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Concept: Major depressive episode


The possible therapeutic impact of dietary changes on existing mental illness is largely unknown. Using a randomised controlled trial design, we aimed to investigate the efficacy of a dietary improvement program for the treatment of major depressive episodes.

Concepts: Randomized controlled trial, Schizophrenia, Major depressive disorder, Major depressive episode, Dysthymia, Depression, Suicide, Sickness behavior


This study examined national trends in 12-month prevalence of major depressive episodes (MDEs) in adolescents and young adults overall and in different sociodemographic groups, as well as trends in depression treatment between 2005 and 2014.

Concepts: Major depressive disorder, Major depressive episode, Great Depression, Treatment for depression, Winston Churchill


Although stressful life events (SLEs) predict subsequent risk of developing a major depressive episode (MDE), limited information exists on whether or not race and gender alters the predictive role of SLE on risk of MDE over a long-term period. The current study explored race and gender differences in the long-term predictive role of SLE at baseline (1986) on subsequent risk of MDE 25 years later (2011) in a nationally representative cohort in the United States.

Concepts: United States, Gender role, Race, Major depressive disorder, Major depressive episode, Seasonal affective disorder, Dysthymia, Nationalism


Pervasive negative thoughts about the self are central to the experience of depression. Brain imaging studies in the general population have localised self-related cognitive processing to areas of the medial pre-frontal cortex.

Concepts: Psychology, Brain, Human brain, Cognition, Hippocampus, Mind, Major depressive disorder, Major depressive episode


Objective: The authors sought to identify diagnostic risk factors of manic, mixed, or hypomanic episodes in the offspring of parents with bipolar disorder (“high-risk offspring”). Method: High-risk offspring 6-18 years old (N=391) and demographically matched offspring (N=248) of community parents without bipolar disorder were assessed longitudinally with standardized diagnostic instruments by staff blind to parental diagnoses. Follow-up assessments were completed in 91% of the offspring (mean follow-up interval, 2.5 years; mean follow-up duration, 6.8 years). Results: Compared with community offspring, high-risk offspring had significantly higher rates of subthreshold mania or hypomania (13.3% compared with 1.2%), manic, mixed, or hypomanic episodes (9.2% compared with 0.8%), and major depressive episodes (32.0% compared with 14.9%). They also had higher rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (30.7% compared with 18.1%), disruptive behavior disorders (27.4% compared with 15.3%), anxiety disorders (39.9% compared with 21.8%), and substance use disorders (19.9% compared with 10.1%), but not unipolar major depressive disorder (major depression with no bipolarity; 18.9% compared with 13.7%). Multivariate Cox regressions showed that in the high-risk offspring, subthreshold manic or hypomanic episodes (hazard ratio=2.29), major depressive episodes (hazard ratio=1.99), and disruptive behavior disorders (hazard ratio=2.12) were associated with subsequent manic, mixed, or hypomanic episodes. Only subthreshold manic or hypomanic episodes (hazard ratio=7.57) were associated when analyses were restricted to prospective data. Conclusions: Subthreshold manic or hypomanic episodes were a diagnostic risk factor for the development of manic, mixed, or hypomanic episodes in the offspring of parents with bipolar disorder and should be a target for clinical assessment and treatment research. Major depressive episodes and disruptive behavior disorders are also indications for close clinical monitoring of emergent bipolarity in high-risk offspring.

Concepts: Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Bipolar disorder, Major depressive disorder, Major depressive episode, Dysthymia, Mania, Suicide, Hypomania


SUN(^_^)D, the Strategic Use of New generation antidepressants for Depression, is an assessor-blinded, parallel-group, multicenter pragmatic mega-trial to examine the optimum treatment strategy for the first- and second-line treatments for unipolar major depressive episodes. The trial has three steps and two randomizations. Step I randomization compares the minimum and the maximum dosing strategy for the first-line antidepressant. Step II randomization compares the continuation, augmentation or switching strategy for the second-line antidepressant treatment. Step III is a naturalistic continuation phase. The original protocol was published in 2011, and we hereby report its updated protocol including the statistical analysis plan.

Concepts: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Bipolar disorder, Major depressive disorder, Major depressive episode, Bupropion, Sertraline


About 17% of humanity goes through an episode of major depression at some point in their lifetime. Despite the enormous societal costs of this incapacitating disorder, it is largely unknown how the likelihood of falling into a depressive episode can be assessed. Here, we show for a large group of healthy individuals and patients that the probability of an upcoming shift between a depressed and a normal state is related to elevated temporal autocorrelation, variance, and correlation between emotions in fluctuations of autorecorded emotions. These are indicators of the general phenomenon of critical slowing down, which is expected to occur when a system approaches a tipping point. Our results support the hypothesis that mood may have alternative stable states separated by tipping points, and suggest an approach for assessing the likelihood of transitions into and out of depression.

Concepts: Hippocampus, Bipolar disorder, Major depressive disorder, Major depressive episode, Seasonal affective disorder, Mood disorder, Dysthymia, Types of psychological depression


Daylight savings time transitions affect approximately 1.6 billion people worldwide. Prior studies have documented associations between daylight savings time transitions and adverse health outcomes, but it remains unknown whether they also cause an increase in the incidence rate of depressive episodes. This seems likely because daylight savings time transitions affect circadian rhythms, which are implicated in the etiology of depressive disorder. Therefore, we investigated the effects of daylight savings time transitions on the incidence rate of unipolar depressive episodes.

Concepts: Major depressive disorder, Major depressive episode, Seasonal affective disorder, Daylight saving time


It is of considerable translational importance whether depression is a form or a consequence of sickness behavior. Sickness behavior is a behavioral complex induced by infections and immune trauma and mediated by pro-inflammatory cytokines. It is an adaptive response that enhances recovery by conserving energy to combat acute inflammation. There are considerable phenomenological similarities between sickness behavior and depression, for example, behavioral inhibition, anorexia and weight loss, and melancholic (anhedonia), physio-somatic (fatigue, hyperalgesia, malaise), anxiety and neurocognitive symptoms. In clinical depression, however, a transition occurs to sensitization of immuno-inflammatory pathways, progressive damage by oxidative and nitrosative stress to lipids, proteins, and DNA, and autoimmune responses directed against self-epitopes. The latter mechanisms are the substrate of a neuroprogressive process, whereby multiple depressive episodes cause neural tissue damage and consequent functional and cognitive sequelae. Thus, shared immuno-inflammatory pathways underpin the physiology of sickness behavior and the pathophysiology of clinical depression explaining their partially overlapping phenomenology. Inflammation may provoke a Janus-faced response with a good, acute side, generating protective inflammation through sickness behavior and a bad, chronic side, for example, clinical depression, a lifelong disorder with positive feedback loops between (neuro)inflammation and (neuro)degenerative processes following less well defined triggers.

Concepts: Inflammation, Psychology, Symptoms, Major depressive disorder, Major depressive episode, Dysthymia, Sickness behavior, Hyperalgesia


Background: Relatively little is known about the prevalence and correlates of overdiagnosis of depression in community settings. This study examined the extent to which individuals with clinician-identified depression in the community meet the criteria for DSM-IV major depressive episodes (MDE) and characteristics of these individuals. Methods: In a sample of 5,639 participants with clinician-identified depression drawn from the 2009-2010 United States National Survey of Drug Use and Health, the proportion of participants who met the 12-month MDE criteria, ascertained by a structured interview, and variations in MDE diagnosis across different groups of participants were examined. Mental health profiles and service use of participants who met the MDE criteria were compared to those who did not meet these criteria. Results: Only 38.4% of participants with 12-month clinician-identified depression met the 12-month MDE criteria. Older adults were less likely than younger adults to meet the criteria - only 14.3% of those 65 years old or older met the criteria, whereas participants with more education and those with poorer overall health were more likely to meet the criteria. Participants who did not meet the 12-month MDE criteria reported less distress and impairment in role functioning and used fewer services. A majority of both groups, however, were prescribed and used psychiatric medications. Conclusions: Depression overdiagnosis and overtreatment is common in community settings in the USA. There is a need for improved targeting of diagnosis and treatments of depression and other mental disorders in these settings.

Concepts: Psychology, Mental health, Medical diagnosis, Mental disorder, Schizophrenia, Major depressive disorder, Major depressive episode, Psychiatry