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There is renewed interest in the inverse association between psychiatric hospital and prison places, with reciprocal time trends shown in more than one country. We hypothesised that the numbers of admissions to psychiatric hospitals and committals to prisons in Ireland would also correlate inversely over time (i.e. dynamic measures of admission and committal rather than static, cross-sectional numbers of places).
Publicly available activity statistics for psychiatric hospitals and prisons in Ireland were collated from 1986 to 2010.
There was a reciprocal association between psychiatric admissions and prison committals (Pearson r=−0.788, p<0.001), an increase of 91 prison committals for every 100 psychiatric hospital admissions foregone.
Penrose’s hypothesis applies to admissions to psychiatric hospitals and prisons in Ireland over time (dynamic measures), just as it does to the numbers of places in psychiatric hospitals and prisons in Ireland and elsewhere (static, cross-sectional measures). Although no causal connection can be definitively established yet, mentally disordered prisoners are usually known to community mental health services. Psychiatric services for prisons and the community should be linked to ensure that the needs of those currently accessing care through prisons can also be met in the community.
We sought to identify and review published studies that discuss the ethical considerations, from a physician’s perspective, of managing a hunger strike in a prison setting.
A database search was conducted to identify relevant publications. We included case studies, case series, guidelines and review articles published over a 20-year period. Non-English language publications were translated.
The review found 23 papers from 12 jurisdictions published in five languages suitable for inclusion.
Key themes from included publications are identified and summarised in the context of accepted guidelines from the World Medical Association. Whilst there seems to be an overall consensus favouring autonomy over beneficence, tensions along this fine balance are magnified in jurisdictions where legislation leads to a dual loyalty conflict for the physician.
Methadone, a long-acting opioid agonist commonly used in the treatment of opiate dependence, has been reported to cause QTc interval prolongation, increasing the risk of a fatal cardiac arrhythmia – Torsades-de-Pointes (TdP). This effect seems to be attributable to methadone's inhibitory effect on the cardiac “hERG”-K+ ion channel and is dose-dependent. There is a lack of consensus regarding when to perform an ECG for patients on methadone.
Identifying other TdPPRFs in a cohort of patients receiving ≥ 85 mg (high dose) methadone daily to inform local clinical safety guidelines.
Our outpatient caseload was filtered to select opiate-dependent patients receiving more than 85 mg methadone daily. Primary care summaries and laboratory results databases were analysed for the presence of other TdPPRFs: female sex a documented history of ECG abnormalities, electrolyte imbalance, liver or renal failure, and concomitant use of other QT prolonging medication or stimulants.
Fourteen opiate-dependent patients (10.29% of patients on methadone) were maintained on ≥ 85 mg methadone daily. Gender distribution was F:M = 1:1.8; 64% misused illicit stimulants; 57% were prescribed other QTc prolonging medication and 29% had a documented history of liver/renal failure or electrolyte imbalance. Only 14% had previous ECGs documented in primary care summaries. Of patients on high dose methadone, 85.7% had at least one TdPPRFs present and 64.3% had at least two.
These results demonstrate an increased rate of TdPPRFs in this patient group and highlight the importance of ECG monitoring which ideally should be offered to patients receiving even lower doses of methadone.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Cognitive dysfunction is common in major depressive disorder (MDD) and a critical determinant of health outcome. Anhedonia is a criterion item toward the diagnosis of a major depressive episode (MDE) and a well-characterized domain in MDD. We sought to determine the extent to which variability in self-reported cognitive function correlates with anhedonia.
A post hoc analysis was conducted using data from (N=369) participants with a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR)-defined diagnosis of MDD who were enrolled in the International Mood Disorders Collaborative Project (IMDCP) between January 2008 and July 2013. The IMDCP is a collaborative research platform at the Mood Disorders Psychopharmacology Unit, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, and the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio. Measures of cognitive function, anhedonia, and depression severity were analyzed using linear regression equations.
A total of 369 adults with DSM-IV-TR–defined MDD were included in this analysis. Self-rated cognitive impairment [ie, as measured by the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS)] was significantly correlated with a proxy measure of anhedonia (r=0.131, p=0.012). Moreover, total depression symptom severity, as measured by the total Montgomery–Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) score, was also significantly correlated with self-rated measures of cognitive dysfunction (r=0.147, p=0.005). The association between anhedonia and self-rated cognitive dysfunction remained significant after adjusting for illness severity (r=0.162, p=0.007).
These preliminary results provide empirical data for the testable hypothesis that anhedonia and self-reported cognitive function in MDD are correlated yet dissociable domains. The foregoing observation supports the hypothesis of overlapping yet discrete neurobiological substrates for these domains.
This work considers debris disks whose spectra can be modelled by dust emission at two different temperatures. These disks are typically assumed to be a sign of multiple belts, but only a few cases have been confirmed via high resolution observations. We derive the properties of a sample of two-temperature disks, and explore whether this emission can arise from dust in a single narrow belt. While some two-temperature disks arise from single belts, it is probable that most have multiple spatial components. These disks are plausibly similar to the outer Solar System's configuration of Asteroid and Edgeworth-Kuiper belts separated by giant planets. Alternatively, the inner component could arise from inward scattering of material from the outer belt, again due to intervening planets. For either scenario, the ratio of warm/cool component temperatures is indicative of the scale of outer planetary systems, which typically span a factor of about ten in radius.