Depression: brain scan can predict response to treatment (medication)

“Brain activity can predict success of depression treatment”reports on a study to be published by JAMA Psychiatry in the June 28 edition. The study builds on previous studies, which have identified neurological markers that predict how patients will respond to antidepressant medication. The study identified more specific markers. The authors conclude that for patients with the marker of low response, “clinicians could decide to start with more aggressive treatment at the outset, such as a combination of pharmacology and psychotherapy, and importantly, monitor these patients more closely.”  From ScienceDaily, read the original article.

JAMA report: bad news for use of activity trackers for weight loss programs

The Sept. 20, 2016 issue of JAMA includes, “Effect of Wearable Technology Combined With a Lifestyle Intervention on Long-term Weight Loss; The IDEA Randomized Clinical Trial.” This study compared weight loss programs using a standard protocol and an enhanced protocol using an activity tracker.  To cut to the chase, the authors conclude: Among young adults with a BMI between 25 and less than 40, the addition of a wearable technology device to a standard behavioral intervention resulted in less weight loss over 24 months. Devices that monitor and provide feedback on physical activity may not offer an advantage over standard behavioral weight

Chemical Dependency Treatment and Wristband Activity Sensors

The online news service Medical News Today posted “Could wearable biosensors become part of drug rehab programs?” on 6-27-16.  The article reviews a recently published research study that found that wristband sensors provide helpful information about patients receiving opioid pain treatment in an ER.  The devices provided information about the patient’s response to the opioid medication in real time, and also could be used to track both medication compliance and treatment response in the community.

Techology resources for enhancing mental health services in the office

Neuropsychologist and blogger W. Howard Buddin, Jr., Ph.D., posts irregularly on his blog and website. He seems to be a reliable source of information about neuropsychology and, of particular interest to, helpful practice resources.  Here are a few of his postings, some recent and some not so recent, that may be of interest to mental health professionals seeking help from quality technology resources and advice.

Digital Secure Messaging: The Solution for Confidentiality Concerns For MH Coordination of Care

By Richard Sethre, Psy.D., L.P., with generous research support provided by Procentive The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, or “Obamacare”) includes many major changes in the delivery of healthcare, including increased communication between medical providers to coordinate care. This has created significant challenges for Mental Health Professionals (MHPs).  The PPACA mandates eventual use of Electronic Heath Records (EHRs) that have capabilities that raise concerns for MHPs about patient confidentiality, including the capability of exchanging Protected Health Information (PHI) among the patient’s medical professionals.