American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting Highlights

The 166th American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting

The annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association was held from May 3–7 in New York City and attracted approximately 10,000 participants from around the world, including clinicians, academicians, allied health professionals, and others interested in psychiatry. The conference highlighted recent advances in the prevention, detection, and treatment of psychiatric conditions.

In one study, Machteld Hoeve, PhD, of the University of Amsterdam, and colleagues found that childhood maltreatment increases the risk of aggression in adolescence. In addition, the processes that explain this association are different depending on the type of aggression.

"For reactive aggression, we find that maltreated children are more likely to develop all kinds of mental health problems, and these psychiatric problems explain why they become reactively or impulsively aggressive as juveniles," said Hoeve. "Regarding proactive aggression or 'cold-blooded' instrumental aggression, we find that the maltreatment association is not explained by a variety of mental health problems. Only drug and alcohol problems explained this path."

According to Hoeve, identification and treatment of mental health problems in justice-involved and aggressive youths is important because it might prevent future aggression, reactive aggressive behavior in particular.

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In a literature review, Sree Latha Krishna Jadapalle, MD, of Morehouse School Of Medicine in Atlanta, and colleagues found that individuals with Internet addiction disorder (IAD) have enhanced reward sensitivity and decreased sensitivity to monetary loss, thus disabling them to fear the behavioral consequences that eventually cause psychological, social, and work difficulties in their lives.

"[We] actually found that the neurological changes observed through neuroimaging studies in the IAD group are similar to brain changes seen in substance abuse and other addictive behaviors, thus suggesting the same neurobiological mechanism," said Jadapalle. "Research regarding the neurobiological underpinnings of Internet addiction may identify novel treatment strategies that could ameliorate the substantial psychiatric burden."

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In another study, Simone Lauderdale, MD, of the Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues found that African-American women displayed less disordered eating and more frequently reported being overweight in a non-clinical group of young adult women with similar education levels, most with graduate degrees. Specifically, Caucasian women were marginally more likely to report binging behavior than were African-American women. In addition, Caucasian women rated the thinner figures in a body image and beauty ideals questionnaire as marginally more attractive than did African-American women.

"This finding may be related to differences in beauty ideals, our study showing that African-American women rated heavier figures as significantly more attractive than did Caucasian women, and Caucasian women selected a significantly thinner body as still attractive compared to African-American women," said Lauderdale. "Clinicians, both psychiatrists and general practitioners, should be aware of the role that culturally-bound body and image ideals may play in a particular patient's eating behaviors."

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In another study, Tillmann Kruger, M.D., of the Hannover Medical School, and Axel Wollmer, M.D., of the Asklepios Clinic North in Hamburg -- both in Germany, found that a single injection of botulinum toxin at five points in the glabella region led to an almost 50% reduction of depressive symptoms. The investigators also found that the effects lasted at least 16 weeks and side effects were generally well tolerated.

"Currently, two further randomized controlled trials corroborate these findings," said Kruger. "Therefore, we can conclude that this novel approach seems to be very effective and economical. It is distinct from classical psychopharmacotherapy as it is rather a somatic treatment."

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