Researchers from the University of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada investigated whether combining sertraline (Zoloft) and self-administered cognitive behavior therapy (SCBT) could improve treatment outcomes for panic disorder.
Two hundred fifty-one patients were randomized to 12 weeks of either a placebo drug, a placebo drug plus SCBT, sertraline alone or sertraline plus SCBT. Those who improved after 12 weeks of acute treatment then received treatment for an additional 12 weeks.
Outcome measures evaluate the core Panic Disorder symptoms (panic attacks, anticipatory anxiety, agoraphobic avoidance), dysfunctional ideas (fear of bodily sensations, agoraphobic ideas), disability, and clinical global impression of severity and improvement.
In this population-based, cross-sectional study, researcher-epidemiologists from Walter Reed Army Institute of Research examined the prevalence of depression and PTSD in over 18,000 U.S. Army soldiers (4 Active Component and 2 National Guard infantry brigade combat teams), using several definitions, including functional impairment, as well as the comorbidity of alcohol misuse and aggressive behaviors. Additionally, they compared rates between Active Component and National Guard soldiers at the 3- and 12-month time points following deployment.
Researchers from the OBGYN Department at University Hospital Basel in Switzerland, hypothesizing that adverse birth outcomes can be reduced by relaxation exercises, compared the immediate effects of two active and one passive 10-minute relaxation technique on perceived relaxation and concrete physiological indicators of relaxation in 39 healthy, pregnant women.
The subjects, recruited at the outpatient department of the University Women's Hospital Basel participated in a randomized controlled trial with an experimental repeated measure design.
Researchers from the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, investigated the impact of mindfulness training (MT) on working memory capacity (WMC) and affective experience of reservists during their high-stress, pre-deployment phase. They hypothesized that MT may bolster working memory and mitigate the deleterious effects of high stress. (Working memory capacity is used in managing cognitive demands and regulating emotions. High levels of stress may deplete it, leading to cognitive failures and emotional disturbances.)
The study recruited 2 military cohorts during the high-stress pre-deployment interval, and provided MT to 1 group (MT, n = 31) but not the other group (military control group, MC, n = 17). Additionally, the study used another control group of civilians (n = 12) for comparison.
This article doesn’t present research findings, but describes a kind of web-based self-help that has flourished in Australia for some time now, born of necessity, since so many citizens live far from urban centers where most of the “live” mental health services are.
As a result, the Centre for Mental Health Research at Australian National University, in Canberra has developed an e-hub group that delivers automated web interventions (BluePages, MoodGYM, E-Couch and an online bulletin board BlueBoard ) to the public for mental health self-help.
Researchers from The University of Tokyo in Japan conducted a meta-analysis of the effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) on the mental and physical health status of patients with various types of cancer.
Ten studies (randomized-controlled trials and observational studies) were determined to be eligible for meta-analysis. Study results were categorized into mental and physical variables and Cohen's effect size d was computed for each category.
Researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California at Davis in Sacramento, California, investigated if and how meditation might preserve cognition and prevent dementia.
Previous studies have indicated that meditation affects multiple pathways that play a role in brain aging and mental fitness. For example, meditation may reduce stress-induced cortisol secretion and this could have neuro-protective effects by elevating levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
Meditation may also potentially have beneficial effects on lipid profiles and lower oxidative stress, either of which could reduce the risk for cerebro-vascular disease and age-related neuro-degeneration.
Researchers from University Hospital Basel in Switzerland compared the immediate effects of brief guided imagery and relaxation exercises - two active and one passive 10-min relaxation technique - on prenatal stress in a randomized, controlled trial with 39 healthy pregnant women.
Subjects were assigned to one of two active relaxation techniques, progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) or guided imagery (GI), or a passive relaxation control condition.
Measures were self-reported relaxation on a visual analogue scale (VAS);
the State Anxiety Inventory (STAI-S); scores on the
hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis (cortisol and ACTH); and
sympathetic-adrenal-medullary (SAM) system activity (norepinephrine and
epinephrine). Additionally, measures were taken of cardiovascular
responses, such as heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Scores were measured at four points before and after the relaxation
Pioneer guided imagery researchers from Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus, Ohio, examined whether the practice of hatha yoga can reduce stress responses, as indicated by measurable inflammatory and endocrine shifts in the body immediately after a session. This study compares the reactions of novice and expert yoga practitioners before, during, and after a restorative hatha yoga session, as compared to two control conditions.