Premature Birth Associated With Certain Psychiatric Disorders.

Reuters (6/2, Kelland) reported that according to a study published June 1 in the Archives of General Psychiatry, babies born before 32 weeks’ gestation may be more likely to develop severe psychiatric issues, including depression, bipolar disorder or psychosis. For infants born between 32 and 36 weeks, there was a lesser yet noticeably increased risk for psychiatric problems.

Specifically, “compared to babies born at full term, which is 37 to 42 weeks of gestation, babies who were born at less than 32 weeks were seven times more likely to be hospitalized with bipolar disorder as adults,” the CNN (6/2, Wade) “The Chart” blog reported. “They were three times more likely to be hospitalized for depression and more than twice as likely for psychosis,” investigators found. To arrive at this conclusion, “scientists analyzed data from the medical records of more than 1.3 million people born in Sweden, focusing on people older than age 16 who were admitted to a hospital for a psychiatric disorder.” They then cross-checked the data to see which individuals had been born prematurely.

MedPage Today (6/2, Neale) reported, “The researchers noted that the relationship between preterm birth and impaired neurodevelopment is biologically plausible. ‘Functional magnetic resonance studies in young adults who were born very preterm have documented neuroanatomical alterations in brain networks that have also been found to be disrupted in psychiatric populations, including frontostriatal, frontoparietal, occipital, temporal, and fronto-parieto-cerebellar,’ they wrote.” Also covering the story were BBC News (6/1, Gallagher) and the UK’s Telegraph (6/3, Donnelly).

While this isn’t necessarily psychiatry, I think it deserves notice.

Related Links:

— “Premature babies have higher psychiatric risk,”Kate Kelland , Reuters, June 01, 2012.

Psychiatric Patients’ ED Waits May Average 11.5 Hours Before Treatment, Release.

NPR /Colorado Public Radio (6/1, Whitney) reports, “A study published this month in the Annals of Emergency Medicine by Anthony Weiss with Partners Healthcare in Massachusetts found psychiatric patients in hospital emergency departments waited an average of 11.5 hours before being treated or released.” Weiss said, “The reimbursement for mental health care” in the US “is among the lowest across the different disease states,” which means “it’s not, in some cases, economically viable to support” psychiatric wards. This, in turn, can lead to lead to patients with psychiatric issues spending long amounts of time in emergency departments.

Related Links:

— “As Psychiatric Wards Close, Patients Languish In Emergency Rooms,”Eric Whitney, NPR Colorado Public Radio, May 31, 2012.

Economic Crises May Negatively Affect Mental Health.

Reuters (6/1, Kelland) reports on mental illness and suicide in crisis-stricken countries such as Greece, and the lasting impact it can have even after the crisis is over. The piece quotes sociologist David Stuckler, of Cambridge University, who said, “Austerity can turn a crisis into an epidemic. Job loss can lead to an accumulation of risks that can tip people into depression and severe mental illness which can be difficult to reverse – especially if people are not getting appropriate care. Untreated mental illness, just like other forms of illness, can escalate and develop into a problem that is much more difficult to treat later on.”

Related Links:

— “Analysis: Greeks count mental health cost of a country in crisis,”Kate Kelland, Reuters, May 31, 2012.

Childhood Cancer Patients’ Treatments May Lead To Later Emotional Problems.

HealthDay (5/30, Preidt) reports, “Adult survivors of childhood cancer can suffer emotional problems and reduced quality of life because of the long-term physical effects of their cancer treatment,” according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Investigators looked at “data from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study to assess the effects of scarring, disfigurement and persistent hair loss experienced by more than 14,000 adult survivors of childhood cancer.” The researchers found that “survivors with persistent hair loss had an increased risk of anxiety; female survivors with persistent hair loss had an increased risk of depressive symptoms; and survivors with a head or neck, arm or leg disfigurement had an increased risk of depression.”

Related Links:

— “Emotional Woes May Last for Childhood Cancer Survivors,”Robert Preidt, HealthDay, May 30, 2012.

Screening Tool To Help Determine Emotional Health Risk.

USA Today (5/30, Healy) reports on screening tool Whats MyM3, which “can tell if you’re at increased risk for depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).” Psychiatrist Steven Daviss, MD, of M3 Information, said that “WhatsMyM3 (originally My Mood Monitor) can help adults, whether in treatment or not, ‘monitor their own symptoms and have a view of what’s going on’ in terms of mood and anxiety.” Psychiatrist Robert Post, MD, former chief of biological psychiatry at the National Institute of Mental Health and one of the WhatsMyM3 developers, added that “many of those in need of treatment are seen in a primary care setting; yet their emotional health ‘never really comes up for discussion’ and goes untreated.”

Related Links:

— “Screening for mental illness? Yes, there’s an app for that,”Michelle Healy, USA Today, May 30, 2012.

FDA Warns Of Fake AD/HD Medication Tablets.

The Wall Street Journal (5/30, Rockoff, Dooren, Subscription Publication) reports that the Food and Drug Administration is warning that a fake version of Adderall (amphetamine, dextroamphetamine mixed salts) is being sold on the Internet.
The AP (5/30) reports that the agency “says the product purports to be 30-milligram Adderall tablets, but it does not contain the right ingredients. The pills contain the pain drugs tramadol and acetaminophen instead.”
The Boston Globe (5/30, Kotz) reports that the agency, in a media statement, said, “Consumers should be extra cautious when buying their medicines from online sources.” According to the FDA, “Rogue websites and distributors may especially target medicines in short supply for counterfeiting.”

The Los Angeles Times (5/30, Maugh) “Booster Shots” blog reports, “The phony medication can be easily detected. The package label contains several misspellings: ‘NDS’ instead of ‘NDC,’ ‘Aspartrte’ instead of ‘Aspartate,’ and ‘Singel’ instead of ‘Single.'”

Additionally, the NPR (5/30, Knox) “Shots” blog reports, the fake pills are “white instead of peachy-pink. They’re smooth, with none of the markings of the real 30-milligram tablets — the highest dose.” Meanwhile, “they may come in blister packs, while real Adderall is sold only in 100-count bottles.” Reuters (5/30, Yukhananov) also covers the story.

Related Links:

— “FDA Warns About Fakes of ADHD Drug Adderall,”Jonathan D. Rockoff , The Wall Street Journal, May 29, 2012.

Maternal Antidepressant Use Associated With Earlier Birth, Neonate Seizures.

Reuters (5/31, Norton) reports that according to a study published online May 2 in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, babies born to mothers on antidepressants may be born a few days earlier or may even have seizures shortly after being born. After examining data on some 228,876 babies born in Tennessee, researchers found that second-trimester maternal antidepressant use was associated with infants being born up to five days before their due date. Maternal third-trimester use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants was associated with neonate seizures. Because depression itself is a serious problem, the study authors recommended that women who are on medications for depression speak to their physicians about whether they should discontinue taking antidepressants during pregnancy.

Related Links:

— “More questions on antidepressants during pregnancy,”Amy Norton, Reuters, May 30, 2012.

Teenage Binge Drinking Behind Skyrocketing ED Visits In New York City.

The New York Daily News (5/29, Blau) reports that in New York City, “dangerously drunken revelers, whose numbers have nearly doubled citywide in the last five years, are now the fifth-leading cause of emergency room visits at public hospitals.” In fact, “teenage binge drinking is a key culprit behind the number of ER visits, which have skyrocketed citywide from 7,958 in 2007 to 15,620 in 2011, city records show.” Binge drinking by teenagers in New York City “has become such a crisis that the Health Department launched a $200,000 ad campaign in 2011 warning of the perils of alcohol abuse.”

Related Links:

— “Drunken teenage revelers now fifth-leading cause of emergency room visits at city’s public hospitals,”Reuven Blau, New York Daily News, May 28, 2012.

Study Examines Blood-Alcohol Levels In Suicide Victims.

On its website, Fox News (5/25, Crees) reported, “Researchers at Portland State University analyzed the blood-alcohol levels in nearly 58,000 suicide cases across 16 states and found that 22 percent of victims were drunk when they died.” Specifically, 24 “percent of men and 17 percent of women who committed suicide had blood-alcohol levels of at least 0.08 g/dL, the legal standard for intoxication,” according to a study published online May 24 in the journal BMJ Injury Prevention. The study “was funded with a grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a branch of the National Institutes of Health.”

Related Links:

— “Study: Nearly a quarter of US suicide victims intoxicated at time of death,”Alex Crees, Fox News, May 25, 2012.