Two reports about radical treatments for severe and treatment-resistant depression

Two reports about radical treatments for severe and treatment- resistant depression, one using the anesthetic ketamine and the other a sweat-lodge-like treatment with hyperthermia, have some challenging implications. One, reported by the Science Blog, “Ketamine lifts depression via a byproduct of its metabolism,” reports recent research on the use of ketamine, a powerful “dissociative anesthetic,” and findings that are identifying how it works.  Ketamine has been found in studies funded by The National Institute of Mental Health to be a remarkably effective treatment for depression, but it also has serious side effects and considerable potential for abuse.  The current study has found

Hospitals find success with adding mental health professionals to inpatient care teams

The Wall Street Journal published “Hospitals Test Putting Psychiatrists on Medical Wards: To identify problems early, trials in bed metal-health workers on teams of doctors seeing patients,” on April 25, 2016. This article notes that hospitals are struggling with pressure to discharge patients as soon as possible, and patients with mental health symptoms and concerns often have longer lengths of stay.

Neuroscientist on why diets don’t work, and what to do instead- focus on behavioral/pschological change

The New York Times published “Why You Can’t Lose Weight on a Diet: The problem isn’t willpower. It’s neuroscience . You can’t-and shouldn’t-fight back” on May 6, 2016. This is a fairly long, detailed, and very high quality commentary written by a neuroscientist who has had her own struggles with weight loss. She is writing in response to a study published in the Journal Obesity, “Persistent Metabolic Adaptation Six Years after ‘The Biggest Loser’ competition,” on May 6, 2016. This study found that the participants in that TV show had regained 70% of their lost weight after discontinuing their participation in the

Should habit change take on more than one habit at a time- research supports taking on more

The New York Times published “Out With the Old” on May 12, 2016. This article reports on interesting research published in March in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, “Pushing the Limits: Cognitive, Affective, and Neural Plasticity Revealed by an Intensive Multifaceted Intervention.” The entire original article is available online, but is fairly long and the NYT article provides an excellent summary.

Danish study finds surprising change in BMI with lowest mortality risk- higher than in the past

The New York Times published “Heavier People Don’t Die Young” on the 11th, 2016. This article reports on a study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “Change in Body Mass Index Associated with Lowest Mortality in Denmark, 1976-2013,” on May 10, 2016. The JAMA summary is dense and based on statistics, and is challenging to read. The NYT summary is much more accessible, but the title is a bit misleading and should be something more like, “Don’t Panic If Your BMI Is 27.”