Monday, February 05, 2007

migraine news roundup 27

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I have not done a news post for quite some time because it has been a while since I read anything particularly noteworthy. However, I have recently read a few items of interest on the topics of migraines and depression.

Studies tied depression, loneliness to physical ills
The exact connections between a dysfunctional mind and a malfunctioning body remains an ongoing question, but at least one of three sets of researchers writing in the Archives of General Psychiatry said several factors may be at work.

Stanford-Led Study Closes in on Genes That May Predispose Some People to Severe Depression
Some people appear to be genetically predisposed to developing severe depression, but researchers have yet to pin down the genes responsible. Now, a specific region rife with promise has been located on one chromosome by a consortium of researchers working under Douglas Levinson, MD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

"This finding has a very good chance of leading to a discovery of a gene that could yield important information about why some people develop depression," said Levinson. If problematic genetic variations could be identified, it would open the door to a whole new world of investigation, and eventually, treatment possibilities. The team's results are reported in two papers that will be published in the February issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Leading Migraine Author and Advocate Joins the Team at The HealthCentral Network's MyMigraineConnection.Com

Neurological Illness Affects Millions Of Americans
Dr Steven Alpert of the University of Pittsburgh points out that the studies that contributed to these findings did not all use the same methods for measuring rates and prevalence, and neither did they use the same methods to diagnose illnesses. So in his view while the figures are interesting, they are probably not accurate.

Dr Hirtz and colleagues left out many other conditions that could have counted as being equally burdensome. For instance mental retardation, sleep disorders, chronic pain. The reason was that these conditions are often treated by non-neurologists and do not have as well defined criteria for diagnosis.

They also acknowledged that these figures do not capture the full extent of the burden of these disorders. For a more realistic assessment of the burden of these illnesses, the figures would have to include estimates of the duration, intensity, degree of disability, frequency, impact on life expectancy, and some measure of the suffering they cause, as well as the wider impact on family and society at large.

Device for Depression Criticized
FDA Advisory Panel Sees Marginal Effect of TMS in Depression Treatment
An FDA advisory panel on Friday questioned the value of a new brain stimulation device for depressiondepression, potentially damaging its chances for FDA approval.

Members of the panel expressed doubts that the machine, called NeuroStar, helps depressed patients or provides any advantage over placebo treatment.

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