Revival of an old drug, declaration of independence for seniors, inmates doing more than time—these and other stories are covered in our monthly roundup.
Gabapentin, prescribed to treat pain associated with seizures and neurological disorders as well as other illnesses, is now among the top 10 medications in the United States, according to prescription tracker GoodRx. "Researchers attribute the recent surge to tighter restrictions on opioid painkillers, which have left doctors searching for alternatives for their patients…The Food and Drug Administration is now studying patterns of prescribing and illicit use of gabapentin.” The New York Times • Drug Epidemic Ensnares 25-Year-Old Pill for Nerve Pain • May 4, 2018
The rates of suicidal ideation and attempted suicides have risen drastically, according to a study that examined emergency department trends between 2008 and 2015. “Increases were noted across all age groups, with consistent seasonal patterns that persisted over the study period. The growing impact of pediatric mental health disorders has important implications for children’s hospitals and health care delivery systems.” Pediatrics • Hospitalization for Suicide Ideation or Attempt: 2008–2015 • May 2018
Data was collected between 2013 and 2015 in an analysis of 91,000 participants in the UK in a study that aimed to gauge sleep and circadian rhythm disruption, an essential component of mood disorders. “Circadian disruption is reliably associated with various adverse mental health and wellbeing outcomes, including major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. Lower relative amplitude might be linked to increased susceptibility to mood disorders.” Lancet Psychiatry • Association of disrupted circadian rhythmicity with mood disorders, subjective wellbeing, and cognitive function • May 15, 2018
“A new study . . . shows that African Americans and Latinos are significantly more likely to experience serious depression than Whites, but chronic stress does not seem to explain these differences. Dr. Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities [NIMHD] was the senior author of the study, which also found that African Americans and Latinos were more likely to have higher levels of chronic stress and more unhealthy behaviors [eg, smoking, alcohol abuse, lethargy, diet].” NIH • African Americans and Latinos are more likely to be at risk for depression than Whites • May 24, 2018
“A researcher in Amsterdam finds that using tablet computers may help improve the quality of life for people with dementia...'Technology has the potential to help preserve independence, or at least maintain it, for many, many more years than is currently possible,' says Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, director of the neurocognitive disorders program at Duke University Health System. 'Ultimately we want nursing homes to disappear. We want people to live peacefully in their own home.'” The Wall Street Journal • For Those With Dementia, Help From Technology • May 28, 2018