Cérebro pode ser treinado para curar doenças, diz estudo

Cientistas brasileiros desenvolveram técnica que modifica conexões e abre caminhos para tratar AVC, Parkinson e até depressão

RIO – O cérebro pode ser treinado para curar as doenças que o acometem. Cientistas brasileiros acabam de apresentar uma técnica de treinamento cerebral capaz de modificar as conexões neuronais em tempo recorde. O trabalho, publicado na Neuroimage, abre o caminho para novos tratamentos para o acidente vascular cerebral (AVC), a doença de Parkinson e até a depressão.

O cérebro se adapta a todo momento – um fenômeno conhecido como neuroplasticidade. Essas mudanças na forma como funciona e conecta suas diferentes áreas são as bases do aprendizado e da memória.

Eles apresentaram uma técnica de treinamento cerebral que permitiu modificar as conexões neuronais em tempo recorde. O trabalho foi publicado na revista científica Neuroimage.

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Neuroimaging and AI: new hope for depression treatment

Did you know that up to two-thirds of people who suffer from depression don’t find relief from the first antidepressant they try? And even after four courses of antidepressants, one-third of people with depressive symptoms still don’t get better? Neuroimaging and AI may be able to change that, according to a pair of recent studies in the American Journal of Psychiatry and Nature Human Behavior.

The new research from scientists at UT Southwestern shows that brain imaging can identify activity patterns in the brain that indicate if a person is likely to respond to a certain medication. The two studies are part of a national trial called EMBARC that is working to establish better ways to treat depression based on objective, biological evidence. They are hoping it will lead to less trial and error and more targeted, effective treatment.

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Mood-Altering Messenger Goes Nuclear

Serotonin is best known for its role as a chemical messenger in the brain, helping to regulate mood, appetite, sleep, and many other functions. It exerts these influences by binding to its receptor on the surface of neural cells. But startling new work suggests the impact of serotonin does not end there: the molecule also can enter a cell’s nucleus and directly switch on genes. 

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‘It nearly cost me my life’: Woman, 24, hospitalised with pancreatitis warns about risks of taking controversial acne drug Roaccutane

  • Charlotte Carpenter felt agonising pain and was struggling to breathe 
  • Had been taking drug for severe acne for just two months 
  • Pancreatitis is a known but rare side effect of Roaccutane, says manufacturer
  • Drug also linked to depression and psychotic disorder 
  • Parents who blame the drug on the suicides of their children have called for ban 

A woman who had a brush with death after taking Roaccutane for just two months is warning others about the risks of the controversial anti-acne drug.

Charlotte Carpenter, 24, suffered horrendous pain in her side and difficulty breathing and was rushed to A&E with life-threatening pancreatitis.

She was shocked to be told the condition – where the pancreas becomes inflamed and can cause complications, such as multiple organ failure – was a side effect of the medication she’d taken for her skin problems. Leer Más

PTSD: Similar Effects of High- and Low-Frequency rTMS

PTSD: Similar Effects of High- and Low-Frequency rTMS

PTSD symptoms can be reduced by high- and low-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation.PTSD symptoms can be reduced by high- and low-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Both high- and low-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation  (rTMS) are effective in reducing core cluster and associated symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a review by investigators from multiple institutions in Sichuan, China, published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.1


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More Americans suffering from stress, anxiety and depression, study finds

An estimated 8.3 million American adults suffer from serious psychological distress.

More Americans than ever before are stressed, depressed and anxiety-ridden, and many are unable to get the help they need, a new study suggests.

An estimated 8.3 million American adults — about 3.4 percent of the U.S. population — suffer from serious psychological distress, an evaluation of federal health data concluded. Previous estimates put the number of Americans suffering from serious psychological distress at 3 percent or less, the researchers said.

“Mental illness is on the rise. Suicide is on the rise. And access to care for the mentally ill is getting worse,” said lead researcher Judith Weissman. She’s a research manager in the department of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.

This increase is likely a lasting after-effect of the Great Recession that began in late 2007 — a stress-filled time that caused long-term emotional damage to many Americans, Weissman suggested.

Many people psychologically affected by the Great Recession haven’t been able to get the help they need, either because they can’t afford it or because their condition hampers their ability to seek out treatment, she said.

As a result, hundreds of thousands of Americans live with serious psychological distress, an umbrella term that runs from general hopelessness and nervousness all the way up to diagnosable conditions such as depression and anxiety, Weissman explained.

“The recession seemed to have pushed the mentally ill to a point where they never recovered,” she said. “This is a very disturbing finding because of the implications of what mental illness can do to a person in terms of their ability to function and their life span.”

The study included national health data from a survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 35,000 households nationwide participate each year.

The investigators found that between 2006 and 2014, access to health care services deteriorated for people with serious psychological distress, compared to people without emotional distress.

Comparing self-reported psychological distress symptoms across nine years, the research team estimated that nearly one in 10 distressed Americans in 2014 did not have health insurance that would give them access to a psychiatrist or mental health counselor.

In 2014, people with serious psychological distress were nearly three times more likely to experience delays in getting professional help due to insufficient mental health coverage than people without serious distress, the study findings showed.

Approximately 10 percent of people with serious psychological distress could not afford to pay for their psychiatric care in 2014, up from just under 9 percent in 2006.

The economic turmoil caused by the Great Recession struck at the heart of the American dream, rattling some to their core, Weissman said.

“Earning and sustaining a living is getting harder for people, especially for men,” Weissman said. “The loss of jobs could mean there’s a loss of community and a loss of role as wage earners and providers.”

Dr. Harsh Trivedi is president and CEO of Sheppard Pratt Health System, a Maryland mental health provider. He said constant noise from the internet and social media likely serve to amp up people’s anxiety and angst.

“In the past, you may go out and meet with your friends and talk about something, but when you got home you’d go to sleep,” Trivedi said. “The difficulty now is you can’t really turn things off. We don’t necessarily have downtimes to recharge and get our bearings straight again.”

Weissman pointed out that psychologically distressed people already struggle to deal with the health care system, and on top of that there are national shortages of mental health professionals.

And, Trivedi added, the ongoing debate over the Affordable Care Act isn’t doing distressed individuals any favors.

“If you are in a more distressed state, how easy is it for you, from a psychological perspective, to seek care?” Trivedi said. “If the overall market is shifting, and you are more psychologically distressed, how are you going to have the faculties to keep track of your access to health care?”

Weissman said insurance companies should pay for mental health services, which need to be more fully integrated into primary care for people.

“We need to increase access to care for the mentally ill,” she said. “We also need to put trained psychiatrists and mental health providers within the primary care setting. If you have linkages of care within primary care, then the mentally ill patient can be helped even if they’ve come in for some other reason.”

The study was published April 17 in the journal Psychiatric Services.