Maternal Use Of Antidepressants May Not Be Linked To Autism In Offspring

The CBS Evening News (4/18, story 9, 1:15, Pelley) reported, “Studies have shown that pregnant women who take antidepressants are more likely to have children with autism.” Now, research looks into whether the medication is causing this.

TIME (4/18, Park) reports that in two studies, investigators “found that other factors, including genes linked to mental illness, may be more strongly associated with autism than exposure to antidepressants.” One study “analyzed data from more than 1.5 million children whose mothers reported on whether they used antidepressants during pregnancy,” while the other study examined “more than 35,000 births and also compared rates of autism among brothers and sisters whose mothers used antidepressants during some pregnancies but not others.” The studies, both of which were published April 18 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Related Links:

— “Does Taking Antidepressants During Pregnancy Cause Autism?,” Alice Park, Time, April 18, 2017.

Anti-depressant use before, during pregnancy tied to autism risk

Reuters (4/17, Seaman) reports, “Antidepressant use right before and during pregnancy may be linked with a higher risk of an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children,” researchers concluded after examining data from 10 studies. The findings of the review were published online April 17 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Related Links:

— “Anti-depressant use before, during pregnancy tied to autism risk,” Andrew M. Seaman, Reuters, April 17, 2017.

Cervical Cancer Screening Rates Lower Among Women With Severe Mental Illness

HealthDay (4/17, Preidt) reports that research published in online in Psychiatric Services, a publication of the American Psychiatric Association, indicates “cervical cancer screening rates are much lower among women with severe mental illness than among other women.” Investigators looked at 2010-11 California Medicaid data. The data indicated “that 20 percent of women with severe mental illness were screened for cervical cancer.” However, “42 percent of women in the general population received screening.”

Related Links:

— “Just 1 in 5 Mentally Ill Women Gets Cervical Cancer Screenings,” Robert Preidt, HealthDay, April 17, 2017.

Lawsuit Contends US Army Should Factor PTSD in Discharges

The AP (4/17) reports that a lawsuit filed in federal court in Connecticut and “seeking class-action status” contends “the US Army has issued less-than-honorable discharges for potentially thousands of service members without adequately considering the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD] and other mental health conditions.” Plaintiffs in the suit are “two Army veterans from Connecticut who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan” who allege “they were wrongly denied honorable discharges.”

Related Links:


No Strong Association Between Mental, Behavioral Disorders And Alzheimer’s

Healio (4/17, Oldt) reports there appears not to be “a strong association between mental and behavioral disorders and” Alzheimer’s disease, researchers concluded after conducting “a nationwide nested case-control study of all Finnish individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and matched controls (n = 27,948 pairs).” The findings were published in the June issue of European Psychiatry.

Related Links:

— “Mental, behavioral disorders do not increase Alzheimer’s disease risk,” Tapiainen V, et al., Healio, April 17, 2017.

More Than Eight Million US Adults Suffering From Serious Psychological Distress

Reuters (4/17, Rapaport) reports, “More than eight million American adults suffer from serious psychological distress, and they’re less likely to access healthcare services than other people,” researchers found after examining “survey data on health care use from 2006 to 2014 for a nationwide sample of 207,853 US adults ages 18 to 64.” The study revealed that “people with serious psychological distress, which includes any mental illness severe enough to require treatment, are three times more likely to be too poor to afford care and 10 times more likely to be unable to pay for medications.” The findings were published online April 17 in Psychiatric Services, a publication of the American Psychiatric Association.

CNN (4/17, Scutti) reports, “The study may help explain why the suicide rate is up to 43,000 people each year, said” lead study author Judith Weissman, PhD, JD, a research manager at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. Weissman “noted that the affected groups are late baby boomers and Generation Xers,” people whom “‘some have described as experiencing not a better horizon but a worse horizon than their parents,’ she said.” Weissman added, “The Great Recession of 2008 had a tremendous impact on adults with serious psychological distress.”

Related Links:

— “Mentally ill accessing less U.S. health care,” Lisa Rapaport, Reuters, April 17, 2017.

Unreliable food access linked to poor behavior, learning in kindergarten

Healio (4/14, Bortz) reported, “Inadequate access to food in early childhood was correlated with negative social-emotional and cognitive outcomes among children in kindergarten,” researchers found after examining “data on a recent birth group that were nationally representative to examine the connection between food insecurity and kindergarten skills, including reading, math and social-emotional outcomes.” The findings were published online in Child Development.

Related Links:

— “Unreliable food access linked to poor behavior, learning in kindergarten,” Johnson AD, et al., , April 14, 2017.

Immaturity May Play Role When It Comes To AD/HD Diagnoses In Young Children

U.S. News & World Report (4/14, Reynolds) reports, “According to the American Psychiatric Association, “attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder [AD/HD] “affects approximately five percent of children.” The APA also “says” AD/HD “is often first identified in school-aged children when it leads to disruption in the classroom or problems with schoolwork.” In such cases, however, “the young age of a child may raise an important question: What role does immaturity play when it comes to” AD/HD diagnoses in young children? Some experts believe in “not rushing a child into school.” Some little ones are just not mature enough yet to handle a classroom environment and their behavior in the classroom may stem from immaturity, not AD/HD.

Related Links:

— “Does Immaturity Play a Role in ADHD?,” Jennifer Lea Reynolds, U.S. News & World Report, April 14, 2017.

OA Patients Who Use Opioids Or Antidepressants Have Greater Risk Of Repeated Falls

MedPage Today (4/16) reported, “Low-extremity osteoarthritis (OA) patients who use opioids or antidepressants have a greater risk of repeated falls,” researchers found after studying “4,231 patients from the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI).” The findings were published online in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage.

Related Links:

— “Meds Contribute to Falls in OA,” Judy George, MedPage Today, April 16, 2017.

As People Grow Older, Common Risk Factors For Depression Change

Reuters (4/13, Kennedy) reports that as people grow older, “common risk factors for depression change,” researchers found after analyzing “data on more than 2,000 adults participating in two long-term studies of depression and anxiety.” The study also revealed that “when a risk factor is uncommon among peers – like widowhood or poor health in youth – it can have an outsized effect on depression risk.” The findings were published online April 7 in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

Related Links:

— “As people age, the factors that drive depression may shift,” Madeline Kennedy, Reuters, April 13, 2017.