The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) plans to allocate $4 million to explore whether physical activity can prevent substance abuse.
NIDA also is holding a 2-day conference to spur further research on the role of exercise in substance abuse prevention. During the meeting June 5 and 6 at the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, MD, more than 100 scientists from around the United States discussed such topics as:
• the social context in which physical activity occurs, including school, outdoors, and other environments
• the relationship of physical activity to physical disorders (obesity), social reward structures (motivation), cognition (attention, impulse control, other motor skills), and mood disorders (depression, stress), all of which might play a role in substance abuse.
Lecturers also described tools that assess physiologic responses to exercise and physical activity.
The American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry (AAGP) will award $10,000 to a community program that shows excellence and innovation in providing mental health services to older adults.
The grant, called the Deirdre Johnston Award is designed to help bring expert mental health services to frail, older men and women. AAGP will present the award March 2009 in Honolulu during its annual meeting. A representative from the award-winning program will be invited to give a brief lecture or poster presentation.
Give an Hour and the American Psychiatric Foundation (APF) will use a $1 million grant to extend mental health services to U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The $1 million grant from the Lilly Foundation will help the two organizations recruit and educate volunteer mental health professionals, who will become part of a network that provides mental health services for returning soldiers and their families.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, approximately 40% of soldiers, a third of Marines, and half of National Guard members have reported psychological problems after serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, but mental health services are in short supply.
Give an Hour recruits mental health professionals to volunteer 1 hour each week for at least 1 year to provide services to veterans in person, by phone, or in consultation with schools and community organizations. Services include marital and family therapy, substance abuse counseling, and treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder. APF, the charitable and educational arm of APA, is encouraging psychiatrists to join the network.
The FDA has approved the prodrug stimulant lisdexamfetamine for treating attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults.
FDA based approval on a double-blind, placebo-controlled study that followed 414 adults ages 18 to 55 over 4 weeks.1 At study’s end, participants who received lisdexamfetamine at 30, 50, or 70 mg/d showed a mean 16.2- to 18.6-point improvement in ADHD Rating Scale scores compared with placebo.
Lisdexamfetamine—marketed as Vyvanse—also is indicated for treating ADHD in children ages 6 to 12. The drug entered the market last year.
1. Adler L, Goodman DW, Kollins SH, et al. Efficacy and safety of lisdexamfetamine dimesylate in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Poster presented at: American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry annual meeting; Boston, MA; October 23-28, 2007.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is pushing for lower Medicare beneficiary co-payments for outpatient mental health services.
Medicare covers only 50% of most mental health care service costs, compared with 80% of most other outpatient medical service costs.
“Medicare was established to serve the elderly and people with disabilities, two groups with high mental health needs,” says Robert Roca, MD, MPH, vice president and medical director, Sheppard Pratt Health System (Baltimore, MD). “Ironically, the 50% coinsurance creates an unusually high barrier for people who need mental health services.”
APA is urging lawmakers to increase Medicare’s share of mental health coverage. A spokeswoman notes that several bills are before Congress:
• One measure (S-1715) would reduce the 50% beneficiary co-pay for outpatient mental health services to 20 % over 6 years.
• A companion bill, the Seniors Access to Mental Health Act of 2007 (HR-1571), also would reduce the co-pay over time.
• Under the Children’s Health and Medicare Protection (CHAMP) Act (HR-3162), which passed the House in August 2007, Medicare would cover mental health outpatient treatment at the same rate as other outpatient services.