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Poor decision-making is a prominent feature of Bipolar Disorder (BD) suggesting that patients may be impaired in affective aspects of complex problem solving. We examined the neural correlates of emotional learning (EL) in remitted BD patients and healthy controls (HC).
Subjects comprised three groups: (a) 11 remitted BD patients with EL (b) 11 remitted BD patients who failed to show EL and, (c) 11 HC with EL. All groups were demographically matched. Patients were also matched on clinical variables. Participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while performing the Iowa Gambling Task. In the active condition participants relied upon EL to weigh up short-term rewards against long-term losses, in order to achieve an optimal gambling strategy. The control condition was identical to the gambling condition except for the reward/loss component. Behavioural and neural responses associated with the overall task performance were assessed.
Regardless of their performance in EL, BD patients, compared to HC, showed increased task-related activation in the insula and ventral anterior cingulate gyrus. BD patients with EL showed increased activation in left frontopolar and ventrolateral prefrontal cortices while reduced activation was noted in the same regions in BD patients who failed to show EL.
BD patients showed evidence of increased limbic activation associated with affective decision-making. Their ability to attain emotional learning was associated with increased recruitment of frontopolar and ventral prefrontal cortex regions. This finding may reflect a successful compensatory response to limbic overactivation during affective decision-making.
Certain studies on measures related to central neurotransmitter activity have demonstrated that in delusional (psychotic) depression there is a dopaminergic dysregulation which distinguishes it from non-psychotic depression. A neuroendocrinologic method to check the degree of DA receptor responsivity is by measuring the prolactin responses to acute intramuscular administration of haloperidol. We studied this possibility by applying the haloperidol test in seven delusional and ten non-delusional depressed patients. All patients met DSM-IV criteria for a major depressive episode, single or recurrent, with or without psychotic features. After a three-week washout period, 5 mg of haloperidol were injected i.m. and blood samples were taken at 0, 30, 60, 90 and 120 minutes. In both trials, significant time effects were observed (elevated prolactin levels, F = 11.36, P = 0.000). However, the prolactin responses to haloperidol did not differ significantly between the two patient groups (F = 0.12, P = 0.97). These data do not show a difference in D2 receptor responsivity, at least at the hypothalamus-pituitary level, between psychotic and non-psychotic depression.
A case in which a 26 year old patient with undifferentiated schizophrenia, showing abnormal oral, lingual and jaw movements suggestive of tardive dyskinesia during a dose reduction of risperidone, is presented. A second case, relating to a 39 year old married woman diagnosed as having a DSM-IV schizophreniform disorder is also presented. These two cases are discussed in relation to the existing literature.
The functional Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT Val 108/158 Met) polymorphism has been shown to have an impact on tasks of executive function, memory and attention and recently, tasks with an affective component. As estrogen may downregulate COMT, we were interested in the effect of gender, COMT genotype and the interaction between these factors on brain activations during an affective processing task. We used functional MRI to record brain activations from 74 healthy subjects who engaged in a facial affect recognition task; subjects viewed and identified fearful faces compared to neutral faces. We found a significant effect of gender on brain activations in the left amygdala and right superior temporal gyrus, where females demonstrated increased activations over males. Within these regions, female val/val carriers showed greater activity compared to met/met carriers, while male participants with a met/met allele showed greater deactivations compared to val/val carriers. There was no main effect of the COMT polymorphism, gender or genotype by gender interaction on task performance. We propose that the observed effects of gender and COMT allele on brain activations arise from differences in dopamine levels in these groups and that the gender differences and gender genotype interaction may be due to the downregulation of COMT by estrogen.
We report the case of a patient with a history of zolpidem dependence. The patient, after a stressful life event, started using zolpidem. She rapidly developed tolerance and dependence, taking 50-100 mg, and sometimes up to 300 mg, of zolpidem daily. Also, our patient suffered episodes of altered consciousness, accompanied by visual hallucinations.
Public mental health incorporates a number of strategies from mental well-being promotion to primary prevention and other forms of prevention. There is considerable evidence in the literature to suggest that early interventions and public education can work well for reducing psychiatric morbidity and resulting burden of disease. Educational strategies need to focus on individual, societal and environmental aspects. Targeted interventions at individuals will also need to focus on the whole population. A nested approach with the individual at the heart of it surrounded by family surrounded by society at large is the most suitable way to approach this. This Guidance should be read along with the European Psychiatric Association (EPA) Guidance on Prevention. Those at risk of developing psychiatric disorders also require adequate interventions as well as those who may have already developed illness. However, on the model of triage, mental health and well-being promotion need to be prioritized to ensure that, with the limited resources available, these activities do not get forgotten. One possibility is to have separate programmes for addressing concerns of a particular population group, another that is relevant for the broader general population. Mental health promotion as a concept is important and this will allow prevention of some psychiatric disorders and, by improving coping strategies, is likely to reduce the burden and stress induced by mental illness.
Adolescence is a critical time point in the lifecourse. LifeLab is an educational intervention engaging adolescents in understanding Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) concepts and the impact of the early life environment on future health, benefitting both their long-term health and that of the next generation. We aimed to assess whether engaging adolescents with DOHaD concepts improves scientific literacy and whether engagement alone improves health behaviours.
Six schools were randomized, three to intervention and three to control. Outcome measures were changed in knowledge, and intended and actual behaviour in relation to diet and lifestyle. A total of 333 students completed baseline and follow-up questionnaires. At 12 months, intervention students showed greater understanding of DOHaD concepts. No sustained changes in behaviours were identified.
Adolescents’ engagement with DOHaD concepts can be improved and maintained over 12 months. Such engagement does not itself translate into behaviour change. The intervention has consequently been revised to include additional components beyond engagement alone.
Background:ATP8A2 mutations have only recently been associated with human disease. We present the clinical features from the largest cohort of patients with this disorder reported to date. Methods: An observational study of 9 unreported and 2 previously reported patients with biallelic ATP8A2 mutations was carried out at multiple centres. Results: The mean age of the cohort was 9.4 years old (range: 2.5-28 yrs). All patients demonstrated developmental delay, severe hypotonia and movement disorders: chorea/choreoathetosis (100%), dystonia (27%) or facial dyskinesia (18%). Hypotonia was apparent at birth (70%) or before 6 months old (100%). Optic atrophy was observed in 75% of patients who had a funduscopic examination. MRI of the brain was normal for most patients with a small proportion showing mild cortical atrophy (30%), delayed myelination (20%) and/or hypoplastic optic nerves (20%). Epilepsy was seen in two older patients. Conclusions:ATP8A2 gene mutations have emerged as a cause of a novel phenotype characterized by developmental delay, severe hypotonia and hyperkinetic movement disorders. Optic atrophy is common and may only become apparent in the first few years of life, necessitating repeat ophthalmologic evaluation. Early recognition of the cardinal features of this condition will facilitate diagnosis of this disorder.
Human rhinoviruses (HRVs) are widespread respiratory pathogens and a major cause of acute respiratory tract infections. The aim of this study was to investigate the molecular epidemiology of rhinovirus infections in children in Cyprus over three consecutive winter seasons. From a total of 116 rhinovirus-positive samples, 68 were sequenced in the 5’-UTR and VP4/VP2 regions. Thirty-six (52·9%) samples were identified as HRV-A and 27 (39·7%) as HRV-C, with only five (7·4%) samples belonging to the HRV-B species. Of these, a total of 46 different genotypes were identified. In the VP2/VP4 phylogenetic tree all strains clustered in three different well-defined clades, whereas the 5’-UTR tree exhibited clades with a mixed clustering of HRV-A and HRV-C strains reflecting the evolutionary history of recombination between HRV-A and HRV-C that has been observed previously. In summary, a high intra- and inter-season diversity of HRV types was observed. Despite its geographical isolation the frequency of HRV species in Cyprus is comparable to that reported in other regions of the world supporting the concept of an unrestricted global circulation. This study assesses, for the first time, the epidemiology of rhinovirus infections in Cypriot children and will be helpful to clinicians and researchers interested in the treatment and control of viral respiratory tract infections.
We describe preliminary measurements of the pairwise velocity dispersion (PVD) of galaxies in the Galaxy and Mass Assembly (GAMA) survey as a function of projected separation and galaxy luminosity. Due to the faint magnitude limit (r < 19.8) and highly-complete spectroscopic sampling of the GAMA survey, we are able to measure the PVD to smaller scales and for lower-luminosity galaxies than previous SDSS-based work. We see no strong scale-dependence at most luminosities in the quasi-linear regime. We observe an apparent drop in PVD towards very small scales (below ≈ 0.1h−1 Mpc), but this could in part be due to a restriction of the streaming model employed. At intermediate scales, the PVD is highest (~ 500 km/s) at intermediate luminosities, dropping at both fainter and brighter luminosities.
This study reports the epidemiology of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in hospitalized children in Cyprus over three successive seasons (2010–2013) and the association between prevalent genotypes and disease severity. RSV infections had a circulation pattern from December to March. Most RSV-positive children (83%) were aged <2 years. Genotyping of RSV isolates showed that during the first winter season of the study (2010–2011), the only RSV genotype circulating was GA2 (RSV-A), followed by genotype BA (RSV-B) in the next winter season with only few sporadic cases of GA2. During the last winter season of the study (2012–2013) the newly emerged RSV genotype ON1 (RSV-A) was virtually the only circulating genotype. Children infected with genotype ON1 suffered a significantly milder illness compared to infections with genotypes GA2 and BA with a higher percentage of BA-infected children requiring oxygen. Our findings are in contrast to the majority of published reports that suggest RSV-A causes more severe illness than RSV-B. Therefore, further investigation of the association between RSV genotypes and disease severity is required, as it might affect treatment strategies in the future.
The aim of this study was to investigate the epidemiology of influenza A virus infection in Cyprus from the 2009 pandemic until 2013. Pandemic influenza A(H1N1)2009 virus infections outnumbered infections with other respiratory viruses until the end of 2009. The pandemic virus was also the prevalent influenza strain during influenza season 2010–2011; however, it was completely replaced by H3N2 subtype in the next season. During the most recent influenza season, 2012–2013, the pandemic strain was once again the only influenza A virus circulating in Cyprus. Full-length neuraminidase gene sequencing revealed mutations that had previously been identified as permissive. No significant difference in the expression of the IFN-inducible genes OAS and IFIT1 were observed. The phylogenetic analysis of the neuraminidase gene sequences revealed a picture of continuous importation of influenza strains in the island of Cyprus with local circulation playing only a minor role in determining the prevalent strain of the next influenza season.
Abnormalities in incentive decision making, typically assessed using the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), have been reported in both schizophrenia (SZ) and bipolar disorder (BD). We applied the Expectancy–Valence (E–V) model to determine whether motivational, cognitive and response selection component processes of IGT performance are differentially affected in SZ and BD.
Performance on the IGT was assessed in 280 individuals comprising 70 remitted patients with SZ, 70 remitted patients with BD and 140 age-, sex- and IQ-matched healthy individuals. Based on the E–V model, we extracted three parameters, ‘attention to gains or loses’, ‘expectancy learning’ and ‘response consistency’, that respectively reflect motivational, cognitive and response selection influences on IGT performance.
Both patient groups underperformed in the IGT compared to healthy individuals. However, the source of these deficits was diagnosis specific. Associative learning underlying the representation of expectancies was disrupted in SZ whereas BD was associated with increased incentive salience of gains. These findings were not attributable to non-specific effects of sex, IQ, psychopathology or medication.
Our results point to dissociable processes underlying abnormal incentive decision making in BD and SZ that could potentially be mapped to different neural circuits.