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Since approximately 70% of adult patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have at least one comorbid disorder, rating of impairment specifically attributable to ADHD is a hard task. Despite the evidence linking environmental adversities with negative outcomes in ADHD, life events measures have not been used to rate the disorder impairment. The present study tested for the first time the hypothesis that increased ADHD severity is associated with an increase in negative recent life events, independently of comorbidity status. The psychiatric diagnoses of 211 adult ADHD outpatients were based on DSM-IV criteria assessed through structured interviews (K-SADS-E for ADHD and ODD, MINI for ASPD and SCID-IV-R for other comorbidities). ADHD severity was evaluated with the Swanson, Nolan and Pelham rating scale (SNAP-IV) and recent life events with the Life Experience Survey. Higher SNAP-IV inattention and hyperactivity scores, female gender, lower socioeconomic status and the presence of comorbid mood disorders were associated with negative life events. Poisson regression models with adjustment for possible confounders confirmed the effect of inattention and hyperactivity severity on negative life events. Our results suggest that the negative life events experienced by these patients are associated to the severity of ADHD independently from comorbid psychiatric disorders.
Awareness of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults has been growing over the last decade. One of the most interesting issues related to this topic is these adults’ self-awareness of their ADHD symptoms and their estimation of their own impairments. Our hypothesis while studying young adult ADHD populations was that there would be a significant difference between their self-report and their clinical assessment.
One hundred and three students volunteered for this study. In order to validate our ADHD screening questionnaire (ADHD-SQ), and to assess the level of awareness they have of their own symptoms, participants underwent a complete clinical assessment for ADHD. They were divided into a control group (n = 24), and an ADHD study group (n = 79), which in turn was composed of two sub-groups, one comprising 24 ADHD predominantly inattentive (ADHD-I) and the other 55 ADHD combined type (ADHD-C).
Factor analysis yielded two factors explaining 41% of the variance. The Inattention (IA) subscale score tended to be higher in both ADHD sub-groups as compared to the control group (6.5±2.1 vs. 2.34±2.3 with P<0.001), with no significant difference between the two ADHD sub-groups. Hyperactivity Impulsivity (HI) subscale was significantly higher for the ADHD-C sub-group than in the ADHD-I sub-group, whose score was similar to that of the control group (control: 1.6±2.1; ADHD-I: 1.55±1.0; ADHD-C: 4.5±2.6, P<0.0001). Receiver Operating Characteristics (ROC) analysis showed similar results. The area under the curve (AUC) of IA subscale score was 0.90 (95% confidence: 0.83–0.96) and for HI subscale score was 0.75, (95% confidence: 0.63–0.86). Classification into groups used a cut-off point of 3+ items out of nine, in the SQ and 6+ items out of nine in the clinical assessment. These two classifications showed 68% agreement (46% sensitivity and 95% specificity). In both ADHD sub-groups, the self-reported average number of positive symptoms per student was relatively low for both clusters; this phenomenon was pronounced in the specific subtypes. The self-rated HI cluster score was considerably low in the ADHD-C sub-group (4.5±2.6), and the IA one was particularly low in the ADHD-IADHD-I sub-group (5.9±1.9).
This study's results indicate that ADHD symptoms are under-reported for both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive clusters, indicating that adults with ADHD tend to under-estimate their own ADHD-related impairments. We suggest that this questionnaire may be used both in research and academic settings to help counsellors and students to obtain early indication of ADHD and to refer students suspected of having ADHD to full clinical assessment.
The German version of the Conners Adult ADHD Rating Scales (CAARS) has proven to show very high model fit in confirmative factor analyses with the established factors inattention/memory problems, hyperactivity/restlessness, impulsivity/emotional lability, and problems with self-concept in both large healthy control and ADHD patient samples. This study now presents data on the psychometric properties of the German CAARS-self-report (CAARS-S) and observer-report (CAARS-O) questionnaires.
CAARS-S/O and questions on sociodemographic variables were filled out by 466 patients with ADHD, 847 healthy control subjects that already participated in two prior studies, and a total of 896 observer data sets were available. Cronbach's-alpha was calculated to obtain internal reliability coefficients. Pearson correlations were performed to assess test-retest reliability, and concurrent, criterion, and discriminant validity. Receiver Operating Characteristics (ROC-analyses) were used to establish sensitivity and specificity for all subscales.
Coefficient alphas ranged from .74 to .95, and test-retest reliability from .85 to .92 for the CAARS-S, and from .65 to .85 for the CAARS-O. All CAARS subscales, except problems with self-concept correlated significantly with the Barrett Impulsiveness Scale (BIS), but not with the Wender Utah Rating Scale (WURS). Criterion validity was established with ADHD subtype and diagnosis based on DSM-IV criteria. Sensitivity and specificity were high for all four subscales.
The reported results confirm our previous study and show that the German CAARS-S/O do indeed represent a reliable and cross-culturally valid measure of current ADHD symptoms in adults.
Parents are considered to be crucial informants in child psychiatry, particularly for disorders in which age of onset is included in the diagnostic criteria. In detained adolescents, however, parents all too often are difficult to reach or reluctant to cooperate. The clinical relevance of gathering parental information in this context should therefore be demonstrated. This study examines if parent reports of attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and age of onset subtypes of conduct disorder (CD) predict official criminal recidivism.
Participants were 110 detained male adolescents from all three Youth Detention Centers in Flanders. Between January 2005 and February 2007, both youth and a parent were interviewed with the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children Version IV. Two to 4years later, information on criminal recidivism was retrieved.
Youth self-reported ADHD and CD (subtypes) were not related with recidivism. Parent-reported ADHD, CD and childhood-onset CD predicted serious property recidivism, while parent-reported adolescent-onset CD predicted future violent arrests. In reverse, childhood-onset CD as reported by parents was negatively associated with violent recidivism.
Obtaining parental diagnostic information in delinquent adolescents is crucial for predicting recidivism. This finding emphasizes the need of including parents when studying mental disorder in detained adolescents.
To study the efficacy and safety of phosphatidylserine (PS) containing Omega3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids attached to its backbone (PS-Omega3) in reducing attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in children.
A 15-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase followed by an open-label extension of additional 15 weeks. Two hundred ADHD children were randomized to receive either PS-Omega3 or placebo, out of them, 150 children continued into the extension. Efficacy was assessed using Conners’ parent and teacher rating scales (CRS-P,T), Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), and Child Health Questionnaire (CHQ). Safety evaluation included adverse events monitoring.
The key finding of the double-blind phase was the significant reduction in the Global:Restless/impulsive subscale of CRS-P and the significant improvement in Parent impact-emotional (PE) subscale of the CHQ, both in the PS-Omega3 group. Exploratory subgroup analysis of children with a more pronounced hyperactive/impulsive behavior, as well as mood and behavior-dysregulation, revealed a significant reduction in the ADHD-Index and hyperactive components. Data from the open-label extension indicated sustained efficacy for children who continued to receive PS-Omega3. Children that switched to PS-Omega3 treatment from placebo showed a significant reduction in subscales scores of both CRS-P and the CRS-T, as compare to baseline scores. The treatment was well tolerated.
The results of this 30-week study suggest that PS-Omega3 may reduce ADHD symptoms in children. Preliminary analysis suggests that this treatment may be especially effective in a subgroup of hyperactive-impulsive, emotionally and behaviorally-dysregulated ADHD children.
Adherence to a regular medication regimen may be challenging for adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Some report taking psychostimulants on a pro re nata (PRN) basis. This review aims to establish the rate of adherence, and reasons for and consequences of non-adherence to medication for ADHD in adults, and to review literature on PRN dosing of psychostimulants in these patients. A systematic literature search was conducted. Four primary research studies have investigated the rate of adherence to medication in adults with ADHD. Mean adherence rate in two studies ranged from 52% to 87%. A number of possible reasons for poor adherence have been suggested. Prospective studies are needed to further define the rate of adherence and causes of poor adherence. Evidence examining whether differences in adherence affect clinical outcomes is equivocal. Therefore, caution should be applied to the assumption that maximising adherence to regular medication regimens will improve clinical outcomes. Two articles acknowledge that patients take medication on a PRN basis. Studies comparing the effectiveness of a regular and PRN regimen of psychostimulants are needed. If PRN dosing is as effective as a regular regimen, advantages might include enhanced doctor-patient communication, reduced side effects and cost savings.
The aim of this study was to investigate whether severe formal thought disorders and mature thinking are stable among adoptees (=187) drawn from the Finnish adoptive family study of schizophrenia. A group of 93 adoptees genetically at high risk (HR) and 94 at low risk (LR) for schizophrenia were assessed blindly and reliably using the Index of Primitive Thought (IPT) and the Index of Integration (IOI). Two assessments of the IPT and the IOI were performed with the mean interval of 11 years. Comparisons of the IPT and the IOI mean scores were conducted both at baseline and at follow-up between adoptees at low and high genetic risk, gender, and psychiatric status. The main result was that the IOI as well as the IPT of the adoptees at the initial assessment predicted the IOI and the IPT estimated at follow-up, thus indicating the stability of severe formal thought disorders and mature thinking over time. The stability of IOI or IPT was not related to genetic risk, gender or psychiatric status or their interactions.
Although many patients with schizophrenia are impaired in mental states attribution abilities, a significant number perform within normal or near-normal ranges in mental state attribution tasks. No studies have analysed cognitive or behavioural differences between patients with – to some extent – preserved mental state attribution skills and those with poor mentalising abilities.
Material and methods
To examine characteristics of “poor” and “fair” mentalisers, 58 patients with schizophrenia performed a mental state attribution task, a test of general intelligence, and two executive functioning tests. “Poor” and “fair” mentalising skills were defined according to a median-split procedure; the median score in the patient group was also within two standard deviations of the control group. In addition, patients’ social behavioural skills and psychopathological profiles were rated.
Patients performing within normal or near normal ranges on the mental state attribution task had fewer social behavioural abnormalities than patients with poor mentalising abilities (even when controlled for intelligence), but did not differ in executive functioning. Fair mental state performers showed less disorganisation and excitement symptoms than poor performers. The degree of disorganisation mediated the influence of mental state attribution on social behavioural skills.
Schizophrenia patients with (partially) preserved mentalising skills have fewer behavioural problems in the social domain than patients with poor mentalising abilities. Conceptual disorganisation mediates the prediction of social behavioural skills through mentalising skills, suggesting that disorganised patients may require special attention regarding social-cognitive skills training.
This current study assessed neurocognitive functioning in a carefully selected sample of schizophrenia patients with and without heavy cannabis use and healthy controls. All subjects were negative for any other substance use. Schizophrenia subjects had impaired neurocognitive functions across a wide range of tasks compared to healthy controls. Cannabis using schizophrenia patients had focused impairments on tasks of attention, and the findings suggest an impulsive pattern of response among these patients.
This case-control study found an association between Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and a single nucleotide polymorphism (intronic rs2072621) of the gene encoding GPR50 (an orphan member of the G protein-coupled melatonin receptor subfamily) in females. This may represent a gender-specific risk factor and a molecular link between melatonin and SAD.
Catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT) encodes an enzyme involved in the metabolism of dopamine and maps to a commonly deleted region that increases schizophrenia risk. A non-synonymous polymorphism (rs4680) in COMT has been previously found to be associated with schizophrenia and results in altered activity levels of COMT. Using a haplotype block-based gene-tagging approach we conducted an association study of seven COMT single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 160 patients with a DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia and 250 controls in an Australian population. Two polymorphisms including rs4680 and rs165774 were found to be significantly associated with schizophrenia. The rs4680 results in a Val/Met substitution but the strongest association was shown by the novel SNP, rs165774, which may still be functional even though it is located in intron five. Individuals with schizophrenia were more than twice as likely to carry the GG genotype compared to the AA genotype for both the rs165774 and rs4680 SNPs. This association was slightly improved when males were analysed separately possibly indicating a degree of sexual dimorphism. Our results confirm that COMT is a good candidate for schizophrenia risk, by replicating the association with rs4680 and identifying a novel SNP association.
Morphological abnormalities of the anterior cingulate (AC) occur in patients with schizophrenia and in symptomatic high-risk individuals, and may be predictive of subsequent psychosis. We investigated AC sulcal morphology in the Edinburgh High Risk Study cohort to see if such abnormalities are evident and predict psychosis in patients’ relatives. We also investigated the association of the cingulate sulcus (CS) and paracingulate sulcus (PCS) variants with intelligence quotient (IQ).
Patients and methods
We compared cingulate and paracingulate sulcal anatomy, using reliable standardised measurements, blind to group membership, in those at high genetic risk (n = 146), first episode patients (n = 34) and healthy controls (n = 36); and compared high-risk subjects who did (n = 17) or did not develop schizophrenia.
Interruptions of the cingulate sulcus were more common in high-risk individuals and in those with schizophrenia, in both hemispheres, compared to controls. When separated by gender, these results were only present in males in the left hemisphere and only in females in the right hemisphere. A well-formed paracingulate sulcus was less common in high-risk participants and patients with schizophrenia, compared to controls; but this association was only present in males. These morphological variants of the paracingulate sulcus and the continuous cingulate sulcus were also associated with the higher IQ in male high-risk individuals.
An interrupted cingulate sulcus pattern in both males and females and paracingulate morphology in males are associated with increased genetic risk of schizophrenia. Associations between cingulate and paracingulate morphology and premorbid IQ scores provide evidence that intellectual ability could be related to particular cytoarchitectural brain regions. Given that these sulci develop in early fetal life, such findings presumably reflect early neurodevelopmental abnormalities of genetic origin, although environmental effects and interactions cannot be ruled out.
Recent research suggests that the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) may play a role in extinction learning. The goal of this study was to test whether variation in the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism is related to treatment response to exposure-based cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT), a form of extinction learning, in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
One hundred and six OCD patients from a specialized clinic, who underwent a standardized CBT treatment after partial or non-response to a 12-week pharmacological trial, were genotyped for the BDNF Val66Met and the relationship between genotype and treatment response was analyzed.
Among 98 CBT completers, 36% of those carrying the BDNF Met allele were rated as CBT responders compared to 60% of nonMet allele carriers (P = 0.027). When analyzing the different obsessive-compulsive symptom dimensions, in patients with contamination/cleaning symptoms, the Met allele was associated with a significantly worse CBT response (P<0.0001) and a lower obsessions severity decrease from pre- to posttreatment (P = 0.046).
Genetic variation in BDNF may be associated with treatment response in exposure-based CBT in OCD, especially in those patients exhibiting contamination/cleaning symptoms.