Here is a news roundup of some interesting articles from the past week:
1. First up is a meta-analysis of 522 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published in The Lancet that tested 21 different types of antidepressants in terms of their efficacy. A summary of the meta-analysis has been written about in many publications including TIME and Reuters. Essentially, what the study found was that all of the antidepressants were more effective than placebos, although some antidepressants were more effective than others. Some of the better performing antidepressants were escitalopram (Lexapro), mirtazapine (Remeron), paroxetine (Paxil), agomelatine (Valdoxan, Melitor, Thymanax), and sertraline (Zoloft). Some of the lower performing antidepressants were reboxetine (Edronax), trazadone (Desyrel), and fluovoxamine (Faverin).
2. Next, a TED Radio Hour hosted on National Public Radio (NPR) called Confronting Stigma, which addresses stigma associated with addiction, depression, HIV, and sex work. The backgrounds of the TED speakers are diverse ranging from a TV producer, a sex worker, a biologist, and a journalist (all of whom also appear to be activists).
3. Adding to the research on the negative impact of drinking on physical health, as reported by TIME, a study published in The Lancet Public Health found that having an alcohol use disorder was the factor most strongly related to later dementia. While this study looked specifically at those with alcohol use disorders, there is concern that even moderate levels of drinking could have negative effects on cognitive abilities long-term. More research seems to be needed to further understand what are safe levels of drinking.
4. Lastly, an article published by BBC Future that explores how our personality traits impact our physical self. For example, individuals who are higher in conscientiousness tend to experience less stress (as measured by cortisol levels) and had less inflammation (as measured by C-reactive protein and interleukin-6). Other examples include individuals with hypertension tending to score higher on neuroticism and lower on conscientiousness. More work is needed to understand how our personality, behavior, and health are interconnected, but this work highlights the importance of a biopsychosocial conceptualization of health.
The Clinically Relevant Insights Blog, part of ShawnWilsonPhD.com, shares news and research regarding psychology and wellness.