Posts Tagged ‘Jolynn Tumolo’

Two simple mind-body practices improved cognition and helped reverse perceived memory loss in older adults with subjective cognitive decline, in a pilot study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Researchers randomly assigned 60 older adults with subjective cognitive decline—a strong predictor of Alzheimer’s disease—to a program of either beginner meditation (Kirtan Kriya) or music listening over 6 months. For the first 3 months, participants were directed to practice their intervention 12 minutes daily. For the remaining 3 months, participants were told to engage in their intervention at their discretion.

At 3 months, both the meditation and music listening groups showed marked and significant improvements in subjective memory function and objective cognitive performance, researchers found. What’s more, the substantial gains were maintained or improved at 6 months.

Brain Games Linked to Delayed Cognitive Decline in Elderly

“Findings of this preliminary randomized controlled trial suggest practice of meditation or music listening can significantly enhance both subjective memory function and objective cognitive performance in adults with subjective cognitive decline,” researchers concluded, “and may offer promise for improving outcomes in this population.”

Researchers had previously found that both interventions also improved sleep, mood, stress, well-being, and quality of life—with gains particularly pronounced in participants who practiced meditation. In that study, too, improvements were maintained or improved 3 months after baseline.

—Jolynn Tumolo

References

Innes KE, Selfe TK, Khalsa DS, Kandati S. Meditation and music improve memory and cognitive function in adults with subjective cognitive decline: a pilot randomized controlled trial. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. 2017;56:899-916.

Meditation and music may help reverse early memory loss in adults at risk for Alzheimer’s disease [press release]. Lansdale, PA: IOS Press; January 23, 2017.


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 understand suicide thought markers.”

The study included 379 patients from emergency departments, inpatient centers, and outpatient centers at 3 sites. Researchers classified 130 of the patients as suicidal, 126 as mentally ill but not suicidal, and 123 as controls with neither mental illness nor suicidality.

Patients completed standardized behavioral rating scales and participated in semi-structured interviews. Five open-ended questions were used to stimulate conversation, including “Do you have hope?” “Are you angry?” and “Does it hurt emotionally?”

Using machine learning algorithms to analyze linguistic and acoustic characteristics in patients’ responses, computers were 93% accurate in classifying a person who was suicidal and 85% accurate in identifying whether a person was suicidal, had a mental illness but was not suicidal, or was neither.

“These computational approaches provide novel opportunities to apply technological innovations in suicide care and prevention, and it surely is needed,” said study lead author John Pestian, PhD, a professor in the divisions of biomedical informatics and psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio.

“When you look around health care facilities, you see tremendous support from technology, but not so much for those who care for mental illness. Only now are our algorithms capable of supporting those caregivers. This methodology easily can be extended to schools, shelters, youth clubs, juvenile justice centers, and community centers, where earlier identification may help to reduce suicide attempts and deaths.”

References

Pestian JP, Sorter M, Connolly B, et al. A machine learning approach to identifying the thought markers of suicidal subjects: a prospective multicenter trial. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. 2016 November 3;[Epub ahead of print].

Using a patient’s own words machine learning automatically identifies suicidal behavior [press release]. Cincinnati, OH: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; November 7, 2016.

In a large group of older women, those who consumed higher amounts of caffeine had lower rates of incident dementia than those who consumed lower amounts over as many as 10 years of follow-up in a study. Researchers published their findings in The Journals of Gerontology.

“The mounting evidence of caffeine consumption as a potentially protective factor against cognitive impairment is exciting given that caffeine is also an easily modifiable dietary factor with very few contraindications,” said study lead author Ira Driscoll, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “What is unique about this study is that we had an unprecedented opportunity to examine the relationships between caffeine intake and dementia incidence in a large and well-defined, prospectively-studied cohort of women.”

The findings are based on 6467 community-dwelling women age 65 and older who self-reported their daily caffeine consumption upon enrollment in the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study, which is funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Over up to a decade of follow-up, the women received annual assessments of cognitive function, and 388 of them were diagnosed with probable dementia or some form of cognitive impairment.

After adjusting for a number of risk factors including age, hormone therapy, sleep quality, and depression, researchers found that women who consumed above-average levels of caffeine (more than 261 mg per day) were 36% less likely to develop incident dementia. To provide perspective, the study explained that an 8-ounce cup of coffee contains 95 mg of caffeine, 8 ounces of brewed black tea contains 47 mg, and a 12-ounce can of cola contains 33 mg.

“Our findings suggest lower odds of probable dementia or cognitive impairment in older women whose caffeine consumption was above median for this group,” the researchers concluded, “and are consistent with the existing literature showing an inverse association between caffeine intake and age-related cognitive impairment.”

—Jolynn Tumolo

References

Driscoll I, Shumaker SA, Snively BM, et al. Relationships between caffeine intake and risk for probable dementia or global cognitive impairment: the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study. The Journals of Gerontology. 2016 September 27;[Epub ahead of print].

Whole-body hyperthermia is a promising antidepressant modality that works quickly and offers prolonged benefit, according to a study recently published in the online JAMA Psychiatry.

Researchers came to that conclusion after conducting a double-blind study that randomized 30 adults with major depressive disorder to either a single session of active whole-body hyperthermia or a sham treatment that mimicked all aspects of whole-body hyperthermia except its intense heat.

The sham condition was included to strengthen the study design.

“A prior open trial found that a single session of whole-body hyperthermia reduced depressive symptoms,” researchers wrote. “However, the lack of a placebo control raises the possibility that the observed antidepressant effects resulted not from hyperthermia per se, but from nonspecific aspects of the intervention.”

Among participants randomized to sham treatment in the new study, more than 70% believed they had received whole-body hyperthermia, researchers reported, suggesting the placebo was convincing.

When researchers looked at participants’ scores on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale throughout the 6-week period following the session, they found participants who received active whole-body hyperthermia had significantly reduced scores compared to participants who received sham treatment. Adverse events were mild.

Psych Congress Steering Committee member Charles L. Raison, MD, discussed the findings prior to their publication during a session at last year’s U.S. Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress in San Diego.

“Like ketamine, like scopolamine, and other rapid treatments for depression that are of intense interest in psychiatry, hyperthermia shows the same effect,” he said. “It doesn’t take a week or 2 to work. People feel better very, very quickly, and the effects appear to persist for an extended period of time.”

– Jolynn Tumolo

References

Janssen CW, Lowry CA, Mehl MR, et al. Whole-body hyperthermia for the treatment of major depressive disorder: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Psychiatry. 2016 May 12. [Epub ahead of print].

Lebano L. New data support whole body hyperthermia for rapid treatment of major depression. Psych Congress Network. 2015 Sept. 10.

http://www.psychcongress.com/article/hyperthermia-provides-significant-rapid-relief-depression-study-suggests-27981