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B vitamins are essential for the functioning of the nervous system. Vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency is associated with neuropsychiatric syndromes such as Wernicke's encephalopathy (WE), which, if untreated, has an estimated mortality of 17–20%. Although the prevalence of thiamine deficiency in the general population is difficult to estimate, it is being increasingly recognized in oncology, especially in the inpatient setting. We describe three cases of thiamine deficiency (TD) in the outpatient psychiatric oncology setting.
Retrospective chart review of three adult patients, who were seen in the psychiatric oncology clinic and found to have TD on laboratory testing, was done. Patient, disease, and thiamine treatment-related information were obtained, and descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data.
The average age was 59 years, mean body mass index (BMI) was 22.00 ± 4.58 (mean ± SD), and mean thiamine level was 59.10 ± 7.69 that ranged from 45 to 68 nmol/L (normal thiamine level reference: 70–180 nmol/L). None of the patients had brain imaging nor cerebrospinal fluid analysis. Risk factors such as unbalanced nutrition, prior GI surgery, renal disease, and chemotherapy were noted.
Significance of results
TD can have a multifactorial etiology in oncology. Identification of TD in both inpatient and outpatient setting is important. Our report highlights how early identification of TD in the outpatient setting can help prevent further clinical progression.
This study compared the efficacy and safety of oxcarbazepine and divalproex sodium in acute mania patients.
Subjects and methods
In this 12 week, randomized, double-blind pilot study, 60 patients diagnosed with acute mania (DSM-IV) and a baseline Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) score of 20 or more received flexibly dosed oxcarbazepine (1000–2400 mg/day) or divalproex (750–2000 mg/day). The mean decrease in the YMRS score from baseline was used as the main outcome measure of response to treatment. A priori protocol-defined threshold scores were ≤12 for remission and ≥15 for relapse. Number of patients showing adequate response and the time taken to achieve improvement was compared. Adverse events were systematically recorded throughout the study.
Over 12 weeks, mean improvement in YMRS scores was comparable for both the groups including the mean total scores as well as percentage fall from baseline. There were no significant differences between treatments in the rates of symptomatic mania remission (90% in divalproex and 80% in oxcarbazepine group) and subsequent relapse. Median time taken to symptomatic remission was 56 days in divalproex group while it was 70 days in the oxcarbazepine group (p = 0.123). A significantly greater number of patients in divalproex group experienced one or more adverse drug events as compared to patients in the oxcarbazepine group (66.7% versus 30%, p < 0.01).
Oxcarbazepine demonstrated comparable efficacy to divalproex sodium in the management of acute mania. Also the overall adverse event profile was found to be superior for oxcarbazepine.
Body image is a vital and complex issue in cancer patients, but not well recognized. In the ambulatory psychiatric-oncology clinic, we assessed what portion of cancer patients endorsed appearance problems and if they differed in terms of depression, anxiety, or distress scores when compared with those who did not endorse appearance problems.
All adult patients with active cancer diagnosis seen in the outpatient psychiatry oncology clinic (June 2014–January 2016) who provided informed consent were included (N = 1,939) in the cross-sectional study design. “Appearance problems” were assessed as a categorical, binomial variable (yes/no) using the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Distress Thermometer checklist. Other assessments included the Patient Health Questionnaire-9, Patient Health Questionnaire-2, Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7, Distress Thermometer, and Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale.
The overall prevalence rate of individuals who endorsed appearance problems was approximately 36%; they were more likely to be younger, female, Black or Hispanic, and not in a committed relationship (all results for demographic variables were statistically significant; all p < .001). Importantly, those patients who endorsed appearance problems exhibited higher scores for depression (p < .0001), anxiety (p < .0001), and distress (p < .0001), and these differences were of medium effect size (Cohen's d = 0.5−0.6).
Significance of results
The current results underscore the need to identify patients with body image problems early given that they are likely to exhibit higher magnitude of anxiety, depression and distress symptoms while undergoing cancer care. The results highlight the importance of body image issues and the need to evaluate them in cancer patients.
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