Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of recurrent depressive or bipolar disorder, with episodes that vary in severity. Seasonal patterns of depressive episodes are common, but SAD seems to be less common than such patterns suggest. SAD was at first believed to be related to abnormal melatonin metabolism, but later findings did not support this hypothesis. Studies of brain serotonin function support the hypothesis of disturbed activity. The short-allele polymorphism for serotonin transporter is more common in patients with SAD than in healthy people. Atypical depressive symptoms commonly precede impaired functioning, and somatic symptoms are frequently the presenting complaint at visits to family physicians, The best treatment regimens include 2500 Ix of artificial light exposure in the morning. When patients seem to have no response or to prefer another treatment, antidepressants should be considered.
Epilepsy with myoclonic absences is a rare seizure disorder with intellectual impairment and resistance to conventional anti-convulsants. It is essential to diagnose epilepsy with myoclonic absences earlier for a better outcome. The authors present a case report to highlight this fact.
Patients with major depression often report pain. In this article, we review the current literature regarding the prevalence and consequences, as well as the pathophysiology, of unexplained painful physical symptoms (UPPS) in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). UPPS are experienced by approximately two-thirds of depressed patients. The presence of UPPS makes a correct diagnosis of depression more difficult. Moreover, UPPS are a predictor of a poor response to treatment and a more chronic course of depression. Pain, in the course of depression, also has a negative impact on functioning and quality of life. Frequent comorbidity of depression and UPPS has inspired the formulation of an hypothesis regarding a shared neurobiological mechanism of both conditions. Evidence from neuroimaging studies has shown that frontal-limbic dysfunction in depression may explain abnormal pain processing, leading to the presence of UPPS. Increased levels of proinflamatory cytokines and substance P in patients with MDD may also clarify the pathophysiology of UPPS. Finally, dysfunction of the descending serotonergic and noradrenergic pathways that normally suppress ascending sensations has been proposed as a core mechanism of UPPS. Psychological factors such as catastrophizing also play a role in both depression and chronic pain. Therefore, pharmacological treatment and/or cognitive therapy are recommended in the treatment of depression with UPPS. Some data suggest that serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are more effective than selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in the alleviation of depression and UPPS. However, the pooled analysis of eight randomised clinical trials showed similar efficacy of duloxetine (an SNRI) and paroxetine (an SSRI) in reducing UPPS in depression. Further integrative studies examining genetic factors (e.g. polymorphisms of genes for interleukins, serotonin transporter and receptors), molecular factors (e.g. cytokines, substance P) and neuroimaging findings (e.g. functional studies during painful stimulation) might provide further explanation of the pathophysiology of UPPS in MDD and therefore facilitate the development of more effective methods of treatment.
In this article we review the current literature addressing the treatment of schizophrenia with vitamin supplementation. We first describe the important roles that vitamins play in normal metabolism, then review the evidence pertaining to vitamin deficiency and supplementation in patients with schizophrenia. We then describe mounting evidence suggesting that vitamin supplementation, in particular with folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin D, may be important in treatment within certain subgroups of patients. We highlight the need for larger, randomized controlled trials, and recommend further studies examining the incidence of schizophrenia in countries with poor prenatal care and malnutrition, as well as in countries that have adopted mandatory folic acid fortification of grain products.
Research on the concept of craving may lead to a better understanding of the biobehavioral circuitries that contribute to the complexity of Alcohol Use Disorders (AUD). The experiences described as craving or desire to drink, are often associated with physical responses such as increased salivation, heart rate and alteration of stress hormones as well as psychological responses such as anxiety and depression. Greater craving has been associated with the increased probability of alcohol relapse. Reversal of craving, understood as a symptom of protracted abstinence, offers the possibility of preventing relapses and treating alcoholism. Various medications have been studied to establish whether they are able to reduce craving; however, the results obtained from clinical studies have been inconsistent. Here we review the interdisciplinary models developed to evaluate craving, then the different approaches used to assess and measure craving, and finally, the medications utilized and tested to lessen craving in patients suffering from AUD.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a life-long, potentially debilitating disease of the central nervous system (CNS). MS is considered to be an immune-mediated disease, and the presence of autoreactive peripheral lymphocytes in CNS compartments is believed to be critical in the process of demyelination and tissue damage in MS. Although MS is not currently a curable disease, several disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) are now available, or are in development. These DMTs are all thought to primarily suppress autoimmune activity within the CNS. Each therapy has its own mechanism of action (MoA) and, as a consequence, each has a different efficacy and safety profile. Neurologists can now select therapies on a more individual, patient-tailored basis, with the aim of maximizing potential for long-term efficacy without interruptions in treatment. The MoA and clinical profile of MS therapies are important considerations when making that choice or when switching therapies due to suboptimal disease response. This article therefore reviews the known and putative immunological MoAs alongside a summary of the clinical profile of therapies approved for relapsing forms of MS, and those in late-stage development, based on published data from pivotal randomized, controlled trials.
There is increasing recognition of the involvement of the immune signaling molecule, tumor necrosis factor (TNF), in the pathophysiology of stroke and chronic brain dysfunction. TNF plays an important role both in modulating synaptic function and in the pathogenesis of neuropathic pain. Etanercept is a recombinant therapeutic that neutralizes pathologic levels of TNF. Brain imaging has demonstrated chronic intracerebral microglial activation and neuroinflammation following stroke and other forms of acute brain injury. Activated microglia release TNF, which mediates neurotoxicity in the stroke penumbra. Recent observational studies have reported rapid and sustained improvement in chronic post-stroke neurological and cognitive dysfunction following perispinal administration of etanercept. The biological plausibility of these results is supported by independent evidence demonstrating reduction in cognitive dysfunction, neuropathic pain, and microglial activation following the use of etanercept, as well as multiple studies reporting improvement in stroke outcome and cognitive impairment following therapeutic strategies designed to inhibit TNF. The causal association between etanercept treatment and reduction in post-stroke disability satisfy all of the Bradford Hill Criteria: strength of the association; consistency; specificity; temporality; biological gradient; biological plausibility; coherence; experimental evidence; and analogy. Recognition that chronic microglial activation and pathologic TNF concentration are targets that may be therapeutically addressed for years following stroke and other forms of acute brain injury provides an exciting new direction for research and treatment.
Food intake and appetite are regulated by various circulating hormones including ghrelin and glucagon-like-peptide 1 (GLP-1). Ghrelin, mainly released from the stomach, increases food intake, induces appetite, enhances adiposity as well as releases growth hormone. Hypothalamic “ghrelin receptors” (GHS-R1A) have a critical role in food intake regulation, but GHS-R1A are also expressed in reward related areas. GLP-1 is produced in the intestinal mucosa as well as in the hindbrain in response to nutrient ingestion. This gut-brain hormone reduces food intake as well as regulates glucose homeostasis, foremost via GLP-1 receptors in hypothalamus and brain stem. However, GLP-1 receptors are expressed in areas intimately associated with reward regulation. Given that regulation of food and drug intake share common neurobiological substrates, the possibility that ghrelin and GLP-1 play an important role in reward regulation should be considered. Indeed, this leading article describes that the orexigenic peptide ghrelin activates the cholinergic–dopaminergic reward link, an important part of the reward systems in the brain associated with reinforcement and thereby increases the incentive salience for motivated behaviors via this system. We also review the role of ghrelin signaling for reward induced by alcohol and addictive drugs from a preclinical, clinical and human genetic perspective. In addition, the recent findings showing that GLP-1 controls reward induced by alcohol, amphetamine, cocaine and nicotine in rodents are overviewed herein. Finally, the role of several other appetite regulatory hormones for reward and addiction is briefly discussed. Collectively, these data suggest that ghrelin and GLP-1 receptors may be novel targets for development of pharmacological treatments of alcohol and drug dependence.