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Little is known about the post-acute effects of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in patients with major depression. The present study focused on the 6-month follow-up of a sample of patients with major depression, after the completion of an acute 4 weeks rTMS trial, with the aim of evaluating response (in terms of sustained and late response) and relapse rates.
Following the completion of an acute trial of rTMS (T0-T4), 31 drug-resistant depressed patients (bipolar or unipolar) entered a naturalistic follow-up period of 6 months, with three timepoints (T5, T6, and T7) during which they were assessed with the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and the Young Mania Rating Scale.
Results showed that in the 6 months following an acute transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) trial, a higher rate of late responders was observed among previously acute TMS nonresponders (63.64%, 7 out of 11) compared to the rate of relapse among those who had acutely responded to TMS (10%, 2 out of 20). In addition, an overall high rate of maintained response (90%) was observed.
Present findings seem to support the possibility of obtaining a clinical response also after the end of an acute TMS trial in patients with major depression. The concomitant low rate of relapse observed at the end of follow-up along with a high rate of maintained response provides further support to the post-acute efficacy of TMS. Nonetheless, further controlled studies, with larger samples and longer follow-up observation, are needed to confirm the reported results.
Bipolar disorder (BD) is a chronic, highly disabling condition associated with psychiatric/medical comorbidity and substantive morbidity, mortality, and suicide risks. In prior reports, varying parameters have been associated with suicide risk.
To evaluate sociodemographic and clinical variables characterizing Italian individuals with BD with versus without prior suicide attempt (PSA).
A sample of 362 Italian patients categorized as BD according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM IV-TR) was assessed and divided in 2 subgroups: with and without PSA. Sociodemographic and clinical variables were compared between prior attempters and non-attempters using corrected multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA).
More than one-fourth of BD patients (26.2%) had a PSA, with approximately one-third (31%) of these having>1 PSA. Depressive polarity at onset, higher number of psychiatric hospitalizations, comorbid alcohol abuse, comorbid eating disorders, and psychiatric poly-comorbidity were significantly more frequent (p<.05) in patients with versus without PSA. Additionally, treatment with lithium, polypharmacotherapy (≥4 current drugs) and previous psychosocial rehabilitation were significantly more often present in patients with versus without PSA.
We found several clinical variables associated with PSA in BD patients. Even though these retrospective findings did not address causality, they could be clinically relevant to better understanding suicidal behavior in BD and adopting proper strategies to prevent suicide in higher risk patients.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is associated with variable risk of suicide and prevalence of suicide attempt (SA). The present study aimed to assess the prevalence of SA and associated sociodemographic and clinical features in a large international sample of OCD patients.
A total of 425 OCD outpatients, recruited through the International College of Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorders (ICOCS) network, were assessed and categorized in groups with or without a history of SA, and their sociodemographic and clinical features compared through Pearson’s chi-squared and t tests. Logistic regression was performed to assess the impact of the collected data on the SA variable.
14.6% of our sample reported at least one SA during their lifetime. Patients with an SA had significantly higher rates of comorbid psychiatric disorders (60 vs. 17%, p<0.001; particularly tic disorder), medical disorders (51 vs. 15%, p<0.001), and previous hospitalizations (62 vs. 11%, p<0.001) than patients with no history of SA. With respect to geographical differences, European and South African patients showed significantly higher rates of SA history (40 and 39%, respectively) compared to North American and Middle-Eastern individuals (13 and 8%, respectively) (χ2=11.4, p<0.001). The logistic regression did not show any statistically significant predictor of SA among selected independent variables.
Our international study found a history of SA prevalence of ~15% in OCD patients, with higher rates of psychiatric and medical comorbidities and previous hospitalizations in patients with a previous SA. Along with potential geographical influences, the presence of the abovementioned features should recommend additional caution in the assessment of suicide risk in OCD patients.
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive neurostimulation technique that has received increasing interest in the area of mood disorders over the last several years. While acute, double-blind, sham-controlled studies have already reported positive findings in terms of efficacy and safety for tDCS, follow-up data are lacking. This need prompted the present follow-up study, which assesses post-acute effects of tDCS (no maintenance stimulation was performed), in the mid-term, in a sample of major depressives.
After completing an acute, open trial of tDCS, 23 outpatients with either major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder entered a naturalistic follow-up (T1) with clinical evaluations at one week (T2), 1 month (T3), and 3 months (T4). A quantitative analysis of Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D), Montgomery–Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), and Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) total scores, through repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) (T1–T4) and paired t-test for comparing specific time points (T1–T2, T2–T3, and T3–T4), was performed. In addition, a qualitative analysis on the basis of treatment response and remission (HAM-D) was performed.
Even though a progressive reduction of follow-up completers was observed from T2 to T4 (95.6% at T2, 65.2% at T3, and 47.8% at T4), the antidepressant effects of acute tDCS persisted over 3 months in almost half of the sample. Of note, no post-acute side effects emerged during the follow-up observation. The most frequent causes of drop-out from this study included major modifications in therapeutic regimen (30%) and poor adherence to follow-up visits (17%).
In this mid-term, open, follow-up study, tDCS showed mixed results. Further controlled studies are urgently needed to assess its effects beyond the acute phase.
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