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Peripheral low-grade inflammation in depression is increasingly seen as a therapeutic target. We aimed to establish the prevalence of low-grade inflammation in depression, using different C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, through a systematic literature review and meta-analysis.
We searched the PubMed database from its inception to July 2018, and selected studies that assessed depression using a validated tool/scale, and allowed the calculation of the proportion of patients with low-grade inflammation (CRP >3 mg/L) or elevated CRP (>1 mg/L).
After quality assessment, 37 studies comprising 13 541 depressed patients and 155 728 controls were included. Based on the meta-analysis of 30 studies, the prevalence of low-grade inflammation (CRP >3 mg/L) in depression was 27% (95% CI 21–34%); this prevalence was not associated with sample source (inpatient, outpatient or population-based), antidepressant treatment, participant age, BMI or ethnicity. Based on the meta-analysis of 17 studies of depression and matched healthy controls, the odds ratio for low-grade inflammation in depression was 1.46 (95% CI 1.22–1.75). The prevalence of elevated CRP (>1 mg/L) in depression was 58% (95% CI 47–69%), and the meta-analytic odds ratio for elevated CRP in depression compared with controls was 1.47 (95% CI 1.18–1.82).
About a quarter of patients with depression show evidence of low-grade inflammation, and over half of patients show mildly elevated CRP levels. There are significant differences in the prevalence of low-grade inflammation between patients and matched healthy controls. These findings suggest that inflammation could be relevant to a large number of patients with depression.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for depressed adults. CBT interventions are complex, as they include multiple content components and can be delivered in different ways. We compared the effectiveness of different types of therapy, different components and combinations of components and aspects of delivery used in CBT interventions for adult depression. We conducted a systematic review of randomised controlled trials in adults with a primary diagnosis of depression, which included a CBT intervention. Outcomes were pooled using a component-level network meta-analysis. Our primary analysis classified interventions according to the type of therapy and delivery mode. We also fitted more advanced models to examine the effectiveness of each content component or combination of components. We included 91 studies and found strong evidence that CBT interventions yielded a larger short-term decrease in depression scores compared to treatment-as-usual, with a standardised difference in mean change of −1.11 (95% credible interval −1.62 to −0.60) for face-to-face CBT, −1.06 (−2.05 to −0.08) for hybrid CBT, and −0.59 (−1.20 to 0.02) for multimedia CBT, whereas wait list control showed a detrimental effect of 0.72 (0.09 to 1.35). We found no evidence of specific effects of any content components or combinations of components. Technology is increasingly used in the context of CBT interventions for depression. Multimedia and hybrid CBT might be as effective as face-to-face CBT, although results need to be interpreted cautiously. The effectiveness of specific combinations of content components and delivery formats remain unclear. Wait list controls should be avoided if possible.
Two longitudinal studies have shown that depressive symptoms in women with eating disorders might improve in the antenatal and early postnatal periods. No study has followed up women beyond 8 months postnatal.
To investigate long-term trajectories of depressive symptoms in mothers with lifetime self-reported eating disorders.
Using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children and multilevel growth curves we modelled trajectories of depressive symptoms from the 18th week of pregnancy to 18 years postnatal in women with lifetime self-reported anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or both anorexia and bulimia nervosa. As sensitivity analyses we also investigated these trajectories using quintiles of a continuous measure of body image in pregnancy.
Of the 9276 women in our main sample, 126 (1.4%) reported a lifetime diagnosis of anorexia nervosa, 153 (1.6%) of bulimia nervosa and 60 (0.6%) of both anorexia and bulimia nervosa. Women with lifetime eating disorders had greater depressive symptoms scores than women with no eating disorders, before and after adjustment for confounders (anorexia nervosa: 2.10, 95% CI 1.36–2.83; bulimia nervosa: 2.28, 95% CI: 1.61–2.94, both anorexia and bulimia nervosa: 2.86, 95% CI 1.81–3.90). We also observed a dose–response association between greater body image and eating concerns in pregnancy and more severe trajectories of depressive symptoms, even after adjusting for lifetime eating disorders which also remained independently associated with greater depressive symptoms.
Women with eating disorders experience persistently greater depressive symptoms across the life-course. More training for practitioners and midwives on how to recognise eating disorders in pregnancy could help to identify depressive symptoms and reduce the long-term burden of disease resulting from this comorbidity.
Prenatal infections have been proposed as a putative risk factor for a number of psychiatric outcomes across a continuum of severity. Evidence on eating disorders is scarce. We investigated whether exposure to prenatal maternal infections is associated with an increased risk of disordered eating and weight and shape concerns in adolescence in a large UK birth cohort.
We used data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. The primary exposure was maternal experience of infections at any time in pregnancy. Study outcomes were presence of any, monthly or weekly disordered eating at 14 and 16 years of age, and weight and shape concerns at 14 years. We defined the causal effect of the exposure on these outcomes using a counterfactual framework adjusting our analyses for a number of hypothesised confounders, and imputing missing confounder data using multiple imputation.
In total, 4884 children had complete exposure and outcome data at age 14 years, and 4124 at 16 years. Exposed children had a greater risk of reporting weekly disordered eating at both age 14 [risk difference (RD) 0.9%, 95% confidence interval (CI) −0.01 to 1.9, p = 0.08] and 16 (RD 2.3%, 95% CI 0.6–3.9, p < 0.01), though evidence of an association was weak at age 14 years. Exposed children also had greater weight and shape concerns at age 14 years (mean difference 0.15, 95% CI 0.05–0.26, p < 0.01).
Exposure to prenatal maternal infection is associated with greater risk of disordered eating in adolescence. This association could be explained by in utero processes leading to impaired neurodevelopment or altered immunological profiles. Residual confounding cannot be excluded.
Recent studies suggest psychotic and eating disorders can be comorbid and could have shared genetic liability. However, this comorbidity has been overlooked in the epidemiological literature.
To test whether polygenic risk scores (PRS) for schizophrenia are associated with disordered eating behaviours and body mass index (BMI) in the general population.
Using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children and random-effects logistic and linear regression models, we investigated the association between PRS for schizophrenia and self-reported disordered eating behaviours (binge eating, purging, fasting and excessive exercise) and BMI at 14, 16 and 18 years.
Of the 6920 children with available genetic data, 4473 (64.6%) and 5069 (73.3%) had at least one disordered eating and one BMI outcome measurement, respectively. An s.d. increase in PRS was associated with greater odds of having binge eating behaviours (odds ratio, 1.36; 95% CI 1.16–1.60) and lower BMI (coefficient, −0.03; 95% CI, −0.06 to −0.01).
Our findings suggest the presence of shared genetic risk between schizophrenia and binge eating behaviours. Intermediate phenotypes such as impaired social cognition and irritability, previously shown to be positively correlated in this sample with schizophrenia PRS, could represent risk factors for both phenotypes. Shared genetic liability between binge eating and schizophrenia could also explain higher rates of metabolic syndrome in individuals with schizophrenia, as binge eating could be a mediator of this association in drug-naïve individuals. The finding of an association between greater PRS and lower BMI, although consistent with existing epidemiological and genetic literature, requires further investigation.
We assessed whether the risk of various psychotic disorders and non-psychotic bipolar disorder (including mania) varied by migrant status, a region of origin, or age-at-migration, hypothesizing that risk would only be elevated for psychotic disorders.
We established a prospective cohort of 1 796 257 Swedish residents born between 1982 and 1996, followed from their 15th birthday, or immigration to Sweden after age 15, until diagnosis, emigration, death, or end of 2011. Cox proportional hazards models were used to model hazard ratios by migration-related factors, adjusted for covariates.
All psychotic disorders were elevated among migrants and their children compared with Swedish-born individuals, including schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR]migrants: 2.20, 95% CI 1.96–2.47; aHRchildren : 2.00, 95% CI 1.79–2.25), affective psychotic disorders (aHRmigrant1.42, 95% CI 1.25–1.63; aHRchildren: 1.22 95% CI 1.07–1.40), and other non-affective psychotic disorders (aHRmigrant: 1.97, 95% CI 1.81–2.14; aHRchildren: 1.68, 95% CI 1.54–1.83). For all psychotic disorders, risks were generally highest in migrants from Africa (i.e. aHRschizophrenia: 5.24, 95% CI 4.26–6.45) and elevated at most ages-of-migration. By contrast, risk of non-psychotic bipolar disorders was lower for migrants (aHR: 0.58, 95% CI 0.52–0.64) overall, and across all ages-of-migration except infancy (aHR: 1.20; 95% CI 1.01–1.42), while risk for their children was similar to the Swedish-born population (aHR: 1.00, 95% CI 0.93–1.08).
Increased risk of psychiatric disorders associated with migration and minority status may be specific to psychotic disorders, with exact risk dependent on the region of origin.
Depressive symptoms and inflammation are risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality. We investigated the combined association of these factors with the prediction of CVD and all-cause mortality in a representative cohort of older men and women.
We measured C-reactive protein (CRP) and depressive symptoms in 5328 men and women aged 52–89 years in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Depressive symptoms were measured using the eight-item Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale. CRP was analysed from peripheral blood. Mortality was ascertained from national registers and associations with depressive symptoms and inflammation were estimated using Cox proportional hazard models.
We identified 112 CVD related deaths out of 420 all-cause deaths in men and 109 CVD related deaths out of 334 all-cause deaths in women over a mean follow-up of 7.7 years. Men with both depressive symptoms and high CRP (3–20 mg/L) had an increased risk of CVD mortality (hazard ratio; 95% confidence interval: 3.89; 2.04–7.44) and all-cause mortality (2.40; 1.65–3.48) after adjusting for age, socioeconomic variables and health behaviours. This considerably exceeds the risks associated with high CRP alone (CVD 2.43; 1.59–3.71, all-cause 1.49; 1.20–1.84). There was no significant increase in mortality risk associated with depressive symptoms alone in men. In women, neither depressive symptoms or inflammation alone or the combination of both significantly predicted CVD or all-cause mortality.
The combination of depressive symptoms and increased inflammation confers a considerable increase in CVD mortality risk for men. These effects appear to be independent, suggesting an additive role.
Epidemiology is the study of factors affecting the health and illness of populations, of how often diseases occur in different groups of people and why. The uses of epidemiology (Morris, 1957) are therefore quite varied. They range from studies about what might cause a disease to a purely descriptive account of how many people have or develop a condition. From the perspective of primary care, both these aspects could be important. Primary care, at least as provided in countries such as the UK, where almost everyone is registered with a general practitioner (GP), is population-based medicine. Primary care physicians often provide advice about prevention as well as treating people with existing conditions. They are also faced with the whole range of morbidity, and so data from household samples are often of value in helping to understand the population served by primary care. The gradations between normality and abnormality or between health and disease are as obvious to the primary care physician as to the epidemiologist. In this chapter, we restrict our discussion to descriptive aspects of epidemiology and their relevance to mental health in primary care.
‘Mental illness’ and ‘psychiatric disorder’ are terms that refer collectively to all of the diagnosable mental disorders (see Chapter 7 for further discussion). ‘Mental disorders’ are characterised by abnormalities in cognition, emotion or mood or by behavioural impairment in social interactions. A substantial range of conditions is therefore covered by this term, reflected in Chapter 5 of ICD–10 (World Health Organization, 1992). The commonest psychiatric disorders are depression and anxiety and, as a result, much of the research in primary care has focused on them. However, it is important to remember that other conditions, such as schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder and dementia, also present to primary care physicians and require treatment in primary care. The preoccupation with depression and anxiety reflects the fact that most people with those conditions are treated within primary care, whereas secondary care, at least in the UK, tends to take the lead for psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia and for dementia.
In describing the epidemiology of mental illness in primary care, we have to consider the different organisational and reimbursement arrangements that occur around the world (see Chapter 1).
Anxiety disorders are prevalent yet under-recognized in late life. We examined the prevalence of anxiety disorders in a representative sample of community dwelling older adults in Hong Kong.
Data on 1,158 non-demented respondents aged 60–75 years were extracted from the Hong Kong Mental Morbidity survey (HKMMS). Anxiety was assessed with the revised Clinical Interview Schedule (CIS-R).
One hundred and thirty-seven respondents (11.9%, 95% CI = 10–13.7%) had common mental disorders with a CIS-R score of 12 or above. 8% (95% CI = 6.5–9.6%) had anxiety, 2.2% (95% CI = 1.3–3%) had an anxiety disorder comorbid with depressive disorder, and 1.7% (95% CI = 1–2.5%) had depression. Anxious individuals were more likely to be females (χ2 = 25.3, p < 0.001), had higher chronic physical burden (t = −9.3, p < 0.001), lower SF-12 physical functioning score (t = 9.2, p < 0.001), and poorer delayed recall (t = 2.3, p = 0.022). The risk of anxiety was higher for females (OR 2.8, 95% C.I. 1.7–4.6, p < 0.001) and those with physical illnesses (OR 1.4, 95% C.I. 1.3–1.6, p < 0.001). The risk of anxiety disorders increased in those with disorders of cardiovascular (OR 1.9, 95% C.I. 1.2–2.9, p = 0.003), musculoskeletal (OR 2.0, 95% C.I. 1.5–2.7, p < 0.001), and genitourinary system (OR 2.0, 95% C.I. 1.3–3.2, p = 0.002).
The prevalence of anxiety disorders in Hong Kong older population was 8%. Female gender and those with poor physical health were at a greater risk of developing anxiety disorders. Our findings also suggested potential risk for early sign of memory impairment in cognitively healthy individuals with anxiety disorders.
Background: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) aims to teach people skills to help them self-manage their depression. Trial evidence shows that CBT is an effective treatment for depression and individuals may experience benefits long-term. However, there is little research about individuals’ continued use of CBT skills once treatment has finished. Aims: To explore whether individuals who had attended at least 12 sessions of CBT continued to use and value the CBT skills they had learnt during therapy. Method: Semi-structured interviews were held with participants from the CoBalT trial who had received CBT, approximately 4 years earlier. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed thematically. Results: 20 participants were interviewed. Analysis of the interviews suggested that individuals who viewed CBT as a learning process, at the time of treatment, recalled and used specific skills to manage their depression once treatment had finished. In contrast, individuals who viewed CBT only as an opportunity to talk about their problems did not appear to utilize any of the CBT skills they had been taught and reported struggling to manage their depression once treatment had ended. Conclusions: Our findings suggest individuals may value and use CBT skills if they engage with CBT as a learning opportunity at the time of treatment. Our findings underline the importance of the educational model in CBT and the need to emphasize this to individuals receiving treatment.
Background: Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) for patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD) aims to reframe underlying conditional beliefs that are thought to maintain depression. Aim: To systematically explore conditional beliefs expressed by primary-care based patients with TRD, defined as non-response to at least 6 weeks of antidepressants. Method: Conditional beliefs (stated in an “If. . .then. . .” format) were extracted from a random sample of 50 sets of therapist notes from the CoBalT trial, a large randomized controlled trial of CBT for TRD in primary care. The beliefs were separated into their two constituent parts; the demands (Ifs) and consequences (thens). An approach based on framework analysis provided a systematic way of organizing the data, and identifying key themes. Results: Four main themes emerged from the demand part of the conditional beliefs (Ifs): 1. High standards; 2. Putting others first/needing approval; 3. Coping; and 4. Hiding “true” self. Three main themes emerged from the consequence part of the conditional beliefs (thens): 1. Defectiveness; 2. Responses of others; 3. Control of emotions. Conclusions: Identifying common themes in the conditional beliefs of patients with TRD adds to our clinical understanding of this client group, providing useful information to facilitate the complex process of collaborative case conceptualization and working with conditional beliefs within CBT interventions.
Pathways from early-life conduct problems to young adult depression remain poorly understood.
To test developmental pathways from early-life conduct problems to depression at age 18.
Data (n = 3542) came from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Previously derived conduct problem trajectories (ages 4–13 years) were used to examine associations with depression from ages 10 to 18 years, and the role of early childhood factors as potential confounders.
Over 43% of young adults with depression in the ALSPAC cohort had a history of child or adolescent conduct problems, yielding a population attributable fraction of 0.15 (95% CI 0.08–0.22). The association between conduct problems and depression at age 18 was considerable even after adjusting for prior depression (odds ratio 1.55, 95% CI 1.24–1.94). Early-onset persistent conduct problems carried the highest risk for later depression. Irritability characterised depression for those with a history of conduct problems.
Early-life conduct problems are robustly associated with later depressive disorder and may be useful targets for early intervention.
It has been argued that the routine use of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) should be encouraged in order to improve the quality of services and even to determine payment. Clinician-rated outcome measures (CROMs), patient-reported experience measures (PREMs) and process measures also should be considered in evaluating healthcare quality. We discuss difficulties that the routine use of outcome measures might pose for psychiatric services. When outcome and experience measures are used to evaluate services they are difficult to interpret because of differences in case mix and regression to the mean. We conclude that PROMs and CROMs could be useful for monitoring the progress of individuals and that clinical audit still has an important role to play in improving the quality of services.
Understand the difference between process measurement and outcome measurement.
Understand the limitation of using outcome measures to assess and promote quality of services.
Understand the difficulties in assessing the psychometric properties and validity of outcome measures.
Some studies have found an association between elevated cortisol and
subsequent depression, but findings are inconsistent. The cortisol
awakening response may be a more stable measure of
hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal function and potentially of stress
To investigate whether salivary cortisol, particularly the cortisol
awakening response, is associated with subsequent depression in a large
Young people (aged 15 years, n = 841) from the Avon
Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) collected salivary
cortisol at four time points for 3 school days. Logistic regression was
used to calculate odds ratios for developing depression meeting ICD-10
criteria at 18 years.
We found no evidence for an association between salivary cortisol and
subsequent depression. Odds ratios for the cortisol awakening response
were 1.24 per standard deviation (95% CI 0.93–1.66, P =
0.14) before and 1.12 (95% CI 0.73–1.72, P = 0.61) after
adjustment for confounding factors. There was no evidence that the other
cortisol measures, including cortisol at each time point, diurnal drop
and area under the curve, were associated with subsequent depression.
Our findings do not support the hypothesis that elevated salivary
cortisol increases the short-term risk of subsequent depressive illness.
The results suggest that if an association does exist, it is small and
unlikely to be of clinical significance.
Depression is expensive to treat, but providing ineffective treatment is more expensive. Such is the case for many patients who do not respond to antidepressant medication.
To assess the cost-effectiveness of cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) plus usual care for primary care patients with treatment-resistant depression compared with usual care alone.
Economic evaluation at 12 months alongside a randomised controlled trial. Cost-effectiveness assessed using a cost-consequences framework comparing cost to the health and social care provider, patients and society, with a range of outcomes. Cost-utility analysis comparing health and social care costs with quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs).
The mean cost of CBT per participant was £910. The difference in QALY gain between the groups was 0.057, equivalent to 21 days a year of good health. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was £14 911 (representing a 74% probability of the intervention being cost-effective at the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence threshold of £20 000 per QALY). Loss of earnings and productivity costs were substantial but there was no evidence of a difference between intervention and control groups.
The addition of CBT to usual care is cost-effective in patients who have not responded to antidepressants. Primary care physicians should therefore be encouraged to refer such individuals for CBT.
We investigated the effects of emotion perception training on depressive symptoms and mood in young adults reporting high levels of depressive symptoms (trial registration: ISRCTN02532638). Participants were randomised to an intervention procedure designed to increase the perception of happiness over sadness in ambiguous facial expressions or a control procedure, and completed self-report measures of depressive symptoms and mood. Those in the intervention condition had lower depressive symptoms and negative mood at 2-week follow-up, but there was no statistical evidence for a difference. There was some evidence for increased positive mood. Modification of emotional perception may lead to an increase in positive affect.
We agree that conceptualisation is key in understanding the brain basis of emotion. We argue that by conflating facial emotion recognition with subjective emotion experience, Lindquist et al. understate the importance of biological predisposition in emotion. We use examples from the anxiety disorders to illustrate the distinction between these two phenomena, emphasising the importance of both emotional hardware and contextual learning.
Antidepressant prescribing is widespread. Nonetheless, response to antidepressants is variable. If it was possible to predict response to medication and thus tailor treatment accordingly, this would not only improve patient outcomes but may also have economic benefits.
To test the hypothesis that individuals with more severe depression would benefit more from noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (NARIs) than selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) compared with individuals with less severe depression.
Individuals recruited from UK primary care who met ICD-10 criteria for a depressive episode and scored 15 or more on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) were randomised to either an SSRI (citalopram 20mg daily) or a NARI (reboxetine 4mg twice daily). Randomisation was by means of a remote automated telephone system. The main outcome was depressive symptoms measured by the BDI total score 6 weeks after randomisation. (Trial registration: ISRCTN31345163.)
In total, 601 participants were randomised (citalopram: n = 298, reboxetine: n = 303). Ninety-one per cent were followed up at 6 weeks (citalopram: n = 274, reboxetine: n = 272). There was little evidence to support an interaction between treatment and severity of depression (interaction term: 0.02, 95% CI −0.59 to 0.62, P = 0.96). Adjustment for potential confounders (age, gender, employment status, history of depression, number of life events and social support) did not affect the findings (interaction term: 0.06, 95% CI −0.54 to 0.66, P = 0.85).
Treatment with NARIs does not confer any advantage over SSRI treatment for outcome in those with more severe depressive illness presenting in primary care.
A putative interaction between cannabis and variation at rs4680 within the catechol-methyl-transferase (COMT) gene on psychosis has been reported, but not adequately replicated.
To examine whether the relative risk of developing psychosis following use of cannabis is dependent upon variation within COMT.
A longitudinal study of 2630 individuals from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) birth cohort who completed questionnaire-based assessments for cannabis use at age 14 and incident psychotic experiences at age 16. Six SNPs within COMT were genotyped.
There was no evidence of an interaction under multiplicative models between cannabis use and COMT on the risk of developing psychotic experiences in our primary analyses. In sensitivity analyses we observed highly variable evidence of interaction, whereby psychotomimetic effects of cannabis were greater in methionine homozygotes under some scenarios, but in valine homozygotes under others.
Cannabis increases risk of psychosis irrespective of underlying COMT genotypes. These findings argue against the widely held belief that the relative risk of developing psychosis following use of cannabis is dependent upon variation within COMT. The public health message about the potential increase in risk of psychotic disorders following cannabis use should not be tempered by reports that this harm is subgroup specific in the absence of robust evidence of replication.