Recent Blog Articles

Mind & Mood Archive


Ketamine for treatment-resistant depression: When and where is it safe?

Ketamine has been used for decades as an anesthetic, and in 2019 an inhaled version of it was approved by the FDA for treatment-resistant depression. But it is generally prescribed only when other treatments have not been effective.

Tapering off antidepressants sensibly

People taking antidepressants may have many reasons for wanting to discontinue the drug. They may feel they no longer need the medication or decide they cannot tolerate side effects. A doctor should guide the process of tapering off antidepressants. The chance of depression recurrence is higher for people who take antidepressants long-term and stop abruptly. Withdrawal symptoms can make the tapering process uncomfortable, but it's generally not dangerous.

Doing multiple types of activities improves cognitive health

Studies have shown that doing any one of certain activities, such as staying physically active and maintaining social ties, helps maintain brain health in older adults. A new study suggests that participating in multiple kinds of these activities, several times a week, may help even more.

Improving vision may help prevent dementia

A recent analysis found a link between vision loss and higher risk of dementia. The results suggest improving visual acuity, such as with eyeglasses or cataract removal, might help maintain cognitive fitness in older adults.

The art of monotasking

Science has shown that when people multitask, they become more easily distracted and less productive, score lower on tests for recalling information, and make more errors. Older adults especially struggle with multitasking because aging brains have more trouble blocking distractions. The solution is to monotask by focusing on only one job until it's completed. Methods for monotasking include prioritizing tasks, blocking distractions, and working in intervals.

Living longer, without dementia

A study published online April 13, 2022, by The BMJ found that those age 65 or older who regularly practiced numerous healthy lifestyle habits lived longer and had fewer years with dementia than those who practiced one or no healthy lifestyle factors.

Do blood tests really help diagnose Alzheimer's disease?

In May 2022, the FDA approved a blood test to help diagnose Alzheimer's disease. The test looks for amyloid-beta protein, a marker of Alzheimer's. The blood test is quite accurate, compared with positron emission tomography (PET) brain scans, which are more expensive and complicated. More blood tests, including some that look for tau protein (another marker of Alzheimer's), also are under development. Other tests used to diagnose Alzheimer's include computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and a spinal tap.

Spotting memory loss in a loved one

It can be hard to detect a potentially serious type of memory loss in a loved one, especially if small cognitive changes occur over time. It may help to note memory slips that happen consistently or those that seem uncharacteristic for the person. Tracking incidents on a calendar may also help reveal patterns. Potential incidents include consistently forgetting a close family member's name, important conversations, words for everyday objects, bills that are due, medication times or doses, or routes home from familiar places. Other common issues are frequently having trouble at work, making financial mistakes, or taking medications incorrectly.

Can music improve our health and quality of life?

Humans' relationship with music is complex and individual, and there are times when music can have a clear and immediate impact on our well-being. Music therapy uses music as a therapeutic tool to address certain health care goals.

Managing weight gain from psychiatric medications

A side effect of many psychiatric medications is weight gain. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti-anxiety and sleep medications, and mood stabilizers can all affect metabolism in ways that lead to increased weight, so it's important to know what you can do to lessen this unwanted effect.

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