Dear Colleagues:

Welcome to the January–February 2017 issue of Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience. We start our 14th year of publication strong with an interesting and diverse issue we hope you enjoy as much as we did putting it together.

In the review article by Dascal et al, “Virtual Reality and Medical Inpatients: A Systematic Review of Randomized, Controlled Trials,” the researchers evaluate the evidence supporting the use of virtual reality among patients in acute inpatient medical settings. The authors found that virtual reality in the medical setting has demonstrated some efficacy, but they conclude there is a need for larger, well-controlled studies to show its clinical and cost-effectiveness.

Following this, Posner et al present their special report from the International Society for CNS Clinical Trials and Methodology (ISCTM) titled, “Outcomes Assessment in Clinical Trials of Alzheimer’s Disease and its Precursors: Readying for Short-term and Long-term Clinical Trial Needs.” Here the authors present the most critical issues around primary outcome assessments in Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials, and summarize the presentations, discussions, and recommendations of those meetings within the context of the evolving landscape of Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials.
And in the companion article from the ISCTM that follows titled, “Performance-based and Observational Assessments in Clinical Trials Across the Alzheimer’s Disease Spectrum,” Harvey et al review strategies for performance-based assessment of the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, including assessments of cognition, functional capacity, and social cognition. The authors provide the current state of the art of detection and staging-oriented assessments, as well as provide information regarding the practicality and validity of these approaches, with a special focus on their usefulness in clinical trials for new medication development.

Next, in the research article, “Behavioral and Stereological Analysis of the Effects of Intermittent Feeding Diet on the Orally Administrated MDMA (“ecstasy”) in Mice,” Ebrahimian et al provide their study investigating the behavioral and histological outcomes of the effect of intermittent feeding (IF) on the orally administered 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine or MDMA (also known as “ecstasy” or “molly”) in mice. The authors found that the IF regimen significantly modified various behavioral characteristics induced by MDMA, promoted faster recovery from MDMA’s anxiogenic effects, and had neuroprotective effects on the neurons of the CA1 area of the hippocampus after a single oral dose of MDMA. The authors believe this research is relevant to clinical neuroscience due to IF regimen’s behavior modifying and neuroprotective potential for treatment of drug addiction in humans.

Following this, in their review article, “MicroRNAs as Biomarkers for Psychiatric Conditions: A Review of Current Research,” Narahari et al explore and discuss the current research on microRNA molecules and the therapeutic roles these molecules may potentially play in treating depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

Next, in the case report, “Ketamine Therapy for Treatment-resistant Depression in a Patient with Multiple Sclerosis: A Case Report,” Messer et al report a patient with multiple sclerosis who developed severe treatment-resistant depression and who was successfully treated with intravenous ketamine over the period of two years. The authors describe the patient’s treatment regimen and discuss ketamine’s mechanisms of action and potential side effects.

And finally, we wrap up the issue with this month’s Risk Management column titled, “Risk Management Issues When Taking Locum Tenens Assignments,” by Charles Cash, JD. Here, Cash reviews lessons learned that may help psychiatrists who are taking locum tenens assignments avoid potential professional liability risks and other problems.

We hope you enjoy the issue. As always, we welcome your feedback and submissions.

Amir Kalali, MD
Editor, Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience