New studies continue to be conducted and published to better the practice of psychiatry and improve mental health. Here are some of the more important trends in the field that have come out in the past year.
First is an update in the guideline on dealing with mild cognitive impairment or MCI. This study was published by the American Academy of Neurology just last February. This new guideline stresses the importance of proper MCI diagnosis, to assess for reversible causes which in turn would help families and patients themselves better understand the condition and deal with it. Included in this guideline is the discussion of prognostic implications on the risk of dementia, as well as recommending neuropsychological testing as soon as a patient is tested positive for MCI.
A study done in November 2018 looked at primary care records in England, matching young people between the ages of 10 and 19 who had episodes of self-harm with a group that doesn’t have any. Those who had instances of self-harm (which refers to non-suicidal self-injury or attempt) were proven to be three times more likely to pass away from unnatural causes. This study emphasizes the importance of seeking professional help and treatment for children and adolescents who have had an episode of self-harm.
Last is the use of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) for treating ADHD among adults. MBCT combines mindfulness meditation in a clinical setting with aspects of cognitive therapy. The trial done in the Netherlands showed that, compared with the control group, patients were given MBCT had their core ADHD reduced and the effects maintained for six months. This study is showing that, while still requiring further testing, MBCT is proving to be an effective treatment for ADHD.
Jonathan Lauter, M.D., is certified in both general and child/adolescent psychiatry. He is an elected fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. For more insights on mental health, check out this link.