Teen depression rises with screen time, potential new target for novel antidepressants, and more key findings here.
Teen depression rises with screen time, suicide ideation weighs more on low-income women, potential new target for novel antidepressants-these are some of the latest findings in major depressive disorder research. Scroll through the slideshow above to find concise summaries.
“Dealing with depression effectively is a mark not of weakness, but of strength.”
-Andrew Solomon, PhD
Increased depressive symptoms were linked with adolescents’ use of social media, television, and computers-but not video games-in a recent study. A 0.64-unit rise in depressive symptoms was shown for every extra hour spent using social media, and a further 1-hour increase in social media use in a given year was linked with a further 0.41-unit rise in depressive symptoms in that year. Similar associations were found for computer use and television. Upward social comparison and reinforcing spirals may have explained the associations more than displacement.
Investigators performed a cross-sectional analysis of low-income pregnant women enrolled in a Women Infant and Children supplemental nutrition program to estimate the prevalence and correlates of suicidal ideation among them. The prevalence was 4.6%. After adjusting for smoking, women who had depression were 13 times as likely to report suicidal ideation as those who did not. The findings indicate that not all women who report suicide ideation meet the threshold for depression, the authors noted.
In trials of duloxetine and desvenlafaxine, the antidepressants decreased functional connectivity compared with placebo within a thalamo-cortico-periaqueductal network that earlier had been associated with the experience of pain. In both studies, there were improvements in depressive symptom severity with the reductions in functional connectivity. In the desvenlafaxine study, there were improvements in pain symptoms. Based on the findings, the authors suggested the network could be a target for novel antidepressant therapeutics.
Adolescents who can identify and precisely describe their negative emotions are less susceptible to depressive symptoms after stressful life events than those who cannot. In a recent study, low negative emotion differentiation predicted within-subjects associations between daily hassles and momentary depressed mood, between-subjects associations between stressful life events severity and depression, and prospective associations between stressful life events severity and increases in depression at follow-up.
Noting a recent doubling of the divorce rate among older persons, investigators evaluated how depressive symptom levels change after gray divorce vs widowhood. Persons who divorced or became widowed already had higher levels, but those who divorced had a lower elevation and a shorter time to recovery after dissolution. The groups had similar magnitudes of initial reduction and subsequent rates of increase when they repartnered. The negative consequences of marital dissolution and mental health benefits of repartnership persisted for several years.
Exposure to anticholinergic antidepressants was associated with significant increases in dementia risk in a nested case-control study of patients aged 55 years or older who had a dementia diagnosis. Significant increases were also seen with anti-Parkinson drugs, antipsychotic drugs, bladder antimuscarinics, and antiepileptic drugs. The associations were stronger in cases with a diagnosis made before age 80 years. The authors suggested exercising caution in prescribing anticholinergic drugs for middle-aged and older patients.
Apathy is present in close to half of patients with dementia and is linked with more severe disease and worse clinical symptoms but often is “forgotten in care,” researchers said. In an analysis of 4320 patients with Alzheimer disease from 20 cohort studies, 45% presented with apathy and 20% had persistent apathy over time. Apathy and depression often are comorbid and share some symptoms, but a proportion of the study patients had apathy without depression, suggesting that apathy could have its own unique clinical and biological profile.
Low acetylcholinesterase (AChE), a marker of increased pesticide exposure, was related to increased depressive symptoms among adolescents in agricultural communities in the Ecuadorian Andes (ESPINA study). The association was stronger in girls than in boys and in younger children. Lower AChE activity was not related to anxiety symptoms. The authors concluded that pesticide exposure may create risk for depression, particularly among girls during early adolescence.