From the pages of Psychiatric Times: June 2023

In the June issue of Psychiatric times, we’ve worked with experts from several psychiatric areas to bring you thoughtful articles on a wide variety of psychiatric topics, from neuromodulation for eating disorders to adolescent ethics education on mental health care in the age of social media. Here are some highlights of the matter.

Conversations with Artificial Intelligence: Mental Health vs Machine

There is much talk about the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in everyday life as well as in medicine. This has led experts to ask: Can machines possess genuine consciousness? Are they capable of original intuition, creativity and even emotion? Philosophers, scientists and ethicists have been asking these questions for decades, but recently they have become more urgent and pertinent.

Artificial intelligence holds promise as a tool for clinical practice, particularly with regards to clinical prediction and decision making. However, there are risks and limitations. As one expert put it, early AI researchers hoped to build machines that emulate the human mind… Instead, we’ve learned to build machines that don’t reason at all. They associate, and this is very different.

Clinicians andPsychiatric times contributors have studied artificial intelligence, particularly as it pertains to psychiatry, and have made several interesting and some troubling realizations. Through these conversations, we may better understand the future role of AI in addressing mental health. Keep reading

Neuromodulation in Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia

The eating disorders anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN) are serious medical illnesses. AN has one of the highest mortality rates of any psychiatric illness and high rates of development of treatment-resistant chronic disease. BN has a lower, but significant mortality rate and can also become chronic.

While there are gold standard treatments for BN that produce remissions in about two-thirds of patients, many do not respond to these standard treatments. The situation for AN is much bleaker, with perhaps only 50% managing to recover. There has been little progress in developing new treatments in either condition for several decades.

Neuromodulation refers to treatments that attempt to directly influence the function of brain circuits. Two such treatments are repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and deep brain stimulation (DBS). With rTMS, a magnetic field is applied from outside the skull to a target inside the brain to increase or decrease the activity of specific brain circuits. It has been used in the treatment of depression for several decades. Keep reading

Clozapine-induced weight gain: dose-dependent?

Clozapine is the gold standard antipsychotic for treatment-resistant psychoses; however, it is associated with a considerable risk of cardiometabolic adverse effects. It is unclear whether clozapine’s adverse effects are dose-dependent, and findings regarding its effects on weight, glucose, and lipids are conflicting.

The current study

Piras and colleagues analyzed the effects of clozapine dose on weight, blood pressure, and metabolic parameters in a prospective cohort of psychiatric patients in Switzerland. Data were obtained from the PsyMetab and PsyClin cohorts, which included patients who started clozapine between 2007 and 2020 and had at least 2 weight observations and 3 weeks of clinical follow-up. Keep reading

Psychiatry on TikTok: Ethically Educating Teens

Have you considered rocket fuel? It’s the perfect stimulant to replace Adderall! Scroll. PTSD? Try touch therapy! It’s better than any drug on the market! You swipe and moan. Anyone who spends time on social media has seen these ads. Influencers, vloggers, celebrities, and everyone in between are selling a new, unproven treatment for a mental health disorder. What was once only found on television and in magazines now appears on our patients’ smartphones, especially via social media applications like TikTok.

Origins of mental health misinformation

The origin of the teen mental health misinformation debacle plaguing social media platforms involved multiple factors striking at once. Adolescents value peer acceptance and identity formation, for which social interaction, group affiliation, and peer affirmation are necessary. However, the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine has deprived young people of such experiences, replacing them with social isolation. At the same time, the mental health of young people has deteriorated.Keep reading

View the entire June issue of Psychiatric times Here. And make sure you stay up to date by subscribing to Psychiatric times E-newsletter.

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