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Chinese university students are at high risk for depressive symptoms and the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic may have exacerbated the mental health of university students. However, existing studies on depressive symptoms in Chinese university students during the COVID-19 pandemic reported a wide range of prevalence estimates, making mental health planning for this population difficult. The objective of this study was to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of surveys that assessed the prevalence of depressive symptoms in Chinese university students amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Major Chinese (CNKI, Wanfang, VIP) and English (PubMed, Embase, PsycInfo) databases and preprint platforms were searched to identify cross-sectional studies containing data on the prevalence of depressive symptoms in Chinese university students during the pandemic. Two authors independently retrieved the literature, evaluated the eligibility of potential studies, assessed the risk of bias (RoB) of included studies, and extracted data. RoB was assessed with the Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal Checklist for Studies Reporting Prevalence Data.
In total, 1177 records were retrieved, and 84 studies involving 1 292 811 Chinese university students during the pandemic were included. None of the included studies were rated as completely low RoB. Statistically significant heterogeneity in the prevalence estimates of included studies was detected (I2 = 99.9%, p < 0.001). The pooled prevalence of depressive symptoms was 26.0% (95%CI: 23.3–28.9%), which was significantly higher in female than in male students (30.8% v. 28.6%, p < 0.001), in postgraduates than in undergraduates (29.3% v. 22.9%, p < 0.001), in students living inside than in those living outside the COVID-19 epicentre (27.5% v. 22.3%, P < 0.001), in students from universities at the epicentre than in those from universities outside the epicentre (26.2% v. 23.1%, p < 0.001), in students who had close contact with COVID-19 than in those who did not (46.0% v. 25.0%, p < 0.001), and in students who had acquaintances or relatives infected with COVID-19 (39.7% v. 24.0%, p < 0.001) than in those who did not. Five sources of heterogeneity were identified from the subgroup analysis: survey period, % of males among the survey sample, scale of depressive symptoms, cutoff score of the scale and level of RoB.
Over one-fourth of Chinese university students experienced depressive symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mental health services for this population should include periodic evaluation of depressive symptoms, expanded social support and psychiatric assessment and treatment when necessary. It is also necessary to design depression prevention programmes that target higher-risk cohorts of university students.
The relationship between the subtypes of psychotic experiences (PEs) and common mental health symptoms remains unclear. The current study aims to establish the 12-month prevalence of PEs in a representative sample of community-dwelling Chinese population in Hong Kong and explore the relationship of types of PEs and common mental health symptoms.
This is a population-based two-phase household survey of Chinese population in Hong Kong aged 16–75 (N = 5719) conducted between 2010 and 2013 and a 2-year follow-up study of PEs positive subjects (N = 152). PEs were measured with Psychosis Screening Questionnaire (PSQ) and subjects who endorsed any item on the PSQ without a clinical diagnosis of psychotic disorder were considered as PE-positive. Types of PEs were characterized using a number of PEs (single v. multiple) and latent class analysis. All PE-positive subjects were assessed with common mental health symptoms and suicidal ideations at baseline and 2-year follow-up. PE status was also assessed at 2-year follow-up.
The 12-month prevalence of PEs in Hong Kong was 2.7% with 21.1% had multiple PEs. Three latent classes of PEs were identified: hallucination, paranoia and mixed. Multiple PEs and hallucination latent class of PEs were associated with higher levels of common mental health symptoms. PE persistent rate at 2-year follow-up was 15.1%. Multiple PEs was associated with poorer mental health at 2-year follow-up.
Results highlighted the transient and heterogeneous nature of PEs, and that multiple PEs and hallucination subtype of PEs may be specific indices of poorer common mental health.
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.
Loneliness is a common, distressing feeling that results when one perceives his/her social relationships and supports as inadequate. Social connectedness refers to the relationships between the individual and his or her family, friends, community, and other supports. Neither loneliness nor social connectedness has received enough research attention, in particular with regard to older adults’ physical and mental health.
Many countries face policy challenges related to the well-being of their aging populations, and China, with the world's largest aging population, is no different. Over the past 40 years, China has experienced demographic transition toward an “aging society.” According to the National Bureau of Statistics in China (NBSC), the number of people aged 60 years and older in China has risen to 185 million, with rural areas aging more rapidly during China's demographic transition (National Bureau of Statistics of China, 2013). In 1982, the proportion of population aged 60 years and older was 7.8% in rural China and 7.1% in urban China. However, by 2011 these proportions had risen to 12.6% and 15.4%, respectively, with a national average of 13.26% (National Bureau of Statistics of China, 2013). Difference between rural and urban areas in the proportion of the population aged 65 years and older in China has shown a similar trend over time. Rapid economic reforms since the 1980s, associated with increased rural-to-urban migration, especially the outflow of rural young population, have resulted in a larger proportion of elderly adults in rural areas (Cai et al., 2012; National Bureau of Statistics of China, 2013). These same social forces have resulted in relatively fewer people available to take care of the growing population of older adults as well. The “elderly dependency ratio” (the ratio of older adults in China to those in the population of working age) has increased from 8.0% in 1982 to 12.7% in 2012 (National Bureau of Statistics of China, 2013). The economic and social impact on caregiving will be profound.
Worldwide, the number of individuals with dementia is growing in an epidemic manner, with an estimated 35.6 million people affected in 2010 (Prince et al., 2013). With the population aging in Asia, dementia care will become a major public health challenge in this region in the coming decades. Over half of the patients with dementia in the world will live in Asia by 2030. In China alone, a recent review of dementia studies showed that there were 9.2 million dementia patients in 2010 (Chan et al., 2013). These figures are staggering. In many Asian countries, dementia is regarded as a shameful illness, and the local terms for dementia are derogatory. Dementia carries a stigma that may lead to patients’ reluctance in seeking treatment and delay in diagnosis. In addition, local names for dementia frequently conjure up pictures of severe stage of dementia, and may lead to therapeutic nihilism, discouraging mental health professionals from working with elderly patients with dementia. As Asia faces the challenges of a rapidly aging population and provisions of care for growing number of dementia patients, change in local names for dementia has become an issue of attention.
Education has a profound effect on older adults’ cognitive performance. In Hong Kong, some dementia screening tasks were originally designed for developed population with, on average, higher education.
We compared the screening power of these tasks for Chinese older adults with different levels of education. Community-dwelling older adults who were healthy (N = 383) and with very mild dementia (N = 405) performed the following tasks: Mini-Mental State Examination, Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive subscales, Verbal Fluency, Abstract Thinking, and Visual/Digit Span. Logistic regression was used to examine the power of these tasks to predict Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR 0.5 vs. 0).
Logistic regression analysis showed that while the screening power of the total scores in all tasks was similar for high and low education groups, there were education biases in some items of these tasks.
The differential screening power in high and low education groups was not identical across items in some tasks. Thus, in cognitive assessments, we should exercise great caution when using these potentially biased items for older adults with limited education.
Background: This study aimed to assess if decisional capacity and the four decision-making abilities related to decisions concerning medication management were impaired among community-dwelling Chinese older persons in Hong Kong with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and mild Alzheimer's disease (AD), as compared with cognitively normal older adults.
Methods: Two hundred and ninety-one Chinese community-dwelling older adults were recruited. The four decision-making abilities and decisional capacity were assessed by using the Chinese version of the Assessment of Capacity for Everyday Decision-Making (ACED) and independent clinician ratings based on the definition in the UK Mental Capacity Act 2005, respectively.
Results: Ninety-nine participants (34%) were diagnosed with MCI and ninety-five (33%) with mild AD. Although almost all (96%) of the participants in the MCI group were found to be mentally competent to make decisions on medication management in clinician ratings, their decision-making abilities as measured by the ACED were significantly lower than those of the cognitively normal controls.
Conclusions: Results from this study suggest that abilities related to decisions on medication management are impaired before the clinical diagnosis of dementia is made. Use of specific and structured assessment of the relevant decisional abilities may enhance clinical judgment.
Background: An increasing number of studies have suggested a link between cholesterol metabolism and Alzheimer's disease (AD), which may be mediated by its effect on amyloid processing. Intracranial cholesterol is primarily eliminated into the bloodstream through conversion into 24-hydroxycholesterol by the enzyme cholesterol 24-hydroxylase (encoded by the CYP46A1 gene). CYP46A1 is an essential gene modulating cholesterol metabolism in the brain.
Method: To investigate whether polymorphisms in the CYP46A1 gene modulate the risk of AD, we studied four common polymorphisms (IVS1-192, IVS2-150, IVS3-128 and IVS4-122) in 182 Chinese AD patients and 179 age-matched healthy Chinese subjects.
Results and conclusion: We found that the IVS3-128 polymorphism was associated with the risk of AD (p < 0.05). Subjects homozygous for the C alleles were protected from AD with an adjusted odds ratio (OR) of 1.53 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.98–2.37, p = 0.047]. However, another minor allele, IVS1-192 C, was more prevalent in the AD group and was associated with an increased risk. Haplotype analysis revealed that two of the eight common haplotypes formed by the four polymorphisms were rarely found in the AD group, suggesting a protective effect of these two haplotypes (GTCA and CCTA). The results supported the involvement of the CYP46A1 gene and cholesterol metabolism in the pathogenesis of AD.
The reliability and validity of the Chinese vesion of the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory (CCMAI) were studied in 164 demented patients. The agitation pattern in Chinese elderly was also examined in this study. The CCMAI demonstrated high validity, test-retest reliability, and interrater reliability. Eighty-five precent of demented patients manifested one or more agitated behaviors at least once a week. Factor analysis yielded three subtypes of agitation: physically aggressive behaviors, physically nonaggressive behaviors, and verbally agitated behaviors. There was a linear upward trend in physical aggression as one progressed from one Global Deterioration Scale stage to the next. Community-living patients showed higher physically nonaggressive and verbally agitated behaviors, whereas institution residents exhibited a significantly higher level of physical aggression. The differences between residential and institutionalized patients need further research. Future study should focus not only on the behavioral disturbances; medical, psychological, and environmental factors should be taken into account to provide a more accurate profile.
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