Anxiety-Panic History
2005 JanJon Winokur's "Encyclopedia Neurotica" is published. This leisure book irreverently questions popular neurotic perceptions such as particular phobias, obsessions and therapies which the author feels are taken too seriously in contemporary society. (49)
2005 Jan 6Responding to concerns over medication regulation, the pharmaceutical industry announces a plan to publicly disclose clinical trial data. However, such disclosure would be voluntary, would not include phase I studies, would not be published until after medication approval and would not include details of clinical trial design. This plan is supported by AstraZeneca Plc, GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Merck & Co. Inc., Novartis AG, Pfizer Inc. and Sanofi-Aventis SA. (49)
2005 Jan 13Addressing British parliament's Health Select Committee, AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline executives denied withholding negative information or aggressively marketing products to the British public. The companies suggest they are being criticized too harshly, that the public has lost its perspective and needed to be educated by the pharmaceutical industry. (49)
2005 Feb 1Medco Health Solutions (a pharmacy benefits firm) reports that antidepressant treatment of children dropped by about 10% in 2004. This drop is attributed to concerns of suicidal side effects apparently produced by such medications. (49)
2005 Feb 3Lobbying by the pharmaceutical industry encourages the FDA to tone down its antidepressant warning. The new language downplays any causal relationship between antidepressants and suicidal ideation in children, instead saying that such risk has only been suggested by short-term studies. (49)
2005 Feb 8The US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), on their revised web page titled "Antidepressant Medications for Children and Adolescents: Information for Parents and Caregivers," comments, "Recently, concerns have been raised that the use of antidepressant medications themselves may induce suicidal behavior in youths. In fact, following a thorough and comprehensive review of all the available published and unpublished controlled clinical trials of antidepressants in children and adolescents, the FDA has warned the public about an increased risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior ("suicidality") in children and adolescents treated with SSRI antidepressant medications." (22)
2005 Feb 10The New England Journal of Medicine publishes a study on "stress cardiomyopathy" (or "broken heart syndrome") which describes a condition where emotional stress can produce cardiac symptoms easily mistaken for a heart attack in persons without heart disease. Mentioned triggers include death of a loved one, armed robbery, car accident, court appearance, public speaking and even surprise parties. (49)
2005 FebThe US Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports that 6,400 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have been treated for stress disorders. (49)
2005 Mar 4The FDA reports that batches of GlaxoSmithKline Plc's Paxil CR (a "controlled-release" antidepressant produced by the Cidra plant in Puerto Rico) had recently been seized due to concerns of manufacturing quality. Namely, the tablets could split and cause the active ingredient to be lost before being taken or result in uncontrolled release after being taken. Glaxo recalls all batches of Paxil CR made before November 2004. According to the FDA, consumers were not at risk, but a consequent shortage of the medication is expected. (49)
2005 Mar 28The Archives of Internal Medicine publishes a study of medical center advertisements indicating that many public ads downplayed risks or employed scare tactics. (49)
2005 Apr 13The Schatz & Nobel law firm - representing investors - files a suit against GlaxoSmithKline Plc alleging that it concealed deficiencies regarding the use of Paxil in treating adolescent depression. (49)
2005 Apr 20Wyeth says that sales of its antidepressant Effexor rose 12% to $868 million, but sales are tapering off due to concerns of suicidal ideation in children. (49)
2005 May 3A study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism suggests that pregnant women traumatized by the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center gave birth to children with reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The longterm effects to such children are uncertain. (49)
2005 May 16A study by Northwestern University Medical School reports that some SSRI medications may involve risk of gastrointestinal bleeding similar to regular use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen. (49)
2005 May 18The Journal of the American Medical Association publishes a study indicating antidepressants (SSRI or SNRI) taken during the last trimester of pregnancy can have adverse effects on babies. Though these effects were usually mild and temporary (two weeks), there was a 1% chance of serious respiratory problems. (49)
2005 Jun 19The American Medical Association's Council on Scientific Affairs (CSA), the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Academy of Pediatrics agree that antidepressants are appropriate for treating depression in teens. (49)
2005 Jun 20The journal Psychophysiology publishes a study by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro regarding people freezing in response to threat. Involving 48 male volunteers, images of injury or mutilation caused the volunteers to suddenly stand still, experience a drop in heart rate and stiffening of muscles. (49)
2005 Jun 20In response to pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions, withhold prescriptions or even lecture patients on their prescriptions (including psychiatric medications), the American Medical Association decides to press for laws enabling physicians to dispense medications directly. (49)
2005 Jun 27Paxil CR returns to market after fixing the manufacturing defects discovered in early March at Knoxville, Tenn., and Cidra, Puerto Rico, facilities. The number of Paxil CR prescriptions recovers by July 8. (49)
2005 JunAnxiety disorders are among the most common psychiatric illnesses, with 28.8% of American adults diagnosed with one or more at some point in life. Ref: Kessler RC, Berglund PA, Demler O, Jin R, Merikangas KR, Walters EE. Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). Archives of General Psychiatry. 2005 Jun;62(6):593-602. (49)
2005 Jul 1Actress Brooke Shields defends her use of the antidepressant Paxil for postpartum depression in response to public criticism by actor and Scientologist Tom Cruise. Cruise would apologize more than a year later on August 31, 2006. (49)
2005 Jul 1The FDA issues a second warning that antidepressants may be associated with risk of suicidal ideation in adults. The greatest concern is when starting the medication or changing dosage. An earlier warning was issued on March 22, 2004. (49)
2005 Jul 1US Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist speaks out on pharmaceutical advertising. He urges industry to voluntarily ban advertising during the first two years of a new drug's launch, to portray risks and benefits more realistically and also requests a GAO probe into regulatory oversight of the ads. (49)
2005 Jul 4A Stanford University School of Medicine study suggests that SSRI antidepressants may help heart attack patients cut risk of death or recurrent nonfatal heart attack by 43%. (49)
2005 Jul 5The journal Pediatrics reports a study which suggests link of childhood group A beta-hemolytic streptococcal infection and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Tourette's syndrome, and tic disorder. (49)
2005 Jul 7Terror bombings of London's public transit. (49)
2005 Jul 12The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports that a person's ability to inhibit fear and recover from trauma may be related to the thickness of their brain's ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). The study involved 14 healthy volunteers, measured anxiety via electrical activity in the skin and brain measures were based on MRI. Dr. Scott Rauch suggests, "perhaps people with a thinner cortex in this area might be at greater vulnerability for developing anxiety disorders, but that's still a speculation, ... This could also be a potential predictor of responses to behavior therapy." (49)
2005 Jul 21More terror bombings of London's public transit. (49)
2005 Jul 28While up to 5% of troops returning home from Iraq show immediate mental health problems, follow-up screenings show rates as high as 30% after being home for 3 to 4 months according to a US Army survey. These results suggest that the effects of combat stress are not immediately apparent and can develop months later. (49)
2005 Jul 29The journal Medicine publishes a study by University of California, San Francisco, regarding efficacy of the popular herbal remedies kava and valerian. The study involved 391 participants and indicated that kava and valerian were no more effective than placebo in treating anxiety and insomnia. Annual US sales of these remedies are estimated to be over $28 million. (49)
2005 Aug 2Responding to criticisms of pharmaceutical ads, the pharmaceutical industry announces that it will create an office to review complaints. This "Office of Accountability" will be managed by PhRMA (the lobbying group for the pharmaceutical industry). (49)
2005 Aug 10FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford says that he welcomes the pharmaceutical industry's voluntary plan to limit advertising directed at consumers. (49)
2005 Aug 10PhRMA expresses opposition to the FDA's proposed "Drug Watch" web page (listing drug safety concerns under evaluation by the FDA). The proposal is dropped by the FDA on March 2, 2007. (49)
2005 Aug 10A study at the Abarbanel Mental Health Center in Tel Aviv, Israel, indicates that elderly Holocaust survivors have an increased risk of suicide. Among patients over the age of 65, 90 of the 374 Holocaust survivors had recently attempted suicide (24%) compared to 45 of the 502 patients without World War II trauma (9%). (49)
2005 Aug 12The US Veterans Affairs Department plans to review disability claims for PTSD approved between 1999 and 2004. Critics of this review worry that requirements may excessively focus on specific traumatic events and might underrate the effects of more generalized combat stress. (49)
2005 Aug 13According to the PTSD Alliance, 5% of Americans suffer PTSD. (49)
2005 Aug 22The journal BMC Medicine publishes a study led by Ivar Aursnes and colleagues at the University of Oslo, Norway, regarding paroxetine (brand names Paxil, Seroxat) and suicidal behavior in adults. In a review of 16 studies, they find 7 suicide attempts among 916 patients taking paroxetine (0.8%) compared to 1 suicide attempt among 550 patients taking placebo (0.2%). (49)
2005 Aug 22The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health publishes a study by the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare in Stockholm regarding anxiety and suicide. Dr. Mans Rosen and Dr. Gunilla Ringback Weitoft analyzed survey responses from the periods 1980-1981, 1988-1989 and 1995-1996 (totaling 34,511 men and women between ages 16 to 74). Problems with nervousness, anxiety, and uneasiness were reported as "light" by 14% of women and 7% of men and "severe" by 4% of women and 2% of men. Compared with non-anxious respondents, the "severe" group had significantly greater rates of hospitalization for attempted suicide (3-fold increase for women and 9-fold increase for men). (49)
2005 Sep 7The journal Annals of Epidemiology publishes a study from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City, showing that U.S. Army veterans with PTSD had twice the death rate within 30 years of service as their non-PTSD peers. (49)
2005 Sep 23Amid controversies, FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford resigns only two months after the Senate confirmed him for the post. He is promptly replaced by Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach. (49)
2005 Sep 26The journal Psychosomatic Medicine publishes a study led by Dr. Andres Gomez-Caminero suggesting that panic disorder nearly doubles the risk of heart disease. Using data from a US health insurance database, researchers compared nearly 40,000 people diagnosed with panic disorder to a similar number without the condition. The study was funded by GlaxoSmithKline (maker of Paxil). (49)
2005 Sep 28The FDA warns that paroxetine (Paxil) may be associated with birth defects when taken during the first trimester of pregnancy. Paroxetine is classified as a "Category C" drug for pregnant women (comprehensive studies of its effects on a pregnancy have not been performed). (49)
2005 Sep 28Leo Sternbach, inventor of the benzodiazepines (specifically Valium and Klonopin) and other medications, dies. Born in 1908, he earned his doctoral degree in organic chemistry at the University of Krakow in Poland. He began working at Roche's Basel headquarters in 1940. In June 1941, he fled to the US with his new bride and the rest of Roche's Jewish scientists. Sternbach was named one of the 25 most influential Americans of the 20th century by U.S. News & World Report. (49)
2005 Oct 3The 2005 Nobel Prize in medicine is awarded to Australians Barry J. Marshall and Robin Warren. In 1982, they had discovered that ulcers in the stomach and intestine were not caused by 'stress', but rather bacterial infection (Helicobacter pylori). (49)
2005 Oct 25The Journal of Clinical Oncology publishes a study led by Dr. Vered Stearns of Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, which reports that paroxetine (Paxil) reduces both the number and severity of hot flashes associated with menopause. Improvement of sleep was also reported. The study involved 151 women over a period of 2-months each and was partly funded by GlaxoSmithKline (maker of Paxil). (49)
2005 Nov 9The journal Archives of General Psychiatry publishes a study from the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada, indicating that anxiety disorders increase risk of suicidal ideation about 2-fold and increase risk of suicide attempt about 2 to 3-fold. The study was based on interviews conducted in the Netherlands (7,000 people participating in the initial interview, 4,800 people completing three consecutive annual interviews). (49)
2005 Nov 9An NIH-NIMH workshop on Assessing Suicidality During Antidepressant Treatment. (49)
2005 Nov 22A National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) press release reports results of a stathmin study. The study indicates that levels of the protein stathmin affect the formation of fear memories in the amygdala of mice. According to the researchers, this study suggests new anti-anxiety agents (medications) as well as subclasses of anxiety disorders requiring distinctive pharmacological approaches. (49)
2005 Dec 7The Journal of Neuroscience publishes a study by NIMH showing that, in humans, the hormone oxytocin quells the brain's fear hub, the amygdala, and its brainstem relay stations in response to fearful stimuli. NIMH director Dr. Thomas Insel says, "The observed changes in the amygdala are exciting as they suggest that a long-acting analogue of oxytocin could have therapeutic value in disorders characterized by social avoidance." (49)
2005 Dec 8The FDA further warns doctors that paroxetine (Paxil) use during first trimester of pregnancy increases risk of fetal heart defects by about 2-fold. A similar warning was issued last September 28. Furthermore, the FDA generally advises that paroxetine should not be taken during pregnancy and asks GlaxoSmithKline to elevate paroxetine's pregnancy warning from a category C to a category D. (49)
2005 Dec 9Using data from two clinical trials, Eli Lilly and Co. seeks FDA approval for the use of the antidepressant Cymbalta in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Other antidepressants currently approved for the treatment of GAD include Effexor, Lexapro and Paxil. (49)
2005 Dec 28The American Journal of Psychiatry publishes a study from Tel Aviv University, Israel, regarding PTSD among 429 Israeli veterans of the Lebanon War in 1982. Results indicate that Soldiers suffering combat stress who received prompt frontline therapy did better than those who received delayed therapy in Israel. In other words, prompt treatment for stressful events can significantly reduce risk of developing PTSD. (49)
2005 DecThe antidepressant venlafaxine (brand name Effexor) is Wyeth's top-selling medication, with $924 million in sales in 2005. (49)
2005 DecAntidepressants are the most commonly prescribed medications in 2005 according the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of the drugs mentioned in US patients' medical records, 118 million are antidepressants, 113 million are high blood pressure medications, 110 million are arthritis or headache medications. These statistics are published by the CDC on June 29, 2007. (49)
2006 Jan 1The new Medicare Part D program goes into effect. The prescription drug coverage plan excludes benzodiazepines, a commonly prescribed class of anti-anxiety medications. (49)
2006 Jan 3The American Journal of Psychiatry publishes a study indicating antidepressants decrease risk of suicide. Lead by psychiatrist Gregory E. Simon, M.D., M.P.H., of the Group Health Cooperative, Seattle, the study examined data on 65,103 patients who had prescriptions for antidepressants between 1992 and 2003. Suicide risk was analyzed from 3-months before treatment to 6-months after treatment. Results indicate that the rate of suicide attempts dropped during first 6-months of antidepressant treatment. (49)
2006 Jan 25The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) publishes recommendations for limiting gifts given to doctors by the pharmaceutical industry. The journal says that the drug industry spends about $19 billion annually marketing to doctors and that this can create conflicts of interest. (49)
c. 2006 FebThe US Defense Department launches an online mental health self-screening program developed by the nonprofit group Screening for Mental Health. The program addresses depression, post-traumatic stress (PTSD), anxiety, bipolar disorder and alcohol abuse. Available to service members and their spouses, the program is free and confidential in the hope of reducing stigma concerns. Early opinions of the program's effectiveness are mixed. (49)
2006 Feb 1The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) publishes a study by Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital regarding depression relapse and antidepressant usage during pregnancy. Among 201 pregnant women with a history of major depression, 26% experienced a relapse while continuing antidepressants while 68% experienced a relapse after ceasing antidepressants. The study was funded by the NIMH and two co-authors acknowledged financial ties to antidepressant manufacturers. (49)
2006 Feb 9The New England Journal of Medicine publishes a study indicating use of antidepressant SSRI medications in the second half of pregnancy resulted in a six-fold increased risk of an uncommon but life-threatening lung condition in newborns (namely, persistent pulmonary hypertension). The US FDA later issues a warning about this on July 19. (49)
2006 Feb 10The journal Science publishes a study from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSMC) regarding social memory in mice. Learned social avoidance behavior in mice was observed to be reversed by antidepressants and, similarly, repression of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). The study was funded by the NIMH. (49)
2006 Mar 22The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) publishes a study indicating that treatment of a mother's depression can help prevent depression and anxiety disorders in her children. The study involved 114 depressed women assessed after three months of treatment, along with 114 children (ages 11 to 12 on average). Among children with psychiatric problems, the remission rate was 33% for those whose mothers recovered versus 12% for those whose mothers did not. Among children without psychiatric problems, all whose mothers recovered also remained healthy versus 17% who developed psychiatric problems for those whose mothers remained depressed. The study was funded by grants from the NIMH, but was supplied with the antidepressant Celexa by Forest Laboratories with which several study authors have financial ties. (49)
2006 MarThe World Health Organization (WHO), working with Iraqi psychiatrists, conduct a series of studies regarding PTSD in Iraqi children from January to March. In Mosul, about 30% of adolescent children showed signs of PTSD. In Baghdad, about 10% of primary-school-age children showed signs of PTSD. (49)
2006 MayThe US FDA cleared Teva (world's largest generic pharmaceutical company) to make the first generic version of the popular antidepressant Lexapro, but sales are delayed by a patent infringement lawsuit by Forest Laboratories. (49)
2006 May 4The May issue of Pediatrics publishes a study indicating that symptoms of anxiety and depression in school children are not only a consequence of bullying, but also that symptoms of anxiety and depression make children more likely to be bullied. The study was based on questionnaires completed in the Fall of 1999 and follow-up in Spring of 2000, involved 1,118 children (ages 9 to 11) from 18 elementary schools, and was conducted by the Netherlands Organization of Applied Scientific Research in Leiden. (49)
2006 May 5The American Journal of Public Health publishes a study showing that teens who experience violent victimization in the past year were 45% more likely than others to report an asthma episode. The study was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and involved 1,943 asthmatic students attending public or private schools in urban, suburban and rural areas. (49)
2006 May 9A memo by the Army surgeon general warns that a graphic HBO documentary entitled "Baghdad ER" may provoke symptoms in veterans with PTSD. Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley suggests that treatment facilities should be ready to help troops and family members affected by the film. (49)
2006 May 11The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) releases a study regarding PTSD in US veterans returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. The study indicates that about 5% of these veterans appear at risk for PTSD. Of those veterans at apparent risk for PTSD, the referral rate for further health care was about 15% among Marines, 18% among Navy and 23% among Army and Air Force. (49)
2006 May 12GlaxoSmithKline and the FDA issue a warning letter to doctors suggesting that the antidepressant paroxetine (Paxil and Paxil CR) may raise risk of suicidal behavior in young adults. In a clinical trial involving about 15,000 patients (age 18 to 30) treated with both Paxil and placebo, there were 11 suicide attempts among those on Paxil and 1 among those on placebo. (49)
2006 May 18The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society publishes a study indicating that occupational and physical therapy can help elderly people remain independent. "Fear of falling, a recognized psychological syndrome, is a strong risk factor for falling and functional decline," the study comments. Dr. Laura N. Gitlin of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, is the study's lead author. (49)
2006 May 25Digestive Disease Week 2006, Los Angeles, presents a study suggesting that 4 sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy, combined with CBT homework, improves symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in about 73% of patients dealing with stress, fear or anxiety. The study involved 59 patients with IBS, follow-up evaluations after 4 and 10 weeks, and was conducted by Dr. Jeffrey M. Lackner and colleagues of the State University of New York at Buffalo. (49)
2006 May 26The US Department of Veterans Affairs reports that about a third of Iraq veterans who sought health care were seeking help for mental health issues. (49)
2006 May 31The Journal of Nutrition publishes a study suggesting that women who suffer "food insecurity" (uncertainty over availability of food) were 58% to 76% more likely to be obese compared to women who reported no problems providing balanced meals. The effect of food insecurity among men was much less significant. The study, using data from an ongoing federal health survey, included about 9,700 men and women, between 1999 and 2002, and was lead by Dr. Parke Wilde of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts. (49)
2006 Jun 1Clinical Infectious Diseases publishes a report reminding clinicians that use of the antimicrobial agent linezolid in combination with drugs that increase serotonin (such as SSRI antidepressant medications) may lead to serotonin toxicity. Dr. May Adra, Director of Drug Information/Medication Safety Coordinator at Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston, told Reuters Health, "Some drugs are widely recognized as causing serotonin toxicity whereas others, such as linezolid, meperidine, and tramadol are not." (49)
2006 Jun 6Molecular Psychiatry publishes a study of genetic markers associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Using blood samples from 1,008 individuals of 219 families where at least two siblings were clinically diagnosed with OCD, a "whole-genome scan" identified genetic markers (DNA sequences) on chromosomes 1, 3, 6, 7 and 15 which appear to be associated with risk of developing OCD. The analysis was conducted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Inherited Disease Research (CIDR). (49)
2006 Jun 12The 66th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association includes presentation of a study suggesting a link between antidepressant use and diabetes. The results are based on a trial involving 3,187 patients, all at very high-risk for developing diabetes, of which 5.7% reported regular use of antidepressants. The study was conducted by Dr. Richard R. Rubin of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, and the Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group. (49)
2006 Jun 14The Journal of Neuroscience publishes a study suggesting that children with an extremely shy temperament (behavioral inhibition) have heightened brain activity in response to any prominent event (positive or negative). The study was based on fMRI imaging of the brains of 32 adolescents (13 with behavioral inhibition and 19 without). The study was conducted by NIMH investigator Monique Ernst, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues. (49)
2006 Jun 14The American Medical Association (AMA) adopts a policy to lobby for a waiting period on direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of new prescription drugs and medical implants. Past attempts to ban such advertising has failed and industry concessions remain voluntary. The AMA suggests that the FDA should be given more authority to regulate ads. (49)
2006 Jun 15Psychosomatic Medicine publishes a study associating "insecure attachment" (early experiences of neglect or rejection) with negative body image in women with eating disorders. The questionnaire based study included 96 women, in their 20s and 30s, with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, and was conducted by Dr. Alfonso Troisi and colleagues from the University of Rome. (49)
2006 Jun 19The 22nd annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology includes presentation of a study suggesting that the antidepressant paroxetine does not increase risk of major congenital abnormalities when taken by pregnant women. The study involved 119 women, between 1990 and 2005, who used paroxetine in the first trimester of pregnancy, compared to a control group of 645 women. However, the number of women deciding to terminate their pregnancies was higher in the paroxetine group (15% verses 2.6%). The study was conducted by Dr. Wolfgang Paulus, director of the Institute of Reproductive Toxicology at the University of Ulm, Germany, and colleagues. The results contradict a warning by the US FDA issued in September/October, 2005. (49)
2006 Jun 21The American Journal of Psychiatry publishes a study indicating that adult children of depressed parents have a higher risk of mental and physical illness. "Those with at least one depressed parent had about a threefold higher risk for developing mood disorders (mostly major depressive disorder) and anxiety disorders (mostly phobias), more than twofold greater risk for alcohol dependence, and sixfold greater risk for drug dependence. Though occurring at greater rates in children of depressed parents, the peak ages of onset for mood and anxiety disorders were similar to those seen in children of non-depressed parents. ... In addition to mental disorders, they reported more medical problems, particularly cardiovascular problems with a fivefold increase, and an average age of onset in the early to mid-30s." The study was funded by the NIMH. Ref: Weissman MM, Wickramaratne P, Nomura Y, Warner V, Pilowsky D, Verdeli H. Offspring of Depressed Parents: 20 Years Later. The American Journal of Psychiatry. 2006 June;163(6):1001-1007. (49)
2006 Jun 26The American Journal of Psychiatry publishes a study suggesting that maternal smoking during pregnancy increased risk of comorbid OCD in children with Tourette's syndrome by 8-fold. The study involved 180 people, ages 3 to 59, and was conducted by Dr. Carol A. Mathews and her associates at University of California in San Francisco. (49)
2006 Jun 27The International Journal of Obesity publishes an article suggesting that, aside from too much food and too little exercise, other plausible causes of obesity that deserve more study include the use of antidepressants. The article was written by David B. Allison, Ph.D., director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham clinical nutrition research center, and colleagues. (49)
2006 Jun 29Pfizer Inc. announces that it will start selling a less expensive generic version of the antidepressant sertraline (Zoloft) "if and when generic competitors enter the market." Pfizer Inc.'s patent on Zoloft expires the next day and several generic companies promptly announce they will start making and selling sertraline. (49)
2006 Jul 3The Archives of General Psychiatry publishes a study indicating that about 25% of obesity cases are associated with a mood or anxiety disorder. The study is based on in-home interviews, includes over 9,000 US adults and was conducted from February 2001 to February 2003. Results indicate that obese people are 47% more likely to suffer bipolar disorder, 27% more likely to suffer panic disorder or agoraphobia, 21% more likely to suffer major depression, 22% less likely to suffer substance use disorders. No significant differences between men and women were noted in these rates. The study was funded by the NIMH and was authored by Gregory Simon, MD, of the Center for Health Studies, Group Health Cooperative in Seattle, Wash., and colleagues. (49)
2006 Jul 4The American Journal of Psychiatry publishes a study suggesting that SSRI antidepressant use by pregnant women might not increase their childrens' risk of developing depression, anxiety, and withdrawal. However, maternal depression and anxiety might increase childrens' risk. These results are base on assessment of 4-year-old children born to 22 mothers who used an SSRI during pregnancy and 14 mothers who did not. The study was conducted by Dr. Shaila Misri, from St. Paul's and British Columbia Women's Hospitals in Vancouver, Canada, and colleagues. (49)
2006 Jul 19The US FDA warns that taking an antidepressant (notably, SSRI or certain SNRI medications) along with migraine drugs known as triptans may possibly result in a life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome. Furthermore, the FDA warns that taking an SSRI during pregnancy may pose risk of an uncommon but life-threatening lung condition in newborns (namely, persistent pulmonary hypertension). Drug makers are asked to list these potential risks on their drug labels. Patients are asked to talk to their doctors about these issues. (49)
2006 Aug 2The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) publishes the first scientific study to assess mental functioning in the same group of soldiers prior to and immediately after a tour of duty in a war zone. The study included 654 male and female active duty Army soldiers who served in Iraq, examinations before deployment (Apr-Dec 2003) and within 2.5 months after returning from deployment (Jan-May 2005), compared against 307 soldiers with similar characteristics who did not serve overseas. The soldiers who served in Iraq exhibited "mild neurospsychological compromise" in short-term memory, ability to concentrate, tension and stress level, but also tended to have faster reaction times (known in the Army as "battlemind"). The study was conducted by Veteranís Administration and US Army researchers. (49)
2006 Aug 3The Archives of Disease in Childhood publishes a study indicating that breast-fed children cope better with the stress of their parents' marital problems. Using data from a British study involving 9,000 youngsters whose anxiety levels had been rated by their teachers, 10-year-olds whose parents had marital problems displayed less anxiety if they had a history of being breast-fed. The study was conducted by Dr. Scott Montgomery, an epidemiologist at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, and colleagues. (49)
2006 Aug 7The Archives of Adolescent Medicine publishes a study suggesting that socially isolated children may have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease in adulthood. The study followed 1,037 children from birth to 26 years old. Those with signs of social isolation in childhood had a 37% increased risk of poor health at age 26 years old, including high blood pressure or insulin resistance, that contribute to the clustering of factors that increase a person's risk for coronary artery disease. The study was conducted by Dr. Avshalom Caspi, of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and colleagues. (49)
2006 Aug 18The journal Science publishes a study reassessing PTSD rates in Vietnam veterans (earlier studies by the CDC and NVVRS in 1988 conflicted). The new study by Columbia researcher Bruce P. Dohrenwend, Ph.D. and colleagues was based on more precise symptom definitions, analysis of military personnel data, military archives and historical records. Their results suggest that 18.7% of Vietnam veterans had developed PTSD and 9.1% were suffering it by the end of the 1980s. Furthermore, these results indicate little evidence of veterans falsely claiming PTSD and the odds of developing PTSD increased with the amount of war trauma experienced. (49)
2006 Aug 18A study by Dr. Nerissa S. Bauer and colleagues from the University of Washington, Seattle, indicates that children who witness abusive behavior at home are more likely to bully other children and are at greater risk of depression and anxiety. The study included 112 children aged 6 to 13. (49)
2006 Aug 23David Hoberman receives the "2006 Career Achievement Voice Award" in recognition of his public education work as a board member of the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) and executive producer of the popular TV Series "Monk" (featuring a fictional detective with OCD). The Voice Award was developed by the US Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to recognize entertainment professionals who raise awareness of mental health issues. (49)
2006 Aug 26The Archives of General Psychiatry publishes a study suggesting that SSRI antidepressant use during pregnancy can result in newborns with increased risk of low birth weight and respiratory distress. The study was based on population health data for almost 120,000 live births between 1998 and 2001 and was conducted by Dr. Tim F. Oberlander and colleagues at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. (49)
2006 Aug 31The Edvard Munch masterpieces "The Scream" and "Madonna" are recovered after being stolen in August, 2004. "The Scream," painted in 1893, is often considered a modern icon of human anxiety. (49)
2006 Aug 31Actor and Scientologist Tom Cruise visits Brooke Shields to apologize for his public criticism of her antidepressant use for postpartum depression. Shields, who had defended her use of medication July 1, 2005, said that she felt his apology was sincere and accepted it. Cruise spokesman Arnold Robinson would later add, "He has not changed his position about antidepressants, which as evidenced by the black label warnings issued by the FDA on these types of drugs, are unhealthy." (49)
2006 Sep 10Death of 20-year old Daniel Smith, son of celebrity Anna Nicole Smith. Later, September 27, 2006, pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht says that the antidepressants Zoloft and Lexapro, along with the pain-reliever methadone, resulted in a lethal "cumulative effect on the central nervous system" without overdose of any one drug that eventually stopped his heart. Anna Nicole Smith dies on February 8, 2007. (49)
2006 Sep 12Stanford University announces that, effective October 1, it will bar physicians at its hospitals from accepting even the tiniest gifts from drug industry sales representatives, prohibit doctors from accepting free drug samples, prohibit publishing of articles in science journals that were ghost written by corporate authors, prohibit sales reps from areas where patients are seen and from dropping in without appointments. Similar policies have been announced by Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the lobbying group for the drug industry, protested that Stanford's policy is draconian and would actually hamper health care. (49)
2006 Sep 12The Associated Press reports, "The majority of federal scientists investigated for improperly accepting personal money from drug companies or biotechnology firms escaped serious punishment, and investigators declined to proceed with several cases involving possible crimes, according to the National Institutes of Health." (49)
2006 Sep 13The Journal of Neuroscience publishes a study indicating that Glucocorticoids impair the recall of fear memories in mice. This finding suggests a potential treatment for PTSD and similar anxiety disorders in humans. The study was conducted by Dr. Robert W. Greene of The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, and colleagues. (49)
2006 Sep 16Aaron Beck, emeritus professor of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, receives the Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research for developing cognitive therapy. (49)
2006 Sep 20The journal Neuron publishes a study suggesting that the brain's rostral cingulate or rACC region is involved in turning on and off the amygdala's fear response. The study involved 19 healthy volunteers given fMRI brain scans while performing a Stroop test (shown word-image combinations that sometimes conflict). The study suggests methods of improved diagnosis and treatment of anxiety disorders and was conducted by a team at Columbia University Medical Center including Dr. Joy Hirsch and Dr. Eric Kandel. (49)
2006 Sep 24The Associated Press reports, "More than one-third of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans seeking medical treatment from the Veterans Health Administration report symptoms of stress or other mental disorders - a tenfold increase in the last 18 months, according to an agency study. The dramatic jump in cases - coming as more troops face multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan - has triggered concern among some veterans groups that the agency may not be able to meet the demand. They say veterans have had to deal with long waits for doctor appointments, staffing shortages and lack of equipment at medical centers run by the Veterans Affairs Department. Contributing to the higher levels of stress are the long and often repeated tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. ... Veterans and Defense Department officials said the increase in soldiers complaining of stress or mental disorder symptoms also may suggest that efforts to reduce the stigma of such problems are working and that commanders and medical personnel are more adept at recognizing symptoms." (49)
2006 Sep 30The journal Psychopharmacology publishes a study indicating that black tea seems to help levels of the stress hormone cortisol return to normal after exposure to stress. The study included 75 young healthy males with an average age 33 and was conducted by Andrew Steptoe, of the University College London, and colleagues. (49)
2006 SepGlaxoSmithKline Plc recalls 7.5 million pills of Paxil CR (the 37.5 milligram pills) because they may have lacked the active ingredient paroxetine hydrochloride. Glaxo voluntarily notified US regulators and some doctors, but didn't tell patients because it wasn't sure how many of the recalled pills might have been affected. Glaxo said that its restricted action was done with the approval of the US FDA. (49)
2006 Oct 6The journal Science publishes a study suggesting that a specific gene variation appears to play a role in increased anxiety-like behaviors that are resistant to SSRI antidepressants. The study used mice with a variation in the BDNF gene, the SSRI fluoxetine and may explain related anxiety and SSRI resistance in humans. Ref: Chen ZY, Jing D, Bath KG, Ieraci A, Khan T, Siao CJ, Herrera DG, Toth M, Yang C, McEwen BS, Hempstead BL, and Lee FS. Genetic Variant BDNF (Val66Met) Polymorphism Alters Anxiety-Related Behavior. Science 6 October 2006 314: 140-143. (49)
2006 Oct 19Under pressure to maintain troop levels, military doctors tell CBS News it's become a "common practice" to recycle soldiers with mental disorders back into combat. [This includes soldiers suffering PTSD and recently started on antidepressants.] (49)
2006 Oct 22CBS News reports, "The average TV viewer is bombarded with an estimated 10 prescription drug ads a day. Only viewers half the globe away, in New Zealand, get to share this experience. Prescription drug ads are banned everywhere else. At Brand Institute, Inc., a Miami marketing firm, naming, or re-naming, syndromes for drug companies is 20 percent of the business. ... every dollar spent on advertising, produces more than $4 in sales." (49)
2006 Nov 1Psychosomatic Medicine publishes a study suggesting that anger, anxiety, depression, and hostility are indicators of risk for developing coronary heart disease in men. The study was based on 2,105 men who served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War and got heart checkups and completed personality surveys in 1987, 1992, 1997, and 2002. The study was conducted by Dr. Stephen H. Boyle of Duke University Medical Center, Edward Suarez, Ph.D., a Duke University associate professor of psychiatry, and colleagues. (49)
2006 Nov 1The American Journal of Psychiatry publishes a study suggesting that SSRI antidepressants decrease suicide rates in children. The study compared antidepressant prescription rates with suicide rates in 933 children, age 5 to 14, between 1996 and 1998, "by county" across the US. Findings indicate that US counties with higher SSRI prescription rates had lower suicide rates, and counties with lower SSRI prescription rates had higher suicide rates. The study was funded by the NIMH and conducted by Robert D. Gibbons, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and director of the Center for Health Statistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and colleagues. (49)
2006 Nov 13An NIMH press release states, "The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health, is funding five new research projects that will shed light on antidepressant medications, notably selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and their association with suicidal thoughts and actions (suicidality)." (49)
2006 NovPsychological Bulletin publishes a study indicating that while men may experience more traumatic events than women, women are more likely to develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The study reviewed 290 studies conducted between 1980 and 2005, and was conducted by David Tolin, Ph.D., of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, and Edna Foa, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. (49)
2006 NovThe New England Journal of Medicine publishes a study showing that about 36% of hospital institutional review board (IRB) members, responsible for protecting patients in research experiments, accept money from companies that make drugs and medical devices under study and rarely disclose such financial ties. About 15% of IRB members acknowledged that they were asked to review at least one research study that was sponsored by a company, or competitor of a company, with which they had a relationship, creating potential for conflict of interest. Less than 50% of IRB members said their board had any formal written definition of conflict of interest. The study surveyed 575 IRB members at 100 universities. The study was led by Eric Campbell of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. (49)
2006 Dec 1A press release by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (Committee Opinion #354, "Treatment with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors During Pregnancy," published in the December 2006 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology) warns that the antidepressant paroxetine (Paxil) should, when possible, be avoided by women during pregnancy due to risk of birth defects. However, they also acknowledge that the benefit of treating mothers with antidepressants (such as SSRIs and SNRIs in general) may outweigh the risk to the fetus in certain cases and should be evaluated on an individual basis. (49)
2006 Dec 1The American Journal of Psychiatry publishes a study indicating that guanfacine (an antihypertensive drug that decreases brain norepinephrine activity) does not reduce the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The study involved 63 veterans with chronic PTSD, was of randomized placebo-controlled design, employed dosages ranging from 1.0 to 3.0 mg over 8-weeks. The study was conducted by Dr. Thomas C. Neylan, from the University of California, San Francisco and the San Francisco VA Medical Center, and colleagues. (49)
2006 Dec 4A US NIMH press release reports, "The brain's fear hub likely becomes abnormally small in the most severely socially impaired males with autism spectrum disorders... Teens and young men who were slowest at distinguishing emotional from neutral expressions and gazed at eyes least - indicators of social impairment - had a smaller than normal amygdala, an almond-shaped danger-detector deep in the brain. The researchers also linked such amygdala shrinkage to impaired nonverbal social behavior in early childhood. ... The new findings suggest that social fear in autism may initially trigger a hyperactive, abnormally enlarged amygdala, which eventually gives way to a toxic adaptation that kills amygdala cells and shrinks the structure." The study involved 49 males, aged 8-25, of which 25 had autism spectrum disorders, used MRI to measure brain structures, and measured non-verbal social impairment with eye-tracking and facial emotion processing tests. The study was conducted by Richard Davidson, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin, and was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). (49)
2006 Dec 5The US FDA announces that antidepressants increase risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in young adults, ages 18 to 25. This result is based on a review of 372 studies involving roughly 100,000 patients and 11 drugs including the antidepressants fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft). Results for older adults, ages 25 to 64, were less clear and the FDA suggested that antidepressants might decrease such risk in this older group. (49)
2006 Dec 6Psychological Medicine publishes a study indicating that heavy caffeine users are almost twice as likely to exhibit panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and major depression. The study was based on a survey of more than 3,600 adult twins and was conducted by Kenneth Kendler, director of the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics. (49)
2006 Dec 7During an annual meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (Dec 3 to 7), Francis McMahon, M.D., of the NIMH, describes ongoing research into the use of genetic markers to predict an individual's response to specific antidepressants. (49)
2006 Dec 13An advisory panel of the US FDA proposes changes to antidepressant warning labels noting that such medications increase risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in patients up to age 24. This proposed change reflects a related FDA announcement on December 5. (49)
2006 Dec 20The Journal of Neuroscience publishes a study indicating that experience with a controllable stressor can reduce the effects of an uncontrollable stressor experienced at a later time. The apparent mechanism appears to be strengthening of the prefrontal cortex influence on brainstem alarm responses. The study is based on experimental data from rats exposed to controllable and uncontrollable stressors with their cortex sometimes chemically inactivated in either form of stress. The study, funded by the NIMH, was conducted by Steven Maier, Ph.D., University of Colorado, Jose Amat, Ph.D., Linda Watkins, Ph.D., Evan Paul and Christina Zarza. In an NIMH press release, Maier comments, "It's as if the original experience with control leads the animal to later have the illusion of control even when it's absent, thereby producing resilience in the face of challenge, ... Perceived control, or coping, can buffer individuals against the negative emotional and physiological impact of stress, ... Enhancing the cortex's control over brainstem and other stress-responsive structures appears to be critical for preventing and treating mood and anxiety disorders." (49)
2006 DecAccording to the British mental health charity Mind, British doctors approved more than 31 million prescriptions for antidepressants in 2006, a record number and a 6% rise over the previous year. Doctors attribute the increase to patient requests for such medications and said that alternatives such as therapy or counseling lacked funding. (49)
2007 Jan 1The Archives of General Psychiatry publishes a study suggesting that PTSD increases risk of heart disease. The study included 1,946 male veterans of World War II and the Korean War who lived in the Greater Boston area and had completed a PTSD survey (either a 46-item questionnaire measuring PTSD symptoms in 1986, or a different 35-item PTSD assessment in 1990). These veterans were observed until 2001 for the occurrence of coronary heart disease. Results suggest that the more severe a person's PTSD, the greater their risk for a heart attack. The study, conducted by Laura Kubzansky of the Harvard School of Public Health and colleagues from Harvard and Boston University, was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs. (49)
2007 Jan 2Asim Nelson, a transit emergency medical technician in New York, reports that the main causes for passenger fainting include missed meals, flu symptoms, anxiety attacks, hangovers and heat exhaustion. This subject gets national media attention after a 19-year old student falls onto subway train tracks during an apparent seizure and is heroically saved from an oncoming train by 50-year-old Vietnam War veteran Wesley Autrey. (49)
2007 Jan 5The American Journal of Psychiatry publishes a study suggesting that therapy via Internet and phone can be effective in the treatment of panic disorder with agoraphobia. The study involved 60 adults who experienced panic attacks, were randomly assigned to either an Internet-based group or a waiting list, and later completed essay questions assessed by their therapist. Results suggest that 10-weeks of therapy reduced symptoms in about 75% of patients, that improvement was still apparent 9-months later, and that after 1-year about 90% of patients had recovered. The study was conducted by Dr. Per Carlbring, an associate professor of behavioral sciences at Linkoping University in Sweden, and colleagues. (49)
2007 Jan 12The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine publishes a study suggesting that antidepressant use during pregnancy does not appear to have a significant effect on child behavior. The study involved 4-year old children, 22 children prenatally exposed to a SSRI and 14 unexposed, and evaluated through parent reports and observation by doctors. Results suggest no statistically significant differences between the exposed and unexposed children. The study was conducted by Dr. Tim F. Oberlander of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and colleagues. (49)
2007 Jan 19The US House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee holds a hearing on military medical readiness. Army Surgeon General Kevin Kiley reports that about 17% percent of returning troops have PTSD, severe anxiety or depression. Also, due to stigma or desire to be with family, many troops are reluctant to acknowledge mental health symptoms or seek counseling. However, troops who seek help are getting counseling, and the amount of counseling is increasing. Navy Surgeon General Donald Arthur reports that some mental health screening is delayed to first allow time with family. Suggestions are made that intensity of deployment be a factor in determining length of deployment. (49)
2007 Jan 22The journal Archives of Internal Medicine publishes a study suggesting that SSRI antidepressants weaken bones in older adults. The 5-year study involved patients aged 50 or older, 137 taking an SSRI compared to 4,871 who did not. Results indicate that SSRI patients had 4% less bone mineral density in their hip bones, 2.4% less density in their lower spine and generally about double the risk of bone fractures. The study was conducted by Dr. David Goltzman of McGill University in Montreal and colleagues, and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, drug companies that include Eli Lilly Canada and Merck Frosst Canada, the Dairy Farmers of Canada and the Arthritis Society. (49)
2007 Feb 6A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that the suicide rate among persons under age 20 increased 18% from 2003 to 2004, following a decade of decline. According to the prescription tracking firm Verispan, antidepressant prescriptions decreased from 2003 to 2004 by 6.8% for ages 12 and under, and less than 1% for ages 13 to 19. In an Associated Press report, Dr. David Fassler, a University of Vermont psychiatry professor, notes that the increased suicide rate coincides with FDA warnings that antidepressants may increase risk of suicide in children. In the same report, CDC doctor Alexander Crosby says that further study is needed to determine the degree to which decreased antidepressant use might be related to increased suicide. Also, Nadine Kaslow, Emory University psychologist, notes that the increased suicide rate coincides with funding cuts for school-based suicide prevention programs. (49)
2007 Feb 7The Archives of General Psychiatry publishes a study indicating that about half of adults with an anxiety disorder had symptoms of some type of psychiatric illness by age 15. The study involved examination of psychiatric histories, from ages 11 through 32, of 9,632 adults, of which 232 adults had anxiety disorders. The study was conducted by NIMH-funded researchers Alice M. Gregory, Avshalom Caspi, Terrie E. Moffitt, and Karestan Koenen, of Goldsmith's College and King's College London, Duke University, and Harvard University, who were joined by Thalia C. Eley and Richie Poulton, of King's College London and University of Otago (New Zealand). (49)
2007 Feb 8Death of celebrity Anna Nicole Smith. Later, March 27, 2007, Broward County Medical Examiner Dr. Joshua Perper says that Smith's death was likely due to a combination of the sedative chloral hydrate in combination with other medications for anxiety, depression and insomnia, taken at normal doses, while weakened by a flu and infection. Her death follows that of her 20-year old son Daniel on September 10, 2006, from a combination of a pain-reliever and two antidepressants at normal doses. (49)
2007 Feb 23The Associated Press reports on procedures for handling mental health problems in space. Preventive measures include initial screening for mental health issues, psychiatric assessments 6-months and 1-month prior to launch and, during missions, astronauts talk with a psychologist every 2-weeks and a flight surgeon every week. Treatment options aboard the International Space Station include medications such as tranquilizers, antidepressants and anti-psychotics. (49)
2007 Feb 25The American Psychological Association (APA) releases a report titled, "The Psychological Needs of U.S. Military Service Members and Their Families." The report says that more than 30% of soldiers met criteria for a mental disorder and less than half of such soldiers sought help due to stigma or access difficulties. Within the Army and Navy, 40% of "active duty licensed clinical psychologist" positions are not filled and this has stressed current mental health personnel. This shortage has reduced US-based therapists available to military families and soldiers returning from deployment. Among US-based therapists, only about 20% (or less) are adequately trained in treatment of PTSD. Within the US, access problems faced by military personnel and families include "long waiting lists, limited clinic hours, breakdowns in the referral process and hard-to-reach locations." (49)
2007 Feb 27The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) publishes a study indicating that women soldiers suffering PTSD have a higher recovery rate using "prolonged exposure" therapy (focusing on recollection of traumatic experiences) over more common "present-centered" therapy (focusing on current difficulties). The study included 284 participants diagnosed with PTSD and compared the two therapies over 6-months. Results indicate a 41% recovery rate for prolonged exposure therapy verses a 28% recovery rate for present-centered therapy. The study was conducted by researchers at the US National Center for PTSD and Dartmouth Medical School. (49)
2007 FebThe American Journal of Psychiatry publishes a study indicating that panic-focused psychodynamic psychotherapy is more effective than relaxation training in the treatment of panic disorder with or without agoraphobia. The study involved 49 adults who were randomly assigned to either treatment, which they would then engage in twice a week for a period of 12 weeks (24 sessions), and were then evaluated using a standard assessment scale. Results indicate response rates of 73% for the psychotherapy and 39% for the relaxation training. The study was conducted by Dr. Barbara Milrod of Weill Medical College, Cornell University, New York, and colleagues. (49)
2007 FebThe Archives of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery publishes a study indicating that 60% of a type of chronic dizziness cases, called "psychogenic dizziness" or "chronic subjective dizziness," are associated with anxiety disorders. The study involved 345 patients, ages 15 to 89, with chronic subjective dizziness for at least 3-months, from 1998 to 2004. The study was conducted by Jeffrey Staab, M.D., and Michael J. Ruckenstein, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania. (49)
2007 Mar 2The FDA drops its proposed "Drug Watch" web page (listing drug safety concerns under evaluation by the FDA). The list was originally proposed on August 10, 2005, and sparked opposition by the industry lobbying group PhRMA. (49)
2007 Mar 5The Archives of General Psychiatry publishes a study suggesting that psychological torment and humiliation during captivity cause as much long-term psychological distress as physical torture. The study involved 279 people, of which 241 were men and 192 had been in detention camps, imprisoned in the 1990s in the former Yugoslavia, who had experienced at least one form of physical torture as well as mental torture. Based on detainee scoring of how stressful each method of torture was and consequent incidence of mental illness and PTSD, results suggest no substantial difference between the psychological effects of mental and physical torture. Techniques found to be as distressing as physical torture included sham executions, threats of rape, sexual advances, humiliating treatment, sleep deprivation, witnessing the torture of others and isolation. The study was conducted by Dr. Metin Basoglu and colleagues at King's College, University of London, and Clinical Hospital Zvezdara in Belgrade. (49)
2007 Mar 6Circulation publishes a study indicating that persistent psychological stress raises the risk of heart attack by about 2.8-fold. The study compared 1,237 people who had experienced a heart attack with 1,888 people of similar age and gender who had not, from six countries in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Guatemala and Mexico). The study was conducted by Dr. Fernando Lanas, from the Universidad de la Frontera in Temuco, Chile. (49)
2007 Mar 6The Annals of Internal Medicine publishes a study suggesting that 19.5% of people visiting a medical doctor had some form of anxiety disorder, of which 41% said they were not getting any treatment (medication, counseling or psychotherapy). The study involved 965 patients, age 18 to 87, in 12 states, who completed a 7-item questionnaire while waiting to see their doctor and were later interviewed by mental health professionals over the phone. The study was conducted by Kurt Kroenke, MD, of the Regenstrief Institute for Health Care in Indianapolis, and colleagues, and was funded by the drug company Pfizer. The researchers acknowledged consultancies, grants, or honoraria from the drug companies Pfizer, Eli Lilly, and Wyeth. (49)
2007 Mar 6The American Journal of Medical Genetics publishes a study suggesting a blood test for panic disorder. The study involved 16 participants with panic disorder, 17 participants without panic disorder and compared gene expression in lymphoblasts (immature white blood cells). Results suggest genetic markers which may be indicative of panic disorder. The study was conducted by Robert Philibert, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues of the University of Iowa. (49)
2007 Mar 12The Archives of Internal Medicine publishes a study indicating that among veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, about 25% had a mental health diagnosis with PTSD being the most common diagnosis. The study was based on records of US veterans seen at Veterans Administration health care facilities between September 2001 and September 2005. The study was conducted by Dr. Karen H. Seal at the Veterans Administration Medical Center and associates. (49)
2007 Mar 12The journal Nature Neuroscience publishes a study indicating that the neurosteroid stress hormone tetrahydropregnanalone (THP), which helps to reduce anxiety in adult mice, actually increases anxiety in adolescent mice. The study suggests an analog in humans and was conducted by Sheryl Smith and colleagues at the Downstate Medical Center, State University of New York (SUNY). (49)
2007 Mar 18In a CBS news interview, crime writer Dary Matera, author of "FBI's Ten Most Wanted," says that being put on the most wanted list is terrifying for criminals and that "A couple of listees had heart attacks when they found they were on the list." (49)
2007 May 2The US FDA announces that antidepressants may increase risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior during the first one or two months of use by young adults (age 18 to 24) in addition to existing "black box" warnings regarding children. However, proposed labeling changes note that older adults do not appear to be at increased risk and that adults age 65 and older appear at decreased risk. Such risk generally seems to affect a very small percentage of patients and the risk posed by lack of treatment is considered significant. Nonetheless, the FDA advises that all people starting antidepressants, regardless of age, be monitored appropriately for suicidal thoughts and behavior. (49)
2007 May 3A preliminary report by the US Defense Department Task Force on Mental Health, chaired by Navy Surgeon General Donald Arthur, warns, "The system of care for psychological health that has evolved in recent decades is not sufficient to meet the needs of today's forces and their beneficiaries, and will not be sufficient to meet the needs in the future." Repeated and extended deployments are expected to increase rates of PTSD and other mental health conditions among troops. (49)
2007 May 7Pediatrics publishes a study indicating that a child's anxiety over immunization shots is best managed by pleasant distraction techniques such as telling jokes, reading a book, bringing a favorite toy from home, blowing soap bubbles or, for infants, a pacifier dipped in sugar water. The study also suggests that parents should employ a matter-of-fact, supportive, non-apologetic approach. Parents being overly apologetic or excessively reassuring may actually increase a child's anxiety because a child might sense a parent's lack of control over the situation. The study was based on a review of over 100 prior studies of pediatric immunization and was conducted by Dr. Neil L. Schechter, director of the Pain Relief Program at Connecticut Children's Medical Center, and colleagues. (49)
2007 May 8The Institute of Medicine provides the US Department of Veterans Affairs with a critical report on the handling of veteran PTSD claims. Dr. Nancy Andreasen, head of the 12-member Institute of Medicine panel, comments, "As the increasing number of claims to the VA shows, PTSD has become a very significant public health problem for the veterans of current conflicts and past conflicts... Our review of the VA's current methods for evaluating PTSD disability claims and determining compensation finds shortcomings, and indicates that a comprehensive revision of the disability determination criteria is needed." (49)
2007 May 10An internal review of US Veterans Affairs health clinics indicates that treatment of PTSD and suicide prevention for veterans are inadequate. The current veteran PTSD rate is estimated to be about 30%. The current veteran suicide rate is estimated to be about 5,000 persons per year among all living veterans, 1,000 persons per year among those receiving VA care. The report recommends that all VA health clinics have 24-hour mental health care available, easing criteria for inpatient PTSD treatment, improved sharing of health information between VA clinics and Pentagon military hospitals, creation of a database to track patient suicide risk. Senator Patty Murray of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee said, "It is far past time for the administration to get its act together and treat invisible wounds with the same vigilance that is given to physical injuries." (49)
2007 May 22The Journal of the American College of Cardiology publishes a study suggesting that prolonged elevated anxiety increases the risk of heart attack and death among people with coronary artery disease. The study involved 516 people with heart disease, average age of 68-years, 82% male, who completed an annual standardized anxiety questionnaire over an average of 3.4 years. Results suggest that high cumulative anxiety scores over time are effective predictors of heart attack risk, whereas a single initial anxiety score was not. The study was conducted by Dr. Charles M. Blatt, Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues. (49)
2007 May 30The journal Psychophysiology publishes a study indicating that "anxious apprehension" (worry) and "anxious arousal" (intense fear and panic) have different patterns of brain activity. The study was conducted by psychology professors Gregory Miller and Wendy Heller of the University of Illinois. (49)
2007 Jun 3Scientists from Sarasota's Mote Marine Laboratory, Florida, report that antidepressants (such as Prozac and Zoloft) are among the pharmaceuticals most commonly finding their way into the blood of bull sharks in the Caloosahatchee River. (49)
2007 Jun 15The US Defense Department's Task Force on Mental Health releases a report titled "An Achievable Vision" which addresses mental health care problems within the military. Among the problems cited are continuing stigma attached to mental health issues among service members, access to mental health professionals by service members and their families, overly conservative policies regarding mental health. (49)
2007 Jun 15The US Army announces that it will spend $33 million to hire about 200 additional mental health professionals (psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers) to help address the mental health needs of soldiers and their families. (49)
2007 Jun 20The journal Conservation Biology publishes a study indicating that the healthy fear of predators by prey species is learned rather than instinctive. The study compared how prey species respond to recordings of predators in areas where the predators still exist, no longer exist and had been reintroduced. The study was conducted by Dr. Joel Berger of the Wildlife Conservation Society. (49)
2007 Jun 22The Rutgers University "Symposium on Lunar Settlements" includes a presentation predicting that living on the moon may be associated with elevated risk of depression and anxiety. The presentation is based on existing studies of workers in remote sites such as Australian mining towns and Antarctic stations. The presenter was Chester Spell, an associate professor of management at the Rutgers School of Business, Camden, New Jersey. (49)
2007 Jun 25The journal Archives of Internal Medicine publishes two studies suggesting that use of SSRI antidepressants weakens bones in older adults, increasing risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. One study measured bone mineral density 5-years apart in 2,722 women, average age 78.5, of which 198 used a SSRI medication. Results indicated a bone density decrease at the hip of 0.82% per year in the SSRI group compared to 0.47% per year in the non-SSRI group. That study was conducted by Dr. Susan Diem, University of Minnesota, and colleagues. The other study measured bone mineral density in 5,995 men, average age 74, of which 160 used a SSRI medication. Results indicated that, compared to the non-SSRI group, the SSRI group had 3.9% lower bone density at the hip and 5.9% lower bone density in the spine. That study was conducted by Dr. Elizabeth Haney, Oregon Health & Sciences University in Portland, and colleagues. (49)
2007 Jun 27The New York Times reports that pharmaceutical companies generally spend twice as much money to market drugs as they do to research them. (49)
2007 Jun 28The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) publishes two studies suggesting little risk of birth defects from taking SSRI antidepressants during the first trimester of pregnancy. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Boston University studies, when combined, included data on newborns, 19,471 with birth defects and 9,952 without, and the specific SSRI medications taken by mothers during the first trimester. Results suggest little overall association between SSRIs in general and most birth defects, though paroxetine (Paxil) seemed related to a modest risk of a blood flow defect from the heart and the studies did not consider persistent pulmonary hypertension (which the NEJM reported on February 9, 2006, and the US FDA issued a warning on July 19, 2006). The Boston University study was led by Carol Louik and partly funded by the NIH and GlaxoSmithKline PLC. (49)
2007 JunPsychosomatic Medicine publishes a report indicating that PTSD more than doubles the risk of developing vascular problems (atherosclerosis, swelling, varicose veins). The study involved 896 people who survived a fireworks depot explosion in 2000, examined medical records 1-year before the explosion to 4-years after, and surveys conducted 3-weeks and 18-months after the explosion. The results indicate that 18-months after the explosion 18% of the people met criteria for PTSD and had increased risk of vascular, musculoskeletal, dermatologic and somatic problems. The study was conducted by Dr. Anja J. E. Dirkzwager, Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research, Utrecht, and colleagues. (49)
2007 Jul 1The journal Sleep publishes a study suggesting that chronic insomnia may be associated with risk of developing an anxiety disorder. The study included 25,130 adults, first surveyed in the mid 1980s, then surveyed a second time in the mid 1990s along with standard diagnostic questions. Results indicated that people reporting chronic insomnia during both or just the second survey were more likely to have anxiety disorder symptoms during the second survey. The study was conducted by Dr. Dag Neckelmann, Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, Norway, and colleagues. (49)
2007 Jul 6The Archives of General Psychiatry publishes a study indicating that Canadian military personnel deployed on peacekeeping missions are not receiving adequate mental health treatment. The study was based on a survey of 8,441 men and women on active duty. Results indicate that while roughly 15% of personnel met diagnostic criteria for mental disorders (major depression, PTSD, etc.), adding those who think they need help but were not seeking treatment increased the overall rate to about 31%. The stigma associated with mental health issues and the definition of need for mental health care are cited as causes for inadequate reporting and treatment. Factors for risk of mental health problems include combat, witnessing atrocities and exposure to multiple traumatic events. The study was conducted by Dr. Jitender Sareen, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, and colleagues. (49)
2007 Jul 12Assistant secretary of defense for health affairs S. Ward Casscells tells the US Congress that recruiting and retaining Army mental health professionals is proving difficult. Last month the Army announced a plan to hire about 200 additional mental health professionals, but this plan has become more difficult than expected. However, the Army has begun an educational program to reduce the stigma attached to mental health problems. Further suggestions include better mental health assessments, soldiers monitoring each other and improved privacy of mental health issues. (49)
2007 Jul 16The Journal of Developmental Psychology publishes a study indicating that young girls who discuss their problems excessively are more likely to have symptoms of anxiety and depression. The study involved 813 students, 3rd through 9th grade, over a period of 6-months. (49)
2007 Jul 16The journal Nature Neuroscience publishes a study indicating that inhibiting a kinase called Cdk5 facilitates extinction of learned fear in mice. The study was conducted by professor Li-Huei Tsai, Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, and colleagues. (49)
2007 Jul 18The US Army launches a program to teach soldiers and families to recognize symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and PTSD, that such conditions are serious, and that seeking treatment is nothing to be ashamed of. The 1-hour lessons will be taught through a "chain teach" program, where leaders are educated and the lessons are passed down through the chain of command. Furthermore, troops serving 15-month tours in war zones will have their rest and recuperation (R&R) time increased from 15 to 18-days during deployment. (49)
2007 Jul 24Clinical psychologist Albert Ellis dies at the age of 93. Ellis is best known for creating Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) in 1955, which contributed to the later development of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). (49)
2007 JulThe American Journal of Psychiatry publishes a study indicating that antidepressants lower the rate of suicide attempts in depressed adults age greater than 25-years. The study included data from the Veterans Administration health care system regarding 226,866 veterans without a history of depression as of 2000-2002, but were diagnosed with depression by 2003-2004 and were followed for at least 6 months. Of these veterans 114,475 were treated with a single antidepressant (72% with an SSRI, 24% with a non-SSRI, 4% with a TCA), 52,959 were treated with a combination of antidepressants, 59,432 were not treated with an antidepressant. Results indicate a suicide attempt rate of 0.364% when treated with at least one antidepressant verses 1.057% when not treated with an antidepressant. The study was conducted by Dr. Robert D. Gibbons, of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and colleagues. (49)
2007 Aug 2The journal Biological Psychiatry publishes a study indicating that disruption of the protein ASIC1a alters innate fear reactions in mice. The study was conducted by assistant professor John Wemmie, University of Iowa, and colleagues. (49)
Anxiety-Panic History