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30 Jan

Researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford’s Warneford Hospital in the UK, studied people with insomnia and "good sleepers", to see if various ways of managing unwanted thoughts affected sleep quality, anxiety and depression.

Analysis of the data revealed that with the exception of cognitive distraction, the people suffering from insomnia, relative to good sleepers, more frequently used thought control strategies. More specifically, strategies of aggressive suppression and worry appeared to be entirely unhelpful, and in fact, the use of these strategies were predictors of sleep impairment, anxiety and depression.

10 Oct

Researchers from The College of Pharmacy and School of Nursing at The University of Minnesota evaluated the potential of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbance and improved quality of life after solid organ transplantation.

Subjects consisted of 20 kidney, lung, or pancreas transplant recipients, aged 35 to 59 years, living in the community who participated in an MBSR class (2.5 hours weekly, for 8 weeks, plus home practice for 45 minutes, 5 days weekly), modeled after the program of Jon Kabat-Zinn. The outcome measures used were self-report scales for depression (CES-D), anxiety (STAI-Y1), and sleep dysfunction (PSQI).
01 Aug

Researchers at the Occupational Health & Safety Unit at Royal Free Hospital in London conducted a randomized, controlled, clinical trial to evaluate the effect of an 8 week computerized cognitive behavioural therapy programme, ''Beating The Blues'', on emotional distress in employees with recent stress-related absenteeism, and to explore the reasons for non-participation.

Forty-eight public sector employees, with 10 or more cumulative days of stress-related absenteeism in the previous 6 months, were randomized equally to ''Beating The Blues'' plus conventional care, or conventional care alone. The main outcomes, measured at the end of treatment and at one, three and six months post-treatment, were scores from the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the Attributional Style Questionnaire.
25 Apr

Researchers from the Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University, investigated whether cognitive therapy (CT) has an enduring effect in preventing the return of depressive symptoms, and compared this to the effect produced by continued antidepressant medication.

One hundred four patients (57.8% of those initially assigned) with moderate to severe depression, from outpatient clinics at the University of Pennsylvania and Vanderbilt University who responded to cognitive therapy in a randomized, controlled trial were withdrawn from treatment and compared to medication responders during a 12-month post-treatment period. These subjects were randomly assigned to either continuation medication or placebo withdrawal. Patients were allowed no more than 3 booster sessions during continuation; patients assigned to continuation medication were kept at full dosage levels.
06 Dec

Adolescents suffering from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) do well with a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Prozac, in a randomized, controlled, multicenter, partially blinded study at Duke University Medical Center.

This multi-center, controlled, randomized, partially blinded study out of Duke University compares the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) fluoxetine (Prozac) and their combination for 439 adolescents between 12 and 17 years old suffering from major depressive disorder.

22 Nov

A study at the University of Bologna suggests that using Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy allows a significant proportion of people with recurrent depression to withdraw from medication successfully and to stay well for at least 6 years.

Researchers from the Department of Psychology at The University of Bologna, in multi-center, randomized, controlled clinical trials, looked at the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy for replacing medication at reducing recurrence in depression. Cognitive behavior treatment had been found earlier to yield a significantly lower relapse rate than clinical management in recurrent depression at a 2-year follow-up. This study looked at a 6-year follow-up of cognitive behavior treatment versus clinical management.

08 Mar

In an ongoing assessment of web-based interventions designed to help people suffering from depression, Australian National University researcher, Helen Christensen and her team compared two internet interventions - one, a psychoeducation website offering information about depression, and the other, an interactive website offering cognitive behavior therapy at the screen.

Internet users in Canberra (n = 525) with increased depressive symptoms were randomly assigned to either the informational website, (BluePages, http://bluepages.anu.edu.au) (n = 166) or a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) website (MoodGYM, http://moodgym.anu.edu.au) (n = 182) or a control group (n = 178) that received an attention placebo - weekly contact from a lay interviewer to discuss lifestyle factors such as exercise, education, and health habits.

01 Mar

A study of chemotherapy patients at The UCSF Mt. Zion Infusion Center by Phaedra Caruso, PhD and Trudy Helge, PhD (at the time doctoral candidates in psychology), compared two kinds of guided imagery - self-generated, unique, fill-in-the-blank type imagery vs. "canned" imagery - standardized, physiologically-based, scripted imagery - along with a third condition: a progressive relaxation tape. All three interventions were recorded by the same person - imagery expert Martin Rossman MD - and offered as part of a four-session course.

When the data were analyzed and broken down, Caruso and Helge found that both kinds of guided imagery performed equally well, and significantly better than the progressive relaxation, in reducing depression and anxiety for the patients - indeed, increasingly so over time.
15 Aug

In a huge study by Duke’s John Barefoot, PhD and his team, 1250 cardiac patients with coronary artery disease were assessed over a span of nearly 20 years for their levels of depression, to see if the degree of depression correlated in any way with mortality rates, and, if so, which features packed an especially mean punch. (Other research had already established the connection between depression and heart disease, but this study was designed to tease out what elements did the damage.)

The study showed that depressive symptoms did indeed predict survival. The risk of death increased by 40% for patients with negative affect, which meant downheartedness, sadness, irritability and restlessness. When negative affect was found in younger patients - under 51 mortality risk increased to a whopping 70%.

The other potent predictor of mortality was hopelessness.

Citation: Barefoot J, et al. Depressive symptoms and survival of patients with coronary artery disease. Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine. 2000 Nov-Dec; 62(6):790-5
15 Aug

Web-based cognitive behavior therapy: analysis of site usage and changes in depression and anxiety scores.

Helen Christensen of The Centre for Mental Health Research at The Australian National University in Canberra (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) developed a free Internet-based cognitive-behavior therapy intervention called MoodGYM at http://moodgym.anu.edu.au. The MoodGYM is designed to treat and prevent depression in young people, and is especially targeted for those with no formal contact with professional help.

All visitors to the MoodGYM site over about 6 months were investigated as aggregate data, including 2909 registrants of whom 1503 had completed at least one online assessment. (Outcomes for 71 university students enrolled in an Abnormal Psychology course who visited the site for educational training were included and examined separately.)