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Latest News Around the Web

Group Says About 200,000 Americans Under 65 Suffer From Alzheimer’s.

The AP (3/26) reports, “The aging of the massive post-World War II baby boom generation in the US is casting light on early onset dementia, a sorrowful subset of younger people experiencing a slow, cruel overtaking of their minds.” Approximately “200,000 Americans under 65 are among the 5.4 million Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.” The AP adds, “Experts’ estimates suggest there’s a similar number of younger people with other types of dementia, meaning about a half-million Americans, some as young as their 30s, suffer from early-onset or younger-onset dementia.”

Related Links:

— “Dementia’s youngest victims often defy stereotypes,”AP, USA Today, March 24, 2012.

APA Calls 60 Minutes Program On Antidepressants “Irresponsible And Dangerous.”

Medscape (3/20, Lowry) reported, “A recent episode of the news program 60 Minutes featuring psychologist Irving Kirsch, PhD, and his book The Emperor’s New Drugs, which claims there is no effective difference between antidepressant medications and placebo, is not just wrong ‘but irresponsible and dangerous reporting,’ according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA).” APA president John Oldham, MD, asserts, “Antidepressants do work, particularly for patients with major depression.”

Researchers Defend Health IT Study Questioning Benefits.

The Boston Globe (3/19, Conaboy) reports, “Dr. Danny McCormick of Cambridge Health Alliance and his colleagues faced criticism this month when they published a study saying that electronic health records may not be a panacea for skyrocketing costs that many had hoped for.” According to the Boston Globe, “a chorus of critics said the study was outdated, because systems have come a long way since 2008 and now include tools to help providers decide when a particular test is necessary.” But, “McCormick and colleagues disputed their critics’ main points,” and wrote, “While the proportion of outpatient physicians utilizing health IT has grown since 2008…we are unaware of any ‘game changing’ health IT developments in the past four years that…would produce substantially different results if the study were repeated today.”

Related Links:

— “Scientists stand firm on health IT study,”Chelsea Conaboy, The Boston Globe, March 19, 2012.

Shock Therapy May Tamp Down Overactive Connection Between Two Parts Of Brain.

Bloomberg News (3/20, Lopatto) reports, “Shock therapy, in use since 1937, appears to tamp down an overactive connection between two parts of the brain involved in emotional processing, thinking and concentration, according to a study released…by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.” Shock therapy “mimics a seizure, sending a brief electric current to the brain. ECT has the strongest supporting data among treatments for patients whose depression doesn’t respond to medication, according to the American Psychiatric Association.”

HealthDay (3/20, Storrs) reports that investigators “used functional MRI scans to look at brain activity in nine adults with severe depression before and after electroshock therapy.” The researchers “found that electroshock, or electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), dampens the connections between different areas of the brain in depressed people.” Also covering the story are Reuters (3/20, Kelland), BBC News (3/20), and the UK’s Daily Mail (3/20, Allen).

Related Links:

— “Shock Therapy’s Effect on Depression Discovered, Researchers Say,”Elizabeth Lopatto, Bloomberg, March 19, 2012.

Depression May Be Associated With Increased Risk Of Earlier Death In Heart Patients.

HealthDay (3/17, Preidt) reported, “Among people with coronary stents, depression was linked to a 1.5 times greater risk of death during a seven-year study period,” according to a study that was scheduled to be presented at a European Society of Cardiology meeting. Researchers followed “1,234 coronary-artery-disease patients in the Netherlands with an average age 62, who underwent assessment for depression six months after receiving a coronary stent.” About 26 percent of the patients had been diagnosed with depression. The investigators found that, “after seven years of follow-up, 187 of the patients had died, including 23 percent of the patients with depression and 12 percent of the patients without depression.”

Related Links:

— “Depression Tied to Earlier Death in Heart Patients,”Robert Preidt, HealthDay, March 16, 2012.

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