Post Of The Week – Saturday 6th February 2016

1) Peter Kinderman On Antidepressants And Adolescence

Here is Peter Kinderman’s commentary on the report published a couple of weeks ago on the risk of suicide arising from adolescents’ use of antidepressants.

https://theconversation.com/when-teenagers-and-antidepressants-are-not-a-good-mix-53945

Kindeman makes a point which has been around for a long time but which is often ignored. Antidepressants energise people but do not necessarily help them to direct that energy appropriately.

 

2) More Antidepressants – Ketamine Again

The evidence for ketamine as an antidepressant is mixed. This piece from the Washington Post emphasises the positive and contains some video to explain the latest research.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/a-one-time-party-drug-is-helping-people-with-deep-depression/2016/02/01/d3e73862-b490-11e5-a76a-0b5145e8679a_story.html?postshare=6101454781423378&tid=ss_tw

The fact that the National Institutes Of Health in the US is involved in this suggests that we should take it seriously.

 

3) Even More Antidepressants – The CoBalT Study

We use this as part of the A2 course. It is a large scale study looking at the use of CBT with people whose depression is resistant to drug treatment.

http://www.nationalelfservice.net/treatment/cbt/cbt-plus-medication-for-treatment-resistant-depression-the-cobalt-rct-long-term-follow-up/

The findings just published follow up people on average 46 months after they received significant amounts of CBT (12 to 18 sessions). Outcomes are better for these participants than for those receiving treatment as usual, although the treatment as usual participants using only antidepressants also report substantial improvement.  It is interesting to see how the quality of evidence is improving. We now have studies available which establish the effectiveness of treatments not after 12 or 24 weeks but after the best part of four years. These findings are available as open access: anyone can get at the numbers and spot problems or issues. On the other hand, the study relies on self-report data. The extent of improvement is judged by questionnaire. Furthermore, participants are aware which group they are in: treatment as usual or treatment plus CBT.

 

4) Working Memory Training And Anxiety

We examine as part of the AS course the claim that brain training can be used to enhance academic performance by strengthening working memory.

http://digest.bps.org.uk/2016/02/working-memory-training-could-help-beat.html

This article suggests something different. Using working memory training helps people deal with intrusive thoughts which prevent them from focusing on the task in hand. Evidence from trials which were performed under normal and stressful conditions suggests that working memory training helps people to concentrate and perform when under stress.

 

5) Between The Classroom And The Lecture Room

I try to organise our course so that the transition into university is as natural as possible. This article from The Daily Telegraph explores this transition, profiling a teacher who works both in a school and in a university.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/secondaryeducation/12141124/Bridging-the-chasm-between-classroom-and-lecture-room.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

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