Antidepressant drugs which alleviate symptoms of depression have received much attention in the news recently, showing that the UK is the 7th highest country in the West to prescribe the drugs. The astounding rise in NHS spending on these pharmacological agents is suggested to be due to “medicalization” of normal sadness. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a class of antidepressants are commonly used to treat moderate to severe depression with new evidence showing one of these drugs, citalopram could slow down the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. However, on the other hand another recent study cautions the use of SSRIs during pregnancy as they are found to be linked to a higher incidence of autism spectrum …
Posts by Ursula D'Souza
Endocrine disorders span a range of conditions, from diabetes and thyroid disease to stress-related conditions. Stress has been linked to a number of health problems, with the most recent evidence suggesting its involvement in male infertility, allergies and headache.
During the normal stress response, glucocorticoid hormones secreted by the adrenal glands cause several physiological effects, but chronic stress can result in continual release of these hormones, leading to serious mental and physical health problems.
The impact of stress on chronic disease
In a video Q & A published in BMC Medicine, George Chrousos talks about the impact of stress on chronic non-communicable diseases including obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and …
As BMC Medicine and BMC Psychiatry launch a new article collection on the prevention of mental disorders, Ursula D’Souza, Senior Editor of BMC Medicine and Alice Murray, Executive Editor of BMC Psychiatry, look at some of the new research shaping our thinking on mental health.
Today marks the start of Mental Health Awareness week in the UK, an initiative which helps to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing issues. The global burden of mental disorders presents a growing challenge for health systems, and shows the need to make prevention of these conditions a public health priority.
Late last year, ministers, researchers, pharmaceutical companies and charities from around the world gathered together at the G8 dementia summit to make a declaration and commitment for global action against dementia. This led to a significant increase in the budget to spend on research into the prevalence, diagnosis, clinical care, and policy issues in dementia, and the latest advances in these topics were highlighted last week at the 16th national conference on dementias in London. Some of the main discussions from the meeting have been highlighted below.
Prevalence and improving quality of life
Respiratory diseases are one of the major chronic diseases and considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) to cause 60% of mortality worldwide. Significant research is being carried out on the diagnosis, treatment, management and care of patients with lung conditions. Clinical and scientific research on these specific topics were discussed at the recent British Thoracic Meeting (BTS 2013), where BMC Medicine joined over 2,100 delegates to hear new developments in the field.
Several clinical trials sessions were highlighted including continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy for obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). A systematic review on randomized clinical trials was described by Daniel Bratton from the MRC Clinical Trials Unit in London, showing CPAP treatment reduces …
To highlight our 10 year anniversary this week, the editors at BMC Medicine have been discussing the top 10 published articles based on their accesses, citations and social media impact. Today, we focus on the authors’ and reviewers’ experience with the journal.
The high standard of service to all authors and reviewers is a key focus for the journal. Submitted manuscripts that are within the scope of the journal are stringently reviewed by at least two experts in the field. We aim to send authors our editorial decision (after peer review) within 4-6 weeks of submission. Reviewers are required to declare any competing interests and we operate an open peer review process. Compared with closed …
The release of the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) by the American Psychiatric Association in May 2013 has stimulated much discussion on psychiatric diagnosis. Debate articles on the topic have been published in BMC Medicine in an article collection on Current Controversies in Psychiatry and described in a previous blog. The latest additions to this article collection focus on the impact and future directions of DSM-5 on the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders in clinical practice.
The World Health Organization estimates that at least 2.8 million adults die each year due to being overweight or obese. This is has resulted in a large proportion of the global burden of diabetes, ischaemic heart disease and certain cancers. In response to this global problem, large funding bodies are investing into understanding the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of these medical conditions. New research developments in noncommunicable diseases including diabetes were discussed at the recent Endocrine Society Meeting (ENDO 2013) where BMC Medicine joined over 9000 delegates that attended to hear about advances in the field from the bench to bedside perspective.
One topic that generated much debate at the meeting, was on the benefits and drawbacks of …
The Division of Lung Diseases of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute funds a significant amount of research on the causes, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of lung diseases and sleep disorders in the US. Advances in these areas were discussed at the recent American Thoracic Society meeting (ATS 2013), where BMC Medicine joined over 13,000 delegates to hear the latest developments in this field.
The meeting addressed several controversial topics in COPD, which included an interesting presentation by BMC Medicine’s Editorial Board Member Wisia Wedzicha on the effective use of macrolides to prevent exacerbations, which can cause severe illness, disability and death if not treated in time. As highlighted by Bartolome Celli, it is …
Common psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders are mainly treated using medications that modify the activity of monoamine neurotransmitter systems. New lines of pharmacological therapeutics for some of these disorders are emerging that target pathophysiological pathways, including inflammation, circadian and sleep patterns. Interestingly, sleep disorders are frequently associated with mental health particularly depression, whereas motor symptoms characterize Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease showing loss of dopaminergic neurons. Other progressive diseases such as neuromuscular diseases are more difficult to diagnose and quantify. These topics are highlighted in some recently published articles in BMC Medicine that we discuss below.