A large-scale study from the University of Exeter has found ‘robust evidence’ that being overweight hikes up your risk of developing depression – but as fresh evidence confirms, logging your morning miles is one of the most effective ways to fight back. Exercise jolts your brain into action, and not just because of the endorphin high … ‘Obesity and depression are both major global health challenges, and our study provides the most robust evidence to date that higher BMI causes depression,’ said lead author Jess O’Loughlin. ‘Understanding whether physical or social factors are responsible for this relationship can help inform effective strategies to improve mental health and wellbeing.’ [Read more…] about Studies find growing evidence linking weight, physical activity, neuroplasticity and depression
Brain/ Mental Health
The approval of a controversial new drug for Alzheimer’s disease, Aduhelm, is shining a spotlight on mild cognitive impairment — problems with memory, attention, language or other cognitive tasks that exceed changes expected with normal aging.
After initially indicating that Aduhelm could be prescribed to anyone with dementia, the Food and Drug Administration now specifies that the prescription drug be given to individuals with mild cognitive impairment or early-stage Alzheimer’s, the groups in which the medication was studied.
Yet this narrower recommendation raises questions. What does a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment mean? Is Aduhelm appropriate for all people with mild cognitive impairment, or only some? And who should decide which patients qualify for treatment: dementia specialists or primary care physicians? [Read more…] about Six guidelines to navigate the Aduhelm controversy and (hopefully) help patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment and early-stage Alzheimer’s Disease
Dr. Awais Aftab: What do you think the future of psychotherapy is? What would you like it to be?
Dr. Judith Beck: A number of years ago, a colleague asked my dad whether he expected cognitive therapy to eventually dominate the field of psychotherapy. He responded, “I hope good therapy eventually dominates the field of psychotherapy. Just good therapy.” My father has always said, and I agree, that if significant research demonstrates greater support for the theoretical framework and treatment of a different psychotherapy, then that psychotherapy should supplant CBT. So far that has not happened. To the contrary, as the years have gone by, there is more and more support for CBT conceptually and in treatment efficacy.
In terms of the future of CBT, I think we will continue to use research from other fields (such as neurobiology, evolutionary biology, and cognitive science) to refine theory and guide therapy. We will continue to seek out what treatments work best for whom under what conditions. We will have a stronger emphasis on identifying key processes to target core mediators and moderators based on testable theories. [Read more…] about Dr. Judith Beck on the future of cognitive therapy and psychotherapy
With data breaches on the rise, the FTC is looking to make health apps more accountable for telling patients when their data has been exposed.
The FTC released a new statement specifying that all health apps that capture sensitive patient information notify users, the commission itself and in some cases the media when a security breach has compromised identifiable health data. If the company fails to do so it could face a fine of $43,792 per day of violation. [Read more…] about The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) hardens data security rules for health apps and devices
Treating Severe Depression with On-Demand Brain Stimulation (UCSF press release):
UCSF Health physicians have successfully treated a patient with severe depression by tapping into the specific brain circuit involved in depressive brain patterns and resetting them using the equivalent of a pacemaker for the brain.
“This study points the way to a new paradigm that is desperately needed in psychiatry,” said Andrew Krystal, PhD, professor of psychiatry and member of the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences. “We’ve developed a precision-medicine approach that has successfully managed our patient’s treatment-resistant depression by identifying and modulating the circuit in her brain that’s uniquely associated with her symptoms.” [Read more…] about Study: Personalized, closed-loop neuromodulation can (one day) become a “pacemaker for the brain”
Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring this time six scientific reports and industry resources plus a fun illusion.
Hoping you enjoy the great series over at Scientific American and especially #7, titled Welcome to the Ultimate Neuroscience Lab: Your Smartphone, by Emory neuroethicist Karen Rommelfanger and our very own Álvaro Fernández Ibáñez.
The time it takes for all thoughts to occur is ultimately shaped by the characteristics of the neurons and the networks involved. Many things influence the speed at which information flows through the system, but three key factors are: distance, myelination, complexity,
“This evaluation revealed significant value in introducing an evidence-based digital sleep intervention at scale within a clinical mental health service,” researchers from Big Health and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust conclude.
“These findings from three studies with diverse samples and methodologies underscore an upside to the specter of uncertainty: it can cause people to savor the positives of the present.”
“Specifically, parents of an ADHD child have a 34% higher risk of dementia and 55% higher risk of Alzheimer’s, the results showed. Grandparents have about an 11% increased risk of either condition.”
As the researchers point out, “It is thus clear how the resulting gap between the research and “real world” fields is massive.” We do have the impression that the Aduhelm FDA saga is far from over.
Have a minute? Give it a try 🙂
Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy month of October,
The SharpBrains Team