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Dr. Matthew Menza Reports Findings on Treating Parkinson’s Disease-related Depression

Matthew Menza, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology, was first author of a study that examined the use of older antidepressants to treat depression in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). The findings were published online before print by the journal Neurology, on December 17. Dr. Menza’s study is the first to compare an older antidepressant that targets two receptors in the brain with a newer generation, serotonin only-based drug and placebo. It is also the largest placebo-controlled study for PD-related depression, suffered by as many as 50 percent of patients with the disease. The study showed that patients who took nortriptyline, a tricyclic antidepressant that affects both norepinephrine and serotonin, two different receptors in the brain, were nearly five times more likely to see improvement in depression symptoms when compared with people who took paroxetine CR, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or a placebo pill.

Study Shows Menthol Cigarettes Are More Addictive

A study led by Kunal Gandhi, MBBS,MPH, Instructor in the Division of Addiction Psychiatry, examined the effects of menthol on quit rates among a diverse group of nearly 1,700 participants in a Tobacco Dependence Clinic at the UMDNJ-School of Public Health. “We previously found that menthol cigarette smokers take in more nicotine and carbon monoxide per cigarette,” says Dr. Gandhi. This study found that smokers of menthol cigarettes — particularly African American and Latino smokers — find it harder to quit, despite smoking fewer cigarettes per day.” The conclusions were published in February in the International Journal of Clinical Practice. Jonathan Foulds, PhD, director, Tobacco Dependence Program, adds: “These results build on growing evidence suggesting that menthol is not a neutral flavoring in cigarettes. It masks the harshness of the nicotine and toxins, affects the way the cigarette is smoked, and makes it more deadly and addictive.”

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