News & Headlines

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Technology Networks | Jun 24, 2024

A critical part of the brain linked to risks for anxiety later in life – the left amygdala – was significantly smaller by volume in babies of mothers who reported stress during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new manuscript published in JAMA Network Open. The right hippocampus, which governs spatial, visual and verbal memories, and the white matter were also reduced in children whose mothers reported stress. The research from Children’s National Hospital provides mounting evidence that children of the pandemic, even those far too young to understand it, need ongoing assessments of developmental or mental health support later in life.

Albuquerque Journal | Jun 24, 2024

Among the many dangers faced by those serving in the military, sexual trauma is shockingly common. About 1 in 3 female veterans seen by Veterans Affairs (VA) providers report experiencing military sexual trauma — defined as any sexual assault or sexual harassment that happens during military service. About 1 in 50 male veterans report military sexual trauma, too. Self-reports and interviews show higher prevalence rates of military harassment and assault for veterans of all genders compared to reviews of VA medical records, data shows. 

News-Medical | Jun 24, 2024

Dr. John Kirwan, Executive Director of Pennington Biomedical Research Center, is serving as a co-principal investigator on the Pathobiology in RECOVER of Metabolic and Immune Systems, or PROMIS, study. The study has been awarded more than $802,000 by the National Institutes of Health to identify potential causes of Long COVID. "The PROMIS study will help us better understand what is driving Long COVID," Dr. Kirwan said. "In the early days of the pandemic, Pennington Biomedical directed its resources to address the urgent health needs of our population. Now with estimates that more than 25 percent of people in the U.S. who had COVID have experienced Long COVID at some point, there is a need for Pennington Biomedical scientists to find the causes and potential cures of this debilitating syndrome. It is well known, for example, that those with diabetes and obesity are at a higher risk for Long COVID. Following our mission, this is one more reason for Pennington Biomedical to pursue measures in treating these chronic diseases as well."

MSN | Jun 21, 2024

Former Australian rules football player Heather Anderson is the first female athlete to be diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Anderson played seven games in the Australian Football League Women's in 2017 before retiring later that year. She then committed suicide this past November at just 28. "She is the first female athlete diagnosed with CTE, but she will not be the last," researchers said, via ESPN. Researchers were able to make this discovery after Anderson's family donated her brain to the Australian Sports Brain Bank.

BBC | Jun 21, 2024

A vote against using MDMA as part of therapy for PTSD has provoked a powerful backlash among researchers who study psychedelic drugs. Some 13 million Americans struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Existing therapies only bring relief for a fraction of patients, and new treatments are sorely needed, according to psychiatrists wrestling with the scale of the problem. So, there was distinct disappointment when an advisory committee at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted earlier this month against a therapy that many had hoped could offer the first new treatment for PTSD in 25 years.

The New York Times | Jun 20, 2024

Austin Valley’s death exposed the Army’s most urgent challenge: a suicide crisis among soldiers in peacetime.

The New York Times | Jun 20, 2024

Soldiers are more likely than their civilian peers to die by suicide. Many people wrongly believe this is because of combat trauma, but in fact the most vulnerable group are soldiers who have never deployed. The Army’s suicide rate has risen steadily even in peacetime, and the numbers now exceed total combat deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. A Times investigation into the death of Specialist Austin Valley, stationed at Fort Riley in Kansas, found that mental-health care providers in the Army are beholden to brigade leadership and often fail to act in the best interest of soldiers.

Canada | Jun 17, 2024

Concussions are the most common form of brain injury with thousands of Canadians diagnosed every year. In 2022, approximately 35,000 children and youth, aged 5 to 19, and more than 65,000 adults, 20 years and older, were diagnosed with a concussion in emergency rooms across the country. In the summer of 2022, the Public Health Agency of Canada launched the Detecting Concussions Using Objective Indicatorschallenge, seeking solutions to prevent severe health outcomes associated with concussions. As part of phase 1, three finalists received $150,000 each to develop their ideas.

The Guardian | Jun 17, 2024

When 42-year-old Myrthe Boss gets on her bike to go shopping in the Dutch town of Ede, she pops on a helmet. This act, considered essential in many countries, marks Boss out as something of a radical in the Netherlands, where helmet-wearing is rare. Now, however, faced with rising number of traffic deaths linked in particular to older riders and e-bikes, the Dutch government and provinces – not to mention neurologists like Boss – are inviting cyclists to think again.

Science | Jun 13, 2024

Last week’s decision by a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee not to recommend MDMA-assisted psychotherapy to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) surprised and dismayed many in psychedelic research. The field has exploded in recent years after decades of being shunned by academia and stifled by governments. But the first company to submit clinical trial data for U.S. market approval, Lykos Therapeutics, could not convince the panel of independent experts that its approach—combining talk therapy with the compound commonly known as ecstasy—was effective, or that the benefits outweighed the risks.

Medical Xpress | Jun 12, 2024

A team of Australia's leading health researchers has developed a new "dictionary" to better predict outcomes for people who have experienced a moderate-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). The work is published in the Journal of Neurotrauma.

US News & World Report | Jun 12, 2024

A test used to gauge whether a college athlete has suffered a concussion is right only half the time and may be useless, new research finds. The test used by the NCAA, which oversees college sports, measures an athlete's cognitive skills, and is one of three tests (symptoms and balance tests being the other two) that doctors use to identify concussion.

USA Today | Jun 12, 2024

U.S. soldiers were almost nine times more likely to die by suicide than by enemy fire, according to a Pentagon study for the five-year period ending in 2019. The study, published in May by the Defense Health Agency, found that suicide was the leading cause of death among active-duty soldiers from 2014 to 2019. There were 883 suicide deaths during that time period. Accidents were the No. 2 cause with 814 deaths. There were 96 combat deaths.

News-Medical | Jun 10, 2024

In a recent study published in JAMA Network Open, researchers evaluated the associations between psychiatric service dog partnership and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among veterans.

MSN | Jun 10, 2024

Cognitive health becomes an important factor in our quality of life as we get older. And even though cognitive decline is usually associated with advanced age, it turns out that what our brains go through when we're young can come back to haunt us later in life.  A new study published in the Neurology journal shows that suffering from concussions is linked to increased cognitive decline later in life, even if it was just once and if the patient was observed to have made a full recovery. 

VCU News | Jun 7, 2024

Findings from unprecedented analysis point to how genetics may be partly why post-traumatic stress disorder is twice as prevalent among women than men.

Harvard School of Public Health | Jun 7, 2024

Effective treatments are available to help people recover from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to Karestan Koenen, professor of psychiatric epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In a May 23 interview on WBUR, Koenen shared her personal experience with PTSD and how it motivated her to become a trauma researcher. After being sexually assaulted and becoming severely depressed, she found that therapy helped her to get better.

BBC | Jun 7, 2024

There are striking parallels between the two syndromes – and scientists hope the link could help to unravel the mysteries of both.

The New York Times | Jun 6, 2024

An independent advisory panel of the Food and Drug Administration rejected the use of MDMA-assisted therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder on Tuesday, highlighting the unparalleled regulatory challenges of a novel therapy using the drug commonly known as Ecstasy.

Nature | Jun 6, 2024

Researchers have developed biodegradable, wireless sensors that can monitor changes in the brain following a head injury or cancer treatment, without invasive surgery. In rats and pigs, the soft sensors performed just as well as conventional wired sensors for up to a month after being injected under the skull. The gel-based sensors measure key health markers, including temperature, pH and pressure. “It is quite likely this technology will be useful for people in medical settings,” says study co-author Yueying Yang, a biomedical engineer at Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in Wuhan, China. The findings were published today in Nature1.

National Public Radio | Jun 5, 2024

The risks of traumatic brain injuries in American football are well known, but some researchers have found that sports involving horses are also a leading cause. These injuries can be fatal and usually occur during falls of either the rider or both the horse and the rider. Last month, British event rider Georgie Campbell died after a fall while competing in the Bicton International Horse Trials in Devon, England. Her death has renewed focus on the perennial issue of safety in the sport.

Marine Corps Times | Jun 5, 2024

A new rapid test that checks for traumatic brain injuries using a single drop of blood is expected to make its debut in the military in the coming months. The product marks one of the most significant steps forward for TBI patients’ care in the past 20 years, Lt. Col. Bradley Dengler, an Army neuroscientist who directs the Military Traumatic Brain Initiative at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland, said in a recent release announcing the product’s approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

The New York Times | Jun 5, 2024

Post-traumatic stress disorder closes people off. They withdraw — often reluctant to talk about what they’ve experienced and unable to trust others or themselves. But many leading treatments for the condition require just that. The treatments for PTSD — including several forms of psychotherapy and medication — are effective for many patients, but they don’t work for everyone. They can be expensive. Sometimes, they can be so distressing that patients stop the treatment before it’s complete.

MSN | Jun 5, 2024

The neurologic long COVID symptoms of some patients, like brain fog and memory loss, may be caused by lingering virus—in the gut, of all places. That’s according to a new study by University of Pennsylvania researchers published Monday in the journal Cell. Researchers say the findings could lead to a treatment for a disease that so far has none.

The New York Times | Jun 5, 2024

No new treatment for PTSD has been approved for more than 20 years, and this one, using an illegal drug known as Ecstasy, has been closely watched.