Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wednesdays News 11 12 2008

Autism Linked to Higher Precipitation Levels

High levels of annual precipitation have been linked to a higher prevalence of autism, a finding that suggests there may be an environmental trigger for the condition in genetically vulnerable children.

Investigators at Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York, correlated autism prevalence rates and average rainfall and found a positive association between the disorder and the annual amount of precipitation in a given area.

"This is first study to show an association between autism and precipitation levels, but more broadly, it is the first peer-reviewed paper to find evidence of an environmental factor linked to autism," study investigator Sean Nicholson, PhD, told Medscape Psychiatry.

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SSRI Antidepressant Treatment May Reduce Male Fertility

Treatment with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) paroxetine (Paxil) increases sperm DNA fragmentation, according to research presented today at the 64th annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in San Francisco.

"Although fertility was not directly assessed in this study, the five-fold increase in the number of patients who developed abnormal sperm DNA integrity while on paroxetine is troubling and suggests an adverse effect on fertility," co-investigator Dr. Cigdem Tanrikut, from Harvard Medical School in Boston, told Reuters Health.

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Teen Risk for Schizophrenia, Psychosis

An Atlanta University is playing a key role in the largest, most comprehensive study ever funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) of adolescents and young adults at risk for developing a psychotic disorder.

The five-year, $25-million study joins the resources of Emory University and seven other major research universities, with the goal of identifying more precise predictors for psychosis, and a better understanding of the neural mechanisms involved.

“This is a critical, watershed study,” said Elaine Walker, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Emory.

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22 Percent of Hospital Admissions Have Mental Disorders

22 Percent of Hospital Admissions Have Mental DisordersFederal authorities report that about 1.4 million hospitalizations in 2006 involved patients who were admitted for a mental illness. Additionally, another 7.1 million patients had a mental disorder in addition to the physical condition for which they were admitted.

The 8.5 million hospitalizations involving patients with mental illness represented about 22 percent of the overall 39.5 million hospitalizations in 2006.

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Practical Toolkit Provides Fresh Perspective On Generalised Anxiety Disorder

The World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) is delighted to announce the publication of a comprehensive toolkit "Understanding generalised anxiety disorder" which represents a major advance in helping people understand this debilitating condition. The toolkit provides essential, up-to date information about generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) in both adults and children, its current treatments, and the effects of stigma on those living with the disorder. Through the information presented, the toolkit aims to both educate and inform those with GAD, their physicians, families and friends, and the general public about a condition that affects the lives of millions of people, and results in marked disability and significantly impaired quality of life.1 In addition to the information about GAD, the toolkit also contains a list of national and local organisation which can be contacted for further information and support.

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