May 28

Hysterectomy Associated With Increased Risk of Bipolar Disorder

The risk of developing bipolar disorder was more than double in women who received a hysterectomy, compared with those who did not undergo the procedure, in a study published online in Depression and Anxiety.

“Knowledge about how surgical or natural hormonal
withdrawal influences mood is fundamental and emphasizes the importance
of coordinated psychiatric and gynecological care,” researchers wrote.

The study compared 4337 women in Taiwan between 30
and 50 years old who received a hysterectomy with 17,348 women matched
for age who did not undergo a hysterectomy.

Over nearly 8 years of follow-up, 20 women who had a hysterectomy and 28 women who did not receive developed bipolar disorder. Nineteen of the 20 women who developed bipolar disorder after hysterectomy were diagnosed more than 1 year after the procedure, according to Psychiatric News coverage.

Click here to read the full article.

April 17

Probiotics May Reduce Rehospitalization in Bipolar Disorder

Hello. I’m Dr Drew Ramsey, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University in New York City. Welcome back to the Brain Food Blog.

I’m excited to share a new piece of science linking the microbiome and the use of probiotics with the treatment of bipolar disorder. In a 2018 study[1] from a team at the Sheppard Pratt Health System and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, researchers looked at 66 patients hospitalized for mania. These patients completed a randomized clinical trial looking at two types of probiotic bacteria (Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain GG and Bifidobacterium animalis subspecies lactis strain Bb12) or placebo, which were added on to treatment as usual.

Click here to read the full article.

April 4

A Test for Bipolar Disease?

A team of medical researchers based in the University of Policlinico Hospital in Milan, Italy claim that they have discovered biomarkers for bipolar patients with and without psychosis. The team’s study, which was published in the journal Bipolar Disorders, found that the brains of both sets of bipolar patients, those with psychosis and those without, metabolize glucose in ways that were distinct from control subjects without bipolar disorder.

Click here to read the full article.

March 23

A Medicine That Treats Mania Also Shows Effectiveness in Treating Depression in Bipolar Disorder

Cariprazine, a medicine approved by the FDA in 2015 for the treatment of manic episodes in bipolar I disorder, was effective in reducing depressive symptoms in bipolar I disorder patients in a phase 3 clinical trial reported March 8, 2019 in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

The medicine, sold under the brand name of Vraylar in the U.S., interacts with specific receptors for dopamine and serotonin in the brain. In the class of “atypical” or second-generation antipsychotic medicines, it has been used primarily to treat people with schizophrenia and bipolar mania.

Click here to read the full article.

December 27

Activity Boosts Mood in Adults With Bipolar Disorder

Increasing physical activity appears to boost mood and energy in adults—especially so in those with bipolar I disorder, according to a study published online in JAMA Psychiatry.

The study focused on a community sample of 242 men and women, including 25 people with bipolar I disorder, 29 with bipolar II disorder, 91 with major depressive disorder, and 97 control subjects with no history of a mood disorder. Researchers used activity trackers to measure physical activity and electronic diaries to assess perceived energy levels and mood over 2 weeks. Participants rated their mood and energy levels 4 times a day (morning, lunchtime, dinnertime, and before bed) using seven-point scales that spanned “very happy” to “very sad” and “very tired” to “very energetic.”

Click here to read the full article.

December 27

Scientists Find A Brain Circuit That Could Explain Seasonal Depression

Just in time for the winter solstice, scientists may have figured out how short days can lead to dark moods.

Two recent studies suggest the culprit is a brain circuit that connects special light-sensing cells in the retina with brain areas that affect whether you are happy or sad.

When these cells detect shorter days, they appear to use this pathway to send signals to the brain that can make a person feel glum or even depressed.

“It’s very likely that things like seasonal affective disorder involve this pathway,” says Jerome Sanes, a professor of neuroscience at Brown University.

Click here to read the full article.

November 29

Bright light therapy for bipolar depression

Bright light therapy (BLT) refers to the use of bright light to treat symptoms of depression. BLT was initially prescribed as a treatment for patients with seasonal affective disorder.1 It was later found helpful for nonseasonal depression,2 premenstrual dysphoric disorder, postpartum depression, and phase shift circadian disorders, including for patients with dementia whose cognitive function improved after treatment with BLT.3 More recent studies suggest year-round benefit for nonseasonal depression.2 The American Psychiatric Association practice guidelines for the treatment of depression list BLT as an alternative and/or addition to pharmacologic and psychological treatment.4 BLT also may be beneficial for patients who are in the depressive phase of bipolar illness.

Click here to read the full article.

October 30

Should Antidepressants Be Used in Bipolar Depression? A Pro-Con Debate

At Psych Congress 2018, 2 experts in the field of psychiatry squared off in a session called “The Great Debate in Contemporary Psychiatry: The Use of Antidepressants in Bipolar Disorder,” about whether antidepressants should be used to treat patients with bipolar depression.

Nassir Ghaemi, MD, MPH, professor of psychiatry at Tufts University, presented the “con” side of the argument, while Joseph F. Goldberg, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, presented the arguments “for” using antidepressants.

Click here to read the full article.

October 8

Diet and weight may affect response to bipolar disorder treatment

Data from a clinical trial has shown that how people respond to treatment for Bipolar Disorder may be influenced by their weight and the overall quality of their diet, including whether they are eating a diet high in foods thought to contribute to general inflammation. These are early results, but if replicated may mean that treatment of some mental health problems could benefit from the inclusion of dietary advice.

Click here to read the full article.

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