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Only a limited number of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) respond to a first course of antidepressant medication (ADM). We investigated the feasibility of creating a baseline model to determine which of these would be among patients beginning ADM treatment in the US Veterans Health Administration (VHA).
A 2018–2020 national sample of n = 660 VHA patients receiving ADM treatment for MDD completed an extensive baseline self-report assessment near the beginning of treatment and a 3-month self-report follow-up assessment. Using baseline self-report data along with administrative and geospatial data, an ensemble machine learning method was used to develop a model for 3-month treatment response defined by the Quick Inventory of Depression Symptomatology Self-Report and a modified Sheehan Disability Scale. The model was developed in a 70% training sample and tested in the remaining 30% test sample.
In total, 35.7% of patients responded to treatment. The prediction model had an area under the ROC curve (s.e.) of 0.66 (0.04) in the test sample. A strong gradient in probability (s.e.) of treatment response was found across three subsamples of the test sample using training sample thresholds for high [45.6% (5.5)], intermediate [34.5% (7.6)], and low [11.1% (4.9)] probabilities of response. Baseline symptom severity, comorbidity, treatment characteristics (expectations, history, and aspects of current treatment), and protective/resilience factors were the most important predictors.
Although these results are promising, parallel models to predict response to alternative treatments based on data collected before initiating treatment would be needed for such models to help guide treatment selection.
Fewer than half of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) respond to psychotherapy. Pre-emptively informing patients of their likelihood of responding could be useful as part of a patient-centered treatment decision-support plan.
This prospective observational study examined a national sample of 807 patients beginning psychotherapy for MDD at the Veterans Health Administration. Patients completed a self-report survey at baseline and 3-months follow-up (data collected 2018–2020). We developed a machine learning (ML) model to predict psychotherapy response at 3 months using baseline survey, administrative, and geospatial variables in a 70% training sample. Model performance was then evaluated in the 30% test sample.
32.0% of patients responded to treatment after 3 months. The best ML model had an AUC (SE) of 0.652 (0.038) in the test sample. Among the one-third of patients ranked by the model as most likely to respond, 50.0% in the test sample responded to psychotherapy. In comparison, among the remaining two-thirds of patients, <25% responded to psychotherapy. The model selected 43 predictors, of which nearly all were self-report variables.
Patients with MDD could pre-emptively be informed of their likelihood of responding to psychotherapy using a prediction tool based on self-report data. This tool could meaningfully help patients and providers in shared decision-making, although parallel information about the likelihood of responding to alternative treatments would be needed to inform decision-making across multiple treatments.
Studying phenotypic and genetic characteristics of age at onset (AAO) and polarity at onset (PAO) in bipolar disorder can provide new insights into disease pathology and facilitate the development of screening tools.
To examine the genetic architecture of AAO and PAO and their association with bipolar disorder disease characteristics.
Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) and polygenic score (PGS) analyses of AAO (n = 12 977) and PAO (n = 6773) were conducted in patients with bipolar disorder from 34 cohorts and a replication sample (n = 2237). The association of onset with disease characteristics was investigated in two of these cohorts.
Earlier AAO was associated with a higher probability of psychotic symptoms, suicidality, lower educational attainment, not living together and fewer episodes. Depressive onset correlated with suicidality and manic onset correlated with delusions and manic episodes. Systematic differences in AAO between cohorts and continents of origin were observed. This was also reflected in single-nucleotide variant-based heritability estimates, with higher heritabilities for stricter onset definitions. Increased PGS for autism spectrum disorder (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), major depression (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), schizophrenia (β = −0.39 years, s.e. = 0.08), and educational attainment (β = −0.31 years, s.e. = 0.08) were associated with an earlier AAO. The AAO GWAS identified one significant locus, but this finding did not replicate. Neither GWAS nor PGS analyses yielded significant associations with PAO.
AAO and PAO are associated with indicators of bipolar disorder severity. Individuals with an earlier onset show an increased polygenic liability for a broad spectrum of psychiatric traits. Systematic differences in AAO across cohorts, continents and phenotype definitions introduce significant heterogeneity, affecting analyses.
A cross-sectional survey study of inpatient prescribers in a university health system was performed to assess the importance they place on different clinical risk factors when making empiric antibiotic decisions. Our findings show that these clinical risk factors were weighted differently based on the clinical scenario and the type of prescriber.
The lack of radiation knowledge among the general public continues to be a challenge for building communities prepared for radiological emergencies. This study applied a multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) to the results of an expert survey to identify priority risk reduction messages and challenges to increasing community radiological emergency preparedness.
Professionals with expertise in radiological emergency preparedness, state/local health and emergency management officials, and journalists/journalism academics were surveyed following a purposive sampling methodology. An MCDA was used to weight criteria of importance in a radiological emergency, and the weighted criteria were applied to topics such as sheltering-in-place, decontamination, and use of potassium iodide. Results were reviewed by respondent group and in aggregate.
Sheltering-in-place and evacuation plans were identified as the most important risk reduction measures to communicate to the public. Possible communication challenges during a radiological emergency included access to accurate information; low levels of public trust; public knowledge about radiation; and communications infrastructure failures.
Future assessments for community readiness for a radiological emergency should include questions about sheltering-in-place and evacuation plans to inform risk communication.
In 2006, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke-Canadian Stroke Network (NINDS-CSN) Vascular Cognitive Impairment Harmonization Standards recommended a 5-Minute Protocol as a brief screening instrument for vascular cognitive impairment (VCI). We report demographically adjusted norms for the 5-Minute Protocol and its relation to other measures of cognitive function and cerebrovascular risk factors. We performed a cross-sectional analysis of 7199 stroke-free adults in the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study on the NINDS-CSN 5-Minute Protocol score. Total scores on the 5-Minute Protocol were inversely correlated with age and positively correlated with years of education, and performance on the Six-Item Screener, Word List Learning, and Animal Fluency (all p-values <.001). Higher cerebrovascular risk on the Framingham Stroke Risk Profile (FSRP) was associated with lower total 5-Minute Protocol scores (p <.001). The 5-Minute Protocol also differentiated between participants with and without confirmed stroke and with and without stroke symptom histories (p <.001). The NINDS-CSN 5-Minute Protocol is a brief, easily administered screening measure that is sensitive to cerebrovascular risk and offers a valid method of screening for cognitive impairment in populations at risk for VCI. (JINS, 2014, 20, 1–12)
The present review describes brain imaging technologies that can be used to assess the effects of nutritional interventions in human subjects. Specifically, we summarise the biological relevance of their outcome measures, practical use and feasibility, and recommended use in short- and long-term nutritional studies. The brain imaging technologies described consist of MRI, including diffusion tensor imaging, magnetic resonance spectroscopy and functional MRI, as well as electroencephalography/magnetoencephalography, near-IR spectroscopy, positron emission tomography and single-photon emission computerised tomography. In nutritional interventions and across the lifespan, brain imaging can detect macro- and microstructural, functional, electrophysiological and metabolic changes linked to broader functional outcomes, such as cognition. Imaging markers can be considered as specific for one or several brain processes and as surrogate instrumental endpoints that may provide sensitive measures of short- and long-term effects. For the majority of imaging measures, little information is available regarding their correlation with functional endpoints in healthy subjects; therefore, imaging markers generally cannot replace clinical endpoints that reflect the overall capacity of the brain to behaviourally respond to specific situations and stimuli. The principal added value of brain imaging measures for human nutritional intervention studies is their ability to provide unique in vivo information on the working mechanism of an intervention in hypothesis-driven research. Selection of brain imaging techniques and target markers within a given technique should mainly depend on the hypothesis regarding the mechanism of action of the intervention, level (structural, metabolic or functional) and anticipated timescale of the intervention's effects, target population, availability and costs of the techniques.