headsets which claim to help with meditation are included in the discussion. He also interviewed several leading neuroscientists who are studying meditation. Most of them are unimpressed and skeptical of the claims made by the developers of these meditation aids.