The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) has launched an online Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) Resource Center that offers basic and advanced information on the disorder for parents and clinicians.
The center features brief video discussions of ODD symptoms, a definition of ODD, answers to frequently asked questions, and information on seeking help.
AACAP officers say they have faced increasing demand for information on ODD. They note that in 2007:
• the organization’s ODD information Web page was the most heavily viewed offering on www.accap.org, attracting 107,000-plus page views
• “oppositional defiant disorder” was the most commonly used search term en route to aacap.org.
Scientists claim they have identified a novel gene that increases risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and say their findings could lead to new ways to prevent or treat the disorder.
Philippe Marambaud, PhD, an assistant investigator at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, and Fabien Campagne, PhD, of Weill Medical College, Cornell University, studied the DNA of 3,404 deceased Alzheimer’s patients and matched controls. They found that a calcium channel modulator strongly expressed in the hippocampus was significantly more prevalent within the Alzheimer’s group.
Whereas calcium channel modulators normally allow calcium into the neuron, the risk gene, called CALHM1, causes less calcium to reach the cell and weakens the signals normally regulated by calcium. The authors believe one of these signals controls levels of amyloid peptides, the building blocks of senile plaques.
Persons who have the genetic variant have a 1.5 times higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s than those without the variant, the researchers estimate. The findings appear in the June 27 issue of Cell.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is praising the House of Representatives’ passage of a bill that, it says, would preserve access to mental health care for Medicare recipients.
The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act would reduce the 50% coinsurance beneficiaries have been paying for outpatient mental health services to 20%—the same rate charged for other Medicare Part B services.
“It is unconscionable to require the elderly and disabled to pay half the cost of their mental health care out of pocket,” said APA President Nada Stotland, MD, MPH. “This change makes social and economic sense.”
The bill also:
• blocks a scheduled 10.6% cut in payments to physicians and other health professionals through 2009
• requires Medicare Part D coverage of benzodiazepines and barbiturates
• codifies the “All or substantially all” regulatory guideline, which requires Part D drug plans to cover almost all medications within certain classes.
The FDA has ordered manufacturers of first-generation antipsychotics (FGAs) to add boxed warnings to the labeling describing an increased risk of death in older patients who receive these drugs off-label for dementia.
FDA cited two observational, epidemiologic studies1,2 that found FGAs might increase risk of death among older patients, although the authors report the findings are far from conclusive. The two Canadian studies followed a total of 64,500 adults aged 65 or older who received an FGA, a second-generation antipsychotic, or no antipsychotic for dementia or other psychiatric disorders.
The FDA has approved the antidepressant duloxetine for managing fibromyalgia.
FDA based approval on two 3-month clinical trials that followed a total of 874 patients with fibromyalgia. In both studies, duloxetine reduced pain at endpoint compared with placebo based on Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) 24-hour average pain scale measurements (data on file, Eli Lilly and Company).
FDA in 2004 approved duloxetine, marketed as Cymbalta, for treating major depressive disorder. The serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor also is indicated for treating generalized anxiety disorder and diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain.