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Hosted by Editor in Chief Lorenzo Norris, MD, Psychcast features mental health care professionals discussing the issues that most affect psychiatry.

Mar 25, 2020

MDedge Psychcast host Lorenzo Norris, MD, interviews Sy Atezaz Saeed, MD, MS, about his annual analysis of the key studies that could change day-to-day psychiatric practice.

Dr. Norris’s conversation with Dr. Saeed is based on a two-part evidence-based review that identified the top 12 research findings for clinical practice from July 2018 to June 2019. Part 1, which Dr. Saeed wrote with Jennifer B. Stanley, MD, and Part 2 were published in Current Psychiatry.

Take-home points

  • Each year, Dr. Saeed identifies 10-20 high-quality journal articles with direct impact on clinical practice that, if used appropriately, can generate better outcomes for psychiatric patients. The goal of the list is to close the gap between cutting-edge science and clinical practice.
  • Secondary literature (for example, Cochrane Reviews, NEJM Journal Watch, and so on) is used to differentiate the clinically relevant “signal” from the noise of all the research produced.
  • Knowledge changes over time, so it’s important to be up to date but flexible in how the knowledge is applied.


  • The methodology used to generate the list is aimed at identifying 10-20 useful articles. Dr. Saeed took a three-pronged approach that reviewed research findings suggesting readiness for clinical utilization published between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019; asked several professional organizations and colleagues: “Among the papers published from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019, which ones in your opinion have (or are likely to have or should have) impacted/changed the clinical practice of psychiatry?”; and looked for appraisals in postpublication reviews such as NEJM Journal Watch, F1000 Prime, Evidence-Based Mental Health; commentaries in peer-reviewed journals; and other sources that suggest an article is of high quality and clinically useful.
  • This approach generated a solid list of articles to consider presenting at journal clubs or a topic to present at grand rounds.
    • Studies on this list also might overlap with research covered in popular media, so the list is a tool that clinicians can use to answer questions patients raise.
  • The secondary literature is used to differentiate the clinically relevant “signal” from the noise of all the research produced. Those secondary sources include Cochrane Reviews, BMJ Best Practice, NEJM Journal Watch, Evidence-Based Mental Health, and commentaries in peer-reviewed journals to help distill the clinically useful articles for a busy clinician.
  • Four of the 12 articles that affected Dr. Saeed’s practice covered the risk of death associated with antipsychotic medication usage in children, the role of antipsychotic polypharmacy in schizophrenia to decrease inpatient hospitalizations, the outcomes associated with prescribing different adjunctive medications in combination with antipsychotics, and the use of prazosin for nightmares in PTSD.


Saeed SA et al. Top research findings of 2018-2019 for clinical practice. Part 1. Current Psychiatry. 2020 January;19(1):12-8.

Saeed SA. Top research findings of 2018-2019 for clinical practice. Part 2. Current Psychiatry. 2020 February;19(2):22-8.

Ray WA et al. Association of antipsychotic treatment with risk of unexpected death among children and youths. JAMA Psychiatry. 2019;76(2):162-71.

Tijhonen J et al. Association of antipsychotic polypharmacy vs. monotherapy with psychiatric rehospitalization among adults with schizophrenia. JAMA Psychiatry. 2019;76(5):499-507.

Stroup TS et al. Comparative effectiveness of adjunctive psychotropic medications in patients with schizophrenia. JAMA Psychiatry. 2019;76(5):508-15.

Raskind MA et al. Trial of prazosin for posttraumatic stress disorder in military veterans. N Engl J Med. 2018;378(6):507-17.

Show notes by Jacqueline Posada, MD, associate producer of the MDedge Psychcast. Dr. Posada is consultation-liaison psychiatry fellow with the Inova Fairfax Hospital/George Washington University program in Falls Church, Va.

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