April 16, 2013


Depression, well-being not improved under resident work hour limits

Recent restrictions on the hours young doctors are permitted to work have not, apparently, resulted in more sleep or an improvement in depressive symptoms for these residents. Instead, the work hour restrictions for medical interns have been accompanied by an unanticipated increase in self-reported medical errors, according to a new study led by Srijan Sen, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry, and co-authored by Psychiatry Department Chair Gregory Dalack, M.D., both Depression Center members. The study results – based on an annual survey of interns around the U.S. throughout their first year that gauges mental health, overall well-being, sleep habits, work hours, and performance on the job – were featured in Time, U.S. News & World Report, L.A. Times, USA Today, and elsewhere.  Read more...

Depression risk double for older pneumonia patients

The long-term consequences of pneumonia can be more detrimental to a person’s health than having a heart attack, according to joint research from U-M and the University of Washington School of Medicine. Older adults who were hospitalized for pneumonia were more than twice as likely to develop new cognitive impairments, and patients also had nearly double the risk of substantial depressive symptoms after treatment, according to the new findings published in the American Journal of Medicine. Theodore J. Iwashyna, M.D., Ph.D., a U-M Depression Center member and assistant professor of internal medicine, served as the study’s senior author. Read more...

A positive start for moms and babies

Maternal depression can have a lasting negative impact on child development and bonding between mom and baby. For years, the “Mom Power” program at the U-M Depression Center and Department of Psychiatry has supported mothers at high risk for depression – and their children – by providing a positive, encouraging therapeutic environment for these moms to learn new strategies for fostering the developmental growth of their children as well as new ways to care for their own needs. In its Spring report, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan highlighted Starfish Family Services’ “Baby Power” program, which provides comprehensive outreach to at-risk depressed teen moms in Inkster, Mich., and is based on the work of Maria Muzik, M.D., M.S., Kate Rosenblum, Ph. D., and their Mom Power team. Baby Power was launched through the help of a Community Foundation grant.

Program addressing teen mental health and stress gains momentum

The growth of an innovative collaboration to provide customized programs on stress and mental health for high school students and staff was described in an article in the Armonk Daily Voice. The partnership between the Depression Center and Byram Hills (N.Y.) High School, launched last school year through support from the Steven M. Schwartzberg Memorial Fund, provides training and education that includes evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing strategies for school mental health professionals, and strategies for students to manage anxiety, stress, and depression. Learn more...

Going the distance for those fighting depression

Congratulations to Nick Shannon, who finished the Phoenix Marathon last month in support of the Depression Center! Nick ran the race to help raise funds for mental health education in schools through the Center’s Under the Helmet program. Read more about Nick’s story, or make a contribution in his name.

If you are interested in helping raise awareness and funding for the Depression Center by participating in an event or organizing your own, please contact Kat Bergman for more details. We deeply appreciate the efforts from individuals like Nick and others in the community!

Advancing the national brain research agenda

Earlier this month, President Obama announced a bold new research initiative designed to revolutionize our understanding of the human brain. Launched with approximately $100 million in the President’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget, the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative ultimately aims to help researchers find new ways to treat, cure, and even prevent brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury. “The brain is indisputably the most complex and least understood organ in the human body. In spite of neuroscience advances in studying specific and distinct brain diseases, the underlying causes of neurological and psychiatric disorders remain a mystery," Depression Center Executive Director John Greden, M.D., said upon the president’s announcement. "The BRAIN initiative, which focuses on a truly multidisciplinary approach to treating, curing and preventing brain disorders, will coalesce existing knowledge and forge a new era that goes beyond disease-specific research." Read more...

Keeping alert for signs of distress in young people

Depression Center member Cheryl King, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and psychology and director of the Institute for Human Adjustment, explained the importance of being attentive to possible signs of mental distress and suicidal thoughts in children and teenagers in a recent article in the Detroit Free Press, which covered a suicide by an area middle schooler. "We want more people to be able to recognize those signs earlier," King said. "Most of the time [suicide] is preventable if we can recognize and get the help that's needed."

Mental health care access lacking for U.S. children, teens

A national survey from the University of Michigan shows that adults who work and volunteer with children and teens do not believe youth have appropriate access to mental health care. The survey indicates a low availability of mental health care for children and teens in the majority of communities across the U.S. – even in those where children and teens have many opportunities to access primary care or hospital care. The new research comes from the National Voices Project, a U-M partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.  Read more...

Medications for bipolar disorder may help ‘normalize’ brain gene function

Exactly how medications work to regulate moods for people with bipolar disorder is still a mystery. However, a new U-M study published in the current issue of Bipolar Disorders suggests that certain drugs may help by “normalizing” the activity of a number of genes involved in communication between brain cells.  “Taking the medications, specifically ones in a class called antipsychotics, seemed to normalize the gene expression pattern in these individuals so that it approached that of a person without bipolar,” said the study’s senior author, Melvin McInnis, M.D., Depression Center associate director and the principal investigator of the Prechter Fund Projects, who helped lead the study. Read more...



Help on the home front

As military members cycle through the deployment process, their children and families can face high rates of stress and adjustment challenges. To address the mental health and well-being of National Guard and Reserve families, Military Support Programs and Networks (M-SPAN) is hosting a first-of-its-kind national conference focused on unique needs of National Guard and Reserve military families on April 25-26. Learn more...

Mind Over Matter ("M.O.M.") 5K Run/Walk

This event promotes mental health awareness and suicide prevention, and 100% of the proceeds benefit charities dedicated to mental health research, education, awareness, and suicide prevention. A portion of the proceeds supports Depression Center research. Learn more...



April 18 and 25: Parenting Challenges Workshop

April 24: Bright Nights Community Forum
Mindfulness-Based Techniques to Help Manage Depression

April 24: Depression & Bipolar Support Groups

May 1: Family Education Workshop

May 4: Mind Over Matter (“M.O.M.”) 5K Run/Walk

May 8: Depression & Bipolar Support Groups

May 9: Growing through Grief workshop

May 22: Depression & Bipolar Support Groups

May 23 and 30: Parenting Challenges Workshop

June 5: Family Education Workshop

June 12: Depression & Bipolar Support Groups

June 26: Depression & Bipolar Support Groups


April 25-26: National Research Summit on Reserve Component Military Families: Best Practices & Dissemination Strategies

May 17: Depression Center Colloquium
Depression Interventions to Improve Work Function and Productivity

May 31: Pine Rest’s Annual Perinatal Mood Disorders Conference

We welcome suggestions about the content and format of this publication – please email lhutchen@umich.edu with your feedback.




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