The Weekly Mind Reader: Fast New Mood Screener

by Staff Writer
April 28, 2023 at 9:05 AM UTC

minor ear anomalies are more common in people with depressive order.

Depression is not always just depression. When depression is a symptom of bipolar disorder, it requires a different treatment approach. As a clinician, you don’t want to make a mistake. Giving someone the wrong medication could make things worse. 

A New Screening Tool

Most clinicians use a screening tool like the Mood Disorder Questionnaire, or MDQ, to help make a bipolar disorder diagnosis. It asks about manic symptoms, like feeling really happy and energetic, and depressive symptoms, like feeling really sad and hopeless. But it’s not perfect. And some professionals say it can be hard to use during patient visits.

Enter the Rapid Mood Screener (RMS.) It’s described in a new The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders paper, as a quick and simple test that can help determine if someone who is feeling depressed might actually have bipolar disorder.

The RMS is easy to administer. There are six questions that ask about both manic and depressive symptoms. It takes about two minutes to complete. Patients can fill one out online or in the waiting room.

The authors of the paper write that if someone answers “yes” to four or more questions, a clinician should be thinking about bipolar disorder. The test has an 88 percent accuracy for identifying bipolar disorder and an 80 percent chance of correctly ruling it out. Results help inform next steps for additional testing or treatment.

More than 200 primary care and psychiatry providers took a survey asking them to evaluate current practices for bipolar screening. Most called for more effective screening tools. A large majority of them said that they would use the RMS if it were available.

Fortunately, it is. Here’s a free, full version of the RMS and a guide for how to use it. 

In Other Psychiatry and Neurology News This Week

  • There’s finally a name for those frantic medical searches your patients do. It’s called cyberchondria. Reports of anxiety over reading too much digital medical information really went through the roof during the height of COVID. 
  • Zoom dysmorphia, another mood disorder for the always online, also saw a spike during the pandemic. A Letter to the Editor argues that telehealth may help treat this version of body dysmorphia, but it must be implemented with care. 
  • Lumateperone significantly improved symptoms of depression in patients with bipolar I or bipolar II disorder who experience a major depressive episode stratified by the presence of mixed features.
  • The prior authorization process required by insurance companies may lead to overly restrictive access to rTMS for patients with treatment resistant depression. 
  • Bad for the waistline. Probably bad for the brain. A preliminary study linked eating French fries to a higher risk of depression and anxiety. 
  • The Tweet of the Week announced the first-ever Barbie doll with Down Syndrome.  Life is plastic, it’s fantastic! 

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  • In a brand new Tweetorial, experts compare data on hospitalization, adherence, relapse risk, tolerance and efficacy between LAIs and OAs in the treatment of schizophrenia
  • An updated review of pathophysiology, emerging treatments, and supportive care strategies in the cognitive dimension of Huntington disease.

Original Research

A Fully Remote Randomized Trial of Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation for the Acute Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder

Rapid improvement in depression was associated with tACS, particularly for women. Patients can use tACS treatment on their own at home, and it is associated with minimal adverse events.

Philip R. Gehrman and others

Unlocking Therapeutic Potential: The Role of Theta Burst Stimulation in Multiple Sclerosis Management

Theta burst stimulation interventions may hold promise in addressing specific multiple sclerosis symptoms, notably fatigue and spasticity.

David F. Lo and others