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Sunshine and Suicide

There’s a bit of a saying amongst psychiatrists that any modestly effective antidepressant can make some vulnerable people manic. That’s true for prescription antidepressants (and a well-known risk of taking them) but also for certain effective supplements such as SAM-E (1). It’s also true for nature’s own antidepressants, including sunshine (2) and acute sleep deprivation (3). […]

Ele-Mental Health

One need only look at the first several rows periodic table to find some elements essential to good mental health. Human brains need minerals to function normally, and a diet high in processed foods will lower mineral content, so that mineral levels in the body suffer. A recent paper reviews many minerals and how they […]

Human Microbiota and Depression

There’s a lot of data about irritable bowel and depression/anxiety, and more data about irritable bowel and the microbiota. But there is very little linking the microbiota directly to depression in humans, until this recent paper in Neurogastroenterology and Motility: Correlation between the human fecal microbiota and depression. In the paper, the fecal microbiota of 55 people were […]

Tylenol in Pregnancy and ADHD:
Is Tylenol toxic to the developing brain?

Acetaminophen (name brand Tylenol, and also known as paracematol) is a commonly used over the counter medication for mild pain relief. As a psychiatrist, I have no fondness for it, as it is commonly the cause of fatal overdoses vis massive destruction of the liver. Many overdoses are accidental…a teenager taking 20 extra-strength Tylenol a day instead […]

Brains, Spirituality, and Depression

Recently a number of heavy-hitting psychiatry journals have published articles about a lower risk of depression in people who are religious or spiritual. The studies have not been without controversy, with an editorial asking: “How does one conceive of measuring such a nebulous topic as religion or spirituality?” And: “Should studies that explore the association of religion or spirituality with health even […]

Depression and a Broken Heart

Heart rate variability gives us clues to the state of our mind and bodies An intriguing link between mind and body can be found by tracking the beats of the heart. People struggling with clinical depression often have an altered heart rhythm compared to people who are not having symptoms. Our pulse should be, at […]