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Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSDs), although conceptualized as separate entities, may share some clinical and neurobiological features. ASD symptoms may have a relevant role in determining a more severe clinical presentation of schizophrenic disorder but their relationships with cognitive aspects and functional outcomes of the disease remain to be addressed in large samples of individuals.
To investigate the clinical, cognitive, and functional correlates of ASD symptoms in a large sample of people diagnosed with schizophrenia.
The severity of ASD symptoms was measured with the PANSS Autism Severity Scale (PAUSS) in 921 individuals recruited for the Italian Network for Research on Psychoses multicenter study. Based on the PAUSS scores, three groups of subjects were compared on a wide array of cognitive and functional measures.
Subjects with more severe ASD symptoms showed a poorer performance in the processing speed (p = 0.010), attention (p = 0.011), verbal memory (p = 0.035), and social cognition (p = 0.001) domains, and an overall lower global cognitive composite score (p = 0.010). Subjects with more severe ASD symptoms also showed poorer functional capacity (p = 0.004), real-world interpersonal relationships (p < 0.001), and participation in community-living activities (p < 0.001).
These findings strengthen the notion that ASD symptoms may have a relevant impact on different aspects of the disease, crucial to the life of people with schizophrenia. Prominent ASD symptoms may characterize a specific subpopulation of individuals with SSD.
Data from the Italian national point-prevalence survey (PPS) of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) were used to evaluate antimicrobial usage (AMU) in Italy and to identify targets for future interventions.
The second Italian PPS was conducted in 2016 as part of the European PPS initiated by the ECDC. We compared these results with those of the first national survey, conducted in 2011.
An overall AMU prevalence of 44.5% (95% CI, 43.7–45.3) was estimated in 2016. No significant change in AMU prevalence was detected when comparing data with the first survey. In both surveys, the most prevalent indication for AMU was the treatment of infections. Considering all indications, penicillins plus β-lactamase inhibitors (BLIs) were the most commonly prescribed antimicrobial group in 2016; they were used significantly more than in 2011, and piperacillin plus BLI was the most frequently used agent. Broad-spectrum agents accounted for >60% of all antimicrobials for systemic use. No significant increase in the use of carbapenems occurred in 2016. Stable or decreasing carbapenem-resistance levels were identified in this study, although these levels remain alarmingly high for both Klebsiella pneumoniae (50%) and Acinetobacter baumannii (>75%).
These results can be used to identify priorities and targets for interventions that promote more prudent use of antimicrobials, improve healthcare quality and patient safety, and combat the emergence and spread of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens.
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