Johns Hopkins clinical pharmacologist Roland Griffiths talks about a major new study hinting at psychedelic drugs as therapeutic powerhouses

By Richard Schiffman In one of the largest and most rigorous clinical investigations of psychedelic drugs to date, researchers at Johns Hopkins University and New York University have found that a single dose of psilocybin—the psychoactive compound in “magic” mushrooms—substantially diminished depression and anxiety in patients with advanced cancer. Psychedelics were the subject of aContinue reading “Johns Hopkins clinical pharmacologist Roland Griffiths talks about a major new study hinting at psychedelic drugs as therapeutic powerhouses”

Computer Algorithms Accurately Identify Suicidal Patients

by Jolynn Tumolo By analyzing a patient’s spoken and written words, computer tools classified with up to 93% accuracy whether the person was suicidal, in a study published online in Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. “While basic sciences provide the opportunity to understand biological markers related to suicide,” researchers wrote, “computer science provides opportunities to understandContinue reading “Computer Algorithms Accurately Identify Suicidal Patients”

Dark treatment for people with mania

By James Phelps, MD If light is an antidepressant (true) and antidepressants can make bipolar disorders worse (true), can darkness make bipolar disorders better? Might darkness be anti-manic? This idea was explored over 2 decades ago, with a stunningly successful case report from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) demonstrating that in at leastContinue reading “Dark treatment for people with mania”

Reduced activity of an important enzyme identified among suicidal patients

It is known that people who have attempted suicide have ongoing inflammation in their blood and spinal fluid. Now, a collaborative study from research teams in Sweden, the US and Australia published in Translational Psychiatry shows that suicidal patients have a reduced activity of an enzyme that regulates inflammation and its byproducts. The study isContinue reading “Reduced activity of an important enzyme identified among suicidal patients”

Psychiatry’s Identity Crisis

By Richard A Friedman, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College American psychiatry is facing a quandary: Despite a vast investment in basic neuroscience research and its rich intellectual promise, we have little to show for it on the treatment front. With few exceptions, every major class of current psychotropic drugs —Continue reading “Psychiatry’s Identity Crisis”

The Healing Power of Caring and Hope in Psychotherapy

By Allen Frances, MD There are 3 consistent research findings that should make a world of difference to therapists and to the people they treat. 1. Psychotherapy works at least as well as drugs for most mild to moderate problems and, all things being equal, should be used first 2. A good relationship is muchContinue reading “The Healing Power of Caring and Hope in Psychotherapy”

New study identifies potential new class of more rapidly acting antidepressant medications

A new study by researchers at University of Maryland School of Medicine has identified promising compounds that could successfully treat depression in less than 24 hours while minimizing side effects. Although they have not yet been tested in people, the compounds could offer significant advantages over current antidepressant medications. The research, led by Scott Thompson,Continue reading “New study identifies potential new class of more rapidly acting antidepressant medications”

Antidepressant Clinical Trials Exclude about 80% of People with Depression

A provocative new study suggests that more than 80 percent of people with depression in the general population aren’t eligible for clinical trials of antidepressant drugs. Researchers comment that at least five patients would need to be screened to enroll just one patient meeting the typical inclusion and exclusion criteria for antidepressant registration trials (ARTs).Continue reading “Antidepressant Clinical Trials Exclude about 80% of People with Depression”

Meet the Man Trying to Use Ayahuasca to Treat PTSD

Deep in the Amazon rainforest, a group of veterans chokes down a gritty, gut-wrenching shot of liquid absolution. They try to drink away their severe mental disturbances, but not the way you drink away your ex-girlfriend with a bottle of whiskey. They’re looking for a cure. Their leader: 27-year-old retired infantryman Ryan LeCompte. Their goal:Continue reading “Meet the Man Trying to Use Ayahuasca to Treat PTSD”