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This Week in Psychiatry — 5/2/11

April 27, 2011

Updated: Alzheimer’s Diagnostic Guidelines

The Alzheimer’s Association and the National Institute on Aging have combined their efforts to create new guidelines for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. The proposed guidelines, which are open for peer commentary and discussion, focus on 3 main areas: (1) distinguishing between mild cognitive impairment due to aging or as an early symptom of Alzheimer’s; (2) establishing biomarkers indicating a “preclinical” stage of Alzheimer’s, with research possibilities involving brain imaging and cerebrospinal fluid proteins; (3) and eventually implementing biomarker benchmarks for all clinical stages of Alzheimer’s. The research and guidelines are discussed further in 4 papers found at the following link:

Poor Are Likelier to Experience Mood Disorders than Middle Class

A prospective longitudinal study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, surveyed a US population (n=34,653 adults, ≥20 years of age) on income levels and prevalence of mental disorders. Subjects with a yearly household income of <$20,000 had a greater risk of mood disorder incidence between baseline and year 3 compared to subjects with a yearly household income of ≥$70,000. A decrease in income from baseline to year 3 was also associated with greater risk for mood disorders (adjusted OR, 1.30; 99% CI). Presence of mental disorders at baseline, however, did not affect income levels at year 3.

Although Rare, Comorbid Epilepsy A Long-Term Concern in Autism

Although epilepsy is one of autism’s less frequent comorbidities, it is still a cause for concern for physicians. After interviewing 150 adults with autism, research published in The British Journal of Psychiatry found that 22% had epilepsy with the onset of seizures at 10 years of age. Of these patients 50% had weekly seizures and 90% received 1–2 anticonvulsants. They were mostly female, had intellectual disability, and poorer verbal skills. Physicians should be aware of the putative risk factors of epilepsy in autism patients during childhood in order to develop a proper long-term treatment regimen.

“This Week in Psychiatry” is written Christopher Naccari and Lonnie Stoltzfoos

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