TMS Mechanism of Action – Changes in Brain Connectivity?

Peter Forster Basic Science, Treatments of Depression

TMS’s mechanism of action has been unclear. Transcranial magnetic stimulation affects activity locally in the region of the brain that is stimulated, but does that explain how it works? Since it affects local activity in every patient, why does it not work for everyone? A new article in Biological Psychiatry suggests that it may be changes in brain connectivity that …

Exercise and Stress – How Exercise Prevents Depression

Peter Forster Major Depression, Physical Conditions and Health, Treatments of Depression

Exercise seems to reduce stress. But how does this work? And what about exercise effects on depression? An article in the New York Times summarizes a recent publication in the journal Cell which may explain how exercise prevents depression. A wealth of research shows that regular exercise reduces the risk of depression. A very large study in Britain, for example, suggested that …

Ketamine for Depression – Mechanism of Action

Peter Forster Basic Science, Major Depression, Treatments of Depression

Ketamine for Depression: How does it work? We ran across a useful review of the basic science literature in an interview of David Nichols on the Psych Congress Network. http://www.psychcongress.com/video/ketamine-quick-guide-receptors-19116 Although ketamine blocks the NMDA subtype of glutamate receptors (blocks an excitatory neurotransmitter) the net effect seems to be an increase in excitatory neurotransmission. This image from Nature may help …

TMS Outcomes – Long Term Study

Peter Forster Major Depression, Treatments of Depression

TMS outcomes have seemed favorable for patients with treatment resistant major depression, but what are the long term effects of TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation)? TMS is a non-invasive technique for stimulating brain activity in parts of the brain that seem to be turned off in depression – the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. TMS uses magnets to stimulate the brain and the …

Blood Test for Depression

Peter Forster Basic Science, Diagnosis, Major Depression, Psychobiology, Testing, Treatments of Depression

How many times has a new patient in the clinic asked, “isn’t there a blood test for depression?” Always in the past we had to say that there were no reliable tests that could identify depression. There was some evidence that functional brain imaging could do so but the technique was expensive and experimental. In an article published in the …

Predicting Bipolar Disorder

Peter Forster Diagnosis, Testing

Predicting bipolar disorder might allow early intervention that could change the course of the condition, or prevent at risk adults or adolescents from developing severe mood swings. But is predicting bipolar disorder a reasonable goal? What is the science behind this effort? The August 2014 issue of Bipolar Disorders (the official journal of the International Society for Bipolar Disorders) has …

TMS Improves Memory

Peter Forster Psychobiology, Treatments of Depression

TMS improves memory. According to a study published in the Aug. 29 issue of the journal Science, “electrically stimulating a portion of the brain that coordinates the way the mind works can enhance memory and improve learning.” The researchers used Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to indirectly stimulate activity in the hippocampus, a key part of the brain involved in the storage …

Lithium Benefits for Health – NYT Article

Peter Forster Bipolar Treatment

Does lithium have benefits for health when it is found at small doses in the water? This is the subject of a recent article in the New York Time (september 13th, 2014). The article captured the attention of many readers of this blog and the companion one I write about mood disorders (moodsurfing.com). It was tantalizingly entitled,”Should We All Take a Bit …

Cortisol and Depression

Peter Forster Psychobiology

A middle aged man with depression came in today for his first psychiatric evaluation. He had lots of questions about the relationship between cortisol and depression, because his first serious depression, at age 45, occurred in the context of a severe work stress. And this work stress was associated with many physical manifestations of stress – fatigue, severely disrupted sleep, …

Virtru

Peter Forster GPS Update

I am writing to update you about the security systems that we have been implementing at Gateway Psychiatric to ensure the safety of your data. As you know, the safety of data stored on the net cannot be taken for granted. I was reminded of this when I got an email from WordPress saying that hackers had published the email …