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Diagnostic criteria are not always useful to discriminate major depression with anxious distress (ADS-D; Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, version-5 [DSM-5] criteria) from mixed depression (Koukopoulos’ criteria; KMX-D). So, clinicians need alternative tools to improve their diagnostic ability and to choose the most appropriate treatment. The aim of the present study is to identify socio-demographic and clinical features that discriminate patients with ADS-D from those with KMX-D.
Two hundred and forty-one consecutive outpatients with unipolar (51%) and bipolar (49%) disorder, fulfilling DSM-5 criteria for a current major depressive episode (MDE) and with a 21-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale score ≥ 14, were recruited and treated in a prospective observational study.
Ten percent of patients met criteria for KMX-D, 22% ADS-D, and 37% for both. Irritable premorbid temperament, mixed depression polarity at onset, mixed depression recurrence, and a high number of mania symptoms at intake were typical features of patients with KMX-D. Depressive polarity at onset, a low number of mania symptoms at intake, and generalized anxiety disorder comorbidity were typical features of patients with ADS-D. Multinomial logistic regression confirmed that higher rate of irritable temperament and higher Young Mania Rating Scale total score differentiated patients with KMX-D from patients with pure MDE.
Our findings suggest some clinical features that could help differentiate between ADS-D and KMX-D in patients meeting both conditions and to select the appropriate treatment. However, the small sample size may have limited the power to detect differences between the groups. Further research is needed to confirm the results of present study.
Impairment in a wide range of cognitive abilities has been consistently reported in individuals with schizophrenia. Both neurocognitive and social cognitive deficits are thought to underlie severe functional disabilities associated with schizophrenia. Despite the key role in schizophrenia outcome, cognition is still poorly assessed in both research and clinical settings.
In this guidance paper, we provide a systematic review of the scientific literature and elaborate several recommendations for the assessment of cognitive functions in schizophrenia both in research settings and in real-world clinical practice.
Expert consensus and systematic reviews provided guidance for the optimal assessment of cognitive functions in schizophrenia. Based on the reviewed evidence, we recommend a comprehensive and systematic assessment of neurocognitive and social cognitive domains in schizophrenia, in all phases of the disorder, as well as in subjects at risk to develop psychosis. This European Psychiatric Association guidance recommends not only the use of observer reports but also self-reports and interview-based cognitive assessment tools. The guidance also provides a systematic review of the state of the art of assessment in the first episode of psychosis patients and in individuals at risk for psychosis.
The comprehensive review of the evidence and the recommendations might contribute to advance the field, allowing a better cognitive assessment, and avoiding overlaps with other psychopathological dimensions. The dissemination of this guidance paper may promote the development of shared guidelines concerning the assessment of cognitive functions in schizophrenia, with the purpose to improve the quality of care and to obtain recovery.
The present paper compared vitamin D levels in adult patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and explored possible correlations with patients’ characteristics.
Fifty outpatients with OCD, according to DSM-5 criteria, were included and assessed with the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) and the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRDS).
All the patients except one showed lower vitamin D levels than normative values (>30 nm/L). Vitamin D values of the whole sample were negatively correlated with Y-BOCS total, compulsion subscale, and some items’ scores, specifically “interference from obsessions,” “distress associated with obsessions,” and “time spent on compulsions”. The same relationships were detected in men, while women showed negative correlations between vitamin D levels and Y-BOCS compulsion subscale and “resistance to compulsions,” “degree of control of compulsions,” “insight” item scores.
Our findings would indicate that vitamin D might be involved in the pathophysiology of OCD, and that it is possibly related to the severity of the disorder and to typical symptoms, with some sex-related peculiarities. Further studies are necessary to support or not our findings and to ascertain the effectiveness of vitamin D supplementation in patients with OCD.
Highlighting the relationship between obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) and tic disorder (TD), two highly disabling, comorbid, and difficult-to-treat conditions, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5) acknowledged a new “tic-related” specifier for OCD, ie, obsessive–compulsive tic-related disorder (OCTD). As patients with OCTD may frequently show poor treatment response, the aim of this multicenter study was to investigate rates and clinical correlates of response, remission, and treatment resistance in a large multicenter sample of OCD patients with versus without tics.
A sample of 398 patients with a DSM-5 diagnosis of OCD with and without comorbid TD was assessed from 10 different psychiatric departments across Italy. For the purpose of the study, treatment response profiles in the whole sample were analyzed comparing the rates of response, remission, and treatment-resistance as well as related clinical features. Multivariate logistic regressions were performed to identify possible factors associated with treatment response.
The remission group was associated with later ages of onset of TD and OCD. Moreover, significantly higher rates of psychiatric comorbidities, TD, and lifetime suicidal ideation and attempts emerged in the treatment-resistant group, with larger degrees of perceived worsened quality of life and family involvement.
Although remission was associated with later ages of OCD and TD onset, specific clinical factors, such as early onset and presence of psychiatric comorbidities and concomitant TD, predicted a worse treatment response with a significant impairment in quality of life for both patients and their caregivers, suggesting a worse profile of treatment response for patients with OCTD.
To provide evidence to the link between serotonin (5-HT), energy metabolism, and the human obese phenotype, the present study investigated the binding and function of the platelet 5-HT transporter (SERT), in relation to circulating insulin, leptin, and glycolipid metabolic parameters.
Seventy-four drug-free subjects were recruited on the basis of divergent body mass index (BMIs) (16.5-54.8 Kg/m2). All subjects were tested for their blood glycolipid profile together with platelet [3H]-paroxetine ([3H]-Par) binding and [3H]-5-HT reuptake measurements from April 1st to June 30th, 2019.
The [3H]-Par Bmax (fmol/mg proteins) was progressively reduced with increasing BMIs (P < .001), without changes in affinity. Moreover, Bmax was negatively correlated with BMI, waist/hip circumferences (W/HC), triglycerides (TD), glucose, insulin, and leptin, while positively with high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (P < .01). The reduction of 5-HT uptake rate (Vmax, pmol/min/109 platelets) among BMI groups was not statistically significant, but Vmax negatively correlated with leptin and uptake affinity values (P < .05). Besides, [3H]-Par affinity values positively correlated with glycemia and TD, while [3H]-5-HT reuptake affinity with glycemia only (P < .05). Finally, these correlations were specific of obese subjects, while, from multiple linear-regression analysis conducted on all subjects, insulin (P = .006) resulting negatively related to Bmax independently from BMI.
Present findings suggest the presence of a possible alteration of insulin/5-HT/leptin axis in obesity, differentially impinging the density, function, and/or affinity of the platelet SERT, as a result of complex appetite/reward-related interactions between the brain, gut, pancreatic islets, and adipose tissue. Furthermore, they support the foremost cooperation of peptides and 5-HT in maintaining energy homeostasis.
Sexual response in obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) research and practice is overlooked. According to the Dual Control Model, satisfactory sexual response is based upon a balance of sexual excitation and inhibition. The assessment of sexual response in OCD may have clinical implications, such as the integration of sex therapy in psychotherapeutic intervention. The present study was aimed at comparing sexual excitation and inhibition levels between OCD patients and matched control subjects, and investigating whether obsessive beliefs might predict sexual excitation/inhibition.
Seventy-two OCD patients (mean age ± standard deviation [SD]: 34.50 ± 10.39 years) and 72 matched control subjects (mean age ± SD: 34.25 ± 10.18) were included (62.50% men and 37.50% women in both groups). The Obsessive Compulsive Inventory-Revised (OCI-R), the Obsessive Beliefs Questionnaire-46 (OBQ-46), and the Sexual Inhibition/Sexual Excitation Scales (SIS/SES) were administered.
Patients with OCD showed significantly higher levels of sexual excitation, inhibition due to threat of performance failure, and inhibition due to threat of performance consequences than the controls. In addition, the patients with more severe symptoms showed lower excitation than those with less severe symptoms, and those with higher perfectionism had stronger inhibition due to threat of performance failure than those with lower perfectionism.
This is the first study exploring sexual response in OCD according to the Dual Control Model. Sexual response is an impaired quality of life outcome in OCD that should be assessed in routine clinical practice. These findings support the importance of addressing specific obsessive beliefs to improve sexuality in OCD patients.
While both depression and aging have been associated with oxidative stress and impaired immune response, little is known about redox patterns in elderly depressed subjects. This study investigates the relationship between redox/inflammatory patterns and depression in a sample of elderly adults.
The plasma levels of the advanced products of protein oxidation (AOPP), catalase (CAT), ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP), glutathione transferase (GST), interleukin 6 (IL-6), superoxide dismutase (SOD), total thiols (TT), and uric acid (UA) were evaluated in 30 patients with mood disorders with a current depressive episode (depressed patients, DP) as well as in 30 healthy controls (HC) aged 65 years and over. Subjects were assessed with the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D), the Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety (HAM-A), the Geriatric Depression Rating Scale (GDS), the Scale for Suicide Ideation (SSI), the Reason for Living Inventory (RFL), the Activities of Daily Living (ADL), and the Instrumental Activity of Daily Living (IADL).
DP showed higher levels than HC of AOPP and IL-6, while displaying lower levels of FRAP, TT, and CAT. In the DP group, specific correlations were found among biochemical parameters. SOD, FRAP, UA, and TT levels were also significantly related to psychometric scale scores.
Specific alterations of redox systems are detectable among elderly DP.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and tic disorder (TD) represent highly disabling, chronic and often comorbid psychiatric conditions. While recent studies showed a high risk of suicide for patients with OCD, little is known about those patients with comorbid TD (OCTD). Aim of this study was to characterize suicidal behaviors among patients with OCD and OCTD.
Three hundred and thirteen outpatients with OCD (n = 157) and OCTD (n = 156) were recruited from nine different psychiatric Italian departments and assessed using an ad-hoc developed questionnaire investigating, among other domains, suicide attempt (SA) and ideation (SI). The sample was divided into four subgroups: OCD with SA (OCD-SA), OCD without SA (OCD-noSA), OCTD with SA (OCTD-SA), and OCTD without SA (OCTD-noSA).
No differences between groups were found in terms of SI, while SA rates were significantly higher in patients with OCTD compared to patients with OCD. OCTD-SA group showed a significant male prevalence and higher unemployment rates compared to OCD-SA and OCD-noSA sample. Both OCTD-groups showed an earlier age of psychiatric comorbidity onset (other than TD) compared to the OCD-SA sample. Moreover, patients with OCTD-SA showed higher rates of other psychiatric comorbidities and positive psychiatric family history compared to the OCD-SA group and to the OCD-noSA groups. OCTD-SA and OCD-SA samples showed higher rates of antipsychotics therapies and treatment resistance compared to OCD-noSA groups.
Patients with OCTD vs with OCD showed a significantly higher rate of SA with no differences in SI. In particular, OCTD-SA group showed different unfavorable epidemiological and clinical features which need to be confirmed in future prospective studies.
The worldwide economic crisis of the last decade, and still unresolved, led to a great recession involving all major economies. Since economic factors may influence mental wellbeing, not surprisingly a rise in poor mental health was observed in different countries, while representing a great challenge to psychiatric interventions. This paper aims at reviewing the available English literature focusing on the impact of the current economic crisis on mental health, with a special focus on depression and suicide. Available studies indicate that consequences of economic crisis, such as unemployment, increased workload or work reorganization, and reduced staff and wages, may constitute important stressing factors with a negative impact on mental health. Although data are not easily comparable in different countries, depression seems to be the most common psychiatric disorders especially in middle-aged men. Even suicide rates seem to be increased in men, mainly in countries with no public welfare or poor family relationships. All these findings require a careful attention from both governments that cut resources on public health instead of investing in it, and psychiatric associations that should implement appropriate strategies to face and to manage this sort of depression epidemic driven by economic crisis. Again, as available data suggest that the impact of the crisis might have been attenuated in countries with higher spending in social protection, they clearly urge policy makers to take into account possible health externalities associated to inadequate social protection systems.
Ethnic differences may significantly influence the outcome of psychopharmacological treatment, in terms of prescription, adherence, clinical response, emergence of side effects, as well as pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. The purpose of this review was to explore the available literature in order to provide general suggestions to help clinicians in choosing the best therapeutic option for patients, taking into account ethnicity. Although findings are sometimes controversial, the overall published studies suggest that ethnicities other than Caucasians tend to show a lower response to antidepressants and a reduced compliance. Africans tend to be more prescribed with antipsychotics, probably due to cultural stereotypes, except with clozapine, probably for their chronic benign neutropenia. Asians usually require less antipsychotic dosages than Caucasians. The differential response and side effect profile of antidepressants and antipsychotics have been related to individual intrinsic factors, to genetic make-up, but also to cultural and contextual variables. Interestingly, albeit limited data suggest ethnic-related genetic heterogeneity at the level of the serotonin transporters, the cytochromes and some neuroreceptors. Taken together, no conclusive findings are available about the role and impact of ethnicity in psychopharmacology. One of the main problems is that the majority of the studies in psychopharmacology have been conducted on Caucasians, so that there is an urgent need to have data in other populations. Furthermore, in the era of precision medicine, the role of ethnicity may be also supported by genetic analysis.
The role of dopamine (DA) in romantic love is suggested by different evidence and is supported by the findings of some brain imaging studies. The DA transporter (DAT) is a key structure in regulating the concentration of the neurotransmitter in the synaptic cleft. Given the presence of DAT in blood cells, the present study aimed to explore it in resting lymphocytes of 30 healthy subjects of both sexes in the early stage of romantic love (no longer than 6 months), as compared with 30 subjects involved in a long-lasting relationship.
All subjects had no physical or psychiatric illness. The DAT was measured by means of the [3H]-WIN 35,428 binding and the [3H]-DA reuptake to resting lymphocytes membranes. Romantic love was assessed by a specific questionnaire developed by us.
The results showed that the subjects in the early phase of romantic love had a global alteration of the lymphocyte DAT involving both a decreased number of proteins (Bmax) and a reduced functionality (Vmax).
Taken together, these findings would indicate the presence of increased levels of DA in romantic love that, if paralleled by similar concentrations in the brain, would explain some peculiar features of this human feeling.
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