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Mirtazapine Does Not Boost SSRI Effectiveness. When patients have residual symptoms of depression after at least six weeks of treatment with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) or serotonin-noradenaline reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), many physicians add mirtazapine. a study published in November in the British Medical Journal found that this combination was no more effective in improving depression than placebo. Furthermore, the combination may increase the number of adverse effects and the likelihood that a patient will discontinue taking his or her medication.

Stress Can Harm Your Memory. a study of 2,231 participants in the Framingham Heart Study found that middle aged adults with higher levels of the stress hormone Cortisol performed worse on cognitive and memory tests than their peers with average Cortisol levels. The findings were adjusted for age, sex, smoking, and body mass index. Higher Cortisol levels were also associated with reduced brain mass, the study authors reported in Neurology in October. "The faster pace of life today probably means more stress, and when we are stressed, Cortisol levels increase because that is our fight-or-flight response," wrote lead author Sudha Seshadri, MD, professor of neurology at UT Health San Antonio and founding director of the university's Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer's and Neurodegenerative Diseases. "This study adds to the prevailing wisdom that it's never too early to be mindful of reducing stress."

Psychotherapy and Drug Combo Offers Promise for PTSD. A combination of intensive psychotherapy and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) may significantly reduce posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, according to a study published in October in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. This double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2 pilot study compared two active doses of MDMA with a low control dose of MDMA as an adjunct to psychotherapy in 28 people with chronic PTSD resulting from military service, sexual assault, and other causes. One month after MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, 43% of patients no longer met criteria for PTSD. That number rose to 76 percent at 12 months. Participants also reported improvements in depression, sleep problems, and dissociation at 12 months.

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Publication:Duke Medicine Health News
Date:Jan 1, 2019
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