Adult patients taking the antidepressant drug paroxetine are at higher risk of attempting to commit suicide than those not taking medication. A new analysis, published in BMC Medicine, of previous clinical data on paroxetine use adds the antidepressant to the list of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) that have been shown to increase suicidal tendencies in adult patients with depression.
Ivar Aursnes and colleagues from the University of Oslo, Norway, reanalysed data from 16 selected paroxetine trials. In the trials, patients diagnosed with depression had been randomly given either paroxetine or a placebo drug. Neither the participants nor the researchers conducting the initial studies knew what the participants had been given. Aursnes et al. did a new statistical analysis of the results of these studies, to evaluate the incidence of suicide attempts in both groups. In their analysis, they took into account the amount of time the participants had been exposed to paroxetine. Their results show that there were seven suicide attempts in the group on paroxetine, and only one among the patients on placebo.
Paroxetine has been shown to increase suicidal attempt rates in children and teenagers, but previous studies have failed to reach a conclusion as regards the effects of the drug on suicide attempt rates in adult patients. Gunnell et al., in the February 19th 2005 issue of the BMJ, warned doctors about an increased risk of suicidal behaviour in patients treated with SSRIs. Their conclusion was based on analyses of clinical data submitted by the pharmaceutical companies that produce SSRIs to the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. But Gunnell et al.’s study had not properly included data on paroxetine.
Juliette Savin | alfa
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The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
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Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
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The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
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