Chemicals between us: Surprising effects of oxytocin on cocaine addiction

A team of addiction researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) report in Psychopharmacology that oxytocin, a hormone produced naturally in the hypothalamus, has significant gender differences when used as a treatment for cocaine-addicted individuals with a history of childhood trauma.

The MUSC team was led by Jane E. Joseph, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Neuroscience, and Kathleen T. Brady, M.D., Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and MUSC vice president for research.

Oxytocin has been shown to have therapeutic action in addiction, reducing cravings that could result in a relapse while also reducing brain activity associated with stress. Despite previous studies showing some potential therapeutic actions of oxytocin, it was not yet known how oxytocin influenced cravings induced by the sight of cocaine paraphernalia or whether gender-based differences existed.

Read full article at Science Daily

Diet Quality Could Be a Key Treatment Target for Patients With Depression

Depression severity was correlated with dietary quality in patients who reported appetite loss, according to study data published in the Journal of Affective Disorders. The same trend was not observed in patients with depression who reported increased appetite.

Kaiping Burrows, PhD, of the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and collaborators recruited patients with current major depressive disorder (MDD) between August 2012 and May 2017. Eligible patients were unmedicated for depression and had no significant medical comorbidities, including suicidal ideation, eating disorders, and recent substance use disorders.

Psychiatry Advisor

Family Doctors In Rural America Tackle Crisis Of Addiction And Pain

Dr. Angela Gatzke-Plamann didn’t fully grasp her community’s opioid crisis until one desperate patient called on a Friday afternoon in 2016.

“He was in complete crisis because he was admitting to me that he had lost control of his use of opioids,” recalled Gatzke-Plamann.

The patient had used opioids for several years for what Gatzke-Plamann called “a very painful condition.” But a urine screening one week earlier had revealed heroin and morphine in his system as well. He denied any misuse that day. Now he was not only admitting it, but asking for help.

Gatzke-Plamann is the only full-time family physician in the central Wisconsin village of Necedah, population 916. She wanted to help but had no resources to offer. She and the patient started searching the Internet while still on the phone, trying to find somewhere nearby that could help with addiction treatment. No luck.

Full article at Kaiser Health News

No Evidence of a Common Genetic Link Between Schizophrenia and Cannabis Use Disorder

Polygenic risk scores (PRS) did not predict the development of cannabis use disorder (CUD) in patients with schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders, according to results from a study published in Psychological Medicine.

Researchers conducted a case-control study to examine the associations between PRS for schizophrenia and other mental disorders with the development of CUD. The retrospective analysis included 3 groups (N=88,637): patients with schizophrenia (n=3533; 55.9% men; mean age of onset, 21.5 years), patients with other mental disorders (n=56,393; 53.9% men; mean age of onset, 15.6 years), and nonpsychiatric control patients (n=28,711; 50.9% men). Data were obtained from iPSYCH data set, which combines Danish registry information with genetic data collected from dried neonatal bloodspots. PRS exposures of interest were autism spectrum disorder, anorexia nervosa, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and schizophrenia; the key outcome of interest was diagnosis of CUD.

Full article at Psychiatry Advisor

Thousands of LA jail inmates should receive community mental health support

A new report has found that more than half of the people with mental health conditions currently confined in Los Angeles county jails would benefit from mental health treatment in specialized community centers instead of incarceration.

he Los Angeles (LA) county jail system holds thousands of inmates at any one time, and past reports have suggested that these include many people who were previously homeless and who experience mental health issues.

As a result, if they do not receive appropriate support, these people have a high chance of recidivism, as well as a high likelihood of experiencing homelessness once more after their release from jail.

Full article at Medical News Today