Weekly Mind Reader: New Alzheimer's Drug, Valproate Debate, tWitch Suicide Analysis

by Staff Writer
January 6, 2023 at 3:25 PM UTC

The Weekly Mind Reader highlights the top psychiatry and CNS stories from the week.

Happy New Year and welcome to another busy week of psychiatry and CNS news. Here are the top stories from the first week of 2023.  


The new year at The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (JCP) kicked off with a study looking at therapy-based workshops for women with postpartum depression led by recovered patients. Who better to help a new mother in distress than someone who has lived through the same experience? Our news division highlighted a congressional report slamming both the FDA and the maker of a controversial Alzheimer’s drug for a sketchy accelerated approval process. We also published an update on a new Oregon law, the first in the nation to legalize psilocybin “magic mushrooms.”


The first study of the year from The Primary Care Companion of CNS Disorders (PCC) was a meta-analysis examining the impact of depression on other serious health conditions such as heart disease, epilepsy, and MS. Its results underscore the importance of appropriate and timely treatment of major depressive disorder. Elsewhere, University of Pennsylvania researchers uncovered a connection between strict abortion laws and a nearly six percent spike in suicide rates among younger women.


Should valproate be prescribed for women in their childbearing years? Four experts offered their opinions about the epilepsy, bipolar, and migraine drug that has been linked to severe birth defects. A JCP study found that 30 percent of infants exposed to second generation antipsychotics in utero exhibited poor neonatal adaptation syndrome. The percentage was roughly the same for infants exposed to antidepressants in utero. 


A fascinating new case study reviewed the diagnosis of postpartum psychosis in a patient who ultimately benefited from both immunologic and psychotropic medications. In a new General Psychiatry analysis, high diastolic blood pressure was genetically linked to neurotic personality traits. Yet another reason to watch hypertension in your patients. 


The FDA approved a new drug for early Alzheimer’s disease. Marketed under the name Liquembi, the drug attacks the amyloid plaque build up in the brain that is a known marker for Alzheimer’s. But the treatment is not without issues. And it isn’t yet clear how helpful the drug will be for patients.

In Case You Missed It

When the entertainer tWitch died by suicide at the end of last year, social media pundits speculated that he had lived with “high functioning depression.” But as Jessi Gold, MD pointed out, there is no such clinical diagnosis. Gold said people may be referring to persistent depressive disorder, a mild to moderate depression that lasts for two years or more.

Clinical and Practical Psychopharmacology

Image of Exercise and Health Part 3

Physical Exercise and Health, 3: The Health Care Professional and Patient’s Guide to Understanding What to Do, How, and Why—Part 1

Dr Andrade gives practical guidance on aspects of exercise, with a focus on current and future health and longevity.

Chittaranjan Andrade

Brief Report

Image of Benzos and Opioids

Benzodiazepines Prescribed With and Without Opioids: A Cross-Sectional Study of Data From the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey 2018–2019

This study analyzed the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey to calculate recent changes in rates of benzodiazepine prescription after the release of the CDC guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain in response to the opioid epidemic.

Abid Rizvi and others