Kaleidoscope December 2017
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December’s Kaleidoscope notes how
dopamine has been called the ‘wind of the psychotic fire’, but its
role in bipolar affective disorder psychoses had been less
clear. A new piece of work compared the two conditions
using positron emission tomography, and interestingly, most were
treatment naïve or drug free. There were no clear differences
between the conditions, with striatal dopamine positively
correlated with symptom severity. Patients were followed up for a
year and a half, and their diagnoses remained stable. The findings
support a transdiagnostic role for dopamine in the psychoses: its
increased presynaptic synthesis is a tantalising target for future
Adult ADHD is a growing issue. Many previously
undiagnosed adults present due to greater current awareness of the
condition, which wasn’t present when they were children; indeed
some come forth after sitting through their own child’s assessment
in school, reflecting that they’d such problems when young.
However, there is a smaller cohort of those who say their symptoms
started in adulthood: what to make of that? Screening
questionnaires don’t help, as they pick up symptoms but not causes.
A novel piece of work did detailed evaluations of the adult onset
cohort (remember, not those who have had it since childhood), and
found that 95% could be explained by drug use, commonly cocaine.
Some snow in time for Christmas.
Finally, Kaleidoscope only ever aims to provide you with
the best science, never to induce moral panic with clickbait
headlines. So, will violent videogames harm your children?
About a year ago the column dismissed so-called ‘internet gaming
disorder’ as not really a thing, and a case of over-diagnosing
everything. But, might ten straight hours on Grand Theft Auto numb
one’s senses, and the ability to determine if it’s ok to shoot
strangers in the head? A novel study says yes it does, with heavy
users of violent video games found to have reduced levels of
empathy. Not that we would find it amusing to disrupt your
Christmas shopping plans, but you have been warned. The paper tells
us little of the differences between individual titles, so we aim
to spend my time off evaluating any differential effects between
Wolfenstein II and Resident Evil 7. If our thumbs are still
working, we’ll report back in January.
December 2017 Kaleidoscope monthly Quiz (True or
A new study has suggested that almost all adult-onset
ADHD can be explained by substance use.
The largest double-blinded randomised controlled trial of deep
brain stimulation for depression has shown a modest, but
statistically significant improvement in the active treatment over
Answer: False; it’s disheartening news for
A brief psychosocial intervention addressing barriers to taking
medication has been shown to increase adherence to antidepressants
by a factor of five in older adults.
Answer: True, and their clinical outcomes were
– unsurprisingly – also better.