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Reflections On Science

Natural Health Bill a bitter pill – Julia Rucklidge

John Kerr posted in on June 22nd, 2016.

Writing in the New Zealand Herald, University of Canterbury Clinical psychologist Prof Julia Rucklidge outlines her concerns over legislation to control natural health products. An except (read in full here): Julia Rucklidge: Natural Health Bill a bitter pill for nutrient sector Mental illness is on the rise. Figures reveal crisis referrals from 2010 to 2015 have […]

Anorexia study seeks NZ volunteers – In the News

John Kerr posted in on March 23rd, 2016.

New Zealand scientists are putting the call out for volunteers with, or having recovered from anorexia nervosa, to take part in the world’s largest and most rigorous genetic investigation into the illness. The international Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative (ANGI) is looking for Kiwis to take part in the study, which includes completing a survey and […]

NZ Police to carry Tasers – Expert reaction

John Kerr posted in on July 31st, 2015.

The New Zealand Police this morning announced that all frontline response staff will routinely carry Tasers. Police Commissioner Mike Bush says the decision is based on research and evidence highlighting the success of the Taser in de-escalating violent situations, and its extremely low rate of injury compared with other tactical options. The SMC collected the […]

Synthetic cannabis restrictions linked to decreased psychiatric patients

Amy Guest posted in on May 15th, 2015.

When new laws restricted the availability of synthetic cannabis in 2013 the number of people needing emergency psychiatric services after using synthetic cannabinoids reduced by half, say Dunedin researchers. The Psychoactive Substances Act limited the availability of synthetic drugs to 50 shops nationally, with products having to meet certain safety-requirements. Data from Dunedin’s Emergency Psychiatric Service was reviewed […]

Biological marker for depression in teens – experts respond

John Kerr posted in on February 18th, 2014.

Teenage boys who show a combination of depressive symptoms and elevated levels of the ‘stress hormone’ cortisol are up to fourteen times more likely to develop major depression than those who show neither trait, according to new research. In a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from the […]

Global burden of mental disorders and illicit drug use – experts respond

John Kerr posted in on August 29th, 2013.

Mental health and substance abuse disorders were the leading cause of non-fatal illness worldwide in 2010, according to a new analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study, published in the Lancet today.  A team of researchers in Australia and the US analysed data from 20 mental and substance disorders to model the prevalence, premature death, […]

A blood test for suicide risk? – experts respond

John Kerr posted in on August 21st, 2013.

Researchers have identified series of blood biomarkers that they believe may help to identify individuals at risk of attempting suicide, but independent experts are cautious about over-interpreting this preliminary study. In a study published this week in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, the US researchers said the biomarkers — certain RNA molecules —  were found at […]

The DSM-5 and redefining mental illnesses – experts respond

John Kerr posted in on May 17th, 2013.

The latest edition of the manual defining criteria for mental illness is set to have a major impact on how patients are diagnosed and how their treatment is funded. Walk into the office of any psychiatrist or psychologist and one item is guaranteed to be on the book shelf: the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of […]

Shooting in the US state of Connecticut – Expert response

John Kerr posted in on December 18th, 2012.

The shooting of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut has left many wondering how such an event could happen. The tragedy has led to public debate not only on gun controls but also access to mental health services. Our colleagues at the UK SMC collected the following expert commentary. […]

NZ ranks poorly in adolescent mortality and suicide – study

John Kerr posted in on April 26th, 2012.

Leading medical journal The Lancet has published a special series of articles focusing on adolescent health, including an international comparison of health and mortality data which highlights New Zealand’s poor ranking in youth suicide and death statistics. The 45th Session of the United Nations Commission on Population Development, which has an adolescent health theme takes […]

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