American Psychiatric Association 2018 Annual Meeting Review

Why We Attended
The American Psychiatric Association’s Annual Meeting (APAAM18) is this year’s largest gathering of mental health professionals in the world. This year the APA expected over 12,000 attendees to the conference that offers educational sessions and the latest research into all aspects of mental health including assessment, treatment, epidemiology, management of side effects, etc. This medical conference was a great venue for us to share with providers the benefit 20Lighter Programs offer their patients who have been prescribed drugs for depression and struggle with weight gain as a result. It also gives us the opportunity to get feedback directly from providers on what unique needs their patients prescribed antidepressant drugs may have that are different from our other clients. Overall our goal at 20Lighter is to help all our clients achieve success as they move towards a healthy lifestyle both from a mental and physical perspective.

What We Shared
Our presentation at APAAM18 came about as prospective clients asked us about their chances of being successful on 20Lighter even though they were taking antidepressant medications. With ~15% of our clients taking at last one prescription antidepressant at the start of their program, we felt it was important for us understand how this group of clients do versus clients who are not taking antidepressant meds. We reviewed all client data (all data was blinded and the study was approved by an Institutional Review Board to ensure ethical procedures and confidentiality) for those completing a 40Day program between June 1, 2016 and June 1, 2017. We analyzed the changes for each group (clients on depression meds or not on depression meds) from baseline (Day 1) to the end of the reduced calorie portion of the program (Day 40) in body weight, BMI, body fat %, visceral fat rating, and body water %. We found that the mean change from Day 1 to Day 40 in reduction of weight, BMI, body fat %, and visceral fat and increase in body water % were all clinically relevant and statistically significant. So each group- both clients taking and not taking depression meds both showed great changes in all body composition measures between Day 1 and Day 40. Next we wanted to learn if those changes from Day 1 to Day 40 were equal… did either group perform better? To see how the groups compared to each other we calculated the mean % body weight lost, reduction in body fat %, BMI, and visceral fat and the increase in body water % for both groups and then asked if those means were clinically or statistically different. We found that both groups of clients, those on depression meds at the start of their program and those not on meds did equally well, and that the improvements did not differ clinically or statistically.

What We Learned
We had great traffic to our poster, and lots of providers from all over the world stopped by to look at the data and ask questions about it. Some practitioners offered anecdotes from their own clients’ experiences, and some shared info they had learned at the meeting sessions they had attended. We will be expending this discussion into it’s own blog post as some specific new research providers shared is incredibly interesting to us and fits pretty smoothly with the overall tenets of our program. Very excited to share that blog post over the next week or so as we also share some video from the meeting itself.

Why This Matters To You
Some clients ask us why we go to these meetings, and how it benefits them. The answer to this question is really two fold. First the research that we do to submit data to the meetings for presentation informs us on how our clients have done on program historically. This work allows us to share solid data-driven information with clients concerned or focused on specific aspects relevant to them (I have type 2 diabetes what can I expect for results? Will my antidepressant medication impact my ability to do well on 20Lighter?). The more we understand how specific groups of clients do versus our clients as a whole, the better we can talk with them about how they will benefit from the program based on actual data, unlike other programs who rely on generalities and shrug off questions and addressing specific concerns with ‘oh yes our clients do great’ and avoid providing meaningful responses. 20Lighter takes the health and well being of our clients incredibly seriously, and we feel understanding- in a granular way- how our clients perform and what co-morbidities impact their ability to do well is of significant importance.

Additionally, every time we share our data with medical and health care community the feedback we get helps us make 20Lighter programs better. From adding new assessments to monitor progress from a different perspective to finding new products that offer our clients benefits on and off program, we always leave a medical conference with more knowledge than when we arrived. APAAM18 was no different; our exposure to the most cutting edge research into the causes and neurological mechanisms of depression allows us to further tailor our programs to help address the shared underlying physiologic issues that contribute both to weight gain and to depression. In short we want to learn and stay abreast of cutting edge research so we can make 20Lighter programs even more effective for our clients.