Despite its wretched history, psychosurgery is back with a new name-neurosurgery for mental disorders-and with renewed confidence in its benefits.1 Two technologies are now available that produce small lesions in the brain: stereotactic microablation and gamma knife radiation (no burr holes necessary). Concomitant functional imaging allows for precision targeting that makes these procedures state of the art, but it is possible that deep brain stimulation (DBS), which has shown early promise in clinical trials and is an exciting research tool, may replace ablative procedures that destroy brain cells. Both new stereotactic neurosurgery and old psychosurgery were the focus of recent mass media reports.
Reframing ADHD in the Genomic EraJune 2nd 2008
In the era of genomics, psychiatry-like all areas of medicine-will likely undergo radical change. As genetic risk factors are uncovered and the dynamic nature of gene expression is elucidated, novel approaches to prevention will diminish or preempt diagnosis and treatment for many psychiatric and neurobehavioral disorders.
The Concept of Recovery in Major DepressionJune 2nd 2008
In clinical medicine, the term recovery connotes the act of regaining or returning to a normal or usual state of health. However, there is lack of consensus about the use of this term (which may indicate both a process and a state), as well as of the related word remission, which indicates a temporary abatement of symptoms. Such ambiguities also affect the concepts of relapse (the return of a disease after its apparent cessation) and recurrence (the return of symptoms after a remission).
Changes Considered in Medical Leave for Stress-Induced Mental IllnessJune 2nd 2008
Business groups are pressing the Department of Labor (DOL) to eliminate "serious mental illness resulting from stress" from the "serious health conditions" an employee can cite when requesting unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993. The effort is being orchestrated by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and is being backed by personnel executives at companies such as Wal-Mart.
As an intern fulfilling my internal medicine outpatient rotation requirement, I worked in an urgent care walk-in clinic. One afternoon, I entered the waiting room to meet my last patient of the day. He was a 65-year-old white man who was receiving a workup for renal carcinoma.
Antipsychotic Use Questioned for Developmentally DisabledJune 2nd 2008
Two new studies of antipsychotic efficacy for nonpsychotic behaviors in persons with developmental disability provide data where there has been relatively little, but their contrary findings leave this a controversial use of medication.
Atypical Antipsychotics: The Debate Rages OnJune 2nd 2008
As new data emerge, the debate over whether atypical antipsychotics are superior to typical antipsychotics for treating patients with schizophrenia continues. The May 2008 issue of Psychiatric Services presented several studies that highlight current prescribing trends and opinions.
Adolescent Nonsuicidal Self-Injury: Evaluation and TreatmentJune 2nd 2008
In working with adolescents, mental health care professionals often draw on their own developmental experiences to help guide their patients; however, nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) is not likely to be a personal experience that psychiatrists can often draw on.
Recent Clinical Findings From Longitudinal StudiesJune 2nd 2008
There is substantial comorbidity with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder (CD) in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is important to determine the effect of comorbid ODD and CD on the clinical course in youth with ADHD. Biederman and associates1 recently published clinical findings from a 10-year prospective, longitudinal study of boys with ADHD, following them into early adulthood.
Violent Attacks by Patients: Prevention and Self-ProtectionJune 2nd 2008
The brutal murder of New York psychologist Kathryn Faughey and attempted murder of psychiatrist Kent Shinbach this past February has provoked warnings to psychiatrists about personal safety and overreliance on clinical judgment. David Tarloff, a person with schizophrenia, was indicted for the attacks. According to press reports, Tarloff blamed Shinbach for having him institutionalized in 1991. While he was wait-ing to see Shinbach, Tarloff allegedly entered Faughey's nearby office and slashed her to death with a meat cleaver and knives. Shinbach heard her screams, tried to rescue her, and was assaulted and robbed.
Frontiers in Psychiatric ResearchJune 2nd 2008
These are exciting times for genetics research: Science magazine chose our new appreciation of human genetic diversity as the scientific breakthrough of the year 2007.1 The year brought a new genetic bonanza with the announcement of the 1000 Genome Project, a plan to capture human diversity by obtaining the entire genome sequence information of 1000 individuals.
Pathological Lying: Symptom or Disease?June 1st 2008
Mr A was desperate. He was about to lose yet another job, not because he was at risk for being fired, but because his lying behavior had finally boxed him into a corner. He had lied repeatedly to his colleagues, telling them that he had an incurable disease and was receiving palliative treatment. . .
Mood and Anxiety Disorders Following Traumatic Brain InjuryJune 1st 2008
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the major cause of death and disability among young adults. In spite of preventive measures, the incidence of a TBI associated with motor vehicle accidents, falls, assault, and high-contact sports continues to be alarmingly high and constitutes a major public health concern. In addition, the recent military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted in a large number of persons with blast injuries and brain trauma. Taking into account that cognitive and behavioral changes have a decisive influence in the recovery and community reintegration of patients with a TBI, there is a renewed interest in developing systematic studies of the frequency, mechanism, and treatment of the psychopathological alterations observed among these patients.
Nonconventional Approaches in Psychiatric AssessmentJune 1st 2008
Everyone is unique at the level of social, cultural, psychological, biological, and possibly "energetic" functioning. By extension, in every person, the complex causes or meanings of symptoms are uniquely determined. The diversity and complexity of factors that contribute to mental illness often make it difficult to accurately assess the underlying causes of symptoms and to identify treatments that most effectively address them.
The mind-brain dichotomy has been on a roller-coaster ride over the past few hundred years. Clinically astute European neuropsychiatrists in the 18th and 19th centuries described various neuropsychiatric disorders based on observations of their patients.
Doing Psychiatry Wrong: A Critical and Prescriptive Look at a Faltering ProfessionJune 1st 2008
Psychiatry has gone wrong by being too symptom-focused, too brain-oriented, and riddled with misdiagnoses. It should go back to seeking the "meaning" of things in patients' subjective experiences. This is the main theme of this short polemic based on case studies. The author selectively cites studies or opinions to make his point rather than trying to get at the truth by offering other perspectives. As George Orwell pointed out, books are of 2 types: those that seek to justify an opinion and those that seek the truth.