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This Week in Psychiatry – 2/28/2011

February 25, 2011

Family Support for Depression Linked to Recovery

Strong family support predicts sooner recovery from depressive symptoms, a new study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology reports. Data were collected from 373 subjects with depression at baseline, with follow-ups at years 1, 4, 10, and 23. Stronger family support was associated with a quicker path to recovery and lower depressive symptoms at baseline and follow-up for all participants. Family support also predicted a quicker path to recovery. Women in the study, however, were more likely to show faster and more marked improvement when receiving strong family support.

Experimental Compound for Cognitive Impairment in Schizophrenia: RCT Results

The authors of a recent double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial in Biological Psychiatry tested an experimental compound that was previously reported to show some efficacy for cognitive impairment in schizophrenia. Sixty subjects with schizophrenia were randomized to receive 3 mg BID or 8 mg BID of the γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)A α2/α3 partial agonist (n=39), known as MK-0777, or placebo (n=21). There were no significant differences between active and placebo groups in this trial, according to the primary outcome measure, the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery score. In fact, it was suggested that members of the placebo group performed better on visual memory and problem solving than subjects who received either dose of the active compound.

Older Adults With Insomnia May Benefit from Brief Behavioral Treatment

Chronic insomnia can exact a heavy toll from older adults, considering both quality of life and adverse events from pharmacologic treatment. An Archives of Internal Medicine study compared brief behavioral treatment for insomnia (BBTI) with an information control. Subjects included 79 adults with a mean age of 72 years, with a majority (70%) being female. BBTI consisted of 2 sessions and 2 phone calls of individually tailored instructions; the information control only provided printed educational material. Self-reported improvements at 4 weeks were significantly greater for BBTI than for controls, verified by actigraphy but not polysomnography. BBTI improvements were sustained at 6 months.

This Week is Psychiatry is written by Lonnie Stoltzfoos.

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