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In The News: UMN Psychiatry, MnDRIVE researchers provide non-invasive brain stimulation for treatment-resistant depression

For nearly 20-30 percent of people who suffer from depression, antidepressants and psychotherapy will not be effective. The depression can be endless and debilitating. Many patients may try multiple medications and therapies with no symptom improvement. They may turn to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) as a last-resort, which involves inducing seizures to stimulate the brain.

UMN researchers with MnDRIVE are offering a new option which could eliminate the need for ECT for many depression patients, and would provide considerable improvement in their symptoms.

The non-invasive brain therapy is called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). It uses a magnetic coil within a helmet-like device to stimulate the brain with electric currents.

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U of M, St. Jude Medical partner to tackle Parkinson’s disease, depression

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on Inquiry.

University of Minnesota researchers and St. Jude Medical are collaborating to treat some of the most challenging and debilitating movement and neuropsychiatric disorders using deep brain stimulation (DBS), a treatment which uses electrical current to directly stimulate parts of the brain. The project is part of MnDRIVE (Minnesota’s Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy), a $36 million biennial investment by the state that aims to solve grand challenges in areas that align with Minnesota’s industries, including discoveries and treatments for brain conditions.

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In The News: Maternal Mental Illness

More than 500,000 women in the United States encounter postpartum depression every year. According to a new article co-authored by Katy Kozhimannil, Ph.D., School of Public Health, depression symptoms can start during pregnancy — negatively impacting both the mother and baby.

“…maternal illness adversely affects infant brain development and subsequent social and emotional health as a result of inadequate prenatal care, poor birth outcomes, and impaired parenting practices,” Kozhimannil and co-author Helen Kim wrote last week in Science Magazine.

Some states across the country have started screening and treatment for depression, but according to Kozhimannil and Kim, that’s not enough.

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University of Minnesota researchers investigate the best way to alleviate post-stroke depression

For the thousands of people in the U.S. who have a stroke each year, post-stroke depression is a serious concern. With up to two-thirds of stroke patients experiencing depression, researchers are investigating the best treatment method for this problem.

A recent study from the University of Minnesota School of Nursing monitored the effectiveness of problem-solving therapy instead of prescription medication on decreasing depression symptoms in a group of post-stroke patients.

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Research Snapshot: Does psychosocial distress elevate your risk of stroke?

Older Americans dealing with high levels of psychosocial distress are at higher risk for stroke according to new research led by Susan Everson-Rose, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate director of the Program in Health Disparities Research at the University of Minnesota.

The study, published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke, followed more than 4,000 people aged 65 and over who were participants in the Chicago Health and Aging Project.

To arrive at their results, researchers identified 151 deaths from stroke and 452 events that led to first-time hospitalization as a result of a stroke. Researchers found that those with the most psychosocial distress had three times the risk of death from stroke and a 54 percent increased risk of first hospitalization compared to those least distressed.  Furthermore, the risk of distress climbed with age.

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Is your child’s social media use leading them down a road to depression? Maybe not.

Researchers in the United Kingdom recently released results of a new study that found social media is leaving us more anxious than ever.

In addition to general anxiety, study respondents pointed to their social media use as a contributing factor to a serious lack of sleep and challenges in their relationships.

The study was the latest to remind us of the potential risks of isolation and feelings of negative self worth that can be amplified during prolonged periods online.  Even the American Academy of Pediatrics warned parents about the dangers of social media last year, coining the phrase “Facebook Depression.”

But now, a new University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health study refutes the claim that a large amount of time spent on Facebook and other social media sites increases a person’s risk of depression.

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