Depression Treatment: Environmental Enrichment Reduces Signs of Boredom in Caged Mink.

Environmental enrichment reduces signs of boredom in caged mink.

Filed under: Depression Treatment

PLoS One. 2012; 7(11): e49180
Meagher RK, Mason GJ

Animals housed in impoverished cages are often labelled ‘bored’. They have also been called ‘apathetic’ or ‘depressed’, particularly when profoundly inactive. However, these terms are rarely operationally defined and validated. As a negative state caused by under-stimulation, boredom should increase interest in stimuli of all kinds. Apathy (lack of interest), by contrast, should manifest as decreased interest in all stimuli, while anhedonia (loss of pleasure, a depressive symptom) should specifically decrease interest in normally rewarding stimuli. We tested the hypotheses that mink, a model carnivore, experience more boredom, depression-like apathy, or anhedonia in non-enriched (NE) cages than in complex, enriched (E) cages. We exposed 29 subjects (13 E, 16 NE) to ten stimuli categorized a priori as aversive (e.g. air puffs), rewarding (e.g. evoking chasing) or ambiguous/neutral (e.g. candles). Interest in stimuli was assessed via latencies to contact, contact durations, and durations oriented to stimuli. NE mink contacted all stimuli faster (P?=?0.003) than E mink, and spent longer oriented to/in contact with them, albeit only significantly so for ambiguous ones (treatment*type P<0.013). With stimulus category removed from statistical models, interest in all stimuli was consistently higher among NE mink (P<0.0001 for all measures). NE mink also consumed more food rewards (P?=?0.037). Finally, we investigated whether lying down while awake and stereotypic behaviour (both increased by NE housing) predicted these responses. Lying awake positively co-varied with certain measures of increased exploration. In contrast, stereotypic 'scrabbling' or locomotion (e.g. pacing) did not. Overall, NE mink showed no evidence of apathy or depression, but instead a heightened investigation of diverse stimuli consistent with boredom. This state was potentially indicated by spending much time lying still but awake (although this result requires replication). Boredom can thus be operationalized and assessed empirically in non-human animals. It can also be reduced by environmental enrichment. HubMed – depression


Treatment of functional dyspepsia with sertraline: A double-blind randomized placebo-controlled pilot study.

Filed under: Depression Treatment

World J Gastroenterol. 2012 Nov 14; 18(42): 6127-33
Tan VP, Cheung TK, Wong WM, Pang R, Wong BC

To evaluate sertraline, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor in the treatment of patients with functional dyspepsia.Consecutive tertiary hospital patients with a clinical diagnosis of functional dyspepsia (FD) according to the Rome II criteria with a Hong Kong dyspepsia index (HKDI) of greater than 16 were recruited. Patients commenced enrolment prior to the inception of the Rome III criteria for functional dyspepsia. All patients were ethnic Chinese, had a normal upper endoscopy and were Helicobacter pylori negative prior to enrolment. Study patients were randomized to receive sertraline 50 mg or placebo daily for 8 wk. HKDI symptom scores, quality of life, hospital anxiety and depression (HAD) scale and global symptom relief were evaluated before, during and after treatment. Adverse effects were monitored during and after treatment.A total of 193 patients were randomized in the intention to treat (ITT), and 150 patients were included in the per protocol (PP) analysis. In both the ITT and PP, there was no difference in the primary outcome of global dyspepsia symptoms between the sertraline and placebo groups at week 8. In the ITT analysis, 98 and 95 patients were randomized to the sertraline and placebo groups respectively. A total of 43 patients withdrew from the study (22.3%) by week 8, with 23 of the 24 drop-outs in the sertraline group occurring prior to week 4 (95.8%). In contrast, in the placebo arm, 11 of 19 patients dropped out by week 4 (57.9%). Utilizing the last response carried forward to account for the drop-outs, there were no differences between the sertraline and placebo groups at baseline in terms of the HKDI, HKDI 26.08 ± 6.19 vs 26.70 ± 5.89, P = 0.433; and at week 8, HKDI 22.41 ± 6.36 vs 23.25 ± 7.30, P = 0.352 respectively. In the PP analysis, 74 and 76 patients were randomized to the sertraline and placebo groups respectively. At baseline, there were no statistically significant differences between the sertraline and placebo groups, HKDI 25.83 ± 6.313 vs 27.19 ± 5.929 respectively, P = 0.233; however by week 8, patients in the sertraline group demonstrated a statistically significant difference in their Hong Kong Dyspepsia Index compared to placebo, HKDI 20.53 ± 6.917 vs 23.34 ± 7.199, P = 0.02, respectively). There was also no statistically significant difference in overall quality of life measures or the HAD scale related to treatment in either the ITT or PP analysis at week 8.This pilot study, the first to examine sertraline, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, for the management of FD, did not find that it was superior to placebo.
HubMed – depression


Major depression and first-time hospitalization with ischemic heart disease, cardiac procedures and mortality in the general population: A retrospective Danish population-based cohort study.

Filed under: Depression Treatment

Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2012 Nov 15;
Gasse C, Laursen TM, Baune BT

Objective: We investigated the association between unipolar depression and incident hospital admissions due to ischemic heart disease, invasive cardiac procedures and mortality independent of other medical illnesses.Methods: A population-based cohort of 4.6 million persons aged 15 years or older and born in Denmark was followed up from 1995-2009. Incidence rate ratio (IRR) and mortality rate ratio (MRR) were estimated by survival analysis, stratified by or adjusted for gender, age, severe chronic somatic comorbidity and calendar time.Results: Adjusted risks of cardiac hospital admissions and death were significantly increased by up to 15% and 68%, respectively, in persons with hospital admissions due to depression, and were most increased in 15-59 year old women (IRR: 1.64; MRR: 2.57) and men with depression (IRR: 1.39; MRR: 2.21), and during the first 180 days after being diagnosed with depression (women: IRR: 1.38; MRR: 2.35; men: IRR: 1.42; MRR: 2.67). One-year mortality after new ischemic heart disease was elevated by 34% in women and men. By contrast, overall rates of invasive cardiac procedures following cardiac hospitalizations were significantly decreased by 34% in persons with depression but were twofold increased in men recently diagnosed with depression.Conclusion: Clinical depression leading to hospitalization was a risk factor for new cardiac complications independent of somatic comorbidity in the magnitude of other cardiac risk factors, particularly in individuals between 15-59 years of age and during the first weeks following psychiatric admission. Our findings support recent cardiovascular disease prevention guidelines on assessing depression among other psychosocial factors in patients at increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk.
HubMed – depression


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