Dynamic Associations Among Motor Activity, Sleep, Energy, and Mood Could Suggest New Focus for Depression Treatment

Current theories of depression suggest that sleep problems, low energy, and low activity levels result from depressed mood, but a new study looking at interactions among these factors in people with bipolar disorder or depression suggests that the opposite may be true—that instability in activity and sleep systems could lead to mood changes. The findings, published online December 12 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, suggest new targets for depression treatment.

Previous research has shown the interrelated nature of many of the homeostatic systems of the body. For example, the regulation of motor activity has been found to be linked with other systems, such as those regulating sleep, activity, and emotional states. While dysregulation in these systems is often seen in people with mental disorders, it can be challenging for researchers to examine both the interrelationships between multiple systems and their directional influences using traditional clinical assessments based on retrospective recall.

Full story at NIMH

Studies Support Use of Team-Based Care for Early Psychosis

Researchers continue to build on findings from NIMH’s Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) program, which investigated the effectiveness of early intervention services for people experiencing first episode psychosis. Two recent studies add to the evidence that team-based early intervention services are feasible in real-world health care settings and result in improved outcomes for patients.

Christoph Correll, M.D., of the Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, NY, led a team of researchers from eight countries conducting a meta-analysis of studies of early intervention services for psychosis. The meta-analysis combined data from ten randomized clinical trials, including the RAISE Early Treatment Program and the Specialized Treatment for Early Psychosis (STEP) Program. The early intervention services in every study had to be aimed specifically at early psychosis and comprise different elements of treatment (psychosocial and pharmacologic) and supportive services, such as for employment and education. In each study, a control group received treatment as usual for comparison. The combined trials included 2,176 participants with studies lasting from 6 to 24 months.

Full story at NIMH

Should Childhood Trauma Be Treated As A Public Health Crisis?

When public health officials get wind of an outbreak of Hepatitis A or influenza, they spring into action with public awareness campaigns, monitoring and outreach. But should they be acting with equal urgency when it comes to childhood trauma?

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests the answer should be yes. It shows how the effects of childhood trauma persist and are linked to mental illness and addiction in adulthood. And, researchers say, it suggests that it might be more effective to approach trauma as a public health crisis than to limit treatment to individuals.

The study drew on the experiences of participants from the Great Smoky Mountains Study, which followed 1,420 children from mostly rural parts of western North Carolina, over a period of 22 years. They were interviewed annually during their childhood, then four additional times during adulthood.

Full story at NPR