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This study obtained calendar dates by radiocarbon accelerator mass spectrometry (14C AMS) dating sequential tree-rings of wooden support posts from the buried remains of traditional Kitkahahki Pawnee earthlodges preserved at an archaeological site on the Central Great Plains, USA. The tree-ring segments from the site were dendrochronologically analyzed prior to this study, but the cross-matched site chronology could not be definitively cross-dated and was thus “floating” in time. Our study represents the first floating tree-ring chronology from the Great Plains to be anchored in time by means of independent radiocarbon analysis. Three specimens were analyzed and dated to 1724–1774 CE (82.0% probability), 1774–1794 CE (95.4% probability), and 1800–1820 CE (95.4% probability). These dates correspond to the hypothetical timing of Kitkahahki ethnogensis, the main phase of village growth in the area, and a later reoccupation during a turbulent period in regional history. The results of this study conform to a scenario in which chaotic social conditions correspond to an increase in residential mobility between the core of Pawnee territory and a southern frontier in the Republican River valley.
The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) and the Generalised Anxiety Disorder Assessment (GAD-7) are widely used in the evaluation of interventions for depression and anxiety. The smallest reduction in depressive symptoms that matter to patients is known as the Minimum Clinically Important Difference (MCID). Little empirical study of the MCID for these scales exists.
A prospective cohort of 400 patients in UK primary care were interviewed on four occasions, 2 weeks apart. At each time point, participants completed all three questionnaires and a ‘global rating of change’ scale (GRS). MCID estimation relied on estimated changes in symptoms according to reported improvement on the GRS scale, stratified by baseline severity on the Clinical Interview Schedule (CIS-R).
For moderate baseline severity, those who reported improvement on the GRS had a reduction of 21% (95% confidence interval (CI) −26.7 to −14.9) on the PHQ-9; 23% (95% CI −27.8 to −18.0) on the BDI-II and 26.8% (95% CI −33.5 to −20.1) on the GAD-7. The corresponding threshold scores below which participants were more likely to report improvement were −1.7, −3.5 and −1.5 points on the PHQ-9, BDI-II and GAD-7, respectively. Patients with milder symptoms require much larger reductions as percentage of their baseline to endorse improvement.
An MCID representing 20% reduction of scores in these scales, is a useful guide for patients with moderately severe symptoms. If treatment had the same effect on patients irrespective of baseline severity, those with low symptoms are unlikely to notice a benefit.
This is the first report on the association between trauma exposure and depression from the Advancing Understanding of RecOvery afteR traumA(AURORA) multisite longitudinal study of adverse post-traumatic neuropsychiatric sequelae (APNS) among participants seeking emergency department (ED) treatment in the aftermath of a traumatic life experience.
We focus on participants presenting at EDs after a motor vehicle collision (MVC), which characterizes most AURORA participants, and examine associations of participant socio-demographics and MVC characteristics with 8-week depression as mediated through peritraumatic symptoms and 2-week depression.
Eight-week depression prevalence was relatively high (27.8%) and associated with several MVC characteristics (being passenger v. driver; injuries to other people). Peritraumatic distress was associated with 2-week but not 8-week depression. Most of these associations held when controlling for peritraumatic symptoms and, to a lesser degree, depressive symptoms at 2-weeks post-trauma.
These observations, coupled with substantial variation in the relative strength of the mediating pathways across predictors, raises the possibility of diverse and potentially complex underlying biological and psychological processes that remain to be elucidated in more in-depth analyses of the rich and evolving AURORA database to find new targets for intervention and new tools for risk-based stratification following trauma exposure.
Depression is characterised by negative views of the self. Antidepressant treatment may remediate negative self-schema through increasing processing of positive information about the self. Changes in affective processing during social interactions may increase expression of prosocial behaviours, improving interpersonal communications.
To examine whether acute administration of citalopram is associated with an increase in positive affective learning biases about the self and prosocial behaviour.
Healthy volunteers (n = 41) were randomised to either an acute 20 mg dose of citalopram or matched placebo in a between-subjects double-blind design. Participants completed computer-based cognitive tasks designed to measure referential affective processing, social cognition and expression of prosocial behaviours.
Participants administered citalopram made more cooperative choices than those administered placebo in a prisoner's dilemma task (β = 20%, 95% CI: 2%, 37%). Exploratory analyses indicated that participants administered citalopram showed a positive bias when learning social evaluations about a friend (β = 4.06, 95% CI: 0.88, 7.24), but not about the self or a stranger. Similarly, exploratory analyses found evidence of increased recall of positive words and reduced recall of negative words about others (β = 2.41, 95% CI: 0.89, 3.93), but not the self, in the citalopram group.
Participants administered citalopram showed greater prosocial behaviours, increased positive recall and increased positive learning of social evaluations towards others. The increase in positive affective bias and prosocial behaviours towards others may, at least partially, be a mechanism of antidepressant effect. However, we found no evidence that citalopram influenced self-referential processing.
Smoking rates in people with depression and anxiety are twice as high as in the general population, even though people with depression and anxiety are motivated to stop smoking. Most healthcare professionals are aware that stopping smoking is one of the greatest changes that people can make to improve their health. However, smoking cessation can be a difficult topic to raise. Evidence suggests that smoking may cause some mental health problems, and that the tobacco withdrawal cycle partly contributes to worse mental health. By stopping smoking, a person's mental health may improve, and the size of this improvement might be equal to taking antidepressants. In this article we outline ways in which healthcare professionals can compassionately and respectfully raise the topic of smoking to encourage smoking cessation. We draw on evidence-based methods such as cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) and outline approaches that healthcare professionals can use to integrate these methods into routine care to help their patients stop smoking.
Unit cohesion may protect service member mental health by mitigating effects of combat exposure; however, questions remain about the origins of potential stress-buffering effects. We examined buffering effects associated with two forms of unit cohesion (peer-oriented horizontal cohesion and subordinate-leader vertical cohesion) defined as either individual-level or aggregated unit-level variables.
Longitudinal survey data from US Army soldiers who deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 were analyzed using mixed-effects regression. Models evaluated individual- and unit-level interaction effects of combat exposure and cohesion during deployment on symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and suicidal ideation reported at 3 months post-deployment (model n's = 6684 to 6826). Given the small effective sample size (k = 89), the significance of unit-level interactions was evaluated at a 90% confidence level.
At the individual-level, buffering effects of horizontal cohesion were found for PTSD symptoms [B = −0.11, 95% CI (−0.18 to −0.04), p < 0.01] and depressive symptoms [B = −0.06, 95% CI (−0.10 to −0.01), p < 0.05]; while a buffering effect of vertical cohesion was observed for PTSD symptoms only [B = −0.03, 95% CI (−0.06 to −0.0001), p < 0.05]. At the unit-level, buffering effects of horizontal (but not vertical) cohesion were observed for PTSD symptoms [B = −0.91, 90% CI (−1.70 to −0.11), p = 0.06], depressive symptoms [B = −0.83, 90% CI (−1.24 to −0.41), p < 0.01], and suicidal ideation [B = −0.32, 90% CI (−0.62 to −0.01), p = 0.08].
Policies and interventions that enhance horizontal cohesion may protect combat-exposed units against post-deployment mental health problems. Efforts to support individual soldiers who report low levels of horizontal or vertical cohesion may also yield mental health benefits.
This chapter focuses on advancements in the understanding of personality pathology gained from structural and functional neuroimaging studies. It draws from the literature on the most widely researched personality disorders including schizotypal, borderline, and antisocial personality disorder. Prominent findings in schizotypal personality disorder include abnormalities in temporal and frontal lobe volumes, decreased structural connectivity of temporal lobe regions, and inefficient recruitment of brain areas during task performance. In borderline personality disorder, neuroimaging findings are characterized by aberrant volume and activity of limbic and prefrontal brain areas that suggest diminished top-down control of affective responsivity. Studies in antisocial personality disorder reveal reduced volume in prefrontal and temporal lobe structures, white matter structure compromise, and altered brain network functional connectivity. Significant challenges in studying this complex population and limitations of current methodology are discussed. Suggestions for future directions of research in this field are provided.
This rejoinder uses the neuroimaging literature on affect regulation to exemplify how integration of complementary methods suggested by the commentaries could advance neurobiological understanding of personality disorders. It illustrates progressive insights gained from incorporating multiple sources of evidence including neuroimaging, genetics, and behavioral data associated with affect regulation. It also demonstrates the use of brain pattern activation analysis in addition to studying individual regions of interest to better understand the complex relationships between biological genotype, brain activity, and behavioral phenotype. The ways in which neuroimaging can serve as an endophenotype to bridge the gap between genes and distant phenotypes are highlighted.
There is a substantial proportion of patients who drop out of treatment before they receive minimally adequate care. They tend to have worse health outcomes than those who complete treatment. Our main goal is to describe the frequency and determinants of dropout from treatment for mental disorders in low-, middle-, and high-income countries.
Respondents from 13 low- or middle-income countries (N = 60 224) and 15 in high-income countries (N = 77 303) were screened for mental and substance use disorders. Cross-tabulations were used to examine the distribution of treatment and dropout rates for those who screened positive. The timing of dropout was examined using Kaplan–Meier curves. Predictors of dropout were examined with survival analysis using a logistic link function.
Dropout rates are high, both in high-income (30%) and low/middle-income (45%) countries. Dropout mostly occurs during the first two visits. It is higher in general medical rather than in specialist settings (nearly 60% v. 20% in lower income settings). It is also higher for mild and moderate than for severe presentations. The lack of financial protection for mental health services is associated with overall increased dropout from care.
Extending financial protection and coverage for mental disorders may reduce dropout. Efficiency can be improved by managing the milder clinical presentations at the entry point to the mental health system, providing adequate training, support and specialist supervision for non-specialists, and streamlining referral to psychiatrists for more severe cases.
Bipolar depression is difficult to manage, and causes considerable disability and distress for patients and their surroundings. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is an effective treatment, but there are concerns regarding long-term neurocognitive impairment, and in particular autobiographical memory.
To compare the long-term effects of algorithm-based pharmacologic treatment (APT) and ECT in treatment-resistant bipolar depression as measured with standard neurocognitive tests and autobiographical memory interview.
To examine the long-term neurocognitive effects of ECT.
In this multicenter randomized controlled trial 73 in-patients with treatment resistant bipolar depression were randomized to either APT or unilateral ECT. Patients were assessed at baseline and at 6 months. Neurocognitive functions were assessed with the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB), Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI) and the Autobiographical Memory Inventory - Short form (AMI-SF). At 6 months, neurocognitive data were available for 26 patients (APT n = 11, ECT n = 15).
There were no group-differences at baseline.
At 6 months, there was no group-difference in MCCB-score (APT 44.9 vs. ECT 46.0, P-value: 0.707), or WASI total IQ-score (APT 103.9 vs. ECT 107.2, P-value: 0.535). There were indications of (P-value: 0.109) poorer AMI-SF consistency score in the ECT group (APT 72.3% vs. ECT 64.3%).
This study does not find that ECT causes long-term impairment in neurocognitive function as measured with standard neuropsychological tests. We find a trend towards poorer autobiographical memory in the ECT-group, and there needs to be further research regarding this.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Research exploring the longitudinal course of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms has documented four modal trajectories (low, remitting, high, and delayed), with proportions varying across studies. Heterogeneity could be due to differences in trauma types and patient demographic characteristics.
This analysis pooled data from six longitudinal studies of adult survivors of civilian-related injuries admitted to general hospital emergency departments (EDs) in six countries (pooled N = 3083). Each study included at least three assessments of the clinician-administered PTSD scale in the first post-trauma year. Latent class growth analysis determined the proportion of participants exhibiting various PTSD symptom trajectories within and across the datasets. Multinomial logistic regression analyses examined demographic characteristics, type of event leading to the injury, and trauma history as predictors of trajectories differentiated by their initial severity and course.
Five trajectories were found across the datasets: Low (64.5%), Remitting (16.9%), Moderate (6.7%), High (6.5%), and Delayed (5.5%). Female gender, non-white race, prior interpersonal trauma, and assaultive injuries were associated with increased risk for initial PTSD reactions. Female gender and assaultive injuries were associated with risk for membership in the Delayed (v. Low) trajectory, and lower education, prior interpersonal trauma, and assaultive injuries with risk for membership in the High (v. Remitting) trajectory.
The results suggest that over 30% of civilian-related injury survivors admitted to EDs experience moderate-to-high levels of PTSD symptoms within the first post-trauma year, with those reporting assaultive violence at increased risk of both immediate and longer-term symptoms.
Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is characterised by impulsive anger attacks that vary greatly across individuals in severity and consequence. Understanding IED subtypes has been limited by lack of large, general population datasets including assessment of IED. Using the 17-country World Mental Health surveys dataset, this study examined whether behavioural subtypes of IED are associated with differing patterns of comorbidity, suicidality and functional impairment.
IED was assessed using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview in the World Mental Health surveys (n = 45 266). Five behavioural subtypes were created based on type of anger attack. Logistic regression assessed association of these subtypes with lifetime comorbidity, lifetime suicidality and 12-month functional impairment.
The lifetime prevalence of IED in all countries was 0.8% (s.e.: 0.0). The two subtypes involving anger attacks that harmed people (‘hurt people only’ and ‘destroy property and hurt people’), collectively comprising 73% of those with IED, were characterised by high rates of externalising comorbid disorders. The remaining three subtypes involving anger attacks that destroyed property only, destroyed property and threatened people, and threatened people only, were characterised by higher rates of internalising than externalising comorbid disorders. Suicidal behaviour did not vary across the five behavioural subtypes but was higher among those with (v. those without) comorbid disorders, and among those who perpetrated more violent assaults.
The most common IED behavioural subtypes in these general population samples are associated with high rates of externalising disorders. This contrasts with the findings from clinical studies of IED, which observe a preponderance of internalising disorder comorbidity. This disparity in findings across population and clinical studies, together with the marked heterogeneity that characterises the diagnostic entity of IED, suggests that it is a disorder that requires much greater research.
Epidemiological studies indicate that individuals with one type of mental disorder have an increased risk of subsequently developing other types of mental disorders. This study aimed to undertake a comprehensive analysis of pair-wise lifetime comorbidity across a range of common mental disorders based on a diverse range of population-based surveys.
The WHO World Mental Health (WMH) surveys assessed 145 990 adult respondents from 27 countries. Based on retrospectively-reported age-of-onset for 24 DSM-IV mental disorders, associations were examined between all 548 logically possible temporally-ordered disorder pairs. Overall and time-dependent hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using Cox proportional hazards models. Absolute risks were estimated using the product-limit method. Estimates were generated separately for men and women.
Each prior lifetime mental disorder was associated with an increased risk of subsequent first onset of each other disorder. The median HR was 12.1 (mean = 14.4; range 5.2–110.8, interquartile range = 6.0–19.4). The HRs were most prominent between closely-related mental disorder types and in the first 1–2 years after the onset of the prior disorder. Although HRs declined with time since prior disorder, significantly elevated risk of subsequent comorbidity persisted for at least 15 years. Appreciable absolute risks of secondary disorders were found over time for many pairs.
Survey data from a range of sites confirms that comorbidity between mental disorders is common. Understanding the risks of temporally secondary disorders may help design practical programs for primary prevention of secondary disorders.
To provide cross-national data for selected countries of the Americas on service utilization for psychiatric and substance use disorders, the distribution of these services among treatment sectors, treatment adequacy and factors associated with mental health treatment and adequacy of treatment.
Data come from data collected from 6710 adults with 12 month mental disorder surveys across seven surveys in six countries in North (USA), Central (Mexico) and South (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Peru) America who were interviewed 2001–2015 as part of the World Health Organization (WHO) World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys. DSM-IV diagnoses were made with the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). Interviews also assessed service utilization by the treatment sector, adequacy of treatment received and socio-demographic correlates of treatment.
Little over one in four of respondents with any 12 month DSM-IV/CIDI disorder received any treatment. Although the vast majority (87.1%) of this treatment was minimally adequate, only 35.3% of cases received treatment that met acceptable quality guidelines. Indicators of social-advantage (high education and income) were associated with higher rates of service use and adequacy, but a number of other correlates varied across survey sites.
These results shed light on an enormous public health problem involving under-treatment of common mental disorders, although the problem is most extreme among people with social disadvantage. Promoting services that are more accessible, especially for those with few resources, is urgently needed.
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.
Whereas genetic susceptibility increases the risk for major depressive disorder (MDD), non-genetic protective factors may mitigate this risk. In a large-scale prospective study of US Army soldiers, we examined whether trait resilience and/or unit cohesion could protect against the onset of MDD following combat deployment, even in soldiers at high polygenic risk.
Data were analyzed from 3079 soldiers of European ancestry assessed before and after their deployment to Afghanistan. Incident MDD was defined as no MDD episode at pre-deployment, followed by a MDD episode following deployment. Polygenic risk scores were constructed from a large-scale genome-wide association study of major depression. We first examined the main effects of the MDD PRS and each protective factor on incident MDD. We then tested the effects of each protective factor on incident MDD across strata of polygenic risk.
Polygenic risk showed a dose–response relationship to depression, such that soldiers at high polygenic risk had greatest odds for incident MDD. Both unit cohesion and trait resilience were prospectively associated with reduced risk for incident MDD. Notably, the protective effect of unit cohesion persisted even in soldiers at highest polygenic risk.
Polygenic risk was associated with new-onset MDD in deployed soldiers. However, unit cohesion – an index of perceived support and morale – was protective against incident MDD even among those at highest genetic risk, and may represent a potent target for promoting resilience in vulnerable soldiers. Findings illustrate the value of combining genomic and environmental data in a prospective design to identify robust protective factors for mental health.