People with mental illness are more likely to be victims of homicide than perpetrators of homicide

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Dave Steele reports on a recent observational case series published in the Lancet Psychiatry, which concludes that patients with mental illness are two and a half times more likely to be victims of homicide than the general population.

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Missing you Mum: mothers who bring their babies to emergency departments often have undetected post-natal depression

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While depression is the leading cause of disability for both males and females, the burden of depression is 50% higher for females. In fact, depression is the leading cause of disease burden for women in both high-income and low- and middle-income countries (WHO, 2008). Research has shown that women with unidentified and untreated maternal depression [read the full story...]

The links between passive smoking and dementia: findings from a new cross-sectional study

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Over 1 billion people on Earth smoke tobacco. WHO figures tell us that 80% of the smoking population live in low-middle income countries, most of which are not protected by any kind of smoke-free public health legislation. China is a particular black-spot in this regard. It has the largest tobacco smoking population in the world [read the full story...]

Strong association between unemployment and suicide shown in new BMJ study

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How is the economic downturn affecting the health of the nation? It seems obvious to many of us that the mental wellbeing of people who are going through very tough personal and financial circumstances is likely to be seriously affected. Of course the ultimate price that people pay is with their lives and there has [read the full story...]

Low birth weight or preterm babies have an increased risk of personality disorders

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Events that occur immediately before and after birth (perinatal factors) can often have a significant impact later in life. Research has shown that the risk of many mental health and neurological conditions (schizophrenia, ADHD, depression, autism and eating disorders) increases when complications occur around this time. However, there have been relatively few studies to date [read the full story...]

New evidence on delirium from NICE

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Around 20% of people on medical wards in hospital are affected by delirium. Sometimes called ‘acute confusional state’, delirium is a common clinical syndrome characterised by disturbed consciousness, cognitive function or perception, which has an acute onset and fluctuating course. NICE issued guidance on delirium in July 2010 and they have now published an evidence [read the full story...]

Young people recently in contact with psychiatric services are 12 times more likely than other young people to attempt suicide

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Driving down suicidal behaviour in young people has long been a major target for public health professionals. This new study from researchers in Denmark will help inform this important work. The case control study used data from the Danish national register (403,431 in total) to assess the risk of suicide attempts after contact with a [read the full story...]

Find out which mental health services have the biggest impact on reducing suicide rates

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Every year in England and Wales, a suicide occurs in roughly one patient for every thousand in mental health treatment. These numbers make it hard to research what mental health service providers can do to prevent further suicides, so it’s encouraging to see a new cross-sectional observational study published in the Lancet with funding from [read the full story...]

Fewer than one in ten people with schizophrenia show sustained improvement over 3 years

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This large prospective observational study followed 1,635 chronically ill patients with schizophrenia for a 3 year period. The aim was to identify the best baseline predictors of recovery. Sixty-two factors were assessed as possible prognostic variables, including patient-reported variables, clinician-rated variables and medical record based resource utilisation. Here’s what they found: The likelihood of a [read the full story...]

Antidepressants reduce suicide risk by 20% in patients with affective disorders, according to new cohort study

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In November 2007, the US Food and Drug Administration required that black box warnings be placed on all antidepressant medications warning they may result in increased risk of suicidal tendencies in children and adolescents. It is now considered good practice that patients of all ages who initiate antidepressants should be monitored for clinical worsening or [read the full story...]