Nasal spray drug related to ketamine approved by FDA to treat depression

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved esketamine, an experimental nasal spray that delivers the active ingredients of the “club drug” ketamine, as a new treatment for severe depression.

The Johnson & Johnson nasal spray is a variation of the anesthetic ketamine — a pain reliever that was widely abused as a street drug, Special K, in the 1980s and 1990s. The newly approved drug by the FDA is the first major depression treatment to reach the U.S. market in decades. It is especially effective in patients who have not benefited from at least two different therapies, also known as treatment-resistant depression, the FDA said.

“There has been a long-standing need for additional effective treatments for treatment-resistant depression, a serious and life-threatening condition,” Dr. Tiffany Farchione, acting director of the Division of Psychiatry Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement Tuesday.

Full story at NBC News

Potential way to improve cancer surgery outcomes by managing nontraditional risk factors

In a study of 142 patients preparing for cancer surgery, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say they have evidence that psychological or social risk factors such as depression, limited resilience and lack of emergency resources along with standard medical risk factors such as high blood pressure or diabetes are linked with higher risks of surgical complications.

“When it comes to cancer surgery, the conventional strategy has always been to treat the cancer as fast as you can,” says Ira Leeds, M.D., M.B.A., a research fellow in the Department of Surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “But our study suggests that there are things related to their psychosocial lives that we could and should be managing ahead of time, and that would help our patients have better outcomes after their surgery.”

The researchers caution that their study wasn’t designed to determine cause and effect, but to identify associations between risk factors and outcomes.

Full story at Science Daily

Can supplements help keep depression at bay?

New research investigates whether taking nutritional supplements and changing dietary habits can help prevent depression.

On a global level, we are now facing two concerning epidemics, one of which relates to the health of the body and the other to that of the mind, namely, obesity and depression.

In the United States alone, approximately 70 percent of all men and women are overweight or have obesity, while about 6.7 percent of all U.S. adults live with major depressive disorder.

Full story at Medical News Today

Transcendental meditation can help treat PTSD

Working with a cohort of young people with symptoms of PTSD and depression, researchers found that practicing transcendental meditation can help reduce or even reverse these symptoms.

Studies have shown that meditation practices can have a significant, positive effect on mental health and how well our bodies respond to stress.

Existing research has also found that different types of meditation can even help boost a person’s emotional intelligence.

Interest in meditation’s potential as a tool for coping with various mental health symptoms has risen in recent years, and now, a new study suggests that one type of meditation — called transcendental meditation — can successfully counteract PTSD and lower depression.

Full story at Medical News Today

Nearly 1 in 7 US kids and teens has a mental health condition, and half go untreated, study says

Half of children with a mental health condition in the United States go without treatment, according to a study published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

The researchers analyzed data from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, a nationwide survey administered to parents of children and teens. Of the 46.6 million children ages 6 through 18 whose parents completed the survey, 7.7 million had at least one mental health condition — such as depression, anxiety or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder — and only half received treatment or counseling from a mental health provider in the 12 months prior to the survey.
The number of children with a mental health condition varied widely from state to state. In Hawaii, for example, 7.6% of children had one of the conditions, compared with 27.2% in Maine. The number of children with a diagnosed mental health condition who weren’t treated by a provider also ranged widely, from 29.5% in the District of Columbia to 72.2% in North Carolina.