Coming soon to your checkup: A check for depression

U-M Depression Center Executive Director Supports New Recommendation for Screening in the General Adult Population

stethbrainsmToday, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) put out a recommendation suggesting expanded screenings for depression in the general adult population, including pregnant and postpartum women.

It stated that “screenings should be implemented with adequate systems in place to ensure accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and appropriate follow-up.”  This was an update of the 2009 USPSTF recommendation on screening for depression in adults.

John Greden, M.D., executive director of the U-M Depression Center, strongly endorses these recommendations. Read on for his thoughts:

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Heart health and depression

Some things that might surprise you


Depression and heart disease blogThe American Heart Association reports that while an estimated 10 percent of Americans ages 18 and older acknowledge depression, up to 33 percent of heart attack patients develop some degree of depression.

Dr. Michelle Riba, professor of psychiatry and associate chair for U-M’s Integrated Medical and Psychiatric Services in the Department of Psychiatry and associate director of the U-M Comprehensive Depression Center, takes it a step further: “It’s very complicated,” she says, noting that “almost every major cardiac condition has psychological issues that need to be addressed.” Monitoring a heart patient’s mental health is just as important as treating his or her physical condition, she says.

It gets even more complicated, says Dr. Riba, because not only can cardiovascular disease lead to depression, but also depression can lead to cardiovascular disease. “It’s bidirectional.”

According to research in the Journal of the American Heart Association, persistent depression may double the risk of stroke in adults over 50. What’s more, new research in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes (American Heart Association journal) reports that the combination of stress and depression can significantly increase a heart patient’s risk of death or heart attack. Continue reading

Four Key Questions on Parkinson’s Disease

As we continue to remember comedian and actor Robin Williams, and in light of the recently shared news of his being diagnosed with early stage Parkinson’s disease, we sat down with William Dauer, M.D., Associate Professor of Neurology and Director of the University of Michigan Movement Disorders Group to understand more about Parkinson’s and its potential connection with depression.

William Dauer, M.D., Associate Professor of Neurology and Director of the University of Michigan Movement Disorders Group

William Dauer, M.D., Associate Professor of Neurology and Director of the University of Michigan Movement Disorders Group

What is Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a condition in which there is a progressive death of brain cells, also known as neurodegeneration. The loss of these neurons, which takes place most prominently in areas of the brain that control movement, leads to the characteristic symptoms of the disease: slowness of movement, soft voice, tremors, and difficulties with posture and gait, leading to devastating falls. It is increasingly appreciated, however, that the neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease affects the brain widely, leading to many other “non-motor”symptoms – the most feared of which is dementia, but that also includes symptoms such as depression, pain, abnormal sweating, and sleep disturbances.

Is there a cure for Parkinson’s?

No, neurons that use the chemical transmitter dopamine are particularly important for the symptoms of Continue reading

Baby blues & beyond: New ways to help new moms with depression

From talk therapy to yoga, U-M team offers care and a chance to help others through research

Postpartum depression affects many women in the first months after a baby is born.

Postpartum depression affects many women in the first months after a baby is born.

They’re supposed to be the happiest times of your life, right? But being pregnant or a new mom can have a dark side – temporary or lasting depression.

How quickly you get help, and what kind of help you get, for symptoms like moodiness, insomnia and loss of appetite can make a big difference for you and your baby.

Maria Muzik, M.D., M.S., who leads a University of Michigan clinic focused on mental health during pregnancy and the first year of a child’s life, offers more information on this important issue. May is the awareness month for these issues.

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How to help your child cope with stress

Adults aren’t the only ones who deal with stress. Stress is a fact of life, even for the youngest members ChildrenBLOG.fwof your family. While you can’t build a fortress around your children to protect them from stress and anxiety, you can help your child cope with stress by teaching them coping mechanisms.

While an adult may feel stressed and say, “I’m stressed out,” a child or teenager may not have the awareness to understand that what they are feeling is stress or the words to articulate their feelings. Parents can look for signs that their child is stressed. Stress in children and teenagers often manifests itself through changes in behavior — complaining of stomachaches and headaches, not wanting to participate in their regular activities, changes in sleep or eating patterns. When the stress builds, they may get tearful and agitated and fly off the handle. Continue reading

The nose knows: using aromatherapy to relax and de-stress

The smell of freshly baked cookies, flowers in the garden, a hearty meal in the oven … scents can AromaBLOG.fwconjure up powerful memories and emotions. Did you know that certain scents can help you relax, sleep or concentrate? Using aromatherapy to relax and de-stress is a habit you can easily integrate into your life.

Smell is the sense that has the closest connection to our limbic system, allowing it to affect our emotions. Aromas are more than a pleasant scent, they can be a pathway to improving your mental health. When the right side of our brain is in overdrive with stress or anxiety, the simple smell of a fragrance can allow us to clear our mind and look at a situation more logically.

The effects of jasmine and lavender have been directly compared to the effects of anti-anxiety drugs like Xanax. Citrus fragrances like lemon and orange can help you Continue reading