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Childhood maltreatment (CM) is a strong risk factor for psychiatric disorders but serves in its current definitions as an umbrella for various fundamentally different childhood experiences. As first step toward a more refined analysis of the impact of CM, our objective is to revisit the relation of abuse and neglect, major subtypes of CM, with symptoms across disorders.
Three longitudinal studies of major depressive disorder (MDD, N = 1240), bipolar disorder (BD, N = 1339), and schizophrenia (SCZ, N = 577), each including controls (N = 881), were analyzed. Multivariate regression models were used to examine the relation between exposure to abuse, neglect, or their combination to the odds for MDD, BD, SCZ, and symptoms across disorders. Bidirectional Mendelian randomization (MR) was used to probe causality, using genetic instruments of abuse and neglect derived from UK Biobank data (N = 143 473).
Abuse was the stronger risk factor for SCZ (OR 3.51, 95% CI 2.17–5.67) and neglect for BD (OR 2.69, 95% CI 2.09–3.46). Combined CM was related to increased risk exceeding additive effects of abuse and neglect for MDD (RERI = 1.4) and BD (RERI = 1.1). Across disorders, abuse was associated with hallucinations (OR 2.16, 95% CI 1.55–3.01) and suicide attempts (OR 2.16, 95% CI 1.55–3.01) whereas neglect was associated with agitation (OR 1.24, 95% CI 1.02–1.51) and reduced need for sleep (OR 1.64, 95% CI 1.08–2.48). MR analyses were consistent with a bidirectional causal effect of abuse with SCZ (IVWforward = 0.13, 95% CI 0.01–0.24).
Childhood abuse and neglect are associated with different risks to psychiatric symptoms and disorders. Unraveling the origin of these differences may advance understanding of disease etiology and ultimately facilitate development of improved personalized treatment strategies.
Childhood trauma (CT) has been cross-sectionally associated with metabolic syndrome (MetS), a group of biological risk factors for cardiometabolic disease. Longitudinal studies, while rare, would clarify the development of cardiometabolic dysregulations over time. Therefore, we longitudinally investigated the association of CT with the 9-year course of MetS components.
Participants (N = 2958) from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety were assessed four times across 9 years. The CT interview retrospectively assessed childhood emotional neglect and physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Metabolic outcomes encompassed continuous MetS components (waist circumference, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein [HDL] cholesterol, blood pressure [BP], and glucose) and count of clinically elevated MetS components. Mixed-effects models estimated sociodemographic- and lifestyle-adjusted longitudinal associations of CT with metabolic outcomes over time. Time interactions evaluated change in these associations.
CT was reported by 49% of participants. CT was consistently associated with increased waist (b = 0.32, s.e. = 0.10, p = 0.001), glucose (b = 0.02, s.e. = 0.01, p < 0.001), and count of MetS components (b = 0.04, s.e. = 0.01, p < 0.001); and decreased HDL cholesterol (b = −0.01, s.e.<0.01, p = .020) and systolic BP (b = −0.33, s.e. = 0.13, p = 0.010). These associations were mainly driven by severe CT and unaffected by lifestyle. Only systolic BP showed a CT-by-time interaction, where CT was associated with lower systolic BP initially and with higher systolic BP at the last follow-up.
Over time, adults with CT have overall persistent poorer metabolic outcomes than their non-maltreated peers. Individuals with CT have an increased risk for cardiometabolic disease and may benefit from monitoring and early interventions targeting metabolism.
Childhood trauma (CT) may increase vulnerability to psychopathology through affective dysregulation (greater variability, autocorrelation, and instability of emotional symptoms). However, CT associations with dynamic affect fluctuations while considering differences in mean affect levels across CT status have been understudied.
346 adults (age = 49.25 ± 12.55, 67.0% female) from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety participated in ecological momentary assessment. Positive and negative affect (PA, NA) were measured five times per day for two weeks by electronic diaries. Retrospectively-reported CT included emotional neglect and emotional/physical/sexual abuse. Linear regressions determined associations between CT and affect fluctuations, controlling for age, sex, education, and mean affect levels.
Compared to those without CT, individuals with CT reported significantly lower mean PA levels (Cohen's d = −0.620) and higher mean NA levels (d = 0.556) throughout the two weeks. CT was linked to significantly greater PA variability (d = 0.336), NA variability (d = 0.353), and NA autocorrelation (d = 0.308), with strongest effects for individuals reporting higher CT scores. However, these effects were entirely explained by differences in mean affect levels between the CT groups. Findings suggested consistency of results in adults with and without lifetime depressive/anxiety disorders and across CT types, with sexual abuse showing the smallest effects.
Individuals with CT show greater affective dysregulation during the two-week monitoring of emotional symptoms, likely due to their consistently lower PA and higher NA levels. It is essential to consider mean affect level when interpreting the impact of CT on affect dynamics.
Childhood trauma increases risk for psychopathology and cognitive impairment. Prior research mainly focused on the hippocampus and amygdala in single diagnostic categories. However, other brain regions may be impacted by trauma as well, and effects may be independent of diagnosis. This cross-sectional study investigated cortical and subcortical gray matter volume in relation to childhood trauma severity.
We included 554 participants: 250 bipolar-I patients, 84 schizophrenia-spectrum patients and 220 healthy individuals without a psychiatric history. Participants filled in the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. Anatomical T1 MRI scans were acquired at 3T, regional brain morphology was assessed using Freesurfer.
In the total sample, trauma-related gray matter reductions were found in the frontal lobe (β = −0.049, p = 0.008; q = 0.048), this effect was driven by the right medial orbitofrontal, paracentral, superior frontal regions and the left precentral region. No trauma-related volume reductions were observed in any other (sub)cortical lobes nor the hippocampus or amygdala, trauma-by-group (i.e. both patient groups and healthy subjects) interaction effects were absent. A categorical approach confirmed a pattern of more pronounced frontal gray matter reductions in individuals reporting multiple forms of trauma and across quartiles of cumulative trauma scores. Similar dose−response patterns were revealed within the bipolar and healthy subgroups, but did not reach significance in schizophrenia-spectrum patients.
Findings show that childhood trauma is linked to frontal gray matter reductions, independent of psychiatric morbidity. Our results indicate that childhood trauma importantly contributes to the neurobiological changes commonly observed across psychiatric disorders. Frontal volume alterations may underpin affective and cognitive disturbances observed in trauma-exposed individuals.
Many psychiatrists are worried their patients, at increased risk for COVID-19 complications, are precluded from receiving appropriate testing. There is a lack of epidemiological data on the associations between psychiatric disorders and COVID-19 testing rates and testing outcomes.
To compare COVID-19 testing probability and results among individuals with psychiatric disorders with those without such diagnoses, and to examine the associations between testing probability and results and psychiatric diagnoses.
This is a population-based study to perform association analyses of psychiatric disorder diagnoses with COVID-19 testing probability and such test results, by using two-sided Fisher exact tests and logistic regression. The population were UK Biobank participants who had undergone COVID-19 testing. The main outcomes were COVID-19 testing probability and COVID-19 test results.
Individuals with psychiatric disorders were overrepresented among the 1474 UK Biobank participants with test data: 23% of the COVID-19 test sample had a psychiatric diagnosis compared with 10% in the full cohort (P < 0.0001). This overrepresentation persisted for each of the specific psychiatric disorders tested. Furthermore, individuals with a psychiatric disorder (P = 0.01), particularly substance use disorder (P < 0.005), had negative test results significantly more often than individuals without psychiatric disorders. Sensitivity analyses confirmed our results.
In contrast with our hypotheses, UK Biobank participants with psychiatric disorders have been tested for COVID-19 more frequently than individuals without a psychiatric history. Among those tested, test outcomes were more frequently negative for registry participants with psychiatric disorders than in others, countering arguments that people with psychiatric disorders are particularly prone to contract the virus.
Treatment with psychotropic medication may sometimes be jeopardised because of the COVID-19 pandemic. One underlying reason is the lack of COVID-19-specific psychopharmacology guidelines. Here, we discuss five considerations arising from our clinical experience and pharmacological background knowledge to enable safe and well-informed psychopharmacotherapy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
An adaptive neural stress response is essential to adequately cope with a changing environment. It was previously argued that sympathetic/noradrenergic activity during acute stress increases salience network (SN) connectivity and reduces executive control network (ECN) connectivity in healthy controls, with opposing effects in the late aftermath of stress. Altered temporal dynamics of these networks in response to stress are thought to play a role in the development of psychopathology in vulnerable individuals.
We exposed male healthy controls (n = 40, mean age = 33.9) and unaffected siblings of schizophrenia patients (n = 39, mean age = 33.2) to the stress or control condition of the trier social stress test and subsequently investigated resting state functional connectivity of the SN and ECN directly after and 1.5 h after stress.
Acute stress resulted in increased functional connectivity within the SN in healthy controls, but not in siblings (group × stress interaction pfwe < 0.05). In the late aftermath of stress, stress reduced functional connectivity within the SN in both groups. Moreover, we found increased functional connectivity between the ECN and the cerebellum in the aftermath of stress in both healthy controls and siblings of schizophrenia patients.
The results show profound differences between siblings of schizophrenia patients and controls during acute stress. Siblings lacked the upregulation of neural resources necessary to quickly and adequately cope with a stressor. This points to a reduced dynamic range in the sympathetic response, and may constitute a vulnerability factor for the development of psychopathology in this at-risk group.
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