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the facts about antidepressants

Antidepressants are a constant source of controversy. Concerns are raised that these drugs are not safe, that the side-effects are being overlooked, that they are being over-prescribed and are part of a trend of over-medicalisation. read more

Testing a ‘controversial’ treatment for CFS/ME in children

In England up to two in 100 children have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME), the illness means they are unable to go to school or do other activities for more than three months. In fact 1% of secondary school children miss a day a week or more because of it. Unfortunately controversy rages around the illness and the treatment. Most children will recover if they receive specialist treatment; however, there is very limited specialist care in the UK and approximately 90% of children live too far away to receive the treatment they need. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is known to be effective for children and a very successful trial in the Netherlands showed it can be delivered over the internet, meaning children can be helped wherever they live. However, we do not know if the results can be replicated in the UK so researchers, amidst rising tension from some people who do not support treatments such as CBT or Graded Exercise Therapy, are now starting a large clinical trial to test whether this treatment would work in the UK and should be available on the NHS. read more

A treatment for autism

Autism is a severe developmental disorder that affects 1 in 100 children. The core difficulties in social communication, which can mean children not even being able to communicate verbally, and the rigid and repetitive behaviours usually have a profound effect on development into adulthood and result in estimated £1-1.5 million lifetime societal costs per child. Despite many claims and previous research, there has to date been no treatment for the condition that has succeeded in improving these core developmental symptoms over the long-term. Now, however, researchers are reporting the long-term results of an intervention with families early in development that may begin to change our expectations. read more

expert reaction to treatment for autism in children

Autism is a severe developmental disorder that affects 1 in 100 children with no treatment that has succeeded in improving these core developmental symptoms over the long-term. Researchers publishing in The Lancet are reporting the long-term results of an intervention with families early in development that may begin to change our expectations. read more

expert reaction to mouse study of gene therapy for Alzheimer’s disease

A group of scientists have described their use of a specific gene therapy to treat Alzheimer’s disease in a mouse model. Publishing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the scientists report that the upregulation of the PGC-1α gene brought about reduced biological markers of the disease and improved function in the mice. read more

CBT – does it really work?

Many people are concerned about over-medicalisation and the use of pharmaceutical therapies such as antidepressants. This concern has coincided with a rise in the use of psychological therapies, particularly Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). However, do we know how strong the evidence for CBT actually is? Is it really just talking, or would that even matter as long as it works? Is the evidence only strong for certain disorders and can it cause harm, even when used correctly? read more

expert reaction to amyloid therapy for Alzheimer’s

An antibody therapy for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease has been described in a paper published in the journal Nature in which the authors report its use in animals and a small number of patients where the treatment was able to reduce amyloid plaques which are thought to contribute to the disease. read more

expert reaction to study investigating the long-term outcomes associated with traumatic brain injury in childhood

Researchers publishing in PLOS Medicine have assessed the long-term impact of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in young people and looked at the effect on early death, educational attainment, welfare requirements and need for psychiatric care. The study involved a large number of Swedish people who recorded a TBI (including concussion) before the age of 25 and compared them to siblings and others who had not had these injuries. read more

long-term impact of traumatic brain injuries in young people

Concerns over the long-term impacts of head injuries have frequently made the news, but the focus has largely been on professional sports players. Researchers have now assessed the long-term impact of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in young people and looked at the effect on early death, educational attainment, welfare requirements and need for psychiatric care. The study, published in PLOS Medicine, involved a large number of Swedish people who recorded a TBI (including concussion) before the age of 25 and compared them to siblings and others who had not had these injuries. read more

expert reaction to acupuncture and mild cognitive impairment

Researchers publishing in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine have conducted a meta-analysis of five trials and report that acupuncture appears to be effective for the treatment of a pre-dementia condition (amnestic mild cognitive impairment) though they caution that the studies in question had low methodological quality. read more

expert reaction to behavioural activation therapy for depression

A comparison between cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and behavioural activation (BA) for the treatment of depression is made in a study published in The Lancet journal. The authors report that the two treatments are equally effective at treating depression in adults and that BA can be delivered by junior mental health workers at a lower cost. read more

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